The recently released photos of the light halo around a black hole in a distant galaxy reminded me of the amazing advances humans make when a question is answered with an ordered, problem-solving method.
Louisa already has one black hole and is creating a second, with our tax dollars going in never to be seen again. Dreamed up by county staff, backed by the board of supervisors, created by that problem-solving method in reverse, start with a conclusion and work backwards until there is a problem.
The Scientific Method was discussed early each semester in my Earth Science classes and I reminded my students that it wasn’t just scientists who used it; it works for everyday problems, too. When a “problem” arises, think it through, come up with a possible solution, test your solution with observations, tests and experiments, review the test results then conclude if your solution solves the problem. If not, repeat the process, testing a new solution to solve the problem.
The backwards, un-scientific method, used by many government officials, is to start with a conclusion and work backwards until you have created a problem. In Louisa, the conclusion was, building a water line from the James River solves all our problems. With that conclusion, consultants were hired, data created, claims made based on that wildly inflated data, a solution was dreamed up: the water line will bring industry to pay big taxes. Problem is, there’s no industry to use all that water.
So, another conclusion was drawn, buy, rezone and flatten forest land at Shannon Hill with tax money, spend more money to extend the water line (and gas and sewer lines) to that land, hire more consultants to find and lure, with tax breaks, an amazing industry that deep into the future, will fill county coffers with tens of millions of dollars.
Just a couple of problems, both dripping with irony. First, no industry is coming to Shannon Hill because the industries officials are dreaming of are fading into the past. Water wasting, gas burning industries are fading away and should. The future needs to be thrifty with resources, sustainable.
Then to hear board members praise the recent presentation by members of Louisa County Public Schools (and praise and fully fund they should), where the school system’s long-term goals are to prepare students to work the unknown jobs of the future, not the disappearing industrial jobs of the past. The schools get it, the board doesn’t.
Stellar black holes have such powerful gravity even light can’t get out. Our local black holes have such weak logic they will continue to pull in tax money for years, with no taxes ever coming back out. No bank would loan you money for this, we are your bank and will keep working to deny this bad loan.
Call your supervisor, don’t rezone and add another black hole at Shannon Hill. Perhaps, first, solve a real problem, poor broadband countywide!
Editor’s Note: This op-ed originally appeared in the May 2nd edition of the Central Virginian, and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission.
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