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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bob Ott, Cobb County Commissioner, sits alone in hot seat during citizen's Town Hall

Ott (seated at left) listened while citizens discussed how to hold politicians accountable.
Bob Ott, one of four Cobb County commissioners who voted for the Atlanta Braves Stadium deal, answered questions from frustrated citizens who said his vote could negatively affect quality of life, taxes, security, traffic, and education in Cobb.

The meeting, sponsored by Citizens for Governmental Transparency (GCT), was held last night at Turner Chapel A.M.E. Church in Marietta. It was facilitated by Sabrina Smith of Gwinnett County, a member of the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots, and Sharon Hill, a public relations and logistics consultant from Powder Springs.

Some folks are wondering whether the group has just been established to vent or to really make positive changes in Cobb.

"We are not anti-Braves...what matters is the process...what happened to 'the people said?' " exclaimed Hill who asked attendees to Tweet their concerns to the media. Many in the audience seemed to be trying to figure out how they could benefit from the Braves move, either by business contracts or transportation improvements.

Two main discussion points: where is the money coming from, and how will Cobb handle Braves' game traffic.
According to the Cobb County government website, "The total budget for the new stadium is $672 million. This includes the stadium, parking and other related infrastructure. Atlanta Braves will be responsible for $372 million and the remaining $300 million will be contributed by Cobb County and the Cumberland Community Improvement District." Anyone who works in project management knows that projects often go over budget, and taxpayers may end up with additional bills.

The meeting was a fact-finding, emotional roller coaster that often turned heated.

Also in attendance were several candidates running for political office, including Nathan Wade, superior court judge candidate, Cindi Yeager, solicitor candidate, and Joseph Pond, District 3 commissioner candidate. "A lot of people don't have the money in this economy to donate, but we can use your sweat equity," Wade said.

Yeager said citizens should get involved in political campaigns and not just vote.
District 2 Commissioner Bob Ott, who is also a licensed pilot for Delta Airlines, said he did everything he could to responsibly represent voters in the area where the new stadium will be built. As far as transportation goes, Ott said it is unclear what will happen four years after the Braves move to Cobb County. As for now, Ott said major road projects on Windy Hill Road include "alignment of interchanges and divergent diamond" construction.

He said potential benefits of the Braves moving to Cobb will be construction of mixed use developments near the stadium and jobs. Attendees voiced concerns that job opportunities generated by the move will not include Cobb residents, and businesses that will benefit most will be operated by outsiders.

WingcomLtd. reached out to Populous, the architectural firm selected by the Braves to design the new sports facility, and the Atlanta Braves to ascertain what skills will be needed by potential employers, but they had not returned calls or emails before posting this article.

To learn more about Cobb County government's assessment of the Braves move, go to:

Census Bureau to release U.S. population estimates

There is a growing concern that the U.S. is losing population, and the Census Bureau is the clearinghouse for population estimates.
The Bureau will release population estimates for counties, metropolitan and micropolitan areas, and Puerto Rico later this month. The new statistics will be available in American FactFinder — one of the Census Bureau’s online data search tools — and the population estimates Web page and QuickFacts on Thursday, March 27.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Community groups demand government transparency in Cobb County, Ga.

Taxpayers in Cobb said they are tired of government officials not listening to them.
A coalition of 13 community groups ranging from Tea Party patriots to Sierra Club devotees will be meeting in full force to demand open communication with Cobb County government leaders on a host of topics.

Citizens for Governmental Transparency (CGT) will convene Tuesday, March 18 at 7:00 p.m. at Turner Chapel A.M.E. Church, 492 N. Marietta Pkwy. in Marietta. Organizers are asking all members of the community to attend who are interested in legal challenges to government decisions and who may want to run to replace current political officials.

The organization held its first Town Hall in February in response to the Cobb County Board of Commissioners agreeing to use taxpayer money to construct a new Braves baseball stadium. The decision was made without seeking voter approval in an area already plagued with huge transportation problems.

Public financing is estimated to cost taxpayers over $500 million in additional taxes over a 30 year period, according to CGT.

"I don't understand what is motivating these politicians, but the way Tim Lee runs commission meetings bothers me," said Dave Browning at the last Town Hall held by the group. "As a professional, I had to fight traffic to even stay alive," said the now retired worker who stated that Braves traffic congestion in Cobb without a proper transportation plan will be a nightmare.

Ken Howell said Cobb needs to find a proactive solution to transportation issues.
Ken Howell said he has a problem with Commission votes on transportation, too. "They couldn't afford rapid transit until the Braves are coming to town. Now they will be spending $900k on a shuttle! We need to stay focused on the money," Howell said.

Other issues important to the group are cronyism in government, the power over commissioners held by the Chamber of Commerce, and the attempt to keep 17,000 Hispanics living in Cobb from becoming citizens with voting rights.

Carlos Garcia is organizing taxpayers to push for citizenship rights.
"I can't vote, but I pay taxes," said Carlos Garcia of the Cobb Immigrant Alliance, one of the groups in CGT. "I cannot vote now, but I do not make that an excuse not to get involved," he said.

For more information on this topic, call 404-573-1199 or 770-876-2070.

Thought for today...

"Prayer is the ardent wish that every way of life be light; that every act be crowned with good; that every living thing be prospered by our ministry. A noble deed, a helpful word is prayer; a fervent, an effectual prayer. The fount of prayer is in the heart; by thought, not words, the heart is carried up to God, where it is blest, Then let us pray."
---The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

LGE announces 2014 scholarship program

LGE Community Credit Union is continuing its college scholarship program this year and will be awarding five scholarships in the amount of $3,000 each to students entering college this Fall. The application will be available until April 30, and the drawing will take place on May 2, 2014.

How it works:
Applicants complete a brief application and answer a short quiz in order to be entered into the drawing. If you are currently a high school senior, download the application and quiz, then mail the completed forms to LGE or drop them off at your local LGE branch. Applications and completed quizzes must be received by 4:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. The drawing will occur on Friday, May 2, and the names of the winners will be posted on the LGE website by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 9

Each winner's check will be mailed directly to the college on the winner's behalf before the Fall tuition payment deadline.

For a complete list of rules and details, visit