Dear Governor, I know you have been waiting to hear how I think you are handling things these days, but I wanted to give you time to get the legislators out of town and to be sure all the silverware is accounted for. Plus, I have been busy trying to help your pal, Leroy Gingrich, understand he has blown his chances of becoming President of the United States and that he might want to go back to Washington and moonlight as the Pillsbury Doughboy.
I like your low-key style and the way you are willing to work with both parties if it will benefit the people of Georgia. That is rare in today’s political environment, which is dominated by political whackos on both the left and the right. These people scare me. Most of us are somewhere in the middle.
I appreciate you not proposing flaky programs like "Go Fish, Georgia" and not giving an elephant a physical or riding around the Capitol on a motorcycle in a black leather jacket. I think most Georgians will tell you that we need serious leadership in these tough economic times, not Chuckles the Clown.
You seem to be shooting the lights out in economic development. Congratulations on getting Baxter International, a big-time medical company, to build a new facility in Social Circle that will bring 1,500 full-time positions to Georgia. Your willingness to approve major tax incentives as well as your efforts to promote the biosciences industry was a big part of the reason Baxter International is moving here. It also didn’t hurt that my column runs in the area. As you are aware, I know a lot of stuff but I am most recognized for my knowledge of bioscience as well as where to find good sweet tea. That combination seems to have impressed the folks at Baxter.
I have readers in Jackson County, where you have gotten Toyota to open a new compressor plant (another subject in which I excel) and in Braselton where Carter, Inc. is opening a distribution center. I didn’t know much about children’s clothes, but, fortunately, my 3½-year old great-grandson Cameron is an expert in that field.
It is obvious that I am a formidable weapon in your economic development arsenal. Cameron has indicated he would like to help, too. Just remember we need to work it around his nap time or his momma won’t let him participate. Also, he will want to be paid in vanilla wafers, a detail we can discuss later.
Now, to some legislative nitty-gritty: According to my mail, readers across the state are very unhappy with our current laws on lobbying. They have heard all the explanations on why we don’t need spending limits on lobbyists, but it is falling on deaf ears. I predict there is going to be a big backlash, maybe even this upcoming election. You need to share this information with legislators and suggest they not get pious with We the Unwashed and, as one reader said, "pat us on the head and tell us they know what is best for us." Voters aren’t in the mood to be patronized.
Looking ahead, I hope you will think long and hard about the charter school amendment coming up for a vote this November. I have no problem with charter schools conceptually but I have a big problem in the way this amendment is being pitched to voters. It is a power grab by certain legislators, pure and simple. They talk about "local choice" and then want to take it away from local school systems that have the temerity to not approve their buddies in the charter school business. This amendment is not about the kids. It is about money. Charter school management is big business.
With Ms. Deal having been a school teacher, you know how hard that job is. Public school teachers have been totally demoralized in Georgia, in part because they are burdened with more stupid bureaucratic rules than a skunk has stink. I tell teachers constantly that theirs is a noble profession, but it would be nice if they heard it from you occasionally.
All in all, I give you positive marks for your job as our leader. Keep up the good work and let me know if you want to discuss further. If I’m not around, ask for Cameron. Just remember you can’t talk to him at nap time. There are some things even a governor can’t do.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139.