Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review of Overview Review Reviews

Despite the temptation, I will refrain from rattling on about what I see as the problems vis-à-vis the Unified Government of Athens Clarke County and the implementation of the Charter – I have done so ad nauseam for a long time and have virtually nothing to show for it, so why bother.  Suffice it to say that I was disappointed, but not surprised, that the Overview Commission did not take up what I regard as its rightful mantle and severely chastise City Hall over its manifest failures to adhere to our local government’s foundational document.

Be that as it may, the 2010 Overview Commission’s Review may be downloaded from the Auditor’s web site.  Response to the document has been rather muted.  I think that the Review made its inaugural appearance at a Federation of Neighborhoods meeting on 10 January.  John Huie had a write-up in Flagpole on 12 January.  This was followed by a TOA blog post on 18 January and a Banner-Herald opinion column on 23 January by yours truly.  Blake Aued followed with a Banner-Herald news article on 24 January.  Finally Myra Blackmon weighed in with a opinion piece of her own in the 26 January edition of the Banner-Herald.

And, to date, that has been it.  Even though I was disappointed with the results of their deliberations (it is a committee process after all), I thank the members of the Overview Commission for their time and efforts.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2010 Overview Commission Review

The Overview Commission’s review is finally in.  Doubtlessly, it will provide grist for the public comment mill for quite a while (or at least I hope so).  That is because in my two runs for the District 1 seat on the Athens-Clarke County Commission, I made the Unified Government’s manifest failure to implement the provisions of its Charter a central focus of both campaigns.

This past year, I similarly hoped to influence the Overview Commission with a series of letters to the editor of the Banner-Herald concerning what the Charter has to say about extending sewer line into the peripheral area of the county (Sections 8-115 and 9-103), enacting differing millage rates in the county's various tax districts (Section 1-105), and turning control of Ben Epps Airport over to the Clarke County Airport Authority (Part II, Chapter 4, Section 23). 
My letter concerning sewer lines prompted this editorial (note the obvious similarities), which in turn prompted this response form District 9's Kelly Girtz about altering the language of the Charter, not to mention my response to that idea.

In the event, the Overview Commission chose not to delve into my cornucopia of issues, save that of extending sewer lines.  For the Overview Commission’s recommendations on the matter, see the Public Utilities section of its review (pages 16-17 of the document, pages 20-21 of the .pdf) and Appendix 5 (page 71 of the document, page 75 of the .pdf, which includes one of those letters to the editor mentioned above).

This is what John Huie over at Flagpole has to say about the Overview Commission’s take on matter:

The government's charter should be amended to "clarify" whether sewer service must be provided "to all residents of the county" as it appears to say. The issue has become "divisive" since ACC commissioners have supported extending water lines throughout the county, but not sewer lines, which they view as driving sprawl development. "The citizens need and deserve a clear statement of [ACC's] position and plan."

Indeed.  My next column for the Banner-Herald will develop this point.

Finally, thanks to those individuals who commented on and sent email messages concerning my inaugural column that used my late father’s military decorations as a lead-in to the point that we frequently do not know people nearly as well as we may think (would-be pundits included).  I discovered that my journey of discovery is hardly unique.

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