I think most of our senior citizens who were born and raised in Newton County are shocked and dismayed at the sordid, degraded, and deployable conditions that plague our county today. In the early 1960s the Hon. Donald Ballayd was serving in the Georgia Legislature and through his integrity and willpower, he was able to pull the construction of Interstate 20 form its proposed northern route through Athens to its southern route through Newton County. At this point in time Newton County had the potential to become one of the most prosperous and wealthiest counties of the United States.
All of this has been squandered due to the continual inability of the county voters to elect sensible and qualified officials. Citizens use criteria such as race, party affiliation, kinship, church membership, gender and wealth as a basis for their support and vote. Usually it is what the candidate “can do” and “will do” for them. Our young voters were born with a dysfunctional and burdensome county government, and that is all they have ever known. I am sure many of them view this condition as routine or the accepted norm. Also in Newton County, all they have known is a failing school system. They would have to leave Newton County and then learn for the first time that they had been “short changed” and cheated while enrolled in Newton County schools. Newton County schools rank below average in Georgia, which is usually around the bottom in the U.S. The U.S. ranks around 36th in the industrial world. All we ever read in our local papers is how the county schools compare with the state. This is how paid “spin misters” operate.
Newton County is divided between eastern and western portions. Instead of the county government acting in unity, it operates as if we are two foreign countries fighting with each other. One group seems to think the sky will fall if a commissioner doesn’t resign over some computer remarks. This group seems to care less if thousands of students are cheated out of an education. The city of Covington also has a boundary line between its east and west sections. The citizens in the east ward drive expensive golf carts to the Square to dine and shop, while people on the west ward drive clunkers to Walmart, Goodwill and the charitable shops on Washington Street. Most of the industries that have located in Covington learned extremely quickly that they could operate their plants with temporary workers. These jobs are commonly referred to as “minimum wage plus a quarter” jobs. They also learned they could hire immigrants. This type of work force is what chambers of commerce love, and they donate heavily to politicians to keep it intact.
Covington has a homeless shelter that takes in homeless from five counties, keeps them for an extremely short time, and then tosses them back out on the streets. Practically speaking, this shelter is counterproductive. Discount stores, fast foods, and liquor stores are seen as “the ultimate” by Covington’s mayor. There are over 90 million people without jobs in the U.S. The mayor wants a 0% unemployment rate. The unemployment rates handed out by the U.S. Labor Dept. are shams and phony. The mayor of Covington should know this. Most of the citizens in the west ward seem to mistrust his city hall and police department. I think they view them as another Ferguson, Missouri. This does not seem to be the case with Sheriff Ezell Brown’s deputies. The entire county seems to respect them. Newton County is overrun with social, economic and drug problems. Regarding any of these, if you dig deep enough, you will find an unqualified politician.