Said Mr. Ehrhart, “Ted’s kind of an in-town kind of guy. His politics don’t really line up with Cobb County. That’s probably why he said it. I don’t think he’s being mean or nasty, I just think he’s one of those guys that says what comes to his mind. He’s not a suburban kind of guy, I don’t think.”
Knock me over with a feather. This mild tsk-tsk from a man who once referred to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle as “Eddie Haskell,” the smarmy character on the old “Leave it to Beaver” series? What hath God wrought?
Maybe Mr. Ehrhart is still smarting a bit from the backlash over a piece of ill-timed legislation he had signed along with Rep. John Carson (R-northeast Cobb) this past legislative session that would have shielded private contractors and subcontractors doing government business from Georgia’s Sunshine laws. He called that opposition “the best joke I’ve heard all day” and suggested to his faultfinders that, “I think they need to readjust their tinfoil hat,” and added, “Please quote me on that. Please ask them to adjust their tinfoil hat.”
Being the obedient scribe I am, I did quote him on that. Several times, as a matter of fact. Now, I’m wondering if I did the right thing. To have Earl Ehrhart give Ted Turner a pass makes me wonder if my favorite quote machine has decided to pull his punches in hopes of not seeing his name in lights in this space. I hope not. I like Mr. Ehrhart and I like his take-no-prisoners style.
Which brings me to Ted Turner. I don’t like Ted Turner and I don’t like his style. I would eat broccoli before I would eat one of his buffalo burgers. (Well, maybe I wouldn’t go THAT far.) I have dealt with this guy up-close and personal in my past life and the memories are not pleasant.
An “in-town kind of guy?” Yeah, right. While Turner says today that he would not move the Braves to Cobb County, one may forget that when he owned the team, there was talk about moving out of Atlanta and relocating, perhaps to Gwinnett County. Thanks in large part to the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, the Atlanta Braves stayed in the city after they were given a $200 million stadium that had been the site of the track and field competition as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.
It still fries my hide that the AOL-Time Warner crowd, which had “canned” (Turner’s words) “the Mouth of the South” had the audacity to then name the stadium for him. Turner didn’t do squat to help us or Atlanta in the run-up to the 1996 Games. He was busy promoting a rival effort called the Goodwill Games. I have always thought he was jealous of Billy Payne for stealing the limelight from him.
As for not being “mean or nasty,” I beg to differ. I handled the advertising duties for Southern Bell when Turner bought the Braves and he assumed he could browbeat me and my company into putting a lot of money — an obscene amount of money — into a Braves sponsorship on his television network. It was pure intimidation and it didn’t work.
We called his bluff and dismissed his threatening hubris for what it was — hyperbolic blather.
But I am back to my original question. Why would my pal Earl Ehrhart give Ted Turner the velvet glove treatment instead of the back of his hand? I thought that he might have referred to Turner as “Daffy Duck” or the “Tasmanian Devil.” But an “in-town kind of guy” who is “not mean and nasty?” Oh, please. Methinks Mr. Ehrhart has been watching too much “Downton Abbey.” I must have a talk with him.
On another — and more pleasant — subject: The City of Smyrna and the Taylor-Brawner House Foundation will hold its inaugural “Art in the Park” fine art exhibit, starting next Friday at the historic and majestic Taylor-Brawner House in Smyrna. The opening reception will be Friday evening, April 4, from 6 to 9 p.m.
The show runs for a week. A number of outstanding artists will have their works on display. Somehow, I got invited, too. Please drop by and say hello. It promises to be a great event and I promise to be on my best behavior.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at email@example.com; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139; online at dickyarbrough.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb.