Life is more precious than gold
Published 3:13 am Monday, January 31, 2005
Alabama government is basically a huge beurocratic corporation; when money is a factor the dollar is king.
Atmore's Hauss Nursery, the last state-controlled plant nursery is a prime example. After more than 50 years and more than a billion trees the Alabama Forestry Commission may be shutting it down. The reason is money.
The Montgomery beurocrats have decided that since the state-run nursery is not a cash cow they might decide to chop it into hamburger despite the damage that could do to customers and the people who depend on the nursery to make their living.
State-run nurseries help control plant prices so that monopoly-minded competitors do not go into a bidding war on the price of plants. By shutting down the state-run grower the government runs the risk of making consumers pay more for their trees than they should have to.
If the government is not putting consumers at risk to pay more it is putting itself in a position to spend less.
On a national level projects are sold to the lowest bidder which means our soldiers, astronauts and public officials' lives are put at risk everyday.
During the battles in Afghanistan, in the War on Terror, no less than eight Apache and Black Hawk helicopters were lost due to mechanical failure. While the Apache helicopter has proven itself in battles across the globe the machinery was designed and built by the lowest bidder.
According to government reports the Apache and Black Hawk helicopters were designed for the average battlefield situation rather than universal use. They were not built for the high, low-oxygen, altitudes and the sandy conditions Afghanistan is known for. This was done to keep costs to a minimum.
Video footage shows allied troops and federal agents using decomissioned Russian helicopters bought from former Soviet Block countries. Soviet helicopters were designed for all the climates and conditions of the soviet countries; everything from frozen mountains to hot sandy deserts and even Afghanistan, a country they invaded in the 1980s.
To save money American soldiers are sent into the battlefield wearing body armor that is not even "Tokarev rated", which means that it may or may not stop a 7.62×25 caliber round, a Russian pistol caliber, fairly common to middle eastern and Asian countries.
There is a cost involved with buying from the lowest bidder just as there is from buying from the highest bidder. As concerned citizens we should let our politicians know that while we understand that it would be cost prohibitive to buy from the highest bidder we should not allow our troops to be sent to battle with inferior products when a few dollars more could mean the difference between life and death.
We should let our state government know that while we appreciate their willingness to find places to cut back their spending, the Hauss Nursery is important to Atmore. The people who work for the nursery and the consumer benefits of having a price control on trees, especially after Hurricane Ivan when there is a need for tree replanting, outweigh the few dollars the state will save in the long run.
We should let the American government know that a higher bottom line is less important than an obituary headline.
Luckily all of our troops from the 711th Guard Unit have returned home.
The Atmore Advance would like to welcome back each and every one of you.
God bless, welcome home.