Local Tea Party speaks out on transportation, immigration
Approximately 60 people attended the Feb. 22 committee meeting of Fayette County Issues Tea Party. The meeting, also attended by members of the Senoia Tea Party movement, was held at the Peachtree City Library and was geared to update the audience on the ongoing work of the organization’s various committees. Among the issues that apply to Coweta and Fayette counties were the regional 1-cent transportation sales tax referendum coming in 2012 and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011.
Organization coordinator Bob Ross led much of the meeting. Addressing the upcoming 2012 vote on regional transportation projects, Ross noted the organization’s desire to defeat the proposal. Fayette is linked to the referendum with the 10-county Atlanta Regional Commission.
Coweta County is part of the 10-county Three Rivers Commission area. And though the two counties are members of different regional commission groups, Coweta and Fayette are linked in many ways, including geographically.
“We’re reaching out to other counties to defeat it. We plan to educate the voters,” Ross said, adding that transportation initiatives such as a potential rapid rail component do not pay for themselves.
A question posed by former Peachtree City Mayor Harold Logsdon asked if residents would vote for the 1-cent transportation sales tax if commuter rail was taken out of the plan.
“Some people would,” Ross replied.
Logsdon asked that the committee explore that alternative.
It was the potential for commuter rail, a part of the Atlanta region’s Concept 3 plan, that drew Coweta County residents Lee Norman and Joe Cannin to the meeting.
Coordinator of the Senoia Tea Party Patriots, Cannin after the meeting said the Senoia organization has concerns about the Concept 3 proposal because it shows the commuter rail line ending in Senoia after passing through Tyrone and Peachtree City.
Cannin said he, like Senioa Mayor Robert Belisle, does not favor the introduction of commuter rail to the Senoia area.
Commuter rail, like the regional 1-cent sales tax initiative itself and the regional transportation plans that could flow from it, is linked to another concern, Cannin said. It means governance by a region instead of governance by local governments, he said.
Another committee report, presented by organization member Denise Ognio, pertained to House Bill 87 on illegal immigration sponsored by Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City).
“We want it to pass,” Ognio said, stressing that citizen involvement is required to help ensure the bill’s passage. Ognio is a familiar face in the Tea Party movements in both Coweta and Fayette counties. “We’re paying attention. We see it in the media, but we don’t make the calls to legislators.”
The bill made its way out of committee earlier this week.