Ode Keefe: The many different
    meanings of the word troubling


    Half a RAVE to the Herald Standard for today's editorial piece, "Troubling,"
    that questions the absence of proper bidding for prison land and the lack of
    effective planning that the majority commission board and prison work group
    have done.

    But RANTS that the lead of the editorial today still stands as "Lets be clear.
    We still think that Fayette County needs a new prison. The current prison
    is 124 years old and hopelessly outdated. A new prison must be built,
    particularly if it can be constructed using mostly funds from the Marcellus
    shale development and the Lady Luck Casino at the Nemacolin Woolands
    Resort and Spa."

    RANTS, that the paper still pushing for an all new jail still misses the huge
    points that:

    (1) the majority commission has mercilessly raided the Act 13 funds two
    years in a row to balance a county operating budget, including last year when
    the county should have had $2 Million dollar extra in change from the 1 mil
    tax increase, yet had empty pockets and was unable to contribute to pension
    funds or replay last years TAN borrowing before dipping $9.5 Million into
    2014 funds a few weeks ago;

    (2) the county majority commission blindly ignores implementing a work
    release program to help reduce jail population and nobody at the paper has
    asked them why not;

    (3) nobody held a 5th public meeting to present discussion and ideas on
    alternatives that the minority commissioner had about utilizing the land out
    back of the present jail and that the paper blindly ignored those facts that she
    hand-delivered to the paper, and that the paper promoted the smug attitude
    that her ideas were not important enough to publish;

    (4) costs to rehab the current jail structure was left out of the total project
    cost of building an all new, off site jail. Why? The current jail was grossly
    neglected and we can't tear it down due because of its historical status. It's
    rehab costs are not even a second thought right now and very well should be.

    Lets be clear, readers. We do not need an all new jail.

    We need 3 smart commissioners who want an open government. We need a
    work release program pronto. We need to add cells out back where there is
    sewage already. We need to focus on our county's prisoners so no more are
    suicides in cells. We need to hold the majority commission board
    responsible for gross fiscal mismanagement for wasting money spent on out
    of county rentals in 2013 for not taking immediate action to reduce prison
    population. They, outside of a public meeting, authorized an appraisal of the
    Iowa Street property and outside of a public meeting secretly authorized
    county staff with no real estate background to bid on the Iowa Street property
    in a flood zone... and refused to answer publicly when they were asked why
    this happened and why none of them were smart enough to know better. They
    blindly looked for no other alternative sites and wasted a year planning and
    designing a temporary womens' jail in a building flooded out so many times
    that it's pitiful.

    Lets be clear about one other thing. The local paper's editorial today still
    isn't up to speed with the most current information it asked today: "So, why
    pay $225,000 for something worth $180,000?"

    Everybody and their cousin in the county know that the Iowa Street property
    owner has an appeal in, asking that the property value be lowered again to
    about $147,000.

    So why would any reasonable mind want to vote to pay $75,000 more for a
    flood zone building than the owner thinks it is worth? Why would the owner
    ask for a reduction to $147,000 value when the majority commission offers
    $225,000 -- i.e.,  unless the owner senses the building isn't going to be used
    for a jail? Was this a scam all along to stall for time until another building
    somewhere else is constructed or chosen? And why all the drama while the
    out of county cage rental costs continue to trouble the budget and play havoc
    with the safety of those detained in the county lock up?

    And why, o, why would an editorial page editor blindly ignore these above
    questions? We all differ in opinion on what we find troubling, I suppose.

    12 Jan 13
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