If you didn’t hear what happened to me last week, Stacy Eidson does the heavy lifting a few pages over.
While I have no way of predicting how we (myself and my callers) may end up looking if we make the final cut of the movie, as my producer Bill Botham was quick to point out (in so many words), “Hollywood rarely comes to the South to paint a flattering picture…”
In the meantime, I am genuinely curious if Sacha Baron Cohen traveled all the way to Augusta because he wanted ME, or if I was merely an easy target in a state offering amazing tax breaks and incentives to major American film producers who wish to shoot their projects here.
Since he is a noted comedian, I hope he appreciates the humor we see in the way so many West Coast studios are flocking to the “candy apple red” conservative State of Georgia, to use our tax breaks and “right to work” labor rules to greatly reduce the cost of making their cinematic masterpieces.
The artists of Tinseltown are hitting the California state line like poor Mexicans used to hit the border for harvest season, all to escape the Cereal (full of fruit, flakes, and nuts) State’s confiscatory tax and salary structures. It is not very progressive of them, but apparently their love of money trumps their ideological purity.
God forbid those creative geniuses ever figure out that the economic paradise they have found in the Peach State is a Republican construct that, if their political leadership back West had any sense, they could easily adopt for themselves. I mean, while grits, gnats, and humidity are still superior to the earthquakes, scorpions, and Teamsters they have to navigate in California, no one likes to be away from home that much.
If I get invited to the premiere, you people will be the first to know!
Two weeks ago I was sitting in Pittsburgh, PA using my iPhone to break the news back home that the Augusta National Golf Club finally found the magic figure they needed to convince the leadership of the Augusta Country Club to part ways with the northeastern tip of their property, affectionately known as their 9th hole. Bordering on the National’s historic Amen Corner, it was acreage long sought to allow long desired changes to the 13th tee box, and other minor cosmetic changes in the vicinity. 20 million dollars is the reported final figure. An exhaustive article on the then unconsummated deal appeared shortly before this year’s tournament in Golf Digest, and it is an interesting read.
While most knowledgable observers consider the deal a “win-win”, with both clubs benefiting, there is a loud contingent of ACC members who wanted a bigger payoff. That payoff was sought in the form of a treasure chest full of Masters tournament badges, the value of which I don’t need to spell out for Augusta readers. I am told some rather vocal members wanted 2 tickets per member, or family. While the Augusta National may arrange for small transactions of that type on rare occasion, including a thousand tickets in this deal would cause myriad issues in future business negotiations they do not want raised.
Besides, as a non-profit 501-C 3 organization, it could very well be a legal (if not moral and ethical) NO-NO for members of the ACC to receive a gratuity, or a dividend, of this description.
As much noise as some are making, when you consider the state of many golf course and clubs across the country, this “controversy” comes across as profoundly silly and selfish. The ACC membership should take great solace in their 20 million dollar payday, and hush, before God hears what they are doing and sends a Sharknado up Rae’s Creek.
While I appreciate Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree asking Augusta City Commissioners this week to find more money to pay his deputies competitive wages, I have to chuckle when I remembered that his first salary increase request, about a month after he was sworn into office in 2013, was not quite so magnanimous. Roundtree requested, and got, a 15% raise, that put his annual salary higher than the 3 term Sheriff he had replaced, a man who had been serving in local law enforcement since before Roundtree was born. Oh, and don’t forget about the 5% automatic raise Roundtree got upon his re-election in 2016. There’s gold in them there badge. At least in Roundtree’s. Apparently it is the Sheriff’s recommendation to raise property taxes to cover the increase. Talk about adding insult to injury, the people who cause the cops the least amount of problems are once again going to be stuck paying the bill to cover the expenses and damage caused by many who pay little to no property tax at all.
In the meantime, I wonder how close that salary increase for his deputies is going to come to the 20% raise Roundtree has seen since becoming Sheriff?