Making nice: Byrne says his hope is to ... Follow Helen’s Footsteps
by Joe Kirby, Otis A. Brumby III and Lee B. Garrett, - Around Town Columnists
May 03, 2014 04:00 AM | 5219 views | 13 13 comments | 83 83 recommendations | email to a friend | print
FORMER Cobb Commission Chairman and present District 1 Commissioner candidate Bill Byrne sounds like he has a new political role model these days — but Helen Goreham’s not buying it.

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.”

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Jerry Comer
May 07, 2014
Bill Byrne is the right man at the right time, and West Cobb will do far better under his inspired leadership. Bill, you da man!
Tom Tarp
May 06, 2014
Notice how all the anti-Bill Byrne rants here are nothing more than emotional outbursts, totally lacking any substance. Go Bill! Semper Fi!
Lack substance?
May 07, 2014
Bill Byrne and Gordon Wysong's anti gay attitude cost Cobb an Olympic venue. Byrne stuck taxpayers with the compost plan that never worked. He fired and ran off several good Division Managers especially the one at the Water System. He also dumped Stormwater Management on the Water System so he could use the funds from the Water System to fix storm drain problems, and he also started the practice of taking 10% of the Water Systems income and moving it to the general fund so he could claim low taxes. And he made David Hankerson czar of the county at a totally over inflated salary.

People better research what Bill Bully Byrne cost the tax payers.
May 04, 2014
NO Bill Byrne! Unless you want someone who will stop Cobb from prospering . He says no taxes but he has cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars on multiple occasions. Just Google him . He has even made world news in a negative way because of his antics during the Olympics. Feel how you want personally but don't impose your views on the citizens! We need someone who truly has the property owners interest first and is open to ideas. Not someone living in the past. Don't know him personally and he may be a nice guy but NO to him as commissioner
And you think?
June 07, 2014
And you think Tim Lee won't use Wetherford to continue to build his don't care attitude for the citizens of Cobb. When you say property owners interest you must mean business property owners (Cobb Chamber), because that is what Lee is doing and will continue to do if he gets histyhird vote from Weatherford.
Bill Millette
May 03, 2014
We moved to Cobb in 1996. Bill Byrne was in office. We feel that Bill Byrne is a no nonsense, practical person with the skill and will to keep Cobb as a great place to live and raise a family.

We value his experience and believe him to be the most qualified candidate by a wide margin.

Laura Armstrong
May 03, 2014
Bill dropped a sign at my home last week and I've never felt better about putting one in my yard than I do about this one.

Bill is the right candidate for this moment in west Cobb, the only one qualified to handle the issues coming at us. His record proves he can put us back on the road to less taxes and more efficient government. This isn't a beauty pageant, it's about our livelihoods. Plus, I can't wait for someone to stand up to the tax, spend and deceive RINOS in the county.
Sue Bee
May 03, 2014
Your vote just got canceled by mine. Anyone but bully cussing classless Byrne.
May 04, 2014
You are right, Ms. Armstrong. Everyone else is just another load of a tax and spend, big government chamber rinos that have infested Cobb County in recent years.

Bill Bryne may not always be as friendly and polite as some would like, but he sure is not going to keep up the endless stream of cobb county gov/chamber of commerce projects for the taxpayers to keep paying for.
Oh Hell No
May 04, 2014
Bill Byrne did more to hurt this county than any other Commission ever to serve.

He is arrogant, a self made little Hitler that rules my way or the highway.

Bedimenster is a prime example, David Hankerson is a second, between Byrne and Hankerson they ran off some of the best staff Cobb had, because the staff would not bow and scrape to their demands.

And to Laura, you of all people should know better.

Anyone that votes for Byrne and expects anything different is sadly in for one big surprise.

Sue Bee Oh Hell No
June 07, 2014
Sue Bee, I just cancelled your vote and added three additional family member votes.

Oh Hell No,

News Flash!! Hankerson is still there doing what you said he did under Bill Byrne. Byrne needs to go back and correct that error by doing what Lee would never do and that is get rid of Hankerson.

As for Bedminister, I believe Olens was a part of that same commission. He did not have to vote for it. Yes he did sell it, but not right away. None the less, the AAA rating has been responsible for tens of millions which trumps the hundreds of thousands others are saying he lost. Lose some win a whole lot more. Go figure.
No Byrne
May 03, 2014
NO ONE should vote for Byrne. He will ruin West Cobb, and we will end up with apartments everywhere! Vote NO TO BYRNE!
You forgot
June 07, 2014
Byrne was the commissioner who wanted to put a cap on population in cobb and use smart growth. he went against the building of townhouses and condos in cobb.
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