Friday, July 27, 2007

Janice Allen Jackson on the show July 31!

Jim Finkelstein's commentary on today's show -- particularly that addictive narcotics should not only be legalized, but given out for free by the government -- certainly was fascinating today. Matt was so intrigued by Jim's depth of knowledge that he suggested that Jim come host the show from time to time. Works for me.

The upcoming show that has people talking -- in my circle, anyway -- is the July 31 discussion with former Albany city manager Janice Allen Jackson. Yep, my old boss. My mentor in the field of public administration. Forced out of city hall by Mayor Willie Adams, et al, Ms. Jackson got the last laugh: She makes a lot more money and oversees a much larger organization as Mecklenberg (N.C.) County's general manager for community health and safety. If I've heard it once I've heard it a thousand times over the past 18 months: "I sure do wish Janice". Of course, some precede the sentiment with, "I never thought I'd say this, but ..." Tune in at 7:30 a.m. July 31 to see what Janice is up to. Wanna say "Hi," call in to the show at 889-9988.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wake Up Albany! Diary

I'm wondering if we're on to something with this radio thing.

People are saying that we sound legit. Who would've thunk it?

Frankly, I didn't know what to expect, and still don't. But we have people talking, and we have people listening. Maybe people in Albany are more cognizant of their community's challenges -- and its successes -- than they were just three weeks ago. Do you suppose we have people thinking? If not, it's certainly worth a try.

After all, it certainly is time for Albany to wake up. That's what everybody says, anyway -- and I believe it.

Our Wake Up Albany! guests so far have been: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle; state Rep. Ed Rynders; Albany Herald Editor Carlton Fletcher (twice); Albany Herald Executive Editor Jim Hendricks, Dougherty County Schools finance chief Robert Lloyd; "Playing for Peanuts" producer John Fitzgerald; Chief Assistant District Attorney Greg Edwards.; Scott Loehr, executive director of the Flint RiverQuarium; and Roger Marietta, who took on a noisy nightspot and a nonresponsive city government -- and won.

The highlight of the 3-plus-week-old show definitely has been Mr. Cagle's visit with us -- albeit by telephone. He was cordial, somewhat candid for a politician, and altogether not a bad interview for a Republican. The most exciting topic Mr. Cagle discussed was a new initiative to give local school systems choice in terms of whether to generate revenue from sales taxes or property taxes. It's not Neal Boortz's "fair tax" initiative, but Dougherty County property taxpayers, in particular, ought to jump on it in a hurry. Imagine the opportunity decrease the tax burden on landowners while allowing our neighbors from throughout the region to pay for schools' operation at the mall and Locos and the Mellow Mushroom. Consider this: An estimated 40 percent of Dougherty County sales tax is paid by our neighbors. It's something to think about (there we go encouraging people to think, again), anyway.

Other notable Wake Up Albany! moments were two announcements (aka "exclusives") made on the show: Mr. Marietta proclaimed that he will be a City Commission candidate this fall, and Cumulus market manager Jay Wachs offered $35,000 of in-kind marketing services to the RiverQuarium.

Undoubtedly, the most contentious interviewee has been Mr. Lloyd, who provided some sound facts and perspective ("if we don't raise taxes, we will lose momentum") about the school system's tax hike, but not without mixing in some doublespeak and defensiveness -- even about his British (or was it Australian?) accent. Mr. Lloyd may be among the smartest minds in the school system, but he's a painful interview. But he says he's coming back -- to help us understand why Dougherty County doesn't come close with matching up with Lowndes County in terms of how much taxpayers spend per pupil.

Here's who we have on tap on Wake Up Albany!
  • Thursday, July 19 -- Sam Shugart, Lake Park Recreation Club volunteer, to discuss the July 28 fund-raising yard-sale for Lake Loretta at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

  • Friday, July 10 -- Sophia Glover, Albany State University's public information director, to discuss the flap involving Ray Charles' estate's donation of $3 million to the university for a fine arts center.

  • Monday, July 23 -- David Maschke, a Dougherty County Board of Education member, will talk about his motivation behind trying to open the school system attorney's position to all comers.

  • Tuesday, July 24 -- Carole Rutland, executive director of RiverWay South will discuss the July 26 public forum at the Flint RiverQuarium encouraging citizens to give their input on plans to create a RiverWay South Heritage Trail, which will include the Flint watershed.

  • Wednesday, July 25 -- Mike Gebhart, the Albany Herald publisher, will discuss how the newspaper's editorial board operates, and some of the paper's recent opinion pieces.

  • Friday, July 27 -- Jim Finkelstein, the First Amendment-defending Albany attorney, will talk about current events. His Iraq war perspective was recently published USA Today.

  • Tuesday, July 31 -- Janice Allen Jackson, who served as Albany city manager from 1996 to 2004, will discuss what it's like to help run a local government six times larger than the Good Life City's. As Mecklenberg (N.C.) County's general manager for community health and safety, Ms. Jackson directs about three times more employees than she did in Albany, when I served as her assistant to the city manager.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 2 -- Jim Wilcox, general manager of WALB-TV, will discuss his hard-hitting "Viewpoint" editorials.

  • Friday, Aug. 10 -- Steve Preston, director of the Darton College Writing Center and former host of "The Front Page" radio show, will return to the microphone after a long hiatus.