Unless you keep up with state politics, you may have missed an interesting juxtaposition recently: Within days of each other, the two opponents in the 1998 race for Georgia lieutenant governor made legal pleadings.
One got married. The other admitted lying to the FBI.
Fortunately the one who won the 98 race, Democrat Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, is the one who got married. The Big Guy wed Sacha Wilbanks on an island near St. Martin in the Caribbean.
The man who lost the 98 race, Republican Mitch Skandalakis, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of lying to the FBI during a bribery and corruption investigation in Fulton County.
The FBI probe began in 2000, which would have been halfway into his first term had Skandalakis defeated Taylor in 98. Many recall that 1998 race primarily because of its nastiness. Skandalakis low-blow attack ads made even partisan Republicans wince; remember the commercial portraying Taylor as a house-robe-and-slipper-wearing rehab patient?
Even though Taylor is a partisan blowhard - albeit somewhat muted since the Georgia Senate went Republican and removed most of his authority - Georgia, and the state GOP, is lucky Skandalakis lost in 1998. Can you imagine what it would have been like for the state to have been dragged through the skandal mud for the past three years?
By the way: The federal judge taking Skandalakis guilty plea in Atlanta Dec. 19 was U.S. District Judge Richard Story, a Harlem High graduate and son of former Columbia County Democratic Party Chairman Buck Story.
Judge Story will pronounce Skandalakis agreed-upon sentence Feb. 12, sending the former Fulton County Commission chairman and state lawmaker to federal prison for six months.
Taylor, meanwhile, was to have returned last week from his honeymoon, to begin serving a life sentence in holy matrimony (though he has been paroled twice before: this is Taylors third trip down the aisle. Congratulations to the Taylors - and to Georgia.
Make sure of payback
Also from the capital last week came Gov. Sonny Perdues announcement that Atlanta can borrow $500 million over 10 years to improve its sewer system.
The city had sought a state bailout of its sewer problems - which were ignored by mayors before Shirley Franklin - but Perdue said doing so would send the wrong message to other cities. No kidding; from Augusta to Grovetown, cities with infrastructure needs rightly would have been standing in line with hands out if Atlanta had received a gift from the state.
The key to all this, though, is to make sure future administrations - of Atlanta, and of Georgia - dont get away with seeking forgiveness of the loans after the attention has dwindled.
Before the last Christmas music fades away, a little story of the holidays: I was delighted to hear a couple of performances this year from my 10-year-old daughter, Annie, who participates in the Stevens Creek Elemen-tary Chorus and takes piano lessons from Tara Scheyer.
Scheyers students had a recital Dec. 14, a wonderful display of talent from the kids. But it the surprising talent from one of the adults got my attention.
Young Jennifer Hicks played a couple of selections, including the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies from Tchaikovskys Nutcracker. She was accompanied on the piece by her mom: None other than Brig. Gen. Janet Hicks, commanding general of Fort Gordon.
The general has been a piano student herself since she was a child. It shows; if this military thing doesnt work out, shes got a career in music to fall back on!
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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