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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
May 2, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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May 2, 2018

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E DIT ORIALS Declare among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not; Jeremiah 50:2 2016 and 20!7 winner:. Editorial Page excellence~ @ 2016 winner. Sports Photography excellence 2016 winner: News Phoiography excellence 2016 winner:. Front Page excellence 2017 winner:. Best Humor Column On the Perch ON THE PORCH by WiiJ Davis 'I left County' Ms tlantaSt people move to Monroe County to getaway m the crime, dysfunction, high taxes and poor ools that exist in big dries like Macon and The challenge for families new to Monroe County is this: Once you get here, how do you crank up the draw bridge to keep those things from following you here? And that's why Monday night's debate at the county zoning meeting was so interesting. As you can read on the front page, Vantage Development wants to build 72 low-income apart- ments in a nice residential area in south Monroe County:. I can see why 200 residents showed up, one of the biggest crowds in my 11 years in Forsyth, to oppose it. When my grandparents moved to the Beaver Ruin Road area in Norcross in the 1970s, they located in a quiet subdivision of ranch-style homes full of families and quiet shady lanes. With granddaddy retiring as the prindpal at Norcross High; it would be a great place for them to retire and. enjoy their golden years. Twenty years later, developers threw up a large apartment complex behind them. By the 2000s, Gwinnett County had exploded all around them and they were in essence trapped. Crime was rising. English was a second language at most of the stores in their area. When they passed away in 2010, the family icould only sell the home for a fraction of what it had been worth. So Stuart Hammock, who lives on Hunters Court near the proposed apartments in south Monroe Count, probably had the right idea when he told Vantage on Monday night to find a place to build their complex in Bibb County. "Bibb Count, they love to do low-income housing," Ham- mock said. 'And that's why people are leaving Bibb Coun I left Bibb County nine years ago, and I'm not going back." But those worried 0ut those apartments can't blame the devel- oper alone. By its own admission, the developer intentionally sought out a nice area to build its low- income housing because the state offers tax credits for it to do so. "It's a nice area ' Vantages Jordan Whiteside said of South Monroe. "So one thing the state tries to do is not put tax-credit developments where they normally go. We try to put them in higher-end areas? Chew on that for a minute. Your state government, which your taxes fund, is pushing for the construction of low-income housing in your neighborhood to harm your economic well- being. All for their utopian dreams. And it's not just the state government. These decrees come down from the master planners and the do-gooders in the federal bureaucracy in Washington. Not surprising,one of former President Obam lop agenda items was his wall-pub- licized plan to destroy the American suburbs by offering such incentives to get low-income housing into nice neighborhoods. It brings to mind the old saying: You may not care about polirics, but politics "cares" about you. And more often than not, it seeks to harm you. Take any problem today: Bad Common Core-style curricu- lum in our public schools, lack of economic opportunity, illegal aliens bringing crime into our communities (see our arrests on a given week) and yes, subsidized housing trying to bring down neighborhoods, and the root problem is almost always liberal, big-government busybodies getting their filthy hands involved in our daily lives. Our friend Tammy Rafferzeder of Habitat for Humanity rightly notes in a letter on page 5A that wealthier neighbor- hoods have problems just like poor ones. And others have noted recently on these pages that there isn't enough housing for middle-income families in Monroe Count. All true. But the Habitat for Humanity model has been much more success- ful at lifting families out of poverty than large-scale, govern- ment-subsidized apartments. Habitat builds or renovates nice ;single-family homes in existing neighborhoods and requires homeowners to contribute heavily to the home. q-hat's what we should support. But county residents do not want a critical mass of low-income housing all together bringing down sur- rounding areas. And our bet is that when county commission- ers meet next Tuesday; we'll find out that neither do they. www. is published every week byThe Monroe County Reporter Inc. Will Davis, President Robert M. Williams Jr Vice President Cheryl S. Williams, Secretary-Treasurer STAFF Will Davis Publisher/Editor pub,sher Richard Dumas News Editor Carolyn Martel Advertising Manager ::~!:'~:~ Trellis Grant Business Manager Diane Glidewell Community Editor ~ ~':' ~~ Brandon Park Creative Director Ofl~(ial Organ of Monroe County and the City of Forsyth 50 N. Jackson St. Forsyth, GA 31029 Periodicals Postage Paid at Forsyth, GA 31029 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: THE MONROE COUNTY REPORTER P.O. Box 795, Forsyth, GA 31029 SUBSCRIPTION RATE: In County: $35 Out of County: $48. Single Copy: $1 Deadlines noon on Friday prior to issue. Comments featured on opinion pages are the creation of the writers, the do not necessarily reflect the opinions of[he R el~rter management. Publication No. USPS 997-840 II I PEACH STATE POLITICS by Kyle Wingfield contract dispute be- tween Piedmont Health- care and Blue Cross and Blue Shidd appears to be over: The two parties this past week confirmed a "handshake deal" at the urging of Gov. Nathan Deal. Georgians who seek care via both companies - not just in Atlanta, but from Columbus to Athens, Blairs- ville to Elberton - were caught in the middle when the contract expired April 1. They can breathe a bit easier now, but this is no way to run a health-care market. Deal, who was in Congress when Democrats passed Obamacare, surely reminded both companies the only beneficiaries of these fights are those pushing the next government- centric step of single-payer health care. And this wasn't even the worst recent fight of this kind: Piedmont and Aetna came within hours of their contract expiring in January 2014, but Blue Cross and the Grady Health System went more than four months without an in-network The only real preventive medicine for consumers is to make the market freer. Start with price transparenc ; the lack of which is a big reason health care doesn't perform like a real market. Price is the vital signal be- tween the array of producers on one side and consumers on the other. Without it, neither side behaves as it normally would. Yet, as the Piedmont-Blue Cross dispute shows, the price signal in health care has been reduced to negotiations between each provider and insurer. That's why price, from the consumer's perspective, emerges as if from a black box - with no context or means of comparison between providers or insurers. If we're going to have mandates in health care, lawmakers could require providers to offer dear, upfront prices for their services. It may, be complicated to do so in emergency situations, but not for the vast majority of routine ser- vices or care for chronic illnesses. Between the exist- ing opacity and the way third-party payer arrangements insulate consumers from the - /i true price of health services, it's no wonder costs keep soaring. Patients have neither the means nor the motivation to subject providers tn any kind of market discipline. q-hat's instead left to insurers. Rath- er than providing true insurance, protecting against an unbearable cost in an unlikely circumstance, it's become a method of pre-paying for health care one may or may not consume. That won't change until consumers have attractive alterna- tives - such as contracting on their own with physicians though direct primary care - that restore health insurance to its proper role. Easing the state's certificate-of- JUST THE WAY IT IS by Sloan Oliver ast month, my wife and I 'were working in the yard when a middle-aged couple drove up asked ifwe knew ofany houses for sale in the area. Their ques- tion generated a few of our own, the most significant being where are they moving from. They answered; they live in Macon-Bibb and want to "get out" of that coun My next question was "why?". I knew the answer but wanted to hear it from them. "Macon has too many thuggie, gang bangers who don't give a flip about anything except themselves? PROOF OF their words is found daily in pages of the Macon Tdegraph and in the weekend crime reports. For example, the weekend of April 14-15, Macon had 6 shootings resulting in 3 murders and several armed robberies of convenience/dollar stores. Two of the murdered victims were bystanders caught in the line of fire during a shoot- out. The most unfortunate victim was Ann Leonard, 75, killed by a stray bullet from an AK-47 that travelled over 300 yards, passed through a window and struck her in the chest, while standing in her kitchen. That's the kind violence the Macon couple wants to flee. (Dofft be surprised if Monroe County starts seeing the same if our Planning and Zoning Board approves the low- income housing being requested in Bolingbroke.) YOU MIGHT think that 6 shoot- ings and 3 murders would cause a stir or create some angst within the black community. However, that's not the case. I'm sad to say that black-on-black shootings and murders are such com- monplace that they don't even make front page news. Ifyou recall, that weekend's social media outrage was about the 71 year-old, white woman who slapped a pregnant, black woman in an argument over a parking spot. The liberal narrative is that crime, education, and poverty are not the biggest problems facing black America; no, the b'tggcst problem is racism and a 71 -year-old, white womanb slap was proof. The outrage in Macon was a hand-slap, not the three murders. All I can do is SMH. ANN LEONARD was bom and raised in Macon. She was educated in the black, public schools. Leonard need laws, which restrict providers' ability to open new facilities, may be one of the measures Deal would have taken had Piedmont and Blue Cross not worked out their differ- ences before his deadline. That must also be part of any market-driven solution. " Congress will have to step up, too. Tools such as Health Savings Accounts are too restrictive to help to most people. If HSAs are expanded, more Americans could personally take charge of their health-related finances. And we need not dive into the havoc Obamacare has wrought on the indi- vidual market, except to say the next round of insurers' rate requests this summer will renew the pressure on Con- gress and President Trump to repeal and replace that law. If freeing up the health-care mar- ket seems daunting or unlike other, simpler markets, that's because we have let too many distortions pile up. It's time we start removing those and seeing what kind of health-care market we could be enjoying. A columnist whose work appears in newspapers around the state, Kyle Wingfield is president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation: graduated from Ballard Hudson HS and earned her college degree at Fort Valley State. After college, she spent 40+ years as an educator in the Bibb County Public Schools. By all accounts, Ms. Leonard was highly regarded in the black community - as an educator, as a disciplinarian, and as a role model. All who knew her called her a friend. She lived her entire life in the xrining C'lrde neighborhood - until she was gunned down. I DIDN'T know her, but I went to Ms. Leon- ard's funeral. You might ask why I went. I went because I want the black community to know that I care. I want the black community to know that white people care about what is happening in the black neighbor- hoods. It's not OK to go around shooting up your neighborhood or to go around killing innocent people. I'm saddened that the black community isfft more outraged and isn't marching through every single neighborhood demanding an end to this senseless violence. What the beck is going on? How much more violence needs to occur before the black com- munity screams - "NO MORE?" Last October, 16-year old Jayvon Sherman was murdered while walking to high school. Before that it was pizza delivery woman, Brooklyn Rouse - shot in the face by a thuggie trying to rob her. And before that, 14-year-old Takhuntis Rob- erts was killed when thuggies shot up her house, in a dispute with her brother. In between the murders of Roberts and Ms. Leonard there have been dozens of murders in the black community. WHETHER YOU live in the black community or white, rich community or poor, Bibb County or Monroe, the violence and murders affect every one of us. First, the and most tragic is that a life is ended decades before it should. Loved ones and friends mourn the devastating loss. The victim will never have children, the parents will never have grandchildren, a brother is lost, a son is lost, or a mother is lost. impossible to put into words the trage,the pain, the suffering, and the utter waste caused by each one of these murders. WHILE VIOLFaNCE has an emo- tional impact, it has a monetary impact, as well. First, the victim and the killer will never again contribute to sodet . Instead, the killer will go to prison and cost us around $30,000 per year to keep incarcerated. Additionall there are costs assodated with increased law enforcement. Then, how do we mea- sure the costs associated with decreased property values when people start moving away from c ae-ridden neighborhoods? How do we measure the economic costs of busi- nesses NOT started in a community? And what are the psychological costs of seniors afraid to leave their homes or of children not allowed to play outdoors for fear of violence? Finally; while '/O t90/,'V'eP I have no sympathy for the killer, his family suffers tremendously. For all intents and purposes, a murder destroys two families - the victim's and the killer's. And for what end? It's so sensdess. AS A MIDDLE-CLASS white guy; I wish I could stop the violence. But what can I do? I can point it out and say I hate it- But that does nothing to stop it. Outside the black communi,what can any of us do? We.can pray for the victims and then" families, we can start midnight basketball programs, and the police can initiate stop-and-frisk programs. But who thinks any of those will do any good? Stop-and-frisk might keep some criminals from carrying guns, and that would be good. And if midnight basketball worked, w&t see it all over the count13a. However, the answer lies, not on the basketball courts, but in the hearts of the killers. FINAL COMMENT: Meanwhile, former Macon mayor, C. Jack Ellis is trying to convince us that the problems in the black community are due to Confederate monuments and is de- manding the monuments in Macon be removed. Please, someone tell C. Jack that he's embarrassing. Sloan Oliver is a retired Army officer. He lives in Bolingbroke with his wife Sandra. Email him at sloanolivet@ earthlinlcnet.