Friday, October 9, 2009
Let's be scared of the true things that go bump in the night . . . or the AM, as in morning or radio station.
Mom is on deadline as editor of the next issue of Houston County Magazine. During the making of this issue, she attended a photo shoot - and a funeral - of the late Mayor of Warner Robins, Donald Walker.
While she paid her respects, there was a town crier who was twisting the knife into the gut of a community of family in friends in mourning.
Why, Mom and others ask, will those who give him the time of day realize this guy is no more of a showboat than "Speidi's" Spencer Pratt? When will they realize that this is a dude who will given his left acorn to live up to his shock jock fantasies? Who has his full intentions and stars in his eyes set on using our community as a stepping stone to a bigger market? And he has no fear or soul of leaving me and you behind, still smoldering, in the process?
If only Sherman and the Wicked Witch had a love child, they could have baptized him Chris Krok and it would all make sense (if that is his 'Chris'tian name) . . . But just like any "righteous" man who doth protest too much, the howls of his own skeletons stuffed in his Houston County closet are becoming more audible every day.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Could you please help Central Georgia CARES and Animal Control with a serious situation? I know you’re busy with Bragg Jam but the Animal Control Shelter is in a crisis with more than 300 wonderful, happy animals being deposited there in the last 10 days. Space is limited so they will not be able to stay long.
Apparently due to loss of jobs and 吉林快三遗漏s families are turning their pets in to Animal Control in record numbers. In fact, on one day recently there were so many families surrendering their family pets, people were lined up out the door. Of course, then the former family pet is left trembling in a kennel wondering what he did to be abandoned. It’s really heartbreaking and we are trying to get the word out to help.
Please communicate this to all your animal and media contacts to help us quickly spread the word about this situation so we can save as many of these terrific animals as possible.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
A couple of weeks ago, Mom’s class focused on education. The day was spent taking the English and Math portion of the 8th grade CRCT test (Mom scored perfect on English; not so much on Math), riding on a yellow 吉林快三遗漏 bus, touring the old and new Central High School, eating a delicious lunch prepared by Hutching’s Career Center’s culinary program and listening to officials better explain the local public 吉林快三遗漏 system.
What struck Mom the most is when Superintendent Sharon Patterson discussed the number of economically disadvantaged children within the system. Not only does 73 percent of the entire 吉林快三遗漏 system population fall under this category, but there are some 吉林快三遗漏s with a 97 percent poverty rate. These students qualify for free and reduced lunch provided by the 吉林快三遗漏. And what these numbers mean, Patterson said, is many students return to 吉林快三遗漏 on Mondays hungry because when not in 吉林快三遗漏, “They literally do not eat.”
She went on to explain that the impact of generation poverty versus social poverty is what further weighs down our 吉林快三遗漏 system. So what can we do to impact the level of generation poverty in our community? Change the course of a life, one child at a time. Give one child the gateway to work for something better in life. Once that door is opened, whether through a high 吉林快三遗漏 diploma, college degree, technological certification or job skills training, the generational path to poverty has been altered, possibly forever.
For Mom and her fellow mentors with the Mentors Project of Bibb County, a minimum of four hours a month with their protégés can accomplish this. There are over 200 children currently enrolled in the Mentors Project, and 95 percent of them receive free and reduced lunch. The majority of them are unmatched males, and the waiting list continues to swell. This summer, these students need mentors more than ever, so that they return to 吉林快三遗漏 this fall, their hunger didn’t take away from their thirst for knowledge.
A couple of years ago, Mom and her comrades in the Little Creative Crew (Texas T, Bright Blue and Honey Shot), helped coordinate a fundraiser for the Mentors Project with a photography show on the Macon Housing Authority's Pendleton 吉林快三遗漏s. Two protégés in the Mentors Project were armed with cameras (for the first time), and set out to make art out of the only place they have ever known as 吉林快三遗漏. There are still several beautiful, double-matted and framed portraits left for sale. Send me a Candygram ( from on .
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Word got around that Mom's [unwavering] support of the CVB caught her some flack with a local morning deejay. Considering we don't know anyone in Candy's Land who takes time to listen his AM show, not a lot of love was lost. However, we did receive this funny Candygram that referenced Chris Krok's bone to pick.
The caption: "I'll get you my pretty . . . and your little dog, too!"
Thursday, April 30, 2009
But she still has one question – does Erick Erickson need another spiral-bound, well-tabbed 2008-2009 marketing plan the hand-delivered to him and all members of Macon City Council long before he wrote his original 11th Hour column?
Maybe the CVB’s biggest mistake is they should have provided him with a digital version . . . Regardless, the offer still stands to loan him our hardcopy. It’s an extensive, organized, informative read that could answer a lot of Erick’s questions.
But I think I know what he would say to my offer: He shouldn’t have to read it [given his position the community]. Well, given this female dog blog’s shiny new spotlight, I want to make sure I'm not just another cute face with the Walden name on my pet tag. I’m reading the marketing plan from front to back . . . . and back again. It should be dog-earred in no time.
There are days when Mom admits she feels like everyone wants something from her. Or her wheels are spinning. Or she gets frustrated with her own talk and no action. And then she thinks it could be worse – she could hold public office. It takes a special kind of person to carry the weight of the entire community on their shoulders . . . when the sake of the city is still running through your mind after closing your eyes at night and the first thought of the day when you wake up. Not everyone realizes City Council’s level of commitment. It’s not just a semi-Tuesday night gig. Their committee obligations alone could swell a daily calendar. Public service is a 24-hour job, in addition to full-time jobs, families and what little life of their own is left. So, as a registered voter, she has utmost respect for those who have made this kind of investment. She just hopes this particular city council member shares that same respect for the members of the community he’s investing so much hard work in.
Here's his response published today in the current issue of the 11th Hour (found at over 300 locations throughout Central Georgia):
A Female Dog Does Not Like Me
I normally do not write responses to those who write responses to me. I have a bigger soap box, so it is generally only fair to let the other side have their say in an unadulterated manner. I did, however, get a good laugh over a particular female dog last week.
Sitting at my desk on a conference call organizing key lieutenants in the vast right wing conspiracy, a friend sent me a link to a French website that had a blog post about my last column on the Convention and Visitors Bureau. The English translation made no sense. It turned out to be a website that steals blogger content and translates that content into French. For me, it then translated the content back to English. Still, the dual translation made more sense than the original.
The original, it turns out, was Macon originated from the blog of a female dog named Candy. It is actually Jessica Walden’s blog, but she writes under the guise of her dog. Jessica did not like like CVB column and, rather than address the substance, decided it was preferable to go after me directly.
She began, “[I wish] this Ward V Post 3 point person would shut his Mac and actually look interested in the public’s forum.” Never mind that she has no idea what might actually be on my computer — like a property map of a parcel being discussed, a PDF version of legislation to save paper, the IRS 990 records of a potential grant recipient, etc.
Then she rambled on, “Step away from his wireless world and actually ask (in-person) the questions that got him elected.” I have no idea what she is talking about. Maybe her dog vomited on the keyboard there. But she then continued, “And visit to the physical address instead of the web one.” That, of course, pretty much makes my point — the online address should be representative of the physical address. It should be informative, easy to use, easy to navigate, and easy to find. It is actually neither. The only thing more pleasant about it than dealing with the actual CVB is that it does not have Little Richard pretending to answer the phone.
She goes after me again writing, “Mom’s never met Erick. She’s sat beside him a couple of times in WMAC’s studio, but other than adjusting his mic and eating a chicken biscuit, she’s never seen him without his finger on his touchpad. Or even raise an eye from his Apple. Maybe she’d have better luck introducing herself in a chat room.” I have noticed there is a certain class of old 吉林快三遗漏 Maconite, the type that typically cause the problems in Macon, who like mocking my work and computer instead of actually dealing with what I write. It makes them feel self-important. Meanwhile, they remained mired in their world of doing the same thing over and over because that is the way they have always done it. It is also much easier to go after me than what I write, given that I’m right.
But here is the heart of her high society naiveté: Jessica Walden thinks the CVB works well because people at the CVB kiss her butt. Keep in mind writing this that it reads like Screwtape writing to Wormwood, as it is in the guise of her dog writing about her. “When she needs the CVB’s help in promoting an attraction or event, she goes directly to them and asks for specific, customized help.”
One would expect the CVB would fall over backwards for the Music Hall of Fame. One would also expect the CVB would fall over backwards for Ms. Walden because of her last name. If she thinks otherwise, she is mistaken.
The reality is the CVB works hard for those that it knows and those that it has worked with historically. It is not open to anything new, is filled with stale ideas, and goes through the motions. That is fact, not opinion.
Given her diatribe against me that is best summed up as “Erick Erickson knows nothing about anything because he won’t get away from his computer” Ms. Walden should conclude, rightly, that I am giving voice to many, many people other than myself —people without the last name Walden who do not work for the Music Hall of Fame and so do not get fawned over by the nearly two dozen employees of the CVB (more than double the size of the Memphis, TN CVB’s employment roster). In fact, many of the people most concerned about the CVB are some of the more prominent people in the community who actually want to go beyond what we have always done. Now at the point of wanting to innovate for the sake of the community’s survival, they see what they have not seen before, i.e. a convention and visitors bureau in need of new blood and new ideas, not just additional blood and additional ideas.
Jessica concluded her post writing, “we’ve got a CVB that is a Macon landmark in itself.” And what do landmarks have in common? They are old, unmoving historic edifices. That anyone would consider a Convention and Visitors Bureau to be a landmark gives further proof to my point.
On a final note, thanks to City Councilman Erick Erickson and the 11th Hour for taking the time to come to Candy's Land. No matter what is said, just remember: Candy Lou loves you!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Just so you don't think you are the only ones with political challenges in your community...This is an editorial from Macon, GA. It was written by City Council person who is in his first term.
Recently the City proposed a 1% increase in bed tax to fund local museums. The CVB President opposed the tax because it was not in keeping with statewide funding guidelines that prohibit such uses of bed tax dollars. So now the CVB pays for standing up on principle. This is the challenge of public leadership.
As a CVB/community leader, you must continually deliver solid return on investment for your community while taking shots from others who want your money for other purposes. Don't take it personally, it's politics and it always will be. Stick to your plan and focus on driving increased economic impact for your community and make sure that those who support you...do just that!
Berkeley W. Young
President Young Strategies, Inc.
Even though Mom supported the potential of the penny tax, she doesn't believe the CVB deserves potshots for doing their job, and doing it well. So, Macon-Bibb CVB, Candy Lou Loves You!
Macon City Council member “Seeing Red” column in the recent issue of the chose to circle its rouge lipstick around the , and I swear I saw the hair on the back of Mom’s neck stand up.
"With eighteen employees and millions of dollars, surely the CVB can do better than it's doing . . . "
Mom has never worked for the CVB, but during her four years at the and subsequent years up to her elbows in community projects, she’s worked with them. And she’s pretty sure she knows more about the organization in her pinky than the big finger Erick’s wagging at them.
In fine journalism form, Erick admits, “Now in writing this, I did not call the CVB and talk to them. That may make the CVB mad, but the point is simple: I shouldn’t have to. Given both my position in this community and the fact that I live here, I should know what the CVB is doing besides the slogan and billboards.”
This, Mom says, is coming from an elected official who rarely looks up from his laptop during actual city council meetings. She wishes this Ward V Post 3 point person would shut his Mac and actually look interested in the public’s forum. Step away from his wireless world and actually ask (in-person) the questions that got him elected. And visit to the physical address instead of the web one.
Mom’s never met Erick. She’s sat beside him a couple of times in WMAC’s studio, but other than adjusting his mic and eating a chicken biscuit, she’s never seen him without his finger on his touchpad. Or even raise an eye from his Apple. Maybe she’d have better luck introducing herself in a chat room.
She also concludes he’s never read the cover story in that explored the ins and outs of the CVB, which said, “Seasoned leisure travelers know a convention and visitors bureau is an informational gold mine – the first call when planning a trip, and perhaps, the first stop upon arrival when they need help navigating the local landscape.” In other words, that cater to Macon's VISITORS. Which makes Mom conclude Erick must not get out much, locally or leisurely . . . but then again, he shouldn’t have to, given his position in the community.
For those who think the CVB is the name of a sorority of tour guides – think again. Macon’s CVB is a well-oiled machine of executive promoters whose keen focuses include specialized facets like family reunions, motor coach tours, travel media, technology, and of course, attracting conventions. Erick was still chasing grasshoppers when the CVB was busting balls just to secure a decent convention hotel. And since he rarely looks up from his computer, he probably hasn't noticed its progress. Ask the folks in Atlanta. Mom spent Macon Day with her Leadership Macon Class where she heard time and time again that Macon’s tourism officials are among the most heralded in the state. Janice Marshall may be 5’4 in the highest heels, but she has set an exponential bar for other CVBs’ CEOs throughout the country吉林快三遗漏.
It’s difficult for some “leaders” to wrap their head around the CVB because the CVB's tangible work is done outside of Macon - interacting with tour operators or meeting planners, attending leisure travel shows, sales missions and trade shows all over the Southeast, and competing with cities like Savannah, Athens and Augusta in asking for business.
All elected officials are hand-carried copies of the CVB marketing plan and invited to hear the results of that marketing at the CVB annual meeting. Was Erick there? Has he even opened that marketing plan? Mom has a copy if he needs another.
Since Erick seems to be a fan of pushing buttons, he’d probably have a good time with the technology in our new downtown welcome center. Wonder how many times he’s be there or even considered being a realistic, not virtual, tourist in his own 吉林快三遗漏town.
Mom has been frustrated before over this issue. When she needs the CVB’s help in promoting an attraction or event, she goes directly to them and asks for specific, customized help. She knows who they are . . . and who they are not. She knows they are not a free-for-all public relations agency. But she knows if she gives dates and descriptions, they will upload them to an excellent online calendar. She knows if she provides rack cards, they will be distributed at the welcome centers. And she knows if she keeps the lines of communication open, travel writers will be directed to her. She also knows they aren’t a hotel booking agency. If she wants a block of hotel rooms for a local festival, her chances are greater if her organization negotiates, first-person, a sponsorship. This is not the CVB’s job. Of course they want heads on beds, but they are too busy bringing in business to be making the beds for us.
Of all CVBs to criticize, this isn’t the one. Macon can have a little pride in the fact that while our attractions have faced embarrassment, our crime rate catches criticism and we have a city council with at least two members who fight (via email, nonetheless) like kids at camp who blame each other for wetting the bed, we’ve got a CVB that is a Macon landmark in itself. Find another bone to pick.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
My short time at the shelter was enough to let me know something unnatural was happening to the abandoned pets there. Mom has shed tears as City Council members Rabbi Larry Schlesinger recalled his witnessing of the gassing of several dogs, and the haunting sounds they made as they painfully died in the chamber.
Thanks to the perseverance and leadership of City Council members Schlesinger and Nancy White, as well as the dedicated animal advocates in Central Georgia (shout out to Donna Conaway who helped me find my forever 吉林快三遗漏) who spearheaded the Central Georgia C.A.R.E.S. fundraising efforts (), the City of Macon Animal Shelter has officially switched to the more humane lethal injection for euthanizing the thousands of unwanted animals in our city.
That does not mean that Macon is not without a major problem. We’ve got to change our “all creatures great and small” culture. Our shelter is still going to euthanize eight to 12 potential pets a day.
We must spay and neuter our pets – pets like me who are proud to be fellow fixed bitches. For all you boys out there, nuts get you nowhere . . . but in trouble. Life is easier on male dogs without them. They can actually use their brain to think.
That also means that with our exploded animal population, there are thousands and thousands of unwanted pets out there. Don’t shop when you can adopt. Look at me – I’m a designer mutt that a breeder would put a $300-plus price tag on any day. Mom paid a nominal adoption fee from Heart of Georgia Humane Society and brought me 吉林快三遗漏 already spayed and with shots. Modesty aside, I am darn near perfect.
If you can’t tell, Mom and I have our heart and soul on our sleeves with this. Before I came into her life, Mom, Texas T, Bright Blue and Honey Shot produced a PSA on pet adoption that aired on our local stations. Here you’ll see my sister mutt Miss Kitty and cousin Ollie, both adopted locally. Howl it from the rooftops: Adopt. Spay and neuter. Support.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I assure you these Halls of Fame will not move because of a vote for or against the Hotel/Motel tax this year. Unfortunately, some weak and inexperienced leaders at the state and local level panicked in response to an idle threat from a few politicians who flippantly suggested that the Music and Sports Halls of Fame should be moved to Atlanta. There is no proposed or existing statue, administrative rule or budget item that gives authority to move these Halls of Fame. You should also know, the 4-way split would have provided state dollars for a feasibility study/plan that would have been used by our friend Congressman Marshall to acquire federal funds for the amphitheater and stadium. (As is so often the case, the myopic vision of narrow minded leaders lost sight of this significant fact.) I hope you will convey these facts to our many friends.
I look forward to meeting you for lunch after the session to discuss ways we can help Macon.
Monday, March 30, 2009
As longtime supporters of Senator Brown, Mom’s family is doing what they can to let him know they support the split and need his vote to do the same. Please take the time to send him an email like Mom did (see below) and voice your support: robert.brown@吉林快三遗漏senate.ga.gov.
Dear Senator Brown:
As the daughter and niece of two Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductees, as well as former employee of the GMHF, I am writing to request that you do what it takes to keep our Halls of Fame in Macon. Right now, I believe it comes down to the penny tax, which should be split between the two halls and the two halls only because of the critical nature of where these institutions stand.
I know you are one of the reasons the Halls are with us today. I also greatly appreciate your support of preserving Macon’s rich music heritage. My father Alan Walden has more respect for you than any of our local and state politicians today. I am also a loyal supporter, as well as admire your service to our shared community.
I am hoping we can all put aside our personal issues with the GMHF and rally the good people of Macon into accepting the Halls as our shared community asset and responsibility. Having such a personal investment into the GMHF, I know more about its “backstage” history . . . in particular, the division of the Friends of Georgia Music, Bobbie Bailey, the desire to have them in Atlanta . . . It hasn’t been an easy journey. But I want the State, Atlanta and all who had their doubts to see Macon rally behind two of its crown jewels, proving that we do appreciate what we were so fortunate to receive over a decade ago.
I am also one of the few in Macon who see this beyond a partisan problem. I understand where Rep. Lucas was coming from, and I only dream of the day that the Douglass is a thriving part of our downtown mix, and I witness an acclaimed recording artist drawing thousands at a new amphitheatre. But right now, I want Macon to keep it simple. I want us to better nurture what we already have. The GMHF and the GSHF are anchors to a greater community. When you toss a penny into a wishing well, you make one wish, and often that wish is for greater things to come.
Thank you for all you do. All you have done. And all you continue to do. Keep up the fire on the Floor.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
“We just received word from Rick Hutto that the Mayor is proposing to the County Commission that the County take over funding for Macon Arts. This would mean that the City would no longer fund Macon Arts and the Purchase of Arts 吉林快三遗漏 grants. We already receive funding from the County and even prior to this news, we are at risk of it being reduced. The city has reduced its funding of the arts steadily throughout the past decade which has reduced the size of PAS grants, however its $27,000 in arts funding that many of us count on. If you feel strongly about this we urge you to contact the Mayor personally or write and call his office. We also encourage you to share this news with your boards and patrons those who support the arts.The arts and cultural organizations are an $18+ million industry in Central Georgia. We are an economic engine and the city's investment is an important fuel for this engine. Please advocate for the arts at this critically important time.”
Mom’s video editor friend, I like to call Bright Blue, decided to voice her concerns over the possible cuts with an email to the mayor. The good news: He promptly responded. The weird news: He copied her boss and sounded like he was having a bad day. Here is his unedited response (for your information):
For your information, I have only suggested that in our service delivery negotiations with Bibb County, that the county be responsible for all arts funding, rather than both City and County making two smaller contributions, which is redundant, requires presentations to both budgeting agencies and invariably leads to confusion, since each assumes that the other will contribute in an unknown amount. If the County agrees, the City would take on exclusive funding of other functions. Just trying to be more efficient. I'm not advocating for a reduction in funding for the arts, although with our current budget pressures, I'm not committing to maintain current levels either. I don't need to be convinced of the benefits to our community from the arts.”