Tower just the latest debate

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The latest controversy between the city of Selma and the Dallas County Commission is just more political posturing – in an even more blatant way than usual. And in this county, that’s saying something.

The order to “stop, halt and discontinue” the installation of a 120-foot communications tower at the Dallas County Courthouse has created a fervor.

The time and energy put into debating this could be better spent taking care of issues that are more important to the citizenry. Not to mention if taxpayer money is used to take the matter to court.

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The Emergency Management Agency and the county commission apparently see a need for this tower.

In fact, in talking with law enforcement officials in the area there seems to be little doubt that it will benefit all of Dallas County – allowing emergency personnel from the city, county and volunteer fire departments to communicate with one another in a more efficient manner.

In the same manner, these elected officials and personnel in positions at Emergency Management have determined the courthouse is the best location for the tower. Actually, according to Probate Judge Johnny Jones, it’s the second-best place. The first choice was the E-911 building on Dallas Avenue, but the city would not allow the tower to be installed at that location, citing historic preservation. The city’s stance is that a “special” permit was needed to install the tower. However, the county’s attorney says it’s clear the county has jurisdiction over the courthouse, including the exterior.

Another issue cited is historic preservation. But, standing beside the newly-installed communication tower, one can easily see at least three other towers in the immediate vicinity.

Let the tower stand. It was purchased and installed with grant money.

It will serve to benefit all citizens. There’s little doubt the county has a right to install it at the courthouse.

Even after tax dollars were spent and even if a judge determined a “special permit” was needed, what purpose does that serve the people?