Wednesday, March 26, 2008

03.25 - Sneaky tactic affects Jekyll Island's future

Sneaky tactic affects Jekyll Island's future
Date: March 25, 2008
Section(s): Commentary

It is a common practice among politicians, but that doesn't make attaching unwanted amendments to popular legislation right. It's a sneaky, back-door tactic that is tantamount to trying to shove something distasteful and unnecessary down the throats of Georgians.

This is what Rep. Debbie Buckner, D-Columbus, is doing. She's resorting to this old-time political trick after running into a brick wall when trying earlier this session of the General Assembly to get legislation through that would throw a wrench into plans by Linger Longer Communities to rejuvenate Jekyll Island.

Rep. Buckner tacked her bill in the form of an amendment onto legislation that would extend the life of the Coastal Zone Management Act by removing the act's expiration date.

Because of the amendment, the legislation narrowly escaped defeat in the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee Thursday, passing 9-8. Now, those who depend on the Coastal Zone Management Act for funding to protect coastal resources are apprehensive about the future of CZM.

Rep. Buckner's amendment seeks to block certain development from certain areas of the Jekyll Island waterfront. It's built upon the pretense that the public will no longer have access to the beach if the $342 million revitalization plan is allowed to go forward as is.

To begin with, no one knows what the final version of the plan will be. Secondly, why would anyone spend or invest $342 million in a project that would deny people access to the one drawing card that Jekyll Island has, which is the beach? It just wouldn't make sense.

What Rep. Buckner is attempting to do is micro-manage the repair and long-overdue overhaul of Jekyll Island.

Jekyll Island has gone nowhere but downhill over the past two decades. It will continue the current rate of descension unless politicians stop trying to crush or maim every plan that professional consultants come up with to improve the island.

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