Vote at the Cobb County Commission meeting last evening to approve moving forward with “Home Run” Braves deal. After a whopping two weeks of digestion.
Commissioner Cupid votes her conscience against the deal, this was her statement.
“Tonight’s vote is not just about the substance of bringing the Braves here. It’s about how we’re going to do it. We have an MOU involved with a lot of details that have come out in a week. As much as I try to go through this document, as diligently as I can – read it twice, pulled stadium deals from across the nation, compared them for pros and cons on every side, talk to our county attorney….
“Some of my concerns still linger. We speak about a public-private partnership and the spirit of cooperation. I want to be that partner. Under these conditions I can’t be that partner. Not without adequate time to make sure that I am diligently protecting the best interest of the county. I cannot do it within seven days, even with a legal background.
“And I certainly can understand why the public has issue with their own tax dollars being committed for 30 years, binding this generation and the generation to follow. And how dare they have questions and want to be a part of this process. I believe this could have been a win-win for so many more people today, if we only took more time to get that win. So many people have asked us to wait…
“It frightens me, the number of threats I’ve received. If you wanted a 5-0 vote, you could have gotten it. It could have been easy. But I will not ever be bullied into sacrificing my commitment to the people who put me in this position….
“For too long, the persons who live in my district have felt left out of the process. It was incumbent upon me, no matter how hard I had to work – even if we didn’t get all that we saw the rest of Cobb County get – to just give us a voice. I’m working hard to give us a voice….
“I was scared that if I did not vote for this, that I would not have a seat at the table. That my district would not have a seat at the table. That we would be left out. But then I realized, I was scared to lose something that we will not lose. We will not lose our seat at the table, because we are citizens of Cobb County. I’m a commissioner. I’m always at the table.”
When I was out of town a week ago, the Braves and Cobb county made a “surprise” announcement that almost broke the internet. The news of the Atlanta Braves moving to the Cumberland Mall area of Cobb County was everywhere, and I.mean.every.where. Within a day the news, reviews, hostility, “heat” map, timelines and commentary were inescapable. As the week progressed details of the deal were released to the public, here, here and here.
I don’t have a dog in this fight, it’s just fascinating to watch the personal and political upheaval going on over this move, and watch I have. Tonight I attended ringside one of the three Town Halls on the subject. They were hastily scheduled all for the same evening, in three locations at roughly the same time. Public comment is for sissies apparently, before the Town Halls were scheduled, Commission Chair Lee was, “we’re not asking for comments we’re telling you the deal, all questions or concerns from you -John/Jane Q public are piffle and nonsense.”
Well alrighty then.
At 4:00 this afternoon I went up to the Mountainview Public Library to attend my Commissioner Birrell’s event. Approaching the parking lot I knew this was going to be a good time. Three TV trucks, a swarm of Sheriff and Police and the parking lot was already packed. A press conference was being held by both for and against groups. The “For” were clearly better organized. I say this because although the public was told the meeting began at 4:30, the “all in for the Cobb Braves” group arrived at 3:00 staked out almost all the 109 seats, passed out T-shirts and rally signs. By the time I arrived at 4:05 all the seats were taken and they’d closed the door to the room. A large crowd of VERY angry citizens were left standing in the hallway, Debbie Dooley was holding court in said crowd and rumors were flying about recalls, it’s all the Chamber of Commerce’s fault and my favorite; this was “crammed down our throats”. I do so love it when RWNJ use their slogans against their own. The Fire Marshall was called in, and we were told that no more folks would allowed to go in, the hallway was so packed it was unsafe, and it was best for us to leave. Uh yeah right, I wasn’t leaving and neither were the 50 folks around me. People continued to arrive, and I suppose they were told it was full, most left.
The cops sensed that many of us were not going to go quietly into that good night, but if we formed single lines along the walls, as people left we’d be let in. Side note: there is just something profoundly creepy when heavily armed men tell me to stand up against the wall. It didn’t take too long before a few “against” folks left the room in disgust telling us all that it was a waste of our time waiting to be heard in “that room“, they’d made up their minds and it was full of supporters! However, once supporter folks got their t-shirts and sat through what I imagine was a dry presentation on the numbers they started filing out. Little by little the “wallflowers” were let in. By the time I got in, the dynamics had changed. Not so much cheering at every utterance of Chair Lee’s and the questions were on the order of, you are making a lot of promises can you deliver? The ”Billon Dollar Investment” and “Home Run for Cobb” slogan/talking points rolled off Chair Lee’s tongue like he’d be up all night practicing them.
Specifically here are the questions I heard, with my highly skewed answers. Good grief, you don’t think I’m a journalist do you? Eyeroll.
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Tomorrow night join the Red Clay Democrats for their Annual Backyard BBQ! 2014 will be a very busy year filled with campaigning, events, debates, and elections. With your help The Red Clay Democrats can have a real impact on 2014. C’mon out tomorrow night for food & fun and to support The Red Clay Democrats efforts for next year!
WHAT: Red Clay Democrats Democrats Backyard Barbecue!
WHERE: Home of Representative Margaret Kaiser (504 Hill Street SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30312)
WHEN: Tuesday, November 19. 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
HOW MUCH: $50 ($25 Red Clay Members for members)
Everybody has a hometown. Mine is Chattanooga, Tennessee. This week, Chattanooga has been in the news for two issues that you wouldn’t normally see the city associated with… and no, I’m not talking about the fact that the Chattanooga Mocs football team is 8-2, Southern Conference Champions for the first time since 1984 and looking at their first playoff trip of my life… but they are! (This has nothing to do with the rest of the article, just had to brag. Go Mocs!)
1) The Chattanooga City Council, on a 5-4 vote, followed in the footsteps of fellow East Tennessee cities Knoxville and Collegedale (which, it should be noted, is home to Southern Adventist University and not exactly a hotbed of liberalism) in allowing the domestic partners of city employees to enjoy similar benefits a spouse would. This applies not just to same-sex couples, who are not allowed the natural right of marriage in Tennessee, but also to opposite sex couples who are not married but still live in a committed relationship, for whatever personal reasons. This has led for the more non-evolved of the population to enter into hysterics that would make Julia Sugarbaker blush, but also attempt to use a portion of the city charter to overturn it… because everybody knows that civil rights should be at the will of the majority, right?
The problem is a clash of societies. You see, the same part of the country that brought you the Scopes monkey trial, is now also known as “Gig-City“, being “the first city in the Western Hemisphere to offer one-gigabit-per-second fiber internet service to all residents and businesses.” Including, apparently, former Obama staffers. You see, there’s a special breed of people in this part of the country. A breed that simply hasn’t evolved, in ages. Growing up and attending school in the Chattanooga area, a Baptist preacher who was eating lunch with students at my middle school cafeteria one day, informed me that I was going to Hell. You may wonder what atrocity I committed to receive such a condemnation while eating my sub-par ham and cheese hoagie… well, when he asked me where I went to church, I informed him I went to an Episcopal Church. Because you see, it’s not just being Christian, it’s being the right type of Christian, with the exact right beliefs that he was after. And this was 1998, well before Gene Robinson was a household name for Episcopalians.
But yet, I’m proud to know that four members of the Chattanooga City Council joined with Councilman Chris Anderson to pass this bill, and I hope that if a referendum happens, my friends and family back home vote for the future, not the past. Because while some people certainly are of that breed that hasn’t evolved, many others of us have… and the fact that a majority of the city council has joined me in evolution makes me proud.
2) After working hard for many years to land a large plant facility at the Enterprise South Industrial Park, land where an ammunition plant once was, Chattanooga and the State of Tennessee managed to outbid several other states to land the Volkswagen Assembly Plant. The issue now is that employees of that plant want to unionize, and to the shock and horror of the conservative Republicans that dolled out millions in taxpayer dollars to land the facility, VW is actually cool with that. Since VW isn’t going to fight the UAW, you can darn sure bet that Republicans will bring in the big guns to make sure this horror doesn’t happen. VW doesn’t make decisions based on politics, they make decisions based on business.
But yet, this is another area where Chattanooga’s past has collided with its future. The people of East Tennessee are mostly decedents of Scots-Irish immigrants, who traveled inland from the east coast and settled in the hills of southern Appalachia, a place which reminded them of their homeland. These people had it rough, many in the Appalachia region still do. They weren’t well educated, didn’t have money, and opportunities were bleak. So those of us who grew up in this culture are taught not to be ungrateful, sometimes to an extreme, where you often are taught to feel ashamed for wanting to do better in life, like make more money or have quality benefits… because you’re constantly reminded of the suffering of those who came before you.
But this is where history is often misrepresented. For you see, when a Republican anti-union consultant called for a the defeat of invading union forces, invoking our Confederate ancestors, he overlooks a major part of history. Tennessee was very divided over “the war” and sent its sons to die on both sides of the battlefield. The vote for secession was at first defeated, and only passed once war was unavoidable, and even then it was defeated in the region of East Tennessee, causing some in that part of the state to attempt to separate from Tennessee just as West Virginia did from Virginia. In the February 1861 vote, 80% of East Tennessee was against secession… and in the June 1861 vote that barely passed, 70% of East Tennessee, remained opposed. While the city of Chattanooga was pro-secession, the larger Hamilton County, remained opposed.
When people look back at the past, they want to glorify it somehow. But war is always horrible… and the death and destruction that the War Between the States left on East Tennessee… a portion of the county that did not even want the war to happen in the first place, is a scar that still remains. And this is where the anti-union foes should take a minute and pause… because just as East Tennessee didn’t want a war in 1861, VW doesn’t want a battle over unionization. Workers have the right to unionize, so that they can play a role in the future of the place the work, the future of the families livelihoods and the future of the area.
On both of these issues, Chattanooga is and will continue to evolve, just like the rest of the nation. Victories for the future on these two issues though would signal a major blow to the end of the radical right which has controlled so much of Southern politics for decades… and would be two major steps into the future for my hometown.
Hi everyone! I’m new to the show here at BfD. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about myself, in the context of the biggest news story of the year for us political dorks.
I’ve been a Georgian my whole life. I was born on the south side of Atlanta in a little (well, it was much littler back then) town called Conyers. Home of the Horse Park and most recently a bull run, Conyers was a middle class town. My mom and dad raised my little sister and I there on a middle class income, and with middle class values.
From an early age, my parents taught me the importance of two things: helping people who can’t quite help themselves, and voting. My parents always took us with them to vote, and encouraged my participation in politics and the formation of my strong political opinions- which they now love tossing out with their friends to watch me argue with them.
When I was seven, I wrote a letter to President Clinton asking him what the president did. My mom thought this was completely adorable and somewhere floating around our house are copies of this handwritten letter to President Clinton that will undoubtedly surface on a wedding table in the future.
I know now that the lovely letter I received back was both written by an intern and autopenned, but at seven, getting mail from the White House was the coolest thing that had ever happened to me. Seven year old Ansley thought that President Clinton really wanted me to know about his job, and invested the time it took to write me back so that I would stay engaged in the political process.
After that, I was hooked. I mean, you can’t turn your back on the party of the president that wrote you back, right?
I am a public school kid, a Peach Care recipient, and a HOPE scholar because the government was invested in my future. They knew when they created these programs that a middle class kids like me needed help in order to succeed. It wasn’t a handout, it was an insurance policy. Give these families a way to move up, and they will rise to the challenge. They knew that Georgia would be better when its citizens were successful.
Somehow along the way, Democrats stopped talking to the middle class about what they needed to succeed. We got pulled into talking about the hot button issues that were a cleverly crafted distraction. Republicans swooped in when our guard was down and did what they could to destroy all the things that helped me succeed.
That’s what was so refreshing in 2010, when Jason Carter first stepped onto the Senate floor under the Gold Dome. He got it. He saw that no one was speaking up loud enough for the majority of Georgians. He took the mic and hasn’t stopped being a champion for the people he knows Georgia must invest in.
He’s in this race to bring back middle class values to Georgia governance. I can’t wait to watch how this next year unfolds, and how he plans to speak to the real issues that middle class families care about: quality education for their kids and good jobs to put food on the table.
I hope that Democrats across the state follow his lead and begin speaking loudly to these issues. It’s the only way Governor Carter takes office in 2015.
- JMPrince on 4-1
- Tim Cairl on 4-1
- JMPrince on “Home Run for Cobb”
- Deanna on “Home Run for Cobb”
- Juliana on “Home Run for Cobb”
- Steve Golden on “Home Run for Cobb”
- JMPrince on Equal Rights and Workers Rights: One City’s Struggle
- JMPrince on Equal Rights and Workers Rights: One City’s Struggle