The Interstate

So, I have to share this.

Tonight on City Council in Macon we had a special meeting. The mayor insisted we approve two mitigation plans relating to the I-75/I-16 construction in Macon. If the proposals were not approved by midnight, the project funding would be held up another year because of the federal budget year.

Anyway, Jaime Webb (James H. Webb) a realtor in town and anti-road improvements activist spoke. He said that the City Council could kill the plan, but because we don’t have a financial incentive to stand up to the DOT, we would not do it. In effect, he accused the five council members who support his position of being bribed by him. It was a truly bizarre argument and I truly thought he was going to cry.

Last week, he sent out this amazing email in which he called me smarmy and pandering for speaking in favor of the mitigation proposals. This week, I decided I’d cut to the chase and get on with it. His antics tonight were just icing on the cake for me, knowing what I was about to do.

I knew five members of Council opposed the mitigation plans and ten of us supported them. It takes a 10 person vote to call the question and shut off debate. I made sure to push my button first to be recognized, made the motion, and under parliamentary procedure the movant gets to be the first one to speak. Instead of speaking, I called the question.

Ten of us voted to cut off debate before it began on both issues. There was no point. One person would have slandered the mayor. One would have declared the meeting unnecessary. No one would have been persuaded. And we would have been there all night while five members of Council cried, questioned, and cast aspersions at the process and mayor.

Ten of us shut it down before it could begin. In effect, ten of us played poker and five played checkers. The ten of us called the opposition’s bluff, right when the opposition thought they were crowning a king.

And we got the mitigation plans passed. I was happy to be the bad guy for everyone else by making the motion and calling the question to shut down debate. I had fun. It was a good night. Maybe I ought to run for re-election after all.

*Another irony: Before I got on Council, it only took eight votes to cut off debate. I worked successfully to require ten votes to cut off debate. Two members voted against my proposal because, in her words, if you have the votes to pass, you should be able to cut off debate. Naturally, she was appalled that we cut off debate tonight.

It was bloody brilliant.


  1. Misinformed says:

    So Erick, where are you going to get the money to PAY for the upkeep on this new park? Isn’t it hypocritical to agree to use taxpayer money on the maintenance on the new park when you consider yourself one of the few Republicans on Macon’s City Council? Isn’t it hypocritical to accept a $10 million earmark for a park? Sleep well with your Robert’s Rules of Order under your pillow, what a great statesman you are!

  2. Erick says:

    Misinformed, I guess had we had that debate tonight I would have pulled the other trump card we had on you guys, knowing y’all would raise this point too: We’ve already gotten a commitment from outside groups to cover the costs of maintenance as part of the trail.

    And it’s not hypocritical to accept an earmark because it isn’t an earmark.

  3. gt7348b says:

    Do you seriously think GDOT (or the Federal Gov’t that provides most of the money) has the funds to build this before you get sued by an environmental group?

    I know it is a left-hand exit safety issue, but still.

  4. Game Fan says:

    Poker over representative government. Atta boy. Carl Rove probably considers himself a poker player too. Quite easy to have a game when you’ve got the big lobbyists behind you. So how did you know you had the votes? Secret meeting?

  5. Game Fan says:

    This is about more than a park and mitigation plans. What’s your overall stance on private toll roads, eminent domain and how wide is the buffer zone? This “buffer zone” is 10 to 12 miles wide in some states.

  6. Vic says:

    These are odd times rule when Legislators boast of censoring both public commentary and open debate among their peers who differ in opinion…

    Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro would be proud of you Erick.

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