Cobb not perfect, but no one does it better
by Dick Yarbrough
Columnist
March 16, 2013 12:00 AM | 1529 views | 12 12 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dick Yarbrough
Dick Yarbrough
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Twenty years ago this week, I was in the midst of one of the worst blizzard in our state’s history and dealing with poobahs from the International Olympic Committee who were here to express their concerns that our summer heat could be dangerous for the athletes competing in the 1996 Olympic Games. I think that blizzard was one of God’s greatest practical jokes.

Two decades later, the sun is shining and I am as mellow as fine wine. For one thing, I will never have to deal with that crowd of egomaniacs in the IOC again and, two, I have been reminded of how blessed we are to live in Cobb County.

If you think things aren’t going well in Cobb, I suggest you look at the recent events in DeKalb County where Gov. Nathan Deal has had to replace six members of the school board after the State Board of Education recommended their removal. DeKalb has been placed on probation by an accrediting agency, citing mismanagement and infighting among the nine board members.

Even in the fractious days of John-John (Abraham and Crooks — remember them?) when the Cobb County School Board resembled a traveling circus, nothing like what has happened in DeKalb occurred in Cobb. Not even close.

DeKalb isn’t the first county school board in the metro area to face loss of accreditation. Clayton County’s school board lost theirs in 2008, although they later got it back after cleaning up their act. And then there is the Atlanta Public School System and their cheating scandal that still hovers over the place like a toxic cloud.

Fulton County is in what seems to be all-out war between the majority of members of the county commission (black Democrats) and the majority of the county delegation in the General Assembly (white Republicans) with citizens of both races caught in the middle.

Gwinnett County’s reputation has taken a major hit because of some questionable dealings between politicians and developers. Two county commissioners, a planning commissioner and a zoning board member have been involved in allegations of bribery and one commissioner is currently serving prison time after being convicted.

Back to Clayton County: Last November, the locals in their infinite wisdom elected as their sheriff a man who faces 32 felony charges including theft and racketeering. Victor Hill, first elected sheriff in 2004, was ousted after one term before being re-elected and has since lost his certification as a law enforcement officer, which means he can’t arrest anyone. Nice.

To my knowledge, there are no scandals brewing among our elected officials. You are blessed to be reading a newspaper that would nail them to the wall if they were even thinking about betraying the public trust. Dumb, we will tolerate. Dishonest, we won’t.

Chamber statistics provided me by David Connell, president and CEO of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, show that Cobb possesses the most-educated workforce in the state, the lowest property taxes in metro Atlanta by a wide margin and one of the lowest crime rates.

Maybe that is why we have attracted such corporate giants as Home Depot, Genuine Parts, Novellis, the Weather Channel, Race Track, Inc. and, of course, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

We boast the third-largest university in Georgia, Kennesaw State; the largest technical school in the state, Chattahoochee Tech; the largest chiropractic school in the world (Life College) and Southern Polytechnic State University, one of the best technical and engineering schools in the Southeast.

We have the largest integrated health care system in Georgia in WellStar and the largest doctors’ network/private practices in Georgia. If anybody feels compelled to have to go to Malfunction Junction, aka, the City of Atlanta, for reasons that escape me, there is easy access to three Interstates and the roads go both ways, meaning you don’t have to stay there and watch the sewers not work.

We are home to — in my opinion — one of the best court systems in the state. In the arts world, The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is a jewel, as is the Strand Theater as are the host of art galleries and museums around the county.

Yes, we have problems. Who doesn’t? The IMAGE initiative was bungled by the commission and illegal immigration remains a problem. The economy has made for some tough political decisions, including quality of life issues. And, of course, there is the occasional dust-up on the school board.

Still, I think many of our neighbors in adjoining counties would take our problems in a heartbeat and give us theirs just as quickly. We will just have to tell them “No, thank you but you can come live with us.” We aren’t perfect in Cobb County but I don’t see anybody doing it any better.



You can reach Dick Yarbrough at yarb2400@bellsouth.net or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.
Comments
(12)
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Papermill gal
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March 17, 2013
We are in real big trouble when Dick Y. is getting his stats from David Connell and the Chamber bow tie tuxedos.

Right, we aren't all the other counties, but things are still rotten in Cobb. John Crooks on the EDSPLOST advisory board? Chamber fatcats running the commission chair? CIDs putting their considerable funding behind election campaigns elevating regional interests above our local ones?

Dick, I love you, but maybe you are getting too tired to see these things? Or maybe it's just too hard to see them from the beach.
C. Smith
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March 17, 2013
I agree with you so much, it really brings tears to my eyes. Yes, Cobb has it problems as ALL counties do, but there is nowhere else on earth I would rather live and I am proud I raised my children here. I was brought up here and it hurts my soul to hear people slam Cobb when I know in my heart what a great place it is. We as a county are facing the same problems everyone else in this country is facing and immigration is one of them, yet this is an issue to be resolved by level-headed people and lots of people are not level headed as you are (as I am, see me dust off my shoulder hem-hem). I agree with you so much, I wish I could put a banner in my yard to the continuous Cobb slayers comparing to life somewhere else, "No, thank you but you can come live with us." Cobb County is without a doubt the envy of all surrounding counties....always has been and always will be. Always has been and always will be as long as there are people such as yourself (and me, hem-hem) around. And I am not crooked. And nobody is paying me. I am as honest as the day is long. And I don't defend illegal immigration. Far from it. I believe in liberty and justice for all. Even them da__ Yankees that moved here. When I was born here, dang it, we all fit into the same mold.
Kevin Foley
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March 18, 2013
Spoken like a true hick from the sticks, C. Smith.

Good citizenship means looking at things critically. Can they be improved? Are there better ways to do things? You equate questions like these with hating Cobb. Utter nonsense and the exactly the sort of atttitude that prevents civic growth and development. But then, some folks just like to be stunted.

"Nobody does it better" than Cobb County? Seriously?

amen brother!!
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March 16, 2013


(and I don't usually agree with you, but there is no escaping this sad reality)

Yep, Cobb now stands for poverty. It spreads like a cancer!

Ain't nuttin' gonna turn this 'hood around. Too late!

Austin, here I come!!

Pay For Austin
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March 17, 2013
Need money gettin' to Austin? Hear to help out, yous here? Yous hear? You ain't got nuttin' enough money to leave this 'hood? I do! I can help! Even though I lives in poverty, I have 'nough to help you gettin' out-a-hear! It ain't too late! I guess it is, yous says "Austin Here I come!" I guess yous done went there! Blessed me, Lilly Mae, the house next dor' done went up fo' rent. Lawd, Lilly Mae, this cancer done left us, praise be the gloree to God! Ain't it be a shame, Lilly Mae, we done run off anoth'a one.

StupidIs
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March 17, 2013
If you could be so intelligent to check your facts, Cobb is the most affluent county in metro Atlanta.
Hey Austin
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March 17, 2013
Glad to hear you are moving. If Cobb stands for poverty in your opinion with its median income of $65,423 and the median income of Travis County in Austin is $55,452, we do need to get stupids such as yourself out of here. There ain't nuttin' gonna cure stupid.
Kevin Foley
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March 16, 2013
The IOC wasn't the only outfit featuring ego maniacs, Dick. There were quite a few of them at ACOG as I recall.

Anyway, saying Cobb is the best county in the metro area is like saying Timbuktu is the nicest town in Mali. I've lived in many counties over the years, from coast to coast and in between, and I can assure you a lot of them had better schools, better infrastucture and better services, especially the ones run by Democrats.

You talk like there are no consequences for low property tax rates. As I advised Roger Hines when he wrote his chamber of commerce column, take a ride around unincorporated Cobb if you want to see what your low property taxes buys you.
C. Smith
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March 17, 2013
Amen, Kevin. This one bit somebody in the behind. This is exactly what I said when a Cobb County hater tooted with glee as a slam against Cobb that "Fulton is lowering taxes." I pointed out that Fulton did not say it was lowering taxes, it said it was proposing to lower property taxes for homeowners. Thank you for clarifying and for making a horse's rear out of yourself and the Cobb hater that said this. Have a great day.
anonymous
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March 17, 2013
Spoken like a true jerk.
AmericanMale
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March 17, 2013
"I've lived in many counties over the years, from coast to coast and in between"

Keep moving!
Mike Woodliff
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March 17, 2013
I've driven all over the county and in some of the unincorporated areas there are massive, beautiful homes. You can find poverty anywhere if that's your mission. You are truly a "glass half empty" guy.

Since you brought democrats into the discussion, take a gander at Dekalb county and its problems if you think they do such a great job.

As much as you complain about Georgia and Cobb and Smyrna and Marietta, one cannot help but wonder why you live here. I think Timbuktu is calling you.

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