Around Town: With today’s election Cobb passes a milestone
by Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
November 06, 2012 12:00 AM | 4758 views | 2 2 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
COBB PASSED a notable milestone on the eve of today’s General Election, one that points to the continuing evolution of its demographics. That is, the number of African American active registered voters in Cobb passed the 100,000 threshold for the first time in history, according to data from the Georgia Secretary of State.

There are 101,978 black registered voters, according to the state, the most ever and up from 93,889 in November 2008.

African Americans now make up 24.5 percent of the county’s registered voters, up from 23.6 percent four years ago.

There are 266,401 white registered voters in Cobb, or 64.1 percent. That percentage is a record low for Cobb and is down from 68.2 percent four years ago.

The number of white registered voters in Cobb peaked in November 2008 at 271,122.

Cobb’s current voter rolls also include 11,039 self-described Hispanics (2.7 percent), 8,431 Asians (2.0 percent), 191 Native Americans (less than 0.1 percent) and 27,561 “others,” (or 6.6 percent), who could be other ethnicities or mixed.

Black registration in Cobb saw a huge surge in 2008, propelled by the candidacy of Barack Obama, growing by roughly 20,000 between January and November of that year. This year saw a much smaller increase, with the number of black registered voters swelling by roughly 12,000 between January and November.

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IT’S HARDLY A SECRET that Cobb’s demographics have shifted dramatically in the past decade and those changes are reflected in the voter numbers.

Cobb’s electorate was still overwhelmingly white in November 2000 (80.3 percent to 16.0 percent), with 264,780 registered whites and just 50,861 registered blacks.

In the 2004 (Bush-Kerry) election the ratios were 75.1 percent white and 19.7 percent black.

And in 2008 (Obama-McCain) the ratios had changed to 68.2 percent white and 23.6 percent black.

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ALSO NOTABLE is the total number of registered voters. Cobb had 415,601 registered voters as of Nov. 1, the most for any election in its history, according to data compiled from the state. That number is up from 397,334 who were registered for the 2008 presidential election. Cobb ranks third statewide in terms of total active registered voters behind Fulton and DeKalb.

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COBB’S SUPERIOR COURT judges will elect a new Cobb Juvenile Court today from a field of 23 candidates. The new judge will succeed Greg Poole, who won election this summer to Superior Court.

Applicants for the job are Cobb assistant District Attorney Ann Harris, Tonya Boga, Cindy Alter, John Brocard, Judy Brown Allen, Tyler Browning, Patricia Buonodono, Roland Castellanos, Sara Clay, Sanders Deen, Scott Halperin, Jeffrey Hamby, Randy Harris, Douglas Hill, Joyette Holmes, Cathy Lyon, Luke Mayes IV, Tim Reed, Kevin Rodgers, Carletta Sims, Melinda Taylor, Henry Thompson and Jason Treadaway, according to Cobb Superior Court Administrator Tom Charron. The judgeship pays $146,000.

The new judge, whoever it is, will join Judges Juanita Stedman, James Whitfield and Joanne Elsey on the Juvenile bench. Stedman is one of four finalists for the seat on the Superior Court bench created by September’s retirement of veteran Judge George Kreeger. The finalist for that judgeship will be chosen by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Today’s selection will be made by the nine Superior Court judges in Judge Robert Flournoy’s Jury Room, Charron said. The deliberations will take place behind closed doors.

“We’ll send up a plume of white smoke when they’ve made a decision,” quipped Charron.

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LOCKHEED MARTIN workers got their first look at (and Mariettans got their first listen to) an F-35 Lightning II fighter jet on Monday when a completed F-35B landed at the plant just after noon.

The jet was built at the LM plant in Fort Worth and touched down in Marietta with test pilot Al Norman at the controls en route to the Patuxent Naval Air Station in Maryland, where it will be stationed for further testing pending deployment to Edwards Air Force Base in California.

About 400 people work on the F-35 program at the Marietta facility, assembling the center wing and applying the stealth coatings on the horizontal and vertical tails, according to Steve Blake, director of F-35 production at the plant. The plant is crafting approximately one center wing per week, he told Around Town.

Hundreds of workers took advantage of Monday’s balmy weather to stroll outside the B-4 Building to have an up-close look at the jet, where it was on display.

The short takeoff/vertical landing variant of the F-35 will be flown by the Marines, Navy, Air Force and Italian Navy.

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RETIRED Admiral James O. Ellis Jr. of Marietta was one of 500 retired generals and admirals who purchased a full-page ad in Monday’s Washington Times supporting the election of Mitt Romney. Said the ad, “We, the undersigned, proudly support Governor Mitt Romney as our nation’s next president and commander-in-chief.”

Ellis is a 1965 graduate of Marietta High School and later commanded the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. After retiring he headed the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations at the Galleria, from which he retired earlier this year.

Ellis is serving as Grand Marshal of Saturday’s Veterans’ Day Parade in Marietta.

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POPULAR Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren has won few friends among supporters of illegal aliens in this country, thanks to his being the first sheriff in Georgia to use the federal 287(g) program, which has resulted in more than 10,000 illegal aliens arrested in Cobb on other charges to be been turned over to the Immigrations and Custom Enforcement.

The free Spanish-language weekly “La Visión” put him on the cover of its latest edition and penned a story that says he enjoys deporting illegals. Among those quoted are Open Borders activist Rich Pellegrino of the Cobb Immigrant Alliance.

Unfortunately for “La Visión” and Pellegrino, although there are undoubtedly many thousands of Hispanic residents in Cobb, legal or otherwise, only 2.7 percent of them are registered voters (see above), and Warren is expected to coast to an easy victory today over Democrat Gregory Gilstrap.

Responded Warren to Around Town on Monday, “Since the inception of the 287(g) program, Rich Pellegrino and Jerry Gonzales — both supporters of amnesty and open borders — have accused me and my staff of profiling and enforcing laws for political gains. They have misrepresented to the Latino community that I am responsible for the deportation of illegals who have committed a crime in our community when the truth is that is the decision of a federal immigration judge.

“It is my job to enforce the laws of this state and I do not waste my time meeting with people who are not truthful and have their own agenda. As long as I am sheriff I will utilize any resource, including the 287(g) program that will help me perform my duties.”

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RETIRED Air Force Brig. Gen. Dan Cherry, an alumni of South Cobb High School, will be guest of honor at the Marietta Museum of History’s upcoming “My Enemy, My Friend” Veteran’s Day event.

Cherry piloted F-4 Phantom fighter jets during the Vietnam War and on April 16, 1972 shot down a MiG-21 after an intense five-minute aerial battle, and he watched as a parachute deployed from the downed fighter. After the war Cherry was a commander of the Air Force Thunderbirds, Commander of Moody Air Force Base and commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing flying the F-16.

Thirty-six years later curiosity got the better of Cherry and he tracked down and met the pilot he had shot down, Hong My.

His new book, “My Enemy, My Friend,” is the story of that reconciliation and friendship. It also tells of the later reconciliation between My and U.S. pilot Lt. Col. John Stiles, who My shot down. Both Cherry and Stiles will be at the Marietta event, which will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Museum at 1 Depot St., in downtown Marietta. The cost is $25 per person and $20 for museum members. For more information or reservations, call the Marietta Museum of History at (770) 794-5710.
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Richard Pellegrino
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November 13, 2012
Secondly, as far the Sheriff coasting to an easy victory, he has refused to meet with anyone of color, including local civil right leaders, showing his disdain for nearly half of the community, and the people spoke with their vote: the Sheriff's opponent got over 100,000 votes (40 %) without even campaigning…not much of a vote of confidence in a Sheriff who has been around for years and has made being tough on immigrants his trademark and claim to fame.

So, when it comes to the immigration issue, according to the nation, including national Republican leaders, it appears that Sheriff Warren, Governor Deal, Sam Olens, Chip Rogers, Matt Ramsey, Rich Golick, and their cronies, are on the wrong side of history, just as George Wallace, Bull Connor, Herman Talmadge and others were, and that will sadly be their legacy if they don’t change, as Wallace eventually did and asked for forgiveness.

Bottom line: America, Georgia & Cobb has changed and is changing...as is the world... away from a white, wealthy, male dominated society which was largely controlled by exploitation and exclusion, to one which is reflective of the wonderful diversity of humanity and is more characterized by equity and inclusion. This is the real exceptionalism of America, as the President stated--our incredible diversity, unlike any other society. This election reflects that and eventually--very soon--Cobb & Georgia will catch up with the 21st century and this realization.

Richard Pellegrino
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November 13, 2012
First of all, if we are going to speak of untruths why would these editors and the Sheriff constantly speak untruths about advocates for immigrants labeling us as "open borders" advocates when we were the only ones (now joined by Evangelical Conservatives and all of the national Republican leadership) calling for a Comprehensive Immigration Reform law at the Federal level which includes heightened border security. This legislation, because it includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have earned the right to stay here (now supported by the majority of Americans and all those I listed above) is opposed by these same accusers--so I guess you are the "open border" advocates and the advocates of lawlessness. (Surely the Sheriff is because all local and most national law enforcement professionals are against his policies.)
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