In reference to Barry Paschal's June 8 column, "Governor soon will visit county":
I wonder if The News-Times will print yet another "clarification" of its facts in the next issue?
While attempting to recall recent Georgia legislative history, Paschal wrote: "Voters approved Perdue's design overwhelmingly." Well it wasn't Sonny Perdue's flag design; it was Bobby Franklin's of Marietta.
Now let us take a look at Paschal's definition of "overwhelmingly approved." He was referring to the March 2, 2004 presidential preference primary that had the second lowest voter turnout in 20 years. Fewer than 7 percent of Georgians voted on March 2, 2004; of registered voters it was fewer than 20 percent. Of the 20 percent who voted, those who voted for our current Georgia flag make up 14 percent of Georgia's voters. That doesn't come anywhere close to overwhelming in my book.
Using Paschal's own logic, apparently 80 percent of registered voters showed their displeasure at the "rigged referendum" by refusing to participate.
A statewide poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, Inc. from Jan. 27-31, confirmed that 79 percent of Georgians still want a fair vote on the Georgia state flag.
Special-interest groups were the winners, with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce leading the way. The Atlanta Chamber's own 2003 legislative wrap-up crowed:
"One of the most important actions this session was legislation creating a new state flag, HB 380. Our position opposing the controversial Confederate battle flag won out. This means that in a March, 2004 referendum, Georgians can choose between the current flag or a new design." The Atlanta Chamber also thanked Arthur Blank, John Rice, Allen Franklin, Mike Eskew, Duane Ackerman and David Ratcliffe, as well as Georgia Power, Turner Broadcasting and GE Power Systems for the cash and lobbyists they supplied to get the 1956-2001 flag off of the 2004 referendum.
The Georgia Flag Fair Vote Act was introduced by Rep. Tim Bearden in January. It was assigned to the House Governmental Affairs Committee, where the chairman, Rep. Austin Scott, refused to even hold public hearings on the fair vote bill. Special interests have prevailed against an overwhelming 79 percent of "sorehead" Georgians.
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