Fox News contributor, Atlanta radio talk show host and former Macon City Councilman Erick Erickson’s thinly veiled attempt to direct voters away from former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis during the Oct. 15 mayoral runoff under the guise of “Troublesome facts” is indeed, troublesome.
Erickson spent an inordinate amount of ink in his Sept. 27 Telegraph column focusing on the negative. However, let’s take the provocative elements out of the equation like race, residency, rank and moves while in office that Ellis made that offended or confused some because of their lack of understanding.
With nothing but innovative, progressive, cost effective governance, the truly necessary facts of the matter is:
The Ellis administration secured the $19 million Hope VI Grant that made the transformation of inner city housing such as Oglethorpe Homes possible.
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Ellis, with the support of Macon City Council, bought back the Terminal Station from Georgia Power for $2 million and implemented its renovation, secured its occupancy, increased its property value and made it a centerpiece of downtown redevelopment.
The Ellis administration repurchased Fort Hawkins and made it possible to visit it today as it evolves into a historic educational resource and tourist destination.
The current internal and external look of the Macon Municipal Airport is owed to Ellis thanks to grants emanating from his office that made it possible to renovate the facility for the first time since 1959.
The Ellis administration revolutionized local policing by bringing the community policing concept to the doorsteps of local residents and changing the dynamic between citizens and law enforcement for the greater good of all.
Macon’s globalization escalated thanks to Ellis’ international outreach efforts which resulted in the ascension of the Sister City program and its expansion from three cities to six cities on the continents of Africa, Asia and Europe.
The digital divide closed significantly because Ellis, with the support of City Council, partnered with Goodwill Industries to open a City Cyber Center downtown that provided free Internet access, research availability and instructional oversight to anyone off the street.
Macon saw its first and last free big league, outdoor downtown concert in 2001 thanks to the legendary James Brown in front of Macon City Hall that brought over 10,000 citizens of varying backgrounds together for an awesome evening courtesy of Ellis.
Youth were gainfully employed every summer Ellis was in office thanks to the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development that he established.
Seniors and youngster’s quality of life skyrocketed due to a serious focus on providing them with free mayoral sponsored annual activities like the citywide Senior Christmas Party and the Mayor’s Children’s Christmas Party.
The College Hill Corridor has its roots in the initial partnership between the city of Macon, Mercer University and others that began with the Ellis administration’s vision for the multi-mile stretch and his appointment of the corridor’s first board members.
Ellis improved race relations through the establishment of the Diversity Committee and hosting several race relations symposiums.
This short list of accomplishments has often been ignored by many, including people like Erickson because of politics. In other instances, the successes of Ellis during his two terms has been suppressed less he get the full and deserving credit for initiating and/or implementing projects during his tenure.
With that said, Erickson should start presenting a complete, full view of Ellis’ time in office if he is truly about sharing all the facts.
Clarence Thomas Jr. is a resident of Macon and a former communications director for Mayor C. Jack Ellis.