Calling on the wrath of God

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

I can swear there ain’t no heaven, but I pray there ain’t no hell.

— Blood, Sweat & Tears

From here and there:

— This week is the calm before the storm when it comes to Albany’s and surrounding communities’ Nov. 5 municipal elections. Candidates and would-be candidates have another week to get their action plans in place before qualifying begins on Aug. 26. Sitting Albany City Commissioner Ivey Hines has already formally announced plans to seek re-election in Ward II, and Ward III incumbent Christopher Pike has said he’s made his decision on seeking a second term but is not ready to announce it yet.

Ward V’s Bob Langstaff, who is finishing up a third term on the commission, said last week he’s still not sure about his plans. Langstaff has indicated privately he would like to devote more of his time to actively helping the less fortunate in the community, something his position on the commission often hinders. But Langstaff also knows a seat at the commission table allows him to impact the community more broadly.

Langstaff’s ultimate decision may or may not be impacted by the challenge of businessman Lane Rosen, who told The Herald he would, barring unforeseen circumstances, qualify for the Ward V seat. B.J. Fletcher, who already has signs posted at a number of locations, and Cheryl Calhoun have announced as challengers for Pike in Ward III, and Bobby Coleman and Demetrius Love have announced plans to take on Hines in Ward II. If others are waiting in the wings, they’ll show themselves the week of the 26th through the 30th.

Stay tuned.

— Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission President Ted Clem has been spreading a lot of good economic news about Albany and Dougherty County lately. And while it is, after all, Clem’s job to accentuate the economic positive in the region, he hasn’t had to look so hard lately for good news to report. There is retail growth (new Hardee’s, Waffle House and Kaufmann Tires outlets), industrial growth (Phoebe Health System’s planned medical distribution warehouse at the Pecan Grove Industrial Park that could become a regional co-op) and retention growth ($100 million in new investment in the local Procter & Gamble plant). All this good news comes even before EDC-hired business research specialists ROI and ad agency Lattimer Communications have started having an impact.

Clem, as well as EDC Business Development VP Justin Strickland, who recently qualified to join Clem as one of the state’s 66 Certified Economic Developers, and the agency’s staff are walking with a little more justifiable spring in their steps these days.

— There’s little doubt that the Albany City Commission will continue its monetary support of Chehaw Park, the underappreciated and never-fails-to-amaze attraction that has been a part of Albany for 75 years now. And few will argue that this is not money well-spent. As Pike pointed out during the last commission meeting, when the conversation is about money, most people tend to forget how much income places like Chehaw — and the Flint RiverQuarium, the Albany Civil Rights Institute and events like last October’s Georgia Throwdown — bring into the community through tourist dollars. Rather than debating such matters based on personal thoughts, prejudices and convictions, perhaps the city’s governmental leaders should get an accounting of all such institutions’ visitor-related income during the year and come up with a formula on which it bases any future contributions.

Even with few begrudging Chehaw its annual city infusion of funding, Mayor Dorothy Hubbard is right to wonder how the city can continue to justify giving Chehaw $1 million when it gives considerably less to other attractions, and then only after extended debate. Of course, having a formula in place to quantify the donations would be a step in that direction.

— I read the best Squawk that’s ever been contributed to this newspaper the other day. I don’t know if it made it into the paper, but a person called in and actually said, “I pray that someone stabs (convicted kidnapper Ariel) Castro when he winds up in prison.” I get that the Bible says that God is a God of vengeance, but I have trouble reconciling a supposedly religious person actually asking his or her supreme being to guide some other person into an act of violence against another human being. I hope that squawker wasn’t a Sunday school teacher.

God bless us, everyone.