Hang it upPublished 8:53pm Thursday, October 11, 2012
During a meeting of the City Council on Monday, the public was given the opportunity to impart concerns, support, objections, dismay, ire, effusiveness or any other response or emotion inspired by the potential purchase of the Turnage Theater by the city and the further potential to have a wide-reaching, inclusive organization like the Beaufort County Arts Council run it.
Three people stepped up to the microphone at that meeting. Three. All three spoke in support of the city buying the Turnage at the Nov. 5 auction on the Beaufort County Courthouse steps or in some way help facilitate its purchase so it can reopen.
It would not be wrong to say that 100 percent of the residents of Washington who showed up and spoke support the purchase. It would also not be wrong to say that 100 percent of people who have called Sound Off this week to rail against their taxpayer dollars being wasted on the Turnage do not support its purchase by the city.
While Sound Off is often used as a tool to air complaints and accolades — though the former invariably outweighs the latter — there is no indication the five members of the Washington City Council live and breathe by the opinions expressed in Sound Off. Instead, the City Council lends far more credence to the views of those who feel so passionate about a given issue they are willing to stand up, in public, introduce themselves and express their viewpoint directly to the people who have the power to make decisions that affect them.
To the naysayers who think “downtown is dead,” “it was a mistake to try to save the theater in the first place” who consider a City of Washington investment in the Turnage Theater to be “a future financial obligation to be placed on the taxpayers forever” and “a repeat of the Roanoke Rapids, Randy Parton theater fiasco” — to those, a recommendation: get off the phone. Or else you might miss the next City Council meeting.