An alert reader put me onto this: somebody in Gainesville got carried away with the local high school color scheme.
Gainesville is being threatened with the loss of federal transportation funding because of the color scheme used for the newly-erected street sign honoring Gainesville High School graduate DeShaun Watson. And, that has Congressman Doug Collins of Gainesville and Mayor Danny Dunagan seeing, well, “red.”
According to a press release late Thursday afternoon from Collins, the federal Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration last week sent the Georgia Department of Transportation an email citing a code that “specifies the color of highway signs” and noted that Gainesville’s new sign is not in compliance with the code. The notice informed GDOT that a “failure to comply with the jeopardizes the future of federal funding” for the city.
The sign appears on DeShaun Watson Way, formerly Touchdown Drive, a side street leading to the high school and features white text on a red background in a nod to the Gainesville High school colors.
Never underestimate a politician's talent for making hay out of a minor bureaucratic matter, and you won't be disappointed.
“The DOT’s decision to respond to a small city’s celebratory act by threatening to withdraw its federal funding is an egregious example of abuse at the hands of federal bureaucrats. As many sections of our nation’s infrastructure are in disrepair, I am amazed that the DOT has prioritized targeting the entranceway of a local school,” Collins said.
"We're calling on them to fix this. My Deputy Chief of Staff has talked to them," Collins added.
Gainesville’s Mayor Danny Dunagan believes the DOT could have approached the issue more delicately.
“A nicer approach would have been to give our city 30 days’ notice to replace the sign before pursuing the nuclear option of federal defunding. Deshaun is a fine, upstanding member of our community and one of the greatest football players of our generation. Our intent was simply to honor him at the entry to our school,” explained Dunagan.
I suppose it was too much trouble to ask ahead of time for a waiver.
If Mark Richt and Mike Bobo hadn't ignored Watson until it was too late, this never would have happened, I tells 'ya.