Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2016

Extraordinary gift

It was encouraging to read about the continuing improvements to the Riverwalk (Ocmulgee Heritage Trail) in Sunday’s Telegraph by Laura Corley. In the article, Josh Rogers, executive director of NewTown Macon, mentioned that the idea of a Riverwalk “was brought to the public in the mid 1990s,” but he didn’t say who conceived of the idea. It was two citizens, Susan Hanberry Martin and John Wilson, who first proposed the concept to the County Commission. Their visionary proposal was accompanied by trail maps, aerial photos, drawings, plat research, narrative and all the accompanying data was given to the commissioners. It was scoffed at by the commission and rejected.

Their narrative described their proposed Riverwalk trails as “strings of pearls,” most interestingly, exactly the way Connie Mac Darnell, former executive director of NewTown, repeated the description at NewTown’s public presentation to resurrect the proposal at the Douglass Theatre in the early 2000s.

I think it’s time these two citizens, who for too long have had their farsighted gift to our community completely ignored, finally be given recognition for their extraordinary gift.

Lee Martin, Macon

Pardon power

President Obama is taking a break from the Trump transition to pardon two turkeys. Every one of us can exercise that presidential pardon power on Thanksgiving by giving thanks for health and happiness while skipping gratuitous violence.

The 235 million turkeys killed in the U.S. this year have nothing to be thankful for. They are raised in crowded sheds filled with toxic fumes. At 16 weeks, slaughterhouse workers cut their throats and dump them in boiling water to remove their feathers. Consumers pay a heavy price too. Turkey flesh is laced with cholesterol and saturated fats that elevate risk of chronic killer diseases. Package labels warn of food poisoning potential.

But there is good news. Annual per capita consumption of turkeys is down by a whopping 35 percent from a 1996 high. A third of our population is reducing meat consumption. Food manufacturers are developing a great variety of healthful, delicious plant-based meat products.

My Thanksgiving dinner will include a “tofurky” (soy-based roast), mashed potatoes, stuffed squash, chestnut soup, candied yams, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and carrot cake. An Internet search on vegan Thanksgiving and a visit to my local grocery store will provide me heaps of recipes and delightful plant-based turkey alternatives.

Morris Newman,

Macon

Answered his own question

The editors of the editorial page need to elaborate why they stated Obama lacked Democratic control of Congress during his first two years in office in their side comment on Mr. Hensley’s letter that spoke on how Obama had two years of a Democratic controlled Congress to pass any laws that the president supported. The editors were wrong on this point. Congress was controlled by Democrats for two years.

Control of Congress means that the party with the majority in both houses has control of all leadership positions, i.e. speaker of the House, committee chairpersons, president pro tempore of the Senate, etc. Essentially, they control what gets brought in Congress as it pertains to making laws, investigative matters, etc.

“Total” control, which is a term seldom used, means the Senate has a 60 member majority, which is the number of votes required to pass laws without the possibility of them not becoming law, plus a majority in the House. This is what the editors were referring to. Obama did have this scenario between August 2009 to Feb. 2010 during which time Obamacare was passed. However, Congress was still controlled by Democrats during Obama’s first two years in office.

Trump will have the same Congressional control by Republicans but not “total” control of the Senate.

Paul Middlebrooks, Perry

The MOST

Last February voters in Atlanta approved a continuation of the 1 percent municipal-option sales tax (MOST), as allowed by legislation of our General Assembly. These funds are for fixing its water and sewerage systems and other water projects. In Bibb County we were just recently, and suddenly, told we have sewer problems (in Macon of all places).

Now, this newspaper’s Nov. 17 editorial, “Voters content with the SPLOST — for now,” seems all excited that we carried another “yea” vote for continuation of the SPLOST. And some funds should/may go toward the recently discovered sewer issues. Good, those sewers seem to need attention, like years before when the city of Macon should have addressed it and paid for upgrades.

Also, I say a 61 percent “yea” vote for said SPLOST does beat a 39 percent “no” vote, but with our lack of voter participation that 61 percent is nothing to write home about. With this county’s proclivity to vote for all things tax in the past few years we can be smarter on how we tax (to death?) ourselves. Take Atlanta: they have employed the MOST for years, and it makes sense for a very large city to use that tax for the specific purpose it is supposed to fund. Good for them, assuming all monies go toward that specific need.

What now? Well, I propose we whack 2 percent out of our bloated SPLOST and have 1 percent earmarked to a MOST for county underground infrastructure projects, and the other 1 percent to a T-SPLOST for our roads, sidewalks and bike trails. The just voted-on and overstuffed SPLOST, which I voted against, is full of projects that are too expensive, do not serve many of our citizens or are just special-interest group grandiose schemes.

Last note: Expanding our county airfield runway, via SPLOST monies, does not guarantee larger and more aircraft will come to fill our current or newer jet maintenance facilities. And, get this, any BRAC (military base closure commission) will look unfavorably with increased airspace interference. So, folks, look-up; the real threat is in the air when BRAC does come around.

Bobby Komlo,

Macon

The city started addressing the stormwater rehab issues with the assistance of the Macon Water Authority starting with funds from the 2005 SPLOST.

Editors

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