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The constant moving target of industry

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By Susan Sharp

  Last week’s closing of PACA has struck a nerve with me.

I hate to see anyone lose their job- especially in this economy.

But I think what has really gotten under my skin is the cavalier attitude I have been on the receiving end of while dealing with the corporate boys at Point Blank Enterprises, the parent company of PACA.

On Tuesday evening I finally got the company spokesperson on the phone. I understand that he was limited as to how much he could disclose. And I have no issue with that.

I think what really perturbed me was the “statement” he felt the need to share with me “in hopes of avoiding a Q and A session.” Glenn Wiener said the parent company of PACA was “grateful” to all of the people who made the company a success and was appreciative of the support shown by the county officials- I am paraphrasing.

Well I am sorry but that is the equivalent of the old “Its not you its me” speech.

Right now there are far more than a handful of Campbell Countains who just joined the unemployed thanks to all that gratitude and appreciation. These were people who obviously wanted to work and didn’t mind hard work.

Now they are among the countless other people combing the want ads.

I understand in business companies must always evaluate their bottom line. And this can mean making tough decisions.

Fine.

That is what Point Blank Enterprises did. But they didn’t close the plant. They opted to move those job functions to Florida.

Campbell County needed that plant. The people who worked their needed those jobs.

So what happens next?

Yes we could all rally with the usual battle cry of “We need more industry.” However that would be beyond stating the obvious.

Before industry of any kind is going to come to Campbell County the economy has to rebound.

Then we need to get our house in order.

That could mean our elected officials may have to make some uncomfortable decisions. Decisions about taxes and zoning to start with.

Yes Campbell County is a beautiful place. But we have some places that need attention and a good cleaning. And to do that we need money.

I will readily say I don’t want to pay anymore in taxes than I already do. But I also know that sometimes you get what you pay for.

For a moment think what an outsider coming into the county could see.

Would they notice the smiling families at Cove Lake Park or the empty buildings along the highway?

Would they notice the new school buildings or the less than stellar test scores at some of the schools?

And before anybody says it I will- would they see the headlines about meth? On that point I will say we just report the news we don’t create it.

PACA’s choice to leave the county apparently had nothing to do with any of these factors.

But for an industry coming into the county these factors could be everything.