Madison County Opinion...

February 6, 2002

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
February 6, 2002

Frankly Speaking

Georgia needs a new constitution
Last week I described the problems we have with the Georgia legislative system that allows a small group of legislators to dictate policy with no regard to the desire of the voters. They can do this because of the provisions of the Georgia constitution. That document is designed from top to bottom to put power in the hands of politicians, and not in the hands of the people where it belongs.
How do you thing King Roy gets away with riding roughshod over our opinions. How do you thing there were able to steal away our beautiful flag? How do you think they succeed in taking our schools out of the hands of parents and make them a part of their political power? It is simple. Nothing in our state constitution prohibits them from doing so.
The constitution assumes that all power belongs to the state. The state then parcels out bits of responsibility to city and county governments, but keeps the real power in Atlanta.
What we need is a totally new state constitution. That constitution should designate those powers that are appropriate for the state government, and leave all others to the cities and counties. It should clearly prohibit political considerations from being used to determine redistricting. I would like to see a constitutional provision that makes it mandatory that city and county lines be protected to the greatest extent possible. How about a rule that the width of any district must be at least 50 percent of its length?
It should clearly keep power over schools in the local school boards, including the drawing of county district lines. It should make all changes in local rules, including internal districting, the responsibility of local governments, with the approval of the voters. It should require voter approval for any significant tax increases.
It should prohibit state government from being involved in the election process, to include conducting political primaries, or making rules regulating political parties. It should make sure everyone, whether members of major or minor political parties, or independents, have full access to the election ballot.
Obviously, this new constitution can not be drawn up by politicians. They would only find ways to keep or increase their power at the expense of ³We the People.² A statewide convention made up of non-politicians, selected by a special election is the only way. Any new constitution devised by this convention would have to be ratified by ³We the People² before it becomes effective.
Now you and I know the odds of this happening. I guess I am just daydreaming again.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at His e-mail address is

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B y Kerri Graffius
The Madison County Journal
February 6, 2002

Guest Column

'So, how does it feel to be short?ı
Have you ever had a lot of people ask you the same dumb question?
Sure you have.
When I worked at Walt Disney World, for example, one of the most frequently asked questions I received was, ³What time does the 3:00 parade start?²
³Gee, sir, I guess the 3:00 parade starts at 3:00,² I always wanted to say in my most sarcastic and demeaning voice.
But, of course, at Disney World I couldnıt say that.
Instead, I would just say in my most spirited and reaffirming voice: ³Well, sir, I believe the 3:00 parade will start at 3:00, just as the brochure states.²
Sometimes, we want to scream, ³Can you ask a more stupid question?² when people (quite frankly) ask pretty stupid questions.
Beyond the 3:00 parade question, my life can probably be characterized by the one of those stupid questions: ³So, how does it feel to be short?²
³Gee,² I usually shoot back, ³how does it feel to be tall?²
I donıt ³feel² short—thereıs nothing different about the way I function, think and act just because Iım under five feet tall.
Well, actually, I find myself doing some things a little differently in life...
At home, I can never place a can of soup on the third shelf of my kitchen pantry because I canıt reach that high; Iıve learned to jump on the kitchen counter if someone does place the soup cans too high; Iım used to grabbing whatever object I can find to knock things off the shelf; things usually fall on my head since everything is higher than me; Iıve never touched the ceiling of my apartment (even with the help of a chair and two telephone books); and Iıve never been able to skip a stair since that would require a monumental effort for my short legs.
Even walking with my friends requires a little more effort. For every step you take, I have to take two—so I often seem like Iım speed walking when, in fact, Iım just trying to keep up.
For that matter, having a tall boyfriend isnıt easy either. James is about six feet tall, which means I usually have to get a running head start just to throw my arms around him.
He sometimes thinks that heıs good kisser because I look weak in the knees after we kiss. The truth is, I usually lose blood circulation in the back of my neck since I have to pull my head so far back to kiss him. Sorry, babe, itıs nothing personal—itıs just that Iım too short and youıre too tall.
Being short also means feeling tall when you put on a pair of rollerskates. Better yet, with the rollerskates on it feels like an out-of-body experience when countertops and chairs actually seem as though theyıre at the right height and not at your chest.
For the really short people, itıs also about laughing at so-called ³petite² clothes. Most of the ³petite² clothes were fashioned for someone who is 5ı2. Sure, itıs short, but itıs not short enough. With ³petite² pants, I still have to take them to a tailor to cut off another three inches.
Overall, I wouldnıt say being short is a bad thing. When people ask me about my height, they often then ask if I would like to be taller.
Besides being known as ³the little short girl,² my height is the one thing I wouldnıt change about myself, I tell them. After all, itıs the one thing that stands out about me.
Kerri Graffius is a reporter for MainStreet News. Her email address is
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