And hello from Northeast Georgia

Greetings folks.

My name is Johnathan McGinty, and I’m the latest “new blogger” in this rollout of Peach Pundit contributors.

Given that I’ll be doing some writing in these parts, I suppose it’s appropriate to tell you a little about me, so here we go …

I started out in journalism on the sports side of things, working as the high school sports editor at the Athens Banner-Herald (if you’re curious, the best athletes I covered were Commerce’s Monte Williams and Oconee County’s Tony Taylor) before moving to be assistant news editor for a few years. I spent a couple of years working in public relations at the University of Georgia before deciding to start a consulting business for non-profits at the onset of the worst economic downturn in generations.

As of late, I’ve been working as a freelance writer and public relations professional because, you know, you gotta pay the bills.

I live in Oconee County with my wife and daughter. I’m a Baptist – CBF, not SBC – and a proponent of Sunday Sales. I’m a fan of Georgia, all Boston pro teams and Waylon Jennings.

Blogging-wise, I got started back in 2004 when I launched Safe As Houses without even knowing what a blog was. A few buddies had started one, so I did the same and used it to complain about Georgia football, TV and other random things. At some point, my journalistic roots kicked in, and I started paying attention to the local political scene in Athens. In 2009, I served as a co-editor for Tondee’s Tavern for a brief period of time before starting up Beyond The Trestle. Since 2009, BTT has provided coverage and commentary of local politics, culture and sports in Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties, and we’ve been in a content-sharing partnership with Flagpole for the past few months.

Politically, I’m center-of-left (yay for the sacrificial liberal!), but it’s a little harder than that to pin me down. Slash the corporate income tax? Sign me up. Privatize Social Security? I’m not crazy about the idea, but we should at least talk about it. A federal carbon tax? We should probably do that. Spending cuts and tax increases? Let’s put it on the table. More money for alternative transportation and rail in Georgia? Yes, please.

I value pragmatism over ideology and discussion over pointless shouting.

I’m looking forward to getting started over here, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. So let’s give this whole thing a whirl, shall we?

(And feel free to follow me on Twitter too.)


  1. DoubleDawg3 says:

    Welcome and…yes, Monte Williams was one heck of an RB at Commerce High. Who was the WR on that Commerce team – Michael Collins? Also a good athlete. That was a good time for small high school football in North GA, as Buford had Sams and several good athletes and GAC was a strong team then as well (all Single A at that point).

    • Johnathan says:

      It was Michael Collins, and they bounced him around from wide receiver to quarterback. When they won state in 2000, he played QB and Williams was the tailback. You had a 6-foot-6, 220 pound quarterback and 5-foot-6, 160 pound tailback … and they were ruthless.

      Commerce’s games with Buford were legendary, and the Tigers beat ’em to win the Class A title in 2000. This run from Williams is still the best run I’ve seen.

      • Johnathan says:

        ‘Safe As Houses’ … it’s a British saying, and I heard it on a movie somewhere and liked it. Sort of a ‘everything is fine’ line.

        Tondee’s Tavern … no idea. I did about three months there, and I liked it. But I had to step away when I had some work pick up, and I enjoyed the BTT work more.

  2. Welcome aboard Johnathan.

    It might be time to have a chat with Charlie about the new direction PP is taking. Way to many UGA fans on the front page. WHERE’S THE BALANCE?

  3. Holly says:

    Ahem. You forgot to mention that you grew up in the Garden City and still return the first week of April for the best golf tournament in the world. 🙂

    Welcome back! You’ve been missed here, JMac.

  4. Rick Day says:


    My LiveJournal blog gets the feed for PP, and is set for ‘current first’ so your other post was my ‘first’ post to you.

    And in it, I mention something about sports over academics as one of the reasons people in the Red Counties are so…um..gullible.

    And here I see….you excelled in “Sports writing”.


    Odds on Falcons making the Bowl?

    • Johnathan says:


      The Falcons need more consistent play from their secondary, but the Giants and Eagles appear to be rolling now. And when the Saints get Reggie Bush back, they should be back to old form (though their defense is a shell of what it used to be).

      That said, it’s hard to see someone stopping the AFC’s ‘Big Four’ of the Jets, Patriots, Ravens and Steelers.

  5. ZazaPachulia says:

    Jonathan, welcome aboard.

    I can’t believe you, a good Baptist living in Athens and cheering for the Dawgs, would dare publicly support the Celtics, Patriots and Red Sox.

    I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate Boston teams (and many of their obnoxious fans). I loathe going to Phillips and being surrounded by a bunch of green-wearing drunks whenever the Celtics come to town — my only solace comes after the game when I see most of them taking MARTA to the north side of town — at least they’re not my neighbors on the southside. As a true Georgia sports fan, I despise the New York teams, too, so don’t try to drag me into that putrid rivalry.

    Whenever the Red Sox and Yankees play, I cheer for the rain. The best possible outcome of a Boston v. New York showdown is a lengthy rain delay, followed by a postponement in the fourth inning. That way neither team wins and all the fans go home uncomfortable and annoyed.

    • Johnathan says:

      Touche my man.

      Well, half of my family is from New England, so I grew up being a fan of those teams (particularly the Red Sox). Fortunately, my father’s side is from Georgia, and everyone in the family attended UGA. So I suppose something turned out right on that end.

      • ZazaPachulia says:

        Wait, so you follow the teams from where your mom grew up? Bill Simmons would have a field day with that. My mom grew up in New York in an Italian immigrant family that loves the Yankees. I got my Catholicism from mom, but you better believe I got my sports allegiances from my Georgia-born, Georgia-raised dad.

        For me, it’s Hawks, Falcons, Braves, Navy (only time you can root outside your home state and get away with it in my book is when it’s for your alma mater) and UGA all the way.

        Despite your alarming sports allegiances, it’s nice to see another moderate join the show. I consider myself a pragmatist as well.

  6. saltycracker says:

    Not yet, the support of a carbon tax is just too stunning….just when we thought virtual money manipulation schemes were temporarily out of style…..

  7. B Balz says:


    Glad Saltycracker picked up on: “A federal carbon tax? We should probably do that.”

    Using government ‘sticks’ (tax and a big one) to sway public policy is neither new or altogether successful: War on drugs, for instance.
    ‘Carrots’ work better to change human behavior.

    When virtually everyone else is driving a Subdivision, a Smart car is neither.

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