More endorsements: Key choices to make
by MDJ Editorial Staff
April 30, 2014 01:09 AM | 5167 views | 15 15 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
COBB REPUBLICANS have some key choices to make when they go to the polls for their party primary May 20. Not only will they be voting on nominees for governor, U.S. Senate, Congress and a variety of state-level offices, they also have choices to make for county-level positions.

The most important are those for the two county commission seats representing north Cobb.

Helen Goreham is stepping down as District 1 Commissioner for northwest Cobb after three terms, and five candidates are hoping to succeed her. Goreham portrayed herself as “the homeowner’s friend” during her first race against a candidate backed by “the courthouse crowd” and Chamber of Commerce, and won easily. She then pulled off the remarkable feat of vanquishing five challengers without a runoff during her first re-election campaign four years later. Not only does she leave big shoes to fill, but her experience is a reminder that it’s not always the best-funded or best-connected candidate who wins, but the one who does the best job of embodying what most constituents think.

So which of the current field of five candidates is most in tune with today’s District 1 residents? Former Commission Chairman Bill Byrne is the best known, but also carries heavy baggage from his tenure two decades ago (i.e. the commission’s approval of a controversial “anti-gay resolution,” Bedminster, his horse farm co-owned with one of Cobb’s best-known zoning lawyers, etc.).

Also running are Realtor Angela Barner, insurance agent Glenn Melson, retired Marietta Assistant Fire Chief Scott Tucker and former Acworth Alderman Bob Weatherford, who seems to have the support of the Cobb Chamber and Commission Chairman Tim Lee. Given the crowded field, a primary runoff is likely, and it should be easier at that point to determine which of the two semi-finalists is best suited to represent the district.

Whoever wins will face Democrat Derrick Crump in the fall. But given the demographics of the district, winning the GOP Primary will be tantamount to election.

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MEANWHILE, incumbent JoAnn Birrell is running for what would be her second term as the District 3 Commissioner representing northeast Cobb. She’s being challenged by tea partier Michael Opitz and by plumber Joseph Pond, the latest chapter in Pond’s long feud with her and the commission over whether Cobb residents should be allowed to raise chickens in their backyards.

JoAnn Birrell was perceived by many when she first ran in 2010 as being a protege of and reliable vote for Lee. Instead, she has shown admirable independence of mind and vote. She’s savvy, is careful not to get out too far in front of her constituents and has more than earned another term.

In many ways (property taxes, road widenings, rezonings), commissioners wield power in ways that have a much more noticeable impact than most things that Congress or the president do, so it behooves residents to choose carefully when they vote for commissioner.

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ELSEWHERE on the ballot, GOP voters must choose a candidate for solicitor general — the State Court equivalent of a district attorney. Incumbent Barry Morgan has done a steady job and has earned another term. There is no Democrat seeking the position, which means winning this primary is also tantamount to election.

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COBB REPUBLICANS also will be picking nominees for three seats on the county school board, including two now held by incumbents. In District 2, incumbent Tim Stultz has frequently allied himself with fellow reformers Kathy Angelucci (the board chair this year), Randy Scamihorn and Brad Wheeler. With Angelucci choosing not to seek re-election this year, it is important that Stultz be retained.

In District 4 Lockheed analyst David Chastain is the preferred choice. Conservative Chastain is a “small ‘l’ libertarian” who ran unsuccessfully for state school superintendent in 2006 and is a common-sense reformer who can be counted on to line up with the Scamihorn-Wheeler-Stultz bloc on the board.

District 6 finds incumbent Scott Sweeney beset by serious conflict-of-interest allegations in connection with his secretive decision to go to work for one of the world’s largest educational technology companies, Promethean Ltd. In addition, Sweeney, who ran as a reformer, has tended since his election to side with the Central Office administration. His challenger, Kevin Nicholas, lacks elective experience but is articulate, a quick study and would be a breath of fresh air on the board.

Comments
(15)
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anonymous
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May 04, 2014
After hearing Sweeney and Nicholas at the Sope Creek forum, few if any who attended would call Nicholas articulate.

On top of that, Nicholas arrived 15 minutes late for the Sope Creek event, a venue that is around the corner from his home.

Why is no one pressing Nicholas on his comments that he's "open to other revenues?"

Sounds like he supports raising taxes.
traderjoe9
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May 03, 2014
LOL...Helen Goreham is DEFINITELY NOT the homeowners friend in the Pine Tree community.
Kennesaw Resident
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May 09, 2014
She's DEFINITELY NOT the homeowners' friend anywhere in Kennesaw.
west Cobb 4
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May 02, 2014
Bob Weatherford...the endorsement of Tim "Tax Loving" Lee is probably the kiss of death.
JoEllen Smith
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May 01, 2014
Way to go MDJ! I couldn't agree more with your analysis of Commissioner JoAnn Birrell.
Ben Twomey
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May 01, 2014
Congratulations to the MDJ for backing school board candidates that make sense.
Rjsnh
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May 01, 2014
After having endorsed our ethically challenged, "guns anywhere", healthcare denying, dismal education achieving governor, it is hard to take any of your other endorsements seriously. I imagine you also regard Fox News as " fair and balanced" and think right wing talk radio is a better source of information than our local PBS station......figures....Your opinions, particularly regarding the governor's race are a "Deal" breaker for me.
Vote Smart
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May 01, 2014
Wow, the MDJ never ceases to amaze me. The MDJ is so out of touch with the community. Angelucci NEVER set foot in my kids schools, replied to emails with arrogance, and was a poor representative of community – would say she is coming and not show. David Chastain is no little ‘l’ – HE WAS the chair of the Libertarian Party in Cobb County. Nice guy but clearly aligns himself with the far right. Bill Scott is the better candidate, educator for over 20 years in Cobb County, and displayed daily the kind of leadership this board needs. Someone who listens and makes decisions with thoughtful consideration and KNOWS what the children need to succeed.



And the thought of Stultz being re-elected makes me chuckle. Wake up Post 2 – you have 2 other candidates who would represent you well. Susan Thayer is highly qualified and Jeff Abel seems like the kind of parent we should clone.

AND the MDJ is now encouraging voting blocs. I’m pretty sure the Attorney General would frown on such practices (3 is considered a sub-quorum). Let’s hope the good people of Cobb County will do their research and vote for the candidate they feel is best and not for some potentially illegal voting bloc.

Vote Smarter
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May 02, 2014
Bill Scott's 20 years in Cobb isn't the leadership we need. MDJ needs to find out why he has such a poor reputation among educators.
Evelynn43
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May 01, 2014
But Kevin Nicholas doesn't know anything!!! This has been made blatantly clear every time I've heard him speak. He never speaks about anything specific, just blows off about his nonsensical ABC plan. It's nothing but bad political jargon. We are in for a big diaspointment if he becomes our Area representative.
NickOshea
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May 01, 2014
I agree. I've also heard Nicholas discussing his ABC plan. Ridiculous. Meaningless. Empty.
Ben Twomey
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May 01, 2014
Do you really think Scott Sweeney is the answer?

Do you have specific examples toback up your charges against Kevin, or are you juts another paid shil for the establishment?
to Ben Twomey
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May 01, 2014
Even you have to admit that Nicholas ABC platform on his website where "C" stands for SEE my pictures is pretty lame.

Also, Nicholas failure to show up at a PTA scheduled forum and his 15 minute late arrival to another forum is not only ridiculous, it's awful behavior for a candidate seeking office. People came wanting to hear what he had to say and frankly, they were very disappointed in Nicholas.

Empty suit and arrogance is no way to win.
Area 4 Citizen
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April 30, 2014
David Chastain is definitely the conservative choice; no drama - just a hard-working father that cares about the students and teachers of the Cobb County School District.
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