Heavy fallout from “Snow-pocalypse” continues a week later. For Gov. Nathan Deal, his actions that day and since have turned into the biggest test yet of his leadership, although we suspect snow will be the last thing on most voters’ minds by the time of this spring’s primary and next fall’s election.
Deal appointed a “Governor’s Severe Winter Weather Warning and Preparedness Task Force” on Monday to advise him on ways to avoid snow snafus like last week’s. Three of the group’s 31 members are well-known Cobb residents:
- Marietta School Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck, who has won plaudits for her handling of last week’s storm, and who spent Tuesday night at her desk;
- Ed Crowell of north Cobb, president and CEO of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association; and
- Georgia state Sen. Steve Thompson (D-Marietta).
It will be chaired by Bart Gobeil, chief operating officer at Deal’s office; includes Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth of the Georgia Department of Defense and also has as members meteorologists Glenn Burns of WSB, Markina Brown of CBS, Ken Cook of Fox 5 and Chesley McNeil of 11 Alive.
The group is expected to issue a report within 60 days.
MANY COBB RESIDENTS continue to be sharply critical of county School Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa’s decision to head home at mid-afternoon last Tuesday when it was already clear that traffic was at a standstill and that stranded students at numerous schools for the evening were a distinct possibility.
As MDJ columnist Don McKee pointed out on Monday, Hinojosa undoubtedly was able to keep tabs on things at home via phone and email. But his early departure — and his statement the next day that he would not have done anything differently in retrospect — have rung hollow with many Cobb residents and parents of students, especially when contrasted with Lembeck’s decision Tuesday afternoon to ride things out in her office with top staffers till the next day.
11TH DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL hopeful Bob Barr of Smyrna outraised — and outspent — his opponents in the final quarter of last year. But when it comes to “cash on hand,” Barr finds himself in third place among the four major candidates running in May’s Republican Primary to succeed U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta), according to candidate filings with the Federal Elections Commission.
Barr raised $121,681 during the Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 quarter of 2013 and, after spending $132,302 during the period, had $93,865 cash on hand as the new year began.
State House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey (R-Buckhead) raised $85,573 and spent $84,531 in the final quarter. But thanks to a $25,000 loan to himself on the final day of the period, his report showed him with $186,214 cash on hand as the year began — almost exactly twice what Barr reported.
Tricia Pridemore of Marietta raised $72,534 during the period and spent $83,832. Her report showed her with $176,237 cash on hand as the year began, including a $50,000 loan to herself prior to the reporting period in question.
And former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Bartow) raised $68,268 and spent $77,570 during the period. He had $54,800 on hand as the year began.
No Democrat has yet announced plans to run for Gingrey’s seat, which leans heavily to the right and includes parts of Cobb, Bartow, Cherokee and Fulton counties.
DONORS TO BARR during the final period included Atlanta restaurateur Dante Stephensen of Dante’s Down the Hatch fame ($1,000); Ken Burt of Smyrna-based Kenny’s Great Pies ($300); former U.S. House Speaker-elect Robert Livingston of Louisiana, now a powerful Washington lobbyist ($500); east Cobb Realtor and former Army nurse Donna Rowe ($500); Marietta Councilman Philip Goldstein ($500); east Cobb lawyer Craig Dowdy ($1,000); retired Cobb DOT head Jim Croy of Croy Engineering ($1,000); treasurer David Austin of Tip Top Poultry in Marietta ($500); former Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine ($1,000); Marietta lawyer Chuck Clay ($250); and Wayne Dodd of Puckett EMS ($1,000).
DONORS TO LINDSEY included former state House candidate Josh Belinfante ($1,000); architect Niles Bolton ($1,000); attorney Pitts Carr ($500); C.W. Matthews President Bill Hammack Jr. of Marietta ($1,000); Buckhead Life Restaurant CEO Ignatius Karatassos ($250); WellStar Health System attorney Leo Reichert ($500); Ed Voyles Automotive Group CEO Valery Voyles ($1,500); and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston’s campaign committee ($1,500).
DONORS TO PRIDEMORE included Promo-Photo owner Maryclaire Andres ($250); C.W. Matthews VP Michael Bell ($1,000); lawyer Randall Bentley ($500); WellStar VP Joseph Brywczynski ($250); WellStar finance exec Jim Budzinski ($1,500); Infomart President Tammy Cohen ($1,500); lawyer Phyllis Collins (Gingrey’s daughter)($100); lawyer Lance Cooper ($2,000); Ed Crowell ($500); former Marietta Mayor Bill Dunaway ($250); C.W. Matthews’ Bill Hammack Jr. ($1,000); WellStar President Reynold Jennings ($500); retired educator Carole Kell ($100); NRA board member Carolyn Meadows of east Cobb ($100); CPA and former Cobb Chamber Chair Greg Morgan ($1,100); Cobb EMC President/CEO Chip Nelson ($250); Council for Quality Growth executive director Michael E. Paris ($200); barbecue restaurant owner Dave Poe ($150); ambulance company owner Bo Pounds ($250); Southern Company President David Ratcliffe ($500); former Cobb Commission Chairman Earl Smith and wife Rachel ($500); and lawyer Rob Swartwood ($200).
DONORS TO LOUDERMILK included Acworth Realtor Chris Waldman ($1,000); Angela Ocheltree, owner of Right Path Hypnosis in Marietta ($500); consultant Dale Hughes of Marietta ($1,000); Edwin Hill of Kennesaw ($300); engineer Michael Ross of Acworth ($500); Day’s Chevrolet owner Calvin Diemer ($500) and GM Daniel Diemer ($250) of Acworth; William Gruetter of Powder Springs ($500); Kennesaw resident William Marks of the Etowah Eye Clinic ($250); chef Henry Chandler of Henry’s restaurant in Acworth ($25); and the campaign committee of state Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-west Cobb) ($1,000).
THURSDAY’S MDJ noted how Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin’s son Ty was picked up Wednesday while walking along I-75 near Moore’s Mill to retrieve the car from where he’d left it the day before during the storm, and how local lawyer and Marietta High grad Russ Bonds had given him an impromptu lift. But there’s a bit more to the story, and we’ll let the mayor tell it: “We’re toasting our Coke Zeroes to a random gesture of kindness extended to our son as he sought to reclaim his abandoned car,” he wrote. “A ‘stranger’ offered our son Ty a ride Wednesday as he began his walk along 75 to his car. We in this great community are not strangers — as Ty and his Good Samaritan discovered. Seems fate put the son of special friends of Ty’s parents together, as they discovered in talking.
“Additionally, the ‘Samaritan’ was my favorite historical author and lecturer, Russ Bonds of Marietta. Just like Bonds made ‘Stealing the General’ (about ‘The Great Locomotive Chase’) come alive in his book, he extended a hand to another (and to myself also, as I was driving South on 75 to try to find Ty and was able to stop and welcome him back to Marietta).
“Gary and Nancy Bonds should be proud. Maybe we do not live among strangers as much as we think. Russell is among many heroes who helped others unselfishly during the Arctic Blast. Godspeed.”
BONDS, who had been stranded at Coke’s Midtown headquarters by the storm, took it all in stride: “It was certainly no big deal. I actually was looking to rob Ty, but he didn’t have any money,” Bonds quipped.