Evil doesn’t come in degrees. Anyone promoting the idea that one rapist is by degrees nicer than another rapist should be fair warning to the wise. So be warned if you still think the politicians in Flowery Branch are nicer than politicians in Washington. If you believe that, you’ve been had. And you’ve been had by the Flowery Branch city council with the help of Brett Barwick.

For months, Brett has been in the know about Flowery Branch’s plans to bring manufacturing and industrial businesses to the corner of McEver and Gaines Ferry Road. People were calling that a done deal last night thanks to Brett and his quiet meetings with the city council and planning officials.

Why would Flowery Branch annex and rezone 52 acres of land to Business M-1 except to help a developer build a truck stop, or a truck terminal, or even a crematorium on the rezoned land? A truck terminal just like the one we fought on Blackberry Lane? Brett Barwick demonstrated an excellent grasp of these facts last night in the meeting at Four Seasons on Lanier’s Clubhouse. He used a very old political ploy.

A plea to take the lesser evil.

In a another great move, Brett didn’t lead the meeting or stand in front of the assembled crowd of over 80 people. Nope. He weaseled himself into the back center of the room. Why stand behind all the seated people except to prevent being seen? It’s not only an old political trick, it’s the magician’s only trick. Magic works only if the audience can’t see the magic.

And in politics the real action is always behind the scenes in those non-public, back room meetings between power brokers. Just business as usual.

The business at hand last night was not accepting the lesser of two evils. It was swallowing evil. Maybe the business was sugar coated. Maybe the there was an effort to win some approval of the evil. But annexing 52 acres out of the county so it can become unlimited manufacturing and industrial is evil.

It’s evil because our homes are gone. Our homes are a refuge from work. A private place of repose for our families. A source of pride and a message to others that we are a important part of the community. We invested money into our homes in the hope that we might keep that money safe. We invested our time and effort into making an empty space reflect our personality, our hopes, and our values. We rightfully expect our government to protect us, our homes, and our children. That’s the only mandate of government, not the idea proposed last night. Last night we heard someone say that government has to keep our property taxes down.

We’ve never seen property taxes go down in our lives. Unless we moved from the high rent districts to undeveloped and pastoral neighborhoods. But a neighborhood leader sold our peace, our security for children and family, our property values for a promise that our taxes won’t go up if we will accept the lesser of two evils.

This neighbor, Brett Barwick told the assembled crowd of homeowners that the county can no longer protest the annexation. When our County Commissioner, Bobby Banks, offered to protest the annexation and rezoning, Brett Barwich told him no. He pretty much said, ‘I don’t like the county. I’m going to let the city annex and rezone those green pastures into manufacturing. Some thing with lights 24 hours a day. Some thing with trucks coming and going. Some thing built from beautiful concrete with security guards. Something that will save me on property taxes. ‘

Thanks Brett for making that unilateral decision for your friends and neighbors. Thank you for increasing the Flowery Branch commercial tax base to keep our taxes low. Thank you for helping to put our children at risk every time they visit the Four Seasons pool and playground. Thanks for telling the county that we don’t like them and we don’t need their help. Now our neighborhoods have promises and assurances literally made behind our backs that can never be enforced.

If we are keeping score, it’s politicians 1 and families ZERO.

And if we want to thank a politician, Flowery Branch Council member Craig Lutz will be running for the Hall County Commission this fall. Thank him at the ballot box. He’ll hear that message.