March 1, 2021

OPINION/PERSPECTIVE: Student loan forgiveness, a Camden spaceport and more | Local News

OPINION/PERSPECTIVE: Student loan forgiveness, a Camden spaceport and more | Local News

I hope the readers of this column have gotten a few laughs from it over the years, but I’m warning in advance — this one is not designed to amuse.

There are some things going on that ticked me off, and I need to vent starting with:

Our recently inaugurated and beloved president wants us to forgive college student’s loans, which will certainly fall on the taxpayer. I don’t think we should forgive a dime especially those of finance majors who were cheated because anyone who owes $50,000 in student debt didn’t learn much.

I will most certainly lose this argument so if we’re going to pay off student debt, we should set some ground rules. We shouldn’t pay off the debt of those who pursued degrees in the law, political science or philosophy, to name a few. Why should we fund the education of people whose images will appear on billboards promising to get us all we deserve for a slip and fall. Poly sci majors likely helped come up with the political ads on cable TV that we pay too much for. (See last week’s column.)

We also should put in rules for those who traveled down too many degree paths. The debt relief should be cut by half every time a student changes his or her major, which means some will get only $44.16 even if they borrowed $25,000.

So what’s the best way to bring down college debt? Make college education affordable. When Vonette was going to Clemson, I was working every day and she was waiting tables on weekends and summers dealing steak dinners and refilling glasses with sweet tea.

I wrote a check for her spring tuition and she wrote one for fall. University education costs too much. I don’t know if it’s the cost of facilities or for paying professors but something is wrong.

To bring the price of higher education down, every student in the country ought to take next semester off and say they can’t afford to come back. I’m thinking some boards of regents would cut tuition. I bet it would work, but I don’t have a degree in finance.

You may have read in this newspaper on Friday that Camden County officials are optimistic that its spaceport will gain approval.

If they’re right the public has every right to be pessimistic because this is a very bad idea.

First, from my reading, the launches from Harriet’s Bluff will be the only ones in the country that travel over occupied, residential areas and not straight over the ocean. Also, these rockets will pass over Cumberland Island National Seashore, Little Cumberland Island and some protected natural areas.

Although proponents have downplayed it, about the worst thing you can have beneath launches are people. I’m betting they’ll have to evacuate the launch zone days in advance, including the waterways. So you people who like to fish for trout and throw cast nets far shrimp, you may as well plan to stay at home.

And let’s say all the waterways, Cumberland’s campground and residential areas are cleared and the countdown has begun. At T minus 13, a sensor goes off warning some valve isn’t responding and so the rocket scientists abort the mission with hopes of starting the process again in two weeks, a month or whenever.

It’s been pouring buckets lately, but that will end someday and we’ll be back in another severe drought like those when most of the Okefenokee Swamp burned. So are we going to launch over natural and inhabited areas when there’s a drought? I would hope not because a failed launch could rain flaming debris over dry woodlands. It doesn’t take much flame to set off a fire that can grow to hundreds of acres in a few hours and thousands in days in areas not quickly accessible to firefighters.

In the first hour of the Sweat Farm Road Fire in Waycross, I called Ware County Fire Chief Jimmy Brown who told me he was sending fire crews to the Ruskin School area. I asked if he planned to stop it there.

He said, “There ain’t no stopping that fire.” He was right.

A few years later, Brown had retired and they were fighting the Sweat Farm Road Fire II.

I am very hopeful there’s no Camden Spaceport Fire in our future. After all, Camden County already has burned through enough money pursuing this thing.

I was bound and determined to vote for the SPLOST, but I’m having second thoughts because Alan Ours won’t be around to make sure it’s done right. He says it’s time to move on from his job as county manager not too long after he passed up another job. Isn’t it odd the announcement comes less than two months after some new commissioners took their oaths of office? I’m predicting this new bunch will be “hands on,’’ which means they’ll meddle in everything they can, and that’s not good for the taxpayers except, of course, for their friends.

Alan Ours is an honest and very competent man who is highly regarded around Georgia. But a man can get away with that only so long in county government.

People already call him for advice and very soon he’s likely to get called with an offer of a better job.

That said, these county commissioners deserve a chance to get it right, but they warrant watching. Closely.

As work progresses on the new roundabout, or tourist angst-inducing traffic device, at Kings Way and Frederica, the red light has been replaced with a four-way stop. The only time traffic flowed better there was way back in the 20th Century before the island became overcrowded and over-visited. Just saying, as they say.

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