Editorial put false spin on economy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 2, 2006

To the Editor:

To say I was appalled by your article about the closing of L-3 is quite an understatement. I dare say that if you have a degree in business, you should promptly go back to that university and demand your money back! I agree that the naysayers here in this community should stop blaming and perhaps start looking for solutions, but to honestly believe that any company closing its doors in a community is a good thing is nothing short of delusional.

Do you know how many empty hangers are available throughout the United States? Compared to what is actually needed for contract work, there is a complete over abundance of them. We will be competing with communities that although are in the same boat as we are, will have much more to offer than we do. They have low crime rate, home buying assistance programs, runways in good repair, school systems that are not only TRULY integrated but offer more than an Ipod for perfect attendance, adequately staffed police forces, and communities that are family friendly. In short Mr. Lindsey, when it comes to the “beauty pageant” of getting new businesses here, we are one of the ugliest gals competing.

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It is true that we can not blame our elected officials for L-3’s failure to receive the T-34 contract. That was a failure of the company; however, it is our elected officials’ lack of leadership and action that caused us to lose the Lockheed deal. The Air Force took a good look at our town and saw the truth. They were willing to spend over $6 million more dollars on a contract in Pueblo, Colo. so that their personnel and their families would be in a safer and far more stable community. Although we are less than a fifth of the size of Pueblo, our citizens are four times more likely to be murdered, three times more likely to be raped, and twice as likely to be robbed or assaulted. Would you in good conscience ask your employees to move to a place with those probabilities? We can not blame Wayne Vardaman and the Economic Development Authority. They are not the plastic surgeons that can cover up our ugliness. This is the job of our elected officials and in truth, a job for all of us who call Selma our home.

You can put what ever spin you want to on this situation Mr. Lindsey, but the facts remain the same. Over 75 hard working people (the layoffs started back in January for L-3, a fact your paper failed to report) are now or soon to be without an income. This means that well over $36,000 a WEEK in income will be lost here in our town. Do you honestly think these people will stay here in Selma with the HOPES that they MAY get a better job in the future? If you do, then I highly suggest you stop sniffing the ink your paper is printed with.

This summer I have seen over 20 of my friends and associates move from our town. I must wash my car daily to remove all the dust the departing families and businesses are kicking up as they pass over the bridge on their flight out of here. I have lived here three years and have done all in my power to change things through my volunteer work, but to no avail. Like so many others in this community, I have been robbed and my children have been assaulted. Come this spring we too will be preparing to leave because I see nothing in this town worth sacrificing my children’s future and safety. So to quote a great and wonderful woman who too left Selma this summer (Ruth Boswell) … “Last one over the bridge, turn off the lights!”

Maggie Davies