Glover Park

By noon July 26, hundreds had staked their spot in Glover Park — eight hours before the concert. City Councilman Andy Morris says that’s too early and has raised the specter of ticketing those early birds.

How popular is The Glover Park Concert Series that graces the stage on the square the last Friday of each summer months?

Wildly popular.

An estimated 10,000 jammed downtown July 26 to hear the Carolina Beach Music of The Tams. So, how do you get a good seat with so many jockeying for position?

Primo seats are available up front at 40-plus tables that can be reserved beginning at 8 a.m. on the first business day of the month. Problem is, they sell out in minutes, leaving the rest of the throng to stake their claim on the Glover Park lawn.

And therein lies the rub: How far is too far to secure a spot for a concert?

According to Marietta Councilman Andy Morris, some people are showing up over 12 hours before the concerts at Glover Park to claim dibs and set up camp at the best spots. And that doesn’t sit well with the Ward 4 councilman.

“People are coming out there now and it’s completely roped off by 10 in the morning, and I just don’t think that’s fair for the rest of the citizens,” Morris said at a recent Parks, Recreation and Tourism Committee meeting.

Morris said he would like to see an ordinance change to stop that behavior and possibly issue tickets to early-bird dibs-callers.

Rich Buss, Marietta’s parks and recreation director, said he goes into work at about 7 a.m. and sees people already out there. The concerts are at 8 p.m. He said he’s seen people drive stakes into the ground and rope off spots with yellow police tape.

Buss said around 1998, the city started telling people they couldn’t set up their chairs or blankets until 4 p.m. That worked pretty well until recently.

“A few years ago, people started coming earlier, they were putting out their blankets and tarps, we were picking them up, taking them away, setting them off to the side,” Buss said. “Of course, then we got a lot of irate phone calls.”

That’s when city employees started putting signs up, but Buss said that didn’t work either.

“People would come and pull our sign right out of the ground, take it out and throw it over there and put their blanket right on it.”

Confronting the residents didn’t work either, Buss said.

“Basically, they just got a lot of four-letter words and cussing. … If we moved it, they’d turn around, 15 minutes after you turned your back, and come back.”

Morris said he’d like to see public safety ambassadors or police officers have the power to issue tickets to squatters.

Buss said that presents several new problems. You can’t keep people from sitting in Glover Park all day, and closing off dibs until 4 p.m. could cause a stampede at that time if a large crowd rushed in to stake their claims.

He also said it is not clear the police, ambassadors or park staff could spare the manpower to deal with entitled cover-band groupies.

The committee voted to direct staff to look into the viability of Morris’ plan and report back before next year’s concert series.

In other words, look forward to more of this behavior Aug. 23 and Sept. 27, when Mo’ Soul Band and Men in Blues perform the last two Glover Park Concerts of 2019.

So what makes these concerts must-go destination? Great music, dancing, good people and you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Vinings Bank President Clark Hungerford do the Electric Slide.

JUST CALL IT A ‘GRANT GRANT’: Marietta Superintendent Grant Rivera announced Tuesday he will give away his $10,000 bonus to pay for college applications for about 150 seniors.

Jen Brock, a spokeswoman for the district, said Rivera’s $10,000 gift will guarantee that some students who are on the fence about applying because of financial struggles will have that chance.

“You have some kids who can’t afford to spend $50, $60, $70 on an application. It’s a little bit of a gamble, because it’s not a guarantee you’re going to get in,” she said.

To be eligible, students must apply early, with college deadlines falling in October or November, Brock said.

Depending on how many students take advantage of the gift, she said the district may also be able to pay for in-state college visits for seniors who may otherwise not have had the chance.

Rivera said his donation will go to the Marietta Schools Foundation, which will then distribute the money to students.

The $10,000 bonus came as a perk of his contract extension, which was approved by the school board in September and lasts until June 2021. The extension guaranteed him a salary of $190,136, including a raise of $5,000. His retirement pay, benefits and other perks written into the contract bring his total annual compensation to more than $226,000.

Rivera said he had the donation written into the contract when it was extended, but didn’t yet know specifically what the money would be used for. He said since he received the $10,000 in December, paying for applications was out of the question last year, as early deadlines had already passed.

He said he sat down with the Marietta High School’s college adviser to discuss the “most real and immediate impact” that he could have on students by donating the money. The answer was to incentivize applying early for college, and so, nearly a year later, it is gratifying to deliver on a promise to give back, Rivera said.

“I am grateful that families know that Marietta City Schools, and specifically the superintendent, are in the middle of this process with them, and it isn’t just lip service,” he said. “It’s actually a value statement and a priority for me.”

SMYRNA COUNCILMAN ANNOUNCES: Derek Norton, Smyrna councilman, has officially launched a campaign for mayor of Smyrna.

“It’s official — (wife) Laura and I are glad to report that the Derek Norton for Mayor Campaign is up and running at full speed!” Norton said in a release issued Friday.

Current Mayor Max Bacon, who has reigned supreme in Smyrna for 34 years, shocked Cobb politicos last month when he announced he was done. That cleared the way for a Norton campaign.

In a statement earlier this month, Bacon indicated that Norton would be the man to succeed him. “I’m going out of office in January, and I’m going to make sure the city is safe, and when I do turn it over to the next mayor, who will probably be Derek Norton ... he’s on board with this too,” Bacon said in an earlier meeting.

Candidates qualify Aug. 20-22. The election is Nov. 5.

SEX CASE SMOTHERED, COVERED AND CHUNKED, BUT MORE TO COME: The jury was seated and opening arguments underway. So, it was a shocker when the announcement came that a settlement had been reached in the Waffle House sex tape case, the salacious seven-year dispute between the restaurant chain’s chairman Joseph Rogers Jr. and his former housekeeper, Mye Brindle, who secretly recorded them having sex. That bombshell was dropped Tuesday in Cobb Superior Court.

But the concupiscent case still has another chapter. Around Town reached out to Rogers’ attorney Robert Ingram for a statement. He said Rogers “is pleased with this outcome and now plans to focus his efforts on his pending lawsuit against Ms. Brindle’s former lawyers ... ” Defendants in that civil action pending in Cobb Superior Court include David Cohen, Hylton Dupree, Jr. and John Butters.

J.K. Murphy is vice president of content and managing editor of the Marietta Daily Journal. Email him at