This has been quite a year. To sum up the stories of the year, from my perspective, is truly a daunting task. I’ve taken a moment and thought about it, and I’ve realized that my perspective has primarily been dealing with the City of Albany. The city that I love, and the government that I’m not to fond of, have certainly kept me busy.
Was the Rod Jolivette issue the primary story this year? After all, a black firefighter was fired by the white fire chief, and a group of black pastor takes up his cause with the righteous fury of days gone by. We had our City Manager put this same guy back on the job, only to have him allegedly impersonate a police officer in another county.
But alas, it wasn’t.
The sign ordinance definitely should be up near the top in any discussion of the top stories. After all, it involves government telling citizens what they can and can’t do with their own property. It had a hero (Bo Henry), and a villain (Albany City Commission, Code Enforcement). Eventually, the forces of good triumphed … kind of.
Don Buie also has to be near the top. His fall from power was spectacular, and it culminated with a high profile trial and his finally pleading guilty to criminal charges. It sparked a lot of discussion, for better or worse, and it drew a lot of attention to downtown redevelopment as well as the lack of oversight towards high ranking government officials like Buie. Regular citizens began stepping up and demanding answers. It was great.
The Dougherty County Taxpayers Association was a top story in my opinion, though I suspect many may not realize it. You see, here was this group of concerned citizens, white and black, who wanted their local government to be accountable to them. While their efforts to oust sitting city commissioners didn’t work so well, they still raised the profile of the cause and maintained a damn good momentum. I look forward to what they can do in 2010.
For me, the story of the year is SWGAPolitics.com itself. Yeah, I’m tooting my own horn here, but think about it. This time, 365 days ago, Jeff and I didn’t even know one another existed. Then, Jeff starts a small blog on WordPress to rant about politics. We meet, and he invites me to come onboard. So, like a sucker good citizen, I do. And it takes off from there.
Jeff and I have been on the front page of the Albany Herald, and both have columns in the Albany Journal. We have made contact with officials at various level of local and state government, and know we have received attention at the Congressional level as well … both Democrats and Republicans. We have had the opportunity to meet tons of people. I’ve been blessed with speaking at two different tea parties, my first forays into public speaking.
But that’s not what makes SWGAPolitics.com the story of the year. It’s you guys, the readers. You read what we say, and you comment, and discussion is generated. It’s the only place where that is happening on a local level about local issues really. This is the only place dedicated to discussion of political issues in southwest Georgia, and you guys have embraced it.
Thanks for that.
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.