Sunday, June 26, 2011

26 JUN 11: Fountain City 500

If Columbus had a race track like East Alabama Motor Speedway, our title today would be a nice name for a NASCAR or IndyCar event. But of course, this IS Columbus - so if NASCAR showed up, the stands might be only half-full.

SUNDAY SOAPBOX: Our title actually does not involve racing -- unless it's a race by some residents to move out of town....

Well,Tomlinson just lost my vote for re-election..What a slap in the face for the older people and people of low income who are home owners for her to even think about a $500 fee for basic city services..Do I think the property tax freeze is fair?..Yes,it is fair because it protects people who make the choice to stay living in a house rather than moving and that move is usually up.These people are mainly elderly homeowners ..Where does she think these people are going to come up with $500? So,what happens if they can't pay the extra $500? Does the city take their homes and make them homeless?...Get real Tomlinson and where is your compassion? If anything raise the taxes on homes over $300,000.

Now hold on -- this proposed $500 fee apparently started NOT with the Columbus mayor, but a subcommittee of the city Charter Review Commission. Teresa Pike Tomlinson was asked for her thoughts about it during a meeting this past week. What was she supposed to do - stick out her tongue and walk out?

From what I read in the Ledger-Enquirer, the Charter Review Commission is considering a minimum fee of $500 per year for all homeowners. It would NOT be an "extra" $500 above their property taxes, but whatever amount it takes to reach that minimum. A deeper explanation of the math might require updating the poker blog....

Mayor Teresa Pike Tomlinson actually opposed the basic services fee during the subcommittee meeting. She's quoted as calling it "a Band-Aid on an aortic aneurysm." Doesn't this prove how well-educated our mayor is? Some officials would have settled for a "bandage on a broken leg" reference.

The deeper issue in this debate is how to increase city revenues. Mayor Tomlinson campaigned on a proposed "sunset" of the city property tax freeze. Newcomers from Fort Knox facing the June heat probably are stunned to learn there's anything in Columbus that's frozen.

Mayor Tomlinson thinks support for the property tax freeze has, well, melted in recent years. She believes there might be enough votes to change the rules in a referendum. But then again, the mayor thought she had the votes on Columbus Council to reduce trash service - and she wound up with a grand total of one.

Despite the mayor's explanation, it appears a proposed $500 fee will go before the full Charter Review Commission this summer. The exact wording will be worked out with the city attorney, apparently including the rules for those who don't pay it. Will there be a "lien" so hard that it becomes a "lean" from collection agents wearing trench coats?

This debate should prove how wide-ranging the city charter review process is. Practically everything is on the table at these meetings -- and if someone proposes new rules for Victory Drive nightclubs, more reporters probably will show up.

Mayor Tomlinson still may be recovering from a proposed city budget, which received several revisions when Columbus Council approved it this past week. Port Columbus winds up with only a 17-percent cut in city funding. We'll now see if the museum staff concocts any more make-believe Civil War battles, to make up the difference.

We have one other e-mail today -- from the woman who had trouble reading older blog posts:

Thank you so much! I do not live in Columbus, I live in Peachtree city GA. I did live in Columbus from the years of 1995 to 2000. This blog brings back many memories and is also a way to keep up with the new things going on down there. So you inspired me, and this past weekend we drove down to Columbus. Our family went to the Columbus museum and the Infantry Museum. We also could not let a trip to Columbus go by without eating at Country's barbeque. If you ever decide to relocate, consider Peachtree City. I wish someone would write a blog about this place. It is stranger than anyone can ever imagine!

Thanks again for making me laugh!


Take that, all scoffers of this blog! The fun we try to have here is promoting Columbus tourism.

I used to live in metro Atlanta, and was asked to "house-sit" for a vacationing family one summer about ten miles from Peachtree City. Their spacious home was in Tyrone, which in 1990 was a small town. It was SO SMALL that a police car actually drove around the back of the house one Friday evening to check on me eating dinner - and there was no driveway back there.

Since Tyrone had no real business district, I drove to Peachtree City to shop for groceries. I was impressed with the rigid sign ordinance - even if it made Kroger harder to find.

Peachtree City is famous for its golf cart paths, which allow people to scoot around town without burning gasoline. One Friday evening I tried to jog on those paths - but was frustrated to discover they didn't always connect to each other. It was almost like they were trying to help train the high school cross-country team.

There probably is plenty of humor waiting for a blog writer in Peachtree City. In fact, I've noted before here how the first high school in a "P.C." town was named McIntosh.

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: The jokes for today have concluded - but you're welcome to read on for some personal thoughts on another news item.)

BUT SERIOUSLY: Speaking of the Atlanta years, it was sad to learn Saturday of the death of Nick Charles. I didn't work alongside him at CNN Center, but our paths crossed a few times. He was a friendly fellow off the air - and had great chemistry with Fred Hickman on "Sports Tonight," long before ESPN overwhelmed them with Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick.

Nick Charles's sport of passion was boxing - and he always seemed to have the inside line to Mike Tyson, for interviews before and after big fights. Charles had to be disappointed with how boxing has diminished with the rise of UFC and mixed martial arts. Charles died in New Mexico, sadly looking like Tyson had used him as a sparring partner.

The cause of Charles's death reminds me of a short and simple line a friend of mine wrote online this weekend: "Dear God, I pray for a cure for cancer. Amen."

This year's count of unique visitors is up more than 25 percent from 2010! To advertise to them, make a PayPal donation, offer a story tip or comment about this blog, write me - but be warned: I may post your e-mail and offer a reply.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-11 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

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