A very important event will occur on August 16, 2011. You are invited, but will you be there? This event will be held at all polling locations, from 7am until 7pm. Everyone will have an opportunity to participate in this event in order to determine the future of Macon.
However, you can only participate if you have done your part and registered to vote. Otherwise, you are not invited. If you have demonstrated a lack of concern in your own destiny by not registering to vote, you will not be admitted to the event.
Only about 38% of the 44,000+ registered voters cast a vote in the primary election on July 19, 2011, down from 42% in the election 4 years ago. Though getting more of Macon's 91,000 citizens to register to vote should certainly be a priority, what about those registered who didn’t show up at the polls?
If you are registered to vote, by all means, come one, come all. Attend the event and vote for the candidate who will best serve your destiny. The citizens of Macon have narrowed the list of mayoral candidates to two -- current Mayor Robert Reichert and former Mayor C. Jack Ellis. Now, Macon citizens must narrow this number to just one -- one who will serve the city for the next four years. Citizens must decide who the best man is to turn this city around and make it a better place to live.
Who will be your choice for mayor? What will be the deciding factor in who you vote for? Will it be a vote based on personal feelings or will you vote for the needs of the citizens of Macon? Macon still lags behind other metropolitan areas in addressing issues such as crime, unemployment, healthcare and drugs.
Who will be your choice for mayor? Macon’s next mayor must have a vision of increasing job opportunities for everyone and a decrease in the crime rate, as well as affordable health care for all and an end to homelessness. Drug addiction must be addressed in a productive way.
Who will be your choice for mayor? The value of family, job security, community participation, church attendance, honesty and integrity in government and politics and respect for individuals of differing opinions are highly desirable values for the city that wants a turn-around. The elected mayor needs the involvement of the people. There should be no unilateral or arbitrarily made decisions.
Who will be your choice for mayor? To be mayor requires a vision for the future; an embracing of our values as well as a demonstration that he will take the necessary action to improve the quality of life for all of Macon’s citizens. Back room politics must yield to frontline representation.
Who will be your choice for mayor? Politicians must follow through and be held accountable for the promises they make. This city and the entire country are tired of empty promises made by politicians seeking their own gain. The citizens of Macon must elect the candidate that they feel can see this vision and process the values necessary -- one bold enough to take the necessary action needed to turn this city around.
One of the most difficult challenges for today's city government is change. Successful change requires the willingness of those involved to meet all challenges and navigate them to acceptable ends. It requires a change in thinking patterns as well as behavior.
We need two powerful forces to preserve us along life's way - integrity and honesty. Integrity is being who we say we are and it often meets its match in money matters. One of the most difficult tests of integrity is wealth. God calls us to be honest at all times. We could easily justify a little dishonesty in small details, but this begs the question: at what point does a small detail become a large one? What is small to one may be quite large to another. Wouldn't it be much simpler to be completely honest in all our affairs? Heaven’s riches are far more valuable than earthly wealth, but if we aren’t trustworthy with what we have here, we will not be fit to handle the vast riches of God's Kingdom. Whoever can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much. And whoever is dishonest with little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy with worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? Luke 16:10, 11.
Four years ago, Robert Reichert ran for mayor against Republican candidate David Cousino and won the election. At that time, I encouraged the Macon community to register and vote after asking themselves three important questions. Once again, I employ you to refer to these questions when deciding on whom to place your vote on August 19th in the run-off election when Reichert will face former Mayor C. Jack Ellis.
1. What are your expectations in the candidate you would like to see elected?
2. What are the personal qualities that you could respect in a candidate?
3. What are your candidate's views on the numerous issues that we, as African Americans, face today? Do they reflect integrity and morals? Is it possible that the candidate is racist or self-serving?
This year, I would add more probing questions.
1. Has crime gone down during either of these two candidate's terms?
According to www.neighborhoodscout.com, Macon has a crime index of 2, with 100 being the safest. This means that Macon is safer than only 2% of the cities in the United States. In fact, during the last week of July 2011, four people were murdered in the city of Macon and that was by Friday; the weekend had yet to come. Crime must be addressed by the mayor that is elected. Macon is known for its high crime rate while WR is considered a safe place to live. There must be a change in the direction that Macon is headed. What’s being done about this?
2. Has unemployment gone down? Unemployment has not gone down. According to www.deptofnumbers.com, the unemployment rate in Macon rose to 10.0% in May of 2011, making it nearly 1% higher than that of the national unemployment rate of 9.1%.
3. What about substandard housing? The ongoing revitalization of blighted and substandard housing in Macon has been going on for some time now, with good progress. Beall’s Hill, College Hill and downtown Macon are some notable examples, but will the elected mayor keep it going? This project must be broadened with a more aggressive approach.
Whoever wins the election for the seat of Macon Mayor should be working toward positive change in these areas.
There are some political groups that have engaged in a vicious political attack on issues that are Important to the African American community. You will have an opportunity to speak loud and clear through your vote on August 16, 2011. Our civil rights leaders of the past two generations paid a heavy price and laid the foundation for where African Americans are today. As a result of their sacrifices, blacks have made a tremendous amount of headway. But somewhere along the way, we forgot about the past. We stopped moving forward and began standing still. We must reunite our efforts through the voting process.
Who will be your choice for mayor?
Vote, vote, vote!