Editorials

Editorials

Are we returning to the bad old days before Obamacare?

No matter your opinion of President Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, it has become increasingly clear, as Congress attempts to untie the Gordian Knot, how difficult it must have been to wrangle all of the health care players, lawmakers and various lobbyists to support the ACA in the first place.

Editorials

The slow, steady march of progress

If we could hop into a time machine and head back to 1996 — the year NewTown Macon began with funding from the Peyton Anderson Foundation — what would we see downtown? Abandoned and empty storefronts everywhere the eye could see. Blighted buildings — seemingly ready to fall in on themselves. Few signs of commercial life.

Editorials

How did we get here from there?

Who would have thought this day would come after such an inauspicious beginning. It was November 3, 2003 when residents in Richardson Estates in southern Bibb County, just north of Robins Air Force Base, learned of a Sept. 19 letter from then Bibb County Commission Chairman Tommy Olmstead to county planning and zoning officials that laid out a restriction for their community that would have prevented residential growth — and prevented them from adding to their current residences or rebuilding if their homes were ever destroyed.

Editorials

Good air quality news, however, danger ahead

It wasn’t very long ago, almost 14 years to be exact, that Macon leaders were wringing their hands, worried about non-attainment to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency air quality standards. Leaders in Houston and Monroe counties were worried as well. The EPA eventually took most of Monroe County and Houston County off the list of areas that were non-compliant with the eight-hour ozone regulation. Now, Bibb leaders were worried and puzzled. How could those areas be within the rules and Bibb not meet the standard? It’s not like there is an invisible wall at Echeconnee Creek that blocks ozone.

Editorials

Governor’s initiative has Georgia leading the nation

Gov. Nathan Deal was in town for a short while Tuesday morning to speak at the state’s first Reentry Summit. He also signed three bills into law while he was here. If anyone doubted the governor’s passion for the task of criminal justice reform listening to him speak would have changed that doubt into belief.

Editorials

Bibb drug testing resolution unnecessary distraction

Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Joe Allen is sponsoring a novel proposal. He wants the commission to pass a resolution that requests that, “All elected and appointed public officials serving in Macon-Bibb County shall immediately following the approval and adoption of this resolution submit to a voluntary drug test to determine if such officials have used a controlled substance; and for other purposes.”

Editorials

City administrator position needs more consideration

Monday’s Warner Robins City Council meeting proved right interesting. First, citizens attended (that’s a good thing) wishing to comment on an issue that wasn’t even on the agenda, and secondly, an issue that would invariably, if implemented, cost the city money.

Editorials

Atlanta shows off its traffic to the president

President Donald Trump was in Atlanta on Friday and so was Billy Joel. The president was in town to speak to the National Rifle Association’s convention that was expected to draw 80,000. While here he also did a fundraiser for 6th District Republican candidate Karen Handel. Neither event was easy on the pocketbook. The price for entry into the fundraiser was $2,700 per person or $25,000 to host. Joel, was up the street at the brand new SunTrust Park where the ticket price hit above $500 to hear him belt out “It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me,” in the 41,149 seat baseball stadium. In the meantime, the Georgia State Patrol on Friday afternoon, just as the afternoon rush was getting started blocked eastbound Interstate-20 at Capital Avenue and Interstate-75/85 northbound, south of I-20 to allow presidential motorcade to head to northeast Atlanta for the fundraiser.

Editorials

Gov. Deal finally gets his way — sort of

It’s official, Gov. Nathan Deal’s long night of educational discontent is over. Thursday he signed House Bill 338 into law, now known as The First Priority Act. This legislation allows the state to take over what it deems “failing” schools.

Editorials

What could go wrong that hasn’t already?

Everyone’s favorite government agency, particularly during the month of April, the Internal Revenue Service, is taking another step down into the dungeon on the likability scale, if likability and the IRS could reside in the same sentence. In this instance it’s not totally the IRS’ fault, it’s just following the congressional orders of its bosses. Hidden in a $305 billion highway bill was a small provision that required the IRS to outsource some of its debt collection.

Editorials

Hard to feel sorry for this congressional time crunch

It’s been pretty quiet in and around Washington, D.C. with Congress adjourned for the last two weeks. We should all be so lucky. But that peace is about to end when lawmakers once again fill the halls of Congress when they return Monday, and waiting for them is a full slate of issues all needing immediate attention. Health care is still on the plate simply because nothing can be done about tax reform until the health care conundrum is settled. But there is another more pressing issue that could turn ugly and put health care on the back burner along with several other congressional initiatives.

Editorials

Rough traffic week in Atlanta

Transportation issues in and around the Atlanta metro area are vexing on a good day and good traffic days have been frightfully few since March 30 when a section of Interstate 85 mysteriously caught fire and collapsed. A vital route used by thousands of cars and trucks daily was suddenly out of commission and the section will be out of service until the middle of June if all goes according to plan. Contractors are working 24-hours a day to repair that section of highway. Commuters are left using surface streets and other travelers are stuck and not just those in the city. Traffic has slowed all around the Atlanta metro area.

Editorials

Recreation growing up in the International City

Warner Robins, you have lift off. The city council decided on a recreation plan that will be funded through sales taxes to the tune of $20 million. The city will see a recreation expansion over a period of six years (2018-2024) like it has never seen before and that’s a good thing.

Editorials

What will we leave as our community legacy?

Once again, like a friendly ghost, the legacy of Peyton Anderson, former owner and publisher of this newspaper, reached out on what would have been the week of his 110th birthday and set his sights on another target for his philanthropy. This time it’s a new $500,000 grant program for teachers titled, “Teach to Inspire.”

Editorials

Customer service: The right thing for good business

There is a lot of finger pointing going on at United Airlines these days. It all started with a total collapse of any semblance of customer service when United flight 3411 was getting set to depart from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Louisville International in Kentucky. One problem. The flight was overbooked. The airline randomly selected four passengers to be told they were being bumped and would have to leave the aircraft. Three did, a fourth, Dr. David Dao, did not.

Editorials

Union issues continue to plague Robins

UNCERTAINTY: Situation where the current state of knowledge is such that (1) the order or nature of things is unknown, (2) the consequences, extent, or magnitude of circumstances, conditions, or events is unpredictable.

Editorials

Athletes and parents should do the math

Congratulations to the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, the 2017 winner of the NCAA National Basketball Championships, more generally called March Madness. While we still have visions of that “One Shining Moment” playing in our heads, we must first recognize that the NCAA has turned this tournament into a marketing Juggernaut that is unparallelled in college sport. March Madness holds the country’s attention as 68 teams get whittled down in nail-biter after buzzer-beater starting in the middle of March, ending on April 3, this year.

Editorials

Long and winding road, winding down

The seniors who gather at the Macon-Bibb County Senior Center are finally nearing the end of their long ordeal. While not over, their attempt to get a new senior center is entering its last phases. Their ordeal, started with the passage of the 2012 SPLOST with the help of votes from seniors on the promise they would get a new center. But here we are five years down the road and no center, yet. The delay should be a lesson in how a SPLOST really works and also a lesson in perseverance — and something else that comes with being a senior — they weren’t going to accept just anything.

Editorials

Report provides roadmap to a healthier community

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released its “County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report last week and Georgia — and particularly Bibb County could use a heavy dose of improvement. The report is aimed at state leaders to help them “identify ways for everyone to have a fair chance to lead the healthiest life possible,” the report states.