Tinfoil hats and Open Records meet the Braves and BFFs
by Joe Kirby, Otis A. Brumby III and Lee B. Garrett, - Around Town Columnists
February 25, 2014 04:00 AM | 7189 views | 5 5 comments | 79 79 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATLANTA BRAVES Executive VP Mike Plant says his organization is not supportive of an effort led by two Cobb legislators to weaken the state’s Open Records Act — an effort some have suggested is designed to lessen the public’s oversight of the construction of the Braves’ new stadium in the county.

The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) and John Carson (R-north Cobb) and would shield private contractors working on projects that receive public dollars from public scrutiny. Ehrhart played a key role last year in introducing Braves officials to Commission Chair Tim Lee, and some have wondered if he sponsored the bill with the stadium in mind. Ehrhart strongly denies it, telling the MDJ those making such allegations “need to adjust their tinfoil hats.” Critics have also suggested the bill would make it easy for private contractors working on tax-funded projects to hire illegal workers, as happened during the construction of the new Cobb Superior Court building.

Around Town caught up with the Braves’ Plant at Thursday’s Marietta Kiwanis Club meeting at which Plant was guest speaker. Plant appeared unfamiliar with Ehrhart’s bill when asked about it, and after it was summarized for him, he quickly said, “Why would we support that?”

“We’re going to require the general contractor (for the new stadium) to use E-Verify,” he said. “That’s one of the standards we’re going to require. We have laws in this country and you have to abide by the laws. We’re very cognizant of the fact that we’re going to invest, and the county’s going to invest, a great deal of money in this stadium, and we’re going to invest 100 percent of the necessary proceeds and it has to have and it will have a very significant positive impact on Cobb County in a whole bunch of different ways, including making sure that people who live here are employed here and a lot of tax income is generated to the schools and to the general fund. We know that’s all part of the give and take of this relationship.”

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“JOCK-SNIFFER”?: It was clear at the meeting that Lee and Plant are members of a mutual admiration society, with Lee introducing Plant to the crowd as “My new BFF.” For those whose slang dictionary is out of date, that means “Best Friend Forever.”

Added Lee, “My wife wants to know who my new mistress is.”

For his part, Plant said Lee “is an example of what everyone wants out of their local government. He has incredible vision, he had willpower and he saw very quickly the opportunity we are bringing. We’re taking all the risk. It’s something that at first I had a little heartburn over, but we’re gonna put our money where our mouth is.”

He noted there are plenty of examples of cost overruns when it comes to building athletic facilities, mentioning the $51 billion spent on the Sochi Olympic Games.

“But there’s no one in the county that’s exposed to that. That’s all on us (the Braves),” he said. “My hat’s off to him.”

But is Lee a baseball fan? Not so much, by both his account and Plant’s.

“Tim was standing right next to (Braves manager) Fredi Gonzalez at an event the other day and didn’t know who he was. I had to introduce them,” Plant said. “So anyone who accuses him of supporting the Braves move so strongly because he’s a ‘jock-sniffer,’ well, he doesn’t even know who half our roster is.”

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LEGISLATIVE candidate Bert Reeves, who’s hoping to unseat libertarian state Rep. Charles Gregory (R-Kennesaw) in the May 20 GOP Primary, says that Gregory served as a campaign consultant and donor to newly elected Rep. Sam Moore (R-Canton), who unleashed a torrent of criticism from Republicans and others late last week by pushing a bill that would allow registered sex offenders to enter schools and playgrounds.

“Moore’s legislation is truly reckless,” Reeves told AT. “For him to push legislation that would endanger our children by allowing registered sex offenders into our schools is irresponsible and dangerous. I find it outrageous that Charles Gregory was instrumental in the election of Moore and is his closest ally at the Capital.”

“Sam Moore and Charles Gregory have voted in lockstep in the last week with a string of irresponsible votes, and on Wednesday, they were two of only three ‘no’ votes to a bill that would make it a crime to send a nude picture of someone without their permission,” Reeves added.

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POLITICS: District 3 Cobb Commissioner JoAnn Birrell will host a re-election fundraiser from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cherokee Cattle Company, 2710 Canton Road in Marietta. RSVP to JoAnn4Dist3@gmail.com.

Around Town also has heard from a credible source that a second challenger may announce in coming days against Birrell. “Backyard chicken” advocate Joseph Pond has already announced he will run.

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THE FIELD of candidates hoping to succeed retiring northwest Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham is now up to five with Thursday’s entry into the race by Acworth Councilman Bob Weatherford. Others running are former Cobb Chairman Bill Byrne, Angela Barner, Scott Tucker and Glenn Melson. That makes it more likely than ever that a runoff might be needed in the wake of the May 20 GOP primary, and that Byrne, by far the best-known of the five, will be one of the final two.

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GOV. Nathan Deal will speak at Saturday’s Cobb GOP Breakfast from 8:15 to 10 a.m. at the party headquarters, 799 Roswell St. Admission is $10 for breakfast. For info call Joe Dendy at (770) 820-6545.

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REPUBLICAN 11th District congressional candidate Tricia Pridemore of Marietta has been endorsed by Maggie’s List, a federal political action committee.

“Tricia embraces the core values of Maggie’s list: fiscal conservatism, less government, more personal responsibility and strong national security,” said Maggie’s spokeswoman Sandra B. Mortham.

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POST 6 Cobb school board candidate Kevin Nicholas will host a fundraiser at 4 p.m. Saturday at Rose n Crowns, 1931 Powers Ferry Road in east Cobb.

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A LAWSUIT filed by west Cobb attorney Lance Cooper against GM was the subject of a front-page story of USA Today on Wednesday and triggered last week’s recall of more than 778,000 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s. The suit alleges that the automaker knew about faulty ignition switches in the cars back in 2005 but failed to fix them. The problems caused engines to stall and air bags to malfunction. GM said last week it is aware of at least six deaths in which airbags did not deploy because of the switch failure.

One of those killed in a similar crash was pediatric nurse Brooke Melton of neighboring Paulding County. She had taken her 2005 Cobalt to her dealer to address problems she was having with the switch and had picked it up the day before her fatal crash, which took place on her 29th birthday back in 2010 on Highway 92. She was driving at 58 mph on a rainy night and wearing a seatbelt when the ignition failed, according to data retrieved from the car’s “black box” and cited in Cooper’s suit. She then lost control and was hit on the passenger side by another vehicle.

Cooper is the son of former West Cobb Commissioner and former Cobb Chamber Director Bill Cooper.

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KSU history professor emeritus Dr. Tom Scott will speak on his book “Kennesaw State University: The First Fifty Years, 1963-2013” at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Smyrna Library.

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COBB COOKING seems to agree with Food Network star Alton Brown of Marietta, who listed several local eateries as favorites when questioned by host Mara Davis on her “Atlanta Eats Radio” show Saturday on AM640. Among them are Seed in east Cobb; the Red Eye Mule in Marietta as his favorite place for a “gut bomb” burger; and “The Butcher, The Baker” on the Square, which he described as “fan-stinking-tastic!”

Comments
(5)
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Gladys Kravitz
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February 25, 2014
Wrong focus. Check to see if public monies are being used on Erhart's sports palace being constructed in Bartow County.
Wheeler Mom
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February 25, 2014
Why would a potential school board member, Kevin Nicholas, hold a fundraiser at a rowdy pub where they proudly advertise ultimate fighting and specials for alcoholic drinks - with no cover charge? Does Nicholas not know he is running for a position on the local school board and not to be a bouncer at a bar? Please change the location of your fundraiser so that we will know that you are a serious candidate.
anonymous
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February 25, 2014
We have not heard Bert Reeves talk about smaller, less intrusive government or less crony capitalism in our State and local government have we? Why not?

Bert Reeves is part of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce/rino establishment. He is the Cobb embodiment of the big government largesse, arrogance and crony capitalism which characterizes the rino establishment nationally. He is part of the problem.

Charles Gregory is bright and honorable man who has a true understanding of the liberties our great country provides each and everyone of us. He intends nothing more than less government intrusion on our freedoms, smaller more efficient government, a level playing field for all and NO (chamber style)crony capitalism. Other than the establishment rino crowd (Bert Reeves) these days, what fool can be against that? What fool would vote against that?

I hope the citizens Cobb will not let the lies from the Cobb chamber crowd steer them into supporting another Cobb Chamber/rino crony. We have had enough of the cronies.

We need Charles Gregory...NOT Bert Reeves.
Just Sayin'....
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February 25, 2014
Charles Gregory is ignored by the vast majority of people in the legislature. As such, he helps you and the other voters in your district accomplish nothing.
anonymous
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February 26, 2014
Just Sayin'...and that is because the rest of the legislature is filled largely with chamber hacks. And those chamber hacks are certainly not too interested in that "less gov intrusion", "smaller gov" or "level playing field" stuff AT ALL(...but, they do like the taxpayer pockets). How is that helping you?

BTW, they "ignore" Ted Cruz in the US Senate, as well.

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