Smith is running out of bypass excuses; it’s developers, stupid
The incumbent commissioner Jack Smith is not going to run on his record of the last four years; that much is clear. Instead, he is trying his absolute best to paint an ugly picture of me, hoping you take the bait and forget about his dealings.
I am going to help the incumbent commissioner speed his task so that we can get on with a discussion of the issues that affect you as taxpayers the most.
Let’s be truthful and get it all out: I am 25 pounds overweight; I have a bad left knee; I snore at night; I would rather eat a good dessert than the entree; I am losing my hair; I never wash my car; I eat the ice cream when the family is sleeping; I am near-sighted; I do not like wearing neck ties; and I once stole three bucks from my daughter’s piggy bank to tip the pizza guy. There it is, all in the open.
Now let’s get on with what really matters. At the end, I will show what we can do.
To be as fair as possible I have put the video clips of Commissioner Smith on my website (www.sb4faycom.com) so that you will not think I am distorting his words. I encourage you to go see for yourself.
Commissioner Jack Smith voted to put mass transit buses in Fayette County. In public, he said he was not going to do it, but he did do it, multiple times. He admitted this on the video.
You will also see where he says [of] the transit plan, “It is not the best plan that I would put together, but I was only one voice in the group.” The other “voices” from Clayton, Henry and Fulton counties told Smith to take the buses and he agreed.
Likewise, Smith said, “MARTA wouldn’t be what’s running it anyway; it is restricted to Fulton and DeKalb County, so it’s not an option for us.”
Smith has served on three regional mass transit boards. Smith knows MARTA is not “restricted” to Fulton and DeKalb.
Since July of 2001, MARTA provided the operation personnel and the facilities for the bus service in our neighboring Clayton County called “C-TRAN.” Since October of 2007, MARTA began full operation of C-TRAN bus and paratransit services, including all operations and maintenance. It is quite clear MARTA can expand outside its current boundaries.
The one thing you ALWAYS heard in the big push to build harmful roads like the TDK Extension and the West Fayetteville Bypass was “it’s been in the plans for years.” Those buses are in our plans, and they are coming if we fail to counter what Commissioner Smith has done as our representative to the regional government.
My position on the mass transit buses is: “no buses.” I really do not care whose name is on them (MARTA, GRTA or Fayette County Transit). Mass transit in a low density area like Fayette amounts to fiscal irresponsibility, and that is the direction Commissioner Smith is taking us.
On fiscal irresponsibility, we almost need a score card so that we can track the excuses we have been given on why we need to build the West Fayetteville Bypass. Commissioners Smith and Maxwell first said they switched the construction priorities to the West Fayetteville Bypass because the road provided “traffic relief,” or as Smith says, “to actually have a road that would funnel traffic around downtown Fayetteville.”
Well, the traffic relief excuse got shot down real quick. The project was so poor on function, the bypass would not even qualify for federal and state funding (hence, the name Road to Nowhere).
The second excuse for building the bypass was it offered “the most bang for the buck.” Well, the West Fayetteville Bypass offered the least “bang” and no federal “bucks,” so that did not work either.
Smith and Maxwell’s last excuse was they have no choice but to build the bypass. “Now you are going to have to talk to someone else, I’m sorry, that wrote the transportation SPLOST that we’re mandated to be under,” Commissioner Maxwell said. Well, there is a list of unfunded SPLOST projects that rate higher in function than the West Fayetteville Bypass; let’s build those instead.
One of the biggest West Fayetteville Bypass supporters, Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele, in a June 17 letter in the Fayette News publication, gave us THE REAL REASON for building the bypass: developers.
Yes, Mayor Steele, writing in favor of the bypass and the incumbents, spelled out what the developers want to accomplish in our county saying: “With the hospital located in the middle of the county and looking at aerial maps, it is obvious that most future growth in Fayette County will occur between Peachtree City and Fayetteville and southward towards Starr’s Mill.”
That is the most politically correct way to say they are building the bypass to give developers premium access to undeveloped land.
The mayor of Fayetteville did not say the bypass was about relieving current traffic congestion or bang for the buck. To the contrary, he rightly said it is all about future development. Guess who owns the large tracts of land along the bypass route: land speculators and developers.
No way will I allow $50 million of our tax dollars to pay for a road for developers. Let the developers pay it!
They want to plaster the center of the county all the way down to Starr’s Mill with homes, and they can do it at a higher density because Mayor Steele will give them the sewer capacity. Sewer is already extended to the hospital now.
Here is what a vote on July 20 for Allen McCarty and Steve Brown will get you:
• Stop wasteful spending on the West Fayetteville Bypass and immediately re-prioritize unspent funds for more worthwhile projects.
• Reject multi-million dollar SPLOST sales tax increases.
• Create a Low Income Senior Homestead Exemption for county taxes.
• Explore a unified operations and maintenance strategy between the county and cities for programs and services, focusing on collaboration and avoiding duplication.
• Block mass transit bus projects in Fayette County like MARTA from the regional transit plan, avoiding overdevelopment and more urbanization.
• Preserve Fayette County’s rural character by closely adhering to our approved land use plan and reject increases in residential unit density.
• Require developers and builders to submit Educational Impact Statements on all rezoning requests to protect our schools from overcrowding and school districts from shifting.
• Respect and serve citizens: listen to them, serve as an exemplary steward of their resources, follow best business practices, and adhere to the highest ethical standards.
• Establish a two-term limit for Fayette County commissioners.
• Open up government to citizens by eliminating the current severe limitations on their free speech at Board of Commission meetings and make government readily available to the citizens
We have already seen some changes we do not like. It is about to get a lot worse unless you vote.
Post 4 Candidate, Fayette County Commission
Peachtree City, Ga.