Coping with Albany area's legion of doom and gloom

Opinion Column

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

There's more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line. The less I seek my source for some difinitive, the closer I am to fine.

-- Indigo Girls

Some see the glass as half empty. Some see it as half full.

For the vocal minority of folks around here who live to throw their negative spin on anything they encounter -- and that would be anything: puppies, rainbows, Psy and his "Gangnam Style" video that is this generation's "Macarena," a gift horse, a winning football team, a beautiful fall day -- the glass is broken, filled with sour milk and has tiny shards in it waiting to hack away at the innards of anyone stupid enough to drink from it.

I'm no Sister Mary Sunshine, but, damn, is there anything that these people don't find fault with? It's like a very smart lady once told me: "The people around here would complain if you hung them with a new rope."

No one will argue that the metro Albany region has its share of issues. We can start with what anyone would have to agree is a dysfunctional school board/system and work our way from there. But even that maligned group is on its way to improvement. (Anyone who doesn't think the board will automatically get better the day that Anita Williams-Brown exits stage left and either Lane Price or Lorenzo Heard takes her place just hasn't been paying attention.)

And then there are the Water, Gas & Light Commission ratepayers who indignantly claim that the estimated $80 million to $100 million in credits being sent the utility's way through the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia is rightfully theirs. (Without, of course, considering folks who paid into that fund all those years but now get their utilities elsewhere. ... Should WG&L spend $50 million or so of its money chasing old customers down? And what about new customers who never paid a cent toward the deregulation hedge? Do they deserve to share in the largesse?)

We have people complaining furiously against a forward-thinking Long-Term Financial Planning Committee plan to use some of that MEAG money as an incentive to bring new businesses or grow existing businesses here, even while the rest of the state hails the plan as a "game-changer" that will increase our area's chances of economic development. Which would mean more jobs, a better standard of living, all those things most folks consider good.

Even as visitors from all over the state, as well as the nation and other countries, come here and speak glowingly of the potential of the community, our peculiar legion of doom and gloom can find nothing good to say. Who knows, maybe they were mistreated as children or their existence has become as mundane to them as it is to the people who have to listen to their whining and moaning all the time.

The election Tuesday won't really help things. Both sides are planning celebrations, but they're getting their complaints ready just in case: We wuz robbed! We'll never survive four years of (fill in the name of winning candidate)! We might as well pack up our belongings and leave this country (not a bad idea, by the way)!

I truly have no idea what it would take for some of the worst of these folks to acknowledge that somebody somewhere has done something good in this community; and I certainly can't convince them that even though the people who don't agree with them are no doubt wrong, they are not necessarily fools or morons or clueless or idiots or whatever other words of derision spring forth from their limited vocabulary.

I've certainly raged against the machine plenty in my time. But never, even at my most militant (like when I crossed my fingers once while saying the Pledge of Allegiance, my silent protest against discrimination ... yeah, stick it to the man!) have I seen the place I lived as a lost cause. And I've never quit believing that there's good in all people, especially south Georgia people.

And so, I'm left to wonder what it is all these dark messengers are trying to get across. I mean, after all, we got that Olive Garden that they were all clamoring for. Surely they're convinced now world peace can't be far behind.

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


LoneCycler 2 years, 9 months ago

It’s been two days and there aren’t any takers so I’m giving this my two cents. First, it’s tough being a journalist. You have to get words down on paper and produce an article no matter how you feel that day or if there are no subjects that interest you. Sometimes you just have to “hack” it -- this is how you put food on your table. The article is a fine example of journeyman word slinging. Mr. Fletcher’s critics here would have a difficult time trying to replicate his ability at making cynicism appear to be learned while at the same time drawing partisan lines through community problems. Secondly, government doesn’t create businesses or grow businesses. If Dublin and Laurens County were able to attract two new employers and hundreds of jobs, as Mr. Sinyard claims, due to their use of SPLOST funds as Albany and Dougherty County intends to do with MEAG money, tell us exactly what it was they did with their money so we can compare plans. All we hear from the DCC and the Mayor are nebulous ill defined aspirations and slick repackaging of the issue such as it will be “a tremendous return on an investment Albany residents essentially made as WG&L ratepayers.” Citizens were paying their electric bill – something they had to do or suffer -- not investing in the future dreams of local politicians and their business cronies. Will they use the money to build an annex on RiverQuarium and apartments in various derelict buildings downtown? What is their plan? Accuse us of cynicism if you like but we’ve got plenty of reasons to be the way we are, Mr. Fletcher. Just look around.


KaosinAlbany 2 years, 8 months ago

Thank you! Glad there is a voice of reason out there.


Jacob 2 years, 9 months ago

an article that whines about people whining... lol what a joke.


Spike 2 years, 9 months ago

Perhaps Carlton can lead the way within the Albany Herald? Having read Mr. Fletchers articles/columns over the past couple years I'd have to say this "dog don't hunt". Most of the time the Herald is leading the way in exactly what Carlton writes about which ironically includes him a significant portion of the time. Most of what is written is "dirt" and I'd bet that the "Squawk Box" is the most read portion of the paper. If you are serious Mr. Carlton then why don't you publicly voice your displeasure with your own papers policy of promoting "gloom and doom".............Hell will freeze over first because the "Squawk box" and articles like it are what sells papers.


waltspecht 2 years, 9 months ago

Most Prophets of Gloom and Doom simply mean to draw attention to something that is going on that is just plain wrong in their mind. I for one find it plain wrong that certain individuals can get away with minor traffic violations because of who they are related to. I know Officer discretion is involved, but it is intended to build relationships. Not protect Family or Brother Officers. I have seen a Police Car come up behind a speeder, and then back off when they see that Thin Blue Line indicator on the vehicle. Never even check to see if it is real or not. I am sure there are many others with pet peves about other things. Call them gloom and doom if you want. I call it venting on a public forum.


Jacob 2 years, 8 months ago

"I have seen a Police Car come up behind a speeder, and then back off when they see that Thin Blue Line indicator on the vehicle"

Gotta call BS on that one. There is no way that you can know the officer saw the sticker or what he was thinking, Sounds like little walt is mad because he got caught speeding.


Parent 2 years, 9 months ago

I agree that there are some people that are just negative about everything. That really gets old. I don't buy the Albany Herald, but I do read the articles online and the daily negative comments that are posted by the same people day after day. It just makes me wonder if the Albany Herald post certain stories just to get the attention from these type of people.


KaosinAlbany 2 years, 8 months ago

Bingo! We have a winner! You nailed it, Parent!


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