Dodging a bullet

January 17, 2014 

I breathed a little easier about our future as a community Tuesday night. My fingers were crossed that Rabbi Larry Schlesinger would win. As a friend said on twitter, “Praise Jesus, the rabbi won.”

Now we have a full County Commission, and it has a sizable majority ready to move us forward, unchained from years of division, grudges and petty, personal politics. We can reboot.

There is much to do. We cannot, as a community, ignore the Filmore Thomas recreation area, also known as Durr’s Lake. That area of Bibb County has been without a recreation area for far too long. Promises have been made repeatedly and never fully kept. It is an eyesore and the community deserves better.

While I say this, I also think it is time to reconsider our recreation plans. Most communities now have a central recreation area. Instead of multiple pools spread all over a county or multiple gyms, many communities are building single recreation areas factoring in public transportation routes. It makes policing, renovating and repairing much easier. It also saves on duplication. Perhaps it is not the right fit for our community, but it is certainly worth exploring.

Jobs, obviously, will be critical. Unfortunately, most of the distributions jobs our area has attracted are both low skills and low paying. How the community cracks the nut that is high paying, high skill set jobs is going to be difficult. Looking at our local setup, the airport may be key to this. The technical jobs that airport could attract, along with the land most people do not realize the airport controls, could entice the right sort of jobs.

Then there is the interstate. Must we fight again about the Interstate 16/Interstate 75 exchange? It is time to get that construction going. With the federal government set to pass a massive, wasteful, bipartisan omnibus bill that includes funding for the Savannah River port expansion, we need to get ready, too.

At the state level, I hope all your daughters and wallets are locked up. The state Legislature is back in session. When not out chasing strippers at The Cheetah club, they will be coming up with new ways to make themselves useful. It is an election year. We can expect the Legislature to wrap up as quickly as possible. Legislators cannot raise money for themselves when in session. A number of them are going to have primary challengers who can raise money right now. So the Legislature wants to be gone as quickly as possible.

One of the issues they are going to face is medical marijuana. Led by the heartbreaking story of a 4-year-old in Forsyth. Lawmakers might loosen up the law. I personally have a rule that public policy should not be created based on a handful of tragic, tear-jerking stories. Take the particular issue away. This rule applies to any public policy. But, I get the sense the lawmakers may fold.

If they do, they should be as restrictive as possible. At this point, it would seem decriminalizing, instead of legalizing, medical marijuana might be the best approach. With pill varieties of the active ingredients, the state could potentially carve out safe harbors.

My preference, though, is that inertia interfere and nothing change. I worry we are rushing too fast and still need a few years to observe Colorado and Washington state on the drug front. 2014 is set to be a very interesting year for Middle Georgia.

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

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