PLAYING HOOKY: It’s always interesting to see which Cobb legislators attend the annual Cobb County Legislative Delegation meeting where the county’s various governments and institutions present their wish lists to lawmakers … and which don’t.

The delegation met Thursday at Jim Miller Park where seven of the 15 members who represent Cobb in the Georgia House were absent: Matt Dollar, R-east Cobb, Ginny Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, Erica Thomas, D-Atlanta, Roger Bruce, D-Atlanta, Michael Smith, D-Marietta, Sheila Jones, D-Atlanta, and Bert Reeves, R-Marietta.

Reeves, an attorney, wrote in to tell AT he had a deposition in Gainesville.

“Otherwise I would be there. My absence is not due to a lack of interest!” he said.

In the upper chamber, two of Cobb’s six senators were absent: Bruce Thomas, R-White, and Horacena Tate, D-Atlanta.

The latter isn’t surprising: an opponent nicknamed her “Horacena Have You Seen Her?”


NO GOOD DEED: An article in the MDJ’s Sunday, Dec. 1 edition chronicled the $5.2 million renovation project underway at First Baptist Church Marietta. The next day the church received a call.

Apparently, the MDJ’s coverage, which included details of the project provided by architectural liaison and church attendee Don Dorsey, rang alarm bells at the city’s building permitting office.

The church had no building permit.

“The architect was notified earlier this week after the article in the MDJ,” Mark Rice, the city’s public works director, told Around Town. “They are in the process now of submitting the required documents for a building permit.”

Dorsey said he did not realize that some project particulars, such as the roofing and window replacement, required permitting.

“When the city public works director read (the MDJ’s) article, he called to learn more … ” Dorsey said. “The city has been very understanding and cooperative and is not holding up the progress of the work while we go through the process of obtaining the permit.”

The church member said he takes responsibility for what he called a simple misunderstanding.


ON ENDORSEMENTS: A lesson to be learned from this week’s runoff election for Smyrna mayor — be careful who you bring into your campaign.

Ryan Campbell trotted out Dr. Jaha Howard as a supporter and, as is typical of the Cobb school board member, who brings new meaning to the word grandstand, Howard made it about himself.

In a Facebook post endorsing Campbell, Howard portrayed himself as the victim, a favored pose to strike.

“I’m fully aware that my endorsement is not the most advantageous for my political future. Ryan’s opponent is very, very well connected and political retaliation is real,” Howard wrote.

He also posted a video endorsement of Campbell with school board member and comrade Charisse Davis. All to no avail. Smyrna Councilman Derek Norton beat Campbell in the runoff to become Smyrna’s next mayor.

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At the other end of the endorsement spectrum is the loss of support of Steve Rasin, who finished in third place in the mayoral contest in November. Rasin appeared to endorse Campbell in a video from election night. As Norton and Campbell campaigned for the runoff win, Rasin threw his support to Norton.

Being the margin of victory was 2% (159 votes), one might assume Rasin’s endorsements tilted the polls in Norton’s favor.

At the wee age of 26, young Campbell could have a bright political future. Yet as one political wag advised, he may want to be prodigious while choosing and soliciting political bedfellows next time he wades into the political arena.


R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Marietta will be the backdrop of at least a few scenes in the upcoming season of a National Geographic anthology period drama series taking a closer look at extraordinary people in modern history.

Signs posted on buildings around Marietta indicate filming for the third season of “Genius” examining the life and artistry of Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin will take place next week. The series’ first two seasons focused on the lives of Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso.

Season three stars Grammy winner Cynthia Erivo and will feature performances by her, as well as archived footage of Franklin’s performances, according to the posters.

Filming is expected to divert street and pedestrian traffic in the vicinity of the filming on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but no roads or sidewalks are expected to be closed.

Pending the city of Marietta’s approval, intermittent lane and street closures will take place on various downtown stretches of Anderson, Winters streets and South Park Square.

The notice of filming indicates that Marietta police officers will assist in directing traffic.


RECOGNITION: Cobb political analyst, author and university professor Kerwin Swint got an indirect shout-out in the U.S. Senate this week when Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, read aloud some of Swint’s recent writing about Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia.

Isakson, who is retiring in a few weeks, gave his farewell speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, after which he was lavished with praise by senators from throughout the country in their official tributes.

Thune, South Dakota’s senior senator, read a couple of paragraphs of Swint’s Nov. 1 column about Isakson during his own tribute to the 45-year legislator. Thune didn’t name Swint but said “the author of the piece is a political science professor at Kennesaw State University.”

“There have been a lot of tributes to Johnny since he announced his decision to retire, and one that I came across that I thought really captured Johnny was published in a Georgia magazine,” Thune said, before reading a part of Swint’s column in the November issue of Georgia Trend.

This is the part of Swint’s piece which Thune read aloud:

“As a political science professor and an administrator, I’m often asked by students if good people can serve in government and keep their integrity. Johnny Isakson is always the first example I come to. It’s very often a shocking revelation to most people — that good people can, and often do, serve in government for long periods, fight hard for what they believe in, and remain true to themselves and their principles. And they don’t have to sell their souls to do it. It’s a great lesson, really.”

Swint said that may be first time ever that Kennesaw State has been mentioned on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

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POLITICAL PLATTER: Looks like Chairman Mike Boyce will have opposition in the Republican primary after all. Retired conservative businessman Larry Savage of east Cobb sends word that he will announce his candidacy for chairman at the Cobb GOP breakfast Saturday morning.


LIGHT MY FIRE: Some interesting facts and figures emerged about Marietta’s fire department during the year’s last meeting of the Marietta Area Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

Marietta Fire Chief Tim Milligan was at the meeting, held in the Center for Family Resources in Marietta, as the keynote speaker.

Milligan, who has been with the Marietta Fire Department for over 20 years, described his department “by-the-numbers.”

♦ 1: The department’s designated class rating. “To put our class one rating in perspective, 50,000 departments are graded throughout the entire country and only 373 have a rating of one,” Milligan said.

♦ 133: Marietta’s sworn firefighters.

♦ 13,000: Calls for service the department received in 2018.

♦ 0: Calls in 2018 to rescue a cat stuck in a tree.

♦ 70%: Ratio of calls related to something medical.

♦ 233: Fires extinguished by Marietta firefighters in 2018, including 69 structure fires.

♦ 50%: Over half of Marietta’s firefighters are trained paramedics.

♦ 3,000: Fire hydrants in Marietta that each have to be annually checked.

Milligan finished his speech responding to a question about the silliest calls he had responded to in his career.

“There was one individual who was petting his dog and got his finger wrapped in the pet hair and when we got there he was running around, so we grabbed him and got the knife out and told him to hold still. There was another call that got us up at 3:30 in the morning because when they turned their faucet on in the bathroom and went to turn it off it broke and the water was running and they didn’t know what to do. That didn’t go so well with the guys.”

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