Brown: If you want mass transit, vote for Smith, Maxwell
The issues in race for the two at-large county commission posts, to be decided at the July 20 primary election, are extremely clear. (Whoever wins the primary gets the commission seats as there are no Democratic challengers.)
In my Post 4 race against incumbent Jack Smith, there are some obviously clear distinctions. First, the incumbent Smith has consistently voted in favor of regional mass transit plans that include transit buses and rail in Fayette County. The county’s engineer, under Smith’s administration, has also voted in favor of the same mass transit plans in regional government meetings, representing our county’s citizens.
The process here is quite simple. If you do not want mass transit in Fayette County, avoiding enormous expense and pain, vote for me. I have been on the record for years denouncing any plans to bring mass transit to Fayette County. Even the metro counties that have mass transit are suffering from low ridership, canceling routes and drowning under the cost of operation.
I like our open green spaces, low housing density and separation from the clutter of the rest of metro Atlanta. However, if you absolutely do want mass transit in our county, including a big bus route between Riverdale and Fayetteville, thinking it is the way we should go, the incumbent Jack Smith is the only candidate who has a proven track record of voting in favor of that approach.
Incumbent Eric Maxwell has stated he adamantly opposes mass transit in Fayette County, but he never challenged incumbent Chairman Jack Smith’s vote in favor of the regional transit plan. Why?
A presentation of the regional mass transit plan was given in Fayette County, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, attended largely by county government officials. Was the incumbent Maxwell asleep at the switch?
The regional government meeting minutes very clearly show every regional government representative of Fayette County voted in favor of the mass transit plan that includes Fayette County, and not a peep from Maxwell about it, why?
If you want someone who has been opposed to building the wasteful West Fayetteville Bypass (a.k.a. “road to nowhere” and “Developer FREEway”) since day one, I am the only choice. The bypass got such a bad cost versus function rating that the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Atlanta Regional Commission refused to help fund the boondoggle.
The bypass (which, by the way, will not function as a bypass) is an expensive form of developer welfare at taxpayer expense, providing free road frontage to large tracts of open land. Knowing these facts, incumbent Smith and incumbent Maxwell CHOSE to fund and begin construction on road with almost no utility to anyone but real estate developers.
However, if you are absolutely in favor of building the West Fayetteville Bypass, using a huge amount of your tax dollars, located right next to the new empty $13 million Rivers Elementary School (it’s nice that we are grouping the boondoggles), then the incumbent Jack Smith is the candidate who has a proven track record of voting to construct the bypass.
If the mandate of the people is to vote for the candidate who will terminate the construction of the bypass, saving tens of millions in taxpayer funds on phase III alone, vote for me.
Those multi-millions can fill a lot of potholes, repave a lot of local roads and add a bunch of useful turn lanes all over our county, projects that would add value to your home and make life better.
If you want your vote to count as a mandate to stop frivolous government spending, keeping elected officials from making up projects to spend your tax dollars on, I am the only choice.
Again, from day one I have publicly denounced the thoughtless and wasteful SPLOST. I made it public that the SPLOST was nothing but a bunch of pork projects, including speculative school buildings and over $100 million in road projects the commissioners had not reviewed until the night they voted to approve them.
Moreover, the commissioners wanted the current taxpayers to pay off the portion of the capital debt on the Judicial Center that future residents were supposed to pay, forcing the long-term debts of the county on us with future residents getting a free ride.
If you are in favor of wall-to-wall tax-and-spend proposals, especially in a very weak economy, the incumbent Jack Smith is the only candidate who has a proven track record of voting to approve large spending proposals for unnecessary things in the midst of a poor economy.
Even though the people of Fayette County have unquestionably opposed, loudly and openly, the useless West Fayetteville Bypass and mass transit plans and the arrogant SPLOST projects, the incumbent Commissioner Jack Smith has deliberately ignored his constituents’ desires.
I could write an entire essay on who actually has the incumbent’s attention. You are not the object of his consideration.
Please take this July 20 primary seriously. Your vote is the mandate on Fayette County’s direction for the future. This is your chance to officially authorize a return to slow growth and a conservative spending philosophy. Up to this primary election, we have been shut out of the process.
Early voting begins June 7 at the County Elections Office. You can vote in advance at the Peachtree City and Tyrone libraries beginning July 12. For those of you who have to vote after business hours, go the regular polls on July 20.
The incumbents will become even more emboldened if you do not vote. It’s time for a clear mandate from the people of Fayette County.
Steve Brown, candidate
County Commission Post 4
Peachtree City, Ga.