Posts Tagged ‘LOST’

“Richard Hyatt’s Columbus,” Sam Rawls, and Me

August 1, 2008

  My name has appeared a few times on Richard Hyatt’s website, Richard Hyatt’s Columbus. One of the posts directed visitors to this site for the story on Dee Armstrong’s advice to her WTVM replacement. Thanks for that, Richard.

 

  The other one, which was partially about Sam Rawls and me resigning Common Cause Columbus positions, had correct information in it, but the order of events presented could give a wrong impression. Sam Rawls, who had announced CCC was protesting the airing of a TV commercial because it stated the LOST was not a tax increase, resigned as chairman of the CCC Governing Board two weeks after the July 15th LOST referendum. Right after that, the fact that I had resigned as publicity chairman was reported. You could get the idea – though, I feel certain that’s not what Richard intended – that I resigned because the LOST passed. I had resigned long before Sam, and it had nothing to do with the LOST. As you may recall from my Ledger-Enquirer letter, I voted for the LOST.  As Sam said, everybody in CCC was not against the LOST.  I am not even sure that Sam resigned because the LOST passed. That’s not the reason he gave me.

 

  Now, you may ask, what was the reason he gave me? Sorry, but that was a private conversation, and this old reporter learned long ago that you don’t violate confidences.  For one thing, that is a sure way to get sources to clam up and tell you nothing in the future.  When you are a member of an organization, there is no sense making any pretense about reporting objectively on it. What you say, even if true, is suspect because of the conflicts of interests involved.  When I made my living reporting, I turned down every request to be publicity chair for any organization to which I belonged.  

 

  As far as Common Cause is concerned, both Sam and I are still members. From what Sam has said in the past, I know that he is a member for the main reasons I am, we beleive in holding power accountable and in transparency in governmental actions.

 

    

 

 

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Georgia Corrections Commissioner Backs LOST

June 26, 2008

  Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington, Georgia’s former Commissioner of Corrections,  picked up  support by the present Commissioner for his Local Option Sales Tax initiative. James E. Donald, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections, told Rotary Club of Columbus members that Georgians need to come together to do something about the prison problem in the state, and he believes that Columbus folks need to pitch in by voting for the LOST.

 

 

 

 

James E. Donald

Commissioner, Georgia Department of Corrections 

 

 

  He says his plan to stop putting away non-violent drug abusers, who are filling up the state’s prison system, will take the support of strong local police departments. Mayor Wetherington promises to spend the majority of the LOST money on beefing up the city’s safety department.

 

  It costs the state about 1.2 billion dollars a year to operate its Corrections Department, he said. And Governor Perdue has cut the department’s budget by 38 million dollars. Commissioner Donald says he takes that cut as an opportunity to be more creative about ways to make the prison system work better.  

 

  Donald, a retired infantry general, hopes judges will start sentencing drug abusers to rehabilitation programs that require them to report regularly to day reporting centers, one of which is being built for Columbus. They go to the centers to be checked to see that they are not violating their probationary sentences and not returning to their old drug abusing ways.

 

  Georgia,” he says, “has the second highest rate of incarceration in the nation, second only to Florida.”

 

  He says just locking people up treats the symptom, but not the root cause of the problem itself. If only the symptom is treated, when the inmates are released back into society they return to their old criminal ways. He wants to lean more on crime prevention, education and rehabilitation.

 

  And he wants us to support Mayor Wetherington’s LOST. Maybe we will, but I know a lot of people, including a number of Rotarians, who are not for the LOST. Me? Well, I’m torn. We’ll get into that in a future post on this blog. Stay tuned.