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In Henry forum, lobbyist Lawler said Brown was not wrong

Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown emailed TSPLOST opponents from all over the region a copy of Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Terry Lawler’s letter to the editor entitled, “There he goes again, Brown wrong on TSPLOST merits.” The Henry County 912 Project received this email and would like to respond to Mr. Lawler’s letter.

Mr. Lawler’s comments are a bit misleading.

Commissioner Brown was a featured speaker of our Henry County 912 Project on the topic of the Transportation Investment Act/TSPLOST. The event was advertised in the local newspapers and I immediately got a call from Kay Pippen who is the executive director of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Pippen complained that we weren’t offering both sides of the issue, which is funny because that is what the Chamber had done.

Commissioner Brown told me he would love to have the opposition come and welcomed the debate.

The Chamber sent their paid lobbyist, Terry Lawler. In the debate, Mr. Lawler wasn’t so condescending toward Commissioner Brown as he was in his letter. In fact Mr. Lawler came right out and said, “I’m not going to tell you what Commissioner Brown is saying is wrong.” Similarly, Mr. Lawler refused to even discuss the transit projects, even though they make up over 50 per cent of the project list.

In his letter, Mr. Lawler said, “and there will be a Citizens Review Panel that will audit every project to make certain the projects stay within their financial and time limitations. Its also the law! And Commissioner Brown knows that too.”

That statement is dripping with irony because Mr. Lawler told our sizable audience that he thought Commissioner Brown should be on the Citizens Review Panel because of his knowledge on the subject.

I think Commissioner Brown’s comparison between California’s ludicrous high speed rail project and the TSPLOST with $3.2 billion worth of high cost and low ridership is appropriate.

Commissioner Brown revealed at our debate that the transit projects are only half funded and that it would take a second 10-year sales tax to complete the outrageously expensive projects. Mr. Lawler refused to comment on the subject.

Commissioner Brown also revealed that the regional leaders wouldn’t say how we could afford to pay the exceedingly high operations and maintenance costs of the mass transit in the future. Mr. Lawler wouldn’t comment on the transit.

I believe Mr. Lawler has an uphill battle trying to sell the TSPLOST. Most everyone walked away from our debate in Henry County siding with Commissioner Brown. Once you know the facts, the choice to oppose TSPLOST is easy unless you are in transportation building or the consulting industry.

We videotaped the debate in Henry County, always a good idea in order to keep the record straight.

Jim Lee

Henry County 912 Project

Locust Grove, Ga.



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