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My Reflections on Selma: Jack Ellis Recalls the History, and Surveys Some Present Challenges, of Race and Voting in America

By C. Jack Ellis, former Mayor of Macon, March 14, 2015:

On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln announced his intention to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, which he did on January 1, 1863. Soon after Lincoln’s announcement, in an October 12, 1862 newspaper article, Karl Marx wrote that Lincoln’s “proclamation, . . . the manifesto abolishing slavery, is the most important document in American history since the establishment of the Union.”

I would have agreed with that sentiment — prior to the … Continue Reading

Selma, a Catalyst for Voting Rights, also Put Protesting and Policing in the Media Glare

By Dave Oedel, Macon Georgia, March 14, 2015:

President Obama visited Selma, Alabama here in the Black Belt a week ago, March 7, 2015, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.” Five decades ago, under orders from Alabama Governor George Wallace, Alabama state patrol officers with unnecessary violence suppressed a peaceful if knowingly confrontational march for voting rights organized by Martin Luther King, Jr.  Alabama Governor George Wallace had advised the chief of the Alabama state highway patrol “to use whatever means are necessary to prevent a march,” which Wallace and the chief had concluded would violate state highway traffic laws. They could also have concluded that most cars were about to violate some highway law or another, but of course cars weren’t being stopped – just the protesters. When the chief officer and the chief protester approached one another that day on the Edmund Pettus Bridge at the county line, the officer declined discussion, saying only that there was nothing left to discuss.

If you need a refresher or an education about what happened next, you might take a look at the first 3 minutes of this newsreel footage.

Seeing the police rush and trample … Continue Reading

Dry Run for the Doggie Death Penalty? The First “Dangerous Dog” Hearing is Underway Before Macon-Bibb’s Board of Health, With a Verdict Expected Monday Evening, March 9, 2015. Even After the Verdict, There’ll Be Lots of Questions Left to Answer.

By Dave Oedel, March 8, 2015, Macon, Georgia:

On December 29, 2014, three dogs, Coco, Pearl and Justice, pit bull mixes, got out of a contained backyard in the Brookefield subdivision off Bowman Road in north Macon at 140 Brookefield Drive, apparently from a hole in the high board fence that is typical in the neighborhood. Walking in the neighborhood was a visitor to the subdivision from Miami, Florida. His name? Renalto, an eight-year-old Schnauzer. At the end of a brief, frenzied encounter among the four dogs, Renalto was dead.

Renalto’s owner, Claudio Naranjo, 38, visiting her friends Zarina and Tora Gore who live at 304 Millwood Court just around the corner and about five doors away, was injured with bite punctures to her hand while trying to separate the dogs. Some of the punctures on one hand received stitches. … Continue Reading

Thoughts on Meeting the Legally Mandated Cuts in Macon-Bibb: Why There’s No Way to Avoid the Tough Conversation About Personnel Cuts, and What Can Practically Be Done to Achieve Them

By Alan Wood, March 8, 2015

Editor of Georgia Watchdog

Macon-Bibb County has around 2,200 local governmental employees, not counting  jobs related to the school system. The salaries of these government employees make up the lion’s share of the consolidated budget. In fact, around 80% of the entire budget outlay goes towards salaries. When consolidation was still in discussion, there was a mandate that the newly merged entity must cut costs by 20% by FY2019. That provision is a major reason consolidation was finally approved after so many failed attempts in the past. People looked forward to the tax cuts that a consolidated government had promised to deliver.

Based on the 2014 budget, a 20% cost reduction would be approximately $33 million. Some progress toward that goal of about four percent annually was already achieved in that 2014 budget, though, so the good news is that somewhat less, probably “only” about $27 million more, is additionally required to meet the promised and legislatively required goal of cost reduction.  Still, the easiest cuts have been made, and it’s important that the Macon-Bibb government continue in earnest this year to look even harder at cost savings.  In this article, I’d like to offer my assessment, and a few suggestions to reach that goal. … Continue Reading

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