Franklin will benefit when we rise above partisanship, he says

Published 9:38 am Saturday, August 1, 2009

To the Editor:

Members of the City Council must listen to the ward constituencies who elected them as their representatives.

Duty also requires them to govern all of Franklin.

That means sometimes, for the good of the community, each ward may not have its own way.

A man much wiser than I said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” He knew that, while people could disagree, they had to unite for the common benefit.

Franklin has endured a series of staggering assaults. Most damaging of all is the loss of upwards of 2,000 jobs in the area.

Now we are in transition, already emerging from a manufacturing center to a retail destination for a wide rural area in two states. As we emerge from the housing debacle, Franklin and the surrounding area will grow as people seek a suburban community.

In spite of Suffolk’s seeming effort to throttle Route 58 east-west traffic, the business interests and facilities serving Hampton Roads will move this way.

We have great facilities here, the envy of many larger communities. Downtown is beginning to look brighter. The merchandising area of Armory Drive is not as vigorous as we might wish, but it will be as the economy recovers.

We have private resources beyond tax resources that will, and traditionally have, served us well.

City government functions well, and we are even becoming known as a more business-friendly city.

Good reports already circulate about the energy and leadership of the new superintendent of schools.

Franklin stands at the threshold of a remarkable future.

But we cannot enter this era by submitting to those who would divide us in the name of personalities, egos or, indeed, race.

City council members seek consensus because they recognize we can have the safest streets, we can have a top school system, we can be a community attracting families. But divided, we cannot reach the highest goals.

Council members have been criticized for the noble effort of striving for consensus among themselves and unity in the community. Criticism is a vital part of politics and governing.

At the same time, cannot we join hands and rise above ward partisanship for the good of all of Franklin?

Joe Stutts