I am becoming increasingly concerned with Gov. Roy Barnes' consolidation of power in Atlanta. Over the last months he has tried (and in most instances succeeded) to centralize education, technology and transportation under his ever-growing umbrella. He has effectively silenced any dissent or meaningful discussion of his ideas.
Gov. Barnes is taking control away from local citizens through his intimidation of our representatives and his massive media campaign to mislead Georgians into believing that there is only one way to accomplish anything -- his way.
Most recently, it has been reported that the governor is "keeping track" of how our representatives are voting on his initiatives through a new computer program. Lawmakers who don't support his programs will be punished by not allocating tax dollars to the communities they represent.
This is demagoguery in the worst sense. ... Those in elected positions and in the business community who support these actions and benefit from the governor's "blackmail politics" are participating in cronyism that, at one time, appeared to be dying in Georgia. Where are the checks and balances?
What the governor is doing is not helping the cause of free representation in Georgia. Legislators -- develop a backbone and do the jobs you were elected to do. Do not roll over and play dead because of threats of political retribution from the governor.
Political retribution will come from constituents who are aware and watchful of the lack of deliberation that has taken place in the General Assembly this year. Were we all so blind as to the intentions of Gov. Barnes when he was elected in 1998? Or were we misled by his promises?
As a native Georgian and a lifelong Democrat, I find it difficult to remain supportive of a party that allows such drastic changes in the structure of our state government. I can assure those in elected positions that I, too, am watching. I will do all in my power to ensure that one man will not have absolute authority with regard to all political decisions made in this state.
J. Crawford, Evans
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