The Madison County Journal
September 26, 2001
How to get back our state gov't
Our president is urging us to get back to business as usual in
America to show the terrorist that they cannot disrupt our lives.
I will honor that request by continuing my series on Politics
I have described for you the radically partisan maneuvers by
King Roy and his vassals here in Georgia, especially in their
absurd redistricting plans. I let you know how these partisan
political operatives seek to dominate our state with no regard
to the desires of "We the People." Now let me tell
you what we must do to gain back our state government.
To start, the entire Georgia Election Code needs to be thrown
out. The current code not only determines which groups are "political
parties," it spends taxpayer money to conduct primaries
for these parties. That is also absurd. Political parties are
private organizations with purely partisan goals and causes.
They exist to support candidates with specific political agendas.
It is the highest abuse of taxpayers to force us to support political
agendas against our will.
Having cleared the field, the state should conduct general elections
only. These are the fall elections that actually choose office
The state should establish simple rules for gaining ballot access.
Once these rules are in place, every candidate should be required
to meet them. If the rules require signatures of some percentage
of registered voters to gain ballot access, then every candidate,
whether they represent major parties, minor parties or are independent
should be required to gather and submit the signatures.
If the Democrats wish to conduct a primary to select candidates
to represent them in the general election, they should set the
rules and date for the primary and pay for it. If the Libertarian
party chooses to hold political conventions to choose candidates,
they would be responsible for determining the number and qualification
of delegates, and pay the cost of the conventions. State tax
money should not be used in either case.
Candidates named by political parties of any size should not
be automatically placed on the ballot. They should be treated
just as any independent candidates. Any fees should apply to
all. Eligibility rules should apply to all. Petition requirements
should apply to all.
Finally, city and county should be free to determine for themselves
the frequency and date of elections. This should be the first
step in returning political authority to local communities, rather
than keeping all political power in Atlanta.
Now you and I know that this will never happen unless we the
people do something about it. How can we force the state to give
our government back to the people? I have a plan and will reveal
it next week.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.
His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His email address
The Madison County Journal
September 26, 2001
Due to a busy schedule I haven't been able to get out on the
lake lately, but it doesn't stop me from thinking about my childhood
When I was a child, my dad and I used to go to Clarks Hill Reservoir
and camp for a week every August. We had an old 1979 Chevy Silverado
and a 16-foot aluminum flat-bottom boat with a 40-horse engine.
Our tent was a small two-man tent. The tent was small, but tough.
It's much tougher than these new, sissy tents I see in the store.
It was made out of canvas, while the new tents are made out of
really thin nylon. The only disadvantage of my old tent was that
it weighed a lot. I couldn't tell you how much, but it was much
more than these new tents. But it was a man's tent. It smelled
like mildew and had rocks in the floor.
Clarks Hill always seemed like the right place to be. It still
has that certain smell and feel that other lakes don't have.
I also managed to catch more fish out of Clarks Hill than any
other lake around. When I was 7 years old, I caught my first
bass on an artificial lure.
I was bored with fishing the Carolina rig my dad had let me use,
so I decided to troll the lure behind the boat and doze off.
Suddenly I felt a tug on my cheap fiberglass rod, which promptly
alerted me. I didn't set the hook, I just reeled in really fast.
The fish was a keeper and went straight into the livewell. I
think I talked about the catch all day long. Actually, I believe
that whenever I caught a fish as a child I would brag and not
shut up for hours.
Trips to Clarks Hill weren't always pleasant, but the times were
filled with adventure. Once we decided to go up behind the Lake
Russell Dam hoping to land a monster striper. We tied up to the
steel cable that prevents you from getting too close and started
using these huge lures.
People who know about the Russell Dam probably wouldn't dare
tie up to that cable while in a little aluminum flat-bottom boat.
The dam features a pump back system which can pump water downstream
from Clarks Hill back into Russell.
We found out that pump wasn't anything to mess with after we
decided to call it quits and go somewhere else. After we untied
the boat, it was swiftly swept over the cable and being pulled
toward the dam. The only thing that kept us from going completely
over was that the motor's lower unit was caught on the cable.
My dad managed to get us off, but that was one of the few times
I have actually feared for my life.
I have hit several stumps in the lake as well. Around the time
of the dam incident I hit one of many hidden stumps in the lake.
My dad always let me drive the boat when I was probably too young
to be doing so. I nailed the stump at full throttle, which was
probably only 20 or 25 miles per hour. It was enough of an impact
to throw my dad up onto the front deck and painfully slam me
into the console. I think that bent the motor bracket, but like
our tent, that old boat was tough.
Now that I think about it, I'm sure that some people would consider
us to be fools for staying out on the lake for a week in August,
The truck has been long replaced by my much newer truck and a
sport-utility vehicle. The boat was sold nearly a decade ago
and has been replaced by a fiberglass bass boat. We still have
the tent even though we don't use it anymore. I hate to admit
it, but it has been replaced by a much larger, more sissy-like
I don't go to Clarks Hill as much as I used to. It seems as though
the Russell Dam has sucked all of the fish out of the north end
of the lake. Hopefully the lake will make a comeback, or maybe
it's just that I lost all of my skills. I have never seen the
south end of Clarks Hill. Maybe since the aquatic weed hydrilla
was introduced down there, the fishing is good. I'll have to
make the trip down there soon and check it out so I can relive
my old memories.
Charlie Broadwell is a staff member of Mainstreet News.