We have all heard of the good ol' boys club and shrugged it off, but you don't understand how it impacts people's lives until you are a victim of it.
In November of 2017, I noticed the county putting up new road signs. I looked when I was walking my dogs and they said Pheasant Rich Road instead of Last Chance Road. I went to the county GIS office to see what was going on and was told that Rick Nelson, owner of Black Canyon Wing and Clay, had changed the road name quite a while ago and it was a done deal. I asked why no one was notified of anything. They didn't know and sent me to Robbie LeValley, the county administrator. LeValley said the matter would be thoroughly investigated. We heard back from LeValley and were told that after the thorough investigation, it was good to go.
Several property owners attended constituent time at a county commissioners' meeting in April to try to get some answers. We asked why we were not notified of anything and why we were not allowed to object or have any say in a matter that greatly impacts us. We were told the commissioners felt the road needed a new name when it was straightened, so they gave it one. It was their idea and doing. We were told the road had been renamed a long time ago. We were treated like third-class citizens that just needed to shut up and go away.
We were really angry after the meeting, so we walked down the street to the county attorney's office. The county attorney told us our only recourse was to apply to change the road name back, so we did.
During this time, we found out that an email from LeValley was sent to the commissioners stating that Nelson had spoken with all the property owners and they were all in agreement with the name change and that all county departments were in agreement with the name change. Problem is that wasn't true. Nelson now disputes saying he spoke with everyone and said LeValley made it all up. LeValley blames it on someone in the GIS office who it's my understanding didn't even work there at the time all this went on. But that email is what the commissioners supposedly based their decision on.
The county put up new road signs in November but didn't change our addresses, so people couldn't find us. We were living on a road that didn't exist for over seven months. I repeatedly expressed my concerns about being able to get emergency services. The county didn't care. Nelson wanted the road renamed and that was their only concern.
Our application to change the road name back was filed and had signatures from people that actually own property on Last Chance Road. Nelson's application had signatures from people who don't own property on the road and shouldn't have a say in the matter. The county notified all property owners of our application and gave them a chance to object. Everyone was notified of the meeting where the application to change the road name back would be considered. Everything was done correctly this time. The county botched everything that could be botched the first time around. We went to the meeting on June 11 and the commissioners denied our application.
The road name was changed to benefit one person. Every taxpayer in this county paid for new road signs to benefit one person. Every taxpayer in this county has paid for everything associated with the road name change that benefits one person. Every person living on this road is forced to spend time and money changing absolutely everything because of one person. It is the same as moving. It will be years before Garmin and Google Maps are updated to reflect the new road name, so no one using GPS will be able to find us for years. Will we get emergency services? Who knows. The county doesn't care. Nelson wanted the new name and he got it and that's the important thing.
The good ol' boys club is alive and well in Delta County. It does impact people's lives. We need to drain the swamp and vote in people that are concerned about what is best for all the citizens in this county, not just one.