It has been a grueling four months, but I can see the clearing up ahead and cannot wait for November 4th. I have been working on a local political campaign for Mike Jones, the democratic candidate for Sheriff of Chatham County. It has been an eye-opening experience to say the least. We have seen some of the slimiest tactics used by the incumbent, Al St. Lawrence.
In St. Lawrence’s own words, “I am not here to play nice with this man.” Now, I ask myself, why not? Jones has not done anything remotely underhanded or personally insulting to deserve anything but a nice, clean campaign, but St. Lawrence made it personal.Our illustrious sheriff, has used county time, resources and personnel numerous times during his campaign to conduct an abusive and spiteful campaign.
County ordinances (Chapter 5, pg.43) strictly prohibit the use of county assets for incumbents’ campaigns, but the powers that be don’t seem to care. Or, maybe, it’s because they are all doing the exact same thing. Not only has St. Lawrence broken our local codes, he has also misused personal information and paperwork from his office to fabricate lies about Mike Jones. The last time I checked, forging official documents was not just a local crime, but a Federal crime!
All this being said, I am completely disillusioned by voters as well. The inability to seperate themselves from a party is unbelievable. There are people in this county, state and nation who will vote Republican or Democrat because that is what they are. As a nation we have moved beyond the strict two party system. Democrats are no longer Democrats- they do not tow the party line. The same for Republicans. We should be voting for the person, their ideals and on their record. Moreover, we shouldn’t look to the government to solve our problems- look at what a fine mess we are in because of government’s mismanagement.
Locally, we have a county commission who rubber stamps budgets withouut a word of question. For instance, the administrative budget for the sheriff’s department has a line item for uniforms. This is not for the jail but for the 124 employees who work in the main offices. Last year’s budget for uniforms was over $100,000. That amounts to over $800 per employee just for uniforms. The prior year, they spent over $50,000. That’s another $400 per employee. That, my friends, is but one line on one budget.
Yesterday, local news outlets reported that the commission has approved spending another $4 million dollars on a work release facility, a seperate facility from the $80 million we are spending on the newest jail expansion. Why not invest that $4 million on an ankle monitoring system for the deadbeat parents who owe child support? I wonder if St. Lawrence thought this was a coup for his campaign showing his track record is great? In my mind, it just shows how great our elected officials are at spending OUR money without care. The $4 million is just the beginning. It may be built with SPLOST money, but once it is competed it must be staffed, maintained and run. Guess that means our property taxes are going up again!