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Oddo has conflict of interest day one

All Fayette County voters have a unique opportunity on July 31. You can elect an experienced commissioner who has a proven record of working for all of Fayette County. You can chose to re-elect an experienced commissioner who has represented every resident of Fayette County, whether you live in northern Fayette County, Peachtree City, Tyrone or the southern end of the county.

Or you can vote for a political newcomer who brings in a major conflict of interest day one when he takes office.

In my six years, I have proven time and time again, that I am the commissioner who gives fair representation to every resident of the county. I have remained committed to the county’s land use plan, as well as traffic mitigation in the county.

I have offered continued support to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, the county fire department and EMS, and played a key role in the expansion of the county’s E-911 center.

Over the past six years, I have been committed to Fayette Senior Services as our aging population continues to grow, and I played a key role in eliminating double taxation for the residents of Peachtree City for EMS services.

I have played a key role in the expansion of the Fayette County Library, and also took the lead role in a private-public partnership to build a new Mental Health Facility at no cost to the tax payers.

As a member of the Board of Health, I worked to move the WIC center to a new facility. The state provided the cost of the buildings, and the county constructed the parking lot and handled all landscaping with out any additional costs to Fayette County Citizens.

I have also remained committed to expanding and improving our recreation services here in Fayette County.

I have been the voice of all residents of the county to continually grow our recreation facilities to insure the quality of life we have come to expect in Fayette County.

I have remained throughout the last six years the independent commissioner, the people’s commissioner working for the entire county.

Or you can vote for my opponent who has an immediate conflict of interest when he takes office. My opponent has a conflict in regard to his brother, who is currently serving as a Fayetteville City councilman.

The cities and county often negotiate joint projects and cost-sharing arrangements. We have a major one upcoming with the local option sales tax collections — if approved by voters — as city and council officials would be tasked to negotiate the revenue sharing from the LOST collections. This agreement would be binding for the next 10 years.

I think it would be virtually impossible for the county and city to carry out these negotiations when two brothers involved are related and share a business and work together daily.

The result of the negotiation will determine whose property tax increases — those in the city of Fayetteville or those who live in unincorporated Fayette County.

Not to mention that the Oddo brothers are large land owners and developers, who frequently have tried to annex their property into the city for high density development.

As we move into another term, experience does matters, as does the ability to work for all residents of the county, with no conflicts of interest. All Fayette County voters have the opportunity to re-elect the one commissioner who has been the voice of the people.

I will remain committed to working for all of Fayette County. I am humbly asking you to give me that chance Tuesday July 31st.

Robert Horgan

County Commissioner Post 1

Fayette County, Ga.



NUK_1's picture


It cracks me up that the same crowd who blindly worships him really hate Jack Smith and think that Smith "didn't get the message in 2010" when Smith lost to Brown by about 6 points and can't even fathom why Smith would run again. They forget the 60 point or so margin Brown lost by when he was running for re-election for Mayor and then the huge blowout 2 years later when he was running for state rep vs. Ramsey. I don't recall the Amen Chorus saying anything then about how "Brown didn't get the message" or "the voters have spoken and don't want you around."

Frady, Hearn, Horgan or Smith? Now, you are another matter. Playing with you reminds me of a cat catching a critter---the cat plays with him and lets him go just so far and brings him up short. Then when he gets tired of playng with that critter he lets him run away. The critter scampers away, thinking he has really pulled something off when in reality the cat is through having his fun and has moved on to something more challenging.

ginga1414's picture

I'm going to borrow a word here from Peter Pfeifer. The word is "faction."

There is a certain PC faction bound and determined to vilify their public officials.

However, the majority of PC voters voted for the exact people the "faction" tries to vilify.

The majority of Fayette County voters have been able to recognize dedication whereas the "faction" continues to vilify.

I have to give credit where credit is due!

Commissioner Steve Brown has consistently worked for the principles, values, and quality of life we all love about Fayette County.

He has lived up to his promises to the people who voted for him in 2010 without wavering once.

I have watched him defend the rights of our citizens when other Commissioners were trying to remove our rights. In his defense of our rights, he has proven his loyalty to Fayette County and her citizens.

He has proven his loyalty to Fayette County by going beyond the scope of our borders to educate himself and the rest of us about regional matters and how those matters can effect our future. THAT IS LEADERSHIP!

Mr. Drake and others here, obviously, have a hang-up concerning the intelligence of folks who don't agree with them. If folks don't agree with Mr. Drake and others, they must undoubtedly be "stupid!"

I have NEVER ONCE seen or heard Steve Brown insult or call into question another person's intelligence!


ginga1414's picture

It wasn't intentional.

Citizen Bob's picture

... look at his actions. Ognio's been involved in commissioer-level business for years- way before becoming frustrated enough to decide to run himself. He studies every meeting agenda and comment to the commissioners on better ways to do our business and save money. His ideas about heavy equipment acquisition led the county to acquire a used bulldozer at a substantial savings over the price of refurbishing the county's existing unit.
He's also taken a public stand on the $100k Snead Road project in the south end of the county. I drove there this week and could not imagine why any commissioner would approve that much $ to pave a very rural .3 mile road going to a dead end.
There lots of other examples, but the message is "actions speak louder than words."
Sit down one on one and discuss issues with Randy.

R.J. Ross

ginga1414's picture

A very experienced verbal manipulator or someone who speaks in everyday terms with honesty and knowledge?

Personally speaking, I am sick and tired of slick politicians who know exactly how to turn a phrase and where to stick it.

Gene, I can't recall one single time over the past few years of posting comments here where you spoke to or about anyone in subtle terms. You are continually attacking someone on a personal level. Subtlety just doesn't seem to be your strongest attribute, even under the best of circumstances. Just as an example, you have used the word "CRAZY" three times here in two paragraphs.

PLEASE speak to the issues of local government accountability, "no bid" contracts, after the fact changes in ethics ordinances, and voting on items that never appeared on the Agenda. Those are just a few of the issues that concern Randy Ognio and David Barlow.

Those issues should concern all of us. An unbalanced budget should concern all taxpayers greatly. When a commission elects to forego safety issues connected to crumbling infrastructure so it will look as if we have a balanced budget, that should be of paramount concern to all taxpayers.

Yes, Gene, I would much rather listen to a plain spoken, serious minded person speak to me about things that concern me instead of listening to a slick talking, well phrased person without substance.

Also, it would be of greater importance if you could address issues that affect us all instead of using personal attacks to try and make points.

efdrakejr's picture

A straw man is a type of argument where you change the direction of the argument by essentially misrepresenting one of the positions. This is what you have done here although I don't think it was necessarily intentional.

[quote Ginga]Who would you rather have, a very experienced verbal manipulator or someone who speaks in everyday terms with honesty and knowledge?[/quote]

I would rather have honesty and knowledge and I assume that you attribute those characteristics to Mr. Ognio. The misdirection comes in assuming that one or more of the other candidates must be verbal manipulators. Is that what you are saying or is possible that more than one Post 3 candidate is honest and knowledgeable?

Gene Drake

Steve Brown's picture

Gene, people are buying your opinion. You do not think for yourself - your opinions are given to you in exchange for cash.

I think we should set up a chart of who Gene Drake supports and it will help people know who not to vote for at the end of the month.

Steve Brown's picture

You were a solid part of a voting block yourself. Remember Dunn, Wells and Pfeifer?

Voting blocks are neither good nor bad. It's how the elected officials are voting.

If you want independent, go look over the votes of the last two years. One member voted (well research votes) by himself more than any other. Guess who?

americanpatriots's picture

I'm sure both of these ladies are very capable in their own areas of expertise; however, I don't recall seeing either of them at budget meetings or monthly commissioner meetings and I have been regularly going to both types of meetings for over three years.

Just running for office and being endorsed by you and Rick Price does not make them qualified to serve on the Board of Commissioners. They need to have a track record of being involved to understand the critical issues facing our county.

David Barlow, Randy Ognio and Charles Otto have been deeply involved and have been attending meetings and speaking out on many topics. In my view, they are the only three candidates that have the knowledge and independence to serve effectively on the Board of Commissioners.

Jim Richter

G35 Dude's picture

I've come to the conclusion that politics in Fayette County is about as dirty as Chicago. Almost nobody comes on here and tries to get you to consider voting for a candidate. They all come here to convince you to vote against a candidate and then insult you if you don't agree too. We have letters from a former "leader" offering to provide us with criminal reports, which I consider to be unethical if not illegal, to get us to vote against someone. Some try to use subtlety and when that fails they insult people by insinuating that we aren't smart enough to pick up on their hints.

For those using these tactics let me assure you that when you do this I for one take it as an endorsement for those that you attack.

I feel the same way you do.
Oh, never mind, I already voted!

G35 Dude's picture

Just between us I voted yesterday.

PTC Observer's picture

You lost my vote the day you were arrested and attempted to bribe the arresting officer. "Is there anything we can do to settle this matter here and now?"

This was no minor traffic accident, a mistake, it was a conscience decision on your part to break the law. We can debate the use of drugs in our society but we don't need to debate the use of illegal substances while driving an unlicensed vehicle. These actions were all conscience decisions on your part to break the law.

This exposes your character and judgment sir, and it is not a character that I would like to see on my county commission.

Mr. Horgan, Citizen Bob (below) made a good point when he said that you always vote with Chairman Frady and Commissioner Hearn. Here's your chance to prove everybody wrong, and show the voting public that you're your own man. Please provide examples of instances where you have voted against Mr. Frady or Mr. Hearn since January 1, 2011, the date Commissioners McCarty and Brown began their terms.

And while you are at it, please advise how you got involved in pot, and what you have learned from that experience.

Finally, please let your readers know why you support the West Fayetteville Bypass as good for Fayette County.

Horgan how about going off for a toke and leaving the voters alone.

This is how you try to gain votes? By insinuating, without any precedent or fact as a basis for this insinuation, that your opponent will not be able to govern ethically? You, of all people, choose to go down that road? You think you have “represented every resident of Fayette County”? That you would even think that, let alone put it in a public letter, is pure self-deception. What is your point, exactly, about raising the issue of the Oddos’ land ownership? Why don’t you articulate some sound reasons as to why this should be objectionable? I don’t have a problem with people owning land, but I do have a problem with people smoking pot while driving and then handling it the way you did. You call yourself an independent commissioner, the people’s commissioner? When have you demonstrated *leadership* on an issue that's come before the Board? You, sir, are a follower, and your votes as a commissioner reflect that. Thanks for reminding me that I “can vote for a political newcomer.” That’s exactly what I’ll do on July 31st.

NUK_1's picture

I've met you before you were elected and was frankly shocked you won in the first place. I didn't think you came across as being that sharp of a mind at all and actually were kind of dense. I was ready to have my perception changed on that but your voting record and then subsequent arrest only reinforced that impression.

Sorry, I have never voted for you, Hearn or Frady in any election and never would, but thanks for your service which I don't think you did for any self-enrichment since it's turned out to be a real negative. Matter of fact, you deciding to run for re-election after past events makes me really wonder JUST HOW ARROGANT AND DUMB CAN YOU BE TO THINK YOU ARE THE BEST FC OFFERS? I mean, really, you think you have a chance?

Steve Brown's picture

He has joined Commissioner Lee Hearn and former Commissioner Jack Smith on consistently voting for the construction of the West Fayetteville Bypass, the largest boondoggle project in the county's history.

He was consistently voting with the majority on voting for "no-bid" contracts.

He was consistently voting with the majority on employee pay raises out of the reserve funds because there was no revenue to cover it.

He was consistently voting with the majority on keeping Fayette County in the state and regional mass transit plans.

He was consistently voting with the majority on secret items that never appear on a meeting agenda.

I just don't see the independence.

I've attended almost every BOC meeting since January 1, 2011, and have NEVER seen Robert Horgan vote against Herb Frady or Lee Hearn.

Voting Block?
I don't recall using the term but let's say I did. When Greg and Linda and I were on the Commission, we often voted together. We voted together because we usually agreed philosophically and agreed on the issue, and we usually individually explained why we were voting the way we were. I don't call that a “Voting Block”, I call that a majority.

If I were to use the term “Voting Block” as a pejorative, I would mean folks who vote together simply to vote "their way" and can't, don't or won't explain their reasoning, similar to how I view the current majority on the Board of Commissioners.

I don't want to replace one “block” with a different “block”. I understand a majority but I want a majority who have reached their conclusions independently. Understand?

Steve Brown's picture

You said, "I don't want to replace one 'block' with a different 'block”'."

You mean to say, "unless it's Peter Pfeifer's block," right? Remember Dunn, Wells, and ... who was that other guy ... oh yeah, Peter Pfeifer.

Does anyone think that this tax will ever go away. Look at the hotel tax.
Now till 2050. The GA 400 toll. What ever money they get (Taxes) become the base line spending. Then they start looking for more. And then the payoff to local goverment to support it. I give Mr cement credit for coming on here and taking a beating day after day. But as they say in the south "that dog won't hunt"

Steve Brown's picture

I forgot it's only a "block" or "faction" when it does not involve you. I forgot, my bad.

Steve Brown's picture

I forgot it's only a "block" or "faction" when it does not involve you. I forgot, my bad.

Anybody who hasn't read Mr. Richter's letter on the defined benefits retirement plan needs to do so. The sobering facts in that letter show us how dangerous it will be if Mr. Horgan, Mr. Hearn, or Mr. Jack Smith should get back into office. My earlier comment linked Horgan's voting to that of the Commission Chairman, Herb Frady. But when Jack Smith was Chairman, Mr. Horgan did the same thing.

If we don't want to end up bankrupt like Hall County, we need to get both Horgan and Hearn out, and not let Jack Smith back in.

Steve Brown's picture

Let’s call the TSPLOST lobbyist on their own tactics. This is regarding Gene Drake’s comments below in the blog line.

Ok, Gene “you lying lobbyist beneficiary of the TSPLOST” Drake,” you made accusations about me saying, “I take issue with his approach and his lack of honesty.” You called me a liar, now you have to prove it.

You said I said, “MARTA is coming to Fayette County.” I asked for your reference and you gave this: which it the “Transit Network Expansion” form for an expanded rail line in DeKalb County. Gene “you lying lobbyist beneficiary of the TSPLOST” Drake you did NOT address your lie about me. Give your reference!

Your next lie was saying I said, “TSPLOST calls for an enormous expansion of MARTA.” But in the next sentence you try to cover your lie by saying, “he typically says ‘enormous expansion of transit’ which is what I really do say. . Gene “you lying lobbyist beneficiary of the TSPLOST” Drake, you did not cite your reference where I said anything about an enormous expansion of MARTA. Liar. By the way, Gene, who is going to run the Clifton Corridor Rail and the Cumberland CID Rail – be interested to hear your answer.

Next, you said, “We're all going to be forced to pay for MARTA.” Actually, Gene, I did say that. I gave you reference from top elected officials from all over our region, but you said, “[Gwinnett Chairwoman] Charlotte Nash's opinion is of no more interest to me than yours or DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.” So only your opinion counts, right Gene?

The next lie from Gene “you lying lobbyist beneficiary of the TSPLOST” Drake was that I said, “The TSPLOST will last for 30-40 years.” Lying Gene could not come up with a reference on that one either!

I have said, just as MARTA’s Beverly Scott and Gwinnett’s Chairwoman Nash have said, but our opinion do not matter – only lobbyist Gene’s matter, that the transit projects in the TSPLOST are only HALF funded and it would require MORE THAN ONE cycle of the 10-year tax to build them.

On a post further down, Gene, where you could not cite your references again, you told another lie about the Cumberland CID project claiming it was a bus project. The truth is Gene “you lying lobbyist beneficiary of the TSPLOST” Drake that Cobb County has not decided what it will be. Let me give you something lying Gene that you seem incapable of providing, THE CITATION OF A REFERENCE!

Here is what the Marietta Daily Journal said, “Following the lecture, Malaika Rivers, executive director for the Cumberland CID, referenced the July 31 transportation referendum to raise the sales tax for 10 years.

‘If the referendum passes and the funds come into place, and the county determines that light rail is what they call the ‘locally preferred alternative,’ then by the end of this year we could very well be in a situation where we’re going to get a rail system in our future — let’s say 10 years down the road, more or less — so how again do we as community members, as government partners, as private investors come together to maximize everybody’s return in investment in this community so that we can create this type of environment that these two have recommended to us?’ Rivers asked. Leinberger said the No. 1 thing that needed to be done for Cumberland is to heavily invest in rail transit.”

The "Leinberger" is Chirs Leinberger the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s expert on the TSPLOST issue. Caught in another lie, Gene “you lying lobbyist beneficiary of the TSPLOST” Drake.

I am beyond tired of the pathetic lying, trying to persuade the citizens they are getting a good deal on the TSPLOST. If your position is so good, then STOP LYING.

And, lying Gene, if you are going to accuse someone of lying – you had better be able to cite the reference – you jerk! You do not lie to my constituents and get away with it.

I read Mr. Drake's assertions (and he is not coming off looking like a peach, either), and your responses, but based on what I read, here's what I took from it.

He didn't call you a liar. He said you mislead and had a lack of honesty. He never said you actually lied. Misleading someone is not lying, in my book.

The assertions he made state that those who follow your musings BELIEVE that MARTA is coming to Fayette County, etc. Again, he never stated that you said those things, so asking him to back those things up with proof you never said them is an exercise in futility, as that didn't appear to me to be his assertion. His assertion appears to me to be those who follow you jump to those conclusions. Based on what I read from your posts and letters to the editor in the past, I could definitely see how some can jump to that conclusion.

I'm not a fan of your style at all, as I think I've made clear previously. You do seem to have a group of dedicated followers who agree with your position. I disagree with that position, and the opposition to the T-SPLOST.

I am neither a lobbyist nor a politician, as has been referenced previously. I am a citizen, the same as others commenting here, and I believe that I am a realist.

There are some who say "no new taxes". There are some who say "this transportation plan is a waste of my money".

Well, I guess my question is, where were all of you naysayers when the plan was being developed? It wasn't a big secret at all - these plans had been on the table for quite some time.

Looking at trends moving forward, by having more options available in the city center and in areas where there is more traffic, opportunities exist for taking cars off the road, for sure.

Will the solution happen tomorrow? No. Is the solution perfect? No. Is the solution a start? I think it is, which is why I'll vote for it.

Is it economic development, too? It is, indeed - any project that changes, maintains or expands a system is going to take jobs and materials...if the systems proposed get into service, there will need to be folks to run the systems.

Past performance is not indicative of future results - the citations to other jurisdictions where transit taxes have been passed and have led to lower ridership numbers are nice, but they're not Atlanta. The transportation planners who come up with these solutions are trying to take into account the growth patterns in OUR areas.

Two population sectors are changing our economy - the young people who don't want to live the commuting lifestyle and the seniors who will need services and may not be able to drive anymore. If we don't build for these populations and the eventual growth that will take place around us (Savannah and points west toward Atlanta, Augusta, etc.), we're not doing Atlanta any favors, and we live in Atlanta, try as some might to say we don't. If we didn't, I doubt I'd be seeing David Barlow on my way to Atlanta every morning for the past week on 74 on my way to the Interstate.

So....all I know is a proposal has been put together with a number of projects, all of which I can see and read about, with dollar amounts and estimates laid out. The tax will run for 10 years, and then we'll get to see where we're at. I am okay with funding these projects, which may not change any immediate traffic congestion, to help the future of the region.

A politician taking to the blogs to emphatically (and if you look at these posts, I think we can agree you are being emphatic) belligerent is unprofessional and unbecoming of a public official. Tact has never been your strong suit, Mr. Commissioner, which is what makes what you say so hard to swallow.

Try catching flies with honey instead of vinegar, perhaps? Prove Mr. Drake wrong with actual facts, not suppositions and estimates. Be respectful, even if the other side isn't. Remember, facts are things that are generally accepted to be true, not just things that one side believes to be true.

Take a breath...I think you've been to too many debates lately. Calling out Clark Howard makes you look like a desperate publicity hound, too. Remember - you got smacked when you ran for mayor of PTC the 2nd time, and when you ran for state office, and you might get smacked again by the voters if you keep up with this line of "battle". You might win more battles if you can understand the concept of compromise.

I'm voting FOR the T-SPLOST, I hope some others will too.

Steve Brown's picture

Clark Howard said we need to take an $8 billion "leap of faith." It appears you agree, right?

MARTA is approaching $3 billion in deferred maintenance now, not to mention operating losses. If we cannot pay the operations and maintenance costs of the current transit system then how will we cover the exorbitant costs of a significantly expanded version, in the billions year over year?

Ridership for regional transit is going down and costs are escalating, and the answer is expanding the system?

ARC's own congestion model shows that the current project list, at a cost of $8 billion, will only save us one minute to work and one minute home. Is this the best we can do? Is it even adequate?

Steve Brown's picture

Istilldontknow, I am tired of paid lobbyists calling me a liar with allegations they cannot prove. Gene Drake still has not cited the references for what he has accused me of saying - he can't - he lied.

The Gene Drake and Terry Lawler types want to stuff their pockets and their clients' pockets with our money.

Because they cannot justify the list of projects they have before the voters, they have resorted to lying and distortion.

Never forget: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

I'm not about to let a bunch of paid lobbyists run all over Fayette County.

efdrakejr's picture

Steve – Like elections, actions have consequences and your actions, for the entirety of your political career, have been to take to the papers and spread misinformation and character assassination. The consequence of that action, other than being defeated by an historic margin, is that we all know you and your SOP very well and know that you are not a reliable or believable source.

As isdk noted well, I didn’t call you a liar. I said you were dishonest and misleading which I stand by. In fact, I suspect you are very careful not to lie but instead just nibble around the edges of the truth enough to get people thinking your way. The example I cited was valid as well. You talk about an enormous expansion of transit but then immediately start talking about MARTA so you can put the idea in folks head that all of these transit projects are MARTA, knowing that MARTA is an evil word in these parts and you can stir their emotions.

So, you can stomp your feet and act unprofessional all you want and I’m still not going to go to the effort to look up your quotes. The consequence of your actions is that people know you mislead and I’m not wasting my time proving the obvious.

Gene Drake

This is how MARTA prioritizes the tiny portion of money they claim they have now and claim they need SO MUCH MORE of our TAX dollars to operate...did I say to OPERATE?

This weekend, yesterday thru Tuesday at the Sheraton in the ATL, the 2012 American Public Transportation Transit Board annual meeting is being held. For a mere $139. per night hotel and $695. per person mtg., members only can come and one of the lovely events consists of "Whale Watching While You Dine" from 6PM to 9PM tonight. Sponsored by....MARTA!!! Closing the Aquarium early this evening, the promo reads:

"MARTA has made arrangements for APTA Transit Board Members, Board Support Employees and their guests to enjoy a very special evening inside the world's largest aquarium after the public has gone home!"

"6-7PM: Private Self-Guided Tour & Executive HOSTED bar"

"7-9PM: Catered Dinner with LIVE Entertainment...Wolfgang Puck will be serving a delicious dinner in the most unique room in Atlanta. The Arctic Room has a private floor-to-ceiling window into the Beluga Whales tank. (Make sure to say hello; they'll be expecting you.)"

Then, at the bottom of the ad, the rainbowed MARTA logo!!!!

And who was preaching to the choir today as a hired speaker?? None other than good 'ol Kaseeem Reed!

If this doesn't rank right up there with the GSA ripoff findings of government wasted dollars, I don't know what is.


HEY MARTA....Here's one taxpayer's message to you and the TSPLOST: "GO TO HE##!!!"

Really, you think that bringing together the country's transit agencies and companies should hold their meeting at the VFW? I mean, I'm sure that none of these folks filled up hotel rooms or anything. Should we have Krystal cater it?

Ugh. I don't think it's just MARTA funding this "junket".

just in case YOU missed it the first and second times.

Oh, yes, the importance of spending close to a thousand dollars of taxpayer money for EACH attendee to get together and listen to someone talk about:

(oops, missed these yesterday and today)

Maximizing Your Membership
Handling Difficult Conversations
Financing and Revenue Sources

(still to come...)
Great Customer Service and ADA Compliance
Leveraging Assets & Funding


Man, those scintillating topics are worth about, what, how about 2 grand a person of our tax dollars?

Tell me, how about NOT holding ANY meeting and instead send out videos and emails and written publications to cover such topics as "Great Customer Service" to be taught to actual board members who are making thousands of dollars already in income from their boards and who NEVER have to give "good customer service" to anyone?

Board members need meetings to find ways to leverage assets and funding? Puhleeze..

Filled up hotel rooms? Using taxpayer money, why, of course.

JUST MARTA? Did I say JUST MARTA? Or did I say Marta is sponsoring the food and beverage fest at the Aquarium tonight?

SPONSOR definition: "a person or group who provides funds for an activity"

I don't think we need ANY conferences whatsoever. With the technology environment we have in this country, EVERY meeting can be done virtually - private or public companies. There's just no excuse anymore.

In fact, most work can be done virtually. No one needs to go to an office to get their job done if it can be done from home. Transit problems solved; I wonder why companies don't do this immediately?

So let's go ahead and immediately make all companies and organizations use technology solely if they can. What could go wrong?

When Microsoft charges you $100 for a piece of software, or Apple, or Amazon, or Coke, are they all wasting your money if they ever have conferences to bring together, say, their employees or other vendors?

Oh wait, it's taxpayer money that you have no choice in paying, right? You can pay less in taxes - don't buy a house that costs as much as the one you are in! Don't buy expensive things! Make choices that lessen your overall tax burden!

Imagine how much money we'd have if we didn't have to pay for other companies' graft and corruption and waste too, eh? Those costs would go down and we'd pay less for things. Of course, we'd also make less, since technology would optimize business practices so much that we would need less employees or could pay them less since the cost of living would just have to be less since we'd all be so efficient.

Let me know when that bus to fantasyland rolls into your stop.

Oh, and the 2nd definition of sponsor, according to Webster, is "one who assumes responsibility for some other person or thing." Not a bit about paying for anything. The 3rd definition, that you seem to reference, also says "or plans and carries out a project or activity."

Could have done that in one sentence. Read this one. This time, voters WILL vote down this tax. Ed Drake, Junior.

Thanks for, in essence, telling me to shut up; that's the kind of discourse that's needed. I know you didn't say it, but that's what I inferred. Glad to see dissenting opinions are always welcomed by this open forum.

Citizen Bob's picture

The major concerns repeated by Commissioner Brown and many the voters are:
- Allocation of over half the TIA project dollars to projects that will only carry <2% of regional commuters... and that doesn'tt start until the year 2025; they will have little impact on congestion
- Over $2.8b of the transit projects are only partially funded, with ARC fact sheets describing them as the "...initial phase..." or "...contingent upon additional funding".
- $931m of taxes (over a year's worth) for transit projects that take NO vehicles off the roads!
- Many transit projects include 10 years of operations & maintenance funding (shouldn't users' fares cover the costs of their chosen transportation?); where will these very high costs come from when the tax ends? I contacted the City of Atlanta and MARTA to determine how much the O&M component is of the total project cost for the Beltline and Clifton Corridor. The belt line project is only funding 65% of their total 10-year needs, and MARTA estimates the Clifton Corridor will incur $156m over each decade.
- ARC modeled the congestion relief for 63 road & intersection projects, and the results ranged from a low of 4.5% to 64.5% (average for all the projects was about 24%). That doesn't mean your commute time is reduced anywhere near that much. It simply means that the congestion WITHIN that intersection, lane widening, etc is reduced. You're back to normal before and after that part of your commute.
- Proponents are staging a game of Whack-A-Mole with their TSPLOST justifications to taxpayers. First it was for traffic relief, next it was for economic development, then it was to demonstrate we weren't racist, and now Atlanta's Mayor Reed is telling us we have to do it because Bill Clinton told him "The whole world is watching." People next door in AL aren't watching, much less the world. These justifications become more ridiculous by the day.
- Lack of trust that government will use our taxes responsibly

I'd urge you and other seriously interested businessmen to abandon this sinking bait & switch farce and frame some principles for developing a solid Plan B : re-look GDOT? County opt-out? Don't pepper traffic relief projects with pet development projects? Use regionally raised money for regional (cross county) projects- not every jurisdictional wish list. Exclude financially unsustainable & partially funded projects unless you explicitly let voters know what they're in for.

These are presented on a short YouTube we made here:

R.J. Ross

efdrakejr's picture

Bob - If these are the concerns repeated by Steve Brown then it verifies my assertion that he is misleading the good people of Fayette County.

[quote Bob Ross]Allocation of over half the TIA project dollars to projects that will only carry <2% of regional commuters... and that doesn'tt start until the year 2025; they will have little impact on congestion.[/quote]

The transit portion of the $6.14 billion is about $3.26 billion. About $1 billion of that is bus service which will begin almost immediately and last throughout the 10 year period. It is misleading, if not outright deceptive to say it doesn't start until 2025.

[quote Bob Ross]Over $2.8b of the transit projects are only partially funded, with ARC fact sheets describing them as the "...initial phase..." or "...contingent upon additional funding".[/quote]

Be more specific. Which projects make up your supposed $2.8 billion? There are 157 projects and I'm not going to do your research for you.

[quote Bob Ross]$931m of taxes (over a year's worth) for transit projects that take NO vehicles off the roads![/quote]

Once again, you're going to have to provide data. I can come up with about $550 million in MARTA Airport Station Improvements, Tunnel Ventilation Rehab, Electrical Power Rehab, Elevator and Escalator Program, Information System, Track Rehab, Train Control Systems Upgrade, and Communications Infrastructure but I don't know where your coming up with the rest. That being said, I contend that having these upgrades made to MARTA will have a very positive impact on the system and make it more attractive to potential riders. I don't know how many more riders but I think you're once again overstaing things by saying NO vehicles will be removed from the road.

[quote Bob Ross] ARC modeled the congestion relief for 63 road & intersection projects, and the results ranged from a low of 4.5% to 64.5% (average for all the projects was about 24%). That doesn't mean your commute time is reduced anywhere near that much. It simply means that the congestion WITHIN that intersection, lane widening, etc is reduced. You're back to normal before and after that part of your commute.[/quote]

That's true but I don't recall anybody saying we would all realize a 24% reduction in congestion or any specific number. It will vary for where you are and where you're going. A lot of people will go through multiple improvements. If you work at the airport, you'll get the benefit of the 74/85 interchange improvement but if you work on the west side of Atlanta, you'll get that plus the I-20/I-285 interchange improvement. You save 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there and it starts to add up for people.

[quote Bob Ross]Proponents are staging a game of Whack-A-Mole with their TSPLOST justifications to taxpayers. First it was for traffic relief, next it was for economic development, then it was to demonstrate we weren't racist, and now Atlanta's Mayor Reed is telling us we have to do it because Bill Clinton told him "The whole world is watching." People next door in AL aren't watching, much less the world. These justifications become more ridiculous by the day.[/quote]

The constant refrain that I hear and push is congestion mitigation, increased capacity and economic development. There are tens of thousands of supporters of this and I don't doubt there are some pushing every reason, possibly including proving we aren't racist. I'm not pushing this because the world is watching but since you mentioned it, I googled it and found articles in the Wall Street Journal and NY Times so maybe they are. I'll give you the part about AL as I couldn't find anything in the Birmingham News.

[quote Bob Ross]Lack of trust that government will use our taxes responsibly.[/quote]

This is absolutely the biggest concern people voice to me in conversations about the TSPLOST. I think the bill does a great job of ensuring that the money is collected, the projects are completed, the cities and counties get their share and the projects are audited thoroughly but I don't dispute that people mistrust government.

This is a serious plan Bob. It took over five years of haggling in the legislature to get a workable plan. The cities and counties were all equally represented in picking the projects. There was unprecedented public input. The business community is behind this big time. This is Plan A and it's a good plan. From the opponents I have heard it is too much transit, it is not enough transit, driverless cars, adaptive cruise control and teleworking. You guys are united in your opposition but you couldn't possibly put together a plan yourselves. I laugh every time I think of the Tea Party and Sierra Club crafting a workable plan. No way that happens and you know it.

This is the plan and it's a good plan. Vote YES for Transportation on July 31.

Gene Drake

UUUUmmmm $54M surplus hidden funds located!! in CA with state officials claiming the need to file bankruptcy???

. . . . . . CA State parks had $54-million hidden surplus, officials say
Los Angeles Times | July 20, 2012 | 0:22 PM

California's state parks system secretly stashed away $54 million even as it was cutting services and threatening to close parks, officials announced today. The department's director, Ruth Coleman, resigned, and her second in command was fired as the hidden surplus was revealed. The state attorney general's office is conducting an investigation.

The announcement means the department has plenty of cash, even though it has been soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations in what was thought to be a desperate scramble to keep parks open.

Officials from the agency that oversees the parks department said the department has under-reported tens of millions of dollars for the last 12 years.

For the full story and latest information go to,0,3462998.s...

and this site will provide info of California State CAFR looked at; Fraud identified; Heads Roll -

plan is to see just how much verbage he can throw at us to convince us to vote for T-SPLOST. For someone who claims to just be a concerned citizen and one who wants what is best for us poor unsuspecting, unknowing souls he sure spends a lot of time, effort and ink citing everything he can possibly come up with trying to sway our thinking--but it ain't working Elfie.

ginga1414's picture

With all you've said about the Regional T-SPLOST, you have conveniently overlooked a bit of information.

In a July 19th article published in the Marietta Daily Journal, Columnist Ron Sifen points out that T-SPLOST supporters have brought in a Washington, D.C. developer, Chris Leinberger, who is also a consultant on urbanism and smart growth, to race-bait the T-SPLOST.

It is more than obvious that the T-SPLOST is all about selling MARTA to the masses within our region. However, people like Leinberger (paid lobbyists, developers, and promoters) realize that most folks within this Region don't want MARTA in their backyard or front yard. Therefore, Leinberger had to find another way of selling MARTA to the Regional masses.

Leinberger told the Cumberland Area Community Improvement District Board, "Ultimately, real estate developers are building for middle-class and upper-class folks."

He also said, "The goal of having a rail system is not for traffic relief, but for economic development. You do not build it to move people."

Leinberger also said, "The white suburban neighborhoods and places have completely ignored the economic development potential that MARTA could have been and will be in the future."

Reprehensible! Absolutely reprehensible!

By the way, Mr. Drake, the Cumberland CID is proposing to pay Leinberger $190,000 to do a study regarding urbanization.

There you go, it's all about "economic development" and "urbanization" within "suburban neighborhoods."

Come on, Mr. Drake, tell me this doesn't have anything to do with Agenda 21. Tell me again that this thing is going to relieve traffic.

Come on, Jack Smith and Robert Horgan, tell me again that you haven't made up your mind about whether you will vote for the TIA (Regional T-SPLOST).

Mr. Smith, you did repeatedly vote in favor of mass transit in Fayette County in your position with the ARC and the Regional Transportation Roundtable.

Mr. Horgan, you did say that the Hwy. 54 W./Fayette Piedmont Hospital area is Fayette County's "economic engine."

Let's get back to the author of this LTE. Nobody seems to be standing up in his behalf, including me. Those who have kind words...speak your piece.

Citizen Bob's picture

... some of the $3.2b of TIA transit project money will carry bus passengers before 2025.

But wait; that means we taxpayers have to shell out subsidies for 27 years instead of just 15 for those bus services. And the total transit passenger count still remains less than 2%. Your observation makes me even more opposed to spending 10 years of taxes- thanks for pointing that out.

Here're some projects that make up the $2.8b partially funded list: TIA-M-028, TIA-CO-035, TIA-ATL-004 & 007, TIA-M-023, TIA-AR-041, TIA-CL-006, TIA-GW-031, and the multiple MARTA "rehabilitation projects".

I'll concede that some people will decide to change their commuting lifestyle if taxpayers further subsidize MARTA lighting, ventilation, escalator, and terrazzo floor improvements. But that number, even if it was five thousand, is a rounding error in proportion to the population of regional commuters. Remember, the government estimates that the ENTIRE $3.2 will only carry less that 2% of commuters.

Mike Alexander, Research Division Chief at the government's Atlanta Regional Commission is specific on the interpretation of the 24% figure, but numerous other proponents haven't been. Most recipients of today's ARC email blast would conclude that their total commute would be reduced by 24%. The blast also conveniently omits the fact that the 7,000 average estimated new annual jobs will only last 12 months- then they go away and we get an average of another 7,100 twelve-month jobs.

Chris Leinberg, an importedTIA shill from Washington DC, isn't some casual supporter, nor is Kasim Reed. They are two major voices who have changed the rationale for our 10-year tax dollars. The WSJ certainly did run a story on the TIA... after Commissioner Brown put them on to it (not Mayor Reed or Bill Clinton).

Yes, a lot of work did go into this plan. A lot of government work also went into ObamaCare and new EPA burdens on Americans. And the Metro Atlanta Chamber, voice of 100s of Atlanta businesses, urged that a shallow Atlanta Public Education investigation be "finessed" past the governor, rather than discovering the real scope of that problem.

The quantity of legislative effort and business support do not automatically make for good outcomes.

R.J. Ross

efdrakejr's picture

[quote Bob Ross]But wait; that means we taxpayers have to shell out subsidies for 27 years instead of just 15 for those bus services.[/quote]

The tax only goes for 10 years Bob so which taxpayers will be subsidizing it for 27 years? Not Fayette. We're not even subsidizing them the first 10 years since we're getting all our money back and more. The counties that they are running in may very well have to subsidize them after the 10 years but why do you care about that. Those counties picked projects that were important to them and we picked projects that are important to us.

You're trying too hard, Bob.

Gene Drake

Citizen Bob's picture

Everything the other 4,000,000 regional residents and I purchase throughout the 10-counties will cost more: meals, products, vehicles, food, you name it... everything subject to the new Sales and Use tax will suddenly become more expensive for a decade. I shop in Fulton and DeKalb Counties, so my costs will go up.

Yes, Mr. Drake, I am trying hard to stop this ineffective, pork-laden, TSPLOST proposal.

The key difference between me and the high rolling PR firms & media that are pushing your side of the issue is they're making $8.5m and I'm not getting a nickel for my efforts.

The difference between me and the consultants, suppliers, developers, builders, and the concrete companies you represent is they'll make $8.5b, but as a retired soldier and small time business owner, I stand to make nothing more than the taxes I save.

Thanks, but I'll continue working "too hard".

R.J. Ross

efdrakejr's picture

I hope you're not working hard spreading misinformation. Looks like PolitiFact scores you and Steve as FALSE on some of your claims. Not HALF TRUE or even MOSTLY FALSE, just plain FALSE.

Give the good citizens the straight facts, not misinformation, and let them make an informed decision.

Gene Drake

It makes me laugh to read these comments and to note the many grammatical and/or spelling errors produced by two battlers Brown and Drake. If any of the readers of the comments are teachers, they must cringe when reading the garrulous ramblings of these men. A simple example is Drake using 'mislead' rather than 'misled' when writing in past tense.

It is disconcerting that both men seem to think that the quantity of their words is paramount, rather than the quality. Thinking before writing seems to be a virtue they both should develop.

I look forward to the comments of fellow readers pointing out my errors, as I am sure I have made a few. I simply hope this will help someone smile.


I find so comical is that he is really taken with his own prose. His verbosity is only exceeded by his misuse. He presents each statement as if it were The Sermon on the Mount. I truly hope he is being paid by the word. I also hope that payment is not predicated on the T-SPLOST passing. On the one hand he will make enough money to retire to that dock of his where he enjoys his adult beverages; on the other hand he will have to pay back mucho dinero to the T-SPLOST backers.

From the perspective of a former Peachtree City resident, the only rationale I can find to vote for the TSPLOST is that the exalted (in his own mind) Steve Brown opposes it!



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