Local issues brewing

June 15, 2012 

Having been so focused on national issues these past few weeks, it is nice to step back and look locally.

There is a lot of local politicking heating up, from contested elections to the Transportation SPLOST. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I will oppose the T-SPLOST. I have no philosophical objection to the T-SPLOST and actually think a number of the projects are very worthwhile. But the underlying transportation bureaucracy is filled with waste and abuse that the T-SPLOST will not just subsidize, but probably make permanent. We should fix our transportation bureaucracy before going down this road.

Former state Rep. David Lucas is trying to get back into politics against state Sen. Miriam Paris. Of course I support Paris. She has been a terrific state senator, though being a Republican, I don’t always agree with her. But her fresh voice on consolidation and other matters has been an asset to our community.

Between state Sen. Cecil Staton and Spencer Price, put me on Team Staton. It’s not that I dislike Price. Don’t get my wrong. It’s just that Staton has been one of the few people in the state senate brave enough to stand up to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. Staton worked to strip Cagle of power and the community should be rewarding him, not punishing him. He has been a competent state legislator. Frankly, in a day when more and more of our legislators wind up in the headlines for salacious silliness involving lobbyists and girlfriends, it is nice not to read about extra-curricular activities from our Middle Georgia team in the Legislature.

I’m really torn between Bill Lucas and Chief Deputy David Davis. I have known Bill for a while and would gladly support his run for sheriff. But having seen first hand the Sheriff’s Department in operation and knowing how highly regarded Davis is internally, I’d have go to with Davis.

Then there is the matter of District Attorney Greg Winters, who only recently entered the post, winning a special election as Howard Simms made it into the black robe of a Superior Court judge.

Greg is a law school friend and has been a great district attorney. He not only worked in the office for a number of years, but he is from the community. I continue to think it is silly that the district attorney and sheriff are partisan positions, but they are. I think it is even sillier that someone would throw out Winters because of his party and replace him with someone who does not work in the community.

Then again, I’m the partisan Republican who always voted for former Secretary of State Cathy Cox and former Gov. Zell Miller and even voted for Jim Marshall once.

Up in my neck of the woods, Ed Bond, Gary Bechtel, and Mallory Jones are battling to be on the county commission. Gary is a long time friend and I will absolutely back him.

The last big issue is consolidation. That David Lucas is trying to get back in the General Assembly and his wife, Elaine, is trying to stay on City Council are two of the big arguments in favor of consolidation. Macon and Bibb County will sink or swim together. We’re going to sink unless we change.

I waited a long time to leave the city limits. I finally did it. I do not much relish merging with the city in consolidation. But it needs to happen for the sake of the community. It’s time to end the long local nightmare known as the Macon City Council.

Erick Erickson is a CNN contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.

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