Why the Public has Doubts about the Promise Neighborhood in Macon

Charles Richardson released part III in his “hard-hitting” series to get to the truth. Never mind that this is the same crap he has spewed for two years or more. I see no need to discuss his newest editorial because he makes no new arguments. As usual,  he published an editorial replete with nothing more than rhetorical  tautology and slaying the mythical straw man yet again.

Charles is gifted at writing logical fallacies, but not so talented when it comes to writing editorials, at least not any that make a point. I suspect many of the people that support the Promise Neighborhood are probably shaking their heads when they read his drivel and thinking “With friends like these who needs enemies”. Charles likes to use logical short-cuts, called heuristics. Far from convincing anyone of the merits of Promise Neighborhood I imagine he has turned even more people against the initiative. 

Ad ignorantiam

Basically that simply means that his beliefs that the Promise Neighborhood and the Macon Miracle are wonderful projects because we don’t know for a fact they aren’t. UFO and alien abductees also tend to fall into this group. He is also especially fond of non-sequiturs which is to say his conclusions never seem to flow from his premises. He simply is not a very talented writer and I suspect would give any philosophy professor fits. He fails to persuade, to dissect complex issues, or to offer any sort of authoritative commentary. He is quite simply an embarrassment to the entire Macon Telegraph which is a shame given there are a number of very talented journalists working there.

Promise Neighborhoods in other Cities are doing good work. The one in Macon is a Cash Cow for CGPICD

This is a very successful program nationally. I have researched other Promise Neighborhoods across the country and reached out to many to ask questions. One thing they all had in common was transparency and trust in their leadership and a sense of partnership. I could find no cases that came close to the level of profiteering seen with Ballard. Make no mistake, the Central Georgia Partnership for Individual and Community Development does not seem to be in the business of being very charitable when it comes to helping anyone other than themselves. Who exactly is this mysterious group? Back in March of this year Cliffard Whitby told David Oedel that he and a few others put up personal funds to buy the building for $220,000. That is one hell of a ROI when they wanted to charge $325,000 annually just to basically mow the lawn until the BOE and Dr. Smith put a stop to that at least.

Why did Monsieur Whiby et al. choose to buy Ballard unless they had a good idea of what was to come? His stated reason was that he grew up in the area and wanted to help the community. I would love to know exactly how hard the Bibb BOE looked for a buyer for this building. $220,000 certainly seems like peanuts for such a large building and tract of land. If he wanted to help the community as he suggests, why did he even need to buy the property at all and why was the CGPICD so greedy with the lease?  Could the BOE have   moved ahead with a Promise Neighborhood without selling the building at all? How, when, and who came up with the terms of this lease? Can anyone else find a single example that comes close to the terms of this lease for any other property in Macon or indeed the state of Georgia?

There are a dozen or more alternative scenarios to achieve the same goal that do not involve the BOE paying $575,000 annually in rent, plus $325,000 annually that was thankfully stopped only recently and so many other onerous terms in the lease. In total the CGPICD which was Jimmie Samuel, Cliffard Whitby and some other silent partners stand to make a cool $7 to as much as $10 million over ten years assuming the BOE is dumb enough to buy a building they sold for $220,000 only a short time ago. We have several other vacant school buildings and a few more that will be vacant soon that we already own and could be renovated into a Promise Neighborhood for likely far less than what Whitby is demanding from Ballard these next ten years.

I would love to hear how Whitby came up with that appraisal as well of over $7 million if it is sold back to the Bibb BOE. When he wanted to buy it it was apparently worthless. But now that he wants to sell I have heard $7 million floated around give or take a few million.  A refurbished school building in a very troubled neighborhood is worth what someone would pay which is to say not terribly much. In real estate there are three rules. Location, location, location. Property is only worth what someone is willing to pay. Exactly who would get in a bidding war with the BOE over this building if Whitby…excuse me if the CGPICD tried to sell it. I strongly feel the entire lease could be declared completely void. I strongly urge Dr. Smith and the BOE seek a new attorney for a second opinion over the validity of the entire lease. At the very least,  the terms of the lease need to be completely renegotiated and many portions of the lease invalidated . This building will certainly not appreciate in value over time, it will only depreciate once repairs are done. One must also ask why Central Georgia Tech received such generous terms. They did not pay for the arena build-out and only pay $11,000 monthly. Who are all these other partner groups as well that are supposed to help with costs. It seems the Bibb BOE are paying pretty much the lion’s share for all monies going into this black hole of a project. I see lots of other groups that use the building or are listed as supporters but pay little to nothing in comparison with the rent Bibb taxpayers are paying.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 1.20.51 AMI also would love to know why Stafford construction is reported as having done most of the work and not Whitby Construction or Whitby Inc. or Double UU Construction or any other of the companies Whitby apparently runs. How much of the actual work was done by employees of Whitby construction? He certainly is a very busy man since he is also a tri-chair of the nebulous One Macon. He is or was  involved with: 100 Black Men , the Macon Chamber of Commerce, and the Macon Bibb Industrial Authority. He is also apparently a political aficionado and likes to donate . In fact one name isn’t even enough for his donations,  he donates under Cliffard with an A as well as Clifford spelled with an O along with numerous companies he controls. He is certainly a very busy man indeed. I wonder when he has time to even have lunch, let alone running and chairing so many companies, groups, and organizations. I doubt even if Tim Cook who is probably the most successful and talented CEO in the country would have the time or energy to run such a vast network of such disparate organizations with any degree of efficacy. I see now why he is a man after Charles Richardson’s own heart.

I would also love to hear exactly how many private contracts any of these Whitby owned companies have actually performed that did not involve government agencies, contacts, or tax or grant money. Who exactly appointed him to this One Macon group? Perhaps they were unaware of all his other commitments. Can I decide to form a group with some concerned citizens and unilaterally make decisions that will effect future development projects? I certainly like to think I have some great ideas. Maybe I will call my group Bibb Citizens United for Prosperity. 🙄

I have done my absolute best to research all his various for-profit companies and not a one of those companies even has an actual website that I could find. In the year 2014, does anyone else find it odd that a construction company would not even bother to have a website to advertise their services? What percentage of all of Whitby’s various companies actually derive any income from the private sector?

No Charles, we don’t have a problem with the Promise Neighborhood but we damn sure have a problem with the profiteers behind this project and the terms of the lease which are extremely harsh. Consider this a free lesson on how one goes about writing an actual editorial. You’re welcome. 😉

 

 

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  1. Maurice Atkinson January 4, 2015 Reply
    • Alan Wood January 4, 2015

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