The big news in politics today is actually kind of non-political. We mention it here mostly because the person involved was, at one time, a candidate for State Senate. Of course, we’re talking about Jim Ivey and the ongoing GBI investigation into whether he more or less embezzled $40,000 from funds earmarked for the construction of a veterans’ memorial in the OC.
For once, we’re not going to jump to conclusions, but we will say this. One of you crack editorial staff has had the somewhat dubious pleasure of dealing with Ivey in the past, and the allegations are definitely not outside the bounds of possibility. In any event, if the GBI rounds up enough evidence, and the authorities bring actual charges, look for this to be a pretty messy case.
We would note however, that Ivey more or less owned up to doing it last night before the Oconee County Commission.
“Ivey has publicly admitted that he may have used funds meant for the memorial inappropriately, apologized to donors and residents of the county and pledged to repay the money he withdrew from the account,” says the ABH. (full story here)
Maybe one of the most interesting facets of the whole La Puerta del Sol mess is that you’ve got representatives from the two camps arguing over something that can easily be proven – namely, whether Cedar Shoals Drive is actually a commercial area or not. In a letter Tuesday, Taco Bell fan Margaret Wood said, “Cedar Shoals Drive is not a business corridor, as you would have people think, as there is very little business on it at all, and what business there is down there exists near Gaines School Road. Near the proposed restaurant site there are only private businesses, such as real estate offices, dental offices, etc.” A few points here, if you will. Wood is pretty much right in asserting that most of the business on CSD is on the Gaines School Drive end, but guess what? So is the proposed site for LPDS!
And we’re not sure what the distinction is between “private businesses,” which Wood admits exist, and LPDS. It’s privately owned, not a franchise, not a big box, so what’s the diff?
In today’s ABH, Jeff Scarbrough wonders the same thing. Here’s what he’s got to say: “To say, as the letter did, that ‘Cedar Shoals Drive is not a business corridor’ and then say ‘Near the proposed restaurant site there are only private businesses, such as real estate offices, dental offices, etc.’ seems contradictory. Granted, there are no big-box retailers along that street, but business is business.” (Full letter here)
Read the Scarbrough letter carefully, because he does as good a job as we’ve seen of isolating and answering most of the criticisms we’ve heard recently about LPDS.
Just one other thing, though. We’ve been meaning to touch on this for a few days. If States McCarter has heard of other businesses interested in the site, doesn’t he owe it to the community to let us know who they are? It would help the residents out, and as it is, it reeks of the same type of closed government we’ve been seeing up in Atlanta with respect to business development.
Just one quick thing about the letter in today’s ABH about the day laborer roundup in the OC. The writer hits the nail on the head, but in some ways, this debate kind of reminds us of one aspect of the whole poverty debate. Everyone agrees that government, the private sector, and non-profit groups have a share in working towards a solution, but everyone is waiting for someone else to step up and start the ball rolling. Somewhere, someone needs to show some real leadership on this, and many other issues.