I couldn't make this stuff up if I had to . . .

By now most have heard about the project to turn the courthouse parking lot into a beautiful "gateway" to the city. The project, which reportedly carries at least a $775,000 price tag, will help with the security and safety of the courthouse as well as the aesthetics for the aforementioned gateway.

Balderdash and poppycock.

First off, let's be absolutely clear that there are millions of dollars being spent by the government in our country in the name of security. Let's also acknowledge that while the need is real, a whole bunch of that is pork barrel spending. The plain and awful truth is that if a bad person wants to do a bad thing, a fancy parking lot and cameras aren't going to stop them. Cameras might help document it, but they won't stop a darn thing.

In fairness, there's certainly an issue with the north side of the courthouse. If someone were bent on destruction, there's nothing right now to prevent a truck or car from driving straight into the building. But I'm willing to bet there's a cheaper and maybe even more effective answer than three-quarters of a million bucks.

Second, I've lived in a lot of places but I've never heard of a "gateway" in the middle of a city. Isn't the gateway the entrance? Wouldn't that be out on 32, 231 or 136 somewhere? Don't misunderstand, I love the idea of making the gateway to our city more attractive. But with some of the rundown property you have to drive by, you'll be depressed long before you get to the courthouse.

Thirdly, and maybe most importantly, it's fair to point out that the county commissioners - Phil Bane, Terry Hockersmith and Jim Fulwider - did not vote to approve this project. In fact, Hockersmith voted against it, but then again he votes against most things. The end result so far on this parking lot fiasco is the commissioners took it under advisement. Basically, that's not much different than what the county did years ago. Maybe they're floating this as a trial balloon to gauge public reaction?

Local curmudgeon and all-around good guy Dick Munro wrote a recent letter to the editor that I won't rehash, but let's just say I couldn't agree more with him. Dick traces the series of decisions and blunders already connected to that piece of property. Well said, Mr. Munro.

This latest chapter adds at least another $15,800 - money paid to a consulting firm. It continues to astound how elected officials spend our money like it's no big deal. Did we need to spend more than some folks make in a year to find out what 98.3 percent of downtown merchants already know? (If you question the accuracy of the 98.3 figure just know that public officials aren't the only ones who can make stuff up.) Would you spend $15,800 if it were your own money? Why don't people who get elected value our money as much as we do?

Speaking of that money, how much have we spent in the city and county on planting trees and bushes, cutting them down and planting them again? Didn't we plant trees downtown only to decide later that the bird . . . waste was too much to deal with? So we cut them out. Didn't we plant bushes and greenery at the Commerce Park only for someone to say we need to cut it all out and start over? Maybe the city and county should go together to hire a gardener? In the long run, it'd be cheaper.

Trial balloon? Maybe. If that's what it is I hope the pop is loud enough to be remembered the next time we go to the polls.

If all this weren't bad enough, the feud that continues to boil among Republicans is getting more ridiculous. Last month, only one member of the county council bothered to show up at the annual Lincoln Day dinner. That member was Tom Utley. Reportedly, Councilman Michael Plant was working, which accounts for two of the seven. However, and this is all what's "out there on the street," several others said they were boycotting because former Tea Partier John Pickerill now runs the local GOP.

How childish.

I am sick to death of this ridiculous name calling and finger pointing that politics have disintegrated to. The Republican Party in Montgomery County is clearly split but why should that turn into a boycott of an annual event? Let me repeat, how childish.

Long gone is the time when we could argue ideals by day and dine together at night. Gone the time when political opponents respected each other regardless of philosophical differences. Today, if your position is different from mine then You. Must. Be. The. Enemy. We can't think about the things we have in common. No sir, we must focus intensely on our disagreements and we must, absolutely must, hate each other for them. There can be no tolerance for differences, no quarter given to the opposition. You're either with us or agin' us! And, by God, pity the fools who aren't on our side!

Truth be told, there are probably more things the two groups agree on than not. What was it state GOP chair Tim Berry said? Opposing sides usually agree on 80 percent but spend all their time focusing on the 20 percent where they don't.

When did we stop respecting people with different points of view?

Disagreements, some as passionate as you can imagine, have been going on in politics since well before that tiff between King George and folks on the east coast. Thing is, they were on opposite sides. If these guys are supposed to be on the same side, they need to start acting like it instead of the little kid who loses the game, takes his ball and goes home. If they don't, they may find out that home is exactly where the voters will send them.