Madison County Opinion...

 September 26, 2001

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
September 26, 2001

Frankly Speaking

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 in Georgia.
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 holders.
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 His email address is


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By Charlie Broadwell
The Madison County Journal
September 26, 2001

Guest Column

Fishing memories
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 memories.
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, without showering.
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 tent.
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.
MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
PO Box 908, 33 Lee Street, Jefferson, Georgia 30549
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