Monday, March 15, 2010

15 MAR 10: Judge Not?

Three weeks ago, the big guessing game in Columbus involved who might fill an open judgeship. Now the question is whether that position will be filled at all. Some state lawmakers apparently think the other Superior Court judges have enough wisdom by themselves.

State Senator Mitch Seabaugh says Georgia's budget is so tight, 19 Superior Court seats across the state should be eliminated. The Muscogee County position which opened with Robert Johnston's resignation would disappear - which I hope would mean he can keep the gavel as a memento.

Mitch Seabaugh explains the 14 million dollars in savings would extend beyond the 19 judges. Operating costs for secretaries and other staff members would go down as well. But some women probably would be disappointed - because paralegals would have no chance of becoming fully legal.

But as you might guess, judges across Georgia don't like this idea. In fact, the Judicial Council of Georgia told GPB the state's Superior Court level has a 70-judge shortage -- and judges simply aren't leaving reality TV shows fast enough to make up the difference.

In the meantime, candidates for Robert Johnston's judgeship have until this Friday to fill out applications for the job. I assume Georgia still does this the old-fashioned way - you know, without anyone submitting a home video or launching a petition drive on Facebook.

Published reports indicate 13 people have been nominated for Superior Court Judge. They include two names suggested to us last month [21 Feb] - attorneys Ron Mullins and Bill Rumer. This is one time when a Rumer sent to this blog actually turned out to be accurate....

We suggested in February former District Attorney Gray Conger might be interested in the judgeship. He's on the nomination list - but so is his supposed one-time love interest, Probate Judge Julia Lumpkin. Do you think both of them reviewed old episodes of "L.A. Law," to see if this sort of thing came up?

But former Columbus Mayor Bob Poydasheff is NOT on the list of nominees for judge. He doesn't need that sort of job, you know. A Poydasheff Court was established in his honor a few years ago....

Meanwhile, Columbus city officials have another state budget cut on their minds. City Manager Isaiah Hugley told WRBL he plans to ask 17 surrounding counties for money, to keep the state crime lab open. So the fund-raising drive is on after all -- and I suggest calling it "Save Our Underfunded Lab," or the SOUL campaign.

City Manager Isaiah Hugley complained Columbus shouldn't have to provide money for a state crime lab. That's funny - I'm about to tell some of these public television and radio pledge drives the same thing.

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. People from around the world visit "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: We often receive rants from readers, but this one is a bit on the emotional side. At the writer's request, we've cleaned up several spelling and grammatical errors -- except for one sentence which we couldn't figure out how to edit properly....

There may be some misspellings, for I am typing this on my cell in the dark and I have fat fingers.

For the past few years I have been volunteering around the Columbus area. It started when an individual asked me why I was walking on the grass.

I had no answer; we have a sidewalk. I guess maybe I just wanted to take the easy way, but that kills the grass and makes the community look bad.

After that I stopped walking on grass and started going the long way around. It has come to my attention as I venture out into Columbus that we are a need-to-know basis city.

Besides working with one another Monday through Friday, we really don't spend time with each other. Now I am not good at breaking down communities by name. I don't do south, west, etc.

However, I have met a lot of wonderful people who give their time, money and effort into making Columbus a safe place to live. I have often asked how they keep doing what they are doing when there is so much stacked against them.

I have cried many times in the dark, and when I speak in public my stomach aches and I just wanna yell out in anger about the things I see and the physical and mental divide we have in the city.

Sometimes people are afraid to say how they really feel for fear of losing a connection or funding, and sometimes people mistake passion for anger and they distance themselves from you.

Than those who work with you have make the choice, are you an asset or a liability?

As I type, I am crying, am crying for the people in my community who are nothing than statistics. You know what it's like having someone refer to a piece of paper to find out things about you rather asking you?

I am not a statistic; the people in my community are not statistics. We are numbers; you should close schools, cut GED programs because you got 15 instead of 25.

Why do we have base everything on numbers? Why can't we just redesign program to fit 15 instead of that 25?

What's the point of job training programs if the city is not creating jobs, or the only job you can get is low paying?

Some people take the "keep off the grass" environmental mentality to the other extreme. When I drive by them, I ask myself: "Why walk on a sidewalk when you can walk on the street?"

Organizations such as One Columbus try to bridge local dividing points, through ways such as community "dialogue groups." But Columbus also has a reputation for being too busy for "extracurricular" activities like that. If crowds won't show up for minor league baseball games, chats about race relations aren't likely to fill meeting halls.

I don't know if this will make our e-mailer feel any better about being judged like a statistic. But I promise not to consult any RPI rankings in filling out my NCAA basketball tournament bracket.

Now let's get caught up from a weekend of changing times -- or maybe time-changing....

+ A judge dismissed charges against Russell County High School football coach Rico White. He was accused of painting graffiti in a school driveway, which criticized a member of the school board. Former Superintendent Yvette Richardson may have been sneakier than anyone realized....

+ Georgia's U.S. Senators announced Columbus Airport will receive a grant of more than three million dollars. The money will upgrade "taxiway C" - and maybe then the airport will gain airline B.

+ Columbus city government held its annual day for recycling hazardous waste. This event occurred on the wrong day of the week for me - and besides, I wasn't sure if old political campaign literature counted as hazardous or not.

+ National radio host Michael Baesden made several appearances in Columbus. Baesden used to call his program "Love, Lust and Lies" - but if he was allowed to speak at a "Women's Empowerment Luncheon," one of those three had to be banned.

+ Georgia School Superintendent Kathy Cox suggested lottery ticket prices be increased 50 cents, to help fund the state education budget. You'd think those five-dollar scratch-off tickets are priced high enough already -- but maybe Cox is trying to promote good math skills.

+ About 80 people attended the regional "StarFleet" convention in Columbus. It's an organization for fans of "Star Trek" - so this group must have grown tired of meeting in Enterprise, Alabama.

+ Columbus State University's Jonathan Hall won the NCAA national championship, for "air rifle" shooting. This sounds like the perfect shooting event for me - because I can hit air far more often than a target.

+ Auburn University fired men's basketball coach Jeff Lebo. Lebo needed a miracle season to save his job - but the Will Graham religious celebration was scheduled at Beard-Eaves Coliseum a few weeks too late.

+ Georgia Tech was the only college in Georgia or Alabama selected for the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The YellaFellas Yellow Jackets are in the same region as my alma mater, number-one seed Kansas - and if they want to knock off Tennessee in an early round, I won't object at all.

(My older brother told me Ivy League champion Cornell is one of his "sexy upset choices." This was stunning to me - because I can't remember the last time my older brother used the word "sexy" to describe anything.)

+ Instant Message to Jan Jones: It's too bad your LaGrange ladies lost in the state semifinals. But I hereby offer a consolation prize - as you replace Ashley Powell as the "hottest" sports coach in the area. The fact that you are married and a mother of two doesn't disqualify you in the least.

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