Consolidation. Hands down, one of the touchiest subjects to hit Dougherty County in recent memory. It’s not even the first time it’s been broached in the county, having been debated decades ago. But now, things are steaming forward at a quicker rate than ages past and frankly, that’s a good thing.
Now, the county commissioners need to step up and let us vote.
It’s a strange day when you find Roger Marietta, Bob Langstaff, and myself on the same side of an issue, but here we are. All three of us support the citizens of Dougherty County getting a vote on whether to consolidate or not. Honestly, why should the people not get a vote on their own governance? But some county commissioners, and supposedly their constituents, don’t want that to happen.
Now, in all fairness, part of the issue is that citizens in Albany will get to vote twice and since most of the people in Dougherty County live within the city limits of Albany, that would essentially make the County’s votes irrelevant. That is a problem and one that needs to be addressed. Hopefully, that will soon be taken care of.
Some time back, Mayor Willie Adams and Commissioner Tommie Postell accused proponents of consolidation of racism, saying it was an attempt to “dilute the black vote”. However, the numbers don’t back that. The fact is that the black community makes up over 60 percent of the county’s population, which is down from 66 percent of the city’s. Not much dilution, really.
However, now I have to wonder if Adams and Postell got it backwards. It’s well known that there is a higher percentage of whites in the county than the city. Also, it seems much of the opposition is in the county. Perhaps the real issue isn’t dilution of the black vote, but some being worried about dilution of the white vote?
The truth of the matter is that both groups would suffer some dilution. But isn’t it past time we stop looking at “black vote” and “white vote” and start looking at solutions to the many problems in our community, problems that affect Albany and Dougherty County?
A lack of jobs isn’t a white issue or a black issue, it’s a regional issue. Corruption isn’t a white issue or a black issue, but a regional issue. Transparency isn’t a white issue or a black issue, but a regional issue.
Consolidation may or may not address these issues, but that’s not on the table yet. What is on the table is whether we will get to decide it or not. Those who oppose voting are simply those who think that consolidation would win a vote, so they oppose democracy since they might not like the outcome. Sad, isn’t it?
These people need to get their head out of the sand. People have a right to vote on Consolidation, and it needs to be voted on soon.
Written by Tom Knighton. Read his blog at SWGA Politics.com.
A lifelong political junkie, Tom started out his adult life as a journalism major at Darton College before leaving school to serve his nation as a U.S. Navy Corpsman.
Through the years, he has watched government from outside and inside. A former Reagan supporter, then later a Democrat, Tom now finds himself quite comfortable as a card carrying Libertarian and all around smart-elec.