Political letters that didn’t make it into print edition

[Editor’s note: The following from supporters of local political candidates are letters to the editor that did not make it into the print edition of The Citizen because of space limitations.

In the interest of timeliness, we publish them here online in the order in which we received them.]

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[Editor’s note: The following was submitted by Fayette County Commissioner Robert Horgan.]

HISTORY OF THE WEST FAYETTEVILLE BYPASS PROJECT

Fayette County has a long history of planning and growth management. The county government, and subsequently some of its municipalities, has imposed building codes, zoning ordinances, and a host of other development and land use requirements for decades. In fact, Fayette County enacted its first building codes and zoning laws in 1959 and ’60, a move almost unheard of for a rural, struggling county in Georgia at that time. This history of regulating the types and locations of development, both residential and non-residential, has resulted in Fayette County being one of the most sought-after communities in which to live and raise a family for more than forty years.

A part of this growth management has involved forecasting and evaluating trends in growth and planning for it, including planning for transportation needs. It is no secret that a majority of Fayette’s working residents have continued to commute daily to destinations north of Fayette County to work, including the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport and areas in and around Downtown Atlanta. Also, it is no secret that at least historically, the majority of Fayette County citizens, including commuters, have been vehemently opposed to any initiative that would bring any form of public transportation to Fayette County. Thus, local officials to-date have not formulated any plan for public transportation, be it bus service, commuter rail, or even vanpool service. As a result, however, planning for vehicular traffic has been ongoing for decades.

In recent months much has been said about the roadway project known as the West Fayetteville Bypass. This project was planned as a limited access, two-lane roadway intended to route vehicles along a path from a point in north Fayette County to a point south of Fayetteville. It has been suggested that the current Board of Commissioners initiated this project sometime in recent history, with little forethought or planning in mind; and that information about the project has been purposefully withheld from the public. Below is summary information about the development and history of the West Fayetteville Bypass Project, all of which can be found in public records accessible to the public. This information dates back 25 years.

1985

Consultants Robert and Company prepared a Land Use Plan for Fayette County. Though transportation issues were not described in detail, the Plan included a map of “Future Thoroughfares”, which recommended east and west bypass projects around Fayetteville. The route of the suggested west bypass project follows along the same route as the current West Fayetteville Bypass Project.

1989

The State Planning Act went into effect requiring local governments in Georgia to develop comprehensive growth management plans. The established format for these plans required that several “elements” be included in every jurisdiction’s plan, including a “transportation element”. Fayette County’s transportation element at that time suggested east and west bypass projects around Fayetteville, as the County’s current Comprehensive Plan does. Planning efforts occurring during this period laid some of the groundwork for the 1990 “Fayette County Road Improvement Plan” prepared by Moreland Altobelli Associates, Inc., an Atlanta consulting firm.

May, 1990

The County received the “Fayette County Road Improvement Plan” prepared by Moreland Altobelli Associates, Inc. This document represents the County’s first county-wide comprehensive transportation improvement plan, although the plan generally did not include municipal roadways, other than some major thoroughfares. This plan recommended both east and west bypass projects around Fayetteville. It refers to the future bypass west of Fayetteville as the “Central Parkway”. It follows the same route as the current West Fayetteville Bypass Project.

No commitment to funding the Plan was made at the time, thus, without a commitment for funding, the Moreland Altobelli plan was not implemented. However, many of the projects recommended in the Plan, including intersection and bridge improvements throughout the County, have been completed through annual budget commitments, capital improvements funding by the County and some of its cities, and later by Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax proceeds.

1995 – 1997

In 1995, the Association of Fayette County Governments, a coalition of municipal and county elected decision-makers, initiated a study to address transportation needs throughout the entire County. The organization enlisted the Atlanta Regional Commission to lend technical assistance and to act as a “neutral partner” in the effort to develop and/or integrate existing transportation plans in Fayette County. The Atlanta Regional Commission’s involvement would also include assisting Fayette’s leaders with the complexity of competing at the regional level for state and federal funds for transportation projects. The study was completed in December, 1996 and was accepted by all entities on August 26, 1997. This document also identifies and recommends both the east and west bypass projects. The route recommended for the west bypass project was the same as the current route of the West Fayetteville Bypass. The route for the proposed east bypass project differs slightly from the one currently underway.

At the time of the adoption of this study, the Board of Commissioners consisted of Robert Sprayberry, Scott Burrell, Herb Frady, Glen Gosa and Harold Bost. The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on August 14, 1997 to sign the Resolution of the AFCG adopting the “County-Wide Transportation Plan”.

February 5, 2000

At the County Commissioners’ annual planning meeting, a vote was taken to escalate the construction of the “Fayetteville Bypass” by approaching the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Department of Transportation concerning funding; and to have the project moved up in the ARC’s Transportation Improvement Plan and Regional Transportation Plan. This vote refers to the east bypass project only.

October, 2001

The Board of Commissioners authorized an update to the Fayette County Road Improvement Plan done in 1990 by Moreland Altobelli Associates, Inc., and proceeds to issue requests for proposals to interested firms.

April 3, 2002

The Board of Commissioners accepted a proposal from the firm URS Corporation to perform an update to the County’s Road Improvement Plan at a cost of $40,000.00.

April, 2003

County received the final “Transportation Plan Update” from URS Corporation. Receipt of this document was the catalyst for discussions for holding a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Referendum to fund transportation projects countywide. This plan was developed with input and participation of the municipalities. Citizen input was gathered via public workshops, surveys and other opportunities for the public to comment. This Plan recommended both east and west bypass projects. This entire Plan would eventually be approved for funding when the referendum for the 2004 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax was approved; understanding that SPLOST funds to be collected over the five-year life of the SPLOST would not be enough to pay for every project. The recommended west bypass project is the one under construction at this time, known as the West Fayetteville Bypass.

October 28, 2003

The Board of Commissioners met with all municipalities to establish “countywide” transportation project priorities. A list of ten was adopted, with the first three being: (1) East Fayette Bypass; (2) SR 54 East widening; (3) West Fayette Bypass.

The Board of Commissioners consisted of Greg Dunn, Herb Frady, A.G. VanLandingham, Peter Pfeifer and Linda Wells. Mayors were: Peachtree City/Steve Brown, Fayetteville/Ken Steele, Tyrone/Sheryl Lee, Brooks/Bobby Butler, Woolsey/Gary Laggis.

March 3, 2004

The Board of Commissioners met with municipalities to determine transportation projects for inclusion in a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Referendum. It was agreed that 30% of the anticipated SPLOST proceeds would be divided (by population) to fund priority projects identified by each of the municipalities and the County. The remaining 70% would fund agreed-upon “common” projects identified in the Transportation Plan Update of 2003.

The Board of Commissioners consisted of Greg Dunn, Herb Frady, A.G. VanLandingham, Peter Pfeifer and Linda Wells. Mayors were: Peachtree City/Steve Brown, Fayetteville/Ken Steele, Tyrone/Sheryl Lee, Brooks/Bobby Butler, Woolsey/Gary Laggis.

May 27, 2004:

The Board of Commissioners passed Resolution 2004-09 calling for a referendum for a one-percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax in the amount of $115,857,267.00 to fund transportation improvements throughout the County. The approved Resolution includes Exhibits A and B which define the projects to be funded. Exhibit A is a list of projects submitted by the County and each municipality as priority projects for each entity. Exhibit B is the entire 2003 Transportation Plan Update. This Plan includes projects identified as R-28 and R-5, which encompass Phases I, II, and III of the West Fayetteville Bypass Project currently underway.

Project R-28: Begins at Lester Road near Cleveland Elementary School, crosses Highway 54 and connects with Sandy Creek Road north of Piedmont Fayette Hospital. This portion of the project is considered “Phase I”.

Project R-28: Also includes what will be known as “Phase III” of the West Fayetteville Bypass Project. Phase III will begin on Lester Road near Cleveland Elementary School and follows a route along Lester Road, crossing Ebenezer Church Road and terminating at Redwine Road. The precise alignment of this segment of R-28 is not known at this time nor has funding been allocated.

Project R-5: Begins at the intersection of Tillman and Sandy Creek Roads, progresses along a portion of Tillman Road, through developed and undeveloped properties, across Lee’s Mill Road to Highway 92 North at Westbridge Road. This project is considered “Phase II” of the West Fayetteville Bypass Project.

The Board of Commissioners consisted of Greg Dunn, Herb Frady, A.G. VanLandingham, Peter Pfeifer and Linda Wells.

November 2, 2004:

The Referendum for the one-percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for transportation improvements was passed by the voters. Collection of the tax would occur for a period not to exceed five years or until the stated amount of $115,857,267.00 is collected, whichever comes first. The collection of the tax commenced April 1, 2005 and will end March 31, 2010, unless the full amount is collected prior to that date.

September 7, 2005:

The Board of Commissioners voted to authorize a Notice to Proceed to Mallett Consulting, Inc. to perform engineering and design work for a series of Transportation S.P.L.O.S.T. projects, including Phase I and Phase II of the West Fayetteville Bypass and the East Fayetteville Bypass, as approved in the S.P.L.O.S.T. Referendum. The work authorized included surveying, environmental and geotechnical investigations, alignments, preliminary design and Right-of-Way and Construction Easement determination. Phase I is identified as Project R-28 (Southern Portion) and Phase II is identified as Project R-5 (Northern Portion). This action by the Board of Commissioners initiated the construction process for the West Fayetteville Bypass Project.

The Board of Commissioners consisted of Greg Dunn, Herb Frady, A.G. VanLandingham, Peter Pfeifer and Linda Wells.

2008

In June, with final design in place and upon final acquisition of needed right-of-way north of S.R. 54, ground was broken to commence the construction of Phase I of the West Fayetteville Parkway, which extends from a point on Lester Road near Cleveland Elementary School, proceeding north across S.R. 54 to a point on Sandy Creek Road. Simultaneously, the design and process of assessing and acquiring right-of-way for Phase II began. Phase II begins at the intersection of Tillman and Sandy Creek Roads and proceeds along a portion of Tillman Road, then through developed and undeveloped areas, to a point of terminus on S.R. 92 North. Phase I of this project is anticipated to be complete in late 2009 and is being funded entirely by Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax proceeds.

Also, in 2008, Fayette County received an 80 / 20 grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission to develop an updated comprehensive transportation plan (CTP) for Fayette County. This initiative, known as Fayette Forward, will be completed by the firm of Gattling, Jackson, Kercher, and Anglin and will replace the existing Transportation Plan of 2003 and is expected to be completed in late 2009 or early 2010.

The Board of Commissioners consisted of Jack Smith, Eric Maxwell, Lee Hearn, Robert Horgan and Herb Frady.

2009

In 2009, Phase I of the West Fayetteville Parkway (Bypass) received its final grading, storm sewer infrastructure was installed, a stone base was laid and concrete curbs and guttering were installed. Asphalt base was installed on about half the new roadway before bad weather halted further significant work as winter set in. Working with the Georgia Department of Transportation, a final design and permits were acquired for traffic signalization and other intersection improvements where the Bypass will cross State Route 54 at Huiett Road.

Regarding Phase II, following public input, preliminary environmental studies and scrutiny of a number of conceptual designs, a final alignment was developed and ultimately approved by the Board of Commissioners in June, 2009. The approved alignment was intended to impact as few property owners as possible. An application for a required Army Corps of Engineers was filed.

Work on the Comprehensive Transportation Plan continued, with a series of public workshops and meetings with municipal officials and staff. Completion date has been moved to mid 2010.

The Board of Commissioners consisted of Jack Smith, Eric Maxwell, Lee Hearn, Robert Horgan and Herb Frady.

2010

Work on Phase I resumed with the coming of warmer, drier weather. Work was awarded to a contractor in April for the installation of the traffic signal and other intersection improvements for the intersection of the Bypass with Highway 54 at Huiett Road. Paving of Phase I continued.

At the time of this update, the County is awaiting approval of the Army Corps of Engineers Permit for Phase II.

Prepared by Carol Chandler
June, 2009
Amended April, 2010

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West Bypass becomes central campaign issue, but it just won’t work!

At the May 24 Town Hall Forum to greet the candidates for county commissioner, attendees were allowed to ask at least one question to the candidate of their choice. More than half the questions asked related to the West Fayetteville Bypass.

The WFB is the road that will supposedly clear downtown Fayetteville of congestion. Commissioners Maxwell and Smith have chosen to fund the West Bypass because they say it’s “more bang for the buck than the East Bypass.” They say that both the East and West Bypasses will do the job, but the East Bypass is too expensive.

They only cited the most expensive version of the East Bypass for comparison, and they are not interested in any other SPLOST projects that would qualify for the WFB funds.

The only problem with that is that neither commissioner will explain how the WFB will accomplish the mission of freeing Fayetteville of congestion. When asked how the proposed route will save traffic, we were told that the county engineer said so.

Unfortunately, the county engineer was not available to illustrate how this could be accomplished, and the commissioners won’t. But supposedly, vehicles approaching Fayetteville simply take the WFB, and the downtown congestion vanishes ... poof!

Let’s take a vehicle going northbound on Ga. Highway 85 in the south part of Fayette County at Line Creek, and check out several destinations. To get to Tyrone via the WFB, that vehicle must get to Phase I (Huiett Road and Ga. Highway 54) as best it can, then follow Phase II to Sandy Creek Road, then Sandy Creek to Jenkins Road (after backtracking to avoid a gravel road), then Jenkins Road to Ga. Highway 74, and south to Tyrone.

It could also have gone to Fayetteville-Tyrone Rd. by going west on Hwy. 54, but no need for the WFB for that. Same thing going to Fairburn: the WFB ends at Ga. Highway 92, but many miles away from Fairburn.

Therefore, the shortest way to Fairburn via the WFB would be Sandy Creek all the way to Hwy. 74, but the railroad crossing on Sandy Creek Road can be inconvenient.

Getting to Riverdale and Atlanta is another story. Taking the WFB is several miles out of the way from south Fayetteville, and when I tried going that way, it took 16 minutes longer than going through Fayetteville at 5 p.m. on a weekday.

The WFB feeds into Westbridge Road, which dead-ends 4 miles west of Riverdale. But if you’re only going up Old National Highway, it might save a few minutes getting to and from Old National.

The WFB is not a done deal. The property for it has not been bought by the county. Why? Because the 404 Permit to cross eight wetland areas has not been approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Why?

Because hundreds of complaints over the poor site selection and environmental damage have been filed. The burden is on the county to prove that the WFB is in the best interest of the public. Not just because the county engineer says it’s the best way to go, and not because the commissioners are unwilling to consider other non-bypass SPLOST projects.

Before you vote, contact your commissioners and see if you can get them to prove to you that the WFB is in the best interest of the public, and worth $50 million of your tax dollars. The people at the Meet the Candidates Forum surely didn’t think so.

Worse yet, you’ll have to approve another SPLOST referendum to fund Phase III of the WFB from the hospital to the South part of the county. But if you don’t want it, beware!

The commissioners can still attach it to the SPLOST ballot without telling you, just like they did Phase II. What do you suppose the cost will be by the time they finally get around to doing that?

And don’t believe the WFB is mandated by law, as the commissioners imply. They can prioritize any approved SPLOST projects for the SPLOST funds.

Steve Smithfield
Fayette County, Ga.

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Jack Smith manipulates the facts

Commission Chairman Jack Smith recently paid for a large ad in a local newspaper and proceeded to use that space to manipulate facts to suit his own agenda. Some of those questions and answers are as follows:

“What qualifies you to be a county commissioner?” First, he proceeded to list all of his CPA credentials. But I feel that somewhere along the line, Mr. Smith learned how to intimidate people. In his view, that must be another one of his qualifications for commissioner.

I was an eyewitness to one display of his intimidation tactics. I attended a commissioners’ meeting where a group of citizens wanted to silently stand for one brief second so the commissioners could see just how many folks were opposed to the West Fayetteville Bypass. The citizens wanted to stand at the end of a “public comment” by their representative concerning the group’s position on the West Fayetteville Bypass.

The citizens were not a rowdy bunch. Most of them were in the 50- to 60-age bracket. It wasn’t like any of them were of the physical capacity to harm anyone.

However, Chairman Jack Smith shouted at the group and said, “No! Sit down! This is not a circus!” Those citizens were in a building that they helped pay for. They were trying to silently show a group of their employees that they were opposed to the manner in which they were doing their job. A performance review, if you will.

“What are some of the commissioners’ accomplishments during the last three years?” In his response to that question, Mr. Smith said, “Protected our quality of life with strict adherence to the land use plan.”

However, in the Fayette County Comprehensive Plans 2004-2025, under the Housing section on page H-15, it clearly states, “Objective H-4: Conserve stable neighborhoods and encourage rehabilitation and other initiatives that will help to revitalize and promote the stability of older neighborhoods.”

If Mr. Smith continues to push the construction of the West Fayetteville Bypass, many homes and several neighborhoods that are very “stable” will be adversely impacted. In that instance, the commissioners will not have “protected our quality of life with strict adherence to the land use plan.”

Another example of where the commissioners are not strictly adhering to the county land use plan with respect to the West Fayetteville Bypass can be found on page N-1 of the Fayette County Comprehensive Plan 2004-2025.

In part, it states, “The impact of Fayette County’s rapid growth could have a detrimental effect on its natural resources.” On page N-2, it refers to “Environmentally sensitive and ecologically significant areas” such as “water supply watersheds.”

According to the plan, “There are five water supply watersheds (drainage basins) in Fayette County; Flint River Drainage Basin, Horton Creek Drainage Basin, Whitewater Creek Drainage Basin, Flat Creek Drainage Basin and Line Creek Drainage Basin (Map N-1). Fayette County utilizes each of these basins as a source of drinking water.”

According to the map, the West Fayetteville Bypass runs directly through the middle of the northern portion of the Whitewater Creek drainage basin. The Comprehensive Plan states, “Safe drinking water is essential for human life. The impervious surfaces of buildings and asphalt result in more storm water runoff at more rapid velocities, often carrying pollutants like oil or pesticides, into the stream.” Therefore, if the Road To Nowhere is built through the Whitewater Creek drainage basin, our county commissioners will not be strictly adhering to the land use plan, nor will they be preserving our quality lifestyle.

Further in the Natural Resources section of the Fayette County Comprehensive Plan 2004-2025 on pages N-12 and N-13 it talks about the different types of soil in the county. Under the “Cartecay-Wehadkee” section it states, “This series consists of nearly level, poorly drained, and somewhat poorly drained soils that are predominantly loamy throughout; formed in alluvial sediment. Brief, frequent flooding is common. These soils lie along the narrow to wide flood plains of the Flint River and the county’s named streams (Antioch, Camp, Flat, Gay, Gingercake, Haddock, Horton, Line, Morning, Murphy, Nash, Perry, Shoal, Tar, Trickum, Whitewater, and Woolsey). Because of the flooding hazard (less than two percent slope), these poorly drained soils have low potential for development and should be limited to a suitable wildlife habitat.”

In that instance, if the West Fayetteville Bypass is built in the area in which it is aligned, the commissioners will not be strictly adhering to the land use plan.

Also, according to the Land Use Plan, if the West Fayetteville Bypass is built in that area, it will be impacting a huge “Ground Water Recharge Area.” In that instance, the commissioners will not be strictly adhering to the land use plan.

This is one reason why the bypass has become a central campaign issue, and why commissioners Maxwell and Smith are so desperately trying to defend their position on supporting it.

Most people have no idea how serious a problem the West Fayetteville Bypass will be to us now and well into the future.

Commissioners Smith and Maxwell insist on building the harmful Road To Nowhere. It is a waste of our financial resources and our delicate natural resources, particularly our water supply.

If you want to stop this madness, you will have to vote incumbents Smith and Maxwell out of office on July 20.

Steve Smithfield
Fayette County, Ga.

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Deceptive answers

Commission Chairman Jack Smith paid to have a series of questions and answers published in a local newspaper. The answers Mr. Smith gave to the questions were quite deceptive.

“Your opponent accuses your bank directorship as a conflict of interest. What is your response to his claims of your position in a “developers’ bank”?

Mr. Smith said, “The bank is hardly a ‘developer’s bank’ with only 2 of its 11 directors being in the building and construction business.”

However, upon further inspection of the Bank of Georgia’s Board, I found:

1. Pat Shepherd – BOG president was on the board of sales and marketing of the Mid-West Georgia Homebuilders Association.

2. Donnie H. Russell – owner and president of manufactured housing sales company Parham Industries, Inc., director and part owner of manufactured home production company Signal Homes. According to the Ga. Secretary of State, Donnie H. Russell is listed with four companies to his name: Buddy’s Homes, Inc., Buddy’s Trailer Sales of Albany, Inc, Parham Industries, Inc., and WSSR, LTD.

3. Charles R. Ogletree – (no information provided on the holding company’s website). However, I found that Charles R. (Chuck) Ogletree is the president and founder of South-Tree Enterprises, Inc. in Tyrone, Ga. According to the South-Tree Enterprises website, “South-Tree Enterprises is a full-service commercial real estate firm engaged in the development and marketing of retail, office, industrial and mixed-use properties.” Also, according to the South-Tree Enterprises, Inc. website they built the Bank of Ga. in Fairburn, Newnan, Sharpsburg, Tyrone and Fayetteville. According to the Ga. Secretary of State, Charles R. Ogletree has two corporations listed in his name: South-Tree Enterprises, Inc., and Southtree Development, Inc.

4. Malcolm R. Godwin – served in the financial industry since 1977 at Wachovia Bank, Peachtree National Bank, Fayette County Bank, and at Bank of Georgia as executive vice president. According to the Ga. Secretary of State, Malcolm R. Godwin has one company listed under his name: Tilwin Properties, Inc. 114 Middleton Dr., Peachtree City, Ga. They are listed as “Operators of Non-Residential Buildings.

5. Arlie C. Aukerman – former chairman and president of construction firm A.C. Aukerman and former Fayette County Bank director.

6. Thomas G. Sellmer – former owner of real estate management and investment company Sellmer Property Management and former vice president of Southern Screen & Embroidery, Inc. According to the Ga. Secretary of State, Thomas G. Sellmer has listed to his name: McIntosh Properties, LTD. and Peachtree City Sports, Inc.

7. Vincent M. Rossetti – President of Ravin Homes, Inc., manager of real estate and office management firm MiRome, LLC., former president of Mid-West Ga. Homebuilders Assoc.

8. William Robert Hancock, Jr. – partner in Glover & Davis law firm in Newnan, partner in real estate firm F&H Investment, former advisory board member of First Union National Bank, former chairman of Newnan Development Authority. According to the Ga. Secretary of State, William Robert Hancock, Jr. has listed in his name: P-210 Enterprises, Inc., and WR Hancock, Inc.

9. Jack R. Smith (last but not least because of his direct association with the above) – Fayette County Commission Chairman and a Peachtree City certified public accountant. According to the Ga. Secretary of State, Jack Smith has listed to his name: Ewing Consulting Services, Inc., Smith, Conley & Assoc., Software Business Products Corp., Rotary Club of Fayetteville, Inc., SC&A Wealthcare Advisors, LTS, and the Selwyn Walker Foundation, Inc.

Therefore, nine of the 11 members of the board of directors of the Bank of Georgia have been and/or are currently involved with the construction, real estate, real estate development, or real estate management business.

That is more than four times the number quoted by Mr. Smith. Some of the board members have companies listed to their names of which the nature can’t be verified.

“What’s your position on the West Fayetteville Bypass?” Mr. Smith said, “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 voters’ wishes and any attempt to circumvent the wishes of a majority of voters is both illegal and unconscionable.”

It is absolutely “unconscionable” how Mr. Smith manipulates the facts to fit his own agenda.

1. The West Fayetteville Bypass never appeared on the 2004 SPLOST ballot.

2. The 2004 SPLOST Resolution included Exhibits A and B. Exhibit B included both the East and West Bypass.

3. The voters were never afforded the opportunity of seeing Exhibit B of the SPLOST Resolution. I dare say they didn’t even know the document existed.

4. Jack Smith, Eric Maxwell and the other commissioners are the ones who selected the WFB to be funded from all the approved SPLOST projects.

5. They are the ones who will not even consider any of the smaller, less expensive, more productive, less destructive projects that WOULD adhere to our land use plan.

6. An audience member who attended the candidate forum at Christ’s Church asked Eric Maxwell (an attorney) a “yes or no legal question.” That audience member asked Mr. Maxwell if SPLOST money could be transferred from one SPLOST project to another SPLOST project. Mr. Maxwell’s answer was “yes.”

Therefore, it is not the citizens’ vote that mandates the construction of either the east or west bypass. It is the commissioners’ mandate.

“What is the justification for construction?” Mr. Smith’s answer to that question was: “There is no other justification necessary. This Board simply has no power to override state law – nor should you want them to.”

Mr. Smith’s words, “no other justification necessary,” are such a manipulation of the facts that his statement becomes untrue. There absolutely IS further “justification necessary” for building the West Fayetteville Bypass. The further “justification necessary” is as follows:

1. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requires an approved 404 Permit Application whenever a road is proposed to be built over streams and wetlands. Those facts may be found at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act.

2. The West Fayetteville Bypass was designed to cross eight streams and wetlands. Some of those streams provide drinking water to Fayetteville. One of those streams is Whitewater Creek. That particular fact is exactly why there is a Clean Water Act and that is exactly why the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requires a complete and approved 404 Permit Application.

3. To access information pertaining to the above statements the link is: www.epa,gov/wetlands/regs/sec404.html. The West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition has a board member, if you will, a retired biological scientist who was in charge of implementing the 404 Permit for the Federal Government. The man is an absolute expert in his field.

Finally, a proposal in Mr. Smith’s paid ad stated: “Your opponent has accused you of being pro-MARTA.” Mr. Smith’s reply was: “Not only am I against MARTA in Fayette County, according to state law MARTA cannot come here.”

1. If Mr. Smith is against MARTA coming into Fayette County, why in the world did he repeatedly vote in favor of it as a factor in his position on the Transportation Board with the Atlanta Regional Commission?

2. If, as Mr. Smith says, “according to state law MARTA cannot come here,” why in the world did the man vote in favor of something that is illegal “according to state law?”

Ginga Smithfield
Fayetteville, Ga.

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Langford supports Smith, Maxwell

I enthusiastically support Jack Smith and Eric Maxwell for Fayette County Commission. Having worked with both gentlemen over the past four years, I believe their initial election was a breath of fresh air blowing into a commission chamber whose two most recent chairmen had been suffering from a malady one might term “Morning Creek Madness,” the most obvious symptom of which is power (real or perceived) going to one’s head. Diagnostically, it’s closely akin to “Potomac Fever,” a disease long prevalent around Washington, D.C.

Neither Smith nor Maxwell has fallen victim to this ague; both have been transparent, accessible, and accountable. Both realize local government officials are compatriots in improving Fayette County, not pesky insects to be swatted away.

With Fayette’s municipalities Smith, Maxwell, and the entire present commission have re-established working relationships which had fallen by the wayside during two previous chairmanships due to high-handedness flowing downward from the commission.

What I deem the pinnacle of previous regimes’ power quest did not directly involve municipalities, though, nor individual Fayette citizens, either. It indirectly involved us all, however, for in picking an expensive, fruitless fight with then-Sheriff Randall Johnson, which was equally inadvisable and unbecoming, they managed to sully all Fayette Countians by the disgusting episode. I don’t want to go back to that kind of atmosphere, to that degree of distrust, or to the lust for power that farce so vividly demonstrated.

I know enough about Jack Smith’s challenger, Steve Brown, to aver that I wouldn’t vote for him under any circumstance, any time. Wasn’t Brown’s single stormy term as mayor of Peachtree City enough? Wasn’t it filled with sufficient unrest and controversy for a lifetime?

Wasn’t he sent packing by Peachtree City’s voters after one term, in what amounted to a civic pronouncement of “enough is enough”? Do we really want such a loose cannon on the commission?

I know little about Mr. McCarty, Eric Maxwell’s challenger, but his having gained endorsement by the Dunn/Bost crowd would be sufficient reason for my support to go elsewhere, even if I didn’t know, admire, and support Eric Maxwell, which I do.

Fayette County was “done bossed” long enough; we need no more of the Dunn/Bost contingent’s “my way or the highway” approach toward governance. Fayette voters sent the Dunn/Bost crowd packing four years ago; let’s not make the mistake of voting any candidate they endorse back into office now. They want Smith and Maxwell out; let’s demonstrate yet again that a majority of Fayette Countians are not interested in what the Dunn/Bost group thinks.

Voting for Jack Smith and Eric Maxwell will send precisely that message. It will also ensure another four years of openness and integrity on the commission, another four years of blissful freedom from Morning Creek Madness. The choice is clear.

And I wish whoever stole Jack Smith’s sign from my driveway Fathers’ Day afternoon would bring it back and install it opposite the one with which I replaced it.

Dan Langford
Brooks, Ga.

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PTC’s Imker: Things Fayette County doesn’t need

1. The West Fayetteville Bypass, at least not for another 10 years. We should take the millions of unspent SPLOST money allocated for this project and help not only other county endeavors but also the municipalities by redistributing these funds.

Contrary to the broken record we’ve been told, IT IS POSSIBLE to move SPLOST funds around. All it takes is agreement by all parties involved and a willingness to get it done.

The current office holders (i.e., incumbents) want the bypass and don’t even want to look at redistributing the funds. The new candidates, on the other hand, say no to the bypass and will move the funds where they can be better utilized.

2. Mass transit to our otherwise peaceful county. Again, the current office holders want mass transit. I believe mass transit brings more woes than it’s worth. Besides, mass transit ultimately becomes a budget buster. The new candidates agree with me and are against mass transit.

3. Another SPLOST. Current office holders clearly want another SPLOST. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have offered us the vote on it last November.

It seems especially strange that neither of the current office holders seemed to have read the wording of last November’s initiative, which they sponsored on the ballot.

Oh, they read the parts that included funding their “special projects” to make sure money was funneled the way they wanted, but the rest of the words were overlooked.

Apparently the voters were overlooked too after the results came back. Over 3 to 4 against. The new candidates are better in tune with the public and are against another SPLOST. They’ll agree to redistribute the remaining current SPLOST funds and know another SPLOST is not needed. I concur.

As a citizen I take personal exception to Mr. Smith’s and Mr. Maxwell’s (the incumbents) mischaracterizations and name-calling of their opponents. That kind of politicking does not endure me to their cause. Nor do their positions.

For all the reasons in this letter, I will vote AGAINST those with the word (Incumbent) just below their name on the ballot and vote FOR Mr. Brown and Mr. McCarty.

Eric Imker
Peachtree City, Ga.

[Imker is a Peachtree City councilman.]

=====================================

Incumbents locally poison citizens’ trust in government

A Pew Research Center poll recently found that nearly 80 percent of Americans say they can’t trust Washington and have little faith that the massive federal bureaucracy can solve national ills.

Few in government are responsible to the people who elected them anymore.

Here in Fayette County, things have taken a similar path in the last few years.

Our local judicial system is plagued with mistrust and judges are being forced to leave the bench because of their seedy indiscretions.

Our local Board of Education gave us bad information and convinced us we needed more schools at a time when the student population was actually declining. The board spent a fortune on land we don’t need, and tens of millions more tax dollars on buildings we definitely didn’t need. Consequently, we have one empty school and several others that are less than half full.

Board of Education Chairwoman Terri Smith omitted over $12 million worth of personal real estate and businesses on her official Georgia financial disclosure forms. She claims it “was a mistake,” but it takes much more faith than I can garner to believe that.

County Commission Chairman Jack Smith accepted a free and expensive international getaway with luxury hotels and grand tours from a local company he excused from having to pay $5 million in local taxes over a number of years (see Citizen article “Officials back from China junket” in the 09-03-08 edition).

Unfortunately for us, Commission Chairman Jack Smith is also involved in other controversies closer to Fayette County:

• He confidently promised us that he would oppose mass transit buses coming into Fayette County, but voted at the Nov. 13, 2008 Transportation and Air Quality Committee meeting (and others) in favor of the plan that specifically included mass transit buses through our county.

• After his election to the county commission and assuming responsibilities for zoning and building, Smith accepted a position on the Bank of Georgia’s Board of Directors. When questioned about the obvious potential for conflicts of interest, Smith stated, “The bank does most of its loans outside the borders of Fayette County.”

In an 8/3/09 Citizen newspaper interview, however, bank President Pat Shepherd “maintained that BoG’s loan business is geared primarily to the building and construction industry” and that bank problems were “largely tied to the Fayette and Coweta economies.” Why would the county’s economy be a problem if the bank didn’t do business in the county?

In President Reagan’s words, “Trust but verify.” The bank has no obligation to open its meetings or records to the scrutiny of the press or public, of course, so we really cannot confirm Smith’s statement. It is for just that reason that Georgia law says that even the appearance of conflicts of interest should be avoided.

• Commissioner Smith also claims that his bank is not a developer’s bank because only two out of the 11 board members are in the development industry (re-read bank President Shepherd’s statement above). Actually, President Shepherd and six of the 11 board members are tied to development, construction, or land speculation: Donnie H. Russell, Charles R. Ogletree, Arlie C. Aukerman, Thomas G. Sellmer, and Vincent M. Rossetti, and Jack Smith himself — who has significant authority to regulate local development.

Those men are all in honorable occupations, but let’s be truthful about the relationships.

• Finally, Chairman Smith’s ad accuses challenger Brown of “illegally lobbying against the 2004 SPLOST” but provides absolutely no support to the claim. Was he referring to a group of developers’ charges against Brown for speaking out against the 2004 SPLOST and projects like the wasteful West Fayetteville Bypass?

The inconvenient truth is that Jack’s ad omits the fact the Ga. state Ethics Commission said the case, 2005-0102, had no merit. See it at http://ethics.georgia.gov/references/orders.aspx

The bottom line: Citizens I talk to see such unsubstantiated claims as politics as usual, one more incumbent politician’s red herring to divert voters from real issues like his $50 million bypass to nowhere, mass transit buses running through the county, and his attempt to raise our sales taxes by over $130 million.

Even worse than these mischaracterizations, however, is their insidious effect on public confidence in government and its leaders. While Chairman Smith perpetuates a glaring potential for serious conflict of interests, avoids issues, and spins unfounded accusations, he demeans himself, the office of chairman, and Fayette County’s citizens.

Robert Ross
Peachtree City, Ga.

=====================================

Smith caught in untruths again

In the words of the great President Ronald Reagan, “There you go again, Jack Smith!”

I couldn’t believe the fictional claim made in Jack Smith’s campaign ad that property taxes decreased after Steve Brown left office in Peachtree City. Nothing could be further from the truth! This is just more of Jack Smith and his Peachtree City developer friends trying to discredit Steve Brown.

The property taxes climbed every year after Brown’s term in office. In addition, nearly every fee on the city’s books was increased, including senior citizens having to pay to use the Gathering Place. Let’s not re-write history, Jack Smith. Oh, sure, Harold Logsdon (a Jack Smith supporter) promised to cut taxes, but that didn’t happen by a long shot.

If you want the truth, go look at the year before Steve Brown took office in 2002. In September of 2001 the economy fell because of the horrific 9/11 terrorist attack. The City Council’s 2001 budget under Mayor Bob Lenox failed to increase taxes “despite adding 12 new employees and $754,000 in raises and benefits for employees“ (The Citizen, July 18, 2001, “PTC City Manager: Raise taxes 24 percent”).

Instead, Lenox’s council used $1.4 million from the city’s unreserved cash fund, sinking things even deeper in the 2001 budget, and they also rolled back the property millage rate at the same time to create one of the largest budget catastrophes in city’s history.

If you can believe it, the cited headline is correct. It was going to take a 24 percent tax increase just to break even on Steve Brown’s first year in office based upon what happened the previous year.

Newspaper accounts said, “Last year, council rolled back the millage rate and ‘balanced’ the budget with $1.4 million from the cash reserve. That decision was a mistake, said Mayor Bob Lenox.”

The mayor continued, “We said we could cut the millage rate so there would be no tax increase,” Lenox said. “And now we’re going to pay for it. (July 25, 2001, The Citizen, “Rapson: Trim PTC”s budget”)

Steve Brown, beginning in 2002, along with fellow Councilman Steve Rapson, refused to compromise on the budget and cut $1.8 million out of the city’s budget and reprioritized spending.

Instead of the 24 percent increase, the city council got it down to 9 percent (nearly a 62 percent reduction).

A couple of years later, the city’s fund balances improved to record levels and the city received the coveted AAA bond rating. It was also the first time the city broke into the top 10 of CNN and Money Magazine’s best places to live. You can find all of this in the newspaper archives, unlike Jack Smith’s deceptive bullet points in his advertisement

Anyone that read a newspaper the last four years knows taxes didn’t decrease during Mayor Logsdon’s term. It’s a shame Jack Smith felt the need to butcher the truth on this in his campaign ad.

The irony is Jack Smith, who tried to get a $135 million sales tax through the failed 2009 SPLOST for a bunch of insignificant projects, is frantically trying to convince everyone that Steve Brown is worse than he, but that’s not working.

The saddest part of Chairman Smith’s election campaign is how he tries to tear his opponent down with false statements. For someone like Smith who claims to be beyond reproach, his tactics of using misleading and untrue statements in his ads is demonstrating either poor character or utter desperation.

Smith can’t hide from his choice to build the road to nowhere, his votes favor the mass transit buses to Fayette County, his vote in favor of another $135 million in additional sales taxes or his conflict on the bank board of directors by falsely castigating others.

Steve Brown won’t compromise his morals, but others will do it at the blink of an eye.

Chairman Smith owes Steve Brown an apology.
For more information concerning the upcoming primary election on July 20, 2010, go to www.tbfaco.com.

Harold Bost
Fayetteville, Ga.

=====================================

Smith smearing opponent, obscuring his own record

There are two incredibly interesting aspects of Commissioner Jack Smith’s run for re-election: false accusations against his opponent and hiding from his own actions.

It’s evident many of the “points” Commissioner Smith introduced against his challenger Steve Brown aren’t true. Letters of people from all over Fayette County go into great detail proving the commissioner’s accusations false. You have to wonder why Commissioner Smith is working so hard to discredit his opponent instead of just running on his record. That being said, it’s his record that is his sore spot.

When Commissioner Smith wrote in the newspapers that only two of his fellow bank board members were involved in land development, being proven awfully wrong later, it makes you wonder why he wouldn’t just tell the truth. I mean when most people try to misdirect others from the truth there is usually something a lot in the background that is being suppressed.

The circumstances surrounding that bank are troubling. Commissioner Smith was asked to be on the board of the bank after he was elected. He should have been thinking rationally and just turned the offer down. Commissioner Smith has acknowledged conflicts could arise. The smart thing would have been to avoid the controversy altogether and not take the position on the bank’s board.

Well, we know Commissioner Smith took the bank position and is now publicly giving false statements regarding the bank. Also, it really appears he wants the bank board position worse than he wants the county commission seat. It’s really not a stretch to see how having total control over the land use regulation in our government can benefit a high ranking official with a bank that lends heavily to developers.

Commissioner Eric Maxwell is playing the same game. He is applying for judge seats at the same time he is running for re-election. What does that say to the voters?

Commissioner Smith said he was under some kind of obligation or mandate to build the West Fayetteville Bypass and was forced to go ahead with the project. We know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the mandate argument is false as well. The Tea Party forum video shows Commissioner Maxwell agreeing with Peachtree City Councilman Imker that the funds for the bypass can be used for other projects.

The Walton Tribune, Jan. 17, 2010, paper stated that “SPLOST funds to be returned to county. Walton County and all the cities within the county agreed to transfer SPLOST funds for another use.” It’s apparent, watching Walton County, that the West Fayetteville Bypass funds can be used for other purposes.

Something I don’t hear in the community or read in the newspapers is anyone saying the bypass is worth building at all. What you see is Commissioner Smith and Commissioner Maxwell making excuses for why they can’t stop the project. Well, those excuses are more false statements because it’s particularly obvious the bypass funds can be moved to other projects.

The fact is Commissioner Smith is making these excuses to keep the bypass going and there is a huge amount of land owned by developers along the bypass route; we have reason to worry about his connection to the developer bank. After all, he is responsible for the profitability of the bank.

The votes in favor of mass transit are really upsetting. There is no doubt Commissioner Smith voted in favor of bus routes in Fayette County; he said as much. His long and drawn-out anecdotes about his opposition to the bus routes make you distrust him even more when you look at his voting record.

In one article, Commissioner Smith said he was “reserving a place” for the transit buses with his favorable votes, but he opposed the buses being in the county. When you are caught between a personal action and a lie, the best thing to do is come clean and tell the truth.

Commissioner Smith has also been dead silent on the November 2009 SPLOST that has accurately been labeled a disgrace in the newspapers. At a time when tight-fistedness should have been the rule of the day, the county commissioners wanted to go on a massive spending binge.

Commissioner Smith boasts about having $5 million in a reserve fund, but he can’t justify his longing to spend 27 times that amount on irrelevant SPLOST projects. It’s a huge smoking gun. No wonder he never brings up the SPLOST.

Commissioner Smith’s resistance to adequately explain some of his more significant actions and the antagonism he displays to anyone who questions those actions should, rightly, disturb the voters.

If Commissioner Smith conceded the West Fayetteville Bypass was a mistake and put the funds into more useful projects, I would feel more confidence with him.

Likewise, if he would admit the conflicts with being on the developer bank board is a legitimate problem and he resigned from the bank, I would feel I could trust him.

And if all that happened, there would be no need for him to make all the false accusations against his opponent.

David Cree
Peachtree City, Ga.

grassroots
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Documentation Proving The Obvious

Do you have a scanner? Scan in and show us the WFB on the priority of the SPLOST ballot. Scan in the traffic study that justifies a $50-$75 million dollar road to nowhere. Scan in the headlines when the last SPLOST was a referendum on continuing the WFB and went down like the Titanic by the voters rejecting it. You're wrong, we can remain a rural community and preserve our quality of life. Google SPLOST corruption and commissioners and get a page full. Or go to www. SPLOSPOLL.com and see various posts , especially from the attorney's connecting their resistance to document open records act. That's a violation and sign they're hiding something which stems from corruption. Don't need a scanner for the obvious.

idk_revisited
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um....don't you have a website to go run?

Someone said they had proof or corruption - please show it to us.

grassroots
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OK Detevtive, Since you're uncapable of doing reaserach

SMITH Head switched the funds from the highly prioritized EFB and A list of SPLOST and scrubbed it. It had been in-planning stages for 29 years. Now what schmuck? You think scrubbing a $100M project for and unknown developers winding, meanderings is going to actually help you. Besides, you ride a bike and carry a poodle. The WFB , and unheard of, unreported, no traffic study gets top priority without a vote until the route his almost finished, To this day they DO NOT know where they're going to end. My guess is nowhere.Have you done your homework yet:?
Do you have a scanner? Scan in and show us the WFB on the priority of the SPLOST ballot. Scan in the traffic study that justifies a $50-$75 million dollar road to nowhere. Scan in the the original route and compare to today's which Chandler claims has always been the same. Curruptice Scriptis Scartonia....that's s mob boss for forget about it. You're out of your league.

pips1414
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Finally, a Smith-Maxwell Supporter

Not mentioning any names, it appears that Commissioners Smith and Maxwell actually do have a few die-hard fans. I'll have to give them both a lot of credit for essentially staying out of the fray, as they both have taken positions against the majority of voters.

Just be glad we don't have Interstate Highway in Fayette County, and rapid rail linking us with high crime areas. That's why we are different, and if we can stay that way, Fayette County will be an oasis in an asphalt jungle. We are like Los Angeles was in the 1960's. That area is now an enormous city you can't see across, with one county having over ten million people and two others each in the millions. We have been growing at a similar rate, and we need to profit by avoiding structural decay at all costs.

Projects like the West Bypass will simply offer dense housing, and unimaginable traffic on a two lane road. Since it ends at a destination only a few use, other roads will have to be used as alternatives, and that will only aggravate traffic.

Go to the McCarty and Brown websites, and look at what they have to offer.

loanarranger707
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How Smith improved budget

In ads urging his reelection, Jack Smith boasts of having reduced the county budget by $6 million and of having increased the county cash reserve by $5 million during his term as county commission chairman.

What people must realize is that during his whole tenure the county had the benefit of receiving millions of dollars in SPLOST revenue.

Any county project financed by SPLOST money is a project that does not have to be paid for through the regular budget. It is fairly easy to have SPLOST pick up a little road resurfacing here and there that the county would otherwise have had to pay for from its regular budget.

Other ways of lightening up the regular budget include sending a bill to the SPLOST fund for lending county employees or equipment for SPLOST projects. For instance, the county could have road grading equipment and allow it to be used for a SPLOST project in exchange for a transfer of money from the SPLOST fund to the county. That can help the county's budget.

Another way for the county to help itself is to have a SPLOST project buy a road grader and then lend it for free to the county, perhaps part-time, for use on a few non-SPLOST items.

Another accounting technique is allocation. Let's say the county chairman estimates he spends 20 percent of his time on SPLOST matters. It's simple to allocate 20 percent of his salary to the SPLOST projects and have the SPLOST fund reimburse the county. Without that, the county budget would absorb 100 percent of his salary.

There are all kinds of accounting techniques that can help improve the county budget when you have a SPLOST fund on the side. These techniques are not necessarily dishonest, but boasting of reducing the county budget and improving cash reserves without disclosing how it could be done is not exactly being straightforward with the voters.

Voters deserve the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and it would have been nice for Smith's opponents to pick up on that and let the voters know.

Courthouserules
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Lone Ranger

No, no don't tell me that money is shuffled illegally? Don't tell me that!
Please don't! I would never have guessed such a thing!
Why, a CPA would have caught such a thing! At least questioned it, wouldn't they?

Now I get it! A balanced budget can be shown even if 50,000,000 dollars is borrowed or taken in by SPLOST! Just spread it over 50 years and then re-finance it for 50 more. Triples the interest but what the heck it all doesn't show in the budget.
Wasn't the Tennis Center millions somehow borrowed by a Tennis Instructor, not shown in the budget, and we are still making payments on it from tax money at the hotels?
Also we the USA owe about 12 trillion to the Chinese, Japanese, and others (including you and me)but that ain't in the budget either. The government has 2000 CPAs and they never squawk!
Accounting is an art, not a science.

ginga1414
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idk is the foolish one

idk, it is absolutely foolishness to not question or investigate how our officials are spending our money. That kind of behavior results in government out of control.

I'm not against development. I'm against gluttony. When a school system builds empty and half empty schools, that is gluttony. If government officials operate without a checks and balances system, that is called government gone amuck. When government officials start lying about the facts of a matter, those lies are based on corruption.

Our hospital is a wonderful addition to our community and to our lives. However, more houses, more people, more cars, more roads, sewage systems (infrastructure) and more air pollution are not wonderful additions to our community and lives. It is just simply more that has to be dealt with. idk, more is not better. Our hospital can be classified as "better." All this other stuff is just "more."

Our commissioners stated that they didn't "foresee" zoning changes pertaining to the developer's land along the WFB. THEY DIDN'T SAY THAT THEY WOULDN'T CHANGE THE ZONING. So, idk, you hit the nail on the head when you said, "others who can develop the land within the laws (or ask to have the zoning changed)." Your little parenthetical phrase "(or ask to have the zoning changed)" is exactly what the developers and commissioners are hanging their hats on. That little phrase is exactly what our present leaders on the school board are hanging their hats on. All of that is at the taxpayers expense, idk. If you don't mind paying for empty and half empty schools, that is your choice. If you don't mind being lied to or manipulated by the people you pay to run our county government, that is your choice. It certainly isn't my choice.

If you choose to look the other way when corruption stares you in the face, that is your choice. It isn't mine. If you choose to look the other way as our commissioners spend your tax money to facilitate developers, that is your choice. It isn't mine. Maybe, you haven't seen the official documents that prove the corruption that exists concerning our empty schools and the West Fayetteville Bypass. I have seen them.

idk, I didn't vote for the 2004 SPLOST. I would never vote in favor of something as vague as "Road, street, and bridge purposes." Therefore, your "SHAME" has no place in this household.

idk, if you choose to live in high density developments where brown water trickles from the faucets, that is your choice. It isn't mine.

idk_revisited
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When my water is brown

I call the water department - they open the hydrant at the end of my street - hey, my water's not brown anymore!

Do you have a scanner? Please scan and attach the "documents" you have that prove the "corruption". Otherwise I can't/won't believe you based on your agenda.

And again, the fact you didn't vote for the SPLOST ignores the fact that a majority of citizens DID.

Developers, believe it or not, have rights too...again, blame your neighbors who sold their farmland. And blame all the people who want to move into the houses the developers will build.

I think the easy solution to filling the "empty and half empty schools" is to move the kids who are in trailers to those schools...but we can't do that, can we - the citizens would be in an uproar!

I hear Pike County has some land available.

grassroots
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Documentation Proving The Obvious

Documentation Proving The Obvious

Do you have a scanner? Scan in and show us the WFB on the priority of the SPLOST ballot. Scan in the traffic study that justifies a $50-$75 million dollar road to nowhere. Scan in the the original route and compare to today's which Chandler claims has always been the same. That's bogus and Horgan had nothing to do with this WFB history. Scan in the headlines when the last SPLOST was a referendum on continuing the WFB and went down like the Titanic by the voters rejecting it. You're wrong, we can remain a rural community and preserve our quality of life. Google SPLOST corruption and commissioners and get a page full. Or go to www.SPLOSTPOLL.com and see various posts , especially from the attorney's connecting their resistance to document open records act. That's a violation and sign they're hiding something which stems from corruption. Don't need a scanner for the obvious.

me.and_the_sea
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grassroots

way to go, what he said was ridiculous!

Courthouserules
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idk: brown water and corruption

When my water is brown I usually have taken some fish oil! Opening the fire hydrant doesn't help me.
You speak as if there is not now, or ever, been any corruption in the developers groups or the road commissioner's office!
I think you may be right about punishing those who bought homes here that we didn't want, but until the feds punish the buyers of stock of corrupt agents on Wall Street, or everyone who got a corrupt loan from a bank, then I can't sanction that!

idk_revisited
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WFB - Developers Road?

Huh....really?

http://archive.thecitizen.com/node/41539

Seems they'd be able to develop whether a road was there or not!

Here's what really really funny to me. People buy property, and their neighbor has a farm or a vacant lot. They think, foolishly, that it will always be a farm or a vacant lot.

The only way you can stop development is to buy 100 acres, stick your house in the middle of it, and enjoy your "rural characteristics".

Here's what development has brought you:
- A hospital that you can get to quickly, along with associated medical facilities;
- The ability to have a variety of shops and restaurants within a short drive;
- Increased demand for services (which can eventually lead to new parks, police protection, schools, etc.)

Fayette County, with the exception of the areas around Brooks and Woolsey, isn't going to be "rural" anymore, even if you want it to be. What makes an area rural isn't the lack of development; it's a farm that stays working; and how many "working farmers" are keeping their farms in your area....don't blame the County Commission, blame your neighbors who moved away or sold to others who can develop the land within the laws (or ask to have the zoning changed).

You don't speak for me, Ms. Smithfield. I'm happy with what we're getting. And I live very close to Phase I.

And don't tell me the County Commission needs to change their priorities because of your whining - if you can't read what was on the SPLOST ballot or can't take the time to review the projects before you voted, SHAME ON YOU and your neighbors who thought this was a good idea (or just voted without knowing what they were voting for). Nobody hid a thing from you.

Steve Brown
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Good point David Cree

"Commissioner Smith boasts about having $5 million in a reserve fund, but he can’t justify his longing to spend 27 times that amount on irrelevant SPLOST projects. It’s a huge smoking gun. No wonder he never brings up the SPLOST."

The $5 million worth of fund shifting does pale in significance to the $170 million he was looking to reap in additional taxes with raising the sales tax.

doright
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Steve Brown Don't let us down

Steve there is no question that Jack Smith needs the boot and that Fayette County deserves better. I hope you have learned from his record and will go in the opposite direction. Please be conservative with our money, listen to the constituents.

Spear Road Guy
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Bottom Line On Collection Of Letters: You Can't Trust Jack Smith

Except for one guy in Brooks, most people can point out the errors in Smith's ways easily. I have to agree with Mr. Cree saying if Smith had been honest and ethical on some of this stuff, he'd have a lot less problems.

ginga1414
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idk_revisited, The Developers Are Using All Of Us

idk, it is not just my property that will be taken against my will. Many other people will have their property taken also. All of these people will have their lives and finances changed forever. If the truth is told, idk, you are being used by the developers, also. Your tax money is being used to give big and wealthy developers a free ride on a road that your taxes will help pay for. They are being given free water and sewage services that your taxes will help pay for. idk, when my husband I formed the West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition, we said that our group would adopt the philosophy of "all for one and one for all." That philosophy has expanded to include you, idk. We care about all homeowners and all citizens in Fayette County. We care about our natural resources. Without our natural resources, we will have no quality of life in Fayette County. Do you know, idk, that some folks in the county have been experiencing "brown water" flowing from their faucets? Our county water authority knew about a "brown water" problem for six months before the public was notified that there was a problem with the water they were drinking! Recently, it has come to my attention that some folks are still having "brown water" problems.

We are running out of room, idk. Our natural resources are being greatly compromised. If the WFB is built, a significant ground water recharge area will be further compromised by the road and the development that will follow. If the WFB is built, the streams that provide drinking water for those folks who don't have wells will be further contaminated by the runoff from the WFB. Essentially, idk, oil, gasoline, antifreeze and other contaminates will be flowing into our drinking water. That water will have to be treated by even more chemicals so that it will even be consumable. So, idk, we will be replacing some chemicals with other chemicals. Green-up, idk. The future is here. If this county won't or doesn't adopt quality standards by which we live, it won't be worth living here. Some folks are trying to adopt quality standards, idk, so you will have a nice place to live.

ginga1414
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idk_revisited, Look At The WFB Map

idk, you gave us a link to the WFB map. Look at that map. Where you see all those wide open spaces, that is developer land. That land amounts to well over a thousand acres. That represents more and more roads, houses, people and infrastructure. Look at the streams and wetlands that road crosses. That represents more and more destruction of our natural resources. idk, this county is very small. We only have 199 square miles to be exact. The basic premise upon which the West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition was founded is as follows: 1. No traffic studies of the Bypass have been made which would justify reducing traffic in downtown Fayetteville. The county lied when it said that Atlanta Regional Commission conducted such a traffic study. The ARC never conducted such a traffic study and determined that the WFB was not a feasible project. 2. No environmental studies of the WFB have been made comparing the selected route with less environmentally damaging alternative routes. 3. Neighborhoods would be fragmented creating high density development, incongruous with the rural characteristics Fayette County now enjoys.

For the above reasons, the WFBC does not consider the WFB to be in the best interest of the citizens of Fayette County.

idk_revisited
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Mr. And Mrs. Smithfield's Potential Agenda RE: WFB

Just a reminder, if it hasn't been put out there already...

One of the reasons there may be so much acrimony regarding the WFB from those individuals is it might be affecting their property:

http://www.fayettecountyga.gov/road/SPLOST/wfay-phase2.pdf

Grains of salt, people. Take what you read with copious amounts.

MajorMike
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Affecting their property?

And the reaction you expect is ...... what?

Courthouserules
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Reaction? reaction?

Are you supposed to get reaction on here? Bout all I ever see is stupid answers when someone says something good about democrats! Then they can come up with names one would't believe. Hey, ain't FEMA money good (democrats); ain't federal school money good? (democrats); ain't unemployment money good? (democrats; ain't health care fer eversingleone good? (democrats); Ain't road grants good? (democrats; ain't the lakes and dams of the Army Corps good? (democrats); ain't social security and medicare good? (democrats); ain't Medicaid good? (democrats); now, how about our current wars (republicans); how about our debt up to 2009? (republicans); how about our big banks and wall street? republicans; how about our unemployment and recession? (republicans; how about the oil companies? (republicans).

If it were not for 30% Independents voting, it could be much worse.

Davids mom
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Courthouserules

:-)

suggarfoot
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Joined: 10/10/2007
you just opened up pandora's box ...thanks!

While I don't know how to do it yet. I will find someone who can. You did show where the bypass is going thru private homes. To do so unfortunatly for you, you had to so pieces of the many many llps along that road. I noticed a lot are left blank. Perhaps that is because the developer's LLPs are sooooo large.

Regular cowpastures are ..NOT.. LLPs!

I want to do the same kind of map and put on here of the bypass and the ..EMPTY SCHOOLS!....YOU KNOW...THE MONEY PITS?

THEY LOOK SO LONESOME OUT IN THOSE BIG OLD DEVELOPERS FIELDS!!!!

THEN, when people see the names of those LLPS, in their spare time they can google the owners. They will then get the beginnings of an education in land flipping.

grassroots
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Joined: 02/17/2009
Horgan's Report Prepared By Carol Chandler

WHERE'S THE TRAFFIC STUDY???? That's never been presented to us despite several requests through the Freedom Of Information Act. It's because you HAVE NEVER DONE A TRAFFIC STUDY DESPITE THE SEVERAL CONSULTING FIRMS that cost millions of wasted dollars. Carol, your wrong. The route is not the same as it always was. It wasn't finalized until May of '09 and when voted on in June Phil Mallon said it still needed some changes. Again, where is the traffic study? ARC never did one and said the WFB didn't score high enough to build and was overpriced. Quit repeating all the bunk. See our attorney's filing with the commissioners that was never answered because there is no justification for the WFB without a completed traffic study.
http://www.splostpoll.com/2009/10/attorney-filing-with-commissioners-par...

PTC Observer
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Joined: 04/23/2007
Traffic Study?

Traffic study? We don't need no stink'n traffic study.

;-]

inkslinger
inkslinger's picture
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Joined: 03/20/2007
Thanks, Cal Beverly

for including these online. Nice touch.

(P.S.)Meester Horgan musta had some gooood ganja to get these facts out there!...Oops, couldn't resist.

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