The Golf Course, Again

I have heard it said:

My kids don’t play baseball. Why should I pay taxes to help maintain the ball fields?

I never go to the coliseum, why am I paying for that?

Why do we spend so much on the airport? I never fly on those small planes.

Even, my kids don’t attend public school anymore and I resent all those taxes.

Now, I don’t play golf and never will, just let the course go back to pasture.

Even when someone is generous enough to donate $600,000 to maintain it, there is an attitude that the county will just waste all that money.

Shouldn’t we be saying, “What a great opportunity to keep an asset in Snyder”

“An asset which will provide entertainment and recreation for the community and which will help attract newcomers.”

“We can now make this course the best nine hole course in the state.”

“Let’s make it so good that people will travel far and wide to play on it.”

If Snyder is to grow and prosper that has to be our attitude.

Instead of expecting the worst, why not create the best?

Yes, there is another nine hole course at the college, but we are competing for population with communities that boast 18 hole golf courses.

We have a window of opportunity to prepare Snyder for the days when the oil patch slows down.

But we can’t do it unless we work together and create an energized community that attracts people to it.

Otherwise, the old West Texas sun and wind will only too willingly dry us up and blow us away.


Country Club Golf Course Revisited

Whether the county should take over the country club golf course has solicited strong interest.

There seems to be two concerns.

One is that the course will end up costing the taxpayers too much money in the long run.

The second is a lack of confidence in the county to properly run the course.

As to the first concern, one has to look at the big picture.

We must attract new people and business to Snyder as well as retain those who are here.

We are in competition with other communities.

Lifestyle is a big factor for those looking to relocate.

A golf course is a lifestyle asset to the community like our baseball fields, coliseum and college.

A town the size of Snyder is at a disadvantage in attracting people if we don’t have a golf course.

And golf provides entertainment for those who already live here.

The golf course as it now stands is meeting its operating expenses.

And we have the rare event that the equivalent of several hundred thousand dollars will be donated to the county to run the course.

This money is donated to the county both to keep the course going and because it can be used as a tax write off.

Some of this money can be used to upgrade the course.

Thus, the county can take control of the facility under the best of circumstances.

The second concern is how the county will manage the course.

The obvious solution would be to form a board to oversee its running.

A certain percentage of the board would be knowledgeable about the course.

Others would be more concerned with keeping the course solvent.

Details would have to be worked out but the county commissioners would not be involved in the day to day details of managing it.

But they would have oversight responsibilities and a budget would have to be submitted to them.

It seems to me that things can be worked out and that there is a golden opportunity to keep a valuable asset in the community at very little cost to the taxpayer.


The War in Iraq

We are in Iraq.

We can’t turn back the clock.

Arguments pro and con have been made about whether we should have gone in or not.

But we are there.

Only history will tell us the result of our actions.

One can imagine the future as one wishes.

For example, one can speculate that if we didn’t go in, terrorists would be devoting their energies to attacking American directly rather than concentrating their energies on attacking us in Iraq where we can at least fight back.

Some would argue that by being in Iraq, we are inflaming Iran.

Others would say that by being in Iraq, we present a very immediate military threat to Iran and thus hold them in check in spite of their rhetoric.

Or that our military presence has already caused several Mideast regimes to, at least on the surface, renounce terrorism.

Of course, the opposite argument is that we are radicalizing Muslims and creating more terrorists than would be the case otherwise.

On the other hand, all our political correctness and multiculturalism prior to 9/11 seemed to do us little good.

But we are there now.

What should be our course?

Pull out?

Inform that we are leaving in one year and gradually pull out our troops and let the Iraqi military sink or swim.

It’s their country. If they won’t fight for it, why should we?

This is a very tempting argument.

And it might be right.

The Iraqis could answer the call and create their own kind of democracy.

But what if Iraq then falls into chaos and radicalism and becomes a haven for terrorists?

And what if our pullout is perceived as a lack of will power to defend ourselves against terrorism?

Will American then be safer?

But if we stay three more years and still the Iraqis cannot govern themselves and their military cannot impose order, what have we accomplished?

At this point, we just don’t know what will happen.

However, we do know that there is a concerted effort to undermine the war effort.

Some of it is made by those who are sincerely seeking what is best for America.

Much of it, however, is by those who just simply hate George Bush.

They hate the way he talks, the way he walks, the way he smiles.

They relentlessly criticize his every move, never offering solutions of their own.

In many cases, such as the Patriot Act, they attack him, make all kinds of false accusations, but when it actually comes time to vote, they support the very legislation they criticized.

We don’t know whether history will prove the Bush approach right or wrong.

But history has already shown that appeasement does not work.

If our country were united in its determination to stand up to terrorism, to a way of life and an ideology which goes against many of the most fundamental principles of Western democracy, then we would eventually win.

That is not to say that one does not have the right to oppose President Bush’s policy.

It does say that that opposition should come up with carefully thought out reasons as to what we should do instead.

Just spewing hatred of Bush is not in the best interests of America.


A Soaker

A good rain at this time of year is a Godsend.

The grass will sprout early in the pastures, the cattle will whoop for joy and chase the “green stuff” as the ranchers say.

The farmers will begin piddling around the barn, checking their equipment, dreaming of another record year like the last.

Getting psyched up for the coming season after only a brief respite. They only just finished stripping cotton.

But a good spring rain will get the juices flowing again.

They will check their gauges, exaggerate the results at the feed store, and scrape away the soil to see how deep the moisture crept.

Farming is a tough stressful operation and a significant part of the Scurry County economy.

Businessmen know it when farmers have money in their pockets.

Farming is a form of gambling with a lot of hard work thrown in.

The reason is that most of their expenses come upfront at the very beginning of the season.

And so much of the final result is totally out of their control.

Just luck.

Not only must it rain, but it must rain at just the right time.

How about a summer hailstorm right when the cotton is opening.

Not much a farmer can do about that.

And the world market.

China decided to add a million acres of production and the already low prices plummet.

Ah, the joys of farming.

It takes special people to be successful or even survive in that profession.

Let’s wish them another successful season.

That will be good for the whole community.

What's Going to Happen to the Country Club Golf Course?

It seems that a very large donation will be made to the county to run the country club golf course if the county will accept ownership.

This will enable the course to be funded at a first class level.

And taxpayers will not be burdened with higher taxes.

Our two golf courses are community assets and definitely should not be allowed to deteriorate.

True, not everyone plays golf, but not everyone uses the park or the baseball fields or the coliseum.

But they are all part of the quality of life in Snyder, both for current residents and for attracting others to move here.

Yet, there is opposition.

Comments such as:

I know that if the county gets it, our taxes will eventually get raised.

Those commissioners have no business running a golf course.

I don’t play golf so why do I care if we have a course or not.

Yet, many counties run golf courses.

And they don’t have a donated fund which allows them to be self sufficient.

It seems like an opportunity that should be seized.