Byrne raised eyebrows at Tuesday’s Cobb Republican Women’s candidate forum by heaping praise on Goreham. You’ll recall the two engaging last fall in a furious email battle over their respective accomplishments, or lack thereof, with the two participants copying Around Town on each volley. Most Commission-watchers had expected a Goreham vs. Byrne battle in the GOP Primary race for the District 1 seat this spring. But Goreham surprised everyone by deciding to retire instead.
So Byrne now is running against four little-known candidates: Realtor Angela Barner, insurance agent Glenn Melson, recently retired Marietta assistant fire Chief Scott Tucker and former Acworth Councilman Bob Weatherford.
One of the questioners Tuesday was GOP activist Toria Morgan, who recounted Goreham’s history of positioning herself as the ally of homeowners, then asked the five if they would do the same.
Answered Byrne, “I want to applaud Helen Goreham for the quality of life in Cobb County, and especially in her district, that she has helped to create and maintain. She understood that working with homeowners and small businesspeople is the way that quality of life was created. I hope to follow in her footsteps …”
CONTRAST THAT with what he wrote back in the September email barrage. “When was the last time Commissioner Goreham came up with a solution to any problem on her own? Her record over the last five years is to support every spending increase ... and every water fund transfer. West Cobb residents deserve better. ... What in the world (has she) accomplished other than to become (Commission Chairman) Tim Lee’s second vote???”
To which Goreham replied: “Nice try Bill. Why didn’t you get rid of the transfer if you had all of these surplus funds? (I) look forward to debating you. That is, if your county of residence is Cobb and not Polk.”
TRACKED DOWN on Thursday, Goreham was pleased at Byrne’s apparent memberhip in the “Helen Goreham Fan Club,” yet cautioned she has not made up with him.
“We have not interfaced at all since back then,” she said. “Perhaps he’s seen how successful I was by paying attention to how important homeowners’ groups and small businesspeople and developers are and he’s looking at the keys to success.”
“I’ve had some issues with Bill and I continue to have them. We are still addressing those issues as a result of his votes,” she continued, saying the county is still paying for the failed $26 million Bedminster composting plant he championed. She also reiterated that the water fund transfers started while he was chair.
BUT IT WASN’T just Byrne’s praise for Goreham that came as a surprise. He also seemed to be trying put some distance between the Byrne of today and the Byrne of two decades ago, who had a reputation for a domineering “my way or the highway” style.
Said Byrne during his closing statement, “I will bring the experience to build relationships — positive relationships — and seek out solutions and not confrontations. I will also attempt to communicate and not dominate the discussion” — at which point titters bordering on guffaws briefly could be heard from the audience — “to ensure and enhance the quality of life that Helen Goreham has been so successful at developing.”
GOREHAM said she will not be endorsing a candidate during the primary but will do so during the runoff if there is one. She offered no hints as to that person’s identity. But it’s a safe bet it won’t be Byrne.
11th DISTRICT congressional hopeful Tricia Pridemore this week became the second of the four major Republican candidates in that race to start running TV ads. Former Georgia House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey started running an ad last week.
Pridemore’s ad, titled “Prevail,” is built on a biblical theme, and indeed roughly half its 30-second length consists of the candidate reading a passage from 2nd Corinthians 4:8-9 — “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” As Pridemore reads, photos of President Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton roll by.
Then, as the ad depicts Pridemore meeting with constituents and servicemen, it continues, “For we as conservative Georgians shall prevail. We will repeal Obamacare, reject Obama’s assault on our constitutional freedoms and rest assured that our conservative Georgia values will triumph.”
BOOSTERS of the Atlanta Braves’ pending move to Cobb tout the positive effects it will have on the economy. But it apparently is having the opposite effect in the corporate headquarters of one of Cobb’s best-known companies.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported in its Friday edition that Genuine Parts might relocate because of the move. The Fortune 500 company has been based since 1979 in a wooded business park at 2999 Circle 75 Parkway, which is just across the street from the site of the Braves’ new stadium.
Genuine Parts CEO Thomas Gallagher told the Chronicle his 300-person HQ might leave Cobb, might shift to what is now its secondary campus in Wildwood off Powers Ferry Road or might just stay put. He expects a decision by fall, the Chronicle said.
The story quotes retired Genuine Parts CEO Wilton Looney, 95, that having the stadium and associated traffic and noise right next door to headquarters would be disruptive.
THE GEORGIA SUPREME COURT will hear arguments on Monday on WellStar Kennestone Hospital’s appeal of a lower court’s rejection of its bid to build an outpatient surgery center in east Cobb.
Northside Hospital in Fulton County is opposing the center, saying it would infringe on its service area, which includes the Georgia 400 corridor up to Alpharetta. The Department of Community Health approved Kennestone’s proposal, but that decision was contested by Northside and reversed by a Fulton County judge, who ruled that the part of the Department’s administrative rule that allows it to decide certain requests on a “case-by-case” basis is “unconstitutionally vague.” That ruling was then upheld by the state Court of Appeals. Kennestone and the Department now will argue to the Supreme Court that the Appeals Court erred.
Attorneys for the Department include state Attorney General Sam Olens. Northside’s attorneys include former U.S. Rep. Buddy Darden of Marietta.
WORKING 9 TO 5: Newly promoted MDJ News Editor Jon Gillooly interviewed legendary country singer Dolly Parton this week, who was in town to promote her Dollywood resort. They posed for a photo afterward, putting their arms behind each other’s back and prompting the following exchange:
Parton: “Honey, your heart feels like it’s beatin’ awful quick.”
Gillooly: “Yes, ma’am, you’d be correct.”