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District Three town hall meeting next week

District Three Commissioner JoAnn Birrell will host her first town hall of the year 6:30-8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 19. The spotlight will be on the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Northwest Corridor Express Lanes project. This meeting will be held at East Cobb Senior Center, 3332 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta.

For more information, call 770-528-3317 or visitcobbcounty.org/birrell.

 

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Code amendments hearing is February 24

The final public hearing for the community to provide feedback on proposed code amendments will occur at 7 pm, Tuesday, Feb. 24, in the BOC meeting room.

The proposed code amendments are located at http://cobbcounty.org/images/documents/comm-dev/news-archive/Draft_Code_Amendment_Package_1_2015.pdf.

If you are unavailable to attend one of the two public hearings, feel free to provide feedback to me via email at JoAnn.Birrell@cobbcounty.org.

 

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Braves move to Cobb: Oral Argument at Supreme Court of Georgia

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The planned stadium in Cobb County for the Atlanta Braves has had a bit of controversy. For months various public figures have described any opposition to the stadium as misguided and have denigrated anyone who has questioned the project. I am one of those people and ask for a couple of minutes of your time to read this and understand the issues.
Current status: In July, Cobb County Superior Court held a hearing to”Validate” the bonds for financing the stadium. This is a legally-mandated process that assures bond investors that the bonds were properly issued under the law. Several people “intervened” in the validation process. Intervention is allowed in the law for anyone who has reason to oppose the validation. The Court dismissed all the objections and issued an order validating the bonds. Three Interveners appealed the ruling of the Cobb Court. By law, appeals of bond validation go directly to the Supreme Court of Georgia. Briefs were submitted by the three Appellants and by the attorneys for the government parties (Cobb County and the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority) in November and December. On Tuesday, February 3, oral arguments were heard in the Supreme Court of Georgia.
Video of the oral arguments in the stadium bonds case at the Supreme Court can be seen here.

This is a very abbreviated view of the case against the bond debt.
The new stadium for the Atlanta Braves requires Cobb County to incur debt. Revenue bonds are to be issued in the amount of $397,000,000. The bonds are to be issued by the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority.
The Georgia Constitution states clearly that a referendum is required to acquire “the assent of the voters”  for a local government to incur debt. This was not done despite there being elections already scheduled in April and November of 2014. There are also other limitations in the Constitution that are applicable to revenue bond debt.
Cobb County and the Coliseum Authority have entered into an “Intergovernmental Agreement” (IGA). This is a specialized form of contracts for units of state and local governments. Under this agreement the Authority will issue the bonds and the County will make payments to the Authority sufficient to meet the obligations for principal and interest on the bonds, as well as expenses of the Authority. This is in addition to rent payments by the Braves of $6.1 million per year. The County’s payments will run about $19 million per year, for thirty years. These terms were approved by the Cobb County Commissioners, not by a referendum of the public.
The government (County and Authority) contends that they are not subject to the limitations on debt, including the referendum requirement, found in the Constitution because they have an Intergovernmental Agreement. The constitutional origin for the IGA is not the basis for that claim as it says nothing about that subject. The claim that the government is immune to the debt limitations of the Constitution is derived from a court decision in 1952.
Several issues were raised in the appeal to the Supreme Court. The most important objections before the Court are these:
  • The 1952 Court decision has for years provided the legal authority for local governments to dodge the debt limits of the Constitution. It is a seriously flawed decision. In short, the conclusion of the Court in 1952 is completely wrong and should be overturned by the current Supreme Court. With that, the government would not have a claim of immunity and would absolutely be required to conform to the limitations of the Constitution, including the referendum requirement.
  • The Intergovernmental Agreement between the County and the Coliseum Authority is not valid. It does not contain the essential elements of an Intergovernmental Agreement that the Court has required in all prior cases.
  • The government does not have Constitutional authority to build a stadium for the exclusive use of a professional sports team. The government claims its Constitutional Authority is from the Supplemental Powers Clause which allows for “parks” as a government function.
Why does it matter?
The use of Intergovernmental Agreements between units of government has been a growing trend around the state for years. It allows a local government and one of the MANY “Authorities” that have power to issue revenue bonds to cooperate in a way that bypasses the voters and enters the taxpayers into long-term debt obligations for virtually anything the county commissioners or city councils want to do. The stadium project in Cobb County takes it to the final step in that the stadium itself stretches the constitutional authority of “parks” to the maximum. The Intergovernmental Agreement says nothing more than “Party A will issue the bonds and Party B will provide money to make the payments”, with the money coming from taxpayers. This agreement can be replicated at any time by any local government in the state. If it is found to be acceptable, revenue bond debt will be available to any city or county in the state at any time with no vote and no limits.
All of this is contrary to clearly stated terms of the state Constitution and defies good judgement. What could be more dangerous than local politicians with unlimited access to credit?
One last word: Cobb County has approved a series of new taxes to pay for the stadium debt. Much of it falls on hotels, rental cars and property near the stadium. I have doubts about the legality of those taxes but no one has challenged them.
The bonds to be issued for financing the stadium ($397,000,000) include  a statement of “Security”. This is what assures investors that the bonds will absolutely be paid. The Security for these bonds is the absolute assurance that Cobb County will tax all the property in Cobb County at whatever rate is necessary to meet its obligations for this debt.
(Written by Larry Savage)

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East Cobber Becomes Advocate for Common Sense Gun Legislation

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Lucia K. McBath

 

 

East Cobber Lucia K. McBath is the mother of Jordan Russell Davis, who, at the tender age of 17, was shot and killed at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida on November 23, 2012. He was murdered by Michael Dunn, a middle-aged software developer because he was agitated about how loud her son
and his friends were playing music in their car. Their case was declared a mistrial in February 2014.

The case was re-tried in September 2014 and Michael Dunn was convicted of first degree murder in Jordan’s death. Late last month, “3 1/2 Minutes” debuted at the Sundance Film Festival which, examined the death of her son, Jordan Davis. The documentary includes interviews with Davis’s parents.

Thrust into the international spotlight, Lucia has turned the tragedy of losing her son into an  opportunity to champion and fight for common sense gun legislation and solutions to the issue of our country’s rampant gun violence. After 30 years as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines, Lucia just retired to dedicate herself full-time to be the national spokesperson for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. In her work as a gun safety advocate, she has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the “Stand Your Ground Laws: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications
of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force” as well as both Georgia and Florida state legislature committee hearings for repeal of the Stand Your Ground Law.

This community activist comes from an extensive family background involving civil rights. Her father  was the Illinois Branch president of the NAACP for over twenty years and served on its national board as well. As a child, she traveled with her family attending marches and rallies supporting the civil rights movement and the coalitions of organizations fighting alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 2014, she was invited to the White House for President Obama’s unveiling of My Brother’s Keeper Initiatives for minority young men. In addition, she has spoken at the 2014 White House Summits on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

Ebony Magazine recognized Lucia as a community crusader/activist for the EBONY POWER 100 for 2014. EBONY POWER 100 celebrates the world’s most inspiring African Americans. EBONY recognizes those who lead, inspire and demonstrate through their individual talents, the very best in Black America.
She recently founded the Walk With Jordan Scholarship Foundation which provides charitable and educational assistance to graduating high school students attending traditional as well as technical and training colleges and universities.

For more information on Lucia’s causes, visit walkwithjordanfoundation.org, everytown.org, and momsdemandaction.org.

 

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Birrell Town Hall Scheduled for February 19

Commissioner JoAnn Birrell has scheduled her first town hall meeting for this year. This is a good forum for discussion and all are invited to attend. The meeting will be held from 6:30-8 pm, Thursday, February 19, at East Cobb Senior Center, 3332 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta.

The spotlight will be on the Georgia DOT’s Northwest Corridor Express Lanes Project.

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Cobb Democrats meet monthly

Cobb County Democratic Committee hosts a monthly breakfast the second Saturday of each month at 9am at 3 Amigos Mexican Bar & Grill, 1000 Whitlock Avenue, Marietta. For more information call 770-420-7133 or email www.cobbdemocrats.org.

 

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Lee to hold town hall meetings in each district

Open communication is one of the fundamental elements of good government and town hall meetings serve as excellent opportunities to share information, ideas and input. Chairman Tim Lee will host a town hall meeting in each of the four commission districts this year.

  • District One
    6:30-8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 29
    North Cobb Senior Center, 4100 Highway 293, Acworth
  • District Two
    6:30-8 p.m., Monday, Feb. 23
    East Cobb Regional Library, 4880 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta
  • District Three
    6:30-8 p.m., Thursday, March 19
    East Cobb Senior Center, 3332 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta
  • District Four
    6:30-8 p.m., Thursday, April 23
    South Cobb Recreation Center, 875 Six Flags Road, Austell

For more information, call the Chairman’s Office at 770-528-3305.

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Register for Cobb GOP Precinct Mass Meetings at Roswell Street Baptist Church

GOP Republican
A message from the Cobb County Republican Party:

Being a part of the Republican Party means taking an active role in its proceedings.  As we prepare for the crucial 2016 elections, the organizational meetings and conventions of our party from February through May of this year are extremely important. Each of us MUST take these meetings seriously and participate if we want to protect the traditional values and principles of our party to elect Republican candidates. See complete schedule below.

The first meetings of this convention cycle are the Precinct Mass Meetings where precinct and house district officers are elected and delegates and alternate delegates to the Cobb County Convention are selected.  All of the Precinct Mass Meetings for the entire county will be held at one location, Roswell Street Baptist Church, on February 7, 2015, at 10am. 

For the third consecutive convention cycle, the Cobb GOP has made it easy for you to register online ahead of time.  At our last Precinct Mass Meetings in 2013, 66% of all attendees took advantage of this fully automated system which eliminated a prolonged registration on the day of the meetings.

You may be asking . . .

1. Why should I attend my Precinct Mass Meeting?

You must attend your precinct meeting on February 7th in order to be a delegate or alternate to the Cobb County Convention on March 14th.

2. Why should I preregister online?

Preregistered attendees are expedited through the check-in lines on the day of the event.  This saves you time and helps us to start the meeting on time.
There is no cost to attend the Precinct Mass Meetings, and you can preregister online NOW by clicking HERE.

If you have questions or need assistance during the pre-registration process, contact pmmconv@cobbgop.org.

(Source: Cobb County Republican Party)

Save the date: Chairman to host town hall meetings

Open communication is one of the fundamental elements of good government and town hall meetings serve as excellent opportunities to share information, ideas and input. Chairman Tim Lee will host a town hall meeting in each of the four commission districts this year.

  • District One
    6:30-8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 29
    North Cobb Senior Center, 4100 Highway 293, Acworth
  • District Two
    6:30-8 p.m., Monday, Feb. 23
    East Cobb Regional Library, 4880 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta
  • District Three
    6:30-8 p.m., Thursday, March 19
    East Cobb Senior Center, 3332 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta
  • District Four
    6:30-8 p.m., Thursday, April 23
    South Cobb Recreation Center, 875 Six Flags Road, Austell

For more information, call the Chairman’s Office at 770-528-3305.

 

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Attend the January ECCA meeting

The East Cobb Civic Association Monthly Meeting is Wednesday, January 28, 7pm, East Cobb Government Center – 4400 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta.

The speaker for this month’s meeting is Cobb County Commission Chariman Tim Lee. Chairman Lee will deliver his remarks on the State of the County and entertain questions. Following the speaker, the regular monthly meeting of the Association will be held, which is open to members only.

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