Letter to the Editor


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To the editor:

I'm sitting in my office looking at a picture of my wife and three boys. It is with their safety in mind that I want to make clear to anyone who would harm them that I am not a member of the landowners association for the lake, and I will not longer work with the RCGA in an effort to promote the lake. Please allow me to explain my position on the lake and why I have chosen to disassociate myself from it at this time.

There is no doubt in my mind a lake in the area would enhance the value of life for the people of Cape Girardeau and Bollinger counties and the surrounding area through economic development and the benefits that accompany a thriving area. I realize there are those of good, sound mind who disagree with me on this issue.

As I have state in earlier letters to the editor and have maintained all along, it is clear that the rights of the property owners must be protected through language in the Senate bill or any legislation associated with any such project which included eminent domain. Anyone who has attended any lake meeting I have chaired will remember a common thread. The common thread is what can be done to gain the approval of the affected landowners. These conversations always centered on amendments to the Senate bill and landowners' rights.

Changes have been proposed to the Senate bill. I expect additional changes may need to be made before the final legislation passes, if ever, through the House. Every proposed change is to the benefit of the affected landowners, including the initiative petition provision. The initiative petition provision is not to the satisfaction of the landowners opposed to the lake, but it is to the benefit of landowners for the lake. In any case, landowners are represented.

Regardless of efforts to do what is right for landowners on both sides of the issue, I continue to be perceived by some as the one who is here to take their land. I have not been involved on a regular basis with the lake issue since last September. From time to time I have been asked to attend, and have attended, meetings regarding the lake and have been interviewed by newspapers and radio stations as well. That ends today.

One of the Cape Girardeau County commissioners said it well: "Progress isn't always easy." One of the Bollinger County commissioners said it well: "There's going to be a lake some day. It just won't go away. We need to help shape this thing so the residents of this county get a good return on their investment."

There will be a lake some day. It will not, however, be over my dead body or one of my family members. In the interest of safety to myself and my family, I really want to put the lake behind me. No further threats are necessary.