Around Town: This & that with politics atop the agenda
August 19, 2013 10:03 PM | 3595 views | 0 0 comments | 103 103 recommendations | email to a friend | print

COBB Regional Republican Women will play host to U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Paul Broun at their meeting Wednesday, slated for 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Williamson Brothers’ BBQ on Roswell St. U.S. Rep. Broun (R-Athens) is part of an already crowded field seeking to succeed retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).

Meanwhile, another Senate hopeful, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, is on a “Doctor’s Orders: Defund and Defeat Obamacare” campaign swing through coastal Georgia this week that takes him to Brunswick today and Kingsland tomorrow.

Gingrey was the leading vote-getter in Saturday’s U.S. Senate straw poll at the annual Floyd County Republican Party rally in Rome. Gingrey, who formerly represented the Rome area in Congress, netted 34.4 percent of the 113 ballots cast.

Coming in second was former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel with 26.7 percent, followed by Broun with 18.3 percent, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) with 13.7 percent, Dollar General CEO David Perdue with 5.3 percent and conservative activist Derrick Grayson with 1.5 percent. Bringing up the rear was businessman Eugene Yu, who received no votes.


GEORGIA School Superintendent Dr. John Barge of Smyrna will announce “within three weeks” whether he will run next year against Gov. Nathan Deal, writes the MDJ’s Dick Yarbrough in his latest syndicated column. For more on his interview with Barge, see his column Wednesday.

CONTROVERSIAL Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz. — an outspoken advocate for tough enforcement of the country’s immigration laws who is often interviewed by Fox News and CNN — has endorsed Bob Barr of Smyrna in his quest for the 11th District congressional seat representing parts of Marietta and northwest Cobb.

“I’ve always stood tall against those who would take away our lives, our property and our freedom. And it’s important to support others who will do the same thing. That’s why I have endorsed my friend, former Congressman Bob Barr, in his bid to return to the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia’s 11th District. … We need that toughness in Washington now more than ever, whether it’s fighting Obamacare, immigration amnesty, runaway government spending, or dangerous cuts in our military programs. I know Bob personally and have worked with him — he will deliver; he has before and he will again.”

“And that’s why America’s Toughest Sheriff is endorsing America’s toughest Congressman, Bob Barr.”


ON TOUR: A delegation from Cobb is in Cleveland this week having a look at its BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system. Chairman Tim Lee has made clear that he wants the county to build a $1.1 billion BRT line in the Cobb Parkway corridor.

On the trip are Jason Anavitarte of Kaiser Permanente, Holly Bass of Cobb Travel and Tourism, Steve Byrne of Mauldin and Jenkins, Cobb Chamber President David Connell, Jim Croy of Croy Engineering, Cobb DOT Director Faye DiMassimo, Ed Ellis of Kimley-Horn and Keith Golden of the Georgia DOT.

Also along are James Hudgins of ARCADIS, Wade Kelly of Atkins North America, Bob Lewis of Mobile Media Enterprise, lawyer Ben Mathis, Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews, Greg Morgan of Mauldin and Jenkins, Seth Millican of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Malaika Rivers of the Cumberland Community Improvement District, Josh Rowan of Jacobs Engineering, Mike Salvador of Kennesaw State University, Mary Lou Stephens of the Town Center Area CID, Greg Teague of Croy Engineering, and Deborah Wilson of Kimley-Horn.


TWO Cobb commissioners will have town hall meetings this week. First up is Bob Ott from 7 to 8:30 p.m. tonight at Mt. Bethel United Methodist on Lower Roswell Road. Thursday night it’s the turn of JoAnn Birrell from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Mountain View Community Center on Sandy Plains Road. The Comprehensive Transportation Plan will be the focus of her meeting.


PEOPLE: Retired Master Sgt. Stanley C. Lester of Warner Robbins, 89, father of retired Army Lt. Col. Rick Lester of Marietta, was presented by the French government with its “Legion d’Honneur” medal and by the U.S. government with a Bronze Star medal in a ceremony Friday at the Atlanta History Center. Sgt. Lester landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day as a member of the First Infantry Division and was presented years ago with the Silver Star for heroism he earned that day. But the Bronze Star he earned for heroism the next day was snared for decades in red tape until his son asked for help from U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).



CONGRATULATIONS to actor/author Ric Reitz of Marietta, who has been elected president of the Atlanta chapter of The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Actors. Reitz was a leader in the effort a decade ago to persuade the state Legislature to pass tax incentives that truly put the state on the map for film and TV production. He also serves on the board of the Governor’s Film Commission.


NEXT WEEK’S 100TH ANNIVERSARY of the Aug. 25, 1913 conviction of Leo Frank for the murder of “Little Mary” Phagan of Marietta provides the hook for the latest in the long parade of retellings and analyses of the case, which can be found in the latest edition of NYC-based The Jewish Daily Forward.

It was penned by reporter Paul Berger, who spent several days in Marietta and Atlanta this summer interviewing people and visiting the sites associated with Phagan’s murder and the subsequent lynching of Frank two years later near the site of the present-day Big Chicken. Frank is believed to be the only Jew ever lynched in this country.

Among those from Cobb that Berger talked to while researching his 3,000-word story were Phagan’s grand-niece and namesake Mary Phagan Kean, former Gov. Roy Barnes, assistant Attorney General Van Pearlberg, Rabbi Steven Lebow of Temple Kol Emeth, Marietta Councilman Philip Goldstein, MDJ editor emeritus Bill Kinney and the MDJ’s Joe Kirby, although not all are quoted.

Berger’s account paints Frank in a sympathetic light, but quotes Steve Oney (author of arguably the most authoritative account of the case, “And the Dead Shall Rise,”) saying that “so much evidence has been bungled, destroyed or lost since the murder that to be able to say with 100 percent certainty that Frank is innocent ‘would give me a power of clairvoyance that I don’t have.’”

Berger notes that Cobb was home to about 25,000 people at the time of the murders, and that it now has grown to 700,000, including a Jewish community of about 8,000 families. Berger doesn’t say as such, but it’s quite possible that Cobb’s Jewish population today is larger than the county’s entire population was back then.

As Gov. Barnes told Berger for the story, “(Cobb has been) changed so much by the influx of new people that it’s almost like a fairy tale that the lynching ever occurred.”

There was an unreal quality about the proceedings even as they were unfolding, according to Frank, Berger says. Berger reports that Frank was visited in his Fulton County jail cell in March 1914 by the Forward’s founding editor, Abraham Cahan, who told Frank he wanted to explain to his readers what it was like to be an innocent man sentenced to death.

Cahan later wrote in his Yiddish-language memoirs that Frank pulled out pencil and paper and scrawled, “The whole story seems like a dream to me. It seems to me that I’m observing it from the side; it belongs to somebody else, not me. For the moment, I feel no fear at all.”

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