Marietta mayor undecided on whether to run again
by Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
February 05, 2013 01:17 AM | 4515 views | 4 4 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
IT HAS BEEN something of a foregone conclusion that Marietta Mayor Steve “Thunder” Tumlin will run for another four-year term in this fall’s municipal elections. But not so fast, he said in Tuesday’s “State of the City” Speech at First United Methodist Church.

“I’m going to make up my mind in the next month,” he said during the Q&A period after his talk. “Serving as mayor has been a labor of love. It’s not the best-paying job I’ve ever had, but it pays in different ways.”

Tumlin didn’t mention the elections during his comments, and his remark came in response to a question from Realtor Johnny Walker.

Joked Tumlin, “I first have to decide whether I’m going to run for U.S. Senate.”


TUMLIN’S TALK was sponsored by the Marietta Metro Kiwanis Club and was delivered to an audience of around 125 people.

Among those spotted in the crowd were Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee, Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews, Cobb Superior Court Judges Jim Bodiford (a member of the Metro Kiwanis), Mary Staley and Reuben Green, former Mayor Bill Dunaway, former Cobb Sheriff Bill Hutson, former Councilwoman Holly Walquist, bankers Joe Daniells, C.B. Fair and Ron Francis and First Methodist pastor the Rev. Dr. Sam Matthews. Councilmen Johnny Sinclair, Anthony Coleman and Grif Chalfant were in the audience as well, as was Marietta Housing Authority leader Pete Waldrep, who the mayor inadvertently introduced as a councilman.

Others included retired pastor the Rev. Sam Storey of First Methodist, who was celebrating his 70th birthday; and the mayor’s wife, Jean Alice.


TUMLIN went President Obama one better, delivering his talk with the help not of a Teleprompter, but his iPad.

“It was a free app,” an exuberant Tumlin explained afterward, adding that it was his first speech making use of the device.

Chairman Lee told AT he had been tipped off to the app by Kennesaw’s Mathews and had tried it himself at a recent talk. But he hit the wrong button in mid-talk, causing a technical malfunction, he said.

“So now I’m back to using paper copies,” he laughed. “I’m old-school.”


MARIETTA WORKERS started planting trees on Monday along what’s usually a sun-baked stretch of Church Street just off the Square.

The city will plant 27 trees between Lemon/Polk street and North Park Square/Mill Street along Church, mostly on the west side of the street, said city Parks & Rec Director Rich Buss. The project will entail narrowing Church Street by about five feet, but won’t impact the width of the driving lanes. And a block of sidewalks along Church will be upgraded to brick from concrete, he said.

The city is planting two types of trees: willow oaks similar to those on the Square; and Bosque elms, aka Chinese elms.

Councilman Johnny Sinclair adds that he’s hopeful the city can start similar plantings on Whitlock and Mill streets between the Square and the railroad tracks and on Powder Springs Street in front of Marietta Pizza.


GOV. NATHAN DEAL has named Cobb senior assistant D.A. Henry Thompson to the open seat on the Cobb State Court bench. Thompson was one of 16 applicants for the job in the Court’s Division II, commonly known as “Traffic Court.” The other two finalists recommended by the state’s Judicial Nominating Commission were assistant State Court solicitor Jane Manning and solo practitioner Mazi Mazloom. Thompson has been in the D.A.’s office since 2006 and served as lead counsel on more than 100 jury trials, with no reversals on appeal.

Thompson is a native of Carroll County. He and his wife, Deana, live in west Cobb with their four children.


LONGTIME Cobb-Marietta Water Authority board member Earl Smith, 82, says he’s about ready to step down. He attended the group’s Jan. 28 meeting but confided to the MDJ it might be one of his last.

“I’ve been on a lot of boards,” said Smith, who is a former chairman of the Cobb Commission and spearheaded the Friends of the Strand Theatre’s fundraising efforts, to name just two. “I’m real eager to encourage younger people to be involved. There have been a lot of people on the boards I’ve been on. They shouldn’t stay on the board. They’re not active. I would hope that doesn’t describe me. I’ve been involved in a lot of things. I think I’m been doing it for the right cause and not being self serving. I hope that’s a description of me. I’d like to believe that.”

Smith was appointed to the Authority by the Cobb legislative delegation.

“I’m only here until they appoint someone to replace me,” he said.

AROUND TOWN accidentally gave U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) credit for two too many birthdays in our item on Saturday about the upcoming race for U.S. Senate. Gingrey is actually 70 at the moment, turns 71 in July and would be 72 by the time he takes office should he win that race.

Gingrey made light of AT’s item during his remarks at Saturday’s Cobb GOP Breakfast, and channeled Ronald Reagan in the process.

“I’m definitely not 72, but since I lost my birth certificate in Kenya I’m not exactly sure how old I am,” he said. “But I will give a quote to the MDJ that’s accurate: If I’m in this U.S. Senate race, I promise not to make the youth and inexperience of my opponents an issue in this race.”


IMMIGRATION reformer D.A. King of Marietta says he has asked the Cobb Republican Women’s Club to stage a debate between himself and WSB radio talker Herman Cain.


COBB Sheriff Neil Warren said in a Jan. 27 MDJ guest column that he would not enforce any gun-control law he thought was unconstitutional. New District Attorney Vic Reynolds had a “get to know you” session with the MDJ editorial board the other day and was asked by Around Town if the sheriff could indeed pick and choose which laws to enforce, and whether as D.A. Reynolds planned to take the same approach.

“How about I answer the second one and not the first one?” he replied, then in a more serious vein, added, “Sheriff Warren is a personal friend and I have great professional respect for him. My job is to prosecute individuals who violate felony laws in my county, and I intend on doing that. Period.”


ETIQUETTE SCHOOL of Atlanta owner Barbara Hickey of Mableton was the recipient of the coveted Mack Henderson Award at this year’s Cobb Chamber of Commerce Banquet, and outgoing Chamber head Tony Britton in his remarks made reference to her “Honey Boo Boo fame.”

Yes, Hickey appeared last fall on The Learning Channel’s surprise hit, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”

For those who haven’t seen it, the show focuses on the Thompson family in rural McIntyre, Ga., whose lives revolve around competing in beauty pageants. It’s the latest in the long line of comedic country-meets-city culture-clash programming — in this case, sort of like “The Beverly Hillbillies” without their oil millions. Unlike that show, “Honey Boo Boo” uses subtitles to ensure viewers in, say, Seattle, can decipher the family’s twang.

Apparently looking to enhance the rural-urban contrast, the show’s producers Googled “Atlanta” and “etiquette” and Hickey’s name came up. They hired her to try and introduce the two youngest girls to the world of manners. Emphasis on the word “try.”

Hickey appeared in the show’s second episode laboring, without apparent success, to teach 7-year-old star Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson and older sister Pumpkin, 12, the finer points of using napkins, silverware and the like.

Mrs. Hickey is no stranger to children, having raised three of her own. Hickey, who ran unsuccessfully for the Cobb Commission in 2008, has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma and is married to retired Army Col. Jim Hickey.

She conceded afterward that the show’s star is “pretty lively.”

“They’re an unusual family, but they’re happy,” she said. “The girls are bright. They’re not well behaved, but they are bright.”

Keeping in mind U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s observation from his days as state school superintendent that in many Georgia homes the only book to be found was a phone book, Around Town asked Hickey if she had noticed any books in Honey Boo-Boo’s home.

“Well, they had lots of bookshelves, but I was flabbergasted. Every shelf was full of crowns.”
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Davis McCollum
February 06, 2013
Does the MAYOR have a vote of City issues...? If not, I wouldn't run again either.
Get It Real
February 05, 2013
Thoughts from a Cobb Resident:

Earl Smith- There probably are many people who would like to serve on community boards & have the Qualifications, but they don't have the "connections".

Sheriff Warren- Next time I am stopped for NOT doing 35 mph on some of our county roads because I really think they could be a 45 mph road, I am going to tell the officer that I will not obey the speed limit because I think it is wrong. Sheriff, will you make the officer tear up the ticket for me?

Mayor Tumlin-Please seriously consider running for U.S. Senate. I think you have the patience, knowledge, common sense, connection with the citizens & discretion with the comments (re:Gingrey) that are needed.

Rep. Gingrey- Please don't bother running for U.S. Senate. You don't have any of the above qualities.
February 05, 2013
Rep Gingrey Comment was absolutely correct. He does NOT have patience, knowledge, common sense,or connection to constituents. Just go away, Mr. Gingrey.

And, Mayor Tumlin, see you in church on Sunday. I always look for you. You've done well!

Just Sayin'....
February 08, 2013
Agreed...time for Mr. Gingrey to enjoy retirement.

Agreed...Mayor Tumlin sure does seem like he knows what he is doing.

Agreed....the sheriff is off base and is obsessed with the immigration debate.

Disagreed....Don't slam Mr. Smith. The connections thing is only partly true, but there are literally hundreds of groups in Cobb that would welcome your help. Once in, you'll see how easy it is to make a difference and make your own connections.
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