District 1 Cobb Commission Candidate Bill Byrne was quoted by the MDJ in the Around Town column this weekend as promising to boycott each and every activity of the Cobb Chamber if he is elected. In doing so, Byrne attacks over 2,500 local business members and over 100,000 of their Cobb employees solely because some Chamber leaders won’t support his candidacy.
This threat of retaliation against private citizens by someone seeking government office simply is wrong. Byrne apparently has decided that if all the Chamber’s volunteer leaders don’t back him, then his payback will be refusing to support our teacher recognition and education efforts, small business support programs, public safety initiatives, joint programs with our 10 business association partners, important efforts to save Dobbins and support Lockheed, veterans and active duty military personnel support programs, youth leadership activities and the dozens of other community programs sponsored by the Chamber and run by hundreds of volunteers.
Byrne also suggested to the MDJ that a BRT/express bus proposal was promised to the Braves by the Chamber. This allegation is utterly false, and there is not a shred of accuracy to it. The truth is the Chamber has not even decided whether to support a BRT. We have a task force of business leaders from large and small companies currently looking at that issue and other transportation ideas that might be a part of a SPLOST proposal. Our members will make a reasoned and informed decision based on facts and data. That is a process we wish more of those seeking public office would employ.
In the end, we recognize that candidates can get carried away in their comments trying to score political points. Still, such shrill talk of retribution and harsh, anti-business sentiment are far beyond typical political hyperbole one expects from a candidate seeking public office in Cobb County. Byrne owes the Chamber and its dedicated members, volunteers and employees an apology for his reckless rhetoric.
Cobb Chamber Board of Directors