10 AUG 11: Sweet T?
Today's post feels like it belongs on Sesame Street, because it's filled with the letter T. In this case, T is for transportation. And taxation. And talk show. And Tea Party, which I think opposes at least one of those three....
A timpani drum is starting to beat for another tax increase in the Columbus area. And this has nothing to do with the city Charter Review Commission's proposed "Fountain City 500." In fact, I heard it endorsed Tuesday by a man in Macon - as if he wants Columbus residents to head his way if the thought of shopping for bargains in Phenix City seems repulsive.
Mid-Georgia Ambulance President Ben Hinson told WDAK's talk show "Viewpoint" the Columbus area needs to approve a "T-SPLOST" next year. That's a special purpose local option sales tax for regional transportation development. I can see officials promoting it now, by holding a fundraising T-ball....
Ben Hinson thinks the Columbus area needs a T-SPLOST for competitive reasons. He explained without the extra sales tax for improving transportation, new businesses won't be interested in locating in this part of Georgia. This is yet another Macon man who apparently hasn't heard about the Kia plant.
To be fair, Mid-Georgia Ambulance serves metro Columbus as well as the Macon area. In fact, its coverage area includes the entire U.S. 80 corridor. So a T-SPLOST could result in better roads for emergency runs - as well as any other driver who thinks he can get away with going 100 miles per hour in the middle of the night.
Viewpoint is a production of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce. So the presence of a T-SPLOST supporter Tuesday might lead people to conclude the Chamber supports this tax increase. Which is strange, because I doubt Mike Gaymon would endorse that approach to bring down our national debt....
But a check of the calendar shows 2012 will be an election year, for everyone from President and Congress to five Columbus Council seats. Given what's happened in Washington over the last few days, a proposed T-SPLOST on the ballot to increase taxes might be a real.... well, you know.... a T-Bonehead idea.
While he was on the phone from Macon, Ben Hinson answered some questions you might have pondered about local ambulance service. He said Mid-Georgia Ambulance is working well with Columbus Fire/EMT, including the occasional placing of ambulances inside fire stations. As long as EMT's control the diabetes test needles, firefighters will stay in line.
Why do large Columbus fire trucks go with ambulances to medical emergencies? Ben Hinson explained the extra coverage is based on a lifesaving theory: "Send the cavalry until we know that we shouldn't." After all, there might be a reason for that heart attack - such as a beloved cat caught at the top of a tree in the backyard.
Ben Hinson added expensive Columbus fire trucks go on emergency calls because "fire trucks never wear out. They may rust out." Not if the firefighters limit their pressure washing to once a week....
Ben Hinson also dared to say Columbus fire trucks can join ambulances on emergency calls because "the number of fires is going down." I hope no one in Warm Springs heard that -- since Franklin Roosevelt's historic McCarthy Cottage burned to the ground only hours before. People there might be T-ed off by such comments.
Let's put out the candles for this day with a check of other hot headlines....
+ Columbus Council voted 9-1 for a city buyout of an apartment complex on Victory Drive. It's located next to where Baker High School once stood - so either something big economically is planned on that corner, or this will be the biggest school memorial site in Georgia history.
(The one Council vote against the buyout came from a surprising seat - Mike Baker. If he keeps making bold steps of independence like this, Baker might be ready to run for mayor around 2030.)
+ A federal jury in Montgomery reported it's reached verdicts on some counts in the federal bingo corruption trial, but remains deadlocked on others. No decisions were announced - so clearly this bingo game is under "blackout" rules.
+ The NCAA ruled former Carver star and Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones is eligible to play this fall. Questions arose about several free flights Jones took between Columbus and Los Angeles - especially after Steven Spielberg didn't cast him as a villainous monster in a movie.
(WXTX noted former Shaw star Bruce Figgins may join Isaiah Crowell in the Georgia backfield. Figgins currently is the number-one fullback. Crowell could be the number-one halfback. Now can D.J. Jones finish things off, by becoming the number-one radio sideline reporter?)
+ Atlanta flipped Florida 4-3 in 11 innings, and second
baseperson sacker Dan Uggla had a single to extend his hitting streak to 30 consecutive games. Yet he went one-for-six to keep his batting average at a measly .220 - so this could go down as the Uggla-est streak in major league baseball history.
+ Instant Message to WRBL's Teresa Whitaker: Are you kidding me? You had a video camera recording as you drove -- in a rainstorm? I hope your station's auto insurance agent was watching another channel.
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