Endorsements: Bibb Judicial Circuit district attorney & Bibb County Commission chairman

November 4, 2012 

The race for district attorney for the Macon Judicial Circuit is a rematch. Houston County prosecutor David Cooke against incumbent Greg Winters.

Cooke has thrown everything including the wash basin at Winters. Cooke has attacked Winters’ record as a prosecutor, accused him of dismissing rape and murder cases., etc. There’s only one problem. He’s wrong. With Cooke’s knowledge of the court system he should have dug just a little deeper than the erroneous numbers he received from a website not under the control of the DA’s office -- and certainly the information wasn’t posted on Winter’s website as Cooke has claimed.

Winters said during the 2011 campaign that he would be tougher on crime than his predecessor. He’s lived up to that promise. Jury trials are up 80 percent and convictions, by 14 percent. He’s taken down three major drug dealers and has installed, without taxpayer money, a new case management system to make the office more efficient. During the last race he promised to get out into the public and he has done so. Winters has also been a proponent of helping those who need and want help. He’s not just a hard-nosed prosecutor looking for another notch on his holster. In short, Winters has been a good and faithful civic servant.

Cooke, on the other hand, has run a spiteful and deceptive campaign that deserves to be thrown into the landfill with all the other garbage. Being one of the top law enforcement officers in the area, we cannot afford to select someone who seems so eager to be elected that he would do anything.

We endorse Greg WintersThis race for chairman of the Bibb County Commission between Sam Hart and Tom Wagoner displays two very different personality types. Without bombast, Hart has systematically helped put Bibb County in a place that many thought it never would be -- preparing to consolidate city and county governments -- a goal that had evaded area leaders for almost 100 years. After his election in 2008, Hart started, “Think Community,” that served as a foundation for the vote earlier this year that approved consolidation.

His opponent has been slinging county budget numbers around like tossing pizza dough, and you would have thought that after decades in business, Wagoner would know what he’s talking about. Unfortunately, he does not. His manifesto, “Declaration to the People” is mostly low hanging fruit, but as far as two of the items, cutting $800,000 to $1 million during the one six-month budget he would have input into before the consolidated government takes over, could only be accomplished by taking money from the county’s savings account. Difficult to do when you’ve also promised to establish an interim animal shelter while the new one is being constructed. Establish with what, the county’s piggybank?

Wagoner forgets the old adage that county commissioners have followed for decades -- first enunciated by the late Emory Greene -- “You have to be able to count to three.” No one commissioner is able to do anything without the cooperation of at least two other commissioners. With Wagoner’s bull-in-a-china-shop style, that would be difficult if not impossible to do. He has already had run-ins with staff that cross the line from heated debate to physical insult.

Hart, on the other hand, figured out the dynamics between city and county and helped shift the frozen tectonic plates that bound the area, thus consolidation and passage of the last special purpose local option sales tax, a tax that is directly responsible for Tractor Supply’s decision to locate in Bibb County.

The SPLOST also solved the encroachment problem that threatened Robins Air Force Base, moved along completion of the Tubman African American Museum, and will create a new Juvenile Justice Center that is sorely needed.

Deciding who is best to lead in this transition period between county and consolidated governments is a no-brainer.

We endorse Sam Hart

Board members: Charles Bass, Betty Bond-Toussaint, Gigi Cabell, Leroy Mack, Giles O’Neal, Gene Strauss, George McCanless, Sherrie Marshall and Charles E. Richardson.

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