HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.
I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY.. THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
LAST NIGHT.... WE TALKED TO SOME OF MACON'S OLD AND YOUNG BLACK POLITICAL LEADERS...ABOUT THEIR DIFFERING VIEWS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA...AND HOW IT AFFECTS CITY POLITICS TODAY.
SO HOW MUCH DOES THAT LEGACY MATTER... IN THE VOTING BOOTH?
ELEANOR LISSITZYN SPOKE WITH STATE REPRESENTATIVE NIKKI RANDALL... CITY COUNCILWOMAN ELAINE LUCAS AND FORMER MAYOR C. JACK ELLIS....FOR THE CONCLUSION OF OUR TWO-PART SERIES... "RACE AND REMEMBERING."
"I'm supporting Robert Reichert not because he's been a friend to me, not because he's been great for Macon, but because Robert Reichert is a loyal, loyal public servant."
STATE REPRESENTATIVE NIKKI RANDALL SAYS WHEN SHE ENDORSED MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT IN AUGUST'S MAYORAL PRIMARY... SHE EXPECTED SOME PUSHBACK.
"It's the same person, the same group of people."
BUT SHE SAYS BLACK LEADERSHIP IN MACON... IS STARTING TO GET A FRESH FACE... AND PART OF THAT CHANGE.. IS PEOPLE VOTING ACROSS RACIAL LINES.
"I think the old regime did things diffrerently."
RANDALL COMES FROM A LINE OF CIVIL RIGHTS HEAVY HITTERS...
HERE'S HER GRANDFATHER WILLIAM 'DADDY BILL' RANDALL... ON THE FAR LEFT WITH MARTIN LUTHER KING JUNIOR.
HER FATHER... WILLIAM C RANDALL ... IS BIBB COUNTY'S FIRST BLACK MAGISTRATE JUDGE...
HE WAS ALSO THE FIRST BLACK STATE REPRESENTATIVE... SERVING IN THE SAME SEAT HIS DAUGHTER NOW HOLDS.
AND SHE SAYS IT'S THEIR PHILOSOPHIES THAT GUIDE HER SERVICE... AND HER BALLOT.
"I think when you know better, you do better. And the right thing to do is put race aside."
BUT SHE SAYS NOT ALL OF MACON'S LEADERS ARE SO WILLING.
Nikki: "There are some people that had some horrible experience before change happened in this country and unfortunately they're still holding onto those bitter thoughts."
Elaine:"The lives that were lost have paved the way for many people to be able to stand around and say 'oh, I'm not bitter, oh, i'm going along with everything I'm ok.' Those are the folks that don't remember history."
ACROSS FROM CITY HALL... SITS A MARKER IN HONOR OF OZZIE BELL MCKAY... A WOMAN COUNCILWOMAN ELAINE LUCAS SAYS PAVED THE ROAD FOR BLACK VOTERS...
"Ms McKay is very instrumental in me becoming so involved in voter registration."
LUCAS SAYS MCKAY... HELPED ENSURE EVERYONE'S RIGHT TO VOTE FOR THE CANDIDATE OF THEIR CHOICE.
AND LUCAS SAYS THOSE CHOICES... CAN EXTEND ACROSS RACIAL LINES.
E: Can a white person represent the majority of the city adequately if the majority of the city is African American?
Elaine:"I would think there are some that could. It's going to take some new folks coming along with an open mind , with real concern for all of Macon.
Jack: "People say 'oh well, we elected Barack Obama, we're post racial.' We're not post-racial."
FORMER TWO-TERM MACON MAYOR C. JACK ELLIS SAYS WHEN VOTERS HEAD TO THE POLLS -- RACE SHOULD STILL MATTER.
Jack: "For the most part, in city's across this country, cities that have a 65% African American population will have an African American mayor."
ELLIS SAYS HISTORY SHOWS BLACK POLITICIANS... SERVE BLACK CONSTITUENTS BETTER... BECAUSE THEY SHARE THE SAME STRUGGLES.
Jack:"I grew up in Unionville, we would go to Tindall Heights and fight, we would go to Pleasant Hill and fight." "When I see these kids, I see me. Reichert can't see himself in them."
Randall: "Until we get past that line of thinking, I just don't see how we can ever start healing."
RANDALL SAYS MOVING FORWARD... MEANS HONORING THE PAST... BUT EMBRACING THE FUTURE...
BUT SOME FEAR...HEALING MEANS FORGETTING... AND SOME LEGACIES SHOULD BE ENDURING AS STONE.
MANY OF YOU ARE SOUNDING OFF ON FACEBOOK ABOUT WHETHER RACE MATTERS TO VOTERS.
SHARON SAYS... "IT DOESN'T MATTER TO ME. BUT YOU ASKED ABOUT VOTERS... SO THE ANSWER IS: YES, COLOR MATTERS TO VOTERS."
TABATHA COMMENTED... "THOSE THAT PUT RACE ABOVE THE BEST INTEREST OF THE PEOPLE SERVED ARE ONLY SETTING OUR ENTIRE NATION UP FOR DESTRUCTION.
THAT GOES FOR ALL RACES. REMEMBER THAT HITLER WAS PROUD OF HIS "RACE" TOO!"
CAROL ANN WROTE... "IT SHOULDN'T BUT UNFORTUNATELY IT DOES IN MANY THINGS NOT JUST POLITICS!"
AND CHARLES REPLIED... "THE DAY WE JUDGE A MAN OR WOMAN BY THEIR ACTIONS AND NOT THEIR COLOR IS THE DAY WE SET OURSELVES FREE FROM THIS NONSENSE."
JOIN THE CONVERSATION AT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ.
HUNDREDS TURNED OUT TO SAY THEIR FINAL GOODBYES TO FORMER BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF... RAY WILKES.
WILKES PASSED AWAY OVER THE WEEKEND OF NATURAL CAUSES AT THE AGE 82.
FAMILY... FRIENDS... AND COMMUNITY LEADERS FILLED THE SANCTUARY AT INGLESIDE BAPTIST CHURCH.
SOME SHARED STORIES OF A HARD WORKER WHO ALWAYS LENT A HELPING HAND.
HIS TWO GROWN CHILDREN SAY HE LOVED GOING TO WORK... AT THE BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE.
BUT THEY ALSO SAID ABOUT THEIR FATHER - FAMILY CAME FIRST.
Ray Wilkes, Jr.: "He never wanted anything to separate the family, and if somebody hurt he was there to help pick up the pieces. And it was always this is no big deal. This isn't a problem we can't solve. And when one of us is down, we're all down, we all pull together and we all help. Everybody's together."
SHERIFF WILKES STARTED IN THE BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT IN 19-52 AS A DEPUTY.
HE SPENT 17 YEARS AS SHERIFF BEFORE RETIRING IN 19-92.
WITH THE SPLOST VOTE JUST AROUND THE CORNER... LOCAL OFFICIALS ARE ON A FINAL MEDIA BLITZ TO GET THE WORD OUT TO 'VOTE YES' A WEEK FROM TODAY.
ELEANOR LISSITZYN JOINS US NOW WITH MORE.
SHERIFF JERRY MODENA SAYS.... THIS SPLOST IS ALL ABOUT NEEDS... NOT WANTS...
HE JOINED MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT... BIBB COUNTY CHAIRMAN SAM HART... AND POLICE CHIEF MIKE BURNS... TUESDAY TO TALK ABOUT HOW PASSING THE PENNY SALES TAX IS VITAL TO THINGS LIKE PUBLIC SAFETY... AND INFRASTRUCUTRE.
SOME MEMBERS OF THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY ALSO CAME OUT TO SUPPORT THE SPLOST. MORE THAN A DOZEN LOCAL BUSINESS LEADERS MET ON THE STEPS OF CITY HALL.
THEY SAY PASSING THE SPLOST WILL BOOST THE LOCAL ECONOMY.
THE SPLOST ALSO CONTAINS A LONG LIST OF PUBLIC SAFETY PROJECTS.
THAT INCLUDES....THREE NEW MACON BIBB FIRESTATIONS...
ONE ON NEW FORSYTH ROAD NEAR COLUMBUS AND FULTON ROADS.
ANOTHER IN EAST BIBB COUNTY NEAR JEFFERSONVILLE AND DAVIS ROAD.
AND A THIRD WOULD BE WITHIN CITY LIMITS... POISSIBLY NEAR NEW CLINTON ROAD.
FIRE CHIEF MARVIN RIGGINS SAYS THE STATIONS ARE ESSENTIAL BECAUSE HE EXPECTS THOSE AREAS... ESSPECIALLY NORHT BIBB COUNTY... WILL CONTINUE TO GROW..
HE SAYS THEY'LL HELP FIREFIGHTERS GET TO FIRES FASTER... AND HELP KEEP HOME-INSURANCE COSTS LOW.
THEN THERE'S THE E-911 CALL CENTER'S RADIO SYSTEM. THE CITY BOUGHT IT MORE THAN FIFTEEN YEARS AGO... AND CHIEF BURNS SAYS IT'S SO OLD THEY HAVE TO BUY REPLACEMENT PARTS OFF EBAY.
BURNS SAYS IT CRASHED FOR ABOUT TWO HOURS THIS PAST FRIDAY.. LEAVING DISPATCHERS... AND POLICE UNABLE TO COMMUNICATE,
BURNS SAYS REPLACING IT... IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH.
"E 911 Whats your emergency?"
THE DISPATCHERS IN THIS CALL CENTER ANSWER ABOUT ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY THOUSAND CALLS a YEAR... PASSING ALONG VITAL INFORMATION TO SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES... AND MACON POLICE...
BUT OFFICIALS SAY... THE RADIO SYSTEM THAT ROUTES THOSE MESSAGES... IS FAILING.
Modena: "Its old, it's broken, it's worn out."
Burns: "It gives you a helpless feeling."
"Friday afternoon the 911 call center's radio system went down, it was oFFline for about two hours. What that means is the public can still call 911 and report an emergency, but the dispatchers in the call center can't get that emergency out to police. WHen things are working properly, everybody in teh call center has one of these head phones on, they can use this hand held to directly communicate with officers in the field. But when the radio system goes down, they have to pick up a walkie talkie or a cell phone and manually communicate with a police officer, making things a lot slower."
Burns: "we have to get this sytem fixed before we have an officer hurt."
Modena: "Without the SPLOST, the taxpayer is going to have to pay it all out of their pockets. Public safety is something we've got to have."
THEY ESTIMATE UPGRADING THE SYSTEM WILL COST EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS.
MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT SAYS THE CITY AND COUNTY WILL KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON HOW THE MONEY WILL BE SPENT. HE SAYS THEY PLAN TO APPOINT AN OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE... OF SIX PRIVATE CITIZENS... TO HELP HOLD OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE FOR SPLOST PENNIES.
THE SPLOST COMES UP FOR A VOTE ONE WEEK FROM TODAY... ON NOVEMBER EIGHTH.
REPUBLICANS ARE RALLYING AROUND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE HERMAN CAIN AS HE BATTLES SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS.
CAIN SAYS HE WAS FALSELY ACCUSED IN THE 1990s WHILE HEAD OF THE NATIONAL RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION.
LONG-TIME SUPPORTER OF HERMAN CAIN...... MAURICE ATKINSON JOINS US NOW TO TALK ABOUT HIS HISTORY WITH THE REPUBLICAN... AND THE ALLEGATIONS.
HOW DO YOU KNOW HERMAN CAIN? WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT HIM?
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS... AND WHAT'S YOUR REACTION TO THEM?
JACKIE (KOO-SIN'-ITCH) KUCINICH WITH OUR SISTER PUBLICATION U-S-A TODAY HAS BEEN COVERING THOSE ALLEGATIONS.
SHE'S JOINING US BY PHONE.
JACKIE... BRING US UP TO DATE ON TODAY'S LATEST DEVELOPMENTS.
IS ANYONE IN THE POLITICAL WORLD COMING TO CAIN'S DEFENSE?
WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE HIS CAMPAIGN?
YOU CAN READ MORE OF JACKIE'S REPORTING IN USA TODAY AND ON USATODAY-DOT-COM.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... DO YOU THINK THE SEXUAL-HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HERMAN CAIN WILL HURT HIS CAMPAIGN?
SO FAR 56 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.
44 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.
VOTE NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
WE WANT TO CORRECT THE WEB POLL RESULTS WE BROUGHT YOU EARLIER IN THIS NEWSCAST.
56 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO... THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HERMAN CAIN WON'T HURT HIS CAMPAIGN.
44 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES... THEY WILL.
AN OUTDOOR GYM... THAT'S FREE TO USE... OPENS TOMORROW.
THE 2011 LEADERSHIP CLASS FROM THE ROBINS REGION CHAMBER OF COMMERCE RAISED ABOUT 15-THOUSAND DOLLARS TO BUILD AND INSTALL THE EQUIPMENT AT THE WELLSTON TRAIL.
THE PAVED TRAIL RUNS ONE-POINT-TWO MILES FROM CORDER ROAD TO FOUNTAIN PARK... OFF KIMBERLY ROAD.
CLASS MEMBER JENNIFER SHEFFER SAYS THEY CHOSE THE PROJECT TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE IN WARNER ROBINS.
THE GYM EQUIPMENT IS AT THE CORDER ROAD END OF THE TRAIL... AND INCLUDES EXERCISES FOR A FULL BODY WORKOUT.
Jennifer Sheffer, Warner Robins: (1:33- show equip) "We have a hip twister, a sit-up bench and a pull-up bar. We have a weight lift which is very neat, where you can lift up the weights yourself. We have a strength and stretch fitness area."
THE GRAND OPENING FOR THE FITNESS STATION IS TOMORROW AT 3-30 P-M...
THE PUBLIC IS INVITED.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
THE EVENING NEWS IS UP NEXT.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.