U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey’s election night party will be at Marietta Pizza Company on the Square, starting at 7 p.m. Commission Chair candidate Bill Byrne’s party will be upstairs at Shillings starting at 6:30 p.m. Cobb Clerk of Superior Court candidate Rebecca Keaton will be partying at The New York Deli on the Square starting at 7 p.m. And Superior Court judicial candidate Judge Greg Poole will be hosting his party at Simpatico.
What about the other candidates for commission chairman? Incumbent Tim Lee’s party will be at The Embassy Suites on Chastain Road near Town Center mall. Challenger Mike Boyce will be partying in the heart of east Cobb at the Paper Mill Grill, 305 Village Parkway. And the third challenger in that race, Larry Savage, will be at the Arena Tavern at Town Center, 2475 George Busbee Parkway. Savage’s party starts at 7 p.m., and he told Around Town he’d be there “until the numbers either show the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.”
SPEAKING OF AGONY, Justin O’Dell, who’s running as a Democrat for the Statehouse seat representing Fair Oaks, already has endured his share. We’ll let him tell the story:
“We have personally knocked on over 2,000 doors in six weeks. (Sunday) night I noticed that I have walked the heel of my rubber-soled dress shoes completely off on one side. The crooked heel has been causing me pain in my knees when I finish walking. So, I took out a large outdoor hunting/fishing knife and intended to trim down the heel. The knife slipped and I got to spend the evening in the ER. Five stitches in one finger and missing a knuckle on another.”
O’Dell was awaiting word on Monday as to whether surgery would be needed.
UNLIKE MOST OTHER local elected officials, U.S. Rep. Gingrey (R-Marietta) never went public with his position on the TSPLOST. His failure to take a stand led to the following exchange during Sunday’s televised Atlanta Press Club District 11 candidate debate hosted by Georgia Public Television. (The debate also featured fellow GOP congressional hopefuls William Llop of Sandy Springs and Michael Opitz of Marietta. Among the questioners was Jon Gillooly of the MDJ):
Gillooly — “Mr. Congressman, your colleagues U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss and Congressman David Scott have all weighed in on how they will vote on the TSPLOST. You told me last month you were undecided, and your PR person last week basically ducked the question when I asked her whether you had made up your mind. Don’t you believe the voters in your district have the right to know where you stand on what state Sen. Chip Rogers of Woodstock calls ‘the greatest tax increase in Georgia history’?”
Gingrey — “Jon, I’ve had the opportunity to vote. I voted last Monday and am no longer undecided on that issue. But I have felt all along that since the legislators passed the (TSPLOST) and submitted it to the people and gave individuals the opportunity to vote for or against it, I would say democracy of the highest order, and for me to interfere with that process when knowing that this is a very divisive issue and that individuals on both sides feel very, very strongly on this issue, either pro and con, it would be very inappropriate indeed for me to weigh in on that either way to try and influence their final decision.”
Gillooly later followed up by asking Opitz, “What does it tell you about Dr. Gingrey that he won’t tell us how he voted on the TSPLOST?”
After a pause, Opitz indicated he felt Gingrey had voted against it.
“I think he just told us how he voted on the TSPLOST,” declared Opitz, who declined to say more.
Replied a suddenly animated Gingrey: “Surprise, surprise, but I was very careful not to tell how I voted or how my wife voted or my children. So if he is suggesting I have been untruthful, I’ll be happy to have him go back through the transcript.”
DURING THE CANDIDATE VS. CANDIDATE portion of the debate, Gingrey asked Llop why, if he was a Republican, had he made a financial contribution to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards in 2004 and also voted for him.
Llop’s muddled response: “One of the problems we have today is that in Georgia you can only vote in the Republican or Democratic primary. In 2004, I thought the Republican primary would have been better served to have that candidate represented by the Democrats against George Bush.”
IT WAS AN SRO CROWD at east Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott’s TSPLOST townhall at Mt. Bethel UMC last week. One of the pro-referendum panelists was WSB traffic reporter “Captain Herb” Emory, who got a laugh when he mocked the heavily anti-TSPLOST crowd with the quip, “Vote it down! That way I’ve got more job security!”
INSTEAD of presenting Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed with a “key to the city” at last week’s pro-TSPLOST rally at the Smyrna Community Center, Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon gave Reed a pound cake from McEntyre’s Bakery, an institution in “The Jonquil City” for 60 years.
THE “AGINNERS” had the edge in Monday’s MDJonline.com poll, which asked “Do You Support the TSPLOST?” Seventy-four percent of the 480 people who responded voted “no.” Twenty-two percent said “yes” and 8 percent were “undecided” in the unscientific poll.
THE ATLANTA BAR ASSOCIATION released its poll last week rating candidates in metro judicial races.
In the race to succeed retiring Cobb Superior Court Judge Dorothy Robinson, traffic court Judge Roland Castellanos was rated as “Best Qualified for the Position” by 79 respondents; with 66 giving that rating to Cobb Juvenile Court Judge Greg Poole. The third candidate in the race, senior assistant District Attorney Van Pearlberg, was rated “Best Qualified” by 25.
In the race that pits incumbent Superior Court Judge Rueben Green against Nathan Wade, 118 of those who responded rated Green as “Best Qualified,” while 19 gave that honor to Wade. …
Poole Friday picked up the endorsement of Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren. … Retired Cobb Sheriff Bill Hutson has endorsed Tim Lee in his bid for re-election. … State Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Austell) has endorsed Diana Eckles, who’s running in the Democratic Primary for the District 41 statehouse seat representing Fair Oaks.
WORLD WAR II hero Dutch Van Kirk, the sole surviving crew member of the Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, will be back in Marietta for a series of appearances Aug. 11 to 12 to benefit the Aviation Wing of the Marietta Museum of History.
Van Kirk was the navigator on the historic flight recently penned a book, “My True Course,” on his experiences.
He will sign copies of the book at the Aviation Wing from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. both days and will give a lecture at 4 p.m. Aug. 11 in the Virginia Tumlin Community Room on the first floor of the Kennesaw House, which is home to the museum. Book cost is $40; and tickets to the lecture are $5 for members and $10 for non-members. Reservations for the lecture are required due to limited seating. Call (770) 794-5712.