I am not sure if you could truly ever describe Macon as a great city, but most long timers here would agree it has seen much better days in the past. There is a sense that some positive changes are underway, and I truly hope the gloom and doom of the last few decades is at an end and better days are ahead.

Towards that end I decided to publish and article and I need your help for more ideas! I will keep my own personal suggestions relatively short, but I have a favor to ask each and everyone of you who has ideas on how to improve Macon-Bibb in the years ahead. All you need to do is publish your thoughts in the comments below this article and I will select ones that I think have real merit and add them to the article. You can choose to include your name or remain anonymous. Let’s not make this just a bitchfest either, it’s fine to cite problems but try and include solutions in your critiques.

 Baseball – Macon doesn’t need nor can it afford a new baseball stadium.  Build it and they WON’T come  A new baseball team would fail just as all the ones before it have failed. The internet and smart phones and the proximity to Atlanta not to mention so many other entertainment options means very few will attend a baseball stadium in very hot and humid Macon weather. Just let this idea go Mayor Reichert. There are far better ways to spend money than on a sport in decline in a city not interested in supporting a team.

Cronyism with appointed official– It’s time for some fresh faces on agencies like the Industrial Authority and other offices where people are appointed and not elected. You have a large untapped talent pool of citizens with international experience, who speak foreign languages and understand foreign culture that could attract those companies but instead choose to play musical chairs among the various appointments. Isn’t the definition of insanity repeating the same experiment over and over and expecting different results? Tap into some new blood and send the cronies who earn all their income off of taxpayers and city contracts off to pasture. Expand your social contacts beyond the small clique who have continued to disappoint Mayor Reichert.

Education –  Currently, 44% of Georgia’s newly hired teachers are dropping out of the profession by year five. This isn’t just happening in Bibb but across the state and nation.  This is perhaps the biggest and most complicated challenge to solve but we need a new playbook in Bibb and fast. Dallemand was a disaster but now he’s gone. There have been some modest improvements, but much remains to be done especially with discipline and the low morale due to so many extra non-teaching duties piled on them, low pay, and feeling abandoned and forgotten. Real improvements don’t start from the top, they start with getting the input and feedback from the classroom teacher who knows better than anyone else what needs to be fixed and having them support any changes. I strongly suggest anyone interested in learning more read this brilliant article by a Georgia teacher and also read the comments below the article to understand the first priority to fixing our schools. Hint: It’s not programs like Avid, Ruby Paine seminars, the latest Professional Learning fads, or any other private vampire entities sucking millions from poor school districts promising quick fixes! Ask the teachers directly and give them what they need!

Blight – Finally this issue is on the radar and their seems to be a real effort to help clean up the blight. But unfortunately there seems to be an ever increasing amount of new blight to replace any that has been cleared or repurposed. I don’t have any quick fixes, but perhaps there is a faster way to track down the people who own the deed to the properties and levy stiffer fines.

Planning and ZoningMacon ranks as #5184 in the state of Georgia on livability index Perhaps part of the reason is Macon has been so desperate to attract any business at all they make concessions that more livable and prosperous cities would never grant. Our self-esteem as a city was so low that we became a dumping ground and decided not to have any sort of codes or long-term planning. Macon needs a 20 year strategic plan that includes community input and we need it yesterday. It needs to include neighborhood revitalization, dedicated green spaces, protect neighborhoods from commercial creep.

Ugly Signs – Thanks to a dedicated group of concerned citizens called Designing Macon  they have brought my attention to all the ugly, illegal, and dangerous signs posted by both politicians and businesses. I strongly encourage anyone interested in cleaning up Macon to join their Facebook group and assist them by taking photos and reporting illegal signs to See-Click-Fix

Crime – Crime also ties in with education. With so many dropouts you inevitably will have a large number of unemployed young people who are prime targets for gang recruitment, drugs, and crime.  I wore an article detailing some ideas for better community policing based on Kobans in Japan that I still feel has real merit. There is no easy or quick fix to reducing crime, but we need to start thinking outside the box for ways to start addressing the cause and not just treating symptoms if we ever hope to make any real progress. Until our crime rate is drastically improved any short-term advances will stall as companies fear moving into Macon.

Those are just a few off the top of my head. Do you have additional ideas? Try and keep them around a paragraph and feel free to link articles. 

 

By Alan Wood

Musings of an unabashed and unapologetic liberal deep in the heart of a Red State. Crusader against obscurantism. Optimistic curmudgeon, snark jockey, lovably opinionated purveyor of wisdom and truth. Multi-lingual world traveler and part-time irreverent philosopher who dabbles in writing, political analysis, and social commentary. Attempting to provide some sanity and clarity to complex issues with a dash of sardonic wit and humor. Thanks for visiting!

16 thoughts on “Cheat sheet on Makin’ Macon Great Again”
  1. Great idea but I doubt many will respond. One of the biggest problems in Macon is apathy. No one seems to really care what happens outside their own neighborhoods. You already hit on the main issues. I especially like the idea of getting rid of people like Cliffard Whitby, Robert Fountain, and Sam Fountain and choosing some people with actual business experience. I don’t even think Whitby has more than a high school degree and he is the damn chairman!!! I also don’t think he has earned a penny that didn’t involve government contracts. Hart was just a lackey at Mercer with no real business experience. And then you have a guy who runs a car wash. Yeah, these bozos are really going to be able to negotiate deals with companies. 🙁

  2. Short response to long reply.
    1. Baseball. Maybe, we need something to bring the community on the same page.
    2. Agreed
    3. Education. Of course but too many lazy ass students going to college to party who do not belong there. Tech, Agri,, science, permaculture, climate change future information and options to learn how to abandon the cities which are inherently not substainable. Courses on how to not have babies.
    4.Blight. Cities of this age will inherently have lots of blight. Destroy for green stuff, like carbon trading.
    5. Planning. What a mess we have.
    6. Good work, myself included. DESTROY.
    7. Crime. See 1-6.

  3. Fourth of July is the primer for total control.
    Another fourth in Macon and the nation brings with it an exercise for the corporate to control us through the state controlled police system.
    It has been a very long time since I have really had a good 4th. The police are exercising their right to harass you.
    Road blocks near lakes and events are common now. The lake wardens are boarding your boats and checking all your carry on items. Indecent behavior or should I say what they view as indecent behavior such as skinny dipping will land you in jail for many different violations.
    The real criminals are out they in the mean time robbing your unattended home, take whatever suits them.
    The 4th of July means the corporations are mad you are not shopping that day but are instead trying to play like what Sundays use to be. But they still insist most people work that day while their owners enjoy the fruits of the freedom of being a billionaire, at your expense.
    Macon people need to take back their town. Have community standards that require most store to close on the 4th of July and on Sunday’s. Believe it or not their towns like that in the U.S.
    Let’s take our town back from the Chamber of Commerce, and work to remove the police harassment with the stupid fines and fees we see here in Macon today. It can be done. We just need the will to do it.

  4. Is the new SPLOST initiative a good thing for Macon-Bibb residents? Maybe it is good for the developers but not the poor. We need more walkable parks, not mega parks that are build for visitors. We need places the homeless can shower and get out of the cold and heat temporarily. We need a park anywhere we have a church. Take a blighted area clean it up and make it a green space and a park. Tell these idiots on the commission to help the residents not everyone else.

  5. The capitalist path Macon leaders follow is a cancer on this town. Damn the poor, the middle class and anyone not rooting for any kind of commercial growth.
    The only short term winners are the corporations. We are the long term losers.
    Nowadays everyone screws everyone else as greed is funnelled down to the small businesses and their employees.
    Warner Robins is even sicker and is in hospice care today.
    I think Deal and Perdue must have provided help on how to screw the residents.
    And a former mayor of Macon who led the state chamber of commerce in that period surely made a mark for all the sprawl you see everyday in this area.
    But capitalism and competition is a dead end path and even a steady state economy may be impossible now due to the damage done to our environment.
    All of this could not be done without somebody taking the bait. We are the suckers who fell for this crap. We bought into the fallacy that more is better and we can all be rich through hard work.
    One very developed country’s people are starting to wake up only if it is because the resources are so limited. This is Japan. They have a much better chance of survival than we do as a country when financial collapse hits the world. All the money we spend on defense will seat our demise. But a few towns with populations less than ten thousand should be fine if theirs is a community of farmers, builders, and spiritual leaders. Isn’t it time to get to work and save ourselves and do what we can to save the planet? We let this commerce porn into our lives. Japanese people are being forced to change back to the old economic times of their past. We need to follow and reject the current system.

  6. Macon will never be great again if citizens are locked up for voicing opinions about the police. That is what happened last week to a man who make a statement about the cops, but called out no particular person. This kind of action should incite protests from the public, especially the black community. We have moved to a China like state but with the corporations blessing with their private jails. Most of the cops in Macon are pretty good, the bad apples are the leaders who don’t have a clue about much of anything. And be sure to stay away from Warner Robins.

  7. A meeting was held a few days ago to get input on what Macon should look like in 2040. I was unable to attend but hope to find out what went on. 2040 is way to far in the future to plan anything. But we do have a good idea what the weather will be like due to the carbon dioxide increase that is locked in. And technology is not expected to save us. In 2040 it will be so hot outside that situation will be dire. Any roads will have to be dirt as they will melt otherwise. But the clueless morons still insist life will be better than today. What evidence do they have?
    And don’t believe peppering will help much. The rich think they can hide by building condos in missile silos. The only way to survive is in small towns and villages with the knowledge and skills needed to live in a simple way. The old people will be purged as only the fit, and healthy can hack it in a world without reliable energy. Japan is already starting to get it, but we never will. Many of them now know nuclear, big cities, endless consumption, is over.
    If I had went to this meeting and told them my vision of 2040, I would have been laughed out of the room. To the Mayor, and the rest of the commissioners infinite growth is the only thing they wish to hear. But we are already seeing year over year of record breaking heat.
    We should be planning for Degrowth, not endless consumption.

  8. People planning for the predicament in 2040 should get out of Macon. They should require the place they move into have solar panels, a water collection system, tillable land, and good neighbors, but not too many. People work together in groups of less than 200, and towns of less than 10,000. Earth homes that are mostly passive will be best and near a stream or available water source. Life will be tough but not as bad as people living in hot apartments in Macon. Of course developers will disagree. Their vision should not be yours. Your life depends on it. Hopefully, if you are an old fart like me, you will not be ninety like I will, and be considered dead already.

  9. The courts want to keep your money if you get into trouble in Macon. Well, that is my experience when posting bond for a friend with cash. The friend never saw a judge and was never formally charged. The friend was only told to stay out of trouble for six months. So, my money was held for six months even though the friend showed for court. If I had been a bail bond company, I doubt they would have had their money held for the whole time the friend was told by someone to stay our of trouble. Beware, and be sure to not lose any paperwork to prove you deserve it back. The bad thing is no witness appeared, no judge was seen, and the friend should have been let free without charges.

  10. Will Macon decision makers take us down the same rabbit hole where the poor get no respect and take to criminal activities or will they come to the reality that growth means more than more strip malls and fast food joints and bars. The paradigm needs changing. Anyone who needs a job should be able to get it. And no one should be hungry. The children here need our attention and love, but are not getting it. Can you help? Do something nice for anyone and make sure the children see you. Give them your last dollar to put in the offering cup or homeless pockets. Go out of your way to help the elderly and disabled. Keep water near you or food to share with others. We need to talk Degrowth, where less means more. More time to be human and a giver, not a corporate consumer.

  11. I just read Macon-Bibb, has above average births to teens. Thank the Lord a teen center has opened to encourage abstaining from sex. Let’s pray the political right does not shut it down.

  12. Every time you turn around the Macon Mayor is supporting another tax. But what groups do these taxes benefit the most? The poor now pay more for a motel room for their family. They pay more for a hamburger at the closest place for food like McDonald’s. These taxes are regressive so are bad for the poor. Another SPLOST also punishes them. Last week I saw a homeless woman with a baby hiding from the hot temperatures, and many on the street corners looking for water and change. We don’t need to worry about 2040. By then Macon will be in shambles. We need compassion now, not more taxes on the poor.

  13. Stealing again. The city now wants you to vote for another splost, while the roads continue to be not cut in the right of ways and the equipment they promised to buy with the last splost seems absent. The splosts are designed to bring people into Bibb County to spend money, not to help the residential.
    Why is it that Houston County turned down voting on a regional tax, and a new splost recently? Yet the medium income is one third higher than it is in Bibb. Vote no on any new splost. The board of education is set to move your property taxes up more than 11%, whether you like it or not. The Mayor of Macon always wants more of your money.
    We don’t need more mega stores, urban malls, etc. We need all the locals to shop local businesses that are honest, which, I agree, is not easy. But mega stores sell you this junk then sale you extended insurance which ends up not paying for all the problems you encounter which this junk made overseas. At least with the locals, if you have a problem you can take them to court. And I have had many. Just be careful. And remember you no longer control the elections. People like the Koch brothers, are feeding money into local elections since they abandoned the GOP.

  14. Great site here. Too bad there is so much apathy in Bibb County. Lots of junk on facebook with in fighting about stuff they will have no control over. This site is one where locals can communicate and help solve some of the local issues.
    Thanks to anyone listening, and I hope my mistakes, spelling and such will improve. This laptop is not the easiest computer to type on and I can hardly read the small type.
    Let’s get this place rocking and rolling.

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