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 firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.