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Whatcah Say, Albany

By   /   January 1, 2010  /   Comments

IF THE JOURNAL HAS the story about City Manager Alfred Lott keeping the details of the downtown bus station project secret, the City Commission should put Lott on leave and have an outside entity investigate/audit the city managers office immediately.

YEAH, BUT THAT’S PROBABLY not going to happen. Al Lott has run roughshod over Albany for a while now, and no one who’s currently on the City Commission seems willing to do a thing about it.

GOD BLESS THE MEMBERS of the Albany and Dougherty County police departments and sheriff’s department and other law enforcement agencies this Christmas season. They make our homes and businesses and children safer by putting their selves in peril everyday. They are in my prayers.

A POTENTIALLY HUNG JURY in the Don Buie case speaks volumes to Albany’s core problems. I don’t have much of a problem with the sentence although the $5,000 is a joke and banishment laughable. I assume they wanted the penalty to sound more severe than six to eight months in jail. So justice has been served and we’re back to business as usual. ADICA still exists, Ms. Woods still has her illegal interest free loan (if it gets pay back), hiring practices in local government (to my knowledge) are unchanged, and the $6 million is just waiting to be spread around with NO professional input whatsoever. Merry Christmas in the Good Life City.

DIDN’T I TELL YOU it would be a whitewash/scapegoating? If they were serious, they would have requested federal involvement. This was done to get the issue off the front page with the added benefit (to the DA) of a shot at some PR.

THERE WAS NO WAY ANY impartial jury could convict Buie on the majority of charges. You have to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty. Once a liar always a liar no way could I ever 100 percent believe anyone who admitted to lying about the case once. The DA’s office needs to go back to law school. There should be one Albany city council, and one Dougherty county board. If they want to do something about downtown, then they should do it themselves. Otherwise, charge the community leaders to set up their own not-for-profit and do it themselves. It’s amazing how the people of Albany are willing to spend other people’s tax dollars but not their own for something they believe in.

THE FEDS HAD NO reason to get involved in the case; for that matter, neither did the GBI. The Albany PD and Sheriff’s Department should have been capable of handling any investigation. Oh what’s this? They aren’t? Seems to me that this also speaks volumes.

RE THE FEDS HAD no reason to get involved … You are misinformed, because if you think the local people had either the ability or willingness to pursue this matter, I have a bridge to sell you.

THE BUIE CASE SHOWED how poorly the legal system in SWGA works. I don’t care whether Buie was guilty or not, the judicial system is the issue here. The case should have gone to a grand jury before any news leaks happened, plain and simple the fact that that didn’t happen shows ulterior motives. It was a local matter ONLY and if the locals didn’t want to pursue it or weren’t skilled enough therein lies the problem.

HE USED THE WIRES to transmit stolen money. There’s people in federal prisons now for that. Likewise, he already had a federal record. But the main point, that of the corruption inherent in the local system, is precisely why the local people shouldn’t be involved. Do you really think this DA’s office wanted to question the circumstances of Buie’s hiring?

WE STILL DON’T KNOW how deep corruption goes in this town, and I think it’s pretty deep. As such, we don’t know who could be trusted to investigate. While I personally trust the heads of all three police departments, having known two of them for many, many years, I can’t be so confident in the men under them. Not only that, but let’s say that the men handling the investigation were good, trustworthy folks who just happen to not find anything. That doesn’t exactly engender a great deal of confidence that there was nothing to find. By letting the GBI investigate, much of that was successfully skirted.

EVERYONE KNOWS HOW DEEP the corruption goes and turns their heads. It’s easier that way! The issue is burden of proof. Innocent until proven guilty. Chris Cohilas made his closing statement, something to the extent of sending the people responsible for our tax dollars a warning. THAT right there had nothing to do with Buie being found innocent or guilty and should have been ordered to be disregarded by the jury.

I COULD CUT THE City of Albany’s budget in half in less than two years given carte blanche authority to fire anyone suspected of theft or fraud during an audit. No need to file charges and waste the taxpayers’ dollars. Would I make friends … no. Would I cut the budget in half or more and offer the same services … yes. There are few people in this world who have the intestinal fortitude to do what needs to be done. People aren’t guaranteed a job based on seniority, performance is the key. At my plant we recently cut seven people and hired one. Funny thing is they are still putting out the same amount of final product and doing it in less time than before.

OUR PROBLEM, ALBANY’S PROBLEM, remains the same as before and as interesting as the Buie affair has been, it’s probably time to get back to securing good governance for the “Good Life City”.

AT LEAST THE TRIAL the trial is finished and with a result that seems to have been a compromise result. The juror feedback suggests that the jury got past the block and was heading toward guilty on some counts and not guilty on others. A jail sentence would likely have been imposed, quite possibly longer that the plea deal. I, for one, think the defense made a good deal under the circumstances. And certainly the prosecution’s perspective on avoiding yet another trial when they get a guilty plea, time and a long probation is quite understandable. Don Buie was difficult to figure out. He could have pulled things together in Albany, but given his concealment of the prior conviction, was flawed from the start, regardless of his action and was just waiting/wanting to be unmasked. Frankly, there is a position that the entire matter has been good for the city since it revealed some systemic problems and brought some public scrutiny on political and government processes, and perhaps it has been cathartic so that a healing/recovery process can get underway. At least two major questions remain going forward: 1. Will local government be open and “transparent” as people have asking? Is there a new mentality? If not universal, will those in government call out those who attempt to circumvent proper governance? 2. Have those who have some influence on economic direction learned how local commerce (downtown and otherwise) can be fortified in the face of larger city, regional and national economic dynamics which do not seem to favor local growth?

EVIDENCE WAS PRESENTED DURING the trial which apparently was not considered by the jury. It was factual evidence. Not made up. Not a fairy tale. And not just because a few people wanted Buie gone. The facts remain that Buie screwed up. First of all, he was a convicted felon and as such should never have been hired in a position where he had any control of money. The alleged background check conducted prior to his hiring did not turn up this information. The fact remains he was and IS a convicted felon. And while not considered, he did lie on his job application. But that’s not the core issue. Buie abused his position and the trust placed in him by the local government. He misappropriated funds. He allowed a $50K facade grant to a woman for a business outside the downtown area covered by his position. And the fact that she was an ADICA board member was unethical even if it wasn’t illegal. And then there were the monies paid out to his wife and girlfriend. You need to go back and look at all the facts of this case. Not the innuendo presented by any media. The facts showed beyond any reasonable doubt, there was a lot of guilt involved.

I’M NOT CLAIMING DON Buie innocent, I’m claiming unfair justice, and a man without a bankroll can not get a fair shake.

ALL I CAN SAY is bah, humbug and phooey! Sorry, after the Buie fiasco I just don’t hold out much hope for Albany.

SELF-INTEREST AND APATHY are formidable foes.

THE SPEAKER/ETHICS SITUATION is big news on the political blogs but does the general public even know or care who the speaker or anyone else at the Dome is cheating with or on? I’ve been on the blog sites and find a handful of folks talking to each other pretending they know something. And frankly what some candidate polling in the teens thinks or says about the whole mess is about as newsworthy as yesterday’s weather. Government ethics is an oxymoron and readers aren’t interested in which crook replaces the last one to get caught. Can we please move on?

REGARDING THE FOX HUNT that was recently held in Lee County, why kill foxes? They are beautiful little animals and you can’t eat them. I have a family of three living in the woods behind my house and have a deercam close to their den. We get some great pictures and they’re a source of enjoyment for us. If they could be eaten, I could understand it.

I AM HAPPY TO see the fox-hunting event come to Lee County. This is an old tradition in Georgia that dates back to our earliest days. I have had the privilege of fox hunting, but we did it south Georgia-style with pickup trucks. I grew up with walkers and July hound dogs hunting fox and bobcats.

I HATE THAT A child was mauled by a neighbor’s dog. I have a similar problem with one of my neighbors’ dogs running loose all day and night. No one can walk past that trailer because the dogs will run you down. I’ve called animal control several times because these people will not cage these many dogs or tie them up. This has been an ongoing problem for years. When one dog gets hit by a car, they replace it soon with one or two more loose dogs. To me this is crazy. Something has to be

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  • Published: 2065 days ago on January 1, 2010
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  • Last Modified: December 26, 2009 @ 7:34 pm
  • Filed Under: WhatCha-Say?
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