Friday, October 26, 2007

Willie or Bo? It's Show Time

In their own words, the two candidates vying for Albany’s top political post describe their successes in elective office and their goals for the city

The Albany Journal asked the two mayoral candidates to describe their candidacy and platform. Incumbent Willie Adams did not respond, but has a “Report Card” on his Website. Challenger Bo Dorough, the Ward 4 incumbent, pointed us toward his campaign flyer.

Here is, verbatim, what the candidates say about themselves.


The budget process has been subject to numerous years of loopholes from lawmakers. The budget lacked realistic spending caps to restrain spending. It lacked impacting priorities, and purposeful budgetary programming for reserves. During Adams’ tenure, he has effectively overseen the implementation of fiscal policy that has increased capital reserves levels from zero to eleven million dollars and emergency reserve levels to twenty-four million dollars.

Fiscal prudence was only one component of Adams’ economic impact on the City of Albany. During his tenure, the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport successfully completed a two million dollar expansion that will extend its position as the number 2 airport in cargo transportation for the state of Georgia. Additionally, the expansion will allow for carriers such as UPS and FedEx to easily utilize the airport.

Administrative efficiencies
During his four year tenure, Adams oversaw administrative reforms that began with the hiring of a new city manager, augmenting the positions of two assistant city managers and restructuring into 13 efficient departments. These administrative reforms improved economic efficiency by dramatically lowering duplication of services and responsibilities within the departments and significantly improved compliance and organizational productivity.

In an increasing competitive and distressing economy, these reforms have positively impacted the management of SPLOST funds demonstrated by the increasing efficient usage of funds for community projects that improved the quality of the citizens of Albany.

These changes have established the foundation for policy impact that will improve the quality of life for every citizen for Albany.

Although the time is short and the hurdles may appear daunting, Adams empathically believes that there is no compelling reason why the citizens of Albany cannot rise to the challenge of raising academic performance and establish transformative education policies. Our schools are composed of dedicated and passionate educators that need the support of administration and parents to prepare our future generation of leaders. During his term as mayor, Adams convened a meeting of stakeholders to discuss and flesh out the current problems and potential solutions. This collaborative method is a critical premier to strengthening the educational system.


Albany is gradually losing its identity as “the hub of Southwest Georgia”. There are those who accept the continued decline of our city as inevitable. The failure to attract new industry and the loss in population are cited in support of this conclusion. Others accept the demise of downtown Albany as a natural consequence of commercial relocation. The questionable conduct of certain political leaders causes honest, hard-working citizens to be cynical or even hopeless about the city’s future.

The challenges which we face are formidable but certainly not insurmountable. Our city can and will move forward with strong leadership and a shared vision for the future. We must work to revitalize downtown Albany, improve our public education system, alleviate racial strife and increase economic opportunities for all residents of the city. We must collectively commit and dedicate ourselves to these goals.

We must acknowledge and address our city’s problems if Albany is to maintain the distinction of being the region’s economic and cultural center. This will not occur without substantial changes in our municipal government and community. The citizens of Albany can begin to realize these objectives by electing Bo Dorough, who has a vision of a better tomorrow. It is time to look forward, and not back.

Best Practices
Bo has served on the city commission for eight years. In that time he has observed those services that are efficient, and has definite ideas that will improve the operation of city departments and make the city more “business friendly.” Bo supports performance evaluations, whereby employees who perform above expectations are rewarded, and those that do not meet expectations are counseled and afforded an opportunity to improve their performance if they are to retain their positions with the city.

Public office should not be abused as an opportunity to benefit the elected official, the official’s family or friends. Bo has always opposed conflicts of interest, and voted against accepting personal computers, which were donated to the city commission by Mediacom, as Mediacom has a franchise agreement with the city.

The special purpose local option sales tax provides funds to improve and extend infrastructure, resurface streets, and pave alleys. Bo will assure that SPLOST dollars are expended prudently, and will support allocation of SPLOST funds to replace older infrastructure and expand existing infrastructure to facilitate economic development.

Bo will oppose any property tax increase, and will fight to roll back the millage rate once the re-evaluation process is completed. Citizens will thereby be protected from any increase in property taxes paid to the city.

Fiscal Responsibility
Bo has been an advocate of sound financial policies. He wrote the ordinance that directs the city finance office to deduct the amount any member of the commission exceeds the sum allocated for expense from his or her earnings. Any commissioner who exceeds the travel budget now has that sum deducted for his or her salary. The city retired the majority of its bonded indebtedness and substantially increased its reserves during Bo’s eight years in office.

The city, having lost two major industries in the last four years, must pursue industry to increase opportunities for citizens seeking better paying jobs. We should support vocational education as prospective employers will insist on a qualified, educated work force.

Bo has advocated renovating existing parks and facilities rather than undertaking prohibitively expensive projects approved by previous commissions. He is an avid supporter of youth recreation, and has coached and sponsored teams in a league which serves many underprivileged children.

More than $19 million has been spent at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport in the last twelve years. Bo has opposed the suggestion that a new airport, equidistant between Albany and Valdosta, be constructed. The Southwest Georgia Regional Airport must remain at its present location – in Albany.

Law enforcement
Reducing crime will be Bo’s top priority. The Albany Police Department is now full staffed, and salaries are finally comparable to those paid to police in similarly-sized communities. We must support and expand neighborhood watch programs. Citizens, by working together, can make a difference.

Bo has worked to enhance the appearance of our city. He supported an ordinance that makes it easier for the city to remove junk vehicles from residential areas, and another that increased penalties and fines for violation of city codes dealing with illegal dumping. If elected, Bo will assure the city does a better job of enforcing these ordinances.

Bo understands alley paving is a priority for many citizens, and fought to assure substantial SPLOST funds were allocated to such projects. He opposed the mayor and majority of the commission, who voted to reduce the sums designated for alley paving from $5 million to $3 million. If elected, Bo will commit to an allocation of no less than $6 million for alley paving in the next SPLOST referendum, which will be presented to the voters in 2010. This should be sufficient to pave an additional forty alleys within the city.

New direction
Bo has a record of service and a clear platform. He is anxious to lead our city in a new direction.

Dorough’s pledge:
Work to rebuild and revitalize Albany
Make city government more accessible and accountable to the public
Work to attract new industry
Be a conscientious steward of city properties and funds
Oppose conflicts of interest in public affairs
Work to improve the quality of life for all citizens

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hypocrite of the Week: Joey Fieldinstream

If there's anything that aligns our radio show's namesake and I, it's our disdain for hypocrisy in government. I think Batman's really going to like this one:

In south Mississippi, an incumbent state senator, Joey Fillingane (pictured), recently mailed a campaign flyer to his constituents professing his love of guns. On the flyer is a photo of Fillingame in full camo gear standing alongside a similarly clad boy. Why, the NRA endorsed Fillingane over his opponent, the flyer says. There's nothing wrong with that, especially in Mississippi. Right? Well, sure there is. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has no record of Fillingane ever having a hunting license. Gun lover, indeed; henceforth, let's call him Fieldinstream. (His opponent, Gerald Buffington, does have a hunting license, by the way, and has renewed it every year since at least 2005.)

Adding to Fieldinstream's hypocritical presentation is a pro-family screed that would make you believe he has sired the largest clan in Lamar County, Miss., while -- in reality -- his family credentials are as funny as his hunting qualifications. Fieldinstream is wifeless, childless, and according to his campaign finance reports -- he only moved out of his mommy and daddy’s house last year, at the tender age of 34, months before running for the Senate position.

Fieldinstream also lives two lives when it comes to his professional work. He makes enormous political points deriding personal injury trial lawyers, even going so far as decrying from the House podium in 2002 that "trial lawyers killed Jesus Christ." You probably can see the next one coming -- the doozy that sealed Fieldstream's Hypocrite-of-the-Week selection. That's right: Fieldinstream IS a trial lawyer -- complete with a full-page phone book ad soliciting auto accidents, slip-and-fall cases and wrongfuldeath claims, and defending DUI offenders. In previous elections, he received huge political contributions from trial lawyers statewide, a contribution from the state trial lawyers' political action committee, and even a contribution from the trial lawyers' president.

Congrats on your (apparent) newfound appreciation for the outdoors, Joey boy. But don't you just hate those icky, gooey little worms?