I guess the town of Griffith doesn’t want anything to do with anyone.

You might go so far as to say Griffith is a symbol of what’s wrong with Lake County.

At least that’s true of the town’s government. You might say Griffith is the town of “no.”

A few years back, the Griffith town fathers sent a bit of a chauvinist message when it blocked the move of the Planned Parenthood office from Gary to Griffith without offering a reason.

And then Griffith went to the General Assembly and engineered an end-run to allow the town to secede from Calumet Township.

Those same town fathers, it seemed, didn’t want any part of having to pay the poor relief costs of those living in Gary.

They said Griffith folks were paying too much and getting little in return.

They were right, but it’s a heckuva way to run government. You can’t take your ball and go home whenever you don’t like the way the game is going.

Griffith’s latest move is the most troubling.

After pledging $20,000 annually from its County Economic Development Income Tax to South Shore rail line expansion in 2014, the town fathers have had a change of heart and cut ties with the planned project.

They told U.S. Rep. Peter Visclosky, the father of South Shore expansion, to take a hike. Griffith, they said, didn’t need the new rail line and wouldn’t be contributing the way most of the rest of the county would be doing.

Editor's note: Griffith Town Council President Rick Ryfa said Friday that the town isn't against train expansion, nor did it turn its back on the project. He said expansion proponents turned down Griffith's initial offer of the $20,000 annual pledge, pushing instead for 5 percent annually from the town's community development local income tax proceeds.

While the new rail line will heighten the quality of life in Lake County, Griffith opted out even though the rail expansion would be more accessible to Griffith residents than the current station in East Chicago. Should Griffith residents be barred from riding on the extension?

It’s trite to say, but we are all in this together. I don’t recall U.S. Steel saying it would hire Gary residents only, or BP limiting its hires to those living in Whiting.

And the Center for the Visual and Performing Arts doesn’t charge higher ticket prices for those living outside Munster.

If Northwest Indiana is to grow, it is going to happen together, not a little bit here and a bit more there.

Griffith residents will benefit from the South Shore expansion. They just won’t have to pay for it.

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Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at rjamescolumns@gmail.com. The opinions are the writer’s.

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