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Corrupt local leaders bring city, county down

Cancer. It’s one of the most devastating words in our language. The very mention of this life-stealing disease immediately grabs our attention and makes us focus on how to beat it.

Isn’t this also true for communities?

Ironton boasts a tremendous amount of healthy projects aimed at moving the city forward. Ironton aLive, the Friends of Ironton, Ironton in Bloom, the Kiwanis, the Lions Club and other civic-minded organizations exist to keep the heartbeat of our city in rhythm. But we also have some polyps, fed by our collective indifference, that have choked the life out of the city while surreptitiously gaining the upper hand. “Surreptitiously” means something that is gained in secret because it wouldn’t be approved by the masses.

I’ve lived in Lawrence County for the majority of my 47 years on this earth. For most of those years, I was oblivious and naive to the corruption that occurs here. Officials, in major elections, are often voted into office thanks to sidekicks going door-to-door, and into nursing homes, abusing the absentee ballot process. Those with “power” — the power we give them via indifference, fear and ignorance — appoint whomever they desire to local positions within our government. Those employees, grateful to have a job, become pawns to the person who hired them and carry out the hiring person’s wishes. This sad process has happened here for decades and has made us a laughing stock at the state level. Queue up some dueling banjos.

In the past, people we voted into office have given faux power to friends who were known to be convicted criminals, and then permitted these people to acquire property and subsequent wealth by gathering real estate for pennies on the dollar. Once these people acquired property and wealth within our city, under our blind eyes, they were suddenly referred to as “businessmen,” instead of the self-serving opportunists we know them to be.

The “Good Old Boy” network needs to die a quick death. Ironton has been asleep for a few decades, permitting political corruptness to rule and accepting it as the status quo. Kudos to our outgoing mayor, Rich Blankenship, for putting some huge logs on a fire I know incoming mayor, Katrina Keith, will fan and flame.

Mayor Keith is a huge proponent of volunteering in Ironton. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. But she’s no surgeon. The cancer we all know exists will thrive and kill us all if we continue to ignore it.

 

Billy Bruce is a freelance writer who lives in Pedro. He can be contacted at hollandkat3@aol.com.