Recently former county commissioner Jack Whiddon passed away. Jack was a wonderful and thoughtful commissioner many years ago when Capital Circle was envisioned as part of our future. Commissioner Whiddon made a motion to purchase the right of way for six lanes. He lost that vote. Imagine the untold millions of dollars we would have saved if the commission had embraced Commissioners Whiddon’s idea.
Unfortunately when an elected official steps out of line and comes up with an idea that will not benefit his present day constituents, it usually comes with a “they must be crazy” label. It is very difficult to put forth a bold agenda which may only benefit future generations, but even at the local level those moments do occur.
In the early 90’s I made a motion to erase the county line between Wakulla and Leon and create Florida’s first super county. There were many reasons why it made sense…Woodville could have become a thriving commercial center…Wakulla had land but little money for services like fire and schools…Leon had money but little land for future development…Wakulla had a deep water port with many economic opportunities…70% of Wakulla residents worked in Leon County….the possibilities were endless. The truth is that the county line had been put there many years before without the benefit of what the future might hold. But alas, the idea failed 4-3, much to the delight of many who thought I had lost my mind. I was amazed at how many calls I got from folks in both counties who thought the idea was worth a look.
The point is not my motion or Commissioner Whiddon’s visionary motion, but rather the willingness of today’s elected official to step out and look into the future and in doing so suggest ideas which in the light of today might seem silly. It takes guts to be willing to look a little crazy…but some of the best ideas can come from the courage to try.