Steve Brown has fought to check local government abuse here

The sad reality is that “politics” is a part of public government, which is a part of our existence. The other side of the coin, however, is that people all across the country are getting very tired of all the politicians who totally ignore their constituents.

Incumbents are falling like flies because they don’t have what it takes to stand for what the people want. Fortunately, there have also been (and are now) men and women who stand on the front line to make things better.

When I read how Board of Education Chairwoman Terri Smith made a $12 million “paperwork error” on her public financial disclosure, I was appalled.

I think it’s clear to everyone that Steve Brown caught her withholding crucial information from the general public. The chairwoman had to admit, “The state financial disclosure statement filed in January 2008 was amended in November of that year after she read a column in The Citizen by former Peachtree City Mayor Steve Brown.”

Most people are just too busy to keep up with what is going on in government. We are lucky to have someone who is willing to take on the challenge of wading through the documents and figure out what is going on.

People in our community like Steve Brown don’t qualify as saints, but they are leaders, dedicated to the people’s well-being. Brown has continually taken stands against powerful and influential individuals with impure motives. Terri Smith would still be keeping everyone in the dark if Brown hadn’t exposed what was going on with her failure to make the required disclosure.

Steve Brown is one of the most responsible people for keeping government abuse in check in our area.

Why wouldn’t we believe Fayette County Commission Chairman Jack Smith when he said he opposed mass transit in our county? Just like the case with Terri Smith, Brown actually looked up the records for regional government meetings where Jack Smith voted in favor of all the plans that included transit bus routes entering our county from Henry, Clayton and Coweta counties.

Thanks to Brown (and others), the West Fayetteville Bypass was also exposed. The project is literally the road to nowhere.

Brown is clearly trying to keep Fayette County and the lifestyle we enjoy from the radical changes others want to impose. Most of the people whining and moaning about Brown’s candidacy for the Fayette Commission have nothing to say about the big issues. Since they have nothing to say on anything of importance, there is not much of a choice. Steve Brown gets my vote.

It’s time for honest government.

Dennis D. Benson

Peachtree City, Ga.

ginga1414
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Another Example of Local Government Abuse and Misrepresentation

I know folks are getting very tired of reading what I write but I just absolutely cannot let this go. In another publication Commission Chairman Jack Smith has tried to answer a question posed by who or whatever. His answer to two questions is the most twisted bit of fabrication that I've ever heard. He has no facts to support the second question, so he just spins whatever he feels should be said. The questions are as follows:

"What's your position on the West Fayetteville Bypass? What is the justification for construction?"

I suppose the answer to the first question is as follows:

"The existing Board is simply charged with a voter MANDATE to implement the voter's wishes from the 2004 SPLOST. The SPLOST legislation has no mechanism for ignoring the voter's wishes and any attempt to circumvent the wishes of a majority of voters is both illegal and unconscionable"

Mr. Smith, it is absolutely "unconscionable" how you shape the facts to fit your wishes.
1. The West Fayetteville Bypass never ever appeared on the 2004 SPLOST Ballot. The only thing that appeared on the 2004 SPLOST Ballot was "Road, street, and bridge purposes." The voters had absolutely no idea that the 2004 SPLOST Ballot included the WFBypass. None of the voters was ever afforded the opportunity of seeing Exhibit B of the SPLOST Resolution. Smith and the other commissioners are the ones who selected the WFB to be funded from all the approved SPLOST projects. They will not consider any of the smaller projects. When asked about this, what they do is compare the WFB to the most expensive version of the East Bypass. There are many other SPLOST projects that are needed and much less expensive.

2. An audience member who attended the Candidate Forum at Christ's Church asked Eric Maxwell a "yes or no legal question." That audience member asked Mr. Maxwell if SPLOST money can be transferred from one SPLOST project to another SPLOST project. Mr. Maxwell's answer was "yes."

3. Mr. Smith said, "There is no other justification necessary," other than the fact that the 2004 SPLOST vote passed, even though by a 1% margin. That is an absolute out and out lie. To cross streams and/or wetlands with a road, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requires the constructor, under the Clean Water Act, to apply for a 404 Permit. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requires, among others, a detailed traffic study justifying the construction of the road. If the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denies the 404 Permit, the road cannot be constructed. Presently, the county's 404 Permit Application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is being detained by the Corps of Engineers. As we were told by the Corps, the County failed to include all required documentation justifying the building of the road and the hundreds of opposition documents which have been submitted to the Corps requires that each one of those documents be analyzed and evaluated.

4. Mr. Smith said that the Board did not have the power to override state law. There is absolutely no Federal, State, or County law that says the West Fayetteville Bypass or the East Fayetteville Bypass has to be built.

Mr. Smith has a great talent for twisting the truth. He has a great talent for misleading the public. Mr. Smith is NOT this county's friend. Mr. Smith is nothing more than a POLITICIAN. Be ashamed for bending the truth, Mr. Smith. Be ashamed for misleading the citizens, Mr. Smith. I can promise you, Mr. Smith, if you are re-elected to your current commission seat in this county, I will be on you like white on rice. I can promise you that every single time you try to twist the truth, lie or mislead the people of Fayette County, I will be there to set the record straight.

ginga1414
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I Agree

Steve, my husband and I have been discussing your term limits proposal with a group of our neighbors and we all agree. It would solve a lot of problems.

Also, I have spoken with quite a few Fayette city folks and they have at one time or another expressed a great deal of dissatisfaction over their tax bills as opposed to the county folks tax bill.

Thanks, Steve, for trying to cover all the issues our citizens are facing.

Spear Road Guy
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Excellent Idea: Term Limits

I'm very much in favor of term limits on the county commission seats. If we had done it a while back Herb Frady would be gone and I like that idea.

Brown is thinking which is more than I can say for his opponent. What a diatribe Smith had in the paper on Wednesday. I couldn't finish reading the blasted thing.

Spyglass
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How about you run twice for office and lose...you are done..

I'm for that.

AtHomeGym
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Spy, in your haste

to put up your anti-Brown post, you forgot to tell us what you think of term limits for our elected county commissioners. Good idea? Bad idea?

Spyglass
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Bad idea, especially if it's tied to no district voting..

I don't like Brown's wishy washy answers on this. WE have term limits now, we can choose none, one or several terms, as we see fit. Some elected officials are worthy of being re-elected many times..others, not at all.

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To Save Fayette, My answer is "no" - there is a better way

My original thought on district voting was the citizens residing in our cities were not being adequately represented at the county level. The majority of the population in Fayette County lives in cities. There were several problems, chief amongst them city dwellers were being taxed by the county for services they were not receiving.

Even my opponent, the incumbent, agreed the problem existed, and did make one moderate change by making the necessary legislative adjustments so that Peachtree City residents no longer had to pay for county fire and EMS services which were not provided within the city limits. (Note: A reversal occurred when the County Commission approved the 2009 SPLOST referendum asking for countywide sales taxes to pay for new county fire and EMS infrastructure. The SPLOST failed handily.)

At the time, I told the Fayette County Republican committee when I ran against Matt Ramsey that I was willing to see a district voting measure, allowing cities (a majority of the population) to have sufficient representation on the Fayette County Board of Commissioners as a voter referendum ballot initiative, letting the voters decide. Problems such as Commissioner Smith’s 2008 vote on including Fayette County in the regional mass transit plan need to be addressed somehow. The City Council of Peachtree City would never consent to the city being used as a mass transit hub as stated in the plan Commissioner Smith ratified. If there was a representative voted on solely by the voters of a Peachtree City district, there would most likely be more of a fight against the mass transit plan than what we have experienced with all four of Commissioner Smith’s colleagues doing absolutely nothing to reverse the move toward Peachtree City and Fayetteville becoming mass transit hubs. (And if you do not think the transit buses are coming, it is time to wake up.) The citizens of Tyrone, Fayetteville and Brooks would have had someone protecting them from county level neglect as well.

Today, with the advent of the Tea Party movement and cries for major change from “government as usual,” which certainly perked my interests, we may end up with a more representative government anyway. Entrenched incumbents are being voted out all over the country.

My new solution for keeping entrenched special interests and their politicians out of the common good’s way is to change the county’s charter to include term limitations for all elected county commission posts. I believe term limitations will accomplish the same goal and be more universally accepted.

So I think a term limitation set at two terms would be just as effective and there would be no need to consider district voting. I have run this idea by a couple of hundred voters and they love the idea.

I appreciate your question. Thanks for asking.

Steve B.

ginga1414
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Spyglass

It is unclear to me why Mr. Brown's answer is unclear to you. Use your spyglass, if that answer was unclear.

ginga1414
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"The Answer is No"

Spyglass, yes, I was addressing you. Mr. Brown's answer was clearly "no." He clearly said "No" and then he proceeded to explain why and to explain his further thoughts on district voting and term limits.

Spyglass
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So this is clear to you?

"So I think a term limitation set at two terms would be just as effective and there would be no need to consider district voting. I have run this idea by a couple of hundred voters and they love the idea."

IF that's clear to you, Imker wants to give you a raise. :)

I'll close by adding I'm assuming you were replying to me, even though you posted this comment under Steve's overly long pontification.

Spyglass
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So no with a caveat, or just no?

You're answer is unclear. Why does it take you 6 paragraphs to answer a simple question? Any why not respond directly to the query below?

Save Fayette
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Brown and District Voting YES or NO???

Athomegym guy
I was at the forms when Brown was running for State Rep. during that form at the Peachtree City Hall in a packed room. Brown said he was for District Voting. In my last posting I asked Brown to answer some questions. I know he is reading these blogs. He needs to respond and answer the questions. Its very simple, he needs to say I do or no I don’t

ginga1414
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Amen, johenry

And Amen again, johenry. A lot of folks fought the construction of the Pavilion. I was one of them. When it was built, we were told that it would attract business from many counties. We were told that it would promote even more business. At the time, oodles of folks spoke out against it because we just wanted to keep our beloved Fayette County the way it was. All it accomplished was to bring more traffic, more crime problems, more impervious road surface, and more destruction.

Steve Brown has talked many times about Fayette County being a slow growth county and that is the way most folks want it. We are one of the smallest counties in the State. There is just so much room to allow for just so many people and structures. We would all much rather have the trees, streams, fields, and wildlife as opposed to the cars, fumes, crime, big boxes and even the little boxes. The trees, streams, fields and wildlife are the reasons we all love Fayette County. However, since the big boxes have moved in, our quiet peaceful lifestyle has started going in the other direction. WE DON'T WANT IT. I just can't understand why our current commissioners can't grasp that concept. It is a plain and simple concept. WE JUST DON'T WANT IT, PERIOD!

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Get your facts straight Mr. Sukalewski

Mr. Sukalewski,

You folks just love throwing out innuendo without a darn thing to back it up. I agree with Spear Guy that Robert Ross did his homework and you people are not.

Now Bob Lenox and Harold Logsdon constantly criticized Mayor Brown for stalling the TDK road. Were they lying? And how many of those big box stores do you want Mr. Sukalewski? Peachtree City has four with the K-Mart and two more on the way thanks to Mayor Logsdon. Those things have ruined the unique feel of Peachtree City. Don’t even get me started on how bad the Pavilion looks in Fayetteville. Most of my friends won’t go to the Pavilion anymore.

Are you also saying the expensive trip the Chinese company gave Jack Smith after he gave them big tax breaks was ethical? I hope not. And his seat at the bank is a bit nasty.

phil sukalewski
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Vote for the Candidate with Ethics

Voting for Steve Brown is like voting for Obama after the last 18 months. Brown pushed for and signed the contract for the extension of TDK Blvd.;and took claim for it in letters to the editor of the Citizen. Yet now rails against it.

Brown is for District voting in Fayette county. This is a DISASTER for the county.

Brown rails against the "Big Box" developments and the traffic congestion that they will bring (now that he is no longer an elected official), and helps chase them over the line into Coweta county. The traffic congestion still comes, but now the tax revenue goes to Coweta county.

ginga1414
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Joy Clark

Who is Joy Clark? Is she the connecting factor among some members and a want to be member of our school board, a current commissioner, the Bank of Georgia and the West Fayetteville Bypass? I can't say because I really don't know. But, it appears as though the soup is getting thicker. Is this local government abuse?

johenry
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Steve has not done either of the Smiths any favors

The little developer bunch is reeling because Steve Brown keeps shining the light on their naughty stuff. Jack's votes on the bringing MARTA to Fayette County were exposed and Terri's lying on her campaign forms were made public.

I can see why you don't like Steve Brown. The Smiths complaints about ethics is like the pot calling the kettle black.

Spear Road Guy
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Have2Wonder Is The New Jack Smith Lackey

Great job of pasting Jack Smith's resume in a comment block.

It all comes down to this: Smith is for the road to nowhere bypass, Smith is for mass transit in Fayette County and Smith gave us the crappy SPLOST last year where the commissioners tried to rip us off.

His board position on the developer bank stinks too.

As far as I'm concerned, Brown's resume boils down to this: Brown fought the constant corruption like Bob Lenox, Terri Smith and Jack Smith, Brown stood up for the taxpayers and Brown is as honest as the day is long.

And these comments come from someone who didn't support him when he ran for re-election as mayor. I have regretted that ever since.

ginga1414
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Have 2 Wonder

You should do a little research into Steve Brown's community service work. Even though Mr. Brown isn't one to go around patting himself on the back, his credentials in the community are there. You just need to make yourself aware of them. He has worked in our schools extensively. To my way of thinking, there isn't a better use of anyone's time than to participate in educating and guiding our children.

By the way, Steve Brown and Allen McCarty were the only commission candidates at the School Board Candidate Forum last night. Mr. Jack Smith and Mr. Eric Maxwell were not there. Steve Brown and Allen McCarty didn't have to be there. They were there because they both care about our young people and their education.

TinCan
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Ginga and Pips

If you two don’t cohabitate at 1414 somewhere you certainly are a match made in heaven and should get together. We get it, you’re nuts for Steve. If my first sentence assumption is correct please discuss his “virtues” between yourselves. My BS bucket just overflowed.

Have2Wonder
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Brown has no Resume - Jack Smith has great record of com svc

Jack Smith may lose this election, but if he does it will have as much to do with his own humility as anything else. He has confused being a public servant and community leader with politics. One look at just his limited resume on the government site shows a lifetime of service to the community. He builds others up and humbly expects others to do the same. Unfortunately successful politicians have to learn to blow their own horn and he has always been reluctant to do so. Community leaders learn to lift others up and look for the good in them, not to nitpick their mistakes, small or large. For those who haven't seen it, I post an excerpt of the official resume here. We should be proud to have such a servant leader in office.

JACK SMITH - a great community leader with decades of success -
In addition to his role as an elected official, Jack is Treasurer of the Fayetteville Rotary Club where he has held numerous positions, including President. He is Vice Chairman of the Fayette County Public Facilities Authority, and a board member of the Griffin Technical School Foundation, the Bank of Georgia and the Joseph Sams School, Inc., a Fayette County school for developmentally disadvantaged children, where he served as Treasurer for 10 years. Jack is active in his church where he has held numerous including Interim Treasurer, a two-year term as the church’s administrative board Chairman and Vice Chairman of the church’s first building committee. For twelve years he served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Fayette County Development Authority and is a Past President of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, a Past President and life member of Optimist Clubs International and a former member of the Lions Club. In addition, he has been an advisor to many non-profit organizations over several decades.
Jack has served as a board member of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) for four years (including 2010) and as a member of the Executive Committee, the Pension Board of Trustees and the Transportation and Air Quality Committee, to which he was named chairman for 2010. For 2008 and 2009, Jack served as ARC’s Treasurer and chaired the Budget and Audit Review Committee. For 2010 Jack will also serve as a member of the Policy Committee and Regional Transit Committee and be an advisor to the Budget and Audit Review Committee.
From 2007 until its conclusion at the end of 2008, Jack was a member of the Transit Planning Board (TPB) and participated in the design and adoption of a model transit system for the entire metropolitan Atlanta area. In 2009 Jack was named to the Transit Implementation Board (TIB), the successor organization to TPB, and served until its sunset at the end of 2009. In 2010 the ARC’s Regional Transit Committee was entrusted with completion of the TIB mission to design a regional governance model to operate the transit system envisioned by TPB when funding for that system is secured.
In addition to ARC, Jack is involved with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia where he has served as a member of the Group Health Benefits Program Board since 2008, and the Metropolitan North Georgia Water District Planning Board where he served as a member for 2007 through June 2009. In September 2009 Jack was appointed to the Governor’s Water Contingency Planning Task Force and served until it issued its final report in December 2009.
In the 2007, Jack completed a training program sponsored by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and became a Certified County Commissioner. In 2009 Jack completed the highest level of certification available to County Commissioners in Georgia and received the designation of Advanced Certified County Commissioner from the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the University of Georgia. Jack is the first County Commissioner from Fayette County to ever achieve this pinnacle and one of only about 200 in the entire state to ever earn this advanced designation.

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Have2Wonder's comment post is Jack Smith's words in letter

Everybody could have read your post in Jack Smith's letter.

pips1414
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Brown Stands Up For What's Right

I've only known Steve Brown a short time. But he impresses me with his professionalism, journalism and documentation in that he knows what's really going on, and he can back up everything he says. Jack Smith, on the other hand, casts out unfounded dispersions. Take, for instance, the Bank of Georgia in Peachtree City where Mr. Smith is a director. According to a very recent publication signed by Mr.Smith, Steve Brown said that the BOG was a developers' bank. According to Mr. Smith, BOG does little development related business in Fayette County. I won't deny that Mr. Brown said that BOG was a developer's bank. However BOG's President, Pat Shepherd, opens a second door to Jack Smith's. According to an article in this very newspaper relating to a cease and desist order placed upon the BOG by the FDIC, Mr. Shepherd was quoted as saying that BOG is developer oriented. He goes on to say that the BOG does most of its business in Fayette and Coweta Counties. Mr. Brown brought this discrepancy to Mr. Smith's attention publicly at the Town Hall "Meet the Candidates Forum" at Christ's Church two weeks ago. However, Mr. Smith either does not recognize that this issue raises questions, or he was not listening to Mr. Brown at the time. It seems that Mr. Smith and Mr. Shepherd should get their stories straight.

Mr. Brown has also tried to get Commissioners Smith and Maxwell to recognize the folly of the $50 million West Fayetteville Bypass (better known as "The Road To Nowhere"), but to no avail. Neither one will budge even far enough to realize that this bypass is what killed their pet 2009 SPLOST last November. When you try and put one over on the voters like keeping the project names off the ballot or lumping them into a broad category, they will react by voting negatively the next time. The only reason the 2003 SPLOST passed was that most folks thought roads, streets and bridges needed funding they would not otherwise get. When the West Bypass popped up disguised as "roads, streets and bridges", it made them mad, and they spoke loudly and cleary in 2009 that they wanted no more deception of that kind.

So what did the commissioners do? They dismissed replacing the "Road to Nowhere" with alternative SPLOST projects (of which there are many) and stated that "only a court order can stop the West Fayetteville Bypass."

So goes the old saying "you can fool some of the people part of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time".

ginga1414
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Wake Up, Fayette County!

Dennis is right when he says that people become too busy. I cringe to think what would have happened if the 2009 SPLOST had gone through. The wording on the Resolution would have opened up the flood gates for whatever the commissioners decided. Whatever that might have been could have been explained away with "Well, you voted for it. We have to do what the people voted for." That Resolution was riddled with the phrase "including, but not limited to." And, to top that off, Lee Hearn admitted that the commissioners had not even seen the road projects on the 2009 SPLOST list until the evening they voted on them. The Commissioners were asking the citizens to cough up $137 million dollars for projects they had not even taken the time to discuss. It boggles the mind to think about what might go on that we haven't discovered. That is a very scary thought

Steve does his homework. Folks just have to read between the lines of what public officials say and then do their homework. I am very grateful that Steve cares enough about our county to dig for the information that exposes the true facts. I am extremely grateful for his courage.

Thanks, Steve, for caring about what happens to our Fayette County lifestyle.

Spyglass
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His support of District Voting is enough to NOT vote for him..

Let's face it, it has made Fayette unique in the area....and most would say, it has made us better. I'm for it. Therefore, I'm against Steve.

ginga1414
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Right On, doright

Jack Smith rode in on the coat tails of the 2003 SPLOST and used it to promote himself in the eyes of his developer driven bank. He knew, without a doubt, that the citizens of Fayette County didn't have a clue that the West Fayetteville Bypass was included in the 2003 SPLOST. That was proven in 2009 when the voters squashed the 2009 SPLOST. The voters were so outraged that Smith had somehow managed to move a low ranking project to the top of the heap that he lost their trust.

And, right here is where our commissioners' greed is showing. If their outrageous use of our 2003 SPLOST money wasn't enough, Smith had the audacity to ask the voters for another $137 million to help fund a bridge on Hood Rd. that Lee Hearn said was a mistake and shouldn't have even been on the 2009 SPLOST projects list in the first place. And, if that wasn't enough, our commissioners wanted the voters to completely pay off the Justice Center. It didn't matter that other folks down the line would have/could have helped pay for something they would also be using. No, the citizens of today were supposed to be taxed another five years to pay for Jack's big dreams. As I've said before, the 2009 SPLOST Resolution was absolutely riddled with language that would have thrown open the spending doors for whatever the commissioners wanted.

Smith said that he was mandated to spend the 2003 SPLOST money on the project list. There was never a mandate by the people of this county that said the 2003 SPLOST money had to be spent on the West Fayetteville Bypass. Smith, Maxwell, Frady, Hearn and Horgan were the ones who mandated that expenditure. The voters of Fayette County aren't stupid. They will surely "mandate" Smith and Maxwell out of office.

doright
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GIve Jack the BOOT

If you think Jack Smith is good for this county then YOU need to put the crack pipe down and walk away. This commissioner has done NOTHING for this county. He has proven to be a spineless chairman who won't even stand up for what is right by calling out his own commissioner Horgan when he was smoking pot and endangering others by driving.

No, Jack Smith is not good for this county and needs to go. GOOD BYE JACK AND GOOD RIDDANCE!

CCB
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You gotta be kidding Save Fayette

Save Fayette, you’re letting your inner child come out. I had to laugh out loud when you said not having district voting has made Fayette County what it is today. I think reasonable people would probably say it was good schools, low density and the unique development of Peachtree City that made Fayette County what it is today.

Save Fayette thinks Jack Smith’s $50 million road to nowhere West Fayetteville Bypass will make Fayette great, oh boy! Save Fayette thinks Jack Smith’s strong thirst for taking our tax dollars will make Fayette great. On that last SPLOST, they were making up projects to spend our hundreds of millions on.

But the real kicker, Save Fayette, is Jack Smith’s vote to bring MARTA to Fayette. Sure thing, that’s going to make Fayette a super great place to live! Having those buses coming in from Riverdale every 15 minutes is going to do us a world of good.

Please put that inner child back in school where it can learn something.

Save Fayette
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Brown and District Voting

Lets talk about radical changes, if he is elected this is what he will try to impose to you Mr. Benson. Do you know anything about Brown. Get your head out of the Sand.
Brown is for District Voting, this one single issue should be enough for all
Fayette County Citizens to not vote for Brown. District Voting will destroy Fayette County. Not having district voting has made Fayette County what it is today, a great place to live
Not like Clayton, Fulton or any other county that has it.
When he was running against Matt Ramsey, he said that he was for
District voting. This is very Dangerous to Fayette County.

AtHomeGym
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Save Fayette & District Voting

Just have to wonder why you are the only one touting this issue? Do you have some refererences or quotes from Brown that establish his position on this issue?

ginga1414
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Me too.

Thanks, Dennis, for telling it like it really is. Steve gets my vote, too.

doright
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One vote Ginga1414

You only get one vote, either Jack or Steve. GIVE JACK SMITH THE BOOT!

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