Politics & Government

Political notebook: Celebrating a dubious honor

Many people wouldn’t appreciate being called a sleaze. But Heath Clark, a Republican state representative from Warner Robins, celebrated his receipt of a Golden Sleaze Award from Creative Loafing Atlanta.

Clark tweeted a link to the list of award winners, noting, “First year and winning. I will wear this as a badge of honor.”

Creative Loafing developed the awards to recognize “awful, absurd and asinine actions during the legislative session.” It gave Clark the “You can’t spell Gold Dome without G-U-N-S” award, saying Clark bucked the Republican opposition toward “overreach on a hot-button issue” by pushing for guns on college campuses and concealed carry without permits. The award notification concludes, “He conveniently added language to guarantee that no guns would be allowed in government buildings, such as the Capitol. GOP vets knew not to make a rookie mistake, however. The bill went nowhere.”


State Rep. John Pezold, R-Fortson, is a McDonald’s franchisee who announced that a recent breakfast in the state House came from McDonald’s. State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, asked whether other good restaurants are owned by other members of the chamber. Peake owns a number of restaurants from several chains, including Captain D’s and Cheddar’s.

Pezold said something like, “If the gentleman from Macon would get off his fat wallet ...” Laughter overran anything else he could say.

House Speaker David Ralston noted an absence of coupons from Cheddar’s on the desks.

The other representatives hooted and booed Peake.


The schedule for a Thursday rally for federal transportation funding has shifted a bit. “Stand Up 4 Transportation Day,” a nationwide event, seeks to urge congressional extension of a program called MAP 21 that funds transportation infrastructure and public transit. Locally, Macon Transit Authority General Manager Rick Jones says if MAP 21 is allowed to expire May 31, that would cost MTA nearly half its $5.5 million annual net operating budget.

An 8 a.m. news conference was to be held at Middle Georgia Regional Airport, but that clashed with already-scheduled aviation training, said Toni Elliott, MTA executive assistant. So the news conference will instead be at Macon’s Terminal Station, MTA headquarters, 200 Cherry St.

Rides on MTA buses will be free all day Thursday, and there will be various activities at Terminal Station. Staff from the Medical Center, Navicent Health, will be there to offer cholesterol and glucose checks, body fat measurement and information from the Center for Joint Care and the Breast Center, Elliott said in an email.

The local event is one of at least 93 other similar events, including groups such as Atlanta’s transit system.


A briefing on possible U.S. Environmental Protection Agency air quality standards will be held at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday in the Elevate Building in Warner Robins, at the corner of Sandy Run and Moody roads.

Ned Sanders, chairman of the Middle Georgia Clean Air Coalition, said the talk is open to the public and will focus on ground-level ozone standards but also will discuss particulate matter standards. Sanders has worried the area would violate any tightened standards for ozone, which could hurt Robins Air Force Base in another round of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

The meeting on air quality precedes an 11:30 meeting Wednesday in the same building, called the State of Robins AFB. That meeting is run by the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce, with individual tickets at $30 for members and $50 for nonmembers.

Writers Jim Gaines, Maggie Lee and Mike Stucka contributed to this report.