The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

June 7, 2013

'Elephant' that won't go away

— It is the elephant in the room that simply won’t go away.

Every week, we get letters from Greenville residents regarding L-3 Communications and the city, remnants of a messy situation that dominated our headlines for the last few years.

Most people are probably tired of reading about the complex relationship between the city and L-3, but the issues raised over the last several years won’t disappear, unless a new lease is signed that everyone is happy with.

There is a group of people that believe that L-3 has “bought” several members of the city council and influences their decision-making process, claims that the council members vehemently reject.

Another group believes that the city should do whatever L-3 wants, and that having a successful corporation influencing the city’s decisions is a positive thing.

As with all things, the truth lies somewhere in between these schools of thought.

Yes, many city council members received campaign donations from L-3 executives. To suggest that, by these relatively small donations, these citizens were “purchased” is absurd. It makes sense that these city council members would strive to maintain a positive relationship with L-3, but to say that L-3 directly influences their decisions is not based in fact.

That L-3’s continued existence in Greenville is positive is obvious, and doesn’t even warrant discussion. Securing a long-term lease with L-3 should be one of the city’s top priorities, along with improving the local economy and fixing our many battered roads.

That being said, if there was a situation where what was best for Greenville and what was best for L-3 were two different things, the city council should fight for what is best for the city.

Our council is not perfect, and our leadership must overcome past differences to work together as a unit. The council had an excellent opportunity a few weeks ago to silence some of their critics by appointing city council member Dan Perkins to the L-3 negotiating committee. They declined to do so.

During the upcoming lease negotiations, the council can kill two birds with one stone- they can maintain a healthy relationship with L-3 and do what is best for the city. This is not an easy task, but one in which the council has our full support.

We are criticized by people who believe we’re on “L-3’s side” or “the city’s side,” and we respectfully disagree with those comments. In reality, as a local business that employs people who live and work in Greenville, we want what is best for our community.

We look forward to the day when a new lease is signed, and our city’s leadership can focus on bettering Greenville.