DURING A CAMPAIGN fundraiser at Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q Monday evening, County Chairman Mike Boyce turned his comments to the man he ousted from office: former Chairman Tim Lee, who died Sunday after complications from cancer.
“Tim was an extremely honorable man who believed what he was doing was right, and I’m really, really sad for him and his family. He died way too young. He was only 62.”
Lee died with courage, Boyce said.
“And from my perspective, you can’t say anything better about a truly honorable man, a great leader, and there’s no doubt about it, SunTrust stadium will be his legacy, and that’s not a bad legacy to have. And we have carried on that legacy.”
Boyce said when he was sworn into office, he sat down with Lee to inquire what was needed to make the project a success.
“And he gave me some ideas, and we carried it out and right now the development down there plus the Braves, it’s truly been visionary on both the Braves part, the county’s part, the CID’s part, everybody’s part, and it’s really working out to the benefit of the county. We’re not there yet as far as raising the revenue we need to make it a wash with the county taxpayer, but we’re well on our way, and I think we’re going to get there faster than anybody thought. So it’s a real tribute to Tim and his courage to get this to the board, and I wish nothing but deepest sympathies to his family and his friends.”
To follow Boyce from the time he was running as a candidate to serving in elected office has been, well, let’s just call it interesting. Those who have followed him will recall that Boyce’s principle campaign plank was criticism of the way Lee handled the Braves deal. As a candidate, Boyce argued over and over again that Cobb voters should have been afforded a referendum on the bond for SunTrust Park. But again, that was when he was Candidate Boyce, not Chairman Boyce.
About a dozen people turned out for the fundraiser Monday. One asked Boyce who his challengers were.
“I know that for sure we have a Democratic opponent in November next year in Lisa Cupid,” Boyce said. “Look, formally we don’t qualify all of us until March when we have to lay our money down, but she and I have been upfront with each other. She told me a number of months ago that she was going to run for chairman on the Democratic side, and I thanked her for letting me know that. I’m still waiting to see if somebody else on the Republican side is going to put their name in the hat, but you all saw what I went through last time. To run against an incumbent you have to get out there really, really early and we are what? Five months away from qualifying? And we’re seven months away from running for the primary. So if there’s going to be somebody out there, they’re late in the game.”
Qualifying is March 2-6 with the primary May 19 and the general election Nov. 3, 2020.
Boyce said the fundraiser was one of a series he was holding throughout September and October. He spoke of the sound financial footing the county was on with its credit rating agencies. He also spoke of the services being restored from the lean years of the recession from libraries to ballparks, as well as hiring more police officers and giving them more pay.
“And not just policemen but also the firemen, the sheriff, all the first responders that I believe deliver the No. 1 priority to the county, which is to provide public safety.”
Boyce said he was not only committed to continue restoring public safety capabilities, but also to add on to them “and next year’s budget we’ll be doing some more of that, too. So right now we’re in a really good place.”
Working with the school system, the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, Cobb Travel and Tourism and the other agencies, Boyce said they were all working to deliver enhanced quality of life in the county.
“I can honestly say right now it has never been better and it has never been better because the people in this county, they trust us, they work with us, and they know we’re going to deliver our commitments and our promises to them and I see that every day as I get out there and talk to people.”
HEARD ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Boyce and Cupid aren’t the only commissioners up for reelection next year. Commissioner Bob Ott is also up. Ott has refused to say what his plans are. Will he run again for his District 2 seat? Run for chairman? Run for mayor of the city of East Cobb if that community opts for cityhood? Not run at all? He notes he will make the announcement in January. As one GOP operative told Around Town, by not saying whether he will run for chairman, “he is keeping a lot of potential challengers out of the race.” To which Boyce must undoubtedly be grateful.
STREET SALES: Everyone loves a garage sale, but what happens when it’s not hand-me-down clothes and outgrown toys for sale, but laundry detergent, deodorant and toilet paper?
Rusty Roth, Marietta’s development services director, told the Council’s Judicial and Legislative Committee that some residents buy retail goods at low prices and sell them for a profit out of their homes.
“From what I understand, a lot of people who are into couponing buy multiple items and products and then resell them at their garage sales,” he said.
Councilwoman Cheryl Richardson brought in a photo she took in her ward of tables stacked with goods in front of a home. The photo appears to show detergent, cleaning agents, shampoo and more.
“I don’t want to limit what people are allowed to do, but if you look at this picture, this was a pop-up store, and don’t stores have to have business licenses?” she said. “So all of the things that this would have required someone to do are not done under the guise of it being a yard sale.”
Councilwoman Michelle Cooper Kelly said she sees things differently.
“The picture is not most desirable, but eyes of the beholder,” she said. “But I often worry that when we start getting into restricting peoples’ abilities to do things, and we’re asking staff to regulate what you can sell at your own yard sale, we’re kind of encroaching on government overreach.”
A proposed policy regulating such sales could be considered on Oct. 10.
THE GOVERNOR’S MANSION: Former Gov. Roy Barnes was one of the speakers at the South Cobb High School Class of 1959’s 60th reunion on Saturday where he shared tales from his life.
Barnes said the protocol for when a new governor is elected is for the old governor to leave the governor’s mansion about a week before the inauguration to allow the new governor to get settled.
“That’s when they do their painting and all that other stuff. It was time for us to move and so Marie, we had a little Ford Explorer, and she put packed chairs and stuff on and just drove to the governor’s mansion … looked like the Beverly Hillbillies.”
Mrs. Barnes called her husband, who was at the Capitol involved in budget hearings, to say come on over to the governor’s mansion that night rather than their home in Mableton. He arrived for his first night in the mansion late.
“I went upstairs and Marie says ‘There’s nothing to eat in this place.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ She said, ‘Well, they gave everybody off, you know and there’s just nothing to eat.’ She said, ‘I went downstairs and looked in that big refrigerator, and all that’s in there is butter.’”
Barnes told her he’d call his brother and sister-in-law, Ray and Jackie Barnes, and invite them over.
“So I called Ray up and said ‘Ray, would you and Jackie like to come up to the governor’s mansion? We just moved in today.’ He said ‘Yeah, I’d like that.’ I said, ‘Well, stop by Kentucky Fried Chicken and pick up a bucket of chicken and come on over here.’
“Well, they came on in and Jackie set that bucket of chicken down on the counter and she said, ‘You’ve only been in public housing one day and we’re already having to feed you.’”