Forget about free speech! I wanna watch Matlock and go to bed early!
So Athens-Clarke County Commission meetings go too long, eh? Well, hell, tell us something we don’t know, Bob Smith.
As most of you already know from being the in-the-loop readers that you are, State Rep. Bob Smith has taken a page from Ralph Hudgins’ new book, “How to Meddle in Local Government Without even Being Elected!” For Smith, his meddling is in the form of H.B. 1587, a measure designed to limit the amount of time for which local governments can meet.
Now Smith says that the measure isn’t specifically targeted at Athens, but we think you all know that he’s fuller of crap than a Christmas turkey. Unless, of course, Bob Smith has suddenly taken it upon himself to represent the interests of Vidalia, or perhaps Powder Springs? Maybe Albany? If so, then perhaps he should run for office there.
Of course this thing is targeted at Athens, and it’s yet another attempt by the people who purport to represent us in Atlanta to usurp the power of the local government to, you know, govern locally.
Seriously, kids. We don’t care if you’re a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, or Socialist – you have to have some measure of respect for the system that gives us separate governments for separate jurisdictions. If you don’t respect that, then heck, let’s do it all the way and go in for central planning all around.
Do ACC Commission meetings last too long? You bet your sweet bippy they do. (As JMac puts it in the best quote we’ve seen all day, “Mayor Heidi Davison has said so, and everyone not named Carl Jordan has said so.”) Is it any of Bob Smith’s business how long the meetings of our local government take? Not in the least. (Aside: Does Bob even go to Commission meetings?)
The issue here is not that the Commission is occasionally a bunch of long-winded gasbags. (They are.) It’s whether the right of a free citizenry to question their duly elected leaders is within Bobbo’s purview to restrict. (It ain’t.) If it’s a legitimate local issue, and we’re not saying it isn’t, then let it be handled locally. We were kind of expecting this to come up as a minor campaign issue among some of the local candidates this year, anyway.
We suppose the big political question to come out of this is whether the ACC community is going to get as up in arms about this as they did about redistricting. In any event, much like redistricting, this is a good issue for someone to bring up when they run against Bobbo. Anyone thinking along those lines?
And here’s one final thing. So what if the meetings run long? Is that really so bad? No one ever said participatory democracy was supposed to be easy. It’s a job to be a citizen, and it should be a job. As a culture, we tend to expect the highest results from the least possible effort, and with democracy, that’s a prescription for disaster. Frankly kids, we can’t think of any better sign that the system is working than the fact that people stay up until 2 a.m. to make their voices heard about speed humps and bike lanes.
To sum up, we’re going to paraphrase the mayor. Qualifying for local races is in June, Bobarino. ‘Til then, keep your sticky fingers off our free political speech.
Athens Banner-Herald: “Burning midnight oil blasted in bill” 03/29/06
Safe as Houses: “Whither local control” 03/29/06
Daily Douchebag: “Bob Smith” 03/29/06