July 28--Defying Macon Transit Authority concerns about the legality of campaigning at Terminal Station, which was renovated largely with federal funds, mayoral candidate C. Jack Ellis made a point Thursday afternoon of glad-handing and orating on campaign themes inside the bus terminal.
Outside, he held a brief news conference to say he knows of no law or policy barring his actions, and suggested that a prohibition on campaigning inside the building would infringe on minorities' right to vote in the Aug. 16 mayoral runoff.
Ellis said he would continue campaigning there, and would offer voters rides to the polls from that site on the day of the runoff.
Asked about reports that one of his campaign workers threatened a transit authority official's job over the issue, Ellis said he repudiated that threat, but he wasn't unduly concerned with finding or discharging the volunteer because the transit authority employee's life wasn't threatened.
As to whether he's made any deal to make former Sen. Robert Brown the city's chief administrative officer, a job which pays $140,000 a year, in exchange for Brown's support in the runoff, Ellis refused to answer "personnel questions." Earlier in the day he had promised to address that question. Brown took 9 percent of the vote in the July 19 mayoral primary.
Ellis also evaded questions about whether he personally reimbursed transit riders' bus fare in exchange for their agreement to vote. All he would say is that he frequently gives money to many people, and he construed the question to be an insult to black people.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.
Copyright 2011 - The Macon Telegraph, Ga.