Once again, I want to encourage everyone to vote — it is just about your biggest duty as a citizen. And I would also like to share with you my observation on the candidates and, yes, who my choices are.
Second District, School Board: I cannot vote in that district, so I don’t make a choice.
Chief Magistrate: Four candidates who seem to have rather similar backgrounds, except one in law enforcement, the other three in small business. Their stated goals for the office seem very much the same; they speak well of each other. The one point that can separate one out from the group is in the area of education. Scott Hinson has a college education. Education is not the be all and end all for everything, but it does give a person a broader base of knowledge and more tools with which to handle tasks at home. I choose Scott Hinson.
Probate Court Judge: While all offices are important, the probate court could have a more lasting affect on family matters, due to the role in wills, than other offices. There are three candidates for this post. One touts her business experience in sales and managing workers as well as in real estate. She speaks of her degree in social work as preparing her for the job and reading real estate contracts as her training for probate work. Probate work is not social work, and the many legal matters in the probate court certainly are of a different nature than real estate contracts.
Another candidate is the current interim judge. She is not an incumbent and has had a seeming lack of knowledge regarding the happenings in that office. She claims she knows nothing about the GBI coming in and removing a computer and other financial records from the office, although this action was the subject of news reports several months back.
She early on denied any knowledge of a discretionary fund in the office that is made of up fees, etc., coming into the office. Georgia Code allows for this fund. Further at the time of a public forum four years ago, the then sitting judge acknowledged she had given this same individual, who was her employee, some $1,600 to drill a new water well. Folks, if she doesn’t know, she ought to; these are matters that are public record and speak to actions in that office.
My choice for this office of probate judge is Rick Rafter. Rafter is presently an attorney in the county and will give up his private law practice should he be elected. The issues in the probate court all revolve around legalities. A probate judge should have the education and ability to read the law regarding probate matters and interpret them properly for matters coming before the probate judge. These laws can change annually and can be affected by case law coming down from higher court decisions that have been appealed from the probate court.
The other matter of great concern is financial record keeping in the office. There are well-known standards of practice on how revenue coming into the office should be handled, i.e. the one receiving it doesn’t complete the work to make the bank deposit and none of those handling the revenue should reconcile the books. The fees coming into the office go into several hundred thousand dollars annually.
The real significant funds in the trust of the probate court are those that are placed there for safekeeping and proper records of how any money was disbursed. These can be funds left in trust through wills, but more than likely are funds coming from children’s Social Security benefits and funds received by adults and children as proceeds by lawsuits. The best guess I have heard is probably as much $700,000. This is a lot of money and there is no indication these funds are being adequately monitored and audited.
Rick Rafter has a law degree and can certainly handle the legal issues properly with fairness to all. He has a strong business background with management with several Fortune 500 companies, handling budgets, etc. Rick Rafter is my pick for probate judge.
Tax commissioner: Two candidates here, one is the present tax commissioner and, of course, the other is the challenger. Before the primary I stated my choice and that choice won to challenge the incumbent.
The incumbent has held that office for several terms. There are a lot of complaints regarding the problems residents have in purchasing tags. No doubt some of it is valid, some of it is probably residents not liking to have to wait for anything.
My problem with the incumbent is that it is pretty common knowledge in the community that you don’t find her in that office many days. She seems to be absent from the office days and days and days. I recognize the position is an elected one and thereby is not required to keep the regular office hours as county employees. Legally no, but is there not an ethical requirement that when you draw a salary for a job that you attend that job? The current tax commissioner is paid about $72,000 a year or, if you figure it out, that’s a little more than $275 a day — that’s whether she’s there are not.
The challenger, Linda McDaniel, is my choice. I have known Linda for some years and know her to be a hard-working individual that tends to her job and goes over and above when it’s needed. I believe we need a new face in that office and one that will give us a day’s work for a day’s pay.
And, yes, what about the presidential candidates? My choice is John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin. We need folks who will shake up Washington and put the good ol’ boys up there on notice that the cozy relationships with bankers, mortgage companies and the like that the free ride, with frills, is over.
John McCain is an honorable man and a national hero. His record stands on its own as one who stands against the use of the power of the office for personal gain. His experience over the years as a leader demonstrates he is proven and can lead us back to a time when our nation shines in all areas of life.
Sarah Palin, now she is a breath of fresh air, someone who is not afraid to face the big shots and hold them to line of right and what is good for the country. Some try to discount her experience as making her not ready to serve as vice president. Her service as mayor of a town, on the state’s oil board and governor of Alaska gives her experience well and beyond that of the other presidential candidate, Barack Obama. What has he ever done but make speeches?
There’s no doubt he is an outstanding speaker, but the job of president requires more than talking, it is the ability to make decisions and decisions that are not based on life-long sojourn with some of the most radical elements in our society. We don’t need a president that for his entire lifetime has sat, and listened, to not one, not two, not just three — but how many more — of some of the most blatant un-American talk and thoughts that can be found in our nation. You know who they are. I don’t have to spell it out.
Yes, this election is coming soon. If you haven’t already voted, please vote. If you don’t, then don’t complain.