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Ric Latarski - Water war moves toward Tennessee occupation

The water war has reached the absurd. In its never ending struggle to convince the world Atlanta is something special, our fearless leaders in the General Assembly want to move the state line north in order to acquire more water.

Supposedly, the border error dates back to 1818, but because of Georgia and metro Atlanta's utter mismanagement and gross negligence in water planning and use, it is now considered a mistake that must be corrected.

When you hear an idea like this coming from a member of the General Assembly, you can't help but look at the Gold Dome and start to think it looks more like a Dunce Cap.

The people who came up with this plan remind me of the band of aging outlaws from the Hole-In-the-Wall gang: Too dumb to steal and too lazy to work.

The idea is to sneak up, or not so much sneak up, into our neighbor to the north and acquire part of the state, with the ultimate plan being to siphon off water from the bottom of the Tennessee River.

Even on its face, this is a dumb idea. I've seen the water at the bottom of the Tennessee River and it is better left alone.

Of course, there are some enormous catfish living at the bottom of the Tennessee, so if Georgia can acquire the land it would increase the number of people eligible to run for the General Assembly.

The really frightening thing about all of this is Congress has the final say, even if the states involved agree on changing their boundary. Whenever Congress has the final say on anything, we are all in trouble.

If this matter were given serious consideration in Congress, there is a good chance the land in question could end up being owned by Japan, depending upon how much money the lobbyists can contribute under "campaign funds."

Or it could end up in the hands of the United States Supreme Court. Some of these esteemed jurists are so old they can remember the land when it wasn't part of any state, but their track record in recent years does not give one confidence.

The folks who live in the disputed land are the ones who are most at risk. One day you are having a cocktail in Tennessee and the next day you wake up in Georgia. This normally happens between Georgia and Florida and usually during football season.

The only way the folks could actually win is if they can have all this land declared an Indian reservation and then they can make up their own rules and ignore Georgia and Tennessee completely. The problem is, everybody in both states would want to move there.

Another option would be that while Georgia is trying to acquire this land the people in the disputed territory could secede from Tennessee and become a separate country.

This means Georgia would have to invade a sovereign nation in order to take the water. Georgia wins the war but then the people there would qualify for forgiven aide and some of the billions of dollars going to Iraq could go the country of Tenneorgia.

One town - actually two towns - is cut in half by the Georgia-Tennessee border. The state line separating McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tenn., runs right through the downtown area.

Having a community split by two states is not completely unusual and normally gives a town a little charm. In Copperhill you can buy an adult beverage but, what a shock, you can not in McCaysville.

I doubt the folks in Copperhill would need any more reason than that to fight the invaders.

Given its management in recent years, the idea to quench metro-Atlanta's thirst by basically stealing water from a neighboring state seems perfectly reasonable.

Naturally when this plan fails you can expect one of our fearless leaders to suggest we need to "reallocate" Georgia water resources to the most needy area, although that same argument has fallen on deaf ears numerous times when it comes to things like road funding.

In short, taking water from places like Rockdale, Henry and Clayton counties - where officials bite the bullet years ago and spent money trying to prepare for the future - will become the alternative to save metro-Atlanta.

Why steal from a neighboring state when you can steal from a neighboring county?

Our fearless leaders should just accept the fact they are charged with planning for the future and they did not do their job. The time has come to start, and not by frivolous lawsuits and silly publicity stunts.

Finally, it should be noted that the surveyors who originally screwed up the border were from Georgia so this little problem is of the Peach State's making.

Who knows, maybe it was just an honest mistake. Or maybe they spent a little too much time in Copperhill, Tenn., before they started drawing the line.

Ric Latarski can be reached at ric.latarski@rockdalecitizen.com.