Editorials

Editorials

Making sure the county keeps its promises

The Macon-Bibb County Commission is going through the not-so sexy process of deciding who best to manage two of the county’s pension funds of which there are three. However, due to consolidation, only one fund is “active.”In the two “closed” funds, retirees still receive benefits even though the old city of Macon and Bibb County no longer exist. All funds have separate boards of trustees. The closed funds are in excellent shape, one, the Macon Fire and Police Employees Retirement Pension is fully funded and the former city of Macon plan is over 90 percent funded. The active account includes all the employees of Macon-Bibb County.

Editorials

Perdue, adding to his list of life’s adventures

George E. “Sonny” Perdue III has been nominated by the incoming Trump administration to fill the Cabinet level post of Secretary of Agriculture. While we could question some of President Trump’s other selections for high level office, we have no reservations about this pick. Perdue, who served the great state of Georgia as governor from 2003 to 2011, didn’t attain his knowledge of agriculture from sleeping in a Holiday Inn last night, rather, he was literally born into into the business. While his mother was a teacher, his father was a Houston County farmer. Perdue went on to earn his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Georgia, serve in the U.S. Air Force and practice veterinary medicine. Somewhere in between all that he managed to play football at Warner Robins High School and UGA. His political career? Well, most folks around here know about all that so we won’t waste the space. Needless to say, he’s been dabbling in politics since the 1980s.

Editorials

Respect the office if not the man

Donald J. Trump, the billionaire businessman, will recite the presidential oath on Friday. Each inauguration is a demonstration to the rest of the world what the peaceful transfer of power looks like. The only shots heard that day will be the cannonade from the Presidential Guns Salute Battery that will fire from Taft Park, just north of the Capitol.

Editorials

Trying to make sense of the unexplainable

There is a phrase we’ve been hearing a lot when faced with looking for the reasoning behind the commission of certain crimes: “It’s in the water,” because there really is no reasonable explanation. For example, how do you explain the shooting of Brooklyn Rouse? The 21-year-old was going about her business of delivering pizzas on a day she was supposed to have off. Little could she know that one of those calls for pizza was actually a trap to lure a deliverer to a robbery. The trap worked, and Brooklyn was shot in the head in the process, and for what?

Editorials

Timing is key to news about air service

It is good news that passenger service, albeit limited, will return to the Macon Regional Airport. Contour Airlines, assisted by a $4.2 million annual subsidy from the U.S. Department of Transportation grant, will assure two nonstop round trips six days a week to Washington Dulles International Airport located in Sterling, Virginia, about 30 miles outside of Washington, D.C. Washington Dulles is an international hub so it opens up a world of destinations for at least the next couple of years. A Macon-Bibb County Commission committee approved a resolution to accept the deal on Tuesday and full commission approval is expected on Jan. 17.

Editorials

Gov. Deal reveals his budget priorities

Gov. Nathan Deal plopped his 350-plus page fiscal 2018 budget on lawmakers’ desks Wednesday, and to say it is ambitious would be an understatement. We’ve already known since last September that he wanted to up state law enforcement personnel salaries by 20 percent and up their training as well. Add to that a 19 percent raise for child welfare workers and a 2 percent raise for teachers and other state employees.

Editorials

Trying to avoid detection leads to missteps

As Gov. Nathan Deal enters his seventh legislative session, we would have to say he’s been a pretty good governor overall. He’s shown courage — pulling out his veto pen last year on a disastrous campus gun proposal, House Bill 859, that every college president abhorred, and House Bill 757, “Religious Liberty” legislation, saying during his press conference to announce the veto, that the bill didn’t reflect Georgia’s welcoming image as a state full of “warm, friendly and loving people.” To be sure, it was a business friendly veto, and Gov. Deal has been all about business during his tenure.

Editorials

Big issues coming up for this year’s session

The Georgia General Assembly will convene next week and it is lining up to be a busy session. With elections over, lawmakers will not be as shy as they were during the 2016 gathering and will dive head first into some possibly contentious issues.

Editorials

Good news for Robins on opening day

The 115th Congress is now in session. There is a buzz in Washington, D.C. that is common when transition is in the air. However, this buzz may be louder and more expectant than those of times past. The Republican Party has control of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House — and there are plenty of campaign promises that constituents are looking for lawmakers to keep.

Editorials

What the hack about the Yahoo announcement?

The news last week that Yahoo had been breached and a billion or more users information may have fallen into the wrong hands is not good news for the company nor for its customers and it’s hardly a story that inspires faith in companies that horde our electronic digits that open up our electronic world.

Editorials

Could the border war soon end?

The two sides in the Monroe County/Macon-Bibb County border war have been summoned by Secretary of State Brian Kemp to his office. This border war goes back to the 19th century, but this iteration started in 2004 when Bass Pro Shops decided to build on what was then inside the boundaries of Bibb County. In the 12 years since it has bounced around between the secretary of state, Fulton County’s Superior Court and Georgia’s Supreme Court — twice. And it has cost the citizens of Monroe County a king’s ransom (estimates of $2.5 million in 2014 and Macon-Bibb County $650,000). And while the ball is back in the court of the secretary of state where it belongs, he is giving the two parties one last chance to negotiate a settlement.

Editorials

Better start to Forest Hill, Phase II

Could it be (gasp)? Is it possible (cough), that highway and byway planners of this state learned a lesson? While the jury is still out, the preliminary process for the next phase of the Forest Hill Road redo is being better received than past iterations — of which there have been many.

Editorials

For now, Macon Health Club will live on

There is something to be said for bright, shiny exercise equipment and space. There is also something to be said about a comfortable old friend. The Macon Health Club is as comfy as an old pair of jeans. Certainly there are a few holes, and, these old jeans have a certain scent, but there’s something about them. They fit well.

Editorials

Test scores just another tool for educators

Thursday was the day when nervous teachers, principals, district personnel and school district superintendents, approached their computers with sweaty palms and pulled up the Georgia Department of Education’s website. There at the top of the homepage with a picture of a student taking a test declared the words: “2016 CCRPI Data.”

Editorials

Forward thinking by state House is appreciated

After the Jan. 20 euphoria of the Presidential Inauguration fades and the Trump administration begins its work in earnest, we will begin to see where the real priorities fall — and Georgia wants to be prepared. Back in March, state House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge and his House colleagues agreed to form the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) study committee that would be charged with exploring ways to protect Georgia military installations when the next BRAC occurs. In 2005, Georgia experienced the BRAC shutdown of Fort McPherson, Fort Gillem, Naval Air Station-Atlanta and a Navy supply school in Athens.

Editorials

A good week for Georgia’s military facilities

There was good news for the Hinesville-Savannah region of the state last week as the Pentagon announced the Army’s decision to create a new Armor Brigade Combat Team at Fort Stewart, a conversion of the 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team. This will be Fort Stewart’s second Armor Brigade Combat team.

Editorials

The water wars continue — for now

It’s hard to get excited about water in Macon-Bibb County. We mean that in a positive way. When the rest of the state was parched because of weeks without rainfall, we hardly batted an eye, even in the midst of a declared Level 1 Drought Response imposed on Nov. 17, by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division for 58 counties, including Macon-Bibb. Why were residents so nonchalant even though the declaration put some restrictions on water use?

Editorials

Once again, the South is leading the way

A just released study by Gallup-Healthways, part of its “State of American Well-Being” series, looks at diabetes and obesity. No pun intended, but the two maladies are tied at the hip. The study looked at 190 communities and across all 50 states. No surprises, the study just confirms what we sorta, kinda already knew by looking around at many of our friends and neighbors — or maybe looking at ourselves in the mirror.

Editorials

Don’t spend what you don’t have

As the Christmas shopping season of 2016 gets underway with a vengeance, it’s easy to lose equilibrium. Our senses are overloaded with messages that say “buy, “buy,” reinforced by our own wants and desires. We run around in a frenzy trying to get this or that perfect gift, blindly handing over our plastic cards stamped with Mastercard or Visa or American Express without really thinking about the consequences. And in our Eggnog blurred state, we forget about the real green dollars we’re spending through those cards — and what’s tacked onto those dollars: interest.

Editorials

‘Let’s be careful out there’

As we quickly reminisce about the happiness of our 2016 Thanksgiving and the turkey sandwiches to come, some of us are waking this morning thinking about the long drive back home. Not meaning to put a damper on any travel plans, but here are a few reminders: You are not alone. As you will soon see, the highways and byways of this nation are crowded this weekend for a variety of reasons. First, it’s Thanksgiving and gas prices are low. An expected 50 million people are on the roads traveling an average of 600 miles from Wednesday until midnight Sunday. Well over a million will be traveling in Georgia.

Editorials

Even with turmoil, many reasons to give thanks

There are some who would say we don’t have much to give thanks for this Thanksgiving season. These naysayers couldn’t be more wrong. Though it wasn’t an “official holiday” deemed so by any government when the Plymouth colonists sat down with the Wampanoag Indians in 1621 for the first Thanksgiving; it was also a time of great stress.

Editorials

Pandering attempt ends in the woodshed

It didn’t take long after the Nov. 8 general election for over-reachers to overreach. It’s just too bad some of the over-reachers are here in the state of Georgia. On Monday, State Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, (between Brunswick and St. Marys) pre-filed House Bill 3. The measure would bar applicants from wearing masks or veils while posing for their driver’s license picture. You can see where Spencer was going with this. It would also appear to make wearing the Muslim burqa and veil subject to the state’s anti-masking law, which would prevent wearing burqas anywhere on public property.

Editorials

Good news, but it will be a long time coming

There was a lot of backslapping going on when news that the Georgia Department of Transportation was planning on spending $880 million on transportation projects in and around Interstate 75 and Interstate 16 in the next two decades. That’s a lot of money, and while there is celebration now about the idea of it, the reality will soon start to hit right between the axles.

Editorials

Voters content with the SPLOST — for now

It’s quite possible the most important vote taken in the Nov. 8 general election was not the ballot for who would sit behind the desk in the Oval Office. At least in Middle Georgia, and for Macon-Bibb County in particular, the most important vote was the approval of the $280 million special purpose local option sales tax.