A couple of weeks ago, I am sure that I heard the simultaneous retching sounds of your readers after having read Howard Matthews' self-grandizing commentary on the "accomplishments" of the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District.
As president of Brooke Utilities Inc., I know a little something about the seriousness of the Pine water deficiency. Mr. Matthews' disingenuous description of "government at work," veiled as PSWID's accomplishments, more aptly describe the "benefits" of government interference into local issues.
In a July 1997 newsletter published by the Pine-Strawberry Improvement Association, sister organization of PSWID, Matthews factually declared that a localized "large supply of underground water" was waiting to be tapped. It has been two years since PSWID's inception and no attempt has been made to locate this "known" source of water.
Besides letter writing, political meetings and phone calls, little else has been "accomplished" by PSWID. Matthews describes the "bargain" being received by local residents with regard to the work being done by PSWID. It's clear that Pine's residents have received exactly what they have paid PSWID for: almost nothing!
The citizenry of Pine are not following a Pied Piper. They are aware of the divisive participation by community groups to identify issues which are not issues at all. Brooke Utilities and PSWID began operations in the same month in 1996. I cringe to think of customer reaction if Brooke had used the first two years of its existence to accomplish no more than PSWID has.
The water problem in Pine is decades old. Yet, Brooke's proposed Project Magnolia (a pipeline connecting the communities of Pine and Strawberry) has been labeled as "premature" by the same community groups representing the "interests" of the community.
PSWID seems to be comfortable believing that government will, some day, rescue them from themselves. The truth is, it appears more often than not, that some community interests like their local water problem just fine -- thank you! Recent community voters did not likely vote for continued inaction by PSWID and should demand that PSWID produce some benefit to justify its existence.
I believe the local residents are smarter than they are being given credit for. They know a "bargain" when they see one. They also know a "bargain" they can't afford. The truth is, it's past time for the Pine and Strawberry residents to stop paying for what they are not getting.
Robert T. Hardcastle
President, Brooke Utilities Inc.