... The rising up of a mob of angry residents around the Martinez development of Magnolia Trace discloses an arrogant temperament toward those who cannot afford the same privileges as the elites, but lack the financial depth required to ensure equality in housing, medical care, etc.
As the editor has pointed out, Magnolia Trace is destined to be a large-scale warehousing of the poor. This attitude is reminiscent of the “poor house” mentality of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Those familiar with urban development, or who have closely examined Augusta’s history, know home values will decline; rental property will become the norm; tax revenues will decrease; maintenance of property will be deferred; tax rates will rise to maintain cash flow into the county coffers; and those with resources will depart. ...
Twice now, there have been questionable decisions about housing in Columbia County. A black family was refused by an elite community to build a home near them; the proposed home did not meet the requirements (of their property owners’ association). Residents near Magnolia Trace do not want low-income individuals to live near them. ... The question is, “What do we do with the poor?”
Jesus Christ flat stated that we would always have the poor around us. As a nation, we tried to stamp out poverty with the so-called “War on Poverty.” Billions of dollars were poured out, and we still have the inconvenient poor. Income taxes were forgiven; nearly 50 percent today live tax-free on government charity and other assistance is given to them. But it seems we cannot buy them off, and they remain in our midst. If, as Jesus predicted, we will always have the poor with us, the moral and legal question remains: “What are we going to do with the poor?”
Morally, Jesus laid the concerns of the poor on every level of society when he told the rich young ruler to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor. Jesus also defined who is our “neighbor” that we are supposed to “live as ourselves.” We demonstrate our concern and sensitivity toward the poor by turning the issue over to politicians, and then get upset over the cost of programs like Magnolia Trace, food stamps, free lunches, low-income public housing and other programs.
President Obama is trying to provide a political solution to this conundrum: Socialism. His motto of taxation and “spread the wealth around” is highly popular, but many great nations have tried this solution and were driven into bankruptcy (Russia, Greece) or near to the breaking point (as witnessed by Western European nations.) In Columbia County, Ron Cross and the four commissioners will have to make some tough zoning decisions to either keep the undesirables out of the county, or decide where to let them live.
Richard E. Hogue, Ph.D. Th.