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Bad proposals no help to Cox

Posted: Wednesday, February 01, 2006

It's very early in this election year, so state polls don't really mean much yet.

Still, Strategic Vision's latest statewide survey in the governor's race continues to show bad news for the Democrats who want to boot Sonny Perdue out of the Governor's Mansion.

Secretary of State Cathy Cox maintains a slim lead over fellow Democrat Lieutenant Gov. Mark Taylor. But either of them would lose to Republican Perdue.

Also, the poll sampled more Democrats (44 percent) than Republicans (41 percent); so the actual results could be even worse for Cox and Taylor.

It's understandable they'd want to try to get a little traction, then. That's why Cox recently announced a plan for government reform.

Unfortunately for her, the plan's bad ideas just spin her wheels.

First, Cox wants all county-wide offices to become non-partisan. Avoiding their own party label has become the Democrats' No. 1 hope for winning back offices, such as sheriff, that they've been losing all across Georgia.

Interestingly, this proposal comes after Richmond County's Democrat and Republican chairmen both said Augusta would be better off switching its non-partisan commission and mayoral posts to party-label seats.

Cox also would "prohibit corporations from underwriting research that could benefit their own bottom line."

Please, someone tell her how idiotic that sounds. How many companies are going to fund research into products from which they don't hope to make money?

Besides, imagine the impact to, say, the Medical College of Georgia if physicians could no longer accept grants from companies seeking trials of new drug therapies or devices.

Cox spokesman Morton Brilliant says the proposal is aimed at preventing a situation like the one in which Eli Lilly was said to have promised money to the state's Medicaid program in return for an end to restrictions on four drugs produced by the company.

The words in Cox's plan don't say what Brilliant says it does, however, so we're left only with Brilliant's claim that such a thing is what Cox actually meant - and to wonder about the devils in the details.

No county police

Speaking of devils, Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle worries that some are hiding in the details of the county's draft consolidation documents.

County commissioners, in a called meeting Monday, approved sending the proposal to the legislative delegation.

But before they voted, Whittle warned that the proposal could allow future governments to set up a police force.

"Unless you change the charter as it's written, you can start a city police department" after consolidation, Whittle said.

Commissioners asked County Attorney Doug Batchelor to rewrite the offending passage to make it clear that the sheriff will remain the top cop.

A-one and a-two...

The television show"Dancing with the Stars" pairs B-list actors with professional ballroom dancers, turning them from klutzes to Gene Kellys.

But the choreography couldn't have been any better than that at Monday's Commission meeting.

The vote on the controversial consolidation proposal came through Commissioner Lee Anderson's Management and Financial Services Committee, so he brought it forward with a motion to disapprove it.

The motion failed for lack of a second, and Diane Ford then made a motion to approve it. Tom Mercer seconded. The commissioners chatted for a few minutes, and then voted with only Anderson opposing.

No one, Anderson included, actually expected the proposal to fail. But he's now on record voting against consolidation after having voted for it in October.

Call it the Consolidation Two-Step.

(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to


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