Published in the Holland Sentinel on April 21, 2008 -
What price do you put on “community”? What is the future of the Holland-Zeeland area worth to you?
As local businesses look to grow and as outside investors continue to shop for great places to expand or start up new businesses, Holland residents are debating whether or not to invest in our own community. We are squabbling over pennies for our own future.
While open debate is typically healthy and highly encouraged, how do you think this looks to those who have heavily invested in this community over the past decades? What do our words and our actions say to those who are considering making major investments in this area?
So many of us here in this area live in what I commonly refer to as, “the nubble.” This bubble is like a force field that keeps us sheltered from the outside world. We don’t know what is going on out there and we certainly don’t want to be influenced by what is going on out there.
Living in the bubble can have many advantages. It can definitely lead to lower stress levels. However, it can also lead to many troubles. If we don’t understand what we need and why we need it, we may miss out on critical opportunities which may arise from time to time.
Have you ever traveled outside the bubble? As you visit different parts of the country, what do you think of the communities that appear run-down or in need of a makeover? Is this the kind of place you would want your family to reside? Or, would you prefer to live in an area where the homes are well-kept and the yards are all nicely landscaped?
What is your opinion of the people who live in these blighted neighborhoods? Do they impress you as being caring and responsible? Do they display pride in ownership of their lands and their homes? Is there any indication that these residents are willfully investing in themselves or their community?
If you were a business owner looking for a new place to expand your operations, would one of these blighted communities be first on your list? Would you be quick to invest in an area where you, the investor, may care more about the community than the people who live there?
I know what I would think. I would be thinking about investing my money elsewhere.
As a conservative, I have an obligation to call for less and lower taxes. In fact, it goes against my grain to support new taxes. However, as a citizen living in an area that is struggling financially, I also have a responsibility to do what is necessary to ensure the future of my community.
While my conservative nature says “bo new taxes,” my common sense asks, “What would an investor think of me if I am not willing to invest in my own community?” What would they think of Holland if Holland rejects the airport tax?
Saying “no” to the airport tax could be interpreted by those who matter as the equivalent of letting your neighborhood go to pot. The real question you have to ask yourself is, “Can I afford not to vote for the airport tax?”