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Maschke’s decision par for Albany course

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

You built a house of cards, And got shocked when you saw them fall.

— The White Stripes

Albany, once the proud crown jewel of Georgia’s southern region, has an identity crisis.

Flamed by smoldering resentment and the stubborn vestiges of a racial divide that its citizens refuse to close, this once paragon of the Flint has mortgaged its future by refusing to reconcile its past.

And the mortgage payments are starting to come due.

While sister South Georgia cities like Valdosta, Thomasville, Tifton and Cordele — even once dwarfed neighbor Lee County/Leesburg — have made strides in improving aging infrastructure and have made advancements by utilizing the fresh ideas of their vibrant young citizens, Albany remains mired in a past whose legacy is steeped in animosity and mistrust.

The good-old-boy white power structure that ruled the city for so long has been replaced by a good-old-boy black power structure, and about the only notable change is in the group that is crying foul.

Many of the city’s black leaders have embraced the “payback” mentality and used it to alienate a huge segment of the city’s tax base. And whites only recently knocked from their perches of power choose to either pack up their substantial toys and move north — many into Lee County — or use their resources to fight any change that doesn’t include concessions to their presumed significance.

And while this not-so-subtle power struggle is waged at not-so-clandestine meetings at local restaurants, residences and other gathering places, the infrastructure keeps crumbling and the city’s most valuable resource — its talented young people — keeps moving away in droves.

There’s no optimism in this once-proud city, no sense that we all stand together as one. Such sentiment surfaces every now and then in traditional or extreme cases — during the Flood of ‘94, at Albany State University homecoming, during the downtown Mardi Gras/marathon weekend — but it just as quickly vanishes with the next outrage.

At the height of its prominence, Albany was ruled over with an iron fist by James H. Gray Sr., the media magnate/mayor who turned the city into his own Chicago, Richard Daley-style. The behind-the-scenes stories of his absolute power are shocking — some awe-inspiring, some deplorable — but he did at least put his own money where his mouth was.

Today, the Good Life City is governed primarily by men and women whose personal agendas — frequently at odds — far excede the “greater good” that so many falsely trumpet. While it may be impossible to know what resides in a man’s heart, his actions usually are revealing.

Albany does have good things going for itself. There are lots of good and successful people here, people like Anthony Parker, Chris Cannon, David Maschke, Mark Grimaldi, John Culbreath, Bo Henry, Jeff Sinyard, Stewart Campbell, Romney Smith, Dallas Davidson, Bobby McKinney, James Taylor ... individuals who while rising in their chosen fields have worked to better their community as well.

Yet the city exacts a toll on those who would rise above its ongoing ugly internal fray.

The community was stunned this week to hear that Maschke, a voice of reason on a dysfunctional school board, had decided not to seek another term in office. The man has said the right things since making the announcement, that he wants to devote more time to his work and family — and he does. There is not a more devoted family man in these parts.

But anyone who has even remotely observed the recent goings-on of the school board knows that Maschke was beaten to submission by a group that became increasingly less concerned with the students they were chosen to represent and more intent upon “making others pay for past injustices” and showing that they could do what they damn well pleased with their four votes.

Without Maschke’s watchdog presence on the board, expect even less accountability from its membership ... and continued decline of a once-proud school system.

Maschke’s decision is a sad day for Albany, and its repurcussions may be felt for years to come. But in a city that’s going through a prolonged identity crisis with no end in sight, such decisions are sadly becoming par for the course.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.

Comments

agirl_25 2 years ago

Well thank you for telling it like it was back in the days of James Gray and telling is like is it now in the days of the racial divide (I am rather proud of you!). Yes, you are correct in every single thing you put into the article.....they just don't give a rat's rear about the city. All they care about is their "in your face" attitude they seem to have now, not caring what it is doing to the city and the future of of the citizens and especially the children. David Maschke is going to be greatly missed and the city is going to realize how much he meant to them in a very short time when the circus that is the school system is taken over by the black leaders, and I use that term "leaders" loosely. Clowns is more like it......you know, the type person who would have someone arrested who was having a seizure at a mime's show because they thought they were heckling the mime. Typical mentality!!

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

One of the other caucasian members of the Board has been called a Racist to their face by "the one who will lead us out of this mess". Pretty sorry business.

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AlbanyDad 2 years ago

It comes from both sides Agirl ....it comes from both side Would it be safe to say you whites or rednecks hate that you can't pull out a whip and just beat them

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SMHgain 2 years ago

that is uncalled for. you seem to think racism is a "white" attitude. isn't redneck a deratory term??

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agirl_25 2 years ago

SMHgain........ I saw his redneck comment...and I don't reply to racist drivel like that....I don't lower my standards. Besides he didn't call me a cracker so I think he knew his limits.... Now if you will excuse me, I have to get my things together, my whips etc, and get down to the circus, as the clown car is coming by and I don't want to miss the Board members as they drive by....Larry, Moe and Curly.

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Jacob 2 years ago

David leaving is a good thing. It will hasten the total collapse of the so called school system and initiate a state government takeover, as was done in other school systems in Georgia that could not govern themselves. Nice try, though, David, and we don't blame you for throwing in the towel. Come on up north, the water is fine..

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tywebb 2 years ago

glad i got out and took my kids with me when i did.
Agony is a total joke!

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Citizen_A 2 years ago

I know this is off the subject and I will get blasted for saying it. If you took your kids and moved out of Albany, then why do you comment on all the Albany stories, like you have a dog in the hunt? I don't like a lot of what goes on in Albany, and as long as I live here, I will probably continue to comment when it strikes me...but should I ever leave, I pray that I have more things in life to do than spend time coming back to bash it. Save it for the Albanians who have a dog in the hunt.

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tywebb 2 years ago

that's a legit question. i'm not going to bash you for asking. i lived in the thug life city for over a dozen years. I left last year. I still have plenty of friends in the area AND I still own property there, so I am a taxpayer. Which means I support the local schools financially. Hope that suffices.

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Citizen_A 2 years ago

Thanks...and don't think that just cause I asked you that question doesn't mean I wouldn't take take the chance to leave if I could....I just don't think I will be looking back too much if I did.

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Shinedownfan 2 years ago

Living in Lee County is not exactly "leaving" Albany. We go there every day, work, shop and have family and friends in Albany. Therefore we should be able to comment on the heralds website, donchathink? I even live in Lee and have an Albany address, go figure.

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tywebb 2 years ago

i don't live in lee. when i left, i actually LEFT!

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Citizen_A 2 years ago

I wasn't really asking you....

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Shinedownfan 2 years ago

Is that a slap at me? I don't care if you were asking or not, I was commenting, isn't that what we do in the comments section?

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DoctorDorite 2 years ago

Well I'm glad someone in the media is seeing and reporting that the neighboring cities are growing while Albany declines rapidly from poor leadership. For a long time I thought I was the only person that saw this. The Herald needs more of this to change things, and yes it effects the paper too, A successful city means more businesses and more advertising dollars. LOL

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KaosinAlbany 2 years ago

If they did more reporting like this then a certain commissioner will try to shut them down. Trust me...

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Cartman 2 years ago

Good article Carlton. The article showed good concise editorial opinions. We've been saying precisely these things for ten years about the white past and black present, but have been called "racist" for simply stating the truth. Previously, you've been in the group that threw stones. I'm now numb to the race-baiting tags. The truth is the truth - and that's good enough for me. Welcome to 2002. Albany is past the tipping point now. It's already out of control and doesn't know it yet.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years ago

OMG!!! I cannot believe Carlton told it like it is. YOU GO!!

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BettyBowTie 2 years ago

Good job Carlton! You hit the nail on the head with this one.

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BettyBowTie 2 years ago

Albany and our "leaders" = mediocrity! There is little hope, if any, left.

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CJ_Fan 2 years ago

Carlton very good article. Very honest look at what the loss of Maschke on the board most likely will mean. “expect even less accountability from its membership ... and continued decline of a once-proud school system”. Hopefully the “four” will wake up and realize it is time to start thinking about the best interest of the kids first. In light of your new open honest comments about the DCSS Board I hope this does not mean you have taken up hitting the bottle to be so frank.

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MRKIA 2 years ago

PERHAPS MASCHKE WILL BE A CANDIDATE TO REPRESENT THE PROPOSED NEW CITY CREATED FROM WHAT IS NOW NW ALBANY.

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