This is Viewpoints for Friday, July 18, 2014

July 18, 2014 

Response to Erickson

I’d like to respond to Erick Erickson’s column last week titled “Wander and die.” I guess the synergy around the column is learn from the past and move on. The author even quotes Numbers 32:13 (NIV) “40 years of wandering in the wilderness as commanded by the Lord.” This suffering could be compared to by some as similar to 400 years of suffering in the Middle Passage or could it?

Erickson stated, “This community’s past wounds will not heal except through the death of the generations who inflicted the community’s wounds and who suffered from those wounds unable to forgive or forget. We will not move on as long as there is profit to be had and hardened hearts.”

Dick Gregory once lamented at a State of the Black Union Forum held in New Orleans a story about his young son who was chided by his other brothers and sisters for building a castle and pretending it was his house. Gregory orated that as an attempt to sooth his son’s anxieties over the torments from his siblings, he shared this analogy with his son about the situation. “Son it’s OK to pretend that the castle is your house unless you are trying to use it as your address.”

Erickson sounds as if he’s trying to be the great healer in his editorial about the consolidation path of Macon-Bibb County, but within his subliminal semantics it appears he can’t let his past go either for he is forever taking parting shots at his opponents. It seems Erickson is trying to use “going forward” as his address, or is his abode really that pretend castle? One should be careful of words that are veiled in allegory.

Nothing wrong with quoting scripture, it can be uplifting, but to profess moving on and chastise others whom he says are not and then quote scripture about the past and not moving on himself seems to me to be a bit hypocritical.

Yes Macon-Bibb County voted and as statistics state 80 percent of a certain group of children in Bibb County go to private schools and at the Georgia Capitol it is continually professed to increase charter schools and vouchers. Poor public high school graduation rates, high unemployment and jails full of young men without direction is unconscionable. Why is this? And what are we going to do about it? I once heard if you do not learn from the past you’re subject to make the same mistakes in the future. Anchors in Macon-Bibb are exactly what is needed and hopefully they will help stabilize us as a community as we “ride the tide into history,” as Erickson stated.

-- Don Druitt


Interesting chronology

The Telegraph did an outstanding job of documenting the unauthorized expenditure of funds by former Superintendent Romain Dallemand. Charles Richardson’s article of July 13 was very informative. In it he laid out the history of the evolution of the Promise Neighborhood initiative. The following is my understanding of what transpired. In 2009 the Bibb BOE sold the Ballard Hudson Middle School for about $220,000. In June 2012, the BOE passed a resolution to provide resources to the Promise Center from four schools not to exceed $250,000 per school, per year. On July 27, the BOE agreed to a 10-year lease to rent 50,000 square feet in the Promise Center for $575,000 per year. The lease runs from July 1 2013, to June 30, 2023.

The BOE is responsible for the cost to renovate its 50,000 square feet for use as a learning center or other usage. I wonder what the renovation will cost? It is my understanding that the BOE will use the space starting in 2015. In addition to the $575,000 rent the BOE had to pay a maintenance fee in 2013 and 2014 of about $325,000 a year. The BOE will assume the maintenance starting in 2015. I wonder how much this will cost?

There is a purchase option for the BOE to buy back the Promise Center in 2022. The purchase price will be based on the value of the building at that time. I imagine it will be in the $6 million to $9 million range. I wonder if the BOE will use all of the building if it buys it? Or will they rent space to the current occupants? It would be interesting to know what are the BOE’s intentions. Will they buy the center or continue to rent? If they intend to buy where will the funds come from?

There is one part of the chronology of events that is confusing. On July 25, 2012, Superintendent Dallemand directed Ron Collier to prepare a check to the Central Georgia Partnership For Individual and Community Development Inc. for $1,000,000, the owner of the Promise Center property. The money was to serve as a demonstrated match under the Promise Neighborhood Implementation Grant. The money was the result of the reallocation of funds from the affected four schools. Does the BOE have to provide $1,000,000 for in-kind services to the Promise Center each year?

Richardson states this is just the beginning of his examination and that more will be coming. I can’t wait. It would be interesting to know if any disciplinary or legal action is pending against Dallemand?

-- Jim Costello


Anyone out there?

As a believer in the word of God and the teaching of his son Jesus. I am requesting that any member of the Presbyterian Church respond with a spiritual and biblical explanation of why they had a vote to allow gay marriages in the house of the Lord.

-- Carl Lewis

Fort Valley

Don’t miss it

Had I walked out of the theater into the lights and sounds of Broadway in New York City, I would have not been at all surprised. Theatre Macon has done a magnificent job in staging “Les Miz” at The Grand. It was my pleasure to experience it. Every aspect of the production is perfection. The quantity and quality of outstanding voices, the fantastic mood setting lighting, the mind-boggling costuming, the very impressive character portrayal, the perfection of the live music, all joined together and fine- tuned under the direction of the most talented Jim Crisp (who) staged a production of the highest quality. And all of this was created from the hands and hearts of our neighbors and friends in Middle Georgia. Thank you all for sharing your wonderful gifts with our community.

If you do not already have your ticket you must not miss this production. I urge you not to let this opportunity pass you by.

-- Patricia S. Barfield


Not listening

Will someone please tell our president that he can use an airplane for more than taking expensive vacations at taxpayers expense. For example, use them to fly all of the children from Central America back to their homeland. Thank you, he doesn’t seem to listen to me anymore.

-- Van Adams

Warner Robins

One, no, 30 glitches

Theatre Macon’s production of the much anticipated “Les Miserables” opened at the Grand Opera House to a standing ovation reception. It has become the standard rather than the exception for Jim Crisp to pull off what many have thought was the impossible on a community theater stage. But once again I was thrilled and proud of what I witnessed.

Every aspect of the production from the lights, costumes, vocals and staging was lovingly molded by a talented production staff until the final product of this almost seamless piece of artistry came to fruition. Unfortunately, there was one major flaw in the production that caused many in the audience to gasp every time it happened. Thank God this has no reflection on Theatre Macon or it’s production staff. This has been a problem the audience has had to endure in many productions I have attended over the years at The Grand.

Having been a performer in Middle Georgia for over 40 years I can speak from experience when I say that having a microphone not engage until the second line of a of a song is distracting not only to the performer but for the audience as well. And that it continues to happen over 30 times during the course of a production is unforgivable. The cast and crew deserve better, especially when they are paying for it. Well, enough about this sorrow. Everyone in Middle Georgia will be sorry if they miss this beautifully performed musical.

-- Denver Pickard


Black programming

On July 13, 1973, the first black produced and hosted television program in Middle Georgia was aired on WMAZ-TV. To date, with four network stations FOX, ABC, CBS and NBC in Middle Georgia there are no African American, locally produced and hosted television programs. Major television stations use 35,000 hours per year of broadcasting time and the black community has not decided to be represented on any stations that allegedly represent them. It is not just the television stations’ fault. The majority of the blame lies on the black community. When will we demand to be represented by our local television stations? Happy about what would have been “Ebony Speaks” 41st anniversary.

-- Leroy Thomas


Get the message

Give or take 80,000 new arrivals in this country to join their illegal immigrant parents somewhere in this land of welfare. Question? Since it is the taxpayer who gets the tab for illegal housing and caring and transportation, how many dependents can I claim on my tax return?

Maybe, if we transport them to the Canadian border state camps as we did with the American Indian, come winter they would get the message and head back home.

-- Ken Brown


The real poor

I am responding to Dewell Garner’s letter in which he thinks Walter Williams is off base about the supposed poor in America. The difference in what Williams said and what Garner said about Syria and North Korea, etc., being fictional is that all of Williams’s examples are empirical fact, whereas Garner’s words were simply silly.

Williams is absolutely correct that poor is relative and that the poor in America are just, by and large, a liberal tactic. Poor in America have electricity and plenty to eat (even if subsidized). The houses are bigger than they used to be and bigger than those in Europe. All of these are facts. Certainly, there are legitimate poor but not to the extent the liberals would like everyone to believe.

I suggest Garner get outside more. If he wants to see real poor he can visit the hills of Mexico or his fictional North Korea.

-- D.T. Wallace


Pitts’ complaint

Syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr.’s recent column about women’s rights, is clearly off-base. The Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood clearly supports religious beliefs. It is not that their belief system is against contraceptives but against being forced to support any form of abortion.

Women’s rights are not being hampered since contraceptives are available in all pharmacies or even free at many clinics. Abortion, on the other hand, is available if they so choose to exercise that option. It is not the responsibility of religious individuals to provide funding support for abortion surgeries or ingested pills causing such.

In my view, the court made an initial serious error in judgment by supporting the Affordable Health Care Act last year. By doing so they created a litigation nightmare. The Supreme Court is not supporting judicial malpractice but Pitts’ journalism is misrepresenting the facts.

In conclusion, Pitts, as a journalist, is a significant part of the real problem we face in America.

-- Richard Wilson

Whispering Pines, N.C.

No sense

Please explain to me why America has a war on terror and we have to undress ourselves at airports and all the while we let thousands of people come to America illegally?

It makes me wonder what in the hell is going on. It makes no sense.

-- Ken Jones


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