— Marietta Daily Journal, June 19, 2013
“Romani Gypsy family denied zoning permit for psychic reading business”
— Marietta Daily Journal, June 20, 2013
“Columnist needs a psychic to figure out what is going on”
— Marietta Daily Journal, June 22, 2013
When a group of people who make their living predicting stuff don’t know what is happening in Cobb County, what can you expect from a modest and much-beloved columnist?
I was out of town this week on business when I read in the E-Edition of the MDJ on Wednesday that the Cobb County Board of Commissioners had approved a rezoning application from a Romani Gypsy family for a “religion-based counseling” and psychic reading facility on Atlanta Road.
Despite protests from nearby neighborhoods, Chairman Tim Lee was reported as saying that those attending the meeting “should not pass judgment or dictate what is or is not acceptable outside of zoning requirements. These people have been part of the community for a long, long time, throughout the county, with no problems or complaints.”
The chairman added that over the past decade, the area of east Cobb “has boomed, it has blossomed” and said the growth had allowed Cobb to become diverse and that the Constitution protects religious freedom. The only thing missing from the soliloquy was Kate Smith singing, “God Bless America.”
Commissioner Bob Ott, in whose district the facility would be located, wasn’t nearly as eloquent. He just said he was “blind to the applicant.” I have no idea what that means but I do know that the man flies airplanes for a living — Ott is a Delta pilot — and a lot of us would be uncomfortable thinking he was taking us to Paris, only to find out that we ended up in downtown Detroit because the instrument panel on his airplane looked like a zoning application. I was going to ask the psychics if they knew what he was talking about but I found out the next day that, in fact, the commission had turned down their rezoning request.
I assume since their forte is looking into the future, the palm people probably knew that they were dealing with a commission which on a good day can be unpredictable and on this particular day was somewhat obfuscating. A later report in the MDJ said that even the opponents of the rezoning were confused and didn’t realize the unanimous decision by the board had been in their favor. Where is a psychic when you need one?
As near as I can figure, the commission did approve the rezoning request; it just didn’t approve putting a psychic-reading establishment on the property. The commission said they would prefer a medical or insurance office, an accounting or tax preparation business, a photography studio, a travel agent, a florist or a jewelry store. The commission even OK’d the possibility of a law office.
If the neighborhood thinks this one through, they may prefer the Gypsies — of which there are not that many in the county — rather than lawyers, of which there are too many.
I see this rezoning dustup as a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that the Cobb County Commission remains fun to watch and report on. While they turned down palm readers, they did approve chickens in our backyards. May our public servants continue to awe and inspire.
The bad news is that I was looking forward to working with the psychics. Junior E. Lee, who is general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located in Greater Garfield, thinks we could use some help in the predictions area. He reminded me that after inhaling too much Malathion while killing fire ants at Arveen Ridley’s place a few years back, I wrote in one of my columns that there was no way an upstart Republican state senator from Bonaire named George E. Perdue could beat powerful incumbent Gov. Roy Barnes. Junior says that proved I need to live in the present and leave the future to the professionals, like palm readers.
If the psychics could keep me from predicting things like that, Junior was willing to give them a special rate to spray their office for termites. The man is thinking all the time.
Now, it looks like that isn’t going to happen. Thanks to the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, instead of a new palm reader in the county we are left with chickens. Please understand that I have no problem with chickens. As I have said often, chickens are people, too. But I have yet to see a chicken that could predict the future. Hopefully, our commissioners aren’t blind to that fact.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.