Whom I voted for, and why
I early-voted last week. Here are my votes for the most important electoral choices on the Republican ballot (reasons follow):
School board Post 1 — Barry Marchman
School board Post 2 — Mary Kay Bacallao
U.S. Congress 3rd District — Kent Kingsley
NO to T-SPLOST
Why most important? The school system has been run into a fiscal ditch by a willful majority on the Board of Education and the system’s superintendent. (See a letter to the editor from the two on the board who have tried to mitigate the train wreck.)
The school system receives 64 percent of all local taxes collected in Fayette County — $86 million out of $133.86 million paid by all Fayette taxpayers. It is the largest spender in all of local government. And board members Janet Smola and Terri Smith and their third vote (currently the appointee Leonard Presberg) have spent like drunken Democrats.
And I think our current representative, Lynn Westmoreland, is just marking time — while keeping his finger planted on the “NO” vote button — until his buddy, Gov. Nathan Deal, appoints him to an open U.S. Senate seat created by the “unexpected” resignation of one of our two distinguished senators.
Hollowell the ‘stealth’ man
If you like how Smola and Smith have run the school board, you should vote for Scott Hollowell, the “stealth” candidate. You’ll get more of the same if Hollowell is elected.
Hollowell defers all public questions that attempt to nail down his actual positions by telling the questioner to call him and have a private conversation.
The private conversation never gets reported, allowing Hollowell to deceive the electorate like Barack Obama did in 2008. Like Obama, Hollowell is a blank slate upon which any voter may project his/her aspirations, but without actually revealing what his real position is, he remains a hollow candidate.
Hollowell seems to have led folks in Brooks and Tyrone (his district) to hope that his heart lies with their dreams of keeping their old, expensive schools open as “centers of their community” while never actually saying that he will vote that way. He also seems to be positioning himself to be the teachers’ union rep on the board.
Hollowell may be a really nice guy personally, but he is a truly slippery candidate, and his intent is to parry all attempts to pin him down to discover what his real agenda is. He’s easily the most chameleon-like candidate since Jack Smith. He’s got an agenda, but he ain’t telling the rest of us. Like Nancy Pelosi’s ObamaCare bill, you’ll have to elect him first to find out what he really stands for.
I don’t trust him, and I think neither should you.
Is Griffin a Smith stalking horse?
For Post 2, who is Gary Griffin anyway? He lives in Brooks, near Post 2 incumbent Terri Smith. You remember Terri Smith — the supposed Republican who switched to a Democrat banner during qualifying week.
Griffin was asked, essentially, Are you a stalking horse to muddy the GOP race to enable Smith to have a free run in November, no matter how many votes she might get? Griffin denied that he would drop out afterwards if he won the Republican nomination, but it makes you wonder, why would that thought even enter anybody’s head? Smoke and fire kind of thing.
Mary Kay Bacallao has run for the school board before, and she presents herself as a fiscal conservative and takes definitive stands on controversial issues. She’s against the NAACP-led district voting change and in favor of every taxpayer in every part of the county having a vote on every member of the Board of Education. She’s also against the T-SPLOST boondoggle.
To be sure you get what you are voting for, I suggest voting for Mary Kay Bacallao.
Lynn eyes U.S. Senate
The odd thing is that I support a lot of Rep. Lynn Westmoreland’s positions. But after years of being on the public payroll, Lynn hasn’t proved that he can move beyond being a reliable “NO” vote to oppose the Democrats and a reliable “YES” vote on congressional pork projects.
I can’t think of a single bill of any substance that Westmoreland has authored, a single original thought that has issued from his tenure in Washington.
And I know this about Lynn: He glad-hands the politicians and power brokers in his district, but he’s not much on taking any time to respond to constituency inquiries. The only time most of us will ever hear Lynn speak is on a robo-call asking for our vote. He started out as one of us, but Lynn has left us common folk far behind.
And there is that Big Fix that may be played out in coming months. One of our two Georgia senators likely will decide to “spend more time with the family” and Gov. Deal will name Lynn to be our new U.S. senator. When the senatorial election rolls around, Lynn will be the “incumbent.”
If you don’t want Westmoreland as your equally out of touch next senator, I suggest you vote for retired military man Kent Kingsley for 3rd District congressman. Kingsley is a man of bedrock conservative principles and he will make himself known around the U.S. Capitol as something more than a comedy show caricature.
It’s time for Lynn to honor the conservative principle of term limits and get out of the way.
The T-SPLOST debate has been instructive. There IS a contingent of what were billed as “conservative Republicans” who really bleed Democrat when pricked about regional sales taxes.
And support for a regional sales tax has become a kind of religious test: Throw billions of new money at the burning altar of political correctness and magically dozens of out of state companies will flock here to warm themselves at our civic bonfire of vanity.
Never mind that craven state lawmakers ducked the hard vote and instead created a new layer of government and endorsed the novel concept of regional taxation without elected representation.
New depths of deception have been uncovered. Locally, the Chamber of Commerce to which I pay yearly dues came out in favor of placing a new tax on all of us. (Come to think of it, when has the local Chamber ever met a sales tax it did not like?)
They never asked me. In fact, they never asked most of the Chamber members. They could have easily polled via email every member with the straightforward question: “Should your Chamber of Commerce support the regional sales tax and recommend a ‘YES’ vote?”
The problem is — Chamber wheels knew they would not get the answer they wanted. Such a poll likely would have been overwhelmingly against the T-SPLOST.
Instead they ran an innocuous online poll that asked general questions about “concerns” about “transportation.” Then they took those “concerned” votes and morphed them into support for T-SPLOST.
I say my Chamber misrepresented me and most of their small business members with this deception.
If you vote for Jack Smith, you deserve the arrogance you will receive in return for your vote. Unless you are one of his chosen buddies, forget about him even acknowledging your presence, much less your worth. And thanks, Jack, for your T-SPLOST support.
If you vote for Lee Hearn, you will get more — much more — like the $90,000 paving of Snead Road, a dead-end dirt road less than a half-mile long with two driveways on it.
If you vote for Robert Horgan, you’ll be forgiving his driving while toking pot arrest and conviction and you’ll be forgetting his lockstep voting record with Smith, Eric Maxwell and Hearn that gave us the great West Fayetteville Bypass.
Give somebody else a chance
I’ll always remember a great college women’s basketball coach during a close game with a winning season on the line. Frustrated at the disappointing below-par performance of his starters, he turned to the eager bench and pointed out five.
“Get in there and see what you can do,” the coach growled. The five benchwarmers sprinted in, played inspired ball, built a lead and preserved a winning season to that point.
“Get in there and see what you can do.”
That was my attitude last Wednesday when I walked up to the machine and cast my early voting ballot.
And that’s what I recommend you do as well with the current crop of candidates for the Fayette County Board of Education, the Fayette County Commission and the U.S. Congress Third District races: Bench the starters (and their clones) and unleash the eager replacements.
Let’s see what they can do. It can’t be any worse than the starters have done so far.
[Cal Beverly has been editor and publisher of The Citizen since its first issue in February 1993.]