The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, former United States Senator and prominent Democrat, once famously said “Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but not to his own facts.” I was reminded of this wise observation listening to Commission Chair Lisa Cupid’s rambling tirade at the close of this week’s commission meeting.
Chairwoman Cupid did not like the widespread condemnation of her deciding vote to allow a condominium development directly in “Accident Protection Zone” (“APZ”) at Dobbins. So, she retreated to the familiar tactic of too many politicians. She threw out false “facts” to deflect well-deserved criticism for her reckless vote.
Initially, Ms. Cupid lashed out at most everyone claiming that “I don’t understand why we are getting this heat after the zoning decision. ” Her claim she was belatedly advised is untrue. She and the other commissioners were fully briefed in advance of the vote by multiple officials on the impact of ignoring the Base Realignment and Closing Commission’s (“BRAC”) warning that further development in the APZ could be fatal to Dobbins during the next BRAC review. This was the primary reason for the Planning Commission’s 5-0 rejection of the proposed rezoning.
Ms. Cupid and the other two commissioners are entitled to their opinion that the need for more condos trumps the need to protect Dobbins (and potentially Lockheed). However, she is not entitled to misstate the undisputed fact she had full knowledge of the potentially devastating consequences of the rezoning approval.
Next, Ms. Cupid tried revisionist history to say that “her predecessors” allowing the Braves stadium, the new TK tower and other development in the Galleria area all have the same safety impact on Dobbins. Ms. Cupid knows well that the fundamental distinction is that not a single one of the developments she cited is within the APZ. For her to claim the BRAC reviewers see building new developments in the APZ as equivalent to projects outside the zone is not an opinion. It is a serious misstatement of a fundamental fact.
In the end, Ms. Cupid complained “this is not the partnership I expected” because she is being held accountable for continued poor judgment. In her brief time as Commission Chair, Ms. Cupid already has tripped over the ethical rule regarding disclosure of a conflict of interest. She also was a willing participant in the inflammatory partisan narrative that the new Georgia Voting Act was “Jim Crow 2.” This ridiculous claim contributed to the County’s loss of the All-Star game— a result that will hurt our reputation for years to come. Now, she has put both Dobbins and Lockheed at risk.
In doing so, Ms. Cupid is factually correct that this is not the “partnership” any of us expected. Her dangerous path hurting our economic prospects ultimately impacts all Cobb citizens in the longer term, whether it is through diminishing job prospects, lowering home values or depriving our schools of necessary funding. We all wish that such a detrimental outcome is merely an opinion, but history teaches us that the inevitable result is a fact, and one that cannot be wished away by politicians blaming everyone but themselves.
Ben Mathis is an attorney and resides in Marietta.