Oddo has conflict of interest day one

All Fayette County voters have a unique opportunity on July 31. You can elect an experienced commissioner who has a proven record of working for all of Fayette County. You can chose to re-elect an experienced commissioner who has represented every resident of Fayette County, whether you live in northern Fayette County, Peachtree City, Tyrone or the southern end of the county.

Or you can vote for a political newcomer who brings in a major conflict of interest day one when he takes office.

In my six years, I have proven time and time again, that I am the commissioner who gives fair representation to every resident of the county. I have remained committed to the county’s land use plan, as well as traffic mitigation in the county.

I have offered continued support to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, the county fire department and EMS, and played a key role in the expansion of the county’s E-911 center.

Over the past six years, I have been committed to Fayette Senior Services as our aging population continues to grow, and I played a key role in eliminating double taxation for the residents of Peachtree City for EMS services.

I have played a key role in the expansion of the Fayette County Library, and also took the lead role in a private-public partnership to build a new Mental Health Facility at no cost to the tax payers.

As a member of the Board of Health, I worked to move the WIC center to a new facility. The state provided the cost of the buildings, and the county constructed the parking lot and handled all landscaping with out any additional costs to Fayette County Citizens.

I have also remained committed to expanding and improving our recreation services here in Fayette County.

I have been the voice of all residents of the county to continually grow our recreation facilities to insure the quality of life we have come to expect in Fayette County.

I have remained throughout the last six years the independent commissioner, the people’s commissioner working for the entire county.

Or you can vote for my opponent who has an immediate conflict of interest when he takes office. My opponent has a conflict in regard to his brother, who is currently serving as a Fayetteville City councilman.

The cities and county often negotiate joint projects and cost-sharing arrangements. We have a major one upcoming with the local option sales tax collections — if approved by voters — as city and council officials would be tasked to negotiate the revenue sharing from the LOST collections. This agreement would be binding for the next 10 years.

I think it would be virtually impossible for the county and city to carry out these negotiations when two brothers involved are related and share a business and work together daily.

The result of the negotiation will determine whose property tax increases — those in the city of Fayetteville or those who live in unincorporated Fayette County.

Not to mention that the Oddo brothers are large land owners and developers, who frequently have tried to annex their property into the city for high density development.

As we move into another term, experience does matters, as does the ability to work for all residents of the county, with no conflicts of interest. All Fayette County voters have the opportunity to re-elect the one commissioner who has been the voice of the people.

I will remain committed to working for all of Fayette County. I am humbly asking you to give me that chance Tuesday July 31st.

Robert Horgan

County Commissioner Post 1

Fayette County, Ga.

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Stick to the knitting

This thread has strayed considerably; this comment is repeated to respond to Commissioner Horgan's article.

First of all, let me thank you for the contributions you have made as a commissioner and your other work in our community.

Second, let me present some observations of your self-described independence. In about four years of attending commission meetings, I don’t recall ever seeing you vote independently of the other commissioners (I didn’t attend every meeting, so may have missed the one when you did). In every vote taken during meetings I saw, you consistently voted in step with Smith, Maxwell, Frady, and Hearn, and later with Frady and Hearn (many refer to your bloc as the “3 Amigos”, especially on key issues).

Third, I’m confused about your claim of being the voice of all citizens. Take a poll, Commissioner Horgan, and discover how many of us in Fayette County were not represented by your voice on issues like failure to bid on contracts, your opposition to advertise & interview for open Board positions, barging ahead with the West Fayetteville Bypass, and opposing the opportunity to invoke HB 240 to reduce property taxes.

The fiscally conservative citizens of Fayette County never heard your voice opposing $90,000 thrown at .3 miles of Snead Road paving, approving an early retirement plan that’s created a million dollar-plus hole in the budget while simultaneously creating over 30 vacancies, of which a number are key & essential personnel. We also are dumbfounded with your lock step support of a half million dollar compensation package with no advance public notice. Deferred fire dept expenses? Maintenance on the jail to prevent out-sized future repair expenses? Your "independent voice" joined the Frady-Hearn choir on these matters too.
When you approved the Sheriff’s request for a $12k annual pay raise because the job he ran for paid less than the one he chose to give up, who’s voice were you? Go along, get along.

You certainly didn’t protest on our behalf when you voted lock step to impose the public comment sign-in requirement. And were you Chairman Frady’s, or Kasim Reed’s voice when you opposed a “no-transit in the county” referendum?

Fourth, the Oddo brothers only assumed ownership of the family property last year; and there was a single annexation (some 15 years ago) of their property that the city of Fayetteville requested as a pre-condition for construction of the southside Kroger.

Finally, it’s bizarre that you’d characterize Fayetteville City Councilman Paul Oddo, your opponent’s brother, as a conflict of interest. What aspect of Councilman Oddo do you find objectionable: his values? His civic commitment? His work ethic? His entrepreneurship as a small business owner? His sound judgment and temperament? The fact he recused himself from city council hearings where zoning variations to his land were discussed?

Candidate Charles Oddo is cut from the same cloth. Electing him blesses us citizens with two outstanding public servants.

Both men have a rock solid reputation as businessmen - one as an accountant - a profession with widely accepted standards of conduct and regular oversight by multiple government auditors, and the other as an experienced business administrator. Unlike you, neither has been charged and found in violation of multiple counts of the Fayette County Ethics ordinance during a current term, so neither has had such a conviction upheld in state court on appeal and been fined & formally reprimanded by fellow commissioners.

The Oddo’s familial relationship would enhance cooperation between the two jurisdictions, and thereby contribute to solutions for the public good.

If you’re worried about some conspiratorial collusion, remember that it takes a majority of both the Fayette County Commission and Fayetteville City Council to approve a zoning request or other matter before the respective bodies.

Please don’t paint our future based on your demonstrated judgment & performance.

Bob Ross

istilldontknow
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Steve Brown and Bob Ross spread false information?

No! Not telling the whole story? Perish the thought:

http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2012/jul/24/steve-brown/Tra...

For those who do not wish to click the link, here it is, courtesy the AJC's Politifact team:

Opponents of a sales tax to fund transportation projects across metro Atlanta have no shortage of ways to say the plan is a waste of your money.

They say you can’t trust the government to manage the billions of dollars that the 10-year, penny-per-dollar sales tax would raise. They say the tax plan, otherwise known as T-SPLOST, is bloated with projects that won’t ease the region’s notoriously bad traffic.

This statement by Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown was especially alarming:

"If you take the cost of all of the T-SPLOST transit projects combined, the transportation referendum would spend $90,000 to take a single vehicle off the road during the a.m.-p.m. commute," Brown said during a July 12 forum hosted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Ninety thousand dollars?

Heck, who needs the tax? Pay us PolitiFact Georgia scribes $90,000 each, and we’ll walk up the Connector to work.

Brown and Bob Ross, a tax foe who was not on the panel, explained their estimate.

First, they tallied the combined cost of all of the transit projects that the tax would fund: $3.16 billion.

Next, they calculated how many cars these transit expansions would take off the road.

The Atlanta Regional Commission, the region’s planning authority, projects that the additional transit capacity will increase boardings by 74,800 per day.

Brown and Ross divided this number by two. Commuters need to board a bus or train at least twice a day: Once to get there, and once to get back.

That’s 37,400 cars off the road -- a conservative estimate, Brown and Ross said. If a rider has to transfer trains or buses, the daily commute may take four or more boardings.

The per-car cost is therefore $3.16 billion divided by 37,400 cars.

That’s about $84,500, less than the $90,000 that Brown used in his claim. Still, pretty close.

Brown and Ross also sent us calculations they say demonstrate that $90,000 is far too low. The true cost of taking one car off the road is $105,000, they said. (They used a similar method but added in certain maintenance costs.)

Brown’s approach has flaws.

Brown arguably cherry-picked favorable data to prove his point. Of the $3.16 billion the tax would spend on transit projects, only $2.4 billion would fund the expansions that would increase boardings by nearly 75,000 per day.

Much of the rest is to maintain current service, such as commuter bus run by the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority. The ARC projects that service will go out of business without the tax, forcing riders to take to the roads.

The money also funds system maintenance. If commuters think the trains are unsafe or break down too often, they might retreat to their cars, ARC spokeswoman Julie Ralston said.

Brown thinks Ralston’s argument is absurd.

Others pointed out that Brown’s calculation has worse problems.

Tallying the costs and benefits of a transportation project is a complex process. There are many different approaches, but experts often take into account impacts on the economy, the environment, traffic flow, safety and even noise.

We found Brown’s more simple approach may vastly overstate and understate the problem at the same time.

One reason is that the transit infrastructure will last for generations.

Brown’s calculation uses a single day of boardings. A more fair one would count the boardings over the next few decades.

The Federal Transit Administration’s rule of thumb is that rail facilities last at least 50 years, according to data on its website, while trains last about 25 years.

Factor in those future boardings, and the cost for transit to keep a car off the road could be lower than $5 or greater than $13 per day.

That may be too high for voters to stomach, but it’s a far less alarming figure than $90,000.

Even then, such a calculation ignores crucial factors that planners consider when they perform a cost-benefit analysis of transit, such as more commerce and less air pollution, said Robert Cervero, a professor of city and regional planning at the University of California, Berkeley.

"Any numbers based on anything less than a full benefit and cost accounting is, in my view, mostly ideologically driven and propaganda," Cervero said.

Another weakness of Brown’s claim is that over the long term, the transit expansion might not reduce congestion at all.

Decades of research also shows that neither transit nor more highway lanes end gridlock, either, PolitiFact Georgia found in a previous story. Over time, drivers fill up the new lanes. Once again, they’re stuck in traffic.

In sum:

Brown based his calculation on a transit cost estimate that’s open to accusations of cherry-picking. Furthermore, even Brown and Ross think their own number falls short.

The claim is so simplistic that it may overstate and understate the cost at the same time.

Brown’s claim is wrong on various levels. It earns a False.

taxed too much
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NO to T-SPLOST

Another government project that will be a huge waste. No more taxes!

Citizen Bob
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Istilldon'tknow...

Here's my response to AJC reporter Willoughby Mariano, who works those type articles:

Willoughby,

There's no by-line in the on-line version of the article, so I'm not sure you were the author. At any rate I'm very disappointed in the reporter's rationales, objectivity, and reporting.

"Brown cherry picked numbers"
The entire $3.2b was available for projects to reduce congestion, so it's the proper one to calculate the benefits of. The fact the RTR decided to apply large sums of the available taxes to projects that would take no/very few vehicles off the road doesn't change that fact.

"ARC projects GRTA will go out of business"
The AJC accepted that at face value? No possibility for fare changes or routes that serve higher densities? No possibility to re-negotiate employee wages & benefits? No possibility for vouchers for low-income riders to defray higher fares? The AJC simply accepts their statement? Drivers pay about $10-12 per trip (fuel, add'l maintenance & insurance associated with high mileage commuting, parking, and depreciation), so riders should not expect an air conditioned, chauffeured ride with no maintenance headaches for only 20-30% of that.

"…impacts on the economy, environment, etc."
OK, then pose the question this way, "The RTR allocated the equivalent of $105k per rider (remember it's essentially the same rider day-in and day-out); is that a fair amount to take one car off the road for 25-30 years, provide some economic benefits, and reduce the noise & improve air quality associated with those cars?"

"… rail facilities last 50 years and trains last 25 years."
OK, then include the expenses beyond those included in the 10-year TSPLOST for those longer lifetimes. The MARTA resource I provided you reminded us that in the 25 year lifetime of a train, it would undergo one re-build (not included in the TIA project funding). Those are expensive! Tracks and buildings also need substantial care over a 50-year lifetime (which is why MARTA requested about $600m from TIA collections).
Dr. Beverly Scott told the AJC that MARTA was incurring a $2.9b maintenance backlog this decade; was the AJC responsible & balanced enough to project what the bill would be through 25 & 50 year lives? Or did it just consider the benefits side of the equation?

"Another weakness of Brown’s claim is that over the long term, the transit expansion might not reduce congestion at all.
"Decades of research also shows that neither transit nor more highway lanes end gridlock, either, PolitiFact Georgia found in a previous story. Over time, drivers fill up the new lanes. Once again, they’re stuck in traffic."
The second statement proves the first.

"The claim is so simplistic that it may overstate and understate the cost at the same time."
Which is it? What the AJC derides as "simplistic" is the most basic measure of cost-benefit for the $3.2b: how much congestion relief are we buying?

Again, this article comes off as a last ditch effort to disregard very fundament cost-benefit relationships to promote an agenda. If ARC arguments about all the benefits are much more true than not, the transit system shouldn't be losing ridership, losing over a half billion dollars a year, and require non-users to subsidize 80% of its operating costs. Think about it...

This was not the paper's finest hour.

Bob

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and the 80% of operating costs is another falsehood...

http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2012/may/18/brett-bittner/m...

It's 58%, not 80%. But keep swinging, you'll get one right soon.

I know you think that the only good transit is one that pays for itself, but can you show me an example of one with similar population, demographics and area as Atlanta?

You tell half the story, Gene Drake will tell the other half, and maybe then someone can get the whole picture of this.

I'm voting YES - something is better than nothing. Yes, I'm willing to pay a penny per dollar more for this.

Citizen Bob
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Remedial math

MARTA FY 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, p.6: "Operating Revenue of$127m - Operating Expenses of $633m = Operating Loss of $506m"

$506m / $633 = 79.9% I rounded up to 80%.

You've made the point: NO metro region as spread out as Atlanta's is a viable candidate for very expensive to operate transit. Would you endorse hourly 747 airline service between Atlanta and Macon? Of course not, and for the same reason. It's simply too inefficient a use of scarce resources.

By the way, some trains do run at a profit: Hong Kong's fareboxes return 149% of operating costs, and the two systems in Osaka return 137% and 123%. Taiwan's MRT returns 119%. There ARE appropriate applications for train transit. Our low density simply isn't one of them

istilldontknow
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Bob Ross - almost gets the numbers right!

AJC (the link I provided above, May 2012) - "Last year, fares covered 29 percent of operating costs."

The largest part of MARTA’s current $413.8 million in transit costs is paid by local sales tax. MARTA gets $201.2 million from the penny tax collected in Fulton and DeKalb counties and the city of Atlanta.

On top of this, the federal government kicks in $37.8 million. A sore point for MARTA backers is that the state of Georgia makes no direct contribution to operate the city’s transit service.

In all, MARTA is paying for bus, rail and other services with $239 million in local and federal taxpayer money.

The service rounds out its revenue pie with some other sources of income. Advertising on buses, parking fees and land leases bring the non-taxpayer funds to $152.1 million.

MARTA tapped its reserve fund to plug a $22.7 million hole in its operating budget. Officials say the reserve fund is "mixed" with taxes and other revenue, but they said the money pulled for this year’s operating budget comes from the sale of real estate decades ago and some other non-tax sources. If the deficit persists, MARTA may end up pulling more tax money out of reserves to fund transit in coming years.

With figures in hand, the rest is just math: Taxpayers subsidize 57.8 percent of MARTA’s operating costs.

------------------------

MARTA's own PAFR (http://www.itsmarta.com/uploadedFiles/About_MARTA/Reports/PAFR_2011%20fi...), page 37 - This chart shows MARTA’s two primary revenues trended over the past ten fiscal years. MARTA’s two largest revenue sources are Sales Tax and Fare Revenue. The two combined make up 82% or $436 million of total revenue. Sales Tax provides 60% of MARTA’s total revenue and Fare Revenue provides 22% of the total.

Bob, really now - if it doesn't come from fares, do you say it all comes from taxes? I think I just showed you it doesn't. 60% from taxes, yes, but 40% from OTHER SOURCES, which include fares, advertising, parking fees, etc.

Please tell the WHOLE story. Anything less is slanted.

You get an A in math, but an F in accounting. They're not the same, ya know.

Citizen Bob
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I'm no CPA, but I did sleep in a Holiday Express once...

P.37 seems to prove the point: only 22% of revenues come from MARTA users' fares, leaving the balance to be paid by non-users who are subsidizing riders.

I responded to the cited AJC piece the day it was published. Mariano seems to think the $152m and $23m shouldn't be counted as non-user subsidies, when they are exactly that.

The Authority's never turned a profit, so it couldn't have acquired the revenue-generating assets itself. The assets generating the $175m revenue were paid for by non-user subsidies. Therefore, the proceeds from those assets should accrue to the non-users who funded them, perhaps in the form of reduced MARTA sales & use taxes.

That didn't happen, of course, because the system needed additional non-user subsidies to keep it running. Enron's CFO Fastow would be proud.

istilldontknow
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Non-user subsidies

...because advertisers aren't getting a benefit...
...because lessees aren't getting anything for what they pay in lease payments...
...because USERS of the system aren't getting anything for parking fees they pay...

Well, yes, Bob - it appears that 40% of the revenues MARTA gets don't come directly from the taxpayers.

If approximately 1/4 (22%) of MARTA revenue is from ratepayers, and they pay $2.50 per ride, to fully fund MARTA and get rid of the "non-user subsidies", that would mean (linearly speaking) the one-way fare should be $10.

$10 a trip. Ride it to work every day for 50 weeks and that's $5,000 a year to ride the train or bus.

$5,000 a year. Yeah, that'll fly.

"The Authority's never turned a profit" - is that what it's supposed to do? If so, let's get the bulldozers out, because no rider will pay what it costs to have MARTA make profit.

Let's also close down these other entities that use "non-user subsidies" to exist:

- Hartsfield Airport
- The Fred Amphitheater
- All recreation facilities (the Y can do it!)
- The Atlanta Braves (hey, they're a business, but they don't make all of their revenue on ticket sales to their games, do they?)
...

Your argument is based on a simplistic fallacy that taxpayers shouldn't pay for a service that they can use. I pay taxes for a lot of things I don't use, but they're available to me if I want to use them.

But keep at it - government should pay for itself from the magic money tree they have, or they should just get the guts to tell people they're closed because they can't afford to run without subsidy.

And if we waited until we had the money to do things, would you live in your house or drive your car? Perhaps the President is right - none of us got anything in this world without someone else helping us get it.

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Your math is about on the mark, sir

With no more of our widely spread out population choosing to ride transit, the cost of providing it to those few riders is about $10 - $12 per ride.

That's also close to what it costs single passenger drivers to commute each way (fuel, parking, tolls, increased maintenance & insurance for higher annual mileage, and depreciation).

Where is it government's role to extract a significant part of the drivers' family budget and redistribute it to the riders' personal budget?

747 service between Altanta and Macon would provide a choice too, but it'd be a terribly inefficient use of scarce resources given the few users it would serve... simply not enough density. It would also be inappropriate for government to subsidize those riders' choice at the expense of others.

Transit, and government's support of it, isn't serving the general interest (everyone), it serves very particular interests (primarily the 3-5% of regional commuters). It should at least break even.

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istilldontknow: It wouldn't kill me if it passes

I am still not for it, despite the Brown hysterics and the whole FC anti-everything crowd that will be fiddling while Rome burns and could care less. I thought like you at first that something is indeed better than nothing, but I can't bring myself to go along with this "something." Now, if the opponents would stop their MARTA hysterics and other BS that is completely misleading and totally ignorant, it would be a lot more comforting to walk into the ballot box and vote NO.

Your point about resident kook Barlow standing out on 74 lately is a good one. The anti-everything crowd says no one in FC should shop or commute beyond the county lines, but there's Barlow trying to get a few votes standing on the side of the road as commuters make their way to the airport and beyond. Meanwhile, PTC's resident moron Mayor blames Sam's Club in Coweta as increasing crime in PTC. Geez.......

I think Bob Ross sometimes mangles his info at times, but he's a pretty classy guy that I respect and would actually vote for even if I disagree with some of his positions and especially his endorsement of a goof like Barlow. If the rest of the anti-crowd was like Bob and whole lot less like Brown, Haddix and the Amen Choir, they'd have a lot more success, so I guess I'm glad they aren't.

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I apologize to Mr. Oddo...

This thread morphed into a discussion of the TSPLSOT; that's an important topic in its own right, but so is the composition of our next county commission.

I was very surprised to see incumbent Commissioner Horgan, of all people, denigrate challenger Charles Oddo for imagined future ethical violations, and responded to his article the very next morning (see "The rest of the story" below, dated 7/20/2012 - 6:27 am).

To date, Commissioner Horgan has remained silent on that and other responses. Other than apologizing to Mr. Oddo himself , it's probably the best action he could take.

thcomments
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Education wasted - Brown and Drake

It makes me laugh to read these comments and to note the many grammatical and/or spelling errors produced by two battlers Brown and Drake. If any of the readers of the comments are teachers, they must cringe when reading the garrulous ramblings of these men. A simple example is Drake using 'mislead' rather than 'misled' when writing in past tense.

It is disconcerting that both men seem to think that the quantity of their words is paramount, rather than the quality. Thinking before writing seems to be a virtue they both should develop.

I look forward to the comments of fellow readers pointing out my errors, as I am sure I have made a few. I simply hope this will help someone smile.

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thcomments: Have u seen what our alleged teachers post?

It's not pretty either. I understand blogging and posting on internet message boards is rather "free form," but I think I'd be a little hesitant if employed in the education field to commit grammatical error after error.

I won't even touch something like logical reasoning since that is about non-existent here.

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TC, I know what you mean, especially concerning Mr. Drake. What

I find so comical is that he is really taken with his own prose. His verbosity is only exceeded by his misuse. He presents each statement as if it were The Sermon on the Mount. I truly hope he is being paid by the word. I also hope that payment is not predicated on the T-SPLOST passing. On the one hand he will make enough money to retire to that dock of his where he enjoys his adult beverages; on the other hand he will have to pay back mucho dinero to the T-SPLOST backers.

thcomments
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Let's not let Stevie B. off the hook.

From the perspective of a former Peachtree City resident, the only rationale I can find to vote for the TSPLOST is that the exalted (in his own mind) Steve Brown opposes it!

Spyglass
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Good point for Tsplost....

actually possibly the best one I have read.

MYTMITE
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May be a good point, but a bad reason to vote for T-SPLOST.

Regardless of your feelings for Brown or Drake, it would be wrong to vote on such an important issue for such a reason. In my estimation, T-SPLOST, if passed, will be just one more boondoggle and one more tax we will be stuck with. With the economy the way it is I am sure there will be other taxes along the way--ones that will impact us personally. As for the toll being taken off of 400, I would not hold my breath. Easy to grandstand now and even easier to back out down the road and say it cannot be done--by that time T-SPLOST would have passed and nothing could be done about it. Just another promise made by another politician that was not kept. Dislike Brown, Drake, whoever, blog about them all you want but please consider all the implications before voting for or against T-SPLOST because if it passes it will be around for a long, long, time.

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I am not for it..I've gone on record as saying

that I believe raising the gas tax is the way to go for roads. We are driving more economical vehicles. IF we truly need the money, let the drivers pay for it. Not all consumers.

I am against it for the main reason that it props up a Marta that is a money pit.

thcomments
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TSPLOST

There is no way I would vote for TSPLOST. The comment was solely intended to underscore my distrust and scorn for Stevie B.

The Truth Will ...
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TSPLOST is a TAX for DEVELOPMENT

This tax for development is to line the pockets of the developers at taxpayer expense. This TAX will be repackaged again and again until it passes for the developers agenda!

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I said it was the "best reason"

Obviously, there are not many good reasons to me. I think it is the wrong approach to raise money for roads.

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thcomments: exactly

Some of the most fervent anti-TSPLOST people also happen to be anti-everything and are simply the NO crowd with no solutions whatsoever themselves. That DOES make the TSPLOST look a little differently.

While I am not the biggest fan of former Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele, he nailed it with his letter about the anti-anything crowd in FC that simply exists to be opposed to whomever or whatever. They have no agenda besides "I don't suck as badly as my opponent." That's pathetic and that's not leadership, but it will get you some votes.

After getting annihilated in two elections, Steve Brown is now on the BOC and has hardly changed. Despite having zero social skills, a humongous ego and obviously limited intelligence, Don Haddix is Mayor of PTC. Greg Clifton-who had never attended a Fayetteville City Council meeting before being elected-only cares about "settling them there past scores." Allen McCarty had three tax liens filed against him(two of which had nothing to do with the RV deal) and David Barlow has filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy twice and the anti-crowd thinks these are real "fiscal conservatives" simply because they will parrot whatever line they are fed to regurgitate to the public over and over. The Amen Choir of ginga, pips, Jim Richter et al eat that up. They are good little stooges for Steve Brown.

It's hard to argue that this anti-everything agenda doesn't work when you look at who in office right now. Seems in FC it's a much better political stance to simply be against EVERYTHING and demonize your opponent than to advocate what you are for. That kind of advocacy got Steve Brown into tons of trouble in PTC so it seems the tactic is now to simply do the scorched-earth policy and find some active puppets who will repeat all of your negative talking points over and over and over.

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OK, Mr Drake, you got me...

... some of the $3.2b of TIA transit project money will carry bus passengers before 2025.

But wait; that means we taxpayers have to shell out subsidies for 27 years instead of just 15 for those bus services. And the total transit passenger count still remains less than 2%. Your observation makes me even more opposed to spending 10 years of taxes- thanks for pointing that out.

Here're some projects that make up the $2.8b partially funded list: TIA-M-028, TIA-CO-035, TIA-ATL-004 & 007, TIA-M-023, TIA-AR-041, TIA-CL-006, TIA-GW-031, and the multiple MARTA "rehabilitation projects".

I'll concede that some people will decide to change their commuting lifestyle if taxpayers further subsidize MARTA lighting, ventilation, escalator, and terrazzo floor improvements. But that number, even if it was five thousand, is a rounding error in proportion to the population of regional commuters. Remember, the government estimates that the ENTIRE $3.2 will only carry less that 2% of commuters.

Mike Alexander, Research Division Chief at the government's Atlanta Regional Commission is specific on the interpretation of the 24% figure, but numerous other proponents haven't been. Most recipients of today's ARC email blast would conclude that their total commute would be reduced by 24%. The blast also conveniently omits the fact that the 7,000 average estimated new annual jobs will only last 12 months- then they go away and we get an average of another 7,100 twelve-month jobs.

Chris Leinberg, an importedTIA shill from Washington DC, isn't some casual supporter, nor is Kasim Reed. They are two major voices who have changed the rationale for our 10-year tax dollars. The WSJ certainly did run a story on the TIA... after Commissioner Brown put them on to it (not Mayor Reed or Bill Clinton).

Yes, a lot of work did go into this plan. A lot of government work also went into ObamaCare and new EPA burdens on Americans. And the Metro Atlanta Chamber, voice of 100s of Atlanta businesses, urged that a shallow Atlanta Public Education investigation be "finessed" past the governor, rather than discovering the real scope of that problem.

The quantity of legislative effort and business support do not automatically make for good outcomes.

efdrakejr
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Which Taxpayers Would That Be Bob?
Bob Ross wrote:

But wait; that means we taxpayers have to shell out subsidies for 27 years instead of just 15 for those bus services.

The tax only goes for 10 years Bob so which taxpayers will be subsidizing it for 27 years? Not Fayette. We're not even subsidizing them the first 10 years since we're getting all our money back and more. The counties that they are running in may very well have to subsidize them after the 10 years but why do you care about that. Those counties picked projects that were important to them and we picked projects that are important to us.

You're trying too hard, Bob.

Citizen Bob
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Expanded vision, Mr Drake

Everything the other 4,000,000 regional residents and I purchase throughout the 10-counties will cost more: meals, products, vehicles, food, you name it... everything subject to the new Sales and Use tax will suddenly become more expensive for a decade. I shop in Fulton and DeKalb Counties, so my costs will go up.

Yes, Mr. Drake, I am trying hard to stop this ineffective, pork-laden, TSPLOST proposal.

The key difference between me and the high rolling PR firms & media that are pushing your side of the issue is they're making $8.5m and I'm not getting a nickel for my efforts.

The difference between me and the consultants, suppliers, developers, builders, and the concrete companies you represent is they'll make $8.5b, but as a retired soldier and small time business owner, I stand to make nothing more than the taxes I save.

Thanks, but I'll continue working "too hard".

efdrakejr
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Misinformation

I hope you're not working hard spreading misinformation. Looks like PolitiFact scores you and Steve as FALSE on some of your claims. Not HALF TRUE or even MOSTLY FALSE, just plain FALSE.

http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2012/jul/24/steve-brown/Tra...

Give the good citizens the straight facts, not misinformation, and let them make an informed decision.

pips1414
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We've gotten off the subject

Let's get back to the author of this LTE. Nobody seems to be standing up in his behalf, including me. Those who have kind words...speak your piece.

Citizen Bob
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Mr Drake...

The major concerns repeated by Commissioner Brown and many the voters are:
- Allocation of over half the TIA project dollars to projects that will only carry <2% of regional commuters... and that doesn'tt start until the year 2025; they will have little impact on congestion
- Over $2.8b of the transit projects are only partially funded, with ARC fact sheets describing them as the "...initial phase..." or "...contingent upon additional funding".
- $931m of taxes (over a year's worth) for transit projects that take NO vehicles off the roads!
- Many transit projects include 10 years of operations & maintenance funding (shouldn't users' fares cover the costs of their chosen transportation?); where will these very high costs come from when the tax ends? I contacted the City of Atlanta and MARTA to determine how much the O&M component is of the total project cost for the Beltline and Clifton Corridor. The belt line project is only funding 65% of their total 10-year needs, and MARTA estimates the Clifton Corridor will incur $156m over each decade.
- ARC modeled the congestion relief for 63 road & intersection projects, and the results ranged from a low of 4.5% to 64.5% (average for all the projects was about 24%). That doesn't mean your commute time is reduced anywhere near that much. It simply means that the congestion WITHIN that intersection, lane widening, etc is reduced. You're back to normal before and after that part of your commute.
- Proponents are staging a game of Whack-A-Mole with their TSPLOST justifications to taxpayers. First it was for traffic relief, next it was for economic development, then it was to demonstrate we weren't racist, and now Atlanta's Mayor Reed is telling us we have to do it because Bill Clinton told him "The whole world is watching." People next door in AL aren't watching, much less the world. These justifications become more ridiculous by the day.
- Lack of trust that government will use our taxes responsibly

I'd urge you and other seriously interested businessmen to abandon this sinking bait & switch farce and frame some principles for developing a solid Plan B : re-look GDOT? County opt-out? Don't pepper traffic relief projects with pet development projects? Use regionally raised money for regional (cross county) projects- not every jurisdictional wish list. Exclude financially unsustainable & partially funded projects unless you explicitly let voters know what they're in for.

These are presented on a short YouTube we made here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DoirHD2hu0

ginga1414
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Mr. Drake, What You Failed To Say

With all you've said about the Regional T-SPLOST, you have conveniently overlooked a bit of information.

In a July 19th article published in the Marietta Daily Journal, Columnist Ron Sifen points out that T-SPLOST supporters have brought in a Washington, D.C. developer, Chris Leinberger, who is also a consultant on urbanism and smart growth, to race-bait the T-SPLOST.

It is more than obvious that the T-SPLOST is all about selling MARTA to the masses within our region. However, people like Leinberger (paid lobbyists, developers, and promoters) realize that most folks within this Region don't want MARTA in their backyard or front yard. Therefore, Leinberger had to find another way of selling MARTA to the Regional masses.

Leinberger told the Cumberland Area Community Improvement District Board, "Ultimately, real estate developers are building for middle-class and upper-class folks."

He also said, "The goal of having a rail system is not for traffic relief, but for economic development. You do not build it to move people."

Leinberger also said, "The white suburban neighborhoods and places have completely ignored the economic development potential that MARTA could have been and will be in the future."

Reprehensible! Absolutely reprehensible!

By the way, Mr. Drake, the Cumberland CID is proposing to pay Leinberger $190,000 to do a study regarding urbanization.

There you go, it's all about "economic development" and "urbanization" within "suburban neighborhoods."

Come on, Mr. Drake, tell me this doesn't have anything to do with Agenda 21. Tell me again that this thing is going to relieve traffic.

Come on, Jack Smith and Robert Horgan, tell me again that you haven't made up your mind about whether you will vote for the TIA (Regional T-SPLOST).

Mr. Smith, you did repeatedly vote in favor of mass transit in Fayette County in your position with the ARC and the Regional Transportation Roundtable.

Mr. Horgan, you did say that the Hwy. 54 W./Fayette Piedmont Hospital area is Fayette County's "economic engine."

efdrakejr
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Mr. Ross

Bob - If these are the concerns repeated by Steve Brown then it verifies my assertion that he is misleading the good people of Fayette County.

Bob Ross wrote:

Allocation of over half the TIA project dollars to projects that will only carry <2% of regional commuters... and that doesn'tt start until the year 2025; they will have little impact on congestion.

The transit portion of the $6.14 billion is about $3.26 billion. About $1 billion of that is bus service which will begin almost immediately and last throughout the 10 year period. It is misleading, if not outright deceptive to say it doesn't start until 2025.

Bob Ross wrote:

Over $2.8b of the transit projects are only partially funded, with ARC fact sheets describing them as the "...initial phase..." or "...contingent upon additional funding".

Be more specific. Which projects make up your supposed $2.8 billion? There are 157 projects and I'm not going to do your research for you.

Bob Ross wrote:

$931m of taxes (over a year's worth) for transit projects that take NO vehicles off the roads!

Once again, you're going to have to provide data. I can come up with about $550 million in MARTA Airport Station Improvements, Tunnel Ventilation Rehab, Electrical Power Rehab, Elevator and Escalator Program, Information System, Track Rehab, Train Control Systems Upgrade, and Communications Infrastructure but I don't know where your coming up with the rest. That being said, I contend that having these upgrades made to MARTA will have a very positive impact on the system and make it more attractive to potential riders. I don't know how many more riders but I think you're once again overstaing things by saying NO vehicles will be removed from the road.

Bob Ross wrote:

ARC modeled the congestion relief for 63 road & intersection projects, and the results ranged from a low of 4.5% to 64.5% (average for all the projects was about 24%). That doesn't mean your commute time is reduced anywhere near that much. It simply means that the congestion WITHIN that intersection, lane widening, etc is reduced. You're back to normal before and after that part of your commute.

That's true but I don't recall anybody saying we would all realize a 24% reduction in congestion or any specific number. It will vary for where you are and where you're going. A lot of people will go through multiple improvements. If you work at the airport, you'll get the benefit of the 74/85 interchange improvement but if you work on the west side of Atlanta, you'll get that plus the I-20/I-285 interchange improvement. You save 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there and it starts to add up for people.

Bob Ross wrote:

Proponents are staging a game of Whack-A-Mole with their TSPLOST justifications to taxpayers. First it was for traffic relief, next it was for economic development, then it was to demonstrate we weren't racist, and now Atlanta's Mayor Reed is telling us we have to do it because Bill Clinton told him "The whole world is watching." People next door in AL aren't watching, much less the world. These justifications become more ridiculous by the day.

The constant refrain that I hear and push is congestion mitigation, increased capacity and economic development. There are tens of thousands of supporters of this and I don't doubt there are some pushing every reason, possibly including proving we aren't racist. I'm not pushing this because the world is watching but since you mentioned it, I googled it and found articles in the Wall Street Journal and NY Times so maybe they are. I'll give you the part about AL as I couldn't find anything in the Birmingham News.

Bob Ross wrote:

Lack of trust that government will use our taxes responsibly.

This is absolutely the biggest concern people voice to me in conversations about the TSPLOST. I think the bill does a great job of ensuring that the money is collected, the projects are completed, the cities and counties get their share and the projects are audited thoroughly but I don't dispute that people mistrust government.

This is a serious plan Bob. It took over five years of haggling in the legislature to get a workable plan. The cities and counties were all equally represented in picking the projects. There was unprecedented public input. The business community is behind this big time. This is Plan A and it's a good plan. From the opponents I have heard it is too much transit, it is not enough transit, driverless cars, adaptive cruise control and teleworking. You guys are united in your opposition but you couldn't possibly put together a plan yourselves. I laugh every time I think of the Tea Party and Sierra Club crafting a workable plan. No way that happens and you know it.

This is the plan and it's a good plan. Vote YES for Transportation on July 31.

MYTMITE
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Elfie has a plan, Elfie has a plan, Elfie has a plan-----and his

plan is to see just how much verbage he can throw at us to convince us to vote for T-SPLOST. For someone who claims to just be a concerned citizen and one who wants what is best for us poor unsuspecting, unknowing souls he sure spends a lot of time, effort and ink citing everything he can possibly come up with trying to sway our thinking--but it ain't working Elfie.

The Truth Will ...
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State parks had $54M hidden surplus???

UUUUmmmm $54M surplus hidden funds located!! in CA with state officials claiming the need to file bankruptcy???

. . . . . . CA State parks had $54-million hidden surplus, officials say
Los Angeles Times | July 20, 2012 | 0:22 PM

California's state parks system secretly stashed away $54 million even as it was cutting services and threatening to close parks, officials announced today. The department's director, Ruth Coleman, resigned, and her second in command was fired as the hidden surplus was revealed. The state attorney general's office is conducting an investigation.

The announcement means the department has plenty of cash, even though it has been soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations in what was thought to be a desperate scramble to keep parks open.

Officials from the agency that oversees the parks department said the department has under-reported tens of millions of dollars for the last 12 years.

For the full story and latest information go to http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-state-parks-20120721,0,3462998.s...

and this site will provide info of California State CAFR looked at; Fraud identified; Heads Roll - http://cafr1.com/headsroll.html

moelarrycurly
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MARTA EXPENESES 101

This is how MARTA prioritizes the tiny portion of money they claim they have now and claim they need SO MUCH MORE of our TAX dollars to operate...did I say to OPERATE?

This weekend, yesterday thru Tuesday at the Sheraton in the ATL, the 2012 American Public Transportation Transit Board annual meeting is being held. For a mere $139. per night hotel and $695. per person mtg., members only can come and one of the lovely events consists of "Whale Watching While You Dine" from 6PM to 9PM tonight. Sponsored by....MARTA!!! Closing the Aquarium early this evening, the promo reads:

"MARTA has made arrangements for APTA Transit Board Members, Board Support Employees and their guests to enjoy a very special evening inside the world's largest aquarium after the public has gone home!"

"6-7PM: Private Self-Guided Tour & Executive HOSTED bar"

"7-9PM: Catered Dinner with LIVE Entertainment...Wolfgang Puck will be serving a delicious dinner in the most unique room in Atlanta. The Arctic Room has a private floor-to-ceiling window into the Beluga Whales tank. (Make sure to say hello; they'll be expecting you.)"

Then, at the bottom of the ad, the rainbowed MARTA logo!!!!

And who was preaching to the choir today as a hired speaker?? None other than good 'ol Kaseeem Reed!

If this doesn't rank right up there with the GSA ripoff findings of government wasted dollars, I don't know what is.

HOW MUCH DID MARTA SPEND ON THIS CATERED AFFAIR TONIGHT??? HOSTED BAR??? WOLFGANG PUCK???? CLOSE THE AQUARIUM EARLY???

http://www.apta.com/mc/transitboard/program/Pages/BoardMembersProgram.aspx

HEY MARTA....Here's one taxpayer's message to you and the TSPLOST: "GO TO HE##!!!"

istilldontknow
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since you posted three times...

Really, you think that bringing together the country's transit agencies and companies should hold their meeting at the VFW? I mean, I'm sure that none of these folks filled up hotel rooms or anything. Should we have Krystal cater it?

Ugh. I don't think it's just MARTA funding this "junket".

moelarrycurly
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Yes, I posted 3 times

just in case YOU missed it the first and second times.

Oh, yes, the importance of spending close to a thousand dollars of taxpayer money for EACH attendee to get together and listen to someone talk about:

(oops, missed these yesterday and today)

Maximizing Your Membership
Handling Difficult Conversations
Financing and Revenue Sources

(still to come...)
Great Customer Service and ADA Compliance
Leveraging Assets & Funding

whooo-eeee!

Man, those scintillating topics are worth about, what, how about 2 grand a person of our tax dollars?

Tell me, how about NOT holding ANY meeting and instead send out videos and emails and written publications to cover such topics as "Great Customer Service" to be taught to actual board members who are making thousands of dollars already in income from their boards and who NEVER have to give "good customer service" to anyone?

Board members need meetings to find ways to leverage assets and funding? Puhleeze..

Filled up hotel rooms? Using taxpayer money, why, of course.

JUST MARTA? Did I say JUST MARTA? Or did I say Marta is sponsoring the food and beverage fest at the Aquarium tonight?

SPONSOR definition: "a person or group who provides funds for an activity"

istilldontknow
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Hey, I agree!

I don't think we need ANY conferences whatsoever. With the technology environment we have in this country, EVERY meeting can be done virtually - private or public companies. There's just no excuse anymore.

In fact, most work can be done virtually. No one needs to go to an office to get their job done if it can be done from home. Transit problems solved; I wonder why companies don't do this immediately?

So let's go ahead and immediately make all companies and organizations use technology solely if they can. What could go wrong?

When Microsoft charges you $100 for a piece of software, or Apple, or Amazon, or Coke, are they all wasting your money if they ever have conferences to bring together, say, their employees or other vendors?

Oh wait, it's taxpayer money that you have no choice in paying, right? You can pay less in taxes - don't buy a house that costs as much as the one you are in! Don't buy expensive things! Make choices that lessen your overall tax burden!

Imagine how much money we'd have if we didn't have to pay for other companies' graft and corruption and waste too, eh? Those costs would go down and we'd pay less for things. Of course, we'd also make less, since technology would optimize business practices so much that we would need less employees or could pay them less since the cost of living would just have to be less since we'd all be so efficient.

Let me know when that bus to fantasyland rolls into your stop.

Oh, and the 2nd definition of sponsor, according to Webster, is "one who assumes responsibility for some other person or thing." Not a bit about paying for anything. The 3rd definition, that you seem to reference, also says "or plans and carries out a project or activity."

moelarrycurly
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Oh, so you finally agree?

Could have done that in one sentence. Read this one. This time, voters WILL vote down this tax. Ed Drake, Junior.

istilldontknow
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Encouraging debate!

Thanks for, in essence, telling me to shut up; that's the kind of discourse that's needed. I know you didn't say it, but that's what I inferred. Glad to see dissenting opinions are always welcomed by this open forum.

Steve Brown
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Calling out the lying lobbyist who posted in this blog line.

Let’s call the TSPLOST lobbyist on their own tactics. This is regarding Gene Drake’s comments below in the blog line.

Ok, Gene “you lying lobbyist beneficiary of the TSPLOST” Drake,” you made accusations about me saying, “I take issue with his approach and his lack of honesty.” You called me a liar, now you have to prove it.

You said I said, “MARTA is coming to Fayette County.” I asked for your reference and you gave this: http://documents.atlantaregional.com/tia/pdf/TIA-M-028.pdf which it the “Transit Network Expansion” form for an expanded rail line in DeKalb County. Gene “you lying lobbyist beneficiary of the TSPLOST” Drake you did NOT address your lie about me. Give your reference!

Your next lie was saying I said, “TSPLOST calls for an enormous expansion of MARTA.” But in the next sentence you try to cover your lie by saying, “he typically says ‘enormous expansion of transit’ which is what I really do say. . Gene “you lying lobbyist beneficiary of the TSPLOST” Drake, you did not cite your reference where I said anything about an enormous expansion of MARTA. Liar. By the way, Gene, who is going to run the Clifton Corridor Rail and the Cumberland CID Rail – be interested to hear your answer.

Next, you said, “We're all going to be forced to pay for MARTA.” Actually, Gene, I did say that. I gave you reference from top elected officials from all over our region, but you said, “[Gwinnett Chairwoman] Charlotte Nash's opinion is of no more interest to me than yours or DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.” So only your opinion counts, right Gene?

The next lie from Gene “you lying lobbyist beneficiary of the TSPLOST” Drake was that I said, “The TSPLOST will last for 30-40 years.” Lying Gene could not come up with a reference on that one either!

I have said, just as MARTA’s Beverly Scott and Gwinnett’s Chairwoman Nash have said, but our opinion do not matter – only lobbyist Gene’s matter, that the transit projects in the TSPLOST are only HALF funded and it would require MORE THAN ONE cycle of the 10-year tax to build them.

On a post further down, Gene, where you could not cite your references again, you told another lie about the Cumberland CID project claiming it was a bus project. The truth is Gene “you lying lobbyist beneficiary of the TSPLOST” Drake that Cobb County has not decided what it will be. Let me give you something lying Gene that you seem incapable of providing, THE CITATION OF A REFERENCE!

Here is what the Marietta Daily Journal said, “Following the lecture, Malaika Rivers, executive director for the Cumberland CID, referenced the July 31 transportation referendum to raise the sales tax for 10 years.

‘If the referendum passes and the funds come into place, and the county determines that light rail is what they call the ‘locally preferred alternative,’ then by the end of this year we could very well be in a situation where we’re going to get a rail system in our future — let’s say 10 years down the road, more or less — so how again do we as community members, as government partners, as private investors come together to maximize everybody’s return in investment in this community so that we can create this type of environment that these two have recommended to us?’ Rivers asked. Leinberger said the No. 1 thing that needed to be done for Cumberland is to heavily invest in rail transit.”

The "Leinberger" is Chirs Leinberger the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s expert on the TSPLOST issue. Caught in another lie, Gene “you lying lobbyist beneficiary of the TSPLOST” Drake.

I am beyond tired of the pathetic lying, trying to persuade the citizens they are getting a good deal on the TSPLOST. If your position is so good, then STOP LYING.

And, lying Gene, if you are going to accuse someone of lying – you had better be able to cite the reference – you jerk! You do not lie to my constituents and get away with it.

efdrakejr
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Actions Have Consequences

Steve – Like elections, actions have consequences and your actions, for the entirety of your political career, have been to take to the papers and spread misinformation and character assassination. The consequence of that action, other than being defeated by an historic margin, is that we all know you and your SOP very well and know that you are not a reliable or believable source.

As isdk noted well, I didn’t call you a liar. I said you were dishonest and misleading which I stand by. In fact, I suspect you are very careful not to lie but instead just nibble around the edges of the truth enough to get people thinking your way. The example I cited was valid as well. You talk about an enormous expansion of transit but then immediately start talking about MARTA so you can put the idea in folks head that all of these transit projects are MARTA, knowing that MARTA is an evil word in these parts and you can stir their emotions.

So, you can stomp your feet and act unprofessional all you want and I’m still not going to go to the effort to look up your quotes. The consequence of your actions is that people know you mislead and I’m not wasting my time proving the obvious.

Steve Brown
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istilldontknow - it's angry, not desperate

Istilldontknow, I am tired of paid lobbyists calling me a liar with allegations they cannot prove. Gene Drake still has not cited the references for what he has accused me of saying - he can't - he lied.

The Gene Drake and Terry Lawler types want to stuff their pockets and their clients' pockets with our money.

Because they cannot justify the list of projects they have before the voters, they have resorted to lying and distortion.

Never forget: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

I'm not about to let a bunch of paid lobbyists run all over Fayette County.

istilldontknow
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Steve, you look desperate.

I read Mr. Drake's assertions (and he is not coming off looking like a peach, either), and your responses, but based on what I read, here's what I took from it.

He didn't call you a liar. He said you mislead and had a lack of honesty. He never said you actually lied. Misleading someone is not lying, in my book.

The assertions he made state that those who follow your musings BELIEVE that MARTA is coming to Fayette County, etc. Again, he never stated that you said those things, so asking him to back those things up with proof you never said them is an exercise in futility, as that didn't appear to me to be his assertion. His assertion appears to me to be those who follow you jump to those conclusions. Based on what I read from your posts and letters to the editor in the past, I could definitely see how some can jump to that conclusion.

I'm not a fan of your style at all, as I think I've made clear previously. You do seem to have a group of dedicated followers who agree with your position. I disagree with that position, and the opposition to the T-SPLOST.

I am neither a lobbyist nor a politician, as has been referenced previously. I am a citizen, the same as others commenting here, and I believe that I am a realist.

There are some who say "no new taxes". There are some who say "this transportation plan is a waste of my money".

Well, I guess my question is, where were all of you naysayers when the plan was being developed? It wasn't a big secret at all - these plans had been on the table for quite some time.

Looking at trends moving forward, by having more options available in the city center and in areas where there is more traffic, opportunities exist for taking cars off the road, for sure.

Will the solution happen tomorrow? No. Is the solution perfect? No. Is the solution a start? I think it is, which is why I'll vote for it.

Is it economic development, too? It is, indeed - any project that changes, maintains or expands a system is going to take jobs and materials...if the systems proposed get into service, there will need to be folks to run the systems.

Past performance is not indicative of future results - the citations to other jurisdictions where transit taxes have been passed and have led to lower ridership numbers are nice, but they're not Atlanta. The transportation planners who come up with these solutions are trying to take into account the growth patterns in OUR areas.

Two population sectors are changing our economy - the young people who don't want to live the commuting lifestyle and the seniors who will need services and may not be able to drive anymore. If we don't build for these populations and the eventual growth that will take place around us (Savannah and points west toward Atlanta, Augusta, etc.), we're not doing Atlanta any favors, and we live in Atlanta, try as some might to say we don't. If we didn't, I doubt I'd be seeing David Barlow on my way to Atlanta every morning for the past week on 74 on my way to the Interstate.

So....all I know is a proposal has been put together with a number of projects, all of which I can see and read about, with dollar amounts and estimates laid out. The tax will run for 10 years, and then we'll get to see where we're at. I am okay with funding these projects, which may not change any immediate traffic congestion, to help the future of the region.

A politician taking to the blogs to emphatically (and if you look at these posts, I think we can agree you are being emphatic) belligerent is unprofessional and unbecoming of a public official. Tact has never been your strong suit, Mr. Commissioner, which is what makes what you say so hard to swallow.

Try catching flies with honey instead of vinegar, perhaps? Prove Mr. Drake wrong with actual facts, not suppositions and estimates. Be respectful, even if the other side isn't. Remember, facts are things that are generally accepted to be true, not just things that one side believes to be true.

Take a breath...I think you've been to too many debates lately. Calling out Clark Howard makes you look like a desperate publicity hound, too. Remember - you got smacked when you ran for mayor of PTC the 2nd time, and when you ran for state office, and you might get smacked again by the voters if you keep up with this line of "battle". You might win more battles if you can understand the concept of compromise.

I'm voting FOR the T-SPLOST, I hope some others will too.

Steve Brown
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istilldontknow - let's debate

Clark Howard said we need to take an $8 billion "leap of faith." It appears you agree, right?

MARTA is approaching $3 billion in deferred maintenance now, not to mention operating losses. If we cannot pay the operations and maintenance costs of the current transit system then how will we cover the exorbitant costs of a significantly expanded version, in the billions year over year?

Ridership for regional transit is going down and costs are escalating, and the answer is expanding the system?

ARC's own congestion model shows that the current project list, at a cost of $8 billion, will only save us one minute to work and one minute home. Is this the best we can do? Is it even adequate?

pips1414
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Horgan voted for unsustainable pension plan

Anybody who hasn't read Mr. Richter's letter on the defined benefits retirement plan needs to do so. The sobering facts in that letter show us how dangerous it will be if Mr. Horgan, Mr. Hearn, or Mr. Jack Smith should get back into office. My earlier comment linked Horgan's voting to that of the Commission Chairman, Herb Frady. But when Jack Smith was Chairman, Mr. Horgan did the same thing.

If we don't want to end up bankrupt like Hall County, we need to get both Horgan and Hearn out, and not let Jack Smith back in.

sickoftaxes
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Does anyone think that this

Does anyone think that this tax will ever go away. Look at the hotel tax.
Now till 2050. The GA 400 toll. What ever money they get (Taxes) become the base line spending. Then they start looking for more. And then the payoff to local goverment to support it. I give Mr cement credit for coming on here and taking a beating day after day. But as they say in the south "that dog won't hunt"

Steve Brown
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sorry Peter Pfiier

I forgot it's only a "block" or "faction" when it does not involve you. I forgot, my bad.

Steve Brown
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sorry Peter Pfiier

I forgot it's only a "block" or "faction" when it does not involve you. I forgot, my bad.

Peter Pfeifer
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Voting Block?

Voting Block?
I don't recall using the term but let's say I did. When Greg and Linda and I were on the Commission, we often voted together. We voted together because we usually agreed philosophically and agreed on the issue, and we usually individually explained why we were voting the way we were. I don't call that a “Voting Block”, I call that a majority.

If I were to use the term “Voting Block” as a pejorative, I would mean folks who vote together simply to vote "their way" and can't, don't or won't explain their reasoning, similar to how I view the current majority on the Board of Commissioners.

I don't want to replace one “block” with a different “block”. I understand a majority but I want a majority who have reached their conclusions independently. Understand?

Steve Brown
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Peter you need to clairify

You said, "I don't want to replace one 'block' with a different 'block”'."

You mean to say, "unless it's Peter Pfeifer's block," right? Remember Dunn, Wells, and ... who was that other guy ... oh yeah, Peter Pfeifer.

Steve Brown
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Nothing "independent" about Robert Horgan

He has joined Commissioner Lee Hearn and former Commissioner Jack Smith on consistently voting for the construction of the West Fayetteville Bypass, the largest boondoggle project in the county's history.

He was consistently voting with the majority on voting for "no-bid" contracts.

He was consistently voting with the majority on employee pay raises out of the reserve funds because there was no revenue to cover it.

He was consistently voting with the majority on keeping Fayette County in the state and regional mass transit plans.

He was consistently voting with the majority on secret items that never appear on a meeting agenda.

I just don't see the independence.

pips1414
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Isn't "always" the word?

I've attended almost every BOC meeting since January 1, 2011, and have NEVER seen Robert Horgan vote against Herb Frady or Lee Hearn.

NUK_1
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Horgan.....please

I've met you before you were elected and was frankly shocked you won in the first place. I didn't think you came across as being that sharp of a mind at all and actually were kind of dense. I was ready to have my perception changed on that but your voting record and then subsequent arrest only reinforced that impression.

Sorry, I have never voted for you, Hearn or Frady in any election and never would, but thanks for your service which I don't think you did for any self-enrichment since it's turned out to be a real negative. Matter of fact, you deciding to run for re-election after past events makes me really wonder JUST HOW ARROGANT AND DUMB CAN YOU BE TO THINK YOU ARE THE BEST FC OFFERS? I mean, really, you think you have a chance?

RT Tugger
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Horgan's leadership goes Up in Smoke

This is how you try to gain votes? By insinuating, without any precedent or fact as a basis for this insinuation, that your opponent will not be able to govern ethically? You, of all people, choose to go down that road? You think you have “represented every resident of Fayette County”? That you would even think that, let alone put it in a public letter, is pure self-deception. What is your point, exactly, about raising the issue of the Oddos’ land ownership? Why don’t you articulate some sound reasons as to why this should be objectionable? I don’t have a problem with people owning land, but I do have a problem with people smoking pot while driving and then handling it the way you did. You call yourself an independent commissioner, the people’s commissioner? When have you demonstrated *leadership* on an issue that's come before the Board? You, sir, are a follower, and your votes as a commissioner reflect that. Thanks for reminding me that I “can vote for a political newcomer.” That’s exactly what I’ll do on July 31st.

DAB
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horgan

Horgan how about going off for a toke and leaving the voters alone.

pips1414
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The three amigos

Mr. Horgan, Citizen Bob (below) made a good point when he said that you always vote with Chairman Frady and Commissioner Hearn. Here's your chance to prove everybody wrong, and show the voting public that you're your own man. Please provide examples of instances where you have voted against Mr. Frady or Mr. Hearn since January 1, 2011, the date Commissioners McCarty and Brown began their terms.

And while you are at it, please advise how you got involved in pot, and what you have learned from that experience.

Finally, please let your readers know why you support the West Fayetteville Bypass as good for Fayette County.

PTC Observer
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Mr. Horgan

You lost my vote the day you were arrested and attempted to bribe the arresting officer. "Is there anything we can do to settle this matter here and now?"

This was no minor traffic accident, a mistake, it was a conscience decision on your part to break the law. We can debate the use of drugs in our society but we don't need to debate the use of illegal substances while driving an unlicensed vehicle. These actions were all conscience decisions on your part to break the law.

This exposes your character and judgment sir, and it is not a character that I would like to see on my county commission.

G35 Dude
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Dirty Politics in Fayette

I've come to the conclusion that politics in Fayette County is about as dirty as Chicago. Almost nobody comes on here and tries to get you to consider voting for a candidate. They all come here to convince you to vote against a candidate and then insult you if you don't agree too. We have letters from a former "leader" offering to provide us with criminal reports, which I consider to be unethical if not illegal, to get us to vote against someone. Some try to use subtlety and when that fails they insult people by insinuating that we aren't smart enough to pick up on their hints.

For those using these tactics let me assure you that when you do this I for one take it as an endorsement for those that you attack.

AtHomeGym
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G35 & Politics

I feel the same way you do.
Oh, never mind, I already voted!

G35 Dude
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AHG-LOL

Just between us I voted yesterday.

americanpatriots
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Response to Peter Pheifer re. Stopford & Huddleston

I'm sure both of these ladies are very capable in their own areas of expertise; however, I don't recall seeing either of them at budget meetings or monthly commissioner meetings and I have been regularly going to both types of meetings for over three years.

Just running for office and being endorsed by you and Rick Price does not make them qualified to serve on the Board of Commissioners. They need to have a track record of being involved to understand the critical issues facing our county.

David Barlow, Randy Ognio and Charles Otto have been deeply involved and have been attending meetings and speaking out on many topics. In my view, they are the only three candidates that have the knowledge and independence to serve effectively on the Board of Commissioners.

Jim Richter

Citizen Bob
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The rest of the story...

First of all, let me thank you for the contributions you have made as a commissioner and your other work in our community.

Second, let me present some observations of your self-described independence. In about four years of attending commission meetings, I don’t recall ever seeing you vote independently of the other commissioners (I didn’t attend every meeting, so may have missed the one when you did). In every vote taken during meetings I saw, you consistently voted in step with Smith, Maxwell, Frady, and Hearn, and later with Frady and Hearn (many refer to your bloc as the “3 Amigos”, especially on key issues).

Third, I’m confused about your claim of being the voice of all citizens. Take a poll, Commissioner Horgan, and discover how many of us in Fayette County were not represented by your voice on issues like failure to bid on contracts, your opposition to advertise & interview for open Board positions, barging ahead with the West Fayetteville Bypass, and opposing the opportunity to invoke HB 240 to reduce property taxes.

The fiscally conservative citizens of Fayette County never heard your voice opposing $90,000 thrown at .3 miles of Snead Road paving, approving an early retirement plan that’s created a million dollar-plus hole in the budget while simultaneously creating over 30 vacancies, of which a number are key & essential personnel. We also are dumbfounded with your lock step support of a half million dollar compensation package with no advance public notice. Deferred fire dept expenses? Maintenance on the jail to prevent out-sized future repair expenses? Your "independent voice" joined the Frady-Hearn choir on these matters too.
When you approved the Sheriff’s request for a $12k annual pay raise because the job he ran for paid less than the one he chose to give up, who’s voice were you? Go along, get along.

You certainly didn’t protest on our behalf when you voted lock step to impose the public comment sign-in requirement. And were you Chairman Frady’s, or Kasim Reed’s voice when you opposed a “no-transit in the county” referendum?

Fourth, the Oddo brothers only assumed ownership of the family property last year; and there was a single annexation (some 15 years ago) of their property that the city of Fayetteville requested as a pre-condition for construction of the southside Kroger.

Finally, it’s bizarre that you’d characterize Fayetteville City Councilman Paul Oddo, your opponent’s brother, as a conflict of interest. What aspect of Councilman Oddo do you find objectionable: his values? His civic commitment? His work ethic? His entrepreneurship as a small business owner? His sound judgment and temperament? The fact he recused himself from city council hearings where zoning variations to his land were discussed?

Candidate Charles Oddo is cut from the same cloth. Electing him blesses us citizens with two outstanding public servants.

Both men have a rock solid reputation as businessmen - one as an accountant - a profession with widely accepted standards of conduct and regular oversight by multiple government auditors, and the other as an experienced business administrator. Unlike you, neither has been charged and found in violation of multiple counts of the Fayette County Ethics ordinance during a current term, so neither has had such a conviction upheld in state court on appeal and been fined & formally reprimanded by fellow commissioners.

The Oddo’s familial relationship would enhance cooperation between the two jurisdictions, and thereby contribute to solutions for the public good.

If you’re worried about some conspiratorial collusion, remember that it takes a majority of both the Fayette County Commission and Fayetteville City Council to approve a zoning request or other matter before the respective bodies.

Please don’t paint our future based on your demonstrated judgment & performance.

Bob Ross

Peter Pfeifer
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Bob, and add to the story

Thanks Bob. Those are good points. I agree with you on Charles Oddo. I think he will make a good Commissioner and I will be voting for him.

On your comments about Robert Horgan’s lack of independence, that’s also a good point and I agree. It’s not good for the county to have Commissioners who don’t think for themselves and who think only of their voting block or little circle. You’ve pointed out one reason I sought out and met with Sheila Huddleston and Susan Stopford. I wanted to look into, and decide, it they were or weren’t part of a faction or clique that would put its own interests first. My conclusion is that they are not, and I do believe that they will be independent and vote for the best interests of this community.
Citizen Peter

Steve Brown
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Voting block, Peter Pfeifer?

You were a solid part of a voting block yourself. Remember Dunn, Wells and Pfeifer?

Voting blocks are neither good nor bad. It's how the elected officials are voting.

If you want independent, go look over the votes of the last two years. One member voted (well research votes) by himself more than any other. Guess who?

Robert W. Morgan
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Independence is indeed important, Peter

I thought it odd that Barlow, Ognio and Oddo chose to advertise together and ride together in the Independence (get it?) Day parade. Since then I have met both Randy and Charles and am satisfied of their independence from each other and any other group. I am sure Shelia and Susan are independent as well, as you say. I would be happy with any of the 4 being elected and the one that is left over can come take the mayor's place in Peachtree City.

I still am uncomfortable with Barlow and his money mismanagement and today we find out that Brown has donated $150 to his campaign.

ginga1414
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Gene, Who Would You Rather Have

A very experienced verbal manipulator or someone who speaks in everyday terms with honesty and knowledge?

Personally speaking, I am sick and tired of slick politicians who know exactly how to turn a phrase and where to stick it.

Gene, I can't recall one single time over the past few years of posting comments here where you spoke to or about anyone in subtle terms. You are continually attacking someone on a personal level. Subtlety just doesn't seem to be your strongest attribute, even under the best of circumstances. Just as an example, you have used the word "CRAZY" three times here in two paragraphs.

PLEASE speak to the issues of local government accountability, "no bid" contracts, after the fact changes in ethics ordinances, and voting on items that never appeared on the Agenda. Those are just a few of the issues that concern Randy Ognio and David Barlow.

Those issues should concern all of us. An unbalanced budget should concern all taxpayers greatly. When a commission elects to forego safety issues connected to crumbling infrastructure so it will look as if we have a balanced budget, that should be of paramount concern to all taxpayers.

Yes, Gene, I would much rather listen to a plain spoken, serious minded person speak to me about things that concern me instead of listening to a slick talking, well phrased person without substance.

Also, it would be of greater importance if you could address issues that affect us all instead of using personal attacks to try and make points.

efdrakejr
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Straw Man

A straw man is a type of argument where you change the direction of the argument by essentially misrepresenting one of the positions. This is what you have done here although I don't think it was necessarily intentional.

Ginga wrote:

Who would you rather have, a very experienced verbal manipulator or someone who speaks in everyday terms with honesty and knowledge?

I would rather have honesty and knowledge and I assume that you attribute those characteristics to Mr. Ognio. The misdirection comes in assuming that one or more of the other candidates must be verbal manipulators. Is that what you are saying or is possible that more than one Post 3 candidate is honest and knowledgeable?

Steve Brown
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Gene Drake paid lobbyist - Your paid opinion is not worth much.

Gene, people are buying your opinion. You do not think for yourself - your opinions are given to you in exchange for cash.

I think we should set up a chart of who Gene Drake supports and it will help people know who not to vote for at the end of the month.

efdrakejr
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I've Tried To Be Subtle...

and just continue to recommend that folks watch the candidate interviews on Comcast Channel 25 but I fear that message isn't getting through so I'll just be more direct. Ognio can't string together four intelligent sentences!! It would be CRAZY to elect this guy. Additionally, he has been endorsed by Brown and I can't help but think the payback for that is a vote for Chairman. Another CRAZY possibility. Please rethink your support.

As for Barlow, I have mentioned on here before that he yelled at me twice that I was going to have to answer to God for supporting the TSPLOST. I get it that many on here are against it but...answer to God...really? Can you imagine the level of discourse and debate among the commission if he thinks God is on his side on every issue? Once again...CRAZY!!

Citizen Bob
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Gene, he's no Obama when it comes to style, but...

... look at his actions. Ognio's been involved in commissioer-level business for years- way before becoming frustrated enough to decide to run himself. He studies every meeting agenda and comment to the commissioners on better ways to do our business and save money. His ideas about heavy equipment acquisition led the county to acquire a used bulldozer at a substantial savings over the price of refurbishing the county's existing unit.
He's also taken a public stand on the $100k Snead Road project in the south end of the county. I drove there this week and could not imagine why any commissioner would approve that much $ to pave a very rural .3 mile road going to a dead end.
There lots of other examples, but the message is "actions speak louder than words."
Sit down one on one and discuss issues with Randy.

MYTMITE
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Oh me, oh my, what in the world did we ever do before we had

the know-all, be-all Mr. Drake to lead us! How did we manage to exist without him explaining things to those of us who do not share his superior intelligence and comprehension? And, oh, does he know how to be subtle. Calling those who do not agree with him (and that is most of us) names--but oh, he does it oh so subtly. How I wish he had been around when I made all those other wrong decisions (or are they wrong or just would be considered so by Mr. Drake??) I would venture to bet that our Mr. Drake is voted Mr. Congeniality in any group he deigns to honor. AS for his having to answer to God for his supporting T-SPLOST, per Barlow, I sometimes feel he thinks we all should answer to him for not supporting the same S-PLOST. But, then, he does seem to exhibit somewhat of a God complex on this site.

efdrakejr
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You Elected Steve Brown

Nuff said.

Citizen Bob
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OK, Brown can be obnoxious

Now that we've cleared the air on that, which of his positions, policies, or votes do you take issue with?

Steve Brown
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"Ed" "Gene" "Lobbyist" Drake maybe you ought to run

You could run on the TSPLOST beneficiary ticket.

Don't forget to cite where I made the comments you lied about.

I know your lying, but let's prove it to everyone else, ok buddy.

ginga1414
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Mr. Drake, A Certain PC Faction

I'm going to borrow a word here from Peter Pfeifer. The word is "faction."

There is a certain PC faction bound and determined to vilify their public officials.

However, the majority of PC voters voted for the exact people the "faction" tries to vilify.

The majority of Fayette County voters have been able to recognize dedication whereas the "faction" continues to vilify.

I have to give credit where credit is due!

Commissioner Steve Brown has consistently worked for the principles, values, and quality of life we all love about Fayette County.

He has lived up to his promises to the people who voted for him in 2010 without wavering once.

I have watched him defend the rights of our citizens when other Commissioners were trying to remove our rights. In his defense of our rights, he has proven his loyalty to Fayette County and her citizens.

He has proven his loyalty to Fayette County by going beyond the scope of our borders to educate himself and the rest of us about regional matters and how those matters can effect our future. THAT IS LEADERSHIP!

Mr. Drake and others here, obviously, have a hang-up concerning the intelligence of folks who don't agree with them. If folks don't agree with Mr. Drake and others, they must undoubtedly be "stupid!"

I have NEVER ONCE seen or heard Steve Brown insult or call into question another person's intelligence!

HE DOESN'T HAVE TO!

ginga1414
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Please Excuse the Duplicate Post

It wasn't intentional.

ginga1414
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Mr. Drake, A Certain PC Faction

I'm going to borrow a word here from Peter Pfeifer. The word is "faction."

There is a certain PC faction bound and determined to vilify their public officials.

However, the majority of PC voters voted for the exact people the "faction" tries to vilify.

The majority of Fayette County voters have been able to recognize dedication whereas the "faction" continues to vilify.

I have to give credit where credit is due!

Commissioner Steve Brown has consistently worked for the principles, values, and quality of life we all love about Fayette County.

He has lived up to his promises to the people who voted for him in 2010 without wavering once.

I have watched him defend the rights of our citizens when other Commissioners were trying to remove our rights. In his defense of our rights, he has proven his loyalty to Fayette County and her citizens.

He has proven his loyalty to Fayette County by going beyond the scope of our borders to educate himself and the rest of us about regional matters and how those matters can affect our future. THAT IS LEADERSHIP!

Mr. Drake and others here, obviously, have a hang-up concerning the intelligence of folks who don't agree with them. If folks don't agree with Mr. Drake and others, they must undoubtedly be "stupid!"

I have NEVER ONCE seen or heard Steve Brown insult or call into question another person's intelligence!

HE DOESN'T HAVE TO!

efdrakejr
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You're A Hoot!!

Are you really going to come on here and complain about how some other people villify our elected officials? Do you read the stuff that you, sugarfoot, mtm, pips, mlc, Steve Brown and others write about Frady, Hearn, Horgan and Smith? You may not have voted for them but they were elected too and you all have called them everything but a child of God. Honestly, I can't believe you write the things you do and then come on here and complain about anybody else.

Get some thicker skin or get off the blogs.

MYTMITE
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Hey, Elfie, where have you ever seen me post anything about

Frady, Hearn, Horgan or Smith? Now, you are another matter. Playing with you reminds me of a cat catching a critter---the cat plays with him and lets him go just so far and brings him up short. Then when he gets tired of playng with that critter he lets him run away. The critter scampers away, thinking he has really pulled something off when in reality the cat is through having his fun and has moved on to something more challenging.

NUK_1
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Drake: They just repeat what they have been told to say

There a few sheeple here that simply echo whatever Steve Brown says and take it as 100% gospel. Notice how no one ever responded to my invitation to discuss this:

http://archive.thecitizen.com/node/26339

They are so cult-like they can't even manage to choke-out "Well, Steve was really wrong about district voting and implying how backwoods all of us are that don't support it." The whole South Fayette Tea Party that is fervently opposed to district voting also never mentions that Brown diatribe EVER. It's like WHOOOSH! It never happened! Reminds me of the Three Monkeys of Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil.

hutch866
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Nuk

I've commented on this a couple times, but Brown refuses to address it, just another half lie.
http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2012/jun/12/steve-brown/tra...

NUK_1
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hutch: It's typical

THOU SHALT NOT SPEAK ILL OF STEVE BROWN!

It cracks me up that the same crowd who blindly worships him really hate Jack Smith and think that Smith "didn't get the message in 2010" when Smith lost to Brown by about 6 points and can't even fathom why Smith would run again. They forget the 60 point or so margin Brown lost by when he was running for re-election for Mayor and then the huge blowout 2 years later when he was running for state rep vs. Ramsey. I don't recall the Amen Chorus saying anything then about how "Brown didn't get the message" or "the voters have spoken and don't want you around."

efdrakejr
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Steve Brown

I take issue with his approach and his lack of honesty. I lived in PTC when he was mayor and got to witness his total lack of leadership which resulted in his "administration through editorial". He couldn't lead, couldn't get along, couldn't accomplish so he took to the papers week after week to whine, complain, mislead and assassinate character. It was pathetic and for that, I and about 75% of the voters, relieved him of his duties.

Miraculously, and unfortunately, he has resurrected as a commission member and I have gotten to witness his immeasurable dishonesty. Clearly, we are engaged in a very important debate on an historic referendum. One that you and I disagree on but I am always interested to read your point of view and review the data you present. Steve, on the other hand, argues through misdirection and fear. First off, he likes to present himself as a transportation expert although I can't imagine how a failed single term as mayor and half a term as county commissioner elevated him to that status. Nonetheless, with folks thinking he has some sort of expertise he has mislead them to believe the following:

- MARTA is coming to Fayette County. Anyone with any knowledge of the situation and some intellectual honesty knows that is not the case.

- TSPLOST calls for an enormous expansion of MARTA. In truth, he typically says "enormous expansion of transit" but then quickly turns the discussion to MARTA because that is the great bogeyman. A review of the project list shows that almost all of the MARTA projects are maintenance and upkeep projects. There are also studies for potential projects and the roughly 4 mile expansion of the line to CDC/Emory.

- We're all going to be forced to pay for MARTA. This is normally followed by some comment that a DeKalb or Fulton County politician made which can't be corroborated, but even if true, is meaningless. MARTA has been complete for about 37 years and Fulton and DeKalb have wanted the other metro counties to join in paying for it for at least that long. Any reasonable person though, knows that the representatives from the other counties will never go along with that.

- The TSPLOST will last for 30-40 years. I have posted, and Steve should know if he did any research, that to reimpose the tax is a four step process which includes the county governments, legislature and public all agreeing to extend it. Steve leads folks to believe that the legislature will just extend it on their own, which not only violates this bill but doesn't even reflect the legislatures history. If they were inclined to just raise our taxes to pay for transportation, then they would have just done it this time and saved us all the trouble of a referendum.

I could go on but this is not how I plan to spend my Saturday. What this leads to, not surprisingly, is total mistrust of Steve on all other issues. He may be right on most all issues facing the county but if he sat down with me one-on-one and explained the issue and his position, I would have a hard time coming away convinced because I know his history of misleading, embellishing, and demagoguing. That's no kind of man to have leading your county.

MajorMike
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efdrakejr - Direct PAC

Were you by any chance, a member of, or associated with, an organization called Direct PAC?

Steve Brown
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Gene Drake you lying lobbyist dog

Cite one reference where I said MARTA is coming to Fayette County.

What do you call the Clifton Corridor, the Cumberland CID and the BRT in DeKalb? That's a whopping expansion of MARTA. What do you call $3.2 billion of our money (52% of all region-wide funds) in expanded transit? I would call that an enormous expansion of transit.

And Gene stop the lies ... tell everyone the transit is only half-funded in the TSPLOST and that it requires another 10-year TSPLOST to complete the projects! No more lies, Mr. lobbyist!

Gwinnett Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, an honest person, asked, "Where will those costs be covered if there’s not a regional SPLOST for the next 10-year period?" Look at the name of the article Nash's comments appeared in:
“1 percent sales tax for transportation: For first time, officials acknowledge it may last more than 10 years,” The Saporta Report, July 21, 2011.

How stupid, Gene the lobbyist paid to support TSPLOST, that you say ignore what other regional leaders are saying about the entire region funding MARTA. I would say you are sticking you head in the sand, BUT you are actually sticking your hand in your wallet - because you and they firms you lobby for want the big TSPLOST bucks - admit it Gene. That is why you show up to all the TSPLOST debates in the metro area with "vote yes" sticker on.

Gene you lie again saying I said TSPLOST would last 30-40 years. Cite one reference where I said that. If you cannot, you are a lobbyist liar wanting to make a living off the taxpayers.

Then you go on to say, "He may be right on most all issues facing the county..." What a fool! There is a reason you would not stand up and debate me in any of those regional TSPLOST debates, lobbyist Gene - you would look like a idiot. You showed up to all of them and sat in the corner, but you did not have the guts to take us (being citizens who researched things) on, did you.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE LOBBYIST GENE DRAKE, MAKER OF MONEY OFf THE POOR TAXPAYERS AND CITE THOSE REFERENCES THAT I ASKED FOR. WE WILL SEE WHO IS TRUST WORTHY. THE ONLY ISSUES YOU SPEAK-UP ON ARE THE ONES THAT YOU PROFIT FROM.

Next time I will not sugar coat my response ;)

efdrakejr
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Joined: 01/28/2009
TSPLOST

Clifton Corridor is the roughly 4 mile project going to Emory/CDC that I cited in my post as MARTA expansion. Here is a link to the project sheet.

http://documents.atlantaregional.com/tia/pdf/TIA-M-028.pdf

By the Cumberland CID, I assume you mean the Enhanced Premium Bus Service from Acworth/Kennesaw/Town Center to the MARTA Arts Center. That terminates at MARTA and is transit but it is not MARTA. That's your approach, though, to lump all things transit in as MARTA (the bogeyman). Here's the project sheet.

http://documents.atlantaregional.com/tia/pdf/TIA-CO-035.pdf

You are right about BRT in DeKalb. There is a study involved in that one, which is one of the studies I cited, but I missed that BRT was also included. Here's the project sheet.

http://documents.atlantaregional.com/tia/pdf/TIA-M-023.pdf

Charlotte Nash's opinion is of no more interest to me than yours or DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. The law is as I have stated it repeatedly. Here is the link. The section for Reimposition of the Tax is on page 24.

http://www.dot.state.ga.us/localgovernment/FundingPrograms/transreferend...

I go to these debates because it is important to my member companies but also because it is equally important to me. I don't want my kids to have to move away from Metro Atlanta to find jobs when they get out of college and I truly believe that if we don't address our transportation infrastructure needs, Atlanta will continue to lose its vibrance. I know that you and your crew don't believe that but I'm sure you also know I don't care what you think.

As for the debates, I would have been happy to be the debater instead of only getting a single question from the audience but the Tea Party didn't invite me. If you are having another debate in the next 10 days, sign me up.

As for you claiming that the TSPLOST will go on for 30-40 years, I've heard you and I've read it but I'm not tracking down audio and I'm not searching through the papers. The intellectually honest people who keep up with this know I am correct.

Gene Drake

BTW, seeing as your only jobs seem to be as a mayor and a county commissioner, you tell me who's pocketing the taxpayers' money!!

MYTMITE
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Joined: 02/14/2008
Elfie, it seems you don't care about anyone's interest but your

own. And it seems odd that you would decide not to track down audio or searching through papers to back up your statements regarding Steve Brown. You certainly have not hesitated to cite chapter and verse every thing but the Constitution and Gettysburg Address-and if you could tie them in to T-SPLOST you surely would.

Now, what I consider a low blow, even from you, is your statement regarding Mr. Brown pocketing the taxpayers money because he has served as mayor and is currently a county commissioner. Do you consider anyone who is duly elected by their peers to office, to be on the dole, so to speak? At least Mr. Brown was elected to his position. He is not a paid or unpaid lobbyist for something that no one but you and the others who expect to reap huge profits are pushing. Maybe you should have spent this week-end as you did last week-end, sitting on the 'dock of your bay', drinking your adult beverage with your adoring spouse and family surrounding you, cause you sure are wasting your time on this site.

Steve Brown
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MYTMITE on paid lobbyist Gene Drake

Mymite, Drake cannot come up with references because they do not exist. He was lying. He is a paid liar and he does his job well. From now on, we call him on his paid lying.

Gene Drake cares only about the people who pay him to lobby for their causes, whether they are harmful to the public or not, he does not really care (as long as he gets paid).

NUK_1
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Ed Drake sums it up well

Only the ignorant sheeple who were asleep in PTC during his 4 year reign of error don't recognize this as 100% accurate.

Drake was nice enough to leave out all the flip-flops of Brown's like DISTRICT VOTING, TDK(3 times even!), the Weiland/Westside issue, the Lutheran church/Walgreen issue,getting creamed by Ramsey after accusing everyone else of being either bankers or developers etc. etc.

You can totally despise Drake for his TSPLOST stand or whatever, but what he just posted here is the unvarnished truth about Brown as Mayor and since that time and how he operates. Unfortunately, there are a pretty hardcore group of morons in FC that feel like if you have a letter to the editor published you're a frickin' genius and will be a great leader.

efdrakejr wrote:

I take issue with his approach and his lack of honesty. I lived in PTC when he was mayor and got to witness his total lack of leadership which resulted in his "administration through editorial". He couldn't lead, couldn't get along, couldn't accomplish so he took to the papers week after week to whine, complain, mislead and assassinate character. It was pathetic and for that, I and about 75% of the voters, relieved him of his duties.

Miraculously, and unfortunately, he has resurrected as a commission member and I have gotten to witness his immeasurable dishonesty. Clearly, we are engaged in a very important debate on an historic referendum. One that you and I disagree on but I am always interested to read your point of view and review the data you present. Steve, on the other hand, argues through misdirection and fear. First off, he likes to present himself as a transportation expert although I can't imagine how a failed single term as mayor and half a term as county commissioner elevated him to that status. Nonetheless, with folks thinking he has some sort of expertise he has mislead them to believe the following:

- MARTA is coming to Fayette County. Anyone with any knowledge of the situation and some intellectual honesty knows that is not the case.

- TSPLOST calls for an enormous expansion of MARTA. In truth, he typically says "enormous expansion of transit" but then quickly turns the discussion to MARTA because that is the great bogeyman. A review of the project list shows that almost all of the MARTA projects are maintenance and upkeep projects. There are also studies for potential projects and the roughly 4 mile expansion of the line to CDC/Emory.

- We're all going to be forced to pay for MARTA. This is normally followed by some comment that a DeKalb or Fulton County politician made which can't be corroborated, but even if true, is meaningless. MARTA has been complete for about 37 years and Fulton and DeKalb have wanted the other metro counties to join in paying for it for at least that long. Any reasonable person though, knows that the representatives from the other counties will never go along with that.

- The TSPLOST will last for 30-40 years. I have posted, and Steve should know if he did any research, that to reimpose the tax is a four step process which includes the county governments, legislature and public all agreeing to extend it. Steve leads folks to believe that the legislature will just extend it on their own, which not only violates this bill but doesn't even reflect the legislatures history. If they were inclined to just raise our taxes to pay for transportation, then they would have just done it this time and saved us all the trouble of a referendum.

I could go on but this is not how I plan to spend my Saturday. What this leads to, not surprisingly, is total mistrust of Steve on all other issues. He may be right on most all issues facing the county but if he sat down with me one-on-one and explained the issue and his position, I would have a hard time coming away convinced because I know his history of misleading, embellishing, and demagoguing. That's no kind of man to have leading your county.

efdrakejr
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If I Take MTM's Suggestion...

and run against him some day, should I run as Ed Drake or Gene Drake? Or maybe I should be Francis, which the F stands for, and people could tell me to "Lighten up Francis", which I'm sure they would enjoy!!