Around Town: TSPLOST ad drive didn’t generate much bang for the buck
by Otis Brumby, Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
August 14, 2012 12:38 AM | 5847 views | 14 14 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MUCH WAS MADE by both sides regarding the $6.5 million war chest raised by those touting passage of the July 31 TSPLOST referendum. As we now know, it was money down the proverbial drain, as the TSPLOST was rejected by most regions of the state, including metro Atlanta, where it garnered only 247,970 “yes” votes, or 37 percent.

While some of the dollars raised here by Untie Atlanta and the other pro-TSPLOST groups were no doubt used to fund ads that ran elsewhere in the state, it would appear that the campaign spent roughly $26.21 for each vote it received. Not much bang for its bucks in the metro region, in other words.

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A FULL LIST of the companies that donated to the ultimately unsuccessful $6.5 million ad campaign touting TSPLOST can be found online at the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission’s web site (ethics.ga.gov) by searching under committee reports for Citizens for Transportation Mobility, Inc., the group chaired by Dave Stockert, CEO of Post Apartment Homes.

Four entities — Georgia Power; the Austell-based Yancey Bros. Co.; Cox Enterprises; and the Georgia Highway Contractors Association Inc. — each gave a quarter of a million bucks toward the effort. Marietta’s C.W. Matthews Contracting gave $200,000, and the Coca-Cola Company gave $187,500.

The National Association of Realtors not only gave $185,000 in cash, but nearly $100,000 in data work, “persuasion models,” and other in-kind support.

Delta Air Lines and the Home Depot each kicked in $150,000, and Vulcan Materials, which has its home base in Birmingham and which operates an asphalt plant and quarry in Kennesaw, gave $105,000.

At least eight firms gave $100,000 each, including Atlanta-based Cousins Properties; AGL Resources; AT&T of Atlanta; Newell Rubbermaid; Post Apartment Homes; Siemens; Turner Broadcasting System; and UPS. Caterpillar contributed $75,000.

Seven companies made donations of $50,000 or more. Among them were financial firms Bank of America; SunTrust Bank and Wells Fargo; plus Cumberland-based Holder Construction Group; Bombardier Transportation; GE Power Systems; and AECOM Technology Corp., of Virginia.

The Georgia Association of Realtors gave $37,609.

Six firms gave checks totaling $25,000: Atlanta law firm of Alston and Bird; AMC Inc. of Atlanta; the Bank of North Georgia; United Distributors Inc., of Smyrna; Norfolk Southern Corp.; and the Metro Atlanta Chamber. The latter also gave tens of thousands of dollars in in-kind services. Arcadis Engineers gave $15,000, while Cobb-based Hardin Construction gave $11,000.

Coca-Cola Enterprises, which makes its home near the Galleria, gave $10,000, and CEO John Brock added $5,000. And two other firms located in Cobb also gave $10,000: Edwards-Pitman Environmental Inc., of Smyrna; and Heath and Lineback Engineering, of Marietta. Those giving about $5,000 included the Cobb Association of Realtors; Graphic Packaging, of Marietta; Hemma Concrete, also of Marietta; Cumberland-based Multimedia Technologies Inc.; and Kennesaw’s Nova Engineering. Chatham Landscape Services, of Marietta, gave $1,000.

The Indian Hills Country Club in east Cobb gave $3,000 and Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead $1,000.

Former Georgia Attorney General Michael J. Bowers made a personal contribution of $250.

And Stockert, in addition to heading the group, donated $5,000.

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THE “CITY OF EAST COBB” trial balloon floated last week by Cobb Commission Chairman candidate Bill Byrne continues to draw fire with Election Day just one week away. Initial reaction to his proposal was generally negative, with many questioning not just the need for such a city but where the funding for it would come from. Wrote one former municipal official to Around Town, “A new city would need to fund a city council, structures, planning and zoning staff, code enforcement and more. A tax increase would be needed to fund these. Where would the money come from to fund these city essentials? A tax increase! The entire campaign Byrne has advocated himself as a small-government conservative and against any tax increases. … And Byrne stated ‘East Cobb has always been enormously involved in the decision-making process, particularly with regards to infrastructure and zonings.’ If this is the case, why would Byrne want to add another tax-increasing layer of government on the citizens in east Cobb if, admittedly by Byrne, they already play ‘an enormous role’?”

And then there’s this, which was hand-delivered to Around Town on Monday from a tenured local office-holder: “Rumor has it that Byrne missed his ‘Egotists Awareness’ meeting and used the time to come up with his ‘new city’ idea. He supposedly likes the names ‘Bedminsterville’ and ‘Byrnetown.’”

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EARLY VOTING is already under way for Tuesday’s runoff election, and 835 cast such ballots on Monday, according to Cobb Elections supervisor Janine Eveler. … Incumbent Chair Tim Lee will hold a free “Family Fun Day” from 10 to 2 on Saturday at the home of Jerry and Ann Mann at 144 Durham St., Marietta. … Sheriff Neil Warren and former Sheriff Bill Hutson have both endorsed State Judge candidate Marsha Lake.

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THE MARIETTA CITY COUNCIL’s 14-member Vision 20/20 Committee is filling up. The Council formed the committee in July at the behest of Mayor Steve Tumlin. It is charged with examining such topics as railroad quiet zones, downtown tree canopies, trash management and parking.

Tumlin has appointed Theresa Jenkins, head of the Marietta Welcome Center; Councilwoman Annette Lewis appointed John Rossiter, a tenant of Councilman Philip Goldstein; Councilman Grif Chalfant appointed high school science teacher Pic Petelle; Councilman Johnny Sinclair appointed former car dealer Lloyd Hildreth, Councilman Andy Morris appointed Marilyn Massey, a sales rep for a school textbook manufacturer; Councilman Anthony Coleman appointed Leon Leak, a member of the North Marietta Neighborhood Association, and Councilman Jim King appointed former mayor Bill Dunaway. The council also selected Kelly Contreras of Marietta Pizza Co. to represent restaurant operators in the downtown area and will select one representative for downtown retailers.

The Downtown Marietta Development Authority gets to appoint two members to the committee, although at its Thursday meeting the DMDA failed to take action. The Downtown Branding Project also gets to appoint a member, which it has yet to do, according to Stephanie Guy, city clerk.

The churches in the downtown selected Phyllis Miller, director of administration at Marietta First Baptist, as their rep.

Tumlin said he wanted the committee to begin meeting in mid September.

“There are three or four people I probably would not have put on there, but others I see their value,” Tumlin said, adding, “It’s good to have as many different outlooks as you can.”

Several council members have balked at King’s appointee, saying Dunaway would cause dissension thanks to his reputation for personal attacks. One said King appointed Dunaway to “get him off his back” because the former mayor wouldn’t leave him alone. Another sniped that King was Dunaway’s favorite council member as mayor, rewarding King with multiple appointments to serve on the Board of Lights and Water.

Coleman said he didn’t understand the appointment.

“There’s going to be a lot of dissension there, I would think. I already see it coming, boy. Oh, man!” Coleman said.

King dismissed the allegations as “lies.”

“If I have to explain to you the value Bill Dunaway will bring to the committee, then I would really have to question your analytic abilities,” King told an MDJ reporter.

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A BOOK-SIGNING is slated for 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Marietta Hilton on Powder Springs Street for Patricia Richards, author of the just-published “Perseverance, Hope and Faith: A True Story of One Woman’s Amazing Journey Through Life.” Richards’ autobiography recounts how she raised five children in Marietta, usually by herself, and living at times in the Fort Hill Homes public housing project on Lemon Street. She enrolled in Kennesaw State University in 1997 at age 62, earned her undergraduate degree in 2003 and followed up with a master’s degree in public administration from KSU in 2006 at age 73. Ms. Richards is the mother of retired Marietta High School head football coach Friday Richards.

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AILING: Retired Cobb Public Safety director Bob Hightower is in ICU at WellStar Kennestone Hospital after a fall this weekend.

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“THE BEST OF BROADWAY” musical revue at the Strand got rave reviews last weekend and tickets remain for the final three shows this Thursday-Saturday. Call (770) 293-0080 for ticket info. ... Saturday’s Dog Days Run sponsored by the Rotary Club of east Cobb raised $50,000, reports spokesman John Furman.

Comments
(14)
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JR in Mableton
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August 14, 2012
Isn't this a free market success story? Companies are free to support initiatives of their choosing. The people had the opportunity to decide and did decide.
No Puppet
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August 14, 2012
Chairman Lee definitely stands for what he believes, even in the face of such opposition. Puppets don’t do that.

Of course, Mr. Lee doesn’t go as far as Byrne who admits to being the “lone enemy”, beginning ".... with the Governor, Gov. Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, you have the Speaker of the House David Ralston, you have our own Attorney General Sam Olens, and you have the Secretary of State (Brian Kemp). Those are the five most powerful Republicans in the state of Georgia.”

If that is not enough to show you how difficult this man is to get along with and what it would look like to be Byrned again, “Then you add on to that the Chambers of Commerce plural, and the two CIDs, and all of the people you’ve just mentioned, which are all tied to those people or those groups, and the battle is between all of them and me….. and they will not be welcome, and they know it ….”

Wake up Cobb County! This would be a disaster!!
URKiddingRight?
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August 15, 2012
"Lee stands for what he believes in."

HA!!!

Lee believes in what he is TOLD to believe in!!

There is a big difference.

As far as the Chambers, the two CID's and the other people that Byrne would not welcome. I'm fine with that.

Aren't they the ones that who are continuously trying to sell Cobb taxpayers down the river?
TIC
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August 14, 2012
$250,00 from Georgia Power.

Well that explains the Cobb Chambers' unwavering support of the TSPLOST scam (David Connell Chamber Prez worked for GP for 20 some odd years and apparently still does), which in turn explains Tim "the puppet" Lee's unquestioning obedience to the Chamber's instructions.

Julie Smart
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August 14, 2012
Larry Burke would be the most logical one for the job if the citizens knew him and his ease on the bench. He is the most fair and partial candidate on the bench. He sat on the bench so long assisting traffic judges, he is often recognized as a sitting judge and the most qualified. The sitting judges would always call Larry before they would call Marsha Lake. Ms. Lake has always come off appearing as a snob and being better than anyone else...........Just sayin.
just the facts
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August 14, 2012
We need a judge like Marsha Lake who is IMPARTIAL and not partial as pointed out.

I did see the campaign flier with the picture of Mr. Burke and the Sheriff. It does seem that Larry is trying to imply that the Sheriff is endorsing his campaign. Got to wonder if Mr. Burke is willing to make the same short cuts as a judge. I would hope not... but not really sure

Larry must have a very red face right now, trying to explain why he used the picture of the Sheriff, without his ok.

West Cobber
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August 14, 2012
Marsha Lake is clearly the most qualified. She has experience as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney. Look at her TRUE endorsements: Fraternal Order of Police, Sheriff Neil Warren, former Sheriff Bill Hutson, Retired Court of Appeals Judge Alan Blackburn... The folks who work in the courtrooms know who needs to be making the rulings.
Julie Smart
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August 15, 2012
Larry is still the best one............period.
To Julie
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August 15, 2012
sounds like you are kind of 'partial' to Larry. lol
Egotists Awareness
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August 14, 2012
Gotta love that local official! Did anyone besides me watch Lee enjoying ALL of the crowd at the Swordsman's Ball as he had relaxed evening around the room and grumpy old Byrne looked Byrned out as he sat in one spot hoping people would come pay homage to him?? I thought it might be a Byrne crowd due to his wife's involvement but much humbler Lee seemed to be friend to all.
Scratching my Head
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August 14, 2012
Why would State Court candidate, Larry Burke try to make it look like he was endorsed by Sheriff Neil Warren on his campaign literature? He has an picture of the Sheriff and himself on his flyer yet the Sheriff has actually endorsed Marsha Lake and even made a robo call for her this past weekend.

Mr. Burke, seemed to have this same problem of 'puffing up his resume' 10 years ago when he ran using the title Judge. He was officially reprimanded for this action then.

Maybe if Mr. Burke would fill out the personal financial disclosure paperwork, required by law to collect money, he would be taken as a serious candidate.

Finally, Burke should not have agreed to use a campaign manager who is also acting as the campaign manager for Woody Thompson. This division of the campaign manger's time may have cost both candidates a chance to be elected.
Voter in East Cobb
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August 14, 2012
I thought Woody was a Democrat but his campaign manager hangs around Republican events with a camera.
Blue dog Dem
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August 14, 2012
I do not think you are correct about John d. being a Republican. He led the Democrats in their pledge to the flag last Sat., our monthly meeting. He seems very loyal to our cause.
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