What is delegation day? It’s an opportunity for citizens to speak with Chatham County Delegates and express concerns, hopefully bringing these issues to the Georgia General Assembly. Unfortunately, it’s closed to the press and public. We only had 15 minutes.
After a Span the Gap volunteer spoke about this year’s efforts representing Savannah’s outcry about the bridge name, our representatives gave confusing advice or said nothing at all.
The representatives: Bill Hitchens, Carl Gilliard, Ron Stephens, Jesse Petrea, Ben Watson.
Craig Gordon and Lester Jackson both walked in late missing our speech. Mickey Stephens was not there.
Petrea, responded: ”What you ladies don’t seem to understand, it’s a slippery slope. If we change the bridge name, where do you draw the line?”
Mr. Petrea, are you telling all the multiple organizations and individuals from the last 25 years who wanted the racist name off the bridge, that it’s slippery?
This year’s efforts by Team Span the Gap include:
An online survey regarding the bridge name; sponsored by local businesses.1200 people voted. The survey was nonpartisan, leaving it up to the community to keep the name or choose another. Then, the team formed a petition to change the name from Eugene Talmadge to the voter’s choice: The Tomochichi Bridge, receiving close to 1000 signatures in the last few weeks.
Also sponsored by local businesses, an art exhibit including 25 local Savannah artists. The show brought in hundreds of people to celebrate the bridge’s 25th anniversary.
The group received a great deal of coverage including Connect Savannah, Do Savannah, The Examiner and ABC - WJCL.
Team Span the Gap spoke with local politicians, ministers, teachers, businesses, students, etc. - keeping the community informed in person or on the Facebook page. The founder was a panelist at a Monday Means Community meeting hosted by Emergent Savannah.
There are 16 roads, buildings, statues and a lake named after Talmadge.
Do we really need another, especially our modern bridge?
Petrea, in your piece, Make Georgia’s parole process more open, you wrote something really ironic after your comments to us. “Almost always government decisions should be open to the public. This process needs sunlight. Furthermore, this bill shifts more influence to local communities and their elected DA’s and judges. Their voices should be heard.”
Thousands of people want the bridge renamed. Hear them!
Ben Watson’s only question was, “Did anyone talk with Lynda Talmadge?”
We took this question to mean that we sit down with Herman Talmadge’s third wife and widow to discuss renaming the bridge. A woman that lives 223 miles away from Savannah. The woman who married a man that said, “God advocates segregation.”
Puzzling. Does the Talmadge family have more influence on you than the city of Savannah?
We read about the Talmadge grandsons pistol whipping a pizza delivery man, shoving politicians against the wall in Atlanta, threatening them after the Chatham County delegation brought up renaming the bridge a few years ago.
A visit to the Talmadge homestead? Hmmm? We’re not in the mood to get pistol whipped.
Thank you to those representative who sat there and said nothing....very helpful.
And Mr. Petrea, while in the waiting room, your words to me, “Sweetie, get me a glass of water.”
Not only is this insulting, it reveals your tone deafness to your constituent’s issues and your blatant sexism.
1200 people took the survey! Close to a thousand have signed the petition.
Thank you delegates, you just ignored A LOT of people.
Ladies & Gentlemen, these are your elected representatives. Thank them.
Lisa D. Watson
Founder - Span the Gap