“Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”
                                                                 — Winston Churchill


    Seems like lately that has been the theme of both the Fayetteville City Council and the Fayetteville Museum of Art. How many times have elected and/or appointed public bodies or agencies in Fayetteville and Cumberland County left in their political wake public projects, agendas or programs that  have become an irritant to the electorate. Is it because those decision makers fail to remember why the previous projects remain a constant target of derision and disdain? 
    Every time something goes wrong in city hall or the county offices there are letters to the editor that somehow incorporate the most recent political debacle such as the Crown Coliseum, Ticketgate or the Big Bang annexation (to name a few) as part of whatever ails the writer. These issues thus take on a negative life of their own like a never-ending story.
    {mosimage}Have you ever considered the common denominators of these decisions? They are typically accompanied by egos and personal agendas that far outweigh the need for a decision that is in the best interest of the community. 
Our decision makers many times fail to agree to disagree, make a democratic choice based on the facts, and then forget who won and who lost that particular vote at the next meeting or election. The best example of how to do it right is a zoning case. I have seen some bitter, embroiled debates over rezoning cases, but in the end the vote is based on what is best for the property and the surrounding area. Once the vote is taken, the disagreements are forgotten.
    In regard to the location of the new Fayetteville Museum of Art, I am afraid the train left the station with egos and personal agendas still on board when the city council decided to appoint the task force last month. Whatever the task force recommends, unless the decision makers make their decision based on the facts found and hopefully sound recommendation of the task force based on those facts, nothing will be gained, more time will be lost and the museum will be even further behind in its fundraising efforts. I don’t know when the architect ran his numbers on the estimated cost, but by the time bids are let, does the phrase “We’ll have to go back and cut some frills,” ring a bell?
    What more information and facts are needed to decide the location based on anything other than what is in the best interest of the community? Was the contract approved over a year ago not the result of that process? And we wonder why economic development agreements with the corporate world are so hard for this county to come by! 
    This community will be well-served by a first-class museum facility located DOWNTOWN. Just ask the Airborne and Special Operations Foundation. As long as the decision makers continue to decide its location by swatting at gnats, writing letters to each other that do nothing but result in name-calling and who-shot-who when, we will have forgotten our history and the project will be doomed, and added to the list when someone writes a letter to the editor.
How frustrating …. and how inevitable.

Bob Cogswell, Contributing Writer
COMMENTS? 484-6200 ext. 222 
[email protected]

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