- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 2, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) - Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:


Aug. 31

The Brunswick News on small businesses reaching out to state legislators:

Small business is the backbone of the nation’s economy. When they ail, everyone ails. They have everything to do with the quality of life and opportunity found in American communities, even here, in Brunswick and the Golden Isles. They are a major contributor to the economy and to the tax base, which generates the funds that support city and county governments, as well as the public school system. That’s not counting their contribution to state and federal governments.

Then, of course, there are the thousands of jobs and paychecks they provide. They are the reason many of us have a roof over our heads, a car in the driveway and vacation plans.

This is why those elected to local, state and national governments should pay attention when they speak. Any problem that challenges their existence or nibbles away at their ability to keep their doors open is a problem and challenge for us all.

Some might not like to hear that, but it is an economic fact they can’t dispute. Just count the number of individuals who depend on them for paychecks.

Just recently, a group of businesses related to the tourism industry - the No. 1 industry and employer in Brunswick and the Golden Isles - sat down with U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, their representative in Congress, to tell him how Washington politics can make a mess of things at home.

American businesses are already doing more than their counterparts in most other countries to satisfy government bureaucracies.

But it just never seems to be enough for those writing the rules and spinning out red tape. The federal government is very adept of creating hoops for businesses to jump through.

Hopefully, representatives in other districts and other states are getting an earful from their constituents too. Just as hopeful is that they will do more than just nod their heads and pretend to be interested. For the good of all, they must listen to the facts and act on them.

The livelihoods of more than just the owners of businesses are on the line here. At stake is the livelihood of thousands and the quality of life of entire communities.




Aug. 31

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer on tourism to Columbus:

There was a time — a long time, actually — when geography was a nagging Columbus economic problem. The Chattahoochee had long since ceased to be a major transportation corridor. Columbus wasn’t really on the way to anywhere, and when the city was initially left off the Interstate highway system, the anywhere we weren’t on the way to included most of tourism-rich Florida.

But as business writer Tony Adams’ Sunday feature makes clear, getting people to come through Columbus is now of little or no concern, because people how have more and better reasons for coming to Columbus. This isn’t a way station; it’s a destination.

The change has happened the way so many important changers happen: incrementally, but certainly not accidentally. The ideas and efforts of a lot of people have gone into making this a place where visitors to this city are now a major economic engine.

The numbers, crunched by the Butler Center for Business and Economic Development at Columbus State University, are pretty eye-popping. Visitors in fiscal 2015 alone spent about $340 million here, contributing to almost 4,500 jobs with a more than $119 million payroll, $18.6 million in local sales and lodging taxes, and $15 million in state sales taxes. Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau President Peter Bowden said there are more than 5,000 visitors in this city on any given day, and during that day they spend some $69,000 on arts, entertainment and recreation.

The Columbus Sports Council, born in the successful efforts of more than 20 years ago to make Columbus an Olympic venue, promoted 164 events that accounted for an FY15 economic impact of more than $16 million, almost one-third of that at the South Commons softball complex.

And in addition to older and more familiar attractions like the Coca-Cola Space Science Center and Oxbow Meadows, the river is now an increasingly popular site for whitewater rafting and zip-lining.

It’s probably worth pausing here to remember that the ideas for most (if not every single one) of these attractions and venues were greeted with skepticism, and not infrequently with outright derision and contempt, by the usual-suspect hooting section that seems to be a loud — and spectacularly consistent in its chronic wrongness — part of every community.

That people with vision, civic energy and a healthy capacity for selective deafness are able to smile and soldier on is a principal reason why great things get done in spite of obstacles both unexpected and predictable.

This coming Labor Day weekend, DCS Softball of Tallahassee, Fla., is bringing about 8,000 people and 150 softball teams to town for Dickey’s Black Softball Circuit. The organization doesn’t seek bids for the event, said CEO Clay Dickey, “because of the reception that Columbus gives us, and the hospitality. You can’t put a price tag on that.”




Aug. 31

The Augusta Chronicle on the sentencing of a convicted Augusta child pornographer:

This page absolutely agrees with all the people who think the 13-year prison sentence for convicted child-porn purveyor Jason Genitski was unjustified.

The sentence should have been much longer.

It’s impossible for any reasonable person to fathom how the 34-year-old Augusta man doesn’t pose a serious danger to children. His sick hobby included not only collecting sexually explicit images of children but trading missives on how to kidnap and rape little girls.

Genitski claimed he would never physically harm a child, but he did precisely that by being in possession of more than 600 images of child pornography. Anyone who buys, sells or trades in such smut helps create the market where children are sexually abused or assaulted in the most debased and violent ways.

And by communicating his fantasies of interstate child abduction and rape, which reportedly involved how to subvert Amber alerts, he explicitly encouraged others to do it.

Federal authorities find evidence of firsthand sexual abuse in more than a third of child pornography arrests. So the probability is high that Genitski himself was capable of acting out on the deviant desires he enjoyed viewing on his computer.

But he won’t have the opportunity to do that, at least, for the 156 months he’ll be locked up without the chance for parole - and hopefully not during the 25 years he’ll spend on supervised release.

He could die without ever again having close contact with children - again, hopefully.

It’s been said that in the crime of murder, a life is ended, but in the crime of child pornography, a life is forever sullied. Many, many lives, in the pathetic case of Mr. Genitski.

There’s a reason why these crimes are prosecuted so fervently.



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