Coming soon: The annual, week-long festival of Columbia County schools tripping over themselves to see who can bestow the most gifts and trinkets on their school board members in hopes that, come budget time, the board members will share a few taxpayer-funded goodies with them.
It's called School Board Member Appreciation Week, and Columbia County's schools in recent years have really laid it on thick.
We probably all should show more appreciation to our board members; they mostly do a good job under what are often difficult circumstances.
And if you want a comparison of how good we have it, just look at Clayton County.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is threatening to revoke Clayton County schools' accreditation. The agency blames board members, among other reasons. One trustee resigned Monday; another was ousted because he doesn't live in the county.
That trustee, Norreese Haynes, has lived for two years in Cobb County - a fact that was discovered when the cops there arrested Haynes after they say he slapped his boyfriend during a domestic squabble.
On Monday, some 2,500 residents showed "appreciation" for Clayton County school board members by loudly protesting and demanding their resignations.
Yikes. Those school zoning hearings don't sound quite so rough now, eh?
The weather sure turned rough this week. It also was stormy at the state Capitol, where Georgia House Speaker Glenn Richardson's GREAT plan was deluged with new opposition.
His idea to raise the sales tax on all goods and impose it on just about every service, including funerals, still has diehard supporters (pun intended). But their ranks are dwindling.
Opposed from the start by city and county officials because it allows the state to take control of local revenues, the plan came under new attacks last week.
First was the conservative Americans for Tax Reform. The think-tank blasted the plan and Richardson's strong-arm approach to ramming it through "with little room for legislators to analyze or fully digest the consequences to taxpayers."
In a flanking maneuver the same day, House Democrats also pledged to fight the plan. So what, right? They're the minority party.
True. But the proposed constitutional amendment would need a two-thirds majority to pass. The Democrats won't provide it.
Their opposition focuses on the number of new ways in which the state's sales tax would be imposed, accusing Republicans of wanting to "put 175 new taxes on Georgia citizens - from grits to putting you in the grave."
Here's my prediction: By the end of the week, GREAT will lie in the political graveyard.
If you happen to talk to any local Richardson fans and they disagree, file that denial away and gloat when you remind them of it later. If I'm wrong, feel free to remind me of it, too.
The political repercussions will come later. Democrats and GOP challengers to incumbent Republicans likely will make hay out of the tax-reform scheme in this year's elections. Look for those who have been supporters to downplay their involvement, or to fulsomely praise Richardson for his "courage" in creating the plan as they back away from its substance.
And, yes, this applies to Columbia County's lawmakers, too. Just watch.
But not all the stormy weather is in Georgia. The folks in the state next door have some, too.
This was a press release last week from the National Weather Service:
"Because of the threat of thunderstorms and maybe severe weather ... we will postpone the South Carolina Tornado Drill..."
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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