By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Get to the polls on Tuesday
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

On Tuesday, many communities across the state will go to the polls to elect city council members and a few other offices.

What continues to amaze me is how many people will stay home.

A year from now, we will be going to the polls to elect two U.S. senators and the president of the United States. It may be more important than ever.

But if you ever go down the ballot to races for offices like Public Service Commissioner, there is a huge drop-off in the number of people voting.

But this week, people will avoid letting their voices be heard on offices that can really affect their pocketbook.

A local city council member will vote on your property taxes. They can decide whether or not your street gets paved or maybe a new sidewalk. They also vote on things like salaries for municipal police officers or firefighters.

Right now, the Georgia Public Service Commission is deciding on whether to give Georgia Power Co. a rate increase for electricity. Could you identify a member of the PSC?

We elect members of the Georgia General Assembly, one senator and one representative. These are people who serve in Atlanta. Sadly, sometimes people ask them how things are going in Washington. That job belongs to our U.S. congressman and U.S. senators.

In our county, we will decide on the continuation of a special purpose local option sales tax. It’s one way to pay for improvements to various facilities.

Sadly, we live in a day and time when people get their news from a social media site. That’s just crazy. If you want to talk about fake news, that’s a good place to look. There are people who couldn’t identify their local county commissioner who are still debating where the last president was born. I don’t care if he was born at the North Pole; there is nothing to be accomplished by that debate. His term is over and now we are getting ready to decide if his successor gets a second term.

I live on a street that gets a large contingent of walkers and joggers each day. I was happy when we made the list for repaving. I thanked our city fathers when the paving was finished. I was happy when the city replaced our old streetlights with a brighter and more efficient lamp. I took the time to thank them.

We have some very nice recreational facilities in our city and county and I’m grateful that we have them. I’m pleased that a major renovation is underway at our main public library in Gainesville.

Our school system is growing like crazy as people choose to move here, it is so important to have a board of education that can balance the need for more classrooms with the demands of reasonable levies on property taxpayers.

I could write columns from now until Tuesday and maybe, just maybe, a few more voters might show up.

In just a few days, we honor those who have served our country in times of war. Some of them fought in heated battle to make sure that we are not voting this week for the fuhrer or the emperor.

It’s a sad state of affairs when we cannot take the few minutes required to exercise our right to vote every time the polls are open.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on