FreeSpeech for 01-13-10

Just over two months ago the voters of Peachtree City decided they wanted to carry on the theme of “change” and elected what was certainly to be a new and improved City Council. After just one meeting of the new council, it’s apparent that they have every intention of keeping their campaign promises of taking Peachtree City back to the good old days, when Kmart reigned supreme as the only big box in town and there were no traffic lights for miles and miles on the city’s highways. Mayor Haddix has an agenda, and he doesn’t want to hear any more from the citizens; he has heard enough. Now our new City Council will be doing all they can to run new businesses (and their tax dollars) out of the city, but likely not very far. Soon these very same voters will be taking their business to Coweta County and shopping at the new stores just beyond our borders. How long before our taxes go up, Mayor Haddix, because you and your council minions lack the vision to see that putting stores just west of the county line rather than just east of the county line will not ease traffic congestion on Ga. Highway 54, it will only extend our drive to the stores we want to patronize by a few hundred yards? Luckily, we have Mr. Imker and his budgeting genius to save us.

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Regarding ex-Mayor Steve Brown’s column in the Jan. 5 issue: Having addressed and solved all of Fayette County’s problems, he is now taking on Coweta County issues. Unless U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland now has a vote on the Coweta County Commission, I fail to see how a contribution to his campaign will greatly influence the outcome of their vote. I would think that a U.S. Congressman would have more pressing issues than getting involved in a local zoning issue. Looks more like a shot below the belt by Brown.

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The Fayette County fair market value has remained constant for my home in Peachtree City since 2007. My taxes for 2009 were $300 higher than the tax bill I paid in 2007. When I study 2009 real estate listings in my neighborhood, and then compare the listing price to the actual sale price, over 75 to 80 percent of the resale prices always exceed the Fayette County fair market value. I am not a Realtor nor a friend of a Realtor. Real estate investment has been a personal and long-term interest in at least four states. The Fayette County assessors website is a valuable resource for comparing list prices versus sale prices to the fair market value recorded for each street address. This website also contains a separate page which displays the list and sale price for every street address for the most recent past calendar year. There are valuable open and public records to assess if your home value is consistent with neighborhood comparable homes.

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To the person who wants everyone in Fayette County to call and fight their property taxes: Does it really sound like a great idea for everyone to call and try to have their taxes lowered by 25 percent? I don’t think so. I’m personally happy paying mine at the higher percentage. Why, you ask? Because I’m happy that my house is finally being valued at a higher price. I’m happy that my neighbor’s house is being valued at a higher price. The increases have to start somewhere after a long recession. The fact that there are people who are fighting to have their property values lowered is beyond me. Your home is one of your greatest investments — I’ll take a higher value any day of the week. I do not want my house devalued and do not see where that makes any sense at all. Then again, I also don’t mind paying higher taxes so that my schools, communities, roads, green spaces, etc., will look better and continue to improve. You guys probably don’t understand that either, I’m assuming?

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This in response to the writer in the Jan. 7 edition about people who walk their dogs unleashed. If the writer would take the trouble to check the PTC website, they would find the following under code enforcement: “Animals must be kept under control at all times while the animal is off the owner’s property. An animal is deemed under control when it is: confined within a vehicle, on a leash or other device held by a competent person, or under voice command of a present, competent person.” I do not own a dog because of the traveling I do, but I envy those that do. Especially those that take the time and trouble to train their dogs. If you’re going to quote the law, know the law.

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I was very pleased to see how many people were outraged about the horse being shot by several arrows; they should be. It is comforting to know Fayette County has so many animal lovers. However, we often have animal abuse in this county and no one ever says or does anything about it. What about the poor kitten who was set on fire last year? What about all the dogs who are chained up outside and left without food or shelter? And, to make matters worse, when these people move, they leave their pets behind. Stray dogs are often found with chains embedded in their necks from being tethered and chained for long periods of time. There was also a dog who was shot by an arrow a couple of months ago, possibly by the same person responsible for shooting Misty, the horse. If you are an “animal lover” and want to make a difference in this county, volunteer with the Fayette County Humane Society. They have their hands full with unwanted, abandoned and abused pets. The Humane Society does not have a shelter of its own and all pets are kept in “foster” homes and cared for by “foster parents.” If you can’t foster a pet, you can volunteer and work at pet adoptions or assist with fund-raisers. Donations, pet food and supplies are always needed and greatly appreciated.

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With regard to Misty the mare: Humans who act in a cruel and blood-thirsty manner are sometime referred to as animals; however, animals don’t do this sort of thing to each other. Unlike humans, animals are not born with the concepts of cruelty or conscience and when these inborn human concepts break down, other humans are obligated to act. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department will find the human or humans who pumped three arrows into Misty and I suspect that justice will be severe. However, I sort of wish that Waffle House justice could get the first shot.

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To the Free Speech contributor who commented on the “raise” the fire chief secured for the volunteer firefighters: Do you realize what these men and women do for our community? They spend endless hours of their own personal time serving our community for no hourly wage. Do you know what they get for showing up to put out your house fire or pull you out of your wrecked vehicle? About $10 per call, up to approximately $6,000 per year. After they reach the maximum, they get nothing. How can you fault the chief for trying to make sure these men and women receive a little more compensation? My only issue with the Fire Department is the fact that as soon as ONE person commented on the “toys” that used to be mounted on front of the fire engines, they were removed. Peachtree City has always been a family friendly environment. The whimsical items on the fire engines made our children feel more at ease with these men in uniform. I am upset that one ex-firefighter from a “larger” city could cause our fire department to stop a kid-friendly practice. What’s next? Will the police officers no longer be able to carry stuffed animals in their patrol cars to calm upset children?

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During the holidays a certain store in The Avenue shopping center offered a gift card for a donated coat. This message was sent by an email from the store itself. They did not say there was a limit of coats they would take or specify what type of coat to bring in. I drove from the south side of town after school with my children and the coat, only to be turned away because they had reached their limit. I was not the only one; someone else was leaving with a coat in her hand and an exasperated look. Needless to say, I was angry so I went home and emailed all the people I know in town. Some wrote back that were turned away as well. They also knew people that left with their coat and not a gift-card. Thanks for wasting my time and gas for nothing. I would have understood if the staff wasn’t so rude. I will be doing my business elsewhere.

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I was so glad to see the Free Speech column again. It’s the only way one can voice their opinion without having to take a lot of flack from some smart a— who knows better. Please keep the column going this time.

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Seabaugh/Westmoreland faux anti-tax antics will never cease. The latest is state Senator Seabaugh’s pronouncement under the Gold Dome that only the state can write tickets on the interstate highways. They are always up to something underhanded. In this case it is just a way of getting more revenue for the state. These clowns will then turn around and pound their chests in front of the Tea Party crowds saying that they don’t raise taxes. They do. Seabaugh has porked Georgians with a number of added user fees to raise revenues that don’t make sense just so he can get more revenue and falsely claim he hasn’t raised taxes. Congressman Westmoreland is an even bigger fraud. He and the Republican majority took a budget surplus and spent us in to a huge deficit on the way to bailing out all the fat cats on Wall Street. And yet they will glad-hand the Tea Party crowds with a shameless grin.