Outcry against the initial plans for the rail was so strong that Cobb Commissioner Tim Lee and Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews, who represent Cobb on the Atlanta Transportation Roundtable (the group responsible for allocating nearly $7 billion in TSPLOST revenues for the 10-county Atlanta region), shifted gears. Instead of the Midtown-to-Cumberland Mall-area rail line first proposed, they persuaded the board last week to shift $176.5 million of Cobb’s allotment from the rail line to a number of road projects and to move $110 million from the rail line to underwrite creation of a “premium” bus line down the I-75 corridor.
The repositioning of revenues helps Lee clear two hurdles, or at least helps his chances of clearing them. It enhances his re-election prospects next year, which have been sagging under the weight of the anti-rail fusillade. And he and rail supporters hope the new plan will make the TSPLOST at least somewhat more palatable to voters in next year’s referendum.
So does all that mean the rail line to Cobb is dead?
But the silence from the Cobb Chamber and the Cumberland Community Improvement District about the rail delay speaks volumes. Public comments from Chamber and CID insiders since Thursday’s vote have all been supportive of Lee and Mathews.
You can be sure that if Lee’s sudden preference for “premium” bus service represented a true change of direction and meant that light rail was dead, that there would have been plenty of squawking and dire predictions from the Chamber and CID. But the “understanding” comments from those quarters are a surefire indication that an “understanding” has been quietly reached assuring them that rail transit is still very much in Cobb’s future.
MORE THAN ONE Marietta City Council member remarked on the awkwardness of Wednesday’s council meeting where Mayor Steve Tumlin presented a proclamation to Lorraine Harris, family violence director of the YWCA, declaring Oct. 27 Domestic Violence Awareness Day.
The uneasiness from some comes from the fact that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation this month into an alleged altercation between Council members Anthony Coleman and Annette Lewis. Coleman and Lewis argued following the city’s redistricting committee’s Sept. 22 meeting, at which Lewis presented a redistricting map that shifted Coleman’s majority-black Ward 5 from the north-central part of town to its southern border and excluded his residence.
On their way to the parking lot from City Hall after that meeting, Coleman allegedly cursed at Lewis and grabbed her, leaving a bruise “about the size of a tangerine” between her shoulder and chest. Coleman denies touching or cursing at Lewis. She declines to discuss the matter while it’s under investigation.
The GBI is known to have interviewed council members Johnny Sinclair, Grif Chalfant and Philip Goldstein. A GBI investigator told the Journal on Friday that the interview portion of the investigation is just about concluded.
In related news, the Journal has learned that this is not Coleman’s first time in such trouble. According to a document provided by county government PR chief Robert Quigley, Coleman was fired two decades ago from a county government job in the Information Services Department for behavior strikingly similar to that of which he now stands accused.
In an Aug. 14, 1992 letter to Coleman from H.E. Strickland, director of Information Services for Cobb County, Strickland writes that after reviewing the findings of an investigation, he was terminating Coleman based on “the incident which occurred in the Computer Center between you and your supervisor, Gary Lindsey. In the incident you physically and verbally assaulted your supervisor.”
HISTORY: George Patton Waters, grandson of the famed World War II general, will be the featured at Friday’s annual meeting of the Georgia National Guard Historical Society in the meeting room of the Marietta Museum of History, reports director Dan Cox. Waters will address the group about his grandfather. Also slated that day is an address from new Georgia Adjutant Gen. Jim Butterworth. …
Flourish Fine Antiques Gallery and Lamp Shop will host a book signing for Doug Frey, author of “Marietta, The Gem City of Georgia: A Celebration of Its Homes — A Portrait of Its People. The event will run from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the gallery at 515 Roswell St., just west of the Fairground Street intersection, reports owner David Puffer.
JANUARY’S PRESENTATION of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” at The Strand Theatre will feature many familiar faces. Headlining as cantankerous roommates will be Cobb assistant D.A. Van Pearlberg as sportswriter Oscar Madison and local attorney Bert Reeves as the fastidious Felix Unger. Rounding out the cast will be S.A. White Oil president Kim Gresh, Marietta Trolley Co. owner Cassandra Buckalew, retired businessman Steve Imler, Strand events manager Andrew Cole and local actor Murray Sarkin. And East Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott will playing one of Pearlberg’s poker pals. Directing will be Strand impresario Earl Reece.
Performance dates are January 13 & 15 and January 20, 21, and 22. Tickets can be purchased at (770) 293-0080.
THE COBB LIBRARY FOUNDATION and Life University will present “Booked for the Evening … A Literary Masquerade,” a black-tie gala, Saturday at the Marietta Country Club. Author Melissa Fay Greene will be the recipient of the Jim & Carol Ney Literary Award, and artists Mark Tetro, Susan Seydel Cofer, Linda Flournoy, Libby Mathews, Dr. Lisa Rossbacher (president of Southern Polytechnic State University) and Diane Isakson (wife of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson), will design masquerade masks that will be auctioned off throughout the evening. For more, go to www.cobblibraryfoundation.org.
POLITICS: A fundraiser for Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens is slated from 2-4 p.m. Oct. 30 at Oakhurst Lane at the corner of Whitlock Avenue and Whitlock Drive in Marietta. Attendees are encouraged to bring their costumed children. Suggested contribution per family is $100. Contact Haley McConaghy at (404) 783-8140. … A benefit cocktail party for Cobb probate judge candidate Kelli Wolk is set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at the offices of Moore, Ingram, Johnson & Steele at Emerson Overlook, 326 Roswell St., in Marietta. Host committee members include Kim Gresh, Nancy Jordan, Mitzi Moore, Tara Riddle and Darrell Sutton.
MDJ syndicated columnist Dick Yarbrough was guest speaker at Thursday’s Marietta Kiwanis Club, and didn’t disappoint. Among his targets were the City of Marietta, its Historic Board of Review, the garish yellow awning at the Lucky Draw Tattoo parlor just off the Square, and comments last week to the MDJ by the parlor’s landlord, state Rep. Judy Manning (R-Marietta). She complained that leaves from the trees downtown are clogging merchants’ gutters.
“And she added that we need to understand that ‘tattoos are the norm,’” Yarbrough said.
“I must confess that I was not aware that tattoos had become the norm. The woman who shares my name won’t even let me paint my fingernails, let alone get a tattoo,” he quipped.
“But hopefully, we will follow Ms. Manning’s lead and get rid of the trees around the Square. I look forward to the day when we will see young children playing in treeless Glover Park with tattoos on their little arms saying ‘Tattoos Don’t Clutter Gutters.’
“Councilman Philip Goldstein was disappointed with the Historic Board of Review’s decision last night because he had planned to put a yellow awning over his blue tarp and get his hole in the ground designated as a historic eyesore.”
Goldstein, a club member who was in the audience, chortled just like the rest of the crowd.