To quote the old television show of yesteryear: “That was the week that was.” From politics to baseball it was anything but dull in Cobb County last week.
Our national holiday always produces the usual parades and fireworks in the county, but this year’s celebration created some additional bang. The Cobb GOP held its annual barbecue following the Marietta Independence Day Parade and conducted a straw poll on which candidate the attendees would like to see represent Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in next year’s election. Former Congresswoman Karen Handel almost lapped the field of candidates with 111 votes. Her four announced rivals got 120 between them.
As you may recall, Handel lost her reelection bid to Democrat Lucy McBath in 2018 in the blue wave that washed over Cobb and carried the county for Democrat Stacey Abrams in the gubernatorial election.
Many political naval-gazers attributed that result to any number of reasons. I suggest that it was the Cobb County Republican Party leadership seemed more interested in ripping into each other than figuring out who the real enemy is.
Turning Lucy McBath out of office should be a slam-dunk for Republicans. By all measures, her constituent service has been poor. Upon her arrival in Washington, McBath seemed more interested in ingratiating herself with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi than in serving her constituents. Her office was so bad, they directed at least one constituent to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s office for help.
Constituents will forgive you for a lot of things politically but not a poor response when they call for help. Former Sen. Max Cleland had the worst constituent services I can ever remember. Johnny Isakson has far and away the best.
The same Republican straw poll that favored Handel also indicated a preference for Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott as chairman in next year’s election over incumbent Mike Boyce. Cobb GOP Chairman Jason Shepherd opines that the GOP base is unhappy with Boyce because of tax increases. The MDJ’s headline “Cobb announces proposed property tax increase” last week probably didn’t help that perception.
Boyce is proposing that the current millage rate passed last year not be rolled back, The county’s general fund, which serves as the primary operating fund of the county, is being proposed at $475.7 million — an increase of about 4.7% from the 2019’s adopted budget of $454.2 million. The increase comes to about $21.5 million. Speaking of fireworks, before the measure can go into effect, the law requires three public hearings. That will be followed by a vote of the full commission in July.
If Boyce seems nonplussed by the “Tax Hike Mike” sobriquet, he doesn’t show it. He seems eager to run for reelection. He tells me, “I can live with that because of what we’re delivering now. The people can see the benefits of it.” Bob Ott is obviously holding his cards very close to the vest. That could change after the July board meeting. Stay tuned. This could get interesting.
As for Jason Shepherd, may I suggest you encourage your folks to focus less on the relative merits or demerits of Mike Boyce and Bob Ott at this point and more on Democrat Commissioner Lisa Cupid, who has already announced she is running for the job. No question the Democrats will be unified. Whether you can get your Keystone Kops to keep their yaps shut is another thing.
Perhaps the most positive thing to come out of last week was the swearing in of Chief Magistrate Court Judge Joyette Holmes as district attorney by Gov. Brian Kemp. She will finish the term of former DA Vic Reynolds, appointed by Kemp to serve as the director of the GBI. She is the first black woman to serve in that post.
Sadly, on the Fourth of July, Cobb County lost two outstanding citizens. Longtime Sprayberry High School supporter and former coach Jim Frazier died that day, as did prominent businessman T. W. Lord. Both will be missed.
Frazier arrived at Sprayberry in 1959 as a teacher and football and baseball coach before retiring in 1986. But, in fact, he never left Sprayberry. Frazier remained one of the school’s most ardent supporters. The Yellow Jackets play their games at Jim Frazier Stadium.
T.W. Lord ran a successful insurance agency and was deeply involved in the community. As well as his well-deserved reputation as a business and community leader, Lord was also recognized as the longest Braves season ticket holder. This year marked his 50th consecutive season. That, my friends, is loyalty personified.
Speaking of the Atlanta Braves, they finished the week as hot as Fourth of July firecrackers. They go into the All-Star break with a 54-37 record, six full games ahead of the second-place Nationals. They are playing so well they almost make you forget the wheeling and dealing that got them to Cobb County.
Looking ahead, may the rest of the year be as interesting as was last week. Somehow, I have the feeling it will be. This is, after all, Cobb County.