After reading the half-page article/ad by the Concerned Citizens in the Sept. 19 issue of the Apalachicola Times, “Who holds hope for Franklin County in their Hands?” I want to say first and foremost that I uphold the First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and press and will therefore exercise my right to do so at this time.

While I might not always agree with certain opinions I do respect others’ rights to those opinions; regardless of my personal feelings. However when those opinions are stated as “The hard truth about Franklin County,” as a citizen of Franklin County myself I do have to differ with what some consider as truth being only “one opinion.”

The questions you pose about the seafood industry, water from Georgia, the hospital, the charter school moving, city and county employment, in my opinion are saturated in illusion of concern when in actuality it is more of the same ole, same ole; digs at local government. However; as you go on and on about our fair community and air what you so poignantly consider the problems with Franklin County - the heritage, attitudes, social, economical and dysfunctional situations you consider the truth - and do so in the guise of being a concerned citizen, I have to ask a question myself “Really? Really?”

If you are so dissatisfied with Franklin County, then why don’t you just move it on down the road? I have to wonder if where you moved from they allowed you to participate in local government. Were you allowed to speak out there the way that you do here? Were you allowed to criticize the community, its citizens, and the government in the local paper there?

You have that right; I will give you that, but don’t expect the locals not to voice their opinions as well. As well if you are doing so because you are “Concerned.” especially about our future, then why would you do that in the local paper that is our only newspaper so that each and every visitor, prospective future resident might read it?

Since you seem to have all the answers, perhaps the President could use your talents in Washington, I believe his campaign was on “Change”, and how far has that got us?

You accuse the local government and citizens of Franklin County of fearing change and yet there is constant change in the community and plans for future improvements to our area. You accuse the locals of not accepting outsiders and yet the only ones I ever hear referring to you or anyone else as an “outsider” is you and your group. Point of fact: We have one commissioner on the board that happens to spend as much time in Georgia as she does in Franklin County and yet she is on the board of the local government you criticize. One of our industries is tourism. Do you also consider these outsiders as well?

You also criticize the locals for their pride in their seafood heritage, and yet it was what this town was built on. Many of the churches, businesses, and real estate were bought, built up, cleared and owned by seafood families and are still being supported by those same families.

As a citizen of Franklin County I am truly concerned; I am concerned that people will read what you spew out as truth and take it to heart without seeing the beauty that we do have to offer here in Franklin County. Without ever knowing the downhome Southern charm of the area and the people who love this community, fight for it to protect its beauty, its ecological and environmental treasures that are worth preserving as well as the traditions, heritage and true value of our community.

We have people who flock from all over the world year after year; seeking out that charm, that uniqueness by the thousands and the growing population in Franklin County speaks for itself. There is always room for others who want to make this their home. They move from the hustle and bustle of the rat race of city life, traffic jams, and they are welcomed with open arms. We don’t call them outsiders; we call them neighbors and friends.

Yes, like any other city, community, anywhere else in the world we have problems; but it is a work in progress to correct those problems. Our local government can only do so much; and the job before them is not an easy one. Considering the cutbacks they receive; how can you expect them to decrease your taxes and still provide you with more services? Yes, we can all agree we need more industry but that too is being worked on and there is hope for the future.

Be part of the solution in Franklin County, not part of the problem; build her up, tell people of the glorious sunrise and sunset you see each day, tell them of the mouthwatering seafood you eat and the uniqueness of the area where you can still see the bay and the beach.

Tell of the little old lady that does all the cakes, pies and cookies in the area, or the florist who just opened her doors downtown, talk about the wonderful afternoon and evening walks without being worried about being robbed or threatened at gunpoint, talk about the parks and playgrounds, the boat launches, the unique shops and the local grocer, butcher, and deli person who knows how you like your food and greets you by your first name.

Talk about the old man who sits at the park bench and tells stories about how it used to be or the couple who just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Tell them of your pride in our local ball team or how your neighbor’s daughter just got a scholarship for college because she did so well in writing, tell them of how wonderful the seafood festival is or how the new doctor just came to town. There is a lot to crow about in Franklin County and the best way to make a friend is to be a friend.

As for this ole girl, I am proud to be a Franklin County resident and I still say the true treasure in Franklin County is its residents, the pearls of Franklin County.

Linda Raffield