Around Town: War of Words; Race for county chairman starting to heat up
April 10, 2012 12:00 AM | 5444 views | 6 6 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THE LATEST ROUND of campaign finance reports ignited an angry war of words on Monday between two of the candidates for Cobb Commission Chairman, incumbent Tim Lee and challenger Bill Byrne.

Former Chairman Byrne, who’s running to get his old job back in the July 31 GOP primary (his campaign stationery includes the motto, ‘RETURN and RESTORE’),” notes that Lee’s latest report turned in on Friday showed the incumbent with $54,656 cash on hand, including an $18,000 loan to himself from the Bank of North Georgia.

“This is a far cry from his prediction that he would raise between $200,000 and $400,000 for his campaign!” Byrne wrote Around Town on Monday. “This is terrible for an incumbent commission chairman in Cobb County. The support just isn’t there.”

Apprised of Byrne’s remarks, Lee responded, “Bill Byrne once again is making a fool of himself. Again, Bill Byrne is struggling with his math. In the last three quarters I have raised $133,449, and we are well on our way to meeting our goals,” he told Around Town. “I am concerned that Bill cannot add up those numbers and see what we have raised.

“Yes, we have had some expenditures to pay for legitimate campaign expenses, and you will see that in the reports. I have not paid to have my personal car worked on with campaign funds like some other candidates. The ‘loan’ in question is a line of credit that I took out for my prior special election. But it has no bearing on the simple reality that Bill Byrne has virtually no support in Cobb and his disclosures prove it.”

Lee described Byrne’s efforts as a “pathetically weak” $14,000 raised.

“In Bill Byrne’s fantasy land, the economy is still in the 1990s and somehow $14k is greater than $48k.

“It’s clear from these reports who Cobb County wants as their Chairman. It will be clearer in July, if Byrne actually has the courage to run this time. He has a long history of running his mouth and then running to hide.”

Clarification: Around Town reported Saturday that Deane Bonner of the local NAACP chapter donated $50 to Lee’s campaign. That donation was made by Bonner, not the NAACP.


POLITICS: Sam Huff of Sam’s BB1 in east Cobb will host a meet-and-greet for Sheriff Neil Warren from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the restaurant, 4944 Lower Roswell Road. Complimentary barbecue will be provided. … The “meet and greet” for commission chair hopeful Byrne at Howard’s Delicatessen in Smyrna will be from 5 to 7 p.m. April 17, not tomorrow. AT mangled the date in Saturday’s edition. ... Cobb State Court judicial candidate Gene Clark will host a “Backyard Cookout” fundraiser from 5 to 7:30 p.m. April 28 at The Depot in Kennesaw. ... 11th District Congressional candidate Michael Opitz has challenged incumbent U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) to a series of five debates.


FORMER state Rep. Hugh Lee McDaniell of Cobb was honored with a resolution from the state Legislature last month for his many years of service to our community, state and country. The Cobb native served as a sergeant in the Army Air Force during World War II in the China-Burma-India Theater and later spent five terms in the Legislature in the 1960s and ’70s. There he served as a member of the Highway Study Committee that helped design the Outer Loop. And he also built numerous subdivisions in Cobb, including Terrell Mill Estates (which was formerly home of the MDJ corporate gadfly Jay Whorton). In addition, he developed and operated the Cohutta Lodge on Fort Mountain. As his son-in-law, Charlie Crowder, put it to Around Town, “Hugh Lee is the real thing — a true American!” We couldn’t agree more.


WEDNESDAY’S City Council meeting will be the last for Ward 4 Councilman Van Pearlberg, who is resigning to run for the seat being vacated by retiring Cobb Superior Court Judge Dorothy Robinson in the non-partisan July 31st election.

The Brooklyn native, whose last official day as a council member is April 20, said he was advised that waiting until after that date to resign would move the special election to September “and I didn’t want the City of Marietta taxpayers to have to pay for a special election when they already have an election set up for July 31.”

Pearlberg’s wife, Patti Pearlberg, asset manager and in-house attorney for Coro Realty Advisory, a commercial real estate advisory firm, is running to replace him in the July 31 election. Another candidate is former Councilman Andy Morris (now a Section 8 Housing inspector for the Marietta Housing Authority). Morris first won that seat in 1997 in one of the closest elections in the city’s history, besting Van Pearlberg by a seven-vote margin.

Pearlberg, who is the deputy chief assistant district attorney, was first elected to the City Council in 2005 and is currently serving in his second four-year term. Also running for Robinson’s judgeship are Juvenile Court Judge Greg Poole and Cobb State Court Judge Roland Castellanos.


KENNESAW CHAPTER 241 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will dedicate the “Mother and Child” statue in Brown Park adjacent to the Marietta Confederate Cemetery at 1 p.m. Sunday. The event is taking place in conjunction with the many other activities slated locally as part of the 150th anniversary of “The Great Locomotive Chase” that weekend.

The dedication ceremony will feature remarks by KSU History Prof Brian S. Wills and afterward there will be living-history tours of the cemetery, reports former Marietta Councilwoman Betty Hunter, who has played a key role in organizing the event. For more, go to


SECOND-PLACE Cobb EMC board election finishers Charles Sevier and David McClellan on Friday jointly rebuffed suggestions that they drop out of the April 21 runoffs and concede the seats to Jim Hudson (Area 4) and plaintiff Tripper Sharp (Area 5).

Supporters of Hudson and Sharp have suggested that Sevier and McClellan should drop out to save the estimated $150,000 cost of a runoff vote. No-go, Sevier and McClellan said in a statement released Friday.

“Not only is this suggestion on the part of our opponents a most undemocratic action, it is a bold-faced insult to the members of the Cobb EMC who expect more integrity in the election process. To claim a mere plurality entitles you to an uninhibited road to a seat would be humorous had it not been for such a long history of corruption and mismanagement in the Cobb EMC.

Sevier and McClellan are backed by the Cobb EMC Owners Association and plaintiffs Butch Thompson and Bo Pounds. Hudson and Sharp are endorsed by all the other plaintiffs that brought the 2007 suit against the utility.

The April 21 board election, like its predecessors, will take place at Piedmont Church at 570 Piedmont Road in east Cobb.


THERE WERE COMICAL MOMENTS during last week’s hearing before Cobb Superior Court Judge Steven Schuster over Dwight Brown’s bid to be paid the $1.8 million balance of his consulting contract. At one point, Brown’s lawyer, David J. Larson, tried to convince the judge that the three-year consulting contract was necessary to allow time for a successor to take over when Brown retired as the head of Cobb EMC. But Schuster replied: “It’s not like they brought in someone from outside. Mr. Nelson has been there longer than most of us have been out of high school.”

The affable Chip Nelson, who readers know by now is the utility’s new chief executive and was sitting at the table with EMC’s lawyers, Dwight Davis and a young associate, Zach McEntyre, of the King and Spalding firm, reacted with only an amused look on his face.

A few minutes later, Larson remarked that the 2007 lawsuit “is the members’ case in many respects,” which brought a rebuke from Schuster.

“It’s their case in ALL respects,” said the judge, who reaffirmed from the bench that the consulting deal was invalid under the settlement of the 2007 lawsuit.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Harry A
April 11, 2012
I would be remiss in not pointing out that the Cobb EMC Owners Association, strayed far from the format of the original "vetting" sessions. I would also like to point out that making statements with no opportunity from the audience, as there were more than CEOA members present, to ask questions hardly provides an "open forum" to decide who should be backed. As a member of CEOA, I object to the way that the vetting process was handled, but just as Dianne Brackin was ignored when trying to make an objection, I too would be ignored by a "directed council of meeting organizers" who carried less about being open about what they were doing. It will all come out in the wash on the 21st. And Sheriann didn't run a "clean" campaign either.
wait and see
April 10, 2012
Just like the master golf tournament with Bubba Watson winning know one saw that coming.

Let Lee and Bill act like stupid kids on a play ground. My vote is for Mike Boyce Winning!!!!!
Will Wait
April 10, 2012
Boyce is a nice guy with not a spec of county experience that I have heard of. No committee, no anything. He might make a good chairman someday. Meanwhile, Lee's experience shows me serious leadership rather than caving to everything some panic over. Lee is not, as some assert, controlled by anyone or any organization. This man is very analytical and strategic. With his continued leadership, August 1 the county can go back to WORK rather than constantly defending against some ill-informed, unjustified attack. Many of us peon citizens will be happy when that happens.
April 10, 2012
@ Will Wait

Tim Lee is analytic and strategic? HA!!!!

Doesn't cave in? Again HA!!!!!

Your post just goes to show some of Tim Lee's supporters are as delusional as he is. I guess that's why they suppport him.

Not controlled by anyone or any organization? Triple HA!

I have never seen a Cobb County Commissioner MORE in the pockets of the Chamber and their special interest cronies than Tim Lee.

And I have been here since 1973.

Tim is an embarassment to Cobb County and himself.

The only other former commissioners that comes close are Joe Lee Thompson and Gordon Wysong!!!
Looking For
April 11, 2012
"TIC"- Your comment is right on.

"Will Wait"- Are you Tim Lee's campaign manager?

I do not personally know Tim Lee, Bill Byrne or any of the other candidates. But as a taxpayer it definitley appears that Lee is very chummy with the Cobb Chamber, businesses, and the so called movers and shakers in Cobb. His comments and votes appear to consider them before he considers Cobb's citizens. Not something I'm happy with. I am definitely considering someone for Commission Chairman other than Tim Lee.
Julie Smart
April 10, 2012
Judge Schuster is not going to put up with all the crap going on at EMC. He does mean business.
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