Sunday, March 11, 2007

Atlanta, You Don't Know Jack

Ellis that is. It is amazing how different someone can look from eighty miles up the road. This morning I when read "Macon Mayor is the Talk of the Town" in my news digest, I initially assumed the story was in the Telegraph and began to read the story aloud to my husband who remarked, "that's an incredibly soft story." Turns out the story by Bill Torpy is in the AJC. Those of us who have lived the pain of the Ellis years might not've been as kind.

How do you write an entire profile about Jack Ellis and never mention the city's issues with financial mismanagement so severe it impacted our bond rating? How do you ignore the superior court grand jury investigation, the federal investigation, or the recent fifteen million dollar "error" in the city audit?

One of the most glaring examples of the under-reporting in this article is the discussion of Jack's passion for revitalizing the inner city and public housing in particular. Torpy says,

"One of Ellis' widely viewed successes has been his drive to revitalize Macon's inner city. Public housing has been torn down and federal grants have transformed block after block of the historic neighborhood near Mercer University..." (AJC)

What??? Did Torpy not know or did he ignore the sheer hell Ellis has given one of Macon's true public servants, Housing Authority Director, John Hiscox? How about the issues with the match for our HOPE VI funds? And so, so much more. There's a good bit in the article about Ellis' conversion to Islam, but to us down here, it's just a "there he goes again" sort of thing, Our real concern has been about the management or mismanagement of City government.

As I noted last week, my sources tell me that after his term, Ellis plans to move to DeKalb County, where he owns a home, and run for the 4th Congressional District seat. I hear that he has already formed a committee to explore this option and is discussing it openly. In fact, at the end of the Torpy article, he references this possibility:

Some sort of trade job might be in the works, Ellis said. Or there could be another run at politics. He mentions he still owns a home in DeKalb County and playfully points out that 4th District Congressman Hank Johnston is a Buddhist, so what's wrong with a Muslim challenger? (AJC)

Atlanta has always been good to Jack, and he likes doing business there. He has looked to the big city for his campaign cash, and as recently as last year, Tom Houck, Andrew Young and others threw a party to help Jack raise money for his legal defense fund. Just a suggestion: ya'll might want to check into why he needed cash for his legal defense before you send him to Congress.

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