Act now, prevent headaches in future

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 9, 2008

The issue: Infrastructure in city, state continues to get worse.

Our take: Officials should take action long before these problems become irreparable.

It appears that government intervention by reaction, rather than proaction seems the standard, both on the state level and on the local side.

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Take, for instance, the state’s neglect of its prison system, even in light of a federal lawsuit a couple of years ago.

Just last week, a blue-ribbon study commission said the women’s medium security prison at Tutwiler is in such bad condition, it should be razed and its inmates sent elsewhere.

Officials at the state Department of Corrections said they had planned to close the prison next year, but can’t because of a lack of money.

Now, take a look around Selma. Curbs and gutters are needed to alleviate flooding during heavy rains; streets need work and buildings here need destruction or rehabbing because they are eyesores and dangerous.

Recently, voters turned down a $12.3 million bond issue that would have targeted curbs and gutters, but no assurances of that work were given.

After all, an embattled Selma City Council would have made the decisions on how to spend the money. As spiteful as this group has become, there’s no telling where the voter-approved bond issue money would have been spent.

So, here we are, citizens of Alabama faced with needs, such as money for schools and higher education and even places to house criminals.

We turn to our lawmakers in Montgomery, who say our alternative is to raise taxes.

Nobody wants to raise taxes to fix prisons. That’s not a popular move.

Students can always work three or four jobs to afford increased college tuition.

And the other things Alabama needs so desperately? Well, it seems lawmakers will tell us to cinch up our belts again.

That’s about what we, here in Selma, get as well. A city council and mayor throw up their hands in the final months of a four-year tenure and say, “That’s all we have folks.”

The fault, however is with us, the voters. We continue to elect people on the same old empty promises without consideration to the future.

We sit back apathetically and don’t demand change.

Until the voters make some demands for smart budgeting by our elected officials on the state and local basis, we’ll always have government by crisis.