Silly Goose

Who knew that a childhood classic would fortell the behavior of Lumberton's elected officials? I remember Petunia being read to me by my mother. I also recall her reading the story with her first grandchild. For those of you not familiar with the story, Petunia is set in a farmyard. Petunia the silly goose believes she has become wise just because she finds a book. All farm animals saw her carrying the book believed in her wisdom, seek her advice and suffered horrible consequences from her unwise counsel. One day, she told everyone to open a box labeled "Candy" but the box contained fireworks. As a result, everyone got hurt. Sounds familiar?

Petunia heard Mr. Pumpkin say, "he who owns books and loves them is wise." Wisdom is the ability to see beneath the surface of things; it is also defined as someone who has good judgement. Clearly, wisdom is in short supply whenever our elected officials hold meetings. However, there's an abundance of pride; another central theme of Petunia. Just as Petunia was prideful, most of our elected officials suffer the same ailment. Proverbs 11:2 states "when pride cometh, then cometh shame; but with the lowly is wisdom." Proverbs 16:18 explains that "pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Everytime I read those scriptures, I think of our mayor and board.

Although the story is fictional, the animals still live in a community of sorts. The word community comes from the Latin word communis that means "common, public, shared by all or many." In a community every person has a part to play and members are interdependent to some degree. To have a sense of community a person must feel that they belong. If you've ever attended a board meeting in Lumberton, citizens, the ones with voting powers, are not treated as though they belong or have anything to contribute. Anytime a citizen want to respond, Mayor Winston scolds them and howl that this is their (the elected) meeting; not a meeting of or for the citizens that voted them into office. Even when the agenda allow for citizen remarks, the citizens are either dismissed or attacked. We sit through an entire meeting, waiting for an opportunity to voice our concerns and certain aldermen use it as an opportunity to berate citizens instead of taking note of what's being said.

Petunia thinks she's wise in her own eyes. We're familiar with that attitude here in Lumberton. Unlike the elected officials of Lumberton, Petunia realized the error of her ways. "Now I understand. It was not enough to carry wisdom under my wing." Just like it's not enough to pray in the marketplace every Saturday if you're not going to show your faith through your works on the first Tuesday of each month. It's not enough to say the city is safe but spend money that's not budgeted for security cameras. If the place where the police are housed is not considered safe, then how can you justify not hiring more officers so the residents can enjoy the same feeling of security? Petunia realized that she must put wisdom in her mind and in her heart. Silly goose! She thought that merely holding a book provided wisdom. Just like Petunia, the board is wise in their eyes. Thankfully, Petunia got it; she had her ah-ha moment. The big question is when will this board finally get it? In case they didn't know, holding a position is not synonymous with wisdom. It's time to stop grandstanding, get the book from under their wing and pay attention to the citizens; you know the ones you want to vote for you. Hopefully, they'll get it right before the next budget is due. In the meantime, the board is still trying to figure out what's available in tne current budget. For those of you that are interested, there's a budget workshop today at 3:00. Keep in mind that we're a few months away from the next fiscal year. They should be working on the FY2016 budget but they're still trying to figure out what's in the current budget. Somehow they confidently vote to pay over $60,000 in bills, payroll and insurance every month but the idea of having a full time deputy clerk, a fully staffed police department and a couple of new police cars frightens them because providing ample police protection at the low rate of $10.75/hour may cause their bonds to be pulled.


  1. Are you going to the budget workshop?


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