by Guest Contributor Christine O. Roberts
Yellow Springs is under siege. Our progressive little Ohio village is being over taken by outdated economic thinking. The village coffers are being looted by a secret organization representing “business”, who have met for close to 15 years, by invitation only. This group is convinced that their little band of about 20 elites are smarter than the rest of the population. They are about to move one million tax dollars, so I guess they are.
Citizens of Yellow Springs are in a crisis controversy. Some people, many really of course, believe the lie that has been told a thousand times, then told again a thousand more. People believe what they want to believe. “Hey baby, I’ll make you a star” or “I can make you rich” are promises that draw the prey into the predators reach. The bait has been tossed, and now the great quell “just give me what you got”, and there it is. The scam runs it’s course.
Here in our heart-of-social-justice culture in Yellow Springs, we, the resistance, are aghast at the redistribution of wealth to the wealthy that is taking place before our eyes. Community Resources, a self proclaimed band of theorists, is promising the village politicians that they can deliver glorious tax revenue building businesses if only we the tax payers build them a road to nowhere, through a cornfield, including all the utilities necessary to supply a business park. This is well over one million dollars of infrastructure.
Blind optimists are thronging to their side. “We need this”, they say, “Yellow Springs is losing it’s tax base. We must do what they say because we need what they promise”. Oh yes, the promise. The sweet, sweet promise of joy, love, laughter and prosperity. Yes, the promise.
So where’s the contract? There is none. How do they intend to fulfill the promise? They don’t say. What about all the empty business parks surrounding us in Greene, Montgomery, and Clark counties? They don’t care. What is going on here?
It is a New York smash-and-grab. Break the rules, take the cash, run away. We do have rules against this. Our Comprehensive Plan spells it out that in these cases where there needs to be new infrastructure built, it is the responsibility of the developer to provide it. Once it is built, the village will take over the maintenance. But the pro-business predators at CR have convinced our politicians that it is now necessary to make the village pay to build the road because they can not find a developer who is willing to spend his own money on this project.
So if we pay for it, and take care of it, do we own it? Not really. CR will continue to control the park. The deed remains in their corporation. This despite the fact that the original purchase of the property was a paid for with a loan from the taxpayers roughly ten years ago. We were told at that time that we would get paid back. Now we are told that they do not want to pay it back, and also, they want a million more. “Just give us what you got”, they tell us, “and we will make you rich”. I’m not seeing how this promise can come true. I do not see CR making business happen. Why do people think that you can attract business? It’s not like there are hordes of homeless businesses wandering the hills in search of a place to settle into and start spewing money. In nearly ten years no business has shown an interest in locating out in the cornfield set aside for this purpose, next to the new Antioch University Midwest building on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road. A closer look at the university reveals that is 50% under-enrolled and trembling under the weight of it’s building loan. Bricks and mortar are not what they use to be.
While I do not see the village tax payers ever getting their investment returned, I do see salary money finally becoming available for some of those hard working CR organization volunteers. Mostly I see a small handful of last century thinkers immortalizing themselves by making the million dollar road to nowhere dream come true. Many do not expect to live to see the fruits of their labor beyond that, calling the capture of wandering businesses a 20 year project. I call it a fools game.
Help us overcome the forces of evil and ignorance. Join the resistance. We are mobilizing a citizen force to take this decision out of the hands of politicians, and place it up for a vote by the people. For more info or to get involved, see the Facebook group No public funding for the Center for Business and Education.