31 MAY 06: WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER
We're taking this title a couple of ways today - and you already may be taking this title a couple of ways, depending on your age. Younger readers may be thinking of the TV-movie "High School Musical." Older ones with bigger bellies may be thinking of an old jingle for Falstaff beer.
We start with the news approach to that title - which developed Tuesday at Columbus Council. City employees filled the chambers, after hearing rumors public safety might get a bigger pay raise than other departments. Don't these other departments know how to send scattershot e-mails all over town?
The spokesman for Columbus "public service" workers was Danny Cargill from the building inspections department. Leave it to him to examine city budget proposals, and find a loose brick somewhere....
Danny Cargill told reporters he doesn't mind public safety workers getting a raise. But he says the pay increases should be the same for all city employees. Oh really?! How much in fines did the building inspectors bring in last year, compared to the police?
Muscogee County Sheriff Ralph Johnson agreed with Danny Cargill. He told Columbus Council: "Fair is fair." Hmmm - maybe the Sheriff really is reaching out to civil rights groups now.
Apparently a rumor spread through the Government Center that at least one Columbus Councilor wanted to reduce raises for some city departments, so public safety workers could have more. This is clearly a case of the squeaky badges getting the grease....
WRBL reported it was Police Chief Rick/y/ Boren who submitted a plan to the City Manager for extra public safety pay. It suggested accomplishing this through signing bonuses and an incentive program. Uh oh -- incentives?! Is this the new way of saying "ticket quota?"
But the presentation by public service workers could put Columbus Council in a bit of a bind. Approve even raises for everyone, and police will complain it's not enough. Give public safety more than other departments - and police will smile a bit wider, but still probably it's not enough.
We know from a previous Big Blog Question that readers want Columbus public safety kept exempt from city budget cuts. Tuesday's big turnout by public service workers may cause some to reconsider their thinking - because without the fleet service department, police officers would ride a lot more bicycles.
BLOG SPECIAL EVENT: Today is post number 1,000 for this blog. We've made 1,000 entries here in 41 months - and before rumors start: not one of those entries was written while we were on steroids.
But wouldn't you know it: the 1,000 post hit the Internet 17 hours later than planned! Our blog service showed an "error" when we tried to post at midnight, blaming problems with a "fix" it made Tuesday. Whew -- I thought it was a message we should give away more prizes or something.
Someone suggested I say thank you 1,000 times to mark this milestone. This seemed like a lot of work and effort - and only too late did I realize it was as simple as hitting CTL-V 999 times.
But the person who made the suggestion has a good point - because without readers, there's no real reason to post a blog. Unless, of course, you're like some Hollywood stars who keep blogs to honor themselves....
You may have noticed we added a hit counter to the blog a few months ago, to see how many readers we really have. So what are the totals? Let's put it this way - if we put all our readers in a week inside Golden Park, there still would be plenty of room for the Columbus Catfish fans.
So let me say thanks to all of you who check this blog regularly, and offer your input occasionally. Our hit counter indicates we receive visits from some surprising places:
+ On some days, we have more readers from Atlanta than from Columbus. Those candidates for Governor must be more nervous than we thought.
+ Youngstown, Florida visitors show up almost every day. That town isn't even on my detailed road atlas - but if the Internet addresses say "Media General" on them, it could be where WRBL's lawyers live.
+ Visits occasionally come from other countries - including one the other day from Vietnam. When did they drop laptops in the jungle, hoping missing pilots would find them?
I'd keep the 1,000 party going, but I have to get to other projects - so let's quickly check other news items from Tuesday:
+ Actress Loretta Long gave presentations on preschool education at the Columbus Public Library. Long plays Susan the nurse on "Sesame Street" -- and someone should tell her Cookie Monster hasn't lost any weight since moving to that more balanced diet.
+ WRBL showed Phenix City's summer day camp at the Roy Martin Recreation Center. Among other things, children are playing billiards - leaving me to hope the staff isn't serving root beer.
+ Columbus High School demolished Dunwoody 16-1 to advance to the Georgia AAA baseball finals. Columbus will host Blessed Trinity for the title this weekend -- and with a Catholic high school playing the Blue Devils, people like me who grew up Protestant don't know who to support.
(Meanwhile, I was happy to read my old alma mater Kansas made the NCAA baseball playoffs. This happens for Kansas about as often as.... well, about as often as it qualifies for a football bowl game.)
+ Instant Message to Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox: What do you mean, education is your top issue as you campaign for Governor? Did you forget that OTHER Cox is state school superintendent -- the one who spells Kathy with a K?
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