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January 8, 2020     The Monroe County Reporter
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January 8, 2020
 

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ON THE PORCH by Will Davis Goolsby goes rogue have considered city councilman Greg Goolsby a friend and. enjoyed our friendly banter concerning our respective schools, Georgia Tech and Georgia In fairness, what UGA fan hasn’t enjoyed that banter lately? But moreover, I have admired Goolsby’s entrepreneurial efforts to revive restaurants like the former Ann’s Deli, now The Pickled Okra, and Minori’s, all while building his own home construction company since his retirement from The Flats. I interviewed him for a story about his living quarters when he owned the beautiful Italian renaissance home on Indian Springs Drive. We interviewed him when he decided to run for council after reading in the Reporter about the corruption and bribery scandal that rocked city hall. That episode sent two councilmen to prison. I cheered him on his promise in that first campaign not to participate in various city council junkets, trips to places like Savannah and Amelia Island. Goolsby said they merely cost taxpayers’ money. It’s a promise he kept —— for his first term anyway. Given my respect for the council- man, it was a little surprising to learn his used his perch at council on Monday night to launch a tele- vised tirade against his hometOWn newspaper. As you’ll read on page 7A, Goolsby called for the city to retaliate against the newspaper, asking attorney Bobby Melton to find ways to circumvent state law and halt advertising in the legal organ. So what crime did our little news— paper commit that has given the councilman the vapors? Goolsby said he was upset about a photograph of the back of a small boy who was beaten by his step—dad The photo was published in the Dec. 25 Reporter with a story about the step-father’s trial, which led a Monroe County jury to give the step-father a 10—year prison sentence. Goolsby said the photo was “filth” and printing it was a “disgrace”. “I’m p—ed,” said Goolsby on about three occasions during his rant. Goolsby also said the Reporter included the boy’s name, which is not true. I can see how the photo would be upsetting. It SHOULD be upsetting. What the little boy suffered, welts and bruises and splinters from head to toe, was awful. The question is: why does Goolsby blame the messenger? Our job is to tell stories, and the photo tells that story. “Crime scene photos are tough,” said district attorney Jonathan Adams, who provided the photo to Reporter. “Some people have a hard time seeing them.” But Adams said the photo, which was a key part of his oflice’s case, was probably the best way to explain to taxpayers that the step-father didn’t get 10 years in prison for merely “whipping” his boy. “It’s important for people to understand, if they didn’t attend the trial, what the trial was about,” said Adams. Adams said if people hear that a local man got 10 years for “whipping his boy”, they may think it was just a spanking and think the district attomey’s oflice has gone off the rails. The photo removed any doubt about that. “It looks like something I saw in the history books about slaves in the 19th century,” said Adams. “I know it’s shocking. But it’s hard to communicate what we mean by child abuse if you didn’t see those photos. Words are limited there.” “I don’t think there was anything inappropriate meant by the photograph,” added Adams. “That was a significant case. We have horrible things going on in our own community in every community. It’s sad to think about. But thank goodness we have the CARE Cottage and the sheriff ’3 office and DA’s office that are able to do something about it.” So Mr. Goolsby can continue his tirade if he wishes. But this newspaper will not stop reporting the important news that our readers have come to trust us to deliver. Our first commitment is to you, our readers, not to the powers that be. Ifcity voters want their council members flexing their power, aiming to punish and verbally abuse local businesses, well then that’s what they’ve got. Ifthey don’t, tlrey’ve got four more years before they can make a change. Maybe that’ll give Goolsby enough time to cool off, and maybe actually support hometown businesses again, rather than tearing one down. “Rocks, the Monroe County porter www.MyMCR.net is published every week by The Monroe County Reporter Inc. Will Davis, President - Robert M. Williams Jr., Vice President Cheryl S. Williams, Secretary-Treasurer OUR STAFF Will Davis Publisher/Editor publisher@mymcr.net Trellis Grant Business Manager business@mymcr.net Diane Glidewell Community Editor news@mymcr.net Richard Dumas News Editor forsyth@mymcr.net Amy Haisten Creative Director graphics@mymcr.net Carolyn Martel Advertising Manager ads@mymcr.net Official Organ of Monroe County and the City of Forsyth 50 N. Jackson St., PO Box 795 Forsyth, GA 31029 Periodicals Postage Paid at Forsyth, GA 31029 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: THE MONROE COUNTY REPORTER - 478-994-2358 SUBSCRIPTION RATE: In County: 540 Out of County: $48 - Slngle Copy: $1 Deadlines noon on Friday priorto issue. Comments featured on opinion pages arethe creation of the writers, the do not necessarily reflect the opinions ofThe Reporter management Publication No. USPS 997-840 prni nDeclare among the nations, and publish, and set up standard; OHS 11A EDITORIALS PEACH STATE POllTlCS by Kyle Wingfielcl Ga. tax cuts wiser than he story of the a surge in revenue from as a result. Consider the 2020 legisla- the federal Tax Cuts and tax structures before and tive session will Jobs Act of 2017, because after each state’s rate cuts. be the budget. it eliminated a number of Georgia has six tax brack- Gov. Brian Kemp ordered deductions Georgia had ets, the highest of which some agencies to cut their adopted but didn’t change kicks in at just $7,000 of budgets the state’s tax taxable income for an while oth- rates. Legisla— individual or $10,000 for a ers expect tors’ response married couple. increases, was to expand In Kansas, the lowest the normal the standard rate before its tax reform rejiggering deduction in applied to the first $15,000 of priori- 2018, lower the of taxable income for an ties under top income-tax individual or $30,000 for a new rate of 6% to a married couple, with governor. 5.75% in 2019, two more brackets on top Along and schedule a of that. All of this means with those further cut to Georgians begin paying swings of 5.5% in 2020. the top tax rate at much hundreds Kansas, on lower levels of incom . of millions 4vfifla/éw/M the other hand, change in the top maregiéral of dol— sought to boost tax rate here thus affects lars, state its economy by a far larger proportion of revenues have been cutting taxes. The idea was taxpayers — although the roughly flat during the not to offset an expected top rate in Kansas still hits first several months of the spike in revenues, but to people who are squarely in current fiscal year. Now generate economic growth the middle class. we are hearing tales of woe that would, some pre— But perhaps the big- about the cuts legislators dicted at the time, lead to gest difference is how the made in 2018 to the state’s higher revenues. rates were cut. Georgia’s top income-tax rate. The So while Georgia was top rate fell by less than “cautionary tale” of Kansas trying to keep revenues one-twentieth (from 6% to even is being thrown mostly flat with a small 5.75%) between 2018 and around. projected increase in 2018 2019, with a similar cut Don’t believe the hype. and 2019, and a modest to come. Together, they For the uninitiated, Kan- dip starting in 2020 that would represent a decrease sas in 2012 also launched was projected to level off of about one-twelfth. a series of income-tax rate after a few years — Kansas In Kansas, however, cuts. There end the simi- wanted to cut revenues the top rate fell by almost larities with what Georgia with the expectation that one-fourth in just one did in 2018. subsequent growth would year: from 6.45% to 4.9%. Start with the differences make up for it. Then it kept falling by a in why each state chose to Those are very different much smaller amount year cut its tax rate. Georgia of— aims, and the policy de- over year, until the reforms ficials in 2018 anticipated signs were quite different were scrapped and tax BACK 'N’ FORTH by Bill Weaver Trucks need parking and lanes 1019, 2015, 1017, 1016 winner: Ediloriol Page excellence 2019, 1013 winner: Best Headline Writing 2019 winner: Best Communin Service 2019 winner: Best LoyouI and Design 1019 winter: Besl Serious Column Don Daniel publish, and conceal not." Jeremiah 50:2 Kansas' rates raised. The bottom rate also fell, by about one- seventh, and the middle bracket was eliminated altogether. In other words, the cuts in Kansas were much, much deeper than the ones here. It’s worth asking why Georgia’s revenues haven’t moved as was predicted two years ago. Perhaps the federal changes didn’t have as large an impact as expected; perhaps the state changes had a larger impact. Our state has also suffered two substantial blows economically in the meantrme: to agricultural production, following Hurricane Michael’s dev- astation in South Georgia, and to trade, due to the gyrations of US. policy toward China and other countries. Both challenges have also slowed the trans- portation and logistics industries that are more important to our economy than to some other states’. So let’s have that discus- sion, but without invoking another state’s missteps that don’t reflect the poli- cies enacted here. The president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Kyle Wingfield’s column runs in papers around the state of Georgia. e’ve seen stories in at Iohnstonville Road, the paper and on and the shoulders of TV about the Geor- the entrance ramps in gia Department of McDonough often are Transportation’s idea of building filled with parked big special lanes for commercial vehicle/ rigs. truck traffic on Interstate 75. Only one other state, New Jersey, has built THE TRUCKERS such lanes, and the idea of Geor- said the problem is get- gia doing it is still a long way off. ting worse as the num— Nonetheless, truckers would like it, her of trucks on the as they worry about weaving in and out of automobile traffic, and they don’t want to contribute to traffic congestion. FURTHERMORE, THEY have another concern, which I heard a lot about the other day during a conversation with three over—the— road truckers at the rest stop in south Monroe County. They were parked in the area reserved for truck parking. The lot was nearly full, even though it was only 5 in the evening road increases. One guy said he was recently nearing his destination — and his allowable driving time limit -- so he pulled up to the gated entry to a business, which had closed for the day. He needed to shut down his rig for the night so he found a place on the street. It wasn’t long before a police officer arrived and gave him a parking ticket. “BUT WHAT am I supposed to do?” the trucker asked the oflicer. and there were plenty “IT’S NOT my of hours left in the day problem. It’s yours. Find to drive. But they had somewhere else to par ” claimed their spot and they weren’t going any— BUT THERE aren’t where. many places to park, so the truckers look for TRUCKERS DO a lot “free parking” on the of that these days. There shoulders of roads, in are so many trucks on rest stops or in weigh the road that they must stations after hours, or devote the last portion v- they may resort to pay- of their daily allotment ing the $15 to park at a of allowable drive time truck stop like the one — 11 hours a day to just north of us at High- finding a spot where way 36 to Jackson — if they can park for the there’s a spot available. night. If they don’t, they risk exceed~ ing their driving time limit, which WHAT DO you get for parking could have dire consequences on their driving license or their status with their employer, or both. TRUCK LANES are going to mean more trucks, and there just aren’t enough parking spaces to ac- there? I asked. A shower, perhaps? “A BOTTLE of water if we’re lucky,” he said ‘ SOME TRUCKING companies forbid their employees from parking commodate them. on interstate exit/entrance ramps - especially the exit ramps, where ve- THE- SHORTAGE of big rig hicles are traveling fast and are more parking can be seen at the entrance and exit ramps of the interstate. I’ve seen at least eight trucks parked on the shoulder of the southbound entrance ramp from the Bolingbroke rest stop. Trucks can be seen parked on both the entrance and exit ramps at risk of hitting parked vehicles. A trucking company person told me this is their “sitting duck” policy, and getting caught violating it meant immediate termination. Of course, independent truckers can set their own policies, so most of the rigs we see parked on the ramps are most likely the independent truckers. DEPENDING ON what the trucker is hauling, it may not be possible for him or her to leave the truck If the trucker is hauling hazardous materials, or high-value goods, these vehicles probably can’t be left unattended, which might prohibit the use of a motel as a place to stop for the night. But motels are a problem anyway, not only due to the cost but because most do not have parking lots that can accommodate semi-trucks. MOST OF these big rigs do have comfortable sleeper compartments, however. Many truckers would prefer to sleep in their truck, which probably has a TV, heating or air conditioning, and plenty of room. The only problem, though, is where to park that rig. SO, THE discussion about creat- ing commercial vehicle/ truck lanes on Interstate 75 through Monroe County, and elsewhere in Middle Georgia, is a discussion that needs to include a provision for additional truck parking, whether it’s somehow provided by the public sector, or whether there’s a profit opportunity that provides incentive for it to be provided by the private sector. There just aren’t enough parking spaces. THE MEN and women who drive these trucks must have room to park and rest. We don’t want them park- ing on the road shoulders or along residential streets, but that’s where they will be if we don’t provide an alternative. Bill Weaver lives in northern Mon— roe County. He can be reached via email at billweaver81 1 @gmail.com.