Commissioners to hold hearings on IMAGE and chickens tonight
by Jon Gillooly
January 22, 2013 11:29 AM | 3856 views | 30 30 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print

MARIETTA – Tonight residents have the chance to sound off on the first of two public hearings addressing controversial code changes on the employment of illegal immigrants and owning backyard chickens.

Community development director Rob Hosack says the county always considers code changes at this time of year.

Anyone who shows up at the 7 p.m. meeting will have a chance to address the Board of Commissioners for three minutes each. In past years, such hearings have gone well into the night depending on how many people turn up to speak.

Hosack expects the IMAGE (immigration) and chicken topics to be the ones that people most want to talk about.

Immigration activist D.A. King of the Dustin Inman Society says IMAGE protects jobs and involves an ICE audit of past hiring records that exposes fraudulent and stolen IDs used by illegal aliens to get hired, including Social Security numbers.

“Directly connected to illegal immigration, identity theft is one of the nation’s biggest and most costly crime problems,” he said.

The county itself is already IMAGE certified, which stands for ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers.

The code change would require all contractors doing business with the county to apply for federal IMAGE certification.

IMAGE is a voluntary partnership initiative between the federal government and private sector employers designed to strengthen overall hiring practices.

ICE has developed this initiative as a new concept for employer self-compliance within the work site enforcement program, through which employers can achieve a “lawful work force” through self-policing of their hiring practices.

Participants in the IMAGE program are required to use E-Verify, an online employment eligibility verification system operated jointly by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration, as the first of its 12 best practices.

The other best practices go beyond electronic verification to help employers who seek to maintain the integrity of their work sites.

IMAGE places an emphasis on self-policing in a company’s hiring practices. By following the prescribed steps of IMAGE, a company could lessen the likelihood of being found in violation of employment laws.

Sides lining up

The proposal has the backing of Commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell.

“If the proposal goes forward, folks will have to provide an affidavit that says they have submitted an application for the IMAGE program and that they intend to comply with all of the requirements of the IMAGE program by a date certain,” Hosack said.

Commissioner Helen Goreham has previously told the Journal while she wants to examine the exact language of the proposed code change, “in theory,” she also supports having contractors and subcontractors who do business with the county become IMAGE certified because it ensures that citizens of the U.S. are afforded job opportunities that might otherwise go to illegal immigrants, “and in today’s economy it’s very important that our citizens are gainfully employed.”

If she sides with Ott and Birrell, the code change will pass.

Newly elected Commissioner Lisa Cupid and county Chairman Tim Lee have said they are still researching the issue.

The Journal asked both Lee and Goreham at this morning’s work session if either were ready to go on record supporting or opposing the IMAGE proposal. Neither were.

Immigration activist D.A. King of the Dustin Inman Society said he will be in attendance to speak in favor of the proposal, which is opposed by Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, who calls it “Big Brother at its worst.”

King said, “Like most Americans in Cobb, I still support the requirement that all contractors paid with our tax dollars take advantage of the no-cost federal IMAGE certification program. And I know why Tim Lee doesn’t. Follow the money. Exposing black-market workers that used stolen ID to take a job away from American workers is a priceless concept for most of us.”

King believes Lee is opposed to the IMAGE program and that Goreham is turning against it as well.

“On our way to becoming another DeKalb County, I am sickened to watch as Tim Lee flip-flops on his campaign promise to extend the use the IMAGE job-saving tool to all county contractors,” King said in an email. “It is also alarming that less than two years until the next election, Commissioner Gorham may have backed up on her determination to prevent a repeat of the scandal we endured on the illegal alien workers at the Cobb Courthouse. With the usual suspects, IMAGE has all the right enemies, including the contractors lobby, the Cobb and state Chamber and angry Jerry Gonzalez. Oh, and Rich Pellegrino. Way to go Tim Lee.”

Crowing about chickens

King encouraged voters who are concerned about protecting jobs in Cobb to attend tonight’s meeting.

“It will be quite an eye opener,” King said. “They can read the wording of the pending ordinance on my MDJ blog.”

Joseph Pond of east Cobb has led the movement to change the code for allowing backyard chickens. Currently, residents may only have chickens if they have two or more acres of property. The code change would require residents who want chickens and who live on less than two acres of property to apply for a special land use permit, Hosack said.

Pond said he will be speaking tonight as well.

“I applaud Bob Ott and Helen Goreham for their efforts on changing this 40 year old out of date ordinance, however the plan that the planning department has come up with is totally unreasonable requiring a special land use permit to own a chicken or a hen when we already can own as many dogs, cats, potbelly pigs as we want to,” Pond said. “That’s not a clearly reasonable ordinance as defined by the Georgia State Constitution.”

Pond said he is encouraging supporters to turn out tonight as well.

“I am encouraging everyone I know whether they are a chicken supporter or property rights supporter to come tonight,” he said. “I’m expecting a good showing. Not as much as DA King is going to have with his followers, but we’ll be there.”

Birrell, who is not a supporter of allowing backyard chickens on fewer than two acres, joked during the morning work session that she planned to call in sick with the avian flu to avoid hearing about the subject tonight.

Tonight’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the boardroom at 100 Cherokee St., Marietta.

Comments
(30)
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Tori Spelling
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January 25, 2013
Please I would like to have 3 chickens. We are upscale, progressive, responsible adults, not the poor minorities you are afraid of. We want pets that feed us breakfast. It is an unhappy person that meddles in their neighbor's business.
Money Motivated
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January 25, 2013
Having applied for a SLUP, I can tell you that this move is money related. A SLUP cost me $1900, $300 of which I got back. A SLUP requires a survey of your property ($600), posted signs and a hearing. This is a money-making issue, designed to keep lower income people from owning poultry, and most people in general.

WHAT ABOUT COYOTES?
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January 23, 2013
How many more coyotes will the chickens draw?
Joseph Pond
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January 23, 2013
The coyotes are here now, eating your stray dogs and cats. Why do think that coyotes would try to break into a properly constructed coop to get a chicken when there are much easier meals available?
Anon111
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January 23, 2013
About the same as small dogs and cats do.
Coyote Coexistence
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January 25, 2013
Coyotes are here to stay; we all need to learn how to live with them. Responsible chicken owners will protect their chickens in coops with fencing(not the mis-named chicken wire).

http://www.coyotecoexistence.com

7:30 pm, Tuesday, January 29 – The Druid Hills Civic Association is sponsoring an informational presentation to address Coyote Management in the Atlanta area. Alternatives will be offered to the trap and kill method which provides only a temporary solution and creates long-term negative consequences. The presentation will be at the Church of the Epiphany, in the parish hall, 2089 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia.

There will be three speakers:

Mary A. Paglieri, a consultant with Little Blue Society in the San Francisco area. The Society specializes in human-animal conflict resolution, and Mary is the Director of Program Design and Implementation.

Chris Mowry, an associate professor and head of the biology department at Berry College. A former resident of Druid Hills, Dr. Mowry has studied coyotes in the southeast and Yellowstone National Park, and he is currently talking with local and state officials about a proposal to study coyotes in Atlanta.

Chip Elliott, a coyote trapper who has been working throughout the metro Atlanta area for over 20 years. He was recently hired by private citizens to trap coyotes in Druid Hills.

The speakers will be followed by a generous Q&A period.

Recently, trappers have been hired by individuals who felt they had no alternative. Mary Paglieri has been brought in by the community group Coyote Coexistence, (website: coyotecoexistence.com) which brings into focus the desire and need for a new approach to coyote management. The Coyote Coexistence group has launched a petition calling for a more humane solution based on science, observational research and education. Please go to the Coyote Coexistence website for more information on coyotes and to sign the petition.coyotecoexistence.com
Rats and Mice
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January 25, 2013
A lot of people in Cobb County feed birds. Birdseed attracts rats and mice, which attract coyotes. I'm okay with that.

Getagrip2
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January 22, 2013
Welcome to modern day Cobb county, Mr. Pond. It's the place where your neighbors can make all the racket they want to, so long as they do it with the conventional equipment they love so much, like leaf blowers, motorcycles with no mufflers, etc,. But let somebody like you get noticed for a noise not so conventional in nature, and voila.... your property lines vanish , and the property you thought you owned is now controlled by your neighbors, for the good of the " community".

Don't waste your time fighting it. There are just too many meddlesome people here with nothing better to do than complain about their neighbors, to have any chance at reclaiming your property rights. Find some place else to go where there is a lower concentration of malcontents.

Kristin Picken
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January 22, 2013
"Two extremists" and "Go buy a farm" you spent a few seconds of your day making snark-y comments about people owning chickens in this article. Meanwhile people were lining up to speak tonight at the Board of Commissioners meeting in favor of changing the code to allow more people to have poultry in Cobb County...
Kate in Cobb
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January 22, 2013
Wow, some people seem very ignorant regarding chickens. I grew up in the suburbs with pet chickens. They were neither noisy or smelly. There is a huge difference in a factory farm and backyard chickens. Dogs are a much greater nuisance than a few chickens. Even woodpeckers and most song birds are noisier than a few chickens. If you want restrictive covenants there are plenty of HOAs in Cobb that will decide the style of your landscaping and mailbox. Chickens are no big deal. Can't believe this is even an issue.
Tough Standards
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January 23, 2013
It is critical that tough standards and distances are set before neighborhood chickens are allowed. Chickens are not the resilient animals many people believe they are. They get mites. They get lice. They get impacted with eggs they are trying to lay or if their diet is inadaquate and their eggs become soft, at times they break in the abdomen. Respiratory disease is very common. Neurological diseases such as Marek's, can kill entire flocks and vaccination can only occur when the bird is less than two weeks old. Many owners do not want to pay for a vet and deseases flourish. Coccidia and giardia are common in chicken poop. Salmonella is normal on eggs and in bird excrement. In some breeds, foot infections are hard to cure. Chickens require more care than putting them out back and throwing them some scratch. Backyard owners in many cases believe chickens will take care of themselves, and won't have health problems and if they do die a new one can just be bought as a replacement.
Coyote Slim
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January 23, 2013
I hope to see chickens everywhere in Cobb! More food for us and it willdraw us to your yard! Thanks!
Anon111
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January 23, 2013
The majority of your issues, Tough Standards, are found in large corporate farming situations, and are very rare in small backyard hens.
Ron McClellan
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January 22, 2013
Hmmmm,

I read the terms of service, violated none, and yet my posts aren't there. Oh well, honesty and forthrightness freaks some folks out I suppose.
Yeah right
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January 22, 2013
I love all the chicken defenders saying that the birds don't make any noise... Tell that to the rooster that use to wake me up every morning.

Yeah, yeah, I know your going say that's just the roosters, but I suppose no one is going to breed them are they?
chickenfanin cobb
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January 23, 2013
But that's the difference between chickens and roosters. Chickens don't make any loud noises, roosters do. The chicken controversy is to be able to raise them for the meat and eggs. You don't need a rooster for that.
Anon111
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January 23, 2013
Roosters are not considered for urban locations, ever. You don't need roosters for eggs.
A neighbor
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January 22, 2013
I am glad you are not my neighbors:-) You could not hear the chickens nor smell the chickens from his yard, yet alone the neighbors house. The fact of the matter is, this is about personal property rights. This is about personal rights and freedoms that are being stripped from us daily. If the noise or smell is ever a problem, there are ordinences to address them, just as there is for dogs. Please educate yourself on matters before speaking, it makes you appear smarter:)
Robert Johnson
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January 22, 2013
So Tim Lee has openly sold out to the big business illegal labor lobbyists, Helen Goreham is trrorized by the same people and is flipping her support back to big money and throwing the unemplyed workers under the bus. My own commissioner, Lisa Cupid is silent. So much for the representive of "the people".

It makes me sick to my stomach.
King nails it
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January 22, 2013
This says it asll. But it won't stop the glossy photos of Tim with his idiot followers in the COBB magazine.

“On our way to becoming another DeKalb County, I am sickened to watch as Tim Lee flip-flops on his campaign promise to extend the use the IMAGE job-saving tool to all county contractors,” King said in an email. “It is also alarming that less than two years until the next election, Commissioner Gorham may have backed up on her determination to prevent a repeat of the scandal we endured on the illegal alien workers at the Cobb Courthouse. With the usual suspects, IMAGE has all the right enemies, including the contractors lobby, the Cobb and state Chamber and angry Jerry Gonzalez. Oh, and Rich Pellegrino. Way to go Tim Lee.”

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Commissioners to hear about IMAGE chickens code changes tonight
The Truth
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January 22, 2013
King, your lips are moving but nothing is coming out!
House of Americans
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January 22, 2013
The word is that the people who call job protection activists "extremeists" are the same people at the Chamber of Commerce who are threatening Helen Goreham with an opposition candidate if she does not formally flip flop on her original promise to vote YES on IMAGE. She already voted YES last May for IMAGE for Cobb.

Oh, Helen...we can see you! As for Tim Lee: complete garbage. Can you say RECALL?

Go buy a farm
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January 22, 2013
Mr. Pond, do you give a flip about your neighbors? How about the noise and stench from your chickens?
Kennesaw Chick
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January 22, 2013
With all due respect Go buy a farm, how on earth can you question that which you have no knowledge? I am referring to your noise and stench question. I can however state most certainly there was no stench from his chickens.
Joseph Pond
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January 22, 2013
All of neighbors, except one, loved my birds. The neighbor that turned me in said, erroneously, that the birds would hurt her property value. She also had other, unrelated issues with me. My hens could not be heard over neighborhood dogs, and they did not stink.

Backyard Chickens are allowed in downtown Atlanta, and every other major city. Any change in the Code would not affect anyone living in an HOA. Current ordinances would govern any issue with undue noise, or sanitary issues.

Property Rights are very important to me, as is setting a good civic example for my children. I also use my real name when posting to the paper.
Ron McClellan
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January 22, 2013
Actually, Chickens aren't particularly noisy. I've know folks who had some hens and the neighbors didn't even know . . .despite them having them for nearly a year at the time. And reasonably well cared for birds, ya can't even smell them standing five feet from the cage.

And Roosters make FAR less noise over the course of a day than even an average dog.

When you speak about that which you know nothing about, your ignorance is laid bare for all to see. I suppose that's why you hide behind a pseudonym.
Ynot Hoa
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January 22, 2013
Why does Cobb County even have a chicken ban?

Cobb County, of all the places in these United States, should allow for local control on something so fundamentally Conservative as property rights.

If you just plain do not want chickens next door, you surely already ceded your property rights voluntarily to an HOA, so we should leave chicken restrictions to the HOA.
Two extremists
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January 22, 2013
Mr Pond I will send you a few dozen eggs if you would just go away. You and DA can hang out together and eat the eggs rathet than making sure you make the lives of others miserable. I am glad neither of you are my neighbor.
chicken raised
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January 22, 2013
I grew up in Cobb with chickens in our back yard. Five chickens were more than enough to feed us, a family of 5, eggs every morning. There was no stentch unless you were physically inside of the pin. The only time they made a noise was if somebody/something went into their pin, or they laid an egg. It was the equilivent to a dog barking for about 30 seconds-2 minutes, then it stopped. I would be ok if there were limits on how many you could have if your lot is less than 2 acres, acres, but it really isnt a big deal to have a few chickens. Some of you have yapping dogs that are way more annoying than a chicken.
Ron McClellan
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January 22, 2013
He doesn't want you eggs. He wants his own. I'd imagine he is glad you aren't his neighbor either. If you have a dog, or cut your grass with a power mower, run a weedeater, etc., you are putting forth far more noise for your neighbors than Mr. Ponds hens would. Stench isn't even an issue with less than 100 well-maintained chickens. You can stand five feet from my pens on a hot summer day and barely smell a thing. My neighbor, who lives a straight line 86 feet from my coops, has never even smelled them . . .ever . . . in years.
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