Sewer-bill flap gives Goreham opening to take swipe at Byrne
by Joe Kirby, Otis A. Brumby III and Lee B. Garrett, - Around Town Columnists
June 24, 2014 04:00 AM | 3899 views | 5 5 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WHAT STARTED OUT as a story in Sunday’s MDJ about residents angry about their bills from the county water department turned into a political story Monday after District 1 Commissioner Helen Goreham seized on the story as a pretext for a sideswipe at former Commission Chairman Bill Byrne, who’s locked in a heated primary runoff against Goreham favorite Bob Weatherford for the seat she’ll soon vacate.

The story reported residents of the Burnt Hickory Lakes Subdivision off Mars Hill Road in northwest Cobb recently were slapped by the water department with reimbursement bills of up to $7,000 each because their homes had been tied for years (without their knowledge, they say) to the county sewer system.

Goreham was quoted saying water department staff can handle the issue and she is “always open for input from the public.”

In a clarifying note to the MDJ on Monday, she added that, “If the issue could not be resolved at the staff level, then I would meet with the homeowners. In 12 years of service to the county, I have always met with my constituents upon request.”

Continued Goreham, “Actually, one could thank Bill Byrne for my ‘open door’ policy. You see, prior to my election as District 1 Commissioner, then-Chairman Bill Byrne refused to meet with me or even speak with me concerning a zoning issue. I made sure that this would not be the way that I would conduct business as the District 1 Commissioner.”

Byrne’s runoff opponent, former Acworth Councilman Weatherford, has been endorsed by Goreham. She is not seeking re-election.

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BYRNE TOLD Around Town on Monday Goreham’s “open door” comments about him were accurate, up to a point.

He recounted that he was sued by a homeowner’s group in the late 1990s in connection with a unanimous vote by the commission in a zoning case involving a school proposed for west Cobb by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. The Cobb Superior Court ruled on his behalf, Byrne said, but added that should the zoning come back before the commission, he should recuse himself. Indeed, it did come back and he recused himself, he said.

“So it passed by a 4-0 vote, and what I said was that from that point forward, I would let the district commissioner meet with homeowner groups and others about zoning cases, and I would stay neutral and meet with no one. And I kept that policy for the balance of my term in office.”

Byrne noted Goreham has endorsed Weatherford and added, “any opportunity she can take to bring discredit to me personally, she’s going to do it. I understand that. But that’s Helen Goreham.”

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WEDDING BELLS will soon be ringing for newly elected state Rep. Bert Reeves (R-Marietta) and his girlfriend of one year, Amy Owen, after he “popped the question” over the weekend.

“Our first date was a blind date at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens,” he told AT. “I had sworn off blind dates forever, but we were set up by mutual friends. I surprised her (Sunday) by taking her back to the Gardens for our one-year anniversary of our first date, and ahead of time I had my guitar placed in a private part of the gardens, and when we got there I sang a song that I wrote for her, and then asked her to marry me. She was very surprised.”

The wedding will probably be sometime this fall for Reeves, an attorney with Garrett McNatt Hennessey & Carpenter 360, LLC, and Owen, a Port Charlotte, Fla., native who’s a physician’s assistant with Pediatric Ear, Nose & Throat Atlanta.

“We are so excited and blessed!” Reeves said. “I outkicked my coverage by a long, long ways. Amy is amazing and I am one really lucky man!”

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CONGRATULATIONS to Cobb Senior Judge Conley Ingram and wife Sylvia on the birth of their first great-grandchild over the weekend; similar congratulations to Cobb Superior Court Lark Ingram on the birth of her first grandchild, thanks to the arrival by stork Friday of Lark Sullins Post in Birmingham. Little Lark weighed in at 7 pounds, 19-inches and is the daughter of Lark and Eric Post.

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PEOPLE: Late Marietta Mayor Dana Eastham was posthumously inducted earlier this month into the Phillips Academy at Andover’s Athletics Hall of Fame in Andover, Mass. Eastham compiled a record of 35-1 as a wrestler at Andover, then later was so dominant on the mat he was selected by Brown University as one of its “100 Greatest Athletes of the Century” and inducted into its Hall of Fame. Eastham went on to be selected as first alternate on the 1956 U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling Team. After moving to Georgia he spent 20 years at Lockheed and was elected to two terms as mayor and two as a councilman. Earlier inductees into the Andover Sports Hall include former President George H.W. Bush.

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CONDOLENCES to Tricia Pridemore on the passing yesterday of her father, Ralph “Skinny” Robinson, of cancer at his home in Hamilton, Ohio. Robinson was the retired owner of a trucking firm. …

Condolences as well to retired Cobb Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Lynda Coker on the death of her son Michael on Friday. A celebration of his life will be 3 p.m. Thursday in the chapel of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church.

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MARIETTA lawyer Tom Browning has been elected new chair of the board of directors of The Atlanta Lyric Theatre. Other new officers include The School Box president David Persson of Kennesaw as treasurer. They’ll join current board members Lynn Stevens of Marietta and Kathleen McCook of Austell, reports director/GM Brandt Blocker.

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TWO LOCAL VETERANS are planning a press conference in Smyrna today to ask 11th District Congressional candidate Barry Loudermilk (R-Cartersville) to drop out of the race in the wake of allegations he has indulged in what they describe as “resume inflation,” so to speak, regarding his Air Force service.

Retired Army Col. Larry Mrozinski, who ran unsuccessfully for the 11th seat and since then has endorsed the other runoff candidate, Bob Barr of Smyrna, and retired Army pilot/Vietnam veteran Bill Stanley, will meet with other veterans at the Smyrna Veterans Memorial by City Hall at 10 a.m.

Stanley, who headed the Veterans Committee for unsuccessful 11th candidate Tricia Pridemore and since then has endorsed Barr, penned a letter to the MDJ last week in the wake of a recent candidate debate in which he accused Loudermilk of exaggerating his military accomplishments. Stanley and Mrozinski say Loudermilk has displayed “a consistent pattern of embellishment of his military service.”

Loudermilk’s camp has disputed Stanley’s assertions.

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MORE POLITICS: Former 11th District Congressional candidate Ed Lindsey of Buckhead has endorsed Jack Kingston in the GOP runoff for U.S. Senate against political newcomer David Perdue.

“The stakes could not be higher. In the balance is control of the United States Senate. Whether Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats maintain their control may come down to our race in Georgia. That is why it is imperative that Republicans put our first team on the field by voting for Jack Kingston. Jack is not a ‘David-come-lately’ in the fight to advance Republicans and Conservatives in Georgia,” Lindsey said. ... Cobb Superior Court judicial candidate Ann Harris will host a fundraiser from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at The Brickyard, 129 Church St. in Marietta. ... Lance Lamberton, chairman of the Cobb Taxpayers Association, has endorsed Byrne for Commission.

Comments
(5)
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Samuel Adams
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June 26, 2014
Let's see: Loud, Mathis, Prillamin, Connell...who else has commented on this story about Bill and Helen?

This county does not need any more Shadow Government! Check out Atlanta Magazine article about how chamber controls puppet commissioners and Cobb staffers. Pathetic. And this county passes for a Republican run county that's efficient and honest? Right. Just cronyism and backroom deals. Thanks Chamber and ignorant citizens. If you want more, just vote Weatherford. If you want to see a good fight, vote Byrne.
Byrne no go
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June 24, 2014
Bill Byrne was already a commissioner, and from what I recall, he was horrible. He didn't listen to the people in his district and was shady at best. This is what is wrong with politics. They come through once, and recycle around. People recognize the name and think that should be the candidate. He won't get my vote! Pleas Out with the old and in with the new!e research before you vote!
WestCobb Voter
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June 24, 2014
Helen is just a shill for the Chamber and Tim Lee now, I want an elected person running the County, not the Chamber. Weatherford is on the Chamber payroll too...he is in favor of the BRT (he claims he does not have enough information to take a stand) that means a yes vote on BRT if elected.....BEWARE west Cobb
Old Timer
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June 24, 2014
You might want to refresh your memory about Byrne.

1. He kept property taxes incredibly low.

2. Earned Cobb a AAA bond rating, they still have

3. Was able to get rid of school taxes for homeowners over the age of 62.

Oh yeah, from what I have heard, Bob Weatherford supported the TSPLOST and now supports a new version called BRT.

p.s. He did not have a district, he was the CHAIR for the entire county....
its still stinks
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June 25, 2014
Old Timer

You forgot the mess Byrne left us holding the bag on called the state of the art composting facility which cost us millions in tax dollars but never worked.

How he and Wysong cost us the olympic venue with their anti-gay "family values"

How he made Hankerson "Czar" and he is still milking the County of money for not doing anything other then making good employees leave.

How he was paid off by buying a horse farm in Polk County for a minimal sum of money.
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