Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

Edney's 'environmental wacko' crack draws rebuke

Many in the land conservation and environmental community say they’ve been dismayed to watch the editing by the Henderson County Board of Commissioners of the 2045 comprehensive plan, pointing out that preserving wildlife habitat, sensitive lands and farmland ranked as high priorities by the nearly 8,000 people who responded to surveys.

“The amount of public input that your planning staff has gathered is commendable but I don’t think you can say in good conscience that you’ve used it. You seem to just boast about how you’ve gutted it,” Katie Breckheimer, a longtime environmental activist, told commissioners last week during public comment time. “There’s a real discrepancy between what the public says they want for their future and what you are planning for.”
Commissioners have been reviewing and editing the plans recommended goals line by line; so far they have completed three of eight major categories.
“I have heard you say at your meetings, as you review the draft plan, that if you use language that is vague, you won’t have to do anything around certain goals. You won’t have to do anything? Really? Is that how you want to move the county forward — using a reactionary form of government, using a crisis management model? That’s not what planning is all about.”
Breckheimer also admonished Commissioner Michael Edney for his comment last month mocking “environmental wacko” goals in the draft comp plan recommended by the county Planning Board.
“Words matter. I heard you say that, too,” she said. “But then Mr. Edney makes a comment about how the plan is full of environmental wacko stuff. The environmental community bases their comments and recommendations on science and experience, giving reasonable forethought to our community’s health and the protection of our natural resources that we all share. So no, Mr. Edney, the plan’s draft was not full of environmental wacko stuff, and it would serve you well to refrain from language that is insensitive and hurtful. We expect more from our leaders in a civilized society.
“Words matter, especially those that are spoken in such a public forum. Like the time Mr. Edney said that we should send our biggest bully to the negotiating table to talk about a shared Water and Sewer Commission. With this kind of behavior, no wonder relations have been strained between the city and the county. As a public servant, we expect civility and respectful dialogue from you. You are setting an example for the rest of us to follow. Going forward, please choose your words more carefully.”