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Really random meanderings
School vote, thanks to utility crews
Utility crews that came into the area to restore power after Hurricane Matthew deserved a thank you. This one is from Walton EMC of Monroe. - photo by File photo

This and that: I’m not sure what I think about Opportunity School Districts, but I do know when you get south Georgia conservatives who think a proposal by Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, is a bad idea, there must be something wrong with it.

For those few who may not know what an OSD is, it’s a statewide "Opportunity" School District run by a governor-appointed superintendent and funded by money taken from public schools. The governor we have now wants to make an OSD, but he can’t without an amendment to the Georgia constitution, and he needs voters to say yes to that.

The idea behind Deal’s measure purportedly is to save students from being badly educated by those schools that don’t fare well in whatever the latest educational yardstick is used to measure achievement. The way of doing that in this instance is taking local control away and putting the schools under the control of the appointed superintendent, who will apparently have the power to run the districts as he sees fit using whatever means he sees fit.

Many see it as a way to divert even more funding from public schools and turn the money over to charter schools and the corporations that run them. And while there may be some merit to the notion of an OSD somewhere, it’s almost impossible to find anybody who is actually for OSD, apart from those with ties to either Deal or the charter school industry, or those who just flat out hate government and public schools.

Hey, even Mike Riddle is against the OSD idea, and Mike’s pretty Republican.

And speaking of amendments, our coverage of all four of the proposed amendments to the Georgia constitution was supposed to run prior to the start of early voting Monday, but Hurricane Matthew blew that plan way out of the water and into another county. Now the plan is, well, to work on getting that coverage in ASAP. It might be too late for some voters, but better late than never.

As good and necessary as all this voting is, I miss the days when you covered Election Day, not early voting and advance voting and every other kind of voting there is. It’s hard to keep straight sometimes. But then I also miss the days when you showed up to cover a story with a pen and a notebook, not a pen and a notebook and a camera that shoots video and a smart phone ....

They’re cool: If you haven’t done it already, go thank a worker from Georgia Power, Coastal EMC or Canoochee Electric, etc., for their efforts after Matthew. And while you’re at it, say thanks to a cop or firefighter or local Emergency Management Agency worker for the jobs they did. Given what happened, the rapidity with which power was restored and order was kept was pretty damn impressive. Cable and internet service, now that’s another story.

Up for debate: I’m gonna go ahead and say it. Vote yes for SPLOST in Liberty County.

No, I’m not a fan of taxes. I have to pay them too and mine are too high. And no, I’m not in anybody’s pocket. I have no agenda. I’m not that smart.

But I do think voting against a penny sale’s tax is biting one’s nose off to spite one’s face. Trying to "send a message" to government that taxes are too high and spending is out of control is one thing. If you want to send a message, you vote for someone else or you run yourself or you call up your representative or write letters or put up billboards. You buy full page ads in the newspaper, you write letters to the editor — as does the eloquent Len Calderone, whose opinion I may sometimes disagree with, but always respect.

But voting down a sales tax that keeps those governments from buying much needed public safety equipment and making improvements to infrastructure isn’t sending a message, it’s something else entirely, because it doesn’t take from government. It takes from people.

Finally, while I’m still pointed in this direction, if I hear "run government like a business" one more time from a candidate I’m going to ask why it’s always the candidates who say that, not the people who actually spend a little time in government and have to figure out how to pay for services everybody wants.

The reason is simple: Government isn’t business. Business serves customers. Government serves people, whether they’re customers or not. I know some fairly conservative businessmen who serve in local governments who will tell you the same thing, if they aren’t busy campaigning. Some of them live right next door in Bryan County, which is pretty much run by bankers and developers, businessmen all.

They have a SPLOST there, too.

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