Time for 2013 prognosticator to face the music


Foretelling is risky business, and this quasi-pundit is learning that he who lives by the crystal ball dies by the crystal ball.

My predictions for 2013 resulted in a mixed bag of hits and misses. It is now time to face the music with readers about the accuracy of my revelations in this column one year ago.

Here are the 2013 predictions and self assigned grades evaluating my effectiveness as a forecaster:

Prediction: The decision to tear down the not-yet-paid-for Georgia Dome and replace it with a new billion-dollar facility is a done deal. The Georgia General Assembly will reluctantly pass controversial legislation to increase the borrowing limit of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority to make this con job a reality. The new facility will include more luxury skyboxes for the privileged and a $300 million dollar retractable roof.

Grade: I earned an A+ because Arthur Blank got his way. He is laughing his way to the bank and the Atlanta Braves are laughing at him for staying in downtown Atlanta.

Prediction: The field of candidates in the race for Peachtree City mayor will be crowded. Mayor Don Haddix wants to keep his job. Council Member Vanessa Fleisch announced her candidacy early and Harold Logsdon supporters are urging him to run for his former post. At least one candidate with little name recognition will come out of the woodwork. This writer predicts four or more candidates will qualify for the race by the August deadline.

Grade: I earned a grade of A for this prediction. It was a crowded field, five candidates qualified and Ryan Jolly came out of the woodwork.

Prediction: She has not made an announcement but it is unlikely Peachtree City Council member Kim Learnard will run for reelection to post number three. Vanessa Fleisch is vacating Post 4 to run for mayor leaving two open council spots up for grabs. Retired army colonel and Silver Star recipient Mike King will run for one post and retired Peachtree City police captain Terry Ernst will seek the other position. Don Haddix’s confidant Joshua Bloom, former planning commission chairman Patrick Staples and former council member Steve Boone are also being encouraged to run for council posts.

Grade: I was dead wrong in my prediction about Kim Learnard but correct about Mike King and Terry Ernst. I think that even Kim Learnard would forgive my error and award me a grade of C+.

Prediction: Harold Bost, co-founder of the Fayette County Issues Tea Party, and some tea party activist will make a concerted effort to influence and, perhaps, take over the Fayette County Republican Party in 2013.

Grade: I deserve an A+ on this prediction because it is a fact of life for my Republican friends.

Prediction: Former Fayette County Commission Chairman Greg Dunn will begin reviving his political career in 2013.

Grade: I deserve a big fat F because Mr. Dunn wisely refused to take the bait. He was being encouraged to run against Congressman Lynn Westmoreland who is virtually unbeatable in our district.

Prediction: The General Assembly will have the longest legislative session in modern times. Major fights on the budget and ethics reform will give legislators reason to stay in Atlanta until the end of April. Look for failed legislation on gun control and changes in the distribution of lottery proceeds.

Grade: B is the grade because most of the predictions became reality. Ethics reform was the headliner. House Bill 142 changed the name of the State Ethics Commission to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission. Our legislators defanged and defunded the commission to the extent it is unworkable and on life support. The newly named commission was assigned to an outside receivership last month and is in disarray. It is a sad state of affairs when a taxpayer-funded entity is in this predicament.

Prediction: The General Assembly will also pass controversial enabling legislation to establish procedures for disgruntled parents to vote on converting underperforming public schools to state run charters without involvement of local boards of education.

Grade: I assign myself a B on this prediction. Current legislation permits a vote on such charter school arrangements as evidenced by the recent attempt by a group of DeKalb County parents to establish the Druid Hills Charter School Cluster.

Prediction: The upcoming debt ceiling debate in Washington sets the stage for Congress to continue kicking the can down the road as it did with the fiscal cliff crisis. Congress will again demonstrate an inability to cut the federal budget or reduce the unsustainable budget deficit.

Grade: This is an A+ and anyone who disagrees is a federal bureaucrat or simply not watching the Washington scene.

Prediction: At least one of President Obama’s cabinet nominees will withdraw or be rejected by the Senate.

Grade: Former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is her name and peddling untrue White House talking points is her game! She was groomed to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State but the nomination was dead before arrival, before President Obama could prepare the paperwork. I think an A is appropriate for this prediction.

Prediction: The Fayette County Board of Education, with two new members, will perform admirably under the leadership of Chairperson Marion Key. It faces a $15 million shortfall and decisions to reduce staff and/or close schools will be unpopular with parents and staff. The level-headed guidance of Interim Superintendent Dan Colwell is a major plus for the new board. Citizens can expect a movement to defer the search for a new superintendent and extend Colwell’s tenure for another year.

Grade: This grade is hard to assign. The new board performed admirably in selecting Jody Barrow, a top of the line superintendent, while struggling through the difficult task of closing schools.

I was less impressed with the sudden discovery of $15 million which the school board members were unaware was in the bank. Elected officials would never lie about such a matter, so I trustingly attribute the sudden discovery of $15 million to incompetence.

I was wrong about the movement afoot to defer a search for a new superintendent. Interim Superintendent Colwell did not wish to extend beyond the six months he committed to serve the system. My grade on this prediction is a C+.

Prediction: The well-intended members of the Fayette County Commission will begin the year with unity and a strong spirit of cooperation. They will be fighting like cats and dogs before the end of the year.

Grade: A grade of B is in order because the commission functioned cohesively during the first few months of the year. Something is smoldering beneath the surface as evidenced by Commissioner Barlow’s recent public comments about the need to replace Commission Chairman Steve Brown.

Prediction: Proponents of the Fayette College and Career Academy will apply for a competitive grant from the state and receive in excess of $2 million in start up money.

Grade: I receive a grade of F but the Fayette County Board of Education deserves worse for shameful inaction on this issue.

The grant application was not submitted because the board refused to pass a resolution of support. The Board blew an opportunity because the money was already appropriated by the General Assembly and the skids were greased for Fayette County to receive a grant of slightly more than $2 million for the construction of the Fayette College and Career Academy building.

Fayette’s share was divided between Troup, Grady and Coffee counties, which received state grants for college and career academy construction in the amount of $3.15 million each. These three counties will build larger than expected career development facilities while Fayette will have none.

Prediction: The resignation of Peachtree City Fire Chief Ed Eiswerth gives the Peachtree City Council an opportunity to review police and fire department travel policies, staffing, budget and delivery of services. The review will result in a single public safety department headed by one director and more restrictive travel policies for employees.

Grade: The jury is still out on this issue but a grade of F is likely. Although City Council candidates who supported the idea during the election campaign received about 70 percent of the vote, the city manager, fire chief and police chief are opposed and staff usually prevails over elected officials.

Prediction: The Sandy Creek High School football team will win another state championship in 2013.

Grade: Give me an F. I missed the boat on this pick because Sandy Creek lost in the quarterfinals to Griffin, which bested my Carrollton Trojans in the state championship game.

Prediction: The Atlanta Braves will win 90 or more games and the team’s post season performance will be improved. The starting rotation of Hudson, Medlen, Minor, Maholm and Beachy will be the best in the National League. Kris Medlen will win 20 games and receive the Cy Young Award. The talented Jordan Schafer will go to spring training with his head screwed on right, win the starting job in left field and be the leadoff hitter on opening day.

Grade: B+ is a fair grade. The Braves won 96 games, clinched a spot in the playoffs and the pitching staff led the major leagues with a 3.18 earned run average. Jordan Schafer earned the right to start the season as the leadoff hitter but Manager Gonzalez chose to play the less talented B.J. Upton in that spot.

My prediction about Kris Medlen winning 20 games was a disaster. He arrived at spring training overweight and out of shape. Medlen had a miserable start but got back into the groove during the second half of the season and finished with a 15-12 record.

Prediction: The National Football League teams that will advance to the Super Bowl are the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots. The patriots will win in a close game.

Grade: Maybe a C is the correct grade. The San Francisco 49ers made the big game but it was Baltimore that advanced and won instead of New England.

Prediction: My beloved and talented Georgia Bulldogs will finish in the top 10 again but will not win a national championship until a better coaching staff is assembled in Athens. I predict a 10-2 record in the regular season. The rival Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket defense will improve significantly with Ted Roof as defensive coordinator. The team will finish strong with an 8-4 record.

Grade: I will award myself a C because the predictions were relatively close even though Georgia didn’t finish in the top 10. The bulldogs were a disappointing 8-4 and Georgia Tech had a 7-5 record. I thought Georgia would beat Vanderbilt and either Clemson or Auburn to round out 10 victories but the results were different.

Prediction: The Atlanta Falcons will have a difficult schedule in 2013 and finish with a 9-7 record. The defense will continue to excel but there will be a surge of fan unhappiness with quarterback Matt Ryan and the reckless passing game that seems to fascinate the coaching staff.

Grade: Please give me a break and throw out this grade when you compute my average. I expected problems for the Falcons but nothing like a miserable 4-12 record.

Enough said!

[Scott Bradshaw, a resident of Peachtree City, is a real estate broker and residential real estate developer. His family has owned property in what is now Peachtree City since 1820, before the formation of Fayette County. He may be contacted at rand5474@bellsouth.net.]