Tag: Macon

The Bibb Democratic Party Has Some Problems

Fifth Bibb County Democrat Chairman in 20 months; Near Fist Fights and Public Disagreements

From Phillip Ramati at Macon.com, we get the story on the internal wranglings of the Bibb County Donkeys. The latest kerfuffle appears to be spurred on by the coming consolidation between Bibb County and the City of Macon and, of course, the elections which would then result.

The timing of the election has been under study by the US Department of Justice with Democrats and the Bibb County African-American community pushing for the elections to be held in November at the time of the general elections. Other members of the community wanted the election held sooner. One of the two Democrat appointees to the local elections board, Steve Allen, sided with those wishing to have the election on the earliest possible legal date, September 17th. This vote caused some hard feelings.

At this time there seems to be more concern regarding the proper apportionment of blame than a plan for the future. This has left some members less than overjoyed.

“What disappoints me is all of the petty crap,” said former party chairman Daryl Morton, who resigned from his position in November 2011. “It’s nothing but a circular firing squad.”

And what would a story about Bibb County politics be without the controversial Elaine Lucas. Lucas dismisses any disagreements within the party – after all it was only a near fistfight.
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Macon Council Chokes on Smoking Ordinance Vote

Failing approval by a 2 – 2 vote in the Macon City Council’s Public Safety Committee, Macon did not revise a smoking ordinance passed the city council earlier this year. Macon City Councilman and committee member Lonnie Miley left before the discussion and the vote, according to the story in the Macon Telegraph. Miley’s absence essentially smothered the possibility of passing the regulation.

The previous version of the ordinance, which had restaurant and bar owners in an uproar, was vetoed in May by Macon Mayor Robert Reichert. The new ordinance was an attempt to find wording that might strike a match with the mayor’s wishes.

I’m not a smoker and find the habit disgusting, but I also know that if I go shoot billiards or enjoy an occasional adult beverage that it’s a part of the experience – just not the good part. Temporarily, the Nanny State-Macon edition has been repulsed. The move for tighter smoking laws may not have breathed its last breath; however, only the Macon City Council members know that answer. We can merely hope they take five and arrive at an adult solution.

You can see these Macon Telegraph links for background information, from April and from September.

Is Elaine Lucas the Face of the First Amendment?

One could see it as a vindication of first amendment rights or as a permission slip for publicly elected officials to bully the electorate. Either way, the ethics charges against Macon Councilwoman Elaine Lucas have been dismissed by Municipal Court Judge Robert Faulkner.

The article on Macon.com, written by Jim Gaines quotes Lucas as saying, “I’m pleased with the decision, and I think we all knew that it was a frivolous complaint, but this kind of thing has to be stopped. People can’t just complain and interrupt the work that I’m trying to do for my constituents.”

Okay, you can stop laughing now. No, really, I’m sure Elaine Lucas thinks that she is all kinds of important and not just the best example of why Macon is stuck in a backwards-town mentality while pretending to be a city.

Lucas, whose political strategy appears to be “racially divide and conquer”, is only popular relative to the dislike of her “enemies”. So if Lucas invents her enemies and ascribes terrible motives to those enemies, should we be surprised? Does it really matter if she just makes things up?

The judge’s ruling was simply that Elaine Lucas did not violate the city’s ethics code. If this is the case, then it may be time for the City of Macon to re-evaluate its ethics code. Also from the article:

Describing the complaint as the work of an “organized Republican and tea party effort to discredit her,” Lucas alleged that it stemmed from her support for President Barack Obama. She said she would see about taking any legal action in reply.
Faulkner’s decision Tuesday morning says that ultimately, Lucas has the First Amendment right to say what she wants — but the last line leaves open the possibility of civil suits for libel or slander, which wouldn’t come through Faulkner’s courtroom.
On Sept. 12, local Republican Party leader and “We Are Politics” blog author Bill Knowles filed the complaint, which accused Lucas of violating the city’s ethics code by stirring up racial divisions, alleging conspiracies against her, and describing political opponents as Ku Klux Klan members.

Lucas is considering filing counter-charges, because benefiting from the first amendment and then using the court system to stifle the speech of others is just how she rolls.

So, is Elaine Lucas the face of the First Amendment or just a political bully? You call it, but if I were the First Amendment I would rapidly seek a really, really good PR firm.

Washington’s Changes Impact Middle Georgia

Municipalities in Middle Georgia are being forced to deal with the changes in Washington. Both Macon and Columbus are discovering that earmarks may not have completely disappeared, but they are scarce and so is the money flowing from the federal government.

What may be surprising to many who do not follow politics and federal spending, is just how reliant states and municipalities are on federal dollars. Others of you will not be surprised that local governments are shaken by the decrease in federal grants.

In the story Midstate earmarks drying up in D.C., we find that Macon did not renew its contract with its lobbyist firm and is hoping for help from Congressman Sanford Bishop who sits on the House Appropriations Committee. Under newly-drawn Congressional maps, Bishop will represent a large portion of Bibb County and Macon.

This year, Bishop said he has spoken informally with officials from Columbus and Macon about their needs and plans a visit to Macon soon.
“Their needs are as great as they have ever been, but they understand that our fiscal climate is as stringent as it has ever been,” Bishop said. “There’s a limit on federal dollars to get our fiscal house in order. But we also have needs. The requests are going to have to be prioritized.”

Mike Gaymon, President of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, has noted the changes when he spoke with Bishop and fellow Congressman Lynn Westmoreland. Gaymon is quoted as saying, “Projects might be worthwhile, but the well is running dry and we have to live within our means.”

Now we’ll see if Congress finally understands that spending money equals increasing tax revenues at some point. And perhaps someone will point out that over a half-billion dollars “invested” in Solyndra might have been put to better use elsewhere.

Walk? Nah, I’d rather take a cab.

A 22-year old Macon man, apparently decided that it was easier to “borrow” a taxi and drive to Wendy’s than walk. Gene Cornett states that the cab was parked in a vacant lot near his home with the keys inside.

According to the story on Macon.com, the vehicle had been reported stolen before it was located at the Wendy’s restaurant on Gray Highway. Cornett was with the taxi at the restaurant.

Feel free to add any observations about the nature of alleged criminals or cab-drivers who allegedly leave keys inside the vehicles or whether Cornett’s punishment, if charged and convicted, should result in a penalty that includes a lot of pedestrian activity.

Despite a Crowded Field, Maconites have Limited Options

First of all, no Republicans are running for Mayor. So if you are a Republican, and you really want to have a say in who becomes the next Mayor of Macon, prepare to vote Democrat.

But the Democratic field isn’t so grand. There’s political newcomer Paul Bronson–who says things that make him an attractive candidate–but he has no chance of winning. And then there are the three real contenders: Robert Brown, C. Jack Ellis, and Robert Reichert. An incumbent, a former Mayor, and a former State Senator, that is the field folks.

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy not-so-far away, C. Jack Ellis was Mayor of Macon, Georgia. He was a used car salesman turned political darling. Then he made Macon famous, but not the good type of famous. The type of famous that comes along with a Mayor who converts to Islam, pulls over bad drivers in his City provided Lincoln, sends warm thoughts to Hugo Chavez, or from finding Macon’s sister cities abroad (better known as tax-payer-funded vacations.) Oh, and he was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the city’s spending practices under his leadership.
Despite all of those things, Ellis is not the worst candidate for Mayor this go-around. While Ellis had his moments of wacky-entertainment value, he also did some good for the city. Ellis is spared this distinction only because Robert Brown is running.

I quite honestly would not trust the former State Senator to run an unincorporated community, much-less one of the larger cities in the state. His explosive rhetoric, refusal to address serious questions posed to him, desire to attack fellow Senators, and a poor track record with handling his own affairs, I believe, disqualify him from this job. Rather than reinventing the wheel, here is an article I wrote earlier this year. And here is the quote containing just about everything you need to know about the former State Senator:

But I won’t try and discern this sign’s message or meaning. Because Senator Brown would just tell me I’m misinterpreting it. Or accuse me of being racist somehow. Maybe this billboard is the product of his failure to pay taxes and failure to take furlough days. I must admit, I had some trepidation about photographing anything related to Senator Brown.

So that leaves the primary down to Reichert, who is leading fundraising. Mayor Reichert is not the perfect candidate; in-fact he is far from it. His head is in the right place in regard to county consolidation, transportation issues, and financial issues. While Macon has not become the bright shining center of the universe under his leadership, the city is making progress from where it was in 2007.

I have only one true concern about Reichert. Like many of us, he seems to have realized that Atlanta is slowly becoming a state-unto-itself. As Mayor of Macon, he likely sees himself as the new Governor of (South) Georgia and has begun contemplating his imperial rule over the counties of (South) Georgia. So long as he stays away from that, he’ll do just fine.

This Speaks for Itself

Legal folk often refer to the Latin phrase “Res Ipsa Loquitur” which roughly means “the thing speaks for itself.” One of my law professors often added, “but what in the hell does it say?”

So I will let this picture of a billboard in Macon do the talking:

Click for fullsize

(Click Image for full size version)

The text of this billboard reads: “Rise Up! Wise Up! Create a New Macon.” And yes, that is Senator Robert Brown standing next to President Obama with a cross on the opposite side of the billboard. I’m not sure how long this has been up – I drove by it a few times thinking it was a sign for a church before I inspected it closely.

But I won’t try and discern this sign’s message or meaning. Because Senator Brown would just tell me I’m misinterpreting it. Or accuse me of being racist somehow. Maybe this billboard is the product of his failure to pay taxes and failure to take furlough days. I must admit, I had some trepidation about photographing anything related to Senator Brown.

Or we could conclude this is the first salvo in the Macon Mayor’s race between C. Jack Ellis and Robert Brown. C. Jack, after all, is known for switching to the Islamic faith many moons ago. But I believe he has since reverted back. . .

So what is Senator Robert Brown trying to say? I don’t know, you tell me. (President Obama, however, is saying “I hope this isn’t another Vernon Jones photo.”)

C. Jack is Back

Or “90%” sure he’s going to try and be back.

Former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis said he’s 90 percent sure he’ll run for mayor again in 2011.

In an interview with 13WMAZ’s Randall Savage, Ellis said he is currently renewing acquaintances with supports. He’s attended several public meetings this week.

His top priorities include stopping people from leaving the city and stopping businesses from closing.

Ellis said lately he has been campaigning for Roy Barnes in his bid to become governor of Georgia. He has also been campaigning in favor of the Bibb County SPLOST that will be on next week’s Primary ballot.

There are a lot of us from outside of Macon that like to point and laugh when C. Jack Ellis is brought up.

h/t: 13WMAZ

Macon City Council misses forest for the trees

(This post originally attributed the “security camera” regulations to the Macon City Council, rather than the Bibb County Commission. That error has been fixed, below.)

As Erick continues his Magical Media Tour, back in Macon the City Council has again shown that it doesn’t understand band-aids can’t fix a deep gash to the bone.

Just three months ago, the Council Bibb County Commission tried to push through regulations on small business to help them “fight crime.”

The draft code is meant to cover banks, convenience stores, grocery stores, liquor shops and fast-food restaurants, as well as shopping centers of at least four businesses. Cameras would be required on every entrance, including fire exits; on cash registers; and outside on all parking areas.

Understandably, small businessmen and women reacted…poorly…to such a proposal as they had trouble understanding why the tax dollars they already were paying to city government couldn’t be used for a more inventive solution such as deploying sufficient police forces to fight crime utilizing an effective strategy.

Now, sans Erick, the Wizards of Smart in the Macon City Council, learning nothing from their colleagues on the County Commission, have a new solution to fight crime:

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Macon Reporter ‘Dragged Kicking and Screaming’ From Press Area Near Air Force One

Brenda Lee, a writer for the Macon-based GA Informer and self-identified “Roman Catholic priestess,” was drug away from a press area near Air Force One while the president was in Los Angeles this morning, according to NBC.

Lee, who said she has White House press credentials, said she wanted to hand-deliver a letter to Obama asking him to “take a stand for traditional marriage.” After refusing to hand the letter to an Obama staffer, Lee was asked to leave, then told by security she could stay “as long as she did not yell or wave.”

Security apparently changed their minds, asking her to leave once again; when  she refused, security lifted her by the arms and legs and carried her away.

According to NBC, “Lee, who said this was the second presidential event she has covered, was later released.”

Note: If the Georgia Informer can get White House press credentials, then Peach Pundit should be getting invited to freaking state dinners. Where’s the justice in this world?

Update: Here’s a column by the “Catholic Priestess” in question “urging Christians to boycott Vatican events” because of the Catholic Church’s “tradition of murder.” Very interesting…