The summer has already been a discussion of “news we didn’t think we would be talking about:” First, school lunch debt amounting to about what a first-year teacher makes – thus getting the Southern Boone Public one step closer to actually thinking about what teachers are paid – even if they don’t realize it; and, Second, pygmy goats.

                Bruce Wallace

Are you pro-goat?

Or a goat-hater?

Can the Ashland Board of Aldermen “Make Ashland Goat Again?”

It’s pretty easy to understand how pygmy goats make great backyard pets if you spend 30 minutes with Bob and Chop and their owner, Kim Proctor. But the topic does make for good community discussion.

Ashland is growing and the discussion surrounding goats is one more topic we should be having about how we are growing this town. Good for those who got involved. Good for those who offered their opinion. Good for those who listened and voted on the topic.

However, one comment repeated by multiple “anti-goat” responders at the Board of Adjustment meeting last Thursday should be abolished: “This will open a whole new can of worms,” they said about allowing pygmy goats being kept as pets.


Why not open a can of worms?

Can you imagine if Pres. Thomas Jefferson was worried about opening a can of worms?

“Mr. President, I know the land is a real bargain – but it opens a real can of worms,” Secretary of War Henry Dearborn might have said. “What if it irritates Canada along the northern boarder? And, God forbid, if Mexico wants the port of New Orleans, they could come right over and take it! No, Mr. President, let’s not open this can of worms called the Louisiana Purchase.”

Well, it seems obvious now that the Louisiana Purchase was a pretty good idea, but, on the other hand, the British did come visit a few years later and burned the White House.

But what about creating public policy – that is what we’re talking about here – whether or not we welcome some animals into town and not others.

Do you think Pres. Abraham Lincoln let concerns about opening a can of worms during the Civil War stop him?

In the Emancipation Proclamation, all Lincoln did was open about the biggest can of worms since John Hancock and his buddies signed the Declaration of Independence.

What if Francis Upton told his boss, “You know, Mr. Edison – I just don’t think I want my Menlo Park home to be one of the first to have electric lights. I’m just not sure it will be good for our eyesight and my wife is concerned the kids will go blind trying to read at night. It just opens a big can of worms.”

About 15 years ago, the Ashland Board of Aldermen opened a can of worms by annexing a lot of property up near the Columbia Regional Airport. That move was not an entirely popular move. However, it is now proving to be a wise decision.

“Opening a can of worms” or “Going down a slippery slope” are simply euphemisms for “you should be worried about change.”

Frankly, I was just waiting for someone in Ashland to say that if we consolidated the jobs of police chief and city administrator, it would open a big can of worms and give too much power to one person. Nobody did, mostly because those who gave it any thought know the quality of Police Chief/City Administrator Lyn Woolford and they know how hard our mayor, Gene Rhorer, works for this community. It was a creative solution. One that dealt with all the worms when they opened up the can.

I look for a similar creative solution this week in dealing with pygmy goats.

It’s funny what seems to get the attention of the public.

Ask 10 people at the post office this week what the price tag is on our new sewer plant and I would guess 9-out-of-10 would miss it by a million dollars or more.

But if you ask the same 10 people the names of Kim Proctor’s goats, I would say at least half know good ol’ Bob and Chop.

Let’s continue to meet and have discussions about how to grow this community. Let’s not be afraid of opening a can of worms. If you con’t open a can of worms, you won’t have any worms which you can use to catch a fish.