Sunday, June 12, 2005
The Real Reservoir News
Good morning, Washington Parish.
My name is Jalon Pittman Beech. As the celebration of our Independence Day is approaching, it reminds me of how blessed we are as one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. This is truly the best place on earth to live.
I'd like to thank all of our war veterans who have bravely defended the United States of America, and also the men and women who are serving this country and making sacrifices for us today. May God bless each and every one of them.
Even though this is the best place to live on the face of this earth, the freedoms that we hold dear are fading away all too quickly. I'm sure it will soon be illegal to say the name Jesus in public. The Christian principles that this country was founded on are what have made us the greatest nation on this earth. Socialism is slowing taking a foothold on our great nation, and even in our own beautiful Washington Parish.
Once upon a time in Washington Parish, we could trust that our elected officials were at the legislature in Baton Rouge taking care of our business and looking after our needs. Now, most are self-serving and it seems that they intend to do us great harm. I believe that a politician should take an oath much like that of a doctor. First, DO NO HARM.
For those of you who are new to this program, I have been providing the listeners of WBOX the real reservoir news every Sunday morning at 8:00 am. Since there is a virtual blackout of our own local newspaper, we have no alternative but to educate people through the airwaves.I am a native of Washington Parish, and I care very deeply about what happens in this parish and in particular the Oak Grove Community. You see, I was raised in the Oak Grove Community. I have always felt so blessed to be raised in this community.
Oak Grove Community has beautiful rolling hills, towering pines, creeks, and brooks, abundant wildlife, historic homes. One of the homes is the Bouey Moore house that now belongs to my daddy, Pete Pittman.
This old log home was built in the 1880's by my great-great grandparents, Bouey and Louisiana Moore. We treasure the land that has been passed down to us since the early 1800's.
You may be asking yourself, why is this lady talking about where she grew up?
It's because I wish to try to save it.
On the last day of the legislative session in Baton Rouge, then Senator Jerry Thomas, Representative Mike Strain, and Representative Ben Nevers submitted Senate Bill 475, Act 71 through the legislature without any fanfare. It seems harmless, but this silent but very lethal bill created the Washington Parish Reservoir District and actually made us an agency of the state. We didn't know about this bill because it was submitted underneath another bill that was passed. The political term for this is called pork barreling. We, in Washington Parish, literally woke up in 2004 as a reservoir district and an agency of the state.
SB 475, Act 71 gave absolute power to eleven reservoir commissioners to expropriate property anywhere in Washington Parish at their discretion. Expropriation means to take without asking. They could levy taxes on the district, and select a site for a reservoir anywhere in the district that they wanted. Our own parish councilman nominated these reservoir commissioners. They were not elected, but appointed or hand picked to serve 10 year terms. Are you feeling uncomfortable yet? Well, if you are a property owner in Washington Parish, you should feel uncomfortable.
The site selected for the reservoir was the Oak Grove Community.
When you hear the word reservoir in a conversation, what do you think it entails? People think that this reservoir is going to be some pond out in a pasture somewhere out in the country. If the proposed reservoir is allowed to be constructed, it will destroy and entire living community called Oak Grove. It's a real place, with real people with homes, a church, and many well-kept cemeteries.
This beautiful community is located in the heart of Washington Parish and is truly a beautiful place well worth preserving for future generations.
To build this reservoir, a 90-100 feet high by mile and a half wide earthen dam will be constructed to make a 3310 acre lake or reservoir. The Bogalusa Creek that flows through Cassidy Park and provides water to the paper mill will be dammed just above Ben's Ford to create this giant lake. When the water backs up from the dam, it will inundate Oak Grove Community with water covering up some of the most beautiful scenery in this parish. Many families will be displaced, including my own elderly parents. Cemeteries will have to be relocated to accommodate this reservoir. Much of the wildlife will die.
Most people can't believe that our elected and appointed officials could actually be promoting the destruction of an entire community. I regret to inform you, they are promoting it. This project is called a reservoir because on one fork of the tongue it's touted for a potable water source for the north shore. On the other fork of the tongue, it's touted for economic development. Since the proposed reservoir will be adjacent to the landfill or garbage dump, the water will not be potable, so we're left with economic development.
On May 10th, I visited the legislature in Baton Rouge and spoke to our state representative Harold Ritchie. I asked him why he wanted a reservoir in Washington Parish. His reply to me was his well-rehearsed statement that he thought that it would bring economic development to our parish. I asked him to be more specific because we all know that the reservoir will not bring long lasting jobs here. His reply was that they are going to build nice homes around the lake. I couldn't believe that Mr. Ritchie was telling me this in the presence of several other people. I asked him what about my parents' home and the cemeteries that will be desecrated? That's the big economic plan for our parish? Who will be building these homes? Is the state going into the real estate business? I'll was just a little bit more than disgusted after that conversation with our state representative.
Since the big economic plan is to build nice big homes around this huge lake, how is this going to help this parish as a whole? I believe that it won't help the average citizen or resident of this parish.
We will be ladened with more poverty and disappointment. The self-serving few will get wealthy off their contracts and real estate deals, consultant fees, etc. Are you thinking about moving out of the parish or state? Don't leave us yet. I believe we can change it for the better. I'm not going to lie to you, I've thought about leaving this place myself.
I've felt very betrayed and downtrodden when I became aware of what our elected officials and reservoir commissioners had decided for my family's future, but I've seen the light at the end of the tunnel. This reservoir is not a done deal. I'm going to ask you to help us save the Oak Grove Community from being covered by a reservoir.
All it takes is for you to just know about it and support us in our efforts to save it. The more informed of the true facts regarding the reservoir, the more disgusted you will become with our local politicians and reservoir commission as we did. I never thought that anything could happen like this here in Washington Parish, but it has. We trusted our parish council, state representative, and state senator to do what's best for us, and they have broken that trust. However, knowledge is power. These people were elected, and they can and probably will be replaced.
This reservoir project is nothing more than a pleasure lake for the rich. In Senate Bill 475, Act 71 it allows for marinas, golf courses, park areas, among many other things. Potable water is at the bottom of this list. That's because this is a real estate deal. The only reason that the elected and appointed officials are saying that the reservoir is for potable water is because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will only issue a permit for a reservoir if it is to be used for potable water. The Washington Parish landfill is just uphill from Bett's Creek that flows into the Bogalusa Creek. The Bogalusa Creek will be dammed to create the reservoir. It's not even logical that this big lake could be used for potable water. It would be like getting your drinking water from a sewage pond.
Some people just innocently don't realize the ramifications of what a reservoir will do to the face of the Oak Grove Community. When you hear surface information and hear that it will bring jobs, better schools, and health care, it probably sounds good to some of you. None of us are against progress and economic development. I'm opposed to destroying an entire community for empty promises.
Our elected representatives should be working to obtain real industry in our parish. Too many industries have visited us, and left with nasty tastes in their mouths.
On the front page of the Bogalusa Daily News for last Sunday's issue, it had a photo of Bogue Chitto State park that is located on the West Side of Washington Parish. It will host 10 beautiful lakes that are already in existence. It will be completed within two years. There is no need for a reservoir in Washington Parish. We are rich in water resources without any manipulation by man. I really didn't appreciate the way the writer portrayed landowners in the article when she said that most of the property owned along the Bogue Chitto River was privately owned and that people were not allowed access.
This is true, but is it right for the government to expropriate or take from landowners their private property so that others may have a right to have access to the property? There has always been land for sale along the Bogue Chitto River, and in the Oak Grove Community for that matter. As an American citizen, we have a right to own and manage our own private property, or do we? Maybe I'm reading too much into things these days. That statement just struck me wrong.
I and some other NO RESERVOIR people attended the last council meeting on June 6th. I appreciate all who were in attendance to support our cause and to sit in and listen to see what business that our parish council was attending to. This parish council meeting was of particular interest because the council introduced an ordinance to levy taxes for the 2005 tax roll on all property subject to taxation in Washington Parish (Introduced by Darwin Sharp) For those of you who don't know, Darwin Sharp is the council chairman.
A public hearing will be held July 11, 2005. As the time approaches, I will find out more about the specifics of the public hearing and make you aware of the details. It is important for the public to attend this public meeting and be heard if you object to having the council levy more taxes on your property. Again, this public hearing regarding property taxes will be held July 11th.
When the parish council meeting got around to the public participation portion of the meeting, two people that are anti-reservoir asked to speak to the council.
I spoke and told the council the following:
On the West side of Washington Parish, we will have a beautiful state park hosting 10 lakes an the Bogue Chitto River for fun and recreation.
On the East side of Washington Parish, we have the Pearl River with the locks and canals that will remain open to the public for fun and recreation.
In the heart of Washington Parish, is the beautiful Bogalusa Creek, rolling hills, towering pines, historic homes, and cemeteries. The Oak Grove Baptist Church is just up the hill from the Bogalusa Creek. People routinely drive through the Oak Grove Community just to take in its beauty.
I maintain that there is no need for a reservoir here in Washington Parish. We have potable water everywhere that we need to treat responsibly. It doesn't take a scientist to know that the water of the proposed reservoir will not be potable. The landfill is uphill from Bett's Creek that flows into the Bogalusa Creek.
I spoke to our state representative, Harold Ritchie, at the legislature on May 10th. I asked him why he wanted a reservoir in Washington Parish. Mr. Ritchie told me that he thought it would bring economic development to our parish.
I asked him to be more specific about what kind of economic development since we all know that the reservoir will not bring long lasting jobs here. His reply to me was, "we are going to build nice homes around the lake."
My reply to him was, "what about my parents home and the cemeteries that will be desecrated."
So building nice homes around the lake that will sit on top of the Oak Grove Community is the big economic plan.
By constructing this reservoir over an existing community is disrespectful of the living and the dead.
Again, I ask you to withdraw your support for this reservoir.
The parish council provided no comment.
Also, Mr. Jim Stokes from the Oak Grove Community spoke out to the council against the reservoir and presented over a 1000 signatures of people who were against the reservoir.
We received no support from our parish council.
The next Washington Parish council meeting will be held Monday evening, June 27th 6:00 pm at the Washington Parish Courthouse. Please mark the date and time on your calendar and plan to be there. As I've mentioned in previous broadcasts, this is where the trouble began. Had some of us been in attendance at the parish council meetings a couple of years ago, we could have warned our family, friends, and neighbors as to what these men were planning for our future.
Our parish council needs to see the faces of those whom they represent.
These meetings are normally not very lengthy. The public participation portion near the end of the meeting certainly doesn't last very long since each person who wishes to address the council is limited to three minutes.
I seek the help of our Lord, and the help of all of you out there who care about your fellow man. The residents of Oak Grove Community are in trouble folks, and they need our help to overcome this injustice that has been heaped upon them by those who say they represent us. People have become complacent and have forgotten that the government is for the people, by the people.
This is our land, and these public and appointed officials are servants of the people-not gods to be worshipped. It is our duty to be involved in public affairs because we are the public. Those of us who call ourselves Christians have really dropped the ball over the last few decades. While we were sleeping, prayer and the Bible were replaced with guns, knives and homosexual orientations in our schools. Christmas has been replaced with winter holiday. Do you see where we're moving in this country? I do, and it sickens me. Millions of unborn children are butchered in their mother's womb every year.
What has become of us as a nation?
It was once taught in our school, right here in Washington Parish to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." What a thought? If people followed this golden rule, this would be such a wonderful place to live.
Get your pencil ready;
I'm going to give you some information regarding the Reservoir Political Wrongdoing web site. All of you folks who surf the Internet, I encourage you to visit this informative web site. On this web site you will see that there is a wealth of information that the average everyday person like you and me doesn't have access to.
A fellow by the name of Mr. James Moore from Pitkin, Louisiana, developed and maintains this web site. There are seven other parishes that have experienced the same abuse of power that Washington Parish has been experiencing. The other parishes are Allen, Ouachita, Lincoln, Morehouse, and Jackson.
Here's the web address for the Reservoir Political Wrongdoing web site: http://gundamreservoir.angelfire.com/.
I'll read you some excerpts from the first page of the Reservoir Political Wrongdoing web site:
Economic Development is used as a means of Political Wrongdoing. A traveling Reservoir Salesman is going from parish to parish promoting Economic Development Lakes for a $100,000 a year consulting fee.
Washington Parish Reservoir proposed for Recreation Tourism was created by Regular Session 2003 Senate Bill 475 Act 71 by Sen. Thomas, Rep. Ben Nevers, Rep. Strain, with Francis C. Thompson promoting Site work, and Reservoir group told to think big, long term by Expert Michael L. Thompson who is now Lake Director with Denmon as Engineer.
Most all of our letters to the editor are placed on the Reservoir Political web site for all the world to see.
Here's a letter written on behalf of Washington Parish residents by Mr. James Moore. It was sent to all legislators in Louisiana. It's also on the web site in the News section.
Louisiana Legislators are proposing the desecration of 5 Cemeteries, taking of Churches and Homes to build a Reservoir in Washington Parish for Economic Development to build homes around the Lake.
How would you feel if your family's graves were being disturbed?
Citizens guilty of the desecration of a cemetery would be subject to a $500 fine and six months in jail.
The Reservoir promoted by private developers serving on the Reservoir Commission has the support of elected officials they are in business with. Rep. Ritchie's, Sen. Ben Nevers, and his co-partner corporations with Reservoir Commission members will gain financially.
Should taxpayers spend 40 to 50 million to make these officials wealthy?
Rep. Ritchie, and Sen. Nevers say they want the Reservoir for Economic Development produced by building homes on the lake, but was unable to answer when asked to name jobs created other than temporary construction, or a few minimum wage jobs.
Commissions with the power to take property, do any and all things, consisting of friends, family members, and politically connected as a means of Political Payback seems to be politics as usual in Louisiana.
Please help save Churches and Homes, desecration of Cemeteries, and make it possible for departed loved ones to REST IN PEACE.
Sincerely, James Moore
Please take a look at this informative web site. If you don't have access to the Internet, go to your neighbor's house that does have the Internet. Here's the web address again: http://gundamreservoir.angelfire.com/
There are people from all over this state who are putting forth the effort to save our community from this horrific land grab. I ask you, here at home, to help as well. Talk about it with your family, friends, and co-workers. The one thing that the promoters of this reservoir don't want is for people to find out the truth. When the truth gets out, things will begin to change here in Washington Parish. It may even have an affect on our entire state. There is truly power in prayer, knowledge, and networking with other supporters of our cause.
My family, friends, and neighbors appreciate all of the support that has been growing every week to help us fight the onslaught of this reservoir. We need to keep adding numbers to our little band, and reach out to all of those wonderful people who are so willing to help us. If you not able to help in a physical sense by attending council meetings, then by all means fervently pray that the LORD will give us wisdom and guide our footsteps as we combat this Goliath of a government system.
I was raised by a Christian father and mother who always told me to put some steps to those prayers. I believe that God expects us to act on our faith, live our faith. It is the essence of who we really are. When Israel was faced with impending doom to be killed by the giants, David could have simply prayed that God would strike the giant dead, but David knew what he had to do. He picked up a stone to sling at the giant's forehead. We all know that God guided the stone that killed the giant, but David acted on faith and performed the work.
Thank you to all who have listened to this broadcast. As you can probably discern, I dearly love my family and home, and the community where I grew up. If you would like to speak to me personally, you may call me at my home at (985) 730-5052 between 9:00 am and 8:00 pm. If I'm not available, I'll return your call.
For the real reservoir news, tune into WBOX FM 92.9 Sunday mornings at 8:00 am. This is Jalon Beech. God Bless.
God Bless the USA
[WBOX NO RESERVOIR Broadcast 06122005]