The Wright Stuff

Mayor Adrian Wright knows what's right for Pine Lawn. If folks don't like it, that's just tough.

Horskins says most citizens don't realize they can do better and have simply stopped participating in the process. Considering that 2,465 people are registered to vote in Pine Lawn and that fewer than 500 actually voted in the last mayoral election, he may be right. "Things have been like this for so long, they figure, 'Why even vote, because nothing is going to change.' What the mayor has done is divided those who can say something from the other citizens. We have tried to have meetings at the senior-citizens' center, but even though the city doesn't charge other groups, he started charging us. We tried to meet at the public school, and he tried to block that. We have been pushed out of our own community and have had to have meetings at a Job Corps building in another municipality. How is that democracy at work?"

Griffin concurs. "I know at some point the citizens will take things in their own hands, but how can they do that if their hands are tied? All this deserves to be investigated," she says. "There already is evidence that there are so many unanswered questions about the finances. We know some laws are being broken. Why are there laws if nobody is going to enforce them?"

Fischesser says the real problems are nebulous audits that provide no real enforcement and take no real stand on what is occurring in a municipality. "It is like a drive-by shooting," he says. "They point out all these problems that look odd but don't place them in any real context. They never say specifically if something is significant, perhaps illegal, or if it is simply, in their opinion, Pine Lawn's way of doing business."

In Pine Lawn, Mayor Wright's way of doing business is doing business as usual.

And if residents of Pine Lawn don't like the way things are done, McCaskill suggests, they'll have to elect better leaders, not count on the state or law-enforcement authorities to clean out City Hall.

"There is nothing criminal about bad government," McCaskill says. "If that was the case, there would be a lot of people in government in jail."

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