Postell blasts Marietta on airport issue

ALBANY -- The commissioner tasked by the Albany City Commission to speak with the son of a civil rights leader about possibly renaming the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport in his father's honor chastised the commission's representative on the Aviation Commission for pushing that body to reaffirm the current name of the airport and its terminal this week.

Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell dressed down Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta Tuesday for encouraging the Aviation Commission -- an appointed arm of the City Commission -- to get involved in the renaming issue when he said he had neither the authority nor the normal proclivity to address the issue.

"This is why we have a city commissioner on the Aviation Commission, to represent the interests of the board," Postell said. "They are trying to supersede our authority. ... They don't have authority over us.

"By doing this, they've made this whole thing sort of a circus by telling the City Commission what they want."

The issue is a longstanding request from the son of Johnnie Johnson -- a former public works employee for the city of Albany who, decades ago, challenged the city's unfair labor practices toward African-Americans by first leading a strike and then joining five others in a landmark civil rights lawsuit -- to have a prominent government building named in his honor.

Most recently, city staff identified three possible locations that could be named for Johnson: the downtown Law Enforcement Center, the airport and the Municipal Auditorium. When the LEC was taken off the table by the commission, the preference by the Johnson family became the airport.

Under city policy, the commissioner from the ward in which a building is to be named has to bring the issue before the commission. Since the airport is in Postell's ward, the City Commission asked him on Nov. 15 to speak with the Johnson family on the issue and come back before the board.

On Monday, before Postell had an opportunity to speak with the Johnsons, the Aviation Commission voted unanimously to reaffirm the name of the airport as the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport and the name of the terminal as the McAfee Terminal, in a move Marietta said at that meeting was meant to serve as a recommendation to the City Commission.

After being questioned by Postell on how the matter ended up on the Aviation Commission's agenda when it hasn't been thoroughly discussed by the City Commission, Marietta said board member Dr. Charles Gillespie placed it on the agenda but that he supported it once it was up for discussion.

"I didn't know it was going to be on the agenda before Dr. Gillespie put it on there, but I have to admit that I did vote in support of it because I viewed it as a non-binding recommendation to the commission that the name stay the same," Marietta said.

Postell cautioned Marietta on his actions, saying that the actions of the Aviation Commission have created more buzz behind an issue that some could view as racially divisive.

"That's a racial concept. It's a dangerous trap," Postell said. "(The City Commission is) trying to overcome racism and bridge this community together, and if we're not careful things like this can tear it apart."

Ward III Commissioner Christopher Pike said he was concerned about the timing behind the Aviation Commission's pre-emptive move to reaffirm the present naming of the airport when discussion hadn't really started among city commissioners.

"No one from the Aviation Commission took any effort to get any information on the situation before this came up on their agenda," Pike said. "There needs to be some simple dialogue before these kinds of things happen."

Albany Mayor Willie Adams, who said at the Nov. 15 meeting that he didn't believe renaming the airport was "reasonable or doable," echoed Pike's statement Tuesday.

"I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed as well," Adams said. "I know many of the people on the Aviation Commission and if they had opinions, they should have contacted us. They've set the stage to put us in a situation for controversy."

While he had the floor, Adams suggested that maybe the Johnson family could push to have a courtroom in the federal courthouse that now bears famed civil rights attorney C.B. King's name named in Johnson's honor and reminded the board that if the commission is upset about the actions of the Aviation Commission, they can choose not to reappoint its members when the time comes.


iko 4 years ago

Does anyone recall that our airport was posthumously named for a mayor who was killed in a tragic accident? How is it "racism" to want to preserve that tribute? But it is funny to see the politically-correct Marietta have the racism card thrown at him.


chinaberry25 4 years ago

Postell is about to get beat and he has one last ditch effort to win the election. He could care less about renaming the airport. Probably never flown out of it and never will unless city pays for it. Ask Johnson how many times he has flown out of it. Probably never as most Albanians.


JUICY 4 years ago

Again, Johnson does not merit having the airport named after him! I would rather they call it Martin L. King Jr or Willie Adams than name it after J. Johnson. The problem stems from Yaz Johnson making it seem as if the commissioners are doing nothing and therefore useless. It is politics! Plain and simple. But renaming the airport after a man who sued the city is not right. I expect more from my heroes and I feel that the city should to. Actually, the problem is fully from the Albany commissioners for not having the balls to tell Yaz and the Johnson family to take the plaza or fountain. Even if they do acquiesce to Yaz's demands what is to say that he won't come back at some later point and request, no demand, something else.


ibatester 4 years ago

What can' the Civil Rights Museum be named after him? Isn't that a more appropiate path/venue?


redbeard 4 years ago

This is exaclty the reason you never, ever name an item after ANYONE. Most people involved in politics, which is usually the area in which people are selected to be remembered, have the time and money to serve. The person requesting this is a very selfish person. I would never vote to name anything after anyone.


waltspecht 4 years ago

Why not just set up a list of rotating names for all the buildings. It won't affect folks like a street name change resulting in an address change. Every week the Buildings could be named after someone else with one of those digital light signs. That way everyone would get their time in the spotlight, and all entities would be happy, I think. Why not pull the name Jefferson Davis off the highway stretch named for him? Afterall his side lost. Then name it for someone else. Or how about Jefferson himself? Then there is Washington also, but I don't think most folks would want that street named for them.


Moe 4 years ago

That would violate our sign ordinance,Walt. By the way, has anyone considered naming the unemployment office after Judy Bowles?


VSU 4 years ago

First of Postell is an idiot. He tells everybody in his campaign speech that he's here to serve the entire community which we all know is a lie. He's only here to serve one group of people in the cummunity and that's the people in the black community. Postell is an idiot, a racist and a hypocrit. I hope he loses the race. Albany would be better off without him. Postell is a prime example of why we need term limits. Mayor Willie Adams is talking out of both sides of his mouth. On one side he didn't think renaming the airport was reasonable, on the other side he said he was disappointed about the reaffirming of the name of the airport. That is another example of the Mayor not knowing anything and is another reason Albany is in the shape it is in. McAffee donated money to help out the airport. What has Johnson done? File a lawsuit! Whoopie Doo! What a great accomplishment, then name the Courthouse after Johnson. Bottom line is this is not about honoring a black person. This is all about replacing the name of a white person with the name of a black person. Just like they wanted to replace the name of Jefferson street with MLK. It's all about replacing the white name with a black name, it's all about racism.


Cartman 4 years ago

Postell lecturing someone on racial unity is as ridiculous as Obama making a speech on our need to curb reckless spending. BTW, I told you guys this recommendation from the airport commission would turn upside down.


1d2ec 4 years ago

Stop trying to GLORIFY people. It's just stupid.


buster 4 years ago

What about naming the sewage treatnent plant after Johnson?


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