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County commissioners ignore voters, press on with West Bypass

If you had any doubts that your votes for Allen McCarty and Steve Brown for the at-large county commission posts were the right decisions, the current county commissioners gave you all the confirmation you need last week when they decided to move forward with Phase II of the West Fayetteville Bypass.

The unmitigated gall of the current Fayette commissioners taking the next step on Phase II of the bypass even though the public has loudly cried the road is not wanted is another horrible example of the government’s total disrespect for the average citizens.

And I do mean “average” citizens, hardworking people like you and me, because this bypass is all about using our money to give free infrastructure to land speculators and developers who the commissioners rate as higher priority constituents.

My neighbors, the people at the grocery store, and just about anyone I speak to has shaken their heads in disbelief about the commission’s act of defiance against the local taxpayers. Is there really any wonder why the Tea Party groups are seeing one after another of their candidates win elections and primaries?

Our elected government officials are kicking sand in our face and telling us to go home and keep our mouths shut. What they don’t understand is we are not going to take it anymore.

Like the case with our Fayette commissioners and their ridiculous road to nowhere bypass, it’s not some radical element trying to stir up trouble against them. It’s plain honest citizens demanding that their elected representatives do the right thing.

The commissioners and their developer friends are in such a hurry to get Phase II of the bypass going before Allen McCarty and Steve Brown are sworn in come January that they started acquiring property before they have the necessary permits from the federal government.

Is Commission Chairman Jack Smith’s position on the local developer bank and tremendous future profit potential for that bank forcing the rapid pace of their decisions?

The defeat of Jack Smith and Eric Maxwell was an obvious mandate from the people to stop the road to nowhere. Lee Hearn, Robert Horgan and Herb Frady are next on the list to be thrown out of office in the 2012 elections.

The county commissioners have yet to give a compelling reason to build the West Fayetteville Bypass. It’s a huge waste of our tax dollars.

We don’t care about the commission chairman’s private earning potential. Stop the bypass now.

Gail Onesi

Tyrone, Ga.



ginga1414's picture

It is quite obvious that Jack Smith, Eric Maxwell and the rest of their crew are pulling every underhanded tactic within their power to tie the hands of Steve Brown and Allen McCarty. The operative word here is POWER.

It really isn't a pretty picture. One would think that Smith and Maxwell would want to leave on a good note. However, in true Smith and Maxwell fashion, they could care less what "we the people" think or feel.

NUK_1's picture

Maybe Smith and Maxwell are representing the 47% who voted for them or the 77% who didn't bother to vote. Or they are totally out for themselves which should have been real obvious before either got elected. But, "the people" got what they wanted by electing them and giving them the green light to build roads where ever, so.......

ginga1414's picture

"The people" voted Smith and Maxwell out because of their stance on mass transit, the West Bypass, and SPLOST. Smith and Maxwell are so arrogant they can't just leave gracefully. Their vengeance is showing.

Gingercake road is parallel to the bypass, 2 miles from the bypass, and connected to the same road(s) as the bypass. Gingercake couldn't be more of a mirror image of the bypass itself. So... it stands to reason if the bypass is so desperately needed and will be a highly utilized thourghfare, as touted by the county commissioners, then Gingercake (now) should be nothing but bumper to bumper traffic. Yes or No? Am I completely crazy? If people aren't using Gingercake, who is going to use the bypass?

Honestly, we're going to spend what... 10 - 15 million to build a road (sorry bypass), and no study, no report, not one engineering paper exist that supports the need for this bypass? Is that right? Who thinks that's a good idea? Who spends that kind of money without justification.

I saw another article where Jack Smith said that the bypass will improve 911 access... yes, yes of course it will... but what is the 911 response time to the homes in the area now? How do those numbers compare with the rest of the county's 911 response times?

Say what you want... Blah... Blah... Blah... show me some #'s.

Well said. Ginger Cake Rd. is never crowded, and has traffic lights at both ends. It's not a question of the project being a logical choice or supported by need. It's the ability to get your pork projects approved. So the bunch of hooligans we have in there now refuse to respond to logical arguments and accuse the voters of voting for a project which is only one of a great number of SPLOST projects they could have chosen for the county. They resent the 2009 SPLOST being blown out of the water as well as being literally thrown out of office to be replaced by folks who represent the wishes of the people. That makes them bitter toward the voters.

Let's not stop showing them up until the other three are out of office as well. Too bad we have to live with them for another 2 years. Pretty bad performance when the voters turned in their scorecards July 20th. No doubt it will be even more of a rout when 2012 gets here.

ginga1414's picture

THANK YOU SO MUCH for a logical analysis of the situation.

Our commissioners are so busy trying to comply with the wishes of the developers that I don't think they even realize that the meager answers they provide to the public are extremely illogical.

Our current commissioners need to go back and look at the demographics concerning Fayette citizens. We are a well educated and highly intelligent bunch of people who are more than capable of deciphering a situation. Plain and simple, they are just messing with the wrong people.

ginga1414's picture

"The People" came last night to the commissioner's meeting. They came from Woolsey, Brooks, Tyrone, Peachtree City, Whitewater, Starrs Mill, the Hopeful Community, other communities and neighborhoods. They came from all parts of Fayette County. Why did they come? "The People" came in protest concerning the deceptions, lies, manipulations and bullying tactics of our commissioners regarding the West Fayetteville Bypass.

Not only did those folks come to the meeting, they came and they spoke to our commissioners during the Public Comment portion of the meeting. Each person spoke from their heart and laid it all on the line so that our commissioners would know exactly how the majority of Fayette voters who voted in the 2009 SPLOST and the July 2010 Primary Elections feel. A teacher was concerned for children who will walk to school along Phase III of the West Bypass. He was greatly concerned about the logic of building a major thoroughfare through neighborhoods and beside school complexes.

"The People" came last night in obvious protest to our commissioners latest attempt to bully homeowners and landowners along Phase II of the West Bypass. During the Sept. 9 commission meeting, after a late evening Executive Session, Chairman Jack Smith signed a resolution threatening condemnation of property under the eminent domain laws.

The same speakers were also concerned about the commission's failure to censure and fine Commissioner Horgan for his original marijuana violation and his further alcohol violation of parole.

Last night's commission meeting was a sobering experience, to say the least.

NUK_1's picture

2 are toast and 3 aren't up for re-election until 2012 and I don't know if Horgan and Hearn have even the faintest interest in running again. Frady could retire. Who knows? Now quick, logoff, and then log back in as pips1414 and say this again!

PTC Observer's picture

This is all perfectly legal, including Mr. Smith's decree threatening condemnation of property under the eminent domain laws.

Honoring the wishes of the people in this case is not material as this Board has until January 1st to do its “work”. This is also legal.

Elections have consequence; you are now seeing the true character of your elected representatives in their headlong rush to get as much done before they must leave office.

Honor requires conscience.

Next time people need to take an interest in their government, they need to find out about the character of their representatives before they vote for them, they need to find out about their positions on issues like this,and they need to demand stands on issues by candidates. They also need to stop giving power to the government that it abuses. No more SPLOSTS for any reason, they will simply abuse the power and money they get from these taxes. Haven't they proven this? Haven't we all had enough of this stuff? Get involved in the next election, put forward candidates that will reflect our views, or run yourself.

Wait for January and 2012.

ginga1414's picture

I agree with everything you said. However, I think we all need some guidelines as to how we would go about finding out "about the character" of our representatives before we vote for them.

As far as any voter knew, the West Fayetteville Bypass wasn't an issue at the time Jack Smith and Eric Maxwell were running for office. It didn't become an issue until they took office.

Jack Smith's qualifications read as if he was the answer to all of Fayette County's problems. He goes to church. He has worked for several charitable organizations. My goodness, he was even involved in the Boy Scouts of America program.

Qualifications and appearances can be very deceiving. They can even be disguised.

PTC Observer's picture

Democracy is not perfect and you can only go by what you see.

Like you say Jack Smith would have been a poster child of a "right and upstanding" guy. However, if he ever decides to run for anything in Fayette again, he will fail given his actions as a lame duck. His political career we can only hope is over. You can only go by what people do, not what they say.

This is merely a microcosm of what we will see on a national level if the Democrats know they won't be coming back after being throwing out on their ears. A lame duck Democratic Congress is a frightening specter, its actions will speak tons about their character. Their goal with be their own self interests at that point, not ours.

Hiring the right people is the most difficult job in business, and equally so in electing (hiring) our public servants. We can only do our best.

Sadly, most go to the polls with little or no information on the candidates.

You and everybody else can make your comments more effective by attending commissioners meetings, speaking out, and then posting your public comments as Letters To The Editor, or as comments to appropriate letters. That way, you can address the county and the public at the same time.

Yes, the commissioners have been and still are disappointing. The majority of voters obviously agree, too, but is that enough? You have to hand it to them for putting one over on the public. These diabolical stratagems are well thought out and fiendishly clever. I've talked to many people who are hopping mad over the West Bypass. It will be interesting to see what happens when so many other folks rise to the occasion as the commissioners current scheme further unfolds.

suggarfoot's picture

Or, more to the point, they don't care. I came that road last week and was really startled at how ..FAST.. they are going at it.

Smith and Maxwell, you must be planning on moving away...soon.

"we never voted?

As I remember it, the SPLOST to pay for it passed ar election time! The recent commissioner vote had nothing legally to do with it!

They chose that road out of the SPLOST to do long ago!

If you want to get more money for the land you will have to wait until it is given to you, then sue for more. Too late to stop it entirely and close the road built!

suggarfoot's picture

I would think the others that will have to run for re election would see we will turn them out too. They must have no intentions of running again.

Ms. Onesi is speaking the truth, but PTC Observer got to the core of the problem. There are some real flawed characters at the county. None of them have any respect for the voters.

DBarlow's picture

I find myself absolutely amazed at the hucksterism used by the Fayette County Board of Commissioners. Their theme is “blame it on the voters” and not them.

The commissioners do something we don’t like and they say it’s our fault. For example, regular people like you and me can’t speak at a commission meeting when an agenda item is being discussed because, first of all, we are just ignorant citizens (we did vote the current commissioners into office so maybe there is credence there). Secondly, if the people are allowed to speak when an agenda item is called, the meeting might last another 15 to 20 minutes longer.

They can’t tolerate the meeting lasting another 15 minutes as they might not make it home in time to watch the beginning of American Idol.

Commission Chairman Jack Smith and Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele, as our representatives to the regional government, voted in favor of a regional transit plan called Concept 3 that called for transit buses routes all through Fayette County from Clayton County, Henry County and Coweta County. But even though you can read the meeting minutes with your own eyes and see how they voted, Smith and Steele claim they are being misrepresented. They say it’s our fault for looking up their votes and not understanding their intentions (whatever those intentions might be because they never came back home and told anyone they voted for the mass transit plan).

Back in February of 2000, the County Commissioners (a different Board of Commissioners than who we have now) decided to move forward with building a bypass, the EAST FAYETTEVILLE BYPASS.

Later, County Commissioners (Greg Dunn, Herb Frady, Linda Wells, A.G. VanLandingham, and Peter Pfeifer) proposed a Transportation SPLOST which just barely passed in 2004. Those Commissioners also agreed the priority transportation project they could substantiate building was the EAST FAYETTEVILLE BYPASS. They began spending SPLOST funds on engineering and permits for the East Fayetteville Bypass (the project the county and the cities agreed was the top priority).

According to former Commissioner Peter Pfeifer, “The ‘Old Commission’ — Dunn, Wells, Frady, Pfeifer and Horgan — initiated Phase I of the ‘West Bypass’ (the part almost completed). The purpose was to improve traffic movement around the hospital. The ‘Old Commission’ DID NOT place a priority on the rest; Phases 2 and 3 of the ‘West’ [Bypass]. That commission DID PLACE A PRIORITY on the East Bypass” (My upper case emphasis.).

Then enters the Board of Commissioners comprised of Jack Smith, Eric Maxwell, Lee Hearn, Herb Frady and Robert Horgan around 2008. All of a sudden the project that had always been the top priority (the East Fayetteville Bypass) was wiped out overnight. This was also the same time period when our County Commissioners thought it was no longer important to listen to their constituents.

Without any warning and without any public vote and without soliciting any public comment, the new Commissioners decided the priorities had changed (or should I say their priorities became more important than the county’s priorities). Even though we had already begun spending on the East Fayetteville Bypass, the top priority of the county and cities before and after the 2004 SPLOST vote, the new bunch thought they knew better and switched to the West Fayetteville Bypass.

It takes a whole bunch of arrogance to think, as a newly elected group of commissioners, that you know better than the two previous County Commissions and all of the voters who had been told the East Fayetteville Bypass was the top priority.

Chairman Jack Smith and Commissioner Maxwell made up a bunch of pitiful excuses as to why they chose to personally realign the voters’ priorities for them.

All five of the current Commissioners blame you, the voters, for their rearranging the priorities from the East Fayetteville Bypass (the most useful road) to the West Fayetteville Bypass (the developer special interest pork barrel project). They say YOU WANT the West Fayetteville Bypass instead of the top priority project of the East Fayetteville Bypass.

Commissioners Jack Smith, Eric Maxwell, Lee Hearn, Herb Frady and Robert Horgan want you to believe that YOU are to blame and not them even though they can CHOSE to fund any other SPLOST project they desire.

The voters trounced the 2009 SPLOST that included phase three of the West Fayetteville Bypass. The voters also elected the two anti-West Fayette Bypass candidates. So why it is our fault the West Fayetteville Bypass is being constructed?

Whenever our Take Back Fayette County PAC showed groups of people the county map with the path of the West Fayetteville Bypass on it, they threw their arms in disgust. The only thing the West Fayetteville Bypass is good for is creating roads to build more new homes, nothing else.

If the lame duck Chairman Jack Smith has any integrity, he will quit the board of directors of the Bank of Georgia. A lot of people are assuming that his reckless planning changes are setting him up for a financial payoff at the bank in years to come. The potential for conflict of interest has always existed and Smith should do the right thing and resign from the bank board. He is truly a small-minded person.

Of course if Smith and his bank do end up making a fortune in the years to come off of the West Fayetteville Bypass, that will be, as the commissioners like to say, your fault too.

I'm sad that I missed the meeting this past Thursday, September 23rd. I understand my fellow TBFC PAC members were out in force. We will prevail in defeating Frady, Horgan and Hearn in 2012.

David Barlow
President, Take Back Fayette County PAC
Fayetteville, Ga.

Proud Citizen of Fayette County, Tyrone, Georgia. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life..John 3:16

NUK_1's picture

So much FAIL. I always thought it was Harold Bost, the disgraced ex-commissioner who didn't seem to remember where he lived or spent too much time overseeing illegals doing a whole bunch of sewing. I guess he passed the reigns along to you and your video service you were hawking all the time when you first showed up from wherever a few short months ago.

Where did this sewing by illegals take place?
Is it similar to roofing, mowing, veggie picking, housekeeping, chicken slaughtering, pig killing, dishwashing, illegals?

ginga1414's picture

Thank you so much for bringing us back to the facts concerning the West Bypass.

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