Let’s hope there were no impulse shoppers among the crowd.
McClellan land sales are on hold. Again.
The fight for control of the ex-Army post is back in the courts. The ability to sell McClellan property is on hold until the case is resolved. Pending land sales worth more than a half-million dollars are also paused.
The players in this drama are familiar. City councilmen Ben Little and Herbert Palmore are joined by Stan Bennett, a former councilman. Their legal counsel is no stranger to this litigious stage, attorney Gene Rutledge.
A lawsuit filed earlier this month claims the McClellan Development Authority doesn’t legally exist. Sound familiar? It should, because this gang has been in and out of court since 2008 arguing over control of the former fort.
Hours could be wasted recounting the sordid history of the fitful development of McClellan. This golden egg of economic development has been horribly abused during its incubation. The litigants have wandered around a fever swamp of conspiracy for years looking for a court that will wrest control away from those who Little, Palmore and Bennett deem unworthy.
We’ll save you, dear reader, from the tedium that is their latest time-waster.
We have arrived at one more standoff. Little, Palmore and Bennett refuse to accept how democracies work. Votes have been taken at every step of the process — in Montgomery to produce legislation allowing for the creation of the MDA; in the Anniston City Council and the Calhoun County Commission to establish it and appoint its members; and in the Joint Powers Authority to dissolve itself and transfer McClellan land to the MDA.
Councilmen Little and Palmore have cast votes several times in these matters on the council, and in Palmore’s case as part of the JPA.
Little and Palmore voted, and they lost. Yet, they persist, dragging this out through the courts and delaying development of McClellan. Oh, and if they lose in the courts, they can — as Little has — suggest corruption on the part of judges.
How very convenient. You lose the votes, you go to court. You lose in the court, then it must be a corrupt judge.
What are the options? The trio plus their attorney appear to prefer the vainglorious spotlight.
Instead, let us put aside the sordid past and look, Dickens-like, to the uncertain future. What we see are courtrooms and cobwebs.
Progress for McClellan idles so long in a courtroom that eventually the engine runs out of gas.
Little’s and Palmore’s precinct wards sink deeper into economic despair; no way they can benefit from new jobs that aren’t at McClellan.
Cobwebs form over bright ideas that could convert the acres of land into an economic engine for the region.
Tumbleweeds blow across a site that would-be developers abandoned because no one could sell or buy property.
In the middle of this mess stands a statue of the Anniston Three, their clay feet stomping out prosperity that has been waiting to be unleashed since 1999 when the Army left.