It remains to be seen whether Goreham's dissent will help or hurt her, politically. She argued that the commissioners should first make a comprehensive analysis of revenue sources and come up with a fiscally balanced plan before voting on another SPLOST.
Many critics have argued the SPLOST proposal is not lean enough and is unlikely to be approved by voters during such painful economic times. Others have noted that SPLOST spending has become an entitlement to many elected officials, rather than the "special purpose" tax it was designed to be.
MEANWHILE, one courthouse observer noted, "You have to give Tim Lee credit. He managed to pull this chestnut out of the fire when it looked like he might have to back off the four-year plan," (which actually was originally unveiled this fall by Lee as a six-year plan).
But it's not certain the chestnut won't roll back into the fire. While Lee and staff, with prompting from other commissioners, may have done a pretty good job trimming the list of projects, they may have made a mistake by not cutting the SPLOST to three years and thereby enlisting the support of the Cobb Tea Party. Had they done so, and had the measure passed, then another renewal could be pitched to voters in three years, by which time the economy should be stronger and voters might be more receptive than at present.
Instead, Georgia Tea Party board member Tom Maloy of Powder Springs said the party would actively oppose the four-year SPLOST. He said it is "still way too large, way too long and the project list is full of fluff."
He said the Tea Party would actively oppose the SPLOST.
"What we told the commission is that we could have supported a reasonable SPLOST, but this is far from reasonable," he said.
Of course, nobody knows how strong the Tea Party really is in Cobb, but it has shown some muscle in statewide and congressional district races. It is the first time, to AT's knowledge, that the party has decided to take on a local issue, but one seasoned politico said it wasn't worth the risk to ignore such potentially tough opposition.
"I believe I would have cut that deal with the Tea Party and told them, 'I expect to see you on the stump with me for this SPLOST.' I guess Tim Lee figured he could beat the Tea Party. It's going to be real interesting to see if he can," the politico said.
Lee managed to add Powell, Ott and Thompson to his list, but apparently decided there was no necessity to add the tea partiers. Is he underestimating the strength of the tea sippers? We'll know in March whether that omission translates to a lump of coal for the tea partiers - or for Lee.
AROUND THE HORN: It's December, which means it's time to celebrate two traditions - Christmas and another state football championship for former Marietta High School standout Jess Simpson.
Simpson led his Buford Wolves to their fourth consecutive state title a week ago today with an overtime victory over Calhoun in the Class AA championship game at the Georgia Dome.
To say that Buford's statistics for this decade are astounding is an understatement. The title is Buford's seventh since 2001 - winning the first three under former Marietta High coach Dexter Wood, the last four coming under Simpson - and the Wolves' eighth overall title. The Wolves overall record for the decade is an amazing 140-6.
Since Simpson took over as head coach six years ago, his record at the Gwinnett school is an equally amazing 82-4.
Simpson played for Wood at Marietta and played at Auburn University from 1989-91 for Pat Dye. Wood left Marietta to take the Buford job in 1994 and Simpson served as an assistant coach there under Wood for 10 years before succeeding him as the Wolves' head coach in 2005. After winning the 2008 state championship, Simpson was chosen for the Touchdown Club of Atlanta's annual Wright Bazemore Award, symbolic of the state's top high school coach.
Simpson is married to another Marietta native, the former Tricia Collins, and the couple has four children, three boys and a girl. His parents are Howard and Carol Simpson of Marietta.
IN CONJUNCTION with guest columnist Melvyn Fein's piece on Kennesaw State University president Dr. Dan Papp, ("Chancellor Papp? Loss for KSU would be gain for the state," Dec. 9) the MDJ conducted an online poll asking whether or not Papp should be the next chancellor of the University System of Georgia. Out of the 543 votes received, a surprising 68 percent said no, with the remaining 32 percent saying yes.
MARIETTA COUNCILMAN and senior assistant Cobb DA Van Pearlberg will co-star in next month's production of "The Sunshine Boys" at the Strand Theatre on the Marietta Square. Co-starring with Pearlberg as one of a pair of aging vaudevillians will be local actor Murray Sarkin. The play - which will be familiar to many from the award-winning 1970s movie version that starred Jack Benny and George Burns - will be directed by Strand impresario Earl Reece. Others in the cast will include assistant DA Bert Reeves; S.A. White Oil Co. President Kim Gresh; Historic Marietta Trolley owner Cassandra Buckalew; former Marietta Mayor Bill Dunaway; retired businessman Steve Imler; and Strand Event Manager Andrew Cole.
Shows will be Jan. 21 and 22 with tickets $25. Contact the box office at (770) 293-0080.
EAST Cobb's Mitchell Kaye, who served in the state House from 1993-2003, emailed AT this week that former east Cobber Thom Tillis has been chosen as the next speaker of the North Carolina state legislature. Tillis was an early supporter of Kaye before moving to Cornelius, N.C., in the late 1990s.
Tillis's GOP has a 68-52 edge over the Democrats in the House there.
Kaye, a longtime small-business appraiser, also told AT that nowhe is director of sales for Galilee Church Seating LLC, and is the exclusive rep for the Israeli-made church pews.
MARIETTA CITY SCHOOLS teacher Melanie Farmer is retiring Dec. 22 after 30 years.
Farmer will be joining her husband, Pratt, on Grand Cayman Island, where he moved in October to work in marketing. Before he moved to the British-owned Caymans in the western Caribbean, Pratt had a long career in real estate in Cobb County.
Melanie Farmer began her Marietta teaching career in 1980 at Hickory Hills Elementary School, working there for eight years and then at A.L. Burruss Elementary, where she has taught for 22 years. She now teaches kindergarten, but she has also taught first grade.
Farmer said she will miss both her teaching colleagues and students. Her favorite part about the profession, she said, is teaching children how to read, which she also lists as her biggest accomplishment.
"Just seeing that spark in their eye when they finally get it," Farmer said. "If you can't read you can't do anything."
Burruss Elementary Principal Julie King, who has worked with Farmer for 22 years, said she is one of the most outstanding teachers among the people she has ever met, and that she will miss her leadership in the school community. Farmer is known for mentoring new teachers and going above and beyond her classroom duties, King said.
"She treats children and adults with great respect," King said. "She is probably the most selfless person I've ever known."