David Ralston, soon to be new GOP speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, is in a position to ensure that his party keeps control of the House and the governorship this year. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has the Senate in line. That is, unless the leadership really snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, as Republicans have been known to do at all levels.
The key, David, is to eliminate the superfluous from the House agenda and be all business. Knowing politics requires compromise politics, keep the work simple and constantly flowing.
As you know, my ex-son-in-law, Stacey Reece, was a hawk who could walk into any standing committee as a voting member. He once told me probably 80-85 percent of his walk-ins were simply to create a quorum so the committee could take official action. Unless he knew the proposed legislation being considered, he wouldn’t vote. Most of the remaining 10-15 percent was to be sure the committee voted the party’s official position in sending the legislation to the floor. Even then, he occasionally voted against it once it reached the floor.
You need to develop some system — not called the "hawk" system, because of its link to the Glenn Richardson era — to create quorums so committees can get their work done. You’ve got the imagination. Use it.
A lot of fiscal waste and incompetence permeates in state government. Voters and taxpayers would love to see them eliminated. That could be tougher, since some administrators serve at the pleasure of the governor. The situation could be brought to his attention. If you want some specific examples, let’s get together or have a long phone conversation.
Lead the House to cut out pure pork. State taxpayers don’t need to be buying band uniforms for Hall or any other county’s schools. That’s what local band boosters are for. That’s just an example. The savings well could eliminate the need for increased taxes and enable now-curbed but vital services to be restored.
If voters and taxpayers see substantive action on important issues handled timely and even-handedly, they’re unlikely to kick out the party of the real doers. You, Casey and Sonny, working as a team and not at cross odds can do it! This voter and taxpayer is pulling for you.
The New Year marked several personal milestones. Beginning with the 1950s, we’ve now lived in Hall County in all or part of seven decades. With this issue, my column has appeared regularly over that same period. I’ve never regretted coming to or remaining in Gainesville-Hall County. Simply put, there’s no place like it! It is home.
Tax preparation season is upon me. If I don’t want to have to do too many extensions I’ve got to focus mostly on my tax practice until April 15 except for the week in mid-tax season I have to get out of town.
Thus, it’s time to quit tallying the responses to my column on thyroid cancer and nuclear medicine. Besides letters, phone calls, meetings in civic club, post office, stores, restaurants, etc., people I knew and total strangers actually came to my home to talk about it. I got a call from an Atlanta lady as I was writing this column Wednesday to meet an early deadline. The count stops at slightly above 150.
This century’s first decade is gone and has to be considered a mixed bag, some very good, some very bad and considerable in between. Let’s go into this second decade as optimists, and may it be very good to you and yours.
Ted Oglesby is retired associate and opinion page editor of The Times. You can reach him at P.O. Box 663, Gainesville, GA 30503. His column appears every other Tuesday and on gainesvilletimes.com.