I’m disappointed. I’m not just disappointed. I’m crestfallen. If there’s one thing this blogger believes in (besides taking advantage of any opportunity to make a lame joke) it is INTEGRITY.
So I was stunned that the honchos at Chaffin/Light – the gazillion dollar developers behind the infamous Balsam Mountain Preserve – have declared that this blog is filled with lies. "Well, I DID quote a lot of material from their promotional pieces, could that be it?"
But I don’t want to pass the blame that easily.
Let’s take this from the top again and evaluate where I might have gotten off track.
Balsam Mountain Preserve Dam Break
This was the very first post, last Thursday at 9:18 AM. I’d heard that the dam at Balsam Mountain Preserve had broken. I opined that Sylva wouldn’t get swept, but that a lot of mud would wind up in the creek. And then, since I’m such an ignorant dumbass, I raised a lot of questions that I don’t have the answers to. You see, my curiosity FAR exceeds my limited intelligence. I recognize that much.
And it’s a good thing I’m not a betting man, since I confidently stated, "I'm sure our friendly developers will have all the answers for us on Monday." As it turns out, they didn’t. But I wouldn’t call that a lie.
Then I quoted a fleeting news blip via WLOS (before it was lost to obscurity). Again, I think we can stipulate that it was a reasonably accurate early news account of the dam break at Balsam Mountain Preserve.
And then I quoted Balsam Mountain Preserve announcing that "our streams are the last home of the southern brook trout…the purest you'll find anywhere, we're not exaggerating. That's a scientific fact, documented by our own on-staff naturalist…" Of course, there’s nothing hyperbolic in that quote, because they said there wasn’t.
No lies in that blog post. Let’s keep looking.
Again, I fired off a string of dumb questions that had been on my mind for a long time. Basically, how is our local environment changed when one or more golf courses are constructed and operated at the head of nearly every watershed in the county?
I did make a couple of statements. "With the failure of the Balsam Mountain Preserve dam, one million gallons of water rushed into Cripple Creek….if Cripple Creek was not silted up before the dam break, it most certainly is now." I think I’m OK on those.
And then we revisited a news story about a Jackson County jury awarding damages of $500,000 when they decided that "construction at Highlands Cove, a planned golf course and residential community upstream, caused irreparable harm to 18-acre Young Lake."
It’s a matter of public record.
Then this blogger consulted outside experts who documented numerous possible environmental impacts resulting from golf course construction.
It would be a real stretch to say there are any lies in this blog post. Does Chaffin/Light consider it to be a lie when I said "the implications of upstream golf course development throughout Jackson County and many other parts of the mountains deserve a closer look than they’ve received to date."
Sustainable Golf – An Oxymoron?
The main point of this post was to showcase a Chaffin/Light PERMACULTURE golf course. It’s a feel good story, and I hope the very complimentary information I was quoting about Chaffin/Light was true.
Shall we proceed?
Hole in One
I quoted a Washington Post article that referred to Balsam Mountain Preserve: "Investors paid about $10 million for the land and shared in a tax write-off "in the $20 million range," said James A. Anthony, a partner in the South Carolina development firm of Chaffin/Light Associates.
If I can’t trust the Washington Post and Jim Anthony, then we’re all in trouble.
This post is spotless. Moving on…
"Stop me if you've heard this one," was meant as a subtle clue that the statement to follow was a joke, though a weak joke indeed: "When Balsam Mountain Preserve installed water hazards on their golf course, they wanted to make sure they lived up to the name. They're hazards, alright." There was no intent to misrepresent facts.
I indicated that Balsam Mountain Preserve’s public relations department is very skillful at what they do. Perhaps Chaffin/Light doesn’t share my assessment.
The rest of the post was a rant against lazy reporters. Having been a reporter once myself, the critique of less than aggressive reporting is a self-indictment as well as a challenge to others
I’d call that post a lie-free zone. Which brings us to
Balsam Mountain Preserve and Other Disasters
And to the present moment.
We’ve almost run out of places to find the lies that Chaffin/Light accuses me of perpetrating. I guess I shouldn’t have quoted the alleged witnesses commenting on "issues" emanating from the Balsam Mountain Preserve golf course both before and after the dam break.
Since Chaffin/Light contends this blog is filled with lies, and since we’ve ruled out any other possible sources, that has to be it.
Phillip Morris, living downstream from Balsam Mountain Preserve and months ago watching the creek run muddy 24/7. Liar.
Chuck Connors, talking about the ill-fated dam: "Twenty four hours earlier an elementary school class was enjoying a presentation by a local naturalist just below this shoddily built impoundment." Liar.
Jennifer Krell, describing Scott’s Creek filling with silt and mud after the dam break. Liar.
Reuben Moore, watching "liquid mud" flowing under the Scott’s Creek bridge in Sylva on Thursday evening. Liar.
Paul Tapp, coming home to find silt and mud at creekside 30 feet wide and six inches deep. Liar.
There. I hope Chaffin/Light is satisfied that I’ve set the record straight in regards to my posts about the dam break at the Balsam Mountain Preserve golf course. Like I said, if there’s one thing this blogger wants to achieve (besides a bad joke) it is IMPECCABILITY. Thank you.
P. S. to Chaffin/Light, if you ever want to hire me to produce a blog for you, let me know. Even a virtuous lad like myself has his price. And once the newspapers publish one or two decent articles on the dam break, I'll be ready to move on to something else.
Dear Readers, I'm sorry I had to get this housekeeping out of the way. I really meant to talk about tonight's public hearing. My prayers were answered. Peace prevailed. I expected fire and brimstone from the guy representing the John Locke foundation, the good Dr. Michael Sanera. But he said we just need to chill out...Jackson County's not nearly as crowded as Charlotte and if we pass any radical ordinances then we'll see real estate get expensive. Gee, things are so cheap here now. I'd hate to do anything to change that blissful condition.
Finally, tonight's EQUINE POSTERIOR AWARD goes to Sylva attorney Jay Pavey, a rather too tightly wound fellow. He got the evening off to a rousing start by exposing the planning board as a bunch of unqualified incompetents and then urging the resignation of four members from the board of commissioners. When Commissioner Tom Massie raised the possibility of taking up Mr. Pavey on his suggestion, the attorney seemed most pleased. Mr. Pavey wants to see people running Jackson County like the noble generals he used to work with.
Well, wouldn't we all?
Till next time, peace and love, y'all....
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