@The Oracle of the Athens Banner Herald: I was thinking about writing something about this, but you may have saved me the trouble.posted @ Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 11:51
With very rare exceptions, my columns have benefitted from the editing they undergo before they run. This is one of the exceptions. The editing obscured my meaning at several points. Since I work hard to make my pieces clear to attentive readers, I'm going to do something I've never done before, which is unedit the editing this column was subjected to. James Garland, wherever he is, would understand.
The Senate committee mentioned in paragraph 3 was The Senate Coastal Tourism Study Committee, in case anybody wants to check up on me.
In paragraph 4, the reason the bill I mentioned died in committee was because, according to an eyewitness account, the chairman of the Jekyll Island Authority at the time didn't want the authority's enabling statute to be any more precise about the meaning of "self-supporting.'
In paragraph 5, the "authority report" mentioned is the authority's 2013 Progress Report, in case anybody wants to check up on me.
In paragraph 6, I was careful to make clear, as the edited version doesn't, that I was comparing apples to apples when talking about Days Inn rates. The $58 rate for the Brunswick Days Inn was the best available daily rate for the same weekend as the $175 rate I cited for the Jekyll oceanfront Days Inn. That is, I wasn't comparing a weekday rate with a weekend rate.
And paragraph 7 should begin with the following: "This is where I came in. Six years ago in my first amateur column on any subject, I said that the affordability and self-sufficiency 'mandates' are incompatible. In fact, the General Assembly knew that in 1950." Without this lead-in, I think it's less clear why I'm even talking about the authority's lease with the state.
I hope this helps make both my meaning and my sources clearer to readers, if any. I value my readers and try to respect them by being as clear about my meaning and as transparent about my sources as possible.posted @ Saturday, June 21, 2014 - 20:04
@Jekyll Friend: Ok, whatever.posted @ Sunday, June 15, 2014 - 17:39
@Jekyll Friend: These are all fair points, David. I'll get back to you on them.
I totally reject the Faux News "fair and balance" zinger, though. That's a slur.posted @ Sunday, June 15, 2014 - 16:53
@Emily: It's always an adventure, even for a lawyer which I'm not, to try to understand the Georgia Code. Sad to say, common sense is often not a reliable guide. That's why the state courts never lack for work to do. In this case, the title of 12-3-271 is "Utilization of income and revenues." It makes no reference to lodging rates, prices of restaurant meals or anything of that nature. It would help in understanding what the General Assembly's concern was here if you knew something about the history of the Authority's dodgy business practices at various points in its existence. A useful account is Chapter 7 in "Southern Journeys: Tourism, History & Culture in the Modern South," edited by Richard D. Starnes (University of Alabama Press, 2003).
And I totally agree with you that the Authority's mission isn't to provide a vacation "spot only for the well-heeled and conventioneers on expense accounts." I said in my last paragraph what I thought it's responsibility is. And it wasn't that.posted @ Sunday, June 15, 2014 - 15:00
@Theresa Matt: Ms. Matt, knowing you to be an ardent supporter of Jekyll Island, I'm disappointed that you're disappointed. I can say two things in my defense. First, when a reporter for a newspaper of the stature and influence of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution charges the members of a public authority with illegal conduct, it seems fair to ask what the basis for the charge is. The Code sections he cited don't come even close to making his case. Second, these things aren't mere "legalisms." A few years ago, as you recall as well as anyone, the Jekyll Island Authority was hiding behind the "self-sufficiency mandate" to justify ruinous development schemes that only public outrage and the Great Recession saved us from. As I pointed out at the time, and will again in a future column, there is no "self-sufficiency mandate." So it seems like a good idea for all interests to be up front about what what their views and initiatives rest on. Perhaps more important, it's important for the public to understand what they rest on.
I'm grateful to you for the reference to the bumper sticker because when I take this topic up again I believe I can explain the relevant history involved.posted @ Sunday, June 15, 2014 - 13:54
@Athens Trojan: Obviously, you didn't bother to read the column.posted @ Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 09:37
What Jerry said.posted @ Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 11:43
Have you guys been to Jekyll Island recently? The hotels planned for this site will be replacing ones that used to be there but were demolished. The two mentioned, Courtyard and Springhill, are two of Marriott's mid-level brands. The Springhill brand is an all-suite hotel pitched to families. The Hampton Inn & Suites further down on South Beachview Drive, where I stayed for a few days last December for just over $100 a night, is the best Hampton I've ever stayed at. But right now, it's booked every weekend as far as the eye can see. Last time I checked, Hampton Inn wasn't a luxury brand. The three new hotels on the Trammell Crow parcel will help relieve pressure on other properties and on rates.
Meanwhile, the Governor has just signed into law two bills that limit future development on the island to 78 acres, only 20 acres of which would be for "new residential projects." Twelve acres would be used to expand the campground and the rest for public projects such as trails, roads and other infrastructure. Pierre Howard, one of Georgia's most prominent conservationists, hailed this law as a very positive development (all this reported by the Florida Times Union).
What's going on at Jekyll Island now is starkly different from the rapacious development schemes hatched in the waning days of the Perdue Administration for the benefit of the Reynolds gang, which has since crashed and burned. Sometimes deep recessions have a silver lining.
You guys are behind the curve on this one.posted @ Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 11:58
@ponsoldt: The agenda setting meetings, as well as the regular voting meetings, are televised. They're also streamed for viewing on portable devices and desktop computers. The videos are also archived for anybody who misses the live broadcasts. See http://athensclarkecounty.com/5569/ACTV-Streaming-Archived-Videosposted @ Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 11:31
@Jerry NeSmith: The serious answer is that the bill the House passed and sent to the Senate provides for the first of the two scenarios you're wondering about.posted @ Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 11:07
@grove600:What can I say? I think we're on different planets here.posted @ Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 17:23
@Digdug: You must not have been here the time Snodgrass told me to leave the snark to the anonymous commenters, since they're much better at it. Just doing as I'm told.posted @ Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 17:19
@grove600: It was but within this broader context:" If something like this is the right story about Patch 2.0, it seems that the Banner-Herald has a similar business reason to encourage local people to contribute edited content to the paper, since the most compelling reason anybody has to read the Banner-Herald is the local content. Everything else the paper publishes is just a journalistic commodity widely available elsewhere."
What is it you didn't understand about that? Or this?
"Since this scheme is a shot in the dark anyway, staff who’ll be combing through the daily flotsam and jetsam in search of a few pearls could better spend their time creating an environment at the paper supporting a major initiative to recruit more local opinion writers."posted @ Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 15:35
@Jim Thompson: Never mind the social media channels, Jim. Do some skepsis yourself on this:
"My advice to newspapers would start right here, with this column: find your particular, unique voice, and use it. We readers can find Weingarten's and Hiltzik's takes elsewhere; what's yours, specifically? Use your years of experience, your unique insights, to educate us in a way that's different from what we'd learn from Weingarten and Hiltzik."
Hog captured in a short paragraph what it took me 750+ words to say last Sunday.posted @ Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 14:34
@Jim Thompson: Jim, find out who @hogsupreme is and give him or her my slot on the editorial page. He or she has a better claim to it than I do.posted @ Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 13:09
@hogsupreme: The site won't let me give you the +s your comment deserves.posted @ Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 10:44
Be still my heart! Something from you that's carefully enough written for me to actually understand. I think that may be a first. What's even more extraordinary is that I have only a few quibbles with it, like your recommendation that the paper report on what's in the personnel files of our public employees. Seriously? Think we'd get anybody to work in local government under any such regime? On another minor point, I can't imagine any reporters for the Banner-Herald "making a name for themselves," no matter how self-promoting they are. This isn't a media market where people can, in the nature of the case, make names for themselvesposted @ Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 13:08
@barryhollander:"The newspaper transactions remove well-loved, established publications from publicly traded parent companies which had to answer to shareholders who demanded good quarterly financial results."
This has to be part of the answer to "the full meaning." Taking the Post private gives it some breathing room to experiment with ways to operate in a changed media environment out from under the tyranny of the quarterlies. That's got to be a good thing.posted @ Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 10:28
@grove600: Nothing complicated, really. I just think it would be better for the paper and the community if there were more local opinion writers in the paper, not on any given day--I understand the space constraints--but just in the mix. I think it's a loss, for example, that Garland's not with us anymore. I'd like to see that void filled and other people appearing as well. I thought I made the case for that in my column. I don't have to look for any "replacements" for myself. I'm not obligated to anybody to do this. If I want to give it up, finding a replacement won't be my problem.posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 22:04
@cicada: The Banner-Herald is in a demographically challenging location. On the one hand, it's nestled in the middle of just the sort of population you describe. But it's circulation area extends to the surrounding counties some portions of which are more like Elberton than like Athens-Clarke. So they have a tricky demographic line to walk. I get that. But I still think they could be doing better than they're doing. I'm disappointed, but not surprised, that my main point today didn't get much air time. What I'd really like to see is the paper spending less time futzing around with this commenting facility and more time really trying to recruit more local opinion writers for the editorial page. We have a wealth of people to draw on here and I just can't fathom why the Banner-Herald isn't doing more to leverage that asset.posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 15:24
[quote][b]cicada[/b] - There might be more newspaper subscribers if more effort went into the newspaper's content and presentation.[/quote]
As I was just saying.... Seems like a no-brainer to me. But what do I know.posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 14:39
@bertisdowns: Michelle Malkin! OMG!posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 14:37
Straight from the newspaper's mouth:"Comments are not edited and don't represent the views of the Athens Banner-Herald."posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 14:34
@bertisdowns: Don't put Ross down, Bert. He's a very interesting guy, a welcome relief from the loonies far to his right.posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 14:04
Summary: I'm not saying it's lonely to be a movie critic, but we often find ourselves seated alone in an empty theatre when we're watching new stuff. I know people who say they won't go see anything unless they have at least one other person to go with, but I've always enjoyed having the place to myself. I'm not saying it's lonely to be a movie critic, but we often find ourselves seated alone in an empty theatre when we're watching new stuff. I know people who say they won't go see anything unless they have at least one other person to go with, but I've always enjoyed having the place to myself. read more
As you might imagine, the vast majority of the editorial cartoons available these days for publication through the syndicate which supplies cartoons to the Athens Banner-Herald/OnlineAthens are addressing the situation in Ferguson, Mo., where the fatal shooting of a black teen by a white police officer has touched off a number of demonstrations -- some peaceful, but many not at all peaceful, with tear gas fired by police officers and gunshots fired by some protester. read more