Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Wednesday, April 15, 2015

‘Amen Corner’

During the past week the greatest golf match in a long time was held at The Masters in Augusta. The play of Jordan Spieth was outstanding as was the play of Macon golfer Russell Henley. There are three holes (No. 11, 12 and 13) known for years by the nickname of “Amen Corner.” During the four days of TV coverage that I watched I did not once hear these holes referred to as “Amen Corner.”

Was this due to Christian objections, Muslims objections or some other reason?

-- Robert Bowen

Macon

There was no edict not to use “Amen Corner” and it was used by several commentators throughout the broadcasts.

-- Editors

Understaffed

This filing season, taxpayers are finding record long waits for assistance at Internal Revenue Service walk-in centers and on phone lines. That is because the IRS budget has been cut five consecutive years in a row. Today, the IRS has fewer employees than it did in 2008. As president of the local chapter of the National Treasury Employees Union, representing IRS employees in Georgia, I can tell you that IRS employees are just as frustrated as taxpayers. We simply cannot provide the level of service we did in the past because our numbers are being cut each year.

In Georgia, the number of IRS employees has dropped by 29.3 percent since 2011. That is a decline of 1,865 workers. That hurts every taxpayer in our state. Taxpayers have a right to have their questions answered by trained IRS personnel. Identity theft victims are waiting more than 120 days for their cases to be resolved. The elderly and disabled can no longer get help preparing their returns. My union is asking Congress to adequately fund the IRS so honest taxpayers do not suffer.

-- Terry Scott

President, NTEU Chapter 26

Atlanta

Where’s the map?

In trying to validate Michael Ryan’s claim that Tindall Heights residents will not be able to readily access Tattnall Square Park, I can’t find any construction plans for the Second Street Corridor -- current, present or past. This seems practically impossible. There’s no drawings on www.maconbibb.us other than (Macon-Bibb County Mayor) Reichert’s 2013 Strategic Plan with a sketch. You can however find out $1.866 million of SPLOST funds have been spent on the Downtown Corridor in January and February this year.

There’s another sketch on a 2010 Redevelopment Plan on NewTown Macon’s site. Nothing on the Macon-Bibb GIS SPLOST Map, just more funding figures. I imagine since it’s local funds; that’s why it is not on the GDOT project site (state funded projects), nor in Macon’s Transportation Improvement Program report (federal funded projects). The only information of what the west side of the connector will look like came from WMAZ: “The elevated bridge will start off at the intersection of Little Richard Penniman Boulevard and Nussbaum Avenue and extend to the intersection of Second Street and Hawthorne.”

Elevated bridge, eh?

Surely in this day I don’t have to physically carry myself to the Macon-Bibb engineering department and fill out a FOIA request just to see how they are updating our roads?

-- Matt Dykes

Macon

We were informed by the mayor’s office that new maps would be available on the government’s website shortly.

-- Editors

Sharia law

Sen. Ted Cruz declared for president of the United States in 2016. Others will follow as the days and months go by. I would have only one question for each of them and it concerns the multitude of Islamic Muslim enclaves, both those used for training military personnel and those that have set up Islamic states within our states since 2002 and have established Sharia Law. What would each candidate’s action be with respect to this defiance of American law?

-- Gilbert Switzer

Warner Robins

The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment forbids the establishment of any religion by the government.

-- Editors

Keep them at work

Tis the season, they say, to announce hopeful expectations toward being this country’s next president. While early, I expect the crop of hopefuls to come up with a few bright ideas on how to run this country on an empty stomach.

Eight years ago the national debt hovered around $8 trillion or $9 trillion, give or take a few, and today the debt is above $18 trillion and growing faster than weeds on a manure pile. If executive action is creating problems today, then executive action can cure the problem. Thus any potential candidate must lay out a plan of action designed to return this country to an economy based on income just as states, cities and small towns have been doing for over a century.

Secondly, Congress cannot get paid for doing nothing. Hold them in session until a spending plan is developed and passed into law. (We will all take a cut in pay here) Lastly, no retirement benefits, regardless. My plan, exactly.

-- Ken Brown

Byron

Around town

I have a suggestion for our city/county leaders. Get the log trucks and other 18 wheelers out of downtown Macon. Don’t get me wrong, truckers, I love you guys and gals. I have driven one myself and I realize how much we depend on you.

Hundreds of log trucks a day come from the eastern counties, cut through town to MLK and go south to the paper mill on Mead Road. They bounce through MLK at Cherry dropping pieces of logs and bark. It is a eye sore and a unnecessary danger.

We already have a potential truck route, Seventh Street to the Eisenhower extension and you are back on Broadway south bound. Thank you loggers that take Interstate 75 to the Pio Nono exit to Guy Payne Road going around, not through, downtown.

-- Neal Smith

Byron

Wait for justice

My friend Mutt called last December and asked, “Would you just pay the ticket and forget the whole thing or would you go to court?” He is a senior at Georgia Tech with a 3.50 average in computer engineering, And earlier, while making a left turn from his apartment for class an older BMW driving west in an eastbound lane smashed the front his RAV-4. Each driver made several cellphone photos of the accident and he texted a few to me that clearly showed where the blame lay in the collision.

An Atlanta policeman arrived and talked with each driver before charging Mutt with an improper turn and held the driver of the BMW blameless. The officer turned a deaf ear to the explanation of my friend and a blind eye to the positions of the vehicles and camera evidence offered. Within 24 hours, Mutt’s insurance company was contacted by a one-call-that’s-all attorney claiming damages and injury for the BMW driver and proposing a quick settlement for $3,500. When Mutt’s insurance carrier provided the attorney with a claim denial and copies of the accident photos, a statement from Mutt of what actually happened, a copy of the policeman’s tickets with four errors including a Sunday court appearance date, he slithered under a litigation log and was never heard from again.

Mutt continued: “few Georgia Tech students are successful in beating a traffic ticket in Atlanta, and many believe white students are targeted by some of the police. Usually traffic court has an Afro-American prosecutor and judge and a white student is often thrown under the legal bus and fined several hundred dollars. Beating a traffic ticket here is almost impossible regardless of the circumstances.”

When I asked did he agree that most of the students gathering traffic tickets actually were committing driving infractions, he said they likely were. I then answered Mutt’s original question and said; if you are convinced the officer mischarged deliberately or by mistake, he should appear in traffic court and offer his side of the incident, most judges are reasonable people.

After two changes in Mutt’s court date, he and his father stood in contrast before an Atlanta traffic judge and prosecutor, the charging policeman and the BMW driver, all of African-American descent and pleaded his case without advice of an attorney. He offered the photos taken on his cell phone as evidence and a sketch he had made of the mishaps. It took the court minutes to dismiss all charges against Mutt.

In my friend’s case the Atlanta policeman made a mistake or intentionally mischarged a person because of bias. Mutt’s situation pales in the light of some official misbehavior and racial profiling we are seeing far too often, but the principle is the same.

Right will eventually prevail in our American judicial system when it is demanded, albeit sometimes it moves as slowly as a Rickshaw in a boggy swamp. Indeed, justice will come in the morning.

-- John G. Kelley Jr.

Macon

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