For the first 100 days following a presidential inauguration, the newly installed chief executive is afforded time to "get his feet on the ground" and be free of critical comments.
In essence, the commander in chief is on a perceived honeymoon.
It has been my intention to do likewise with the newly installed Crestview City Council. With the arrival of April came a 60 percent turnover in council personnel, each of whom was new to his elected position. Since then, the council generally has taken something of a verbal beating by citizens.
The News Bulletin’s Hubbub section rarely is devoid of a critical comment urging the council to do one thing or another.
Having been in their seats, and having studied municipal government while pursuing my post-secondary education, I am well aware that much of what the council members are being asked to do is not within their power.
How many times do we hear that it is the role of the city to bring all sorts of businesses into the municipality?
How many times do people complain that there is a lack of chain restaurants within the city limits?
How many times are comments made about the lack of good jobs?
How many times are there demands for improved roads and a bypass around the city?
Sometimes, the observations expressed are more humorous than a comic strip! Folks need to learn a bit more about the role of city council before making such comments.
First, it is not the role of a governmental body to bring restaurants to a city. The reason some chain restaurants will not locate in the Crestview area is "traffic flow," defined as "the number of vehicular movements past a given point within a certain time period."
One might try to compare the Hub City with Fort Walton Beach, since both are almost equal in population. But look at the surrounding areas. We have no other municipality bouncing up against our borders. “Down south,” there are several smaller cities and towns, plus two military installations, and innumerable tourists driving by specific points during any given period.
On numerous occasions, folks talk about reviving shops "downtown," but there is little knowledge within the population as to why several locations have been left to deteriorate and thus are unappealing to entrepreneurs.
Further, how many businesses have tried locating along Main Street, only to close because of poor support from the buying public?
Good jobs are always wanted in any given location, and the reasons for a business to locate, or not locate, in a particular area are many.
Primarily, a business looks for an educationally prepared work force. Look at the businesses at the Bob Sikes airport just east of town. They have virtually drained more highly qualified individuals from the work force and placed them in reasonably high-paying jobs.
Look at city council and realize that government’s role is to make things more accommodating for business and industry; it is the role of chambers of commerce, economic development councils and others to lure those desired businesses, whether they be industrial, service or retail establishments, to come to town.
So stop complaining and start talking to those who — if they are doing their jobs — have knowledge of businesses willing to relocate or expand into the local area.
Bob Allen is a retired city council member who lives in Crestview.