Confehr: Of jobs, the landfill, our leaders, and mom

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bill Haslam told me that General Motors leaders at Spring Hill say they're sticking to their plan to refrain from making new cars in their Maury County plant until Americans start buying more cars.

What a mess.

A thousand words won't say it better than our editorial cartoon today, but here's a suggestion. Send a lot of the cars and trucks that aren't selling on a slow boat to China where, as we're told, the big wigs like Buicks.

Meanwhile, there have been several announcements about factory plans to supply automobile parts to assembly plants. There was one this week in a nearby county. A plant here with an affiliate in a neighboring county wants to expand. And, well, if you're reading this, you've seen other reports.

In an optimistic view, it seems like there's a stealth recovery just waiting for somebody to pull the trigger so the American manufacturing system can get back to work.

That's my Labor Day view.

In what would seem to be an unrelated development, the state says it's OK to expand Cedar Ridge Landfill if, and only if, there will be no more pollution, or that if there is, it will be stopped and cleaned, but that only relates to Cedar Ridge and not the old city landfill which has been leaking.

Two points:

* Landfills are needed by factories. County Solid Waste Director Morgan Thomas has done a wonderful job of helping businesses like CKNA save by recycling, but there's a limit. IF GM's Spring Hill plant starts making cars, there will be waste disposal issues.

* Landfills have man-made fabric liners to catch leachate, soiled liquids squeezed out of buried garbage. Old landfills didn't even have clay liners. The old Lewisburg dump polluted nine dwellings' water wells, according to a state geologist. Two leaders of Waste Management wanted to help Rutherford County deal with its old dump by moving garbage and making room for a bigger landfill, but the plan wasn't used. Could it be done here? Clearly there would be opposition, but could there be support? Could it work and provide a long-term solution?

Now, we are told that County Commissioner Mike Waggoner has the votes to be elected on Sept. 6 to succeed Commission Chairman Tom Sumners. Waggoner was exonerated in an ethics complaint considered by a county committee. Marshall County School Board member Sam Smith was the other man named in the complaint. There's been no conclusion to that part of the committee's work. There should have been.

Do you remember the issue? It was over a land purchase option for property where a landfill might have been developed. Waggoner was the sales agent. Smith sold the option that wasn't used. Smith resigned as commission chairman and then from the commission to avoid a conflict of interest as land use restrictions were being adopted.

So much for that then. Today is my mother's 89th birthday and this opportunity is taken to say "Happy Birthday, Mom."

She remembers so much. So do I.

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.돳