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Rockdale Citizen Poll

This week's citizens' poll was an open line ...

It is unfortunate that the crisis of our hospital occurred in a political year (although voting is not until next year). There is the political side, and then there is the side of responsibility, ethics and good management. We again see that our long-time gratitude and appreciation for Cleveland Stroud has not been in vain. Thank you, Mr. Stroud, for your comments in the Oct. 21 Citizen. In the same edition, Bill Shipp's comments about our water problems contained some appropriate statements about our hospital dilemma if you just change a few words. ... In the case of the hospital, it is support of a totally irresponsible action on the part of our Hospital Authority. Can you imagine a community giving away its viable hospital of over 50 years? Are we giving it away? According to figures released by the Hospital Authority, we are selling it for exactly what we owe (a price of about $88 million to pay our debt of about $88 million, which leaves us zero dollars and no hospital). Will the Citizen please publish the members of the Hospital Authority who have engineered this good deal for us?"

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"From my understanding, Rockdale Hospital was reorganized in the 1990s to allow the hospital to improve revenues during a time when hospital reimbursement was being cut back. During this reorganization, the lease agreement of Rockdale Hospital was one of many changes that allowed the hospital to improve revenues. Rockdale Home Health, building offices in South Rockdale, and an X-ray facility were created. This was all done with the knowledge of the authority, but under the control of the board. I guess the authority and the board didn't get along and the power change resulted in the lawsuit which resulted in another reorganization, a new board/authority and administration. A short two years later, the hospital is in financial problems. It seems easy to connect the dots."

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"I would like to send a really big thank-you out to the officer(s) patrolling Ga. Highway 138 in front of Heritage High School at afternoon dismissal. There have been many times in the past that I've been passed by people ignoring the reduced speed limit and actually speeding along that road at dismissal. This includes students leaving or returning to school. The officer may not be able to catch all of the offenders, but I'm sure the ones he has pulled over and given citations to will think twice about speeding during school zone periods. Thanks again."

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"I'd like to second the comment from last week about the county employees being underpaid and not treated well. I mean, come on, no raises of any kind, no matter how hard you work for five years? How many of us would have stayed with our current jobs if that happened to us? What with our increase in population, places like the 911 center are starting to put people on hold because they don't have the manpower to handle all the calls. Of course, maybe if they were a bit better paid, or treated better, they might be able to hang onto their employees longer than two or three months. These people are the lifeblood of the city, yet are treated terribly. This goes for our police, fire and ambulance people as well, and probably others I've forgotten about. Thanks to every one of you doing these jobs."

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"The following example from last weeks Poll: 'Black Americans, be real careful on how you handle the baggy-saggy pants issue. Even though this issue crosses all races, you need to ask yourself whose child will get targeted the most.' This is a perfect example of someone wanting to push the race and hate mindset that is becoming more prevalent in this county. Instead of worrying who will be targeted, you should be more concerned about the proper appearance you or your child should be displaying. Blaming 'the man,' whoever you think that might be, is a poor excuse for your lack of judgment. Keep wearing your pants down and the only job you or your kid will qualify for is the county jobs that apparently don't pay enough. Hmmm, I wonder why?"

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"In response to the county employee who feels like the 'picnic/propaganda' money the county is spending instead of giving it back to the employees, remember this: All of your salaries are at taxpayer expense. The words you chose to use, 'good' and 'hardworking,' are not words to use for those of you who need incentives to get a paycheck. You chose to work for the county, so if you don't like it, then choose to leave and better your own circumstances."

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"The Piggly Wiggly robbers are hardened criminals, that is why they were depicted that way. Armed robbery is not a 'soft' crime."

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"I have a request for the Rockdale Citizen: Would you consider doing a comprehensive story on the water situation? All of North Georgia is in trouble, of course, but I'd love to read about Rockdale's water situation. My husband saw something on the news about Rockdale having some old wells, or perhaps digging new wells, but unless I missed it, I haven't read anything about that. I'm also curious to know exactly where Rockdale gets its water now. Do we get it all from Black Shoals Lake, or do we get some from Lake Lanier? Is Rockdale in less danger of running out of water than many other counties? I'd love also to hear experts' recommendations on conservation. I've been using gray water to water my shrubs and trees, but someone told me that they read that, since that keeps water out of the sewer system, and therefore out of the water purification plants, that it is actually a form of water hoarding. I'd like to know the right things to do. In the meantime, I am trying hard to take shorter showers, do the wash only with very full loads, not run any water needlessly, and resist the urge to buy and plant pansies."

Editor's Note: Thank you for your suggestions and we will continue to follow this story and the impact it has on our community. For your reference, we have run stories on the subjects you've mentioned. See, for example, the lead story on Oct. 2, entitled "County looks to wells for help; Drought putting stress on waterways." On Thursday, Oct. 11, we published a story regarding a local forum on water issues, "Experts discuss water-related issues at forum," along with a sidebar, "Residents can save gardens." We also ran a story about the local response to the governor's demand to reduce water consumption by 10 percent (See "Rockdale officials plan conservation strategy" in the Thursday, Oct. 25, edition). Please see today's front page for more on the state of the local water system.

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"To the person warning black Americans to watch out for who's going to be targeted in the saggy pants issue, better think again if they were referring to white Americans. I have personally witnessed white students be made to wear a belt or change clothes and, on the same day, see several black Americans walk around with pants down to their knees. Personally, I think it looks horrible and can't understand how a parent can let a child leave home with or buy pants that large for their child. It's tacky. Why can't the people around here, black or white, just drop the racial crap? It's gotten so old. The white people run and move because they get a black person in their neighborhoods, and black people think that every time something bad happens, it's because they are black and being targeted for that reason. It's time to get over this, people. Live right, do good things, help others and shut up already about what color your neighbor is or blame someone white for being racist because you did something wrong. Geez. It's not 1950 anymore.

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"I would just like to say that I was very upset about the piece in the Rockdale Citizen about a week ago that the county was considering drilling a few wells to make up for the water shortage. This will possibly bring down the water table for wells that already exist. As an owner of one of those wells, it just angers me to think of them doing that. My well has supplied water to my home for 20 years. We have gone to a lot of expense to maintain it, just so we did not have to hook into county water. I just wonder, when the county was approving all these homes being built here, did it occur to them that they may not be able to supply water to all these homes one day - if we have a drought. So now, even though I have never watered my lawn and have my own filtering system, I will probably be forced into hooking into the outrageous water system. If you look at the area in drought conditions in Georgia, I wonder if anyone else (other than me) noticed that the drought is in the area that tons of homes have been allowed to be built in the past few years. This is totally unfair, and I hope I get to express my opinion if this comes up again. One of the wells they were speaking of drilling is very near my home, so I will probably be one of the first to lose my water supply."

Editor's Note: We would like to discuss this situation with you in more detail. Please contact Jay Jones at 770-483-7108 ext. 249.

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"The recent Oct. 17 Citizen article regarding the waste and abuse of state employees' use of their purchase cards stirs my memory of those in Rockdale County who also have this similar system. Who carries these cards in Rockdale County and city government? What are their spending limits? And why do they even have them? Meaning, who approves their issue, and exactly who outside government is carefully and continuously auditing their use? Do you really think county employees are any more honest or dedicated than a state employee? Come on, Citizen, start doing some real news stories and give us real facts. You can easily pull open records on these folks and, at various months, publish their full monthly statements. And, let each of us see how our money is being spent. Get crackin'."

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"My comment is that while I do not speak Spanish, I now have four stations on my TV that are in Spanish. If I want to watch Mexican TV, I should go to Mexico. If Mexicans want to watch Mexican TV, they should stay in Mexico."

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"To the poor soul who wrote about the abandoned houses in Honey Creek, the newspaper and telephone directories thrown out and left in driveways and yards, they must not attend any homeowners' meetings. The homeowners association is aware of the situation. They are having these yards cut out of homeowners' dues. If everyone would join the association, attend meetings and pay their dues, more properties could be cleaned and the neighborhood improved."

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"Congratulations to Bob Cresswell on his retirement on Dec. 31. He is a fabulous principal and teacher. We will miss him. We wish the very best to him and his family."

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"I wish the best to Salem High School in their football campaign from here on out and also their basketball games when they come up. And, poor old Heritage, they ain't no good. If they don't get rid of their athletic director, they won't ever be good. And, this Rockdale citizen who will never, ever put his name in the paper, ask him to leave, he ain't no good. Next Thursday, Nov. 1, Georgia Tech plays Virginia Tech - watch."

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"It's Saturday morning, and I just finished reading the Rockdale Citizen. I like Saturday mornings because I can actually sleep in just a bit and read the newspaper rather than just skim through it. I am a construction worker, so on weekdays I am up at 5 a.m. and don't come home until sunset. There are several features in the Citizen that I especially enjoy reading on Saturday morning. The Citizens' Poll is one of them. It is always interesting to me. It is loaded with opinions from honest folks. There is no political correctness here, just plain folks with straight talk. It gives us all a real pulse on the county. Father James Behrens is also another enjoyable reading for me. He has a remarkable gift for telling real stories about real people in real life. Years ago, I would look forward to hearing his homilies at the Monastery during 6 a.m. mass. They always gave me inspiration. We exchanged letters from time to time, and his letters are always as interesting as his articles are. Another favorite is Darrell Huckaby, his viewpoints are always interesting. Darrell is a neighbor up the road from me. His viewpoint today was titled 'No sense left at the Brian Nichols trial.' Once again, I think he was right on target. That trial has become a travesty of justice and clearly points out some of the changes desperately needed in our judicial system. When a person kills four people in front of an entire courtroom of witnesses, and it is all on video tape that is certainly way beyond what is called reasonable doubt. Maybe we need to send Judge Sidney Nation up there to take care of that trial and straighten it out. Thank you for allowing me to state my opinion, and I look forward to next Saturday."

Editor's Note: Thank you for the encouraging words. We'll do our best to continue making Saturday morning a good one for you.

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"I enjoyed reading Darrell Huckaby's column on some facts of Halloween. Even though my children and grandchildren are grown and Halloween is not an important part of their lives, I am very thankful for the various churches that have programs to cover the occasion for all children."

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"The so-called cartoon in the Oct. 17 edition of the Citizen by Sam Rawls is pitifully unfair, devoid of fact and typical of his liberal leaning. The comment Rush Limbaugh made about 'phony' soldiers was taken completely out of context. It was directed at a soldier who never served in Iraq, who made up stories about atrocities, trying to increase his credibility and his stance against the war. He had 44 days in the Army. Liberals in Congress of course, such as Harry Reid, Tom Harkin and John Kerry jumped on the bandwagon condemning Rush's remarks. But, Rush has been steadfast in his support in the war and their troops in their battle against this evil. He was not talking about 'all' troops. If Sam wants to see a real phony, he is the one who should look in the mirror."

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"I recently attended all three football games from our high schools. The bands all performed very well. As a proud parent of a Rockdale High School student, I would appreciate it when my child is on the field not to have all the horrible things said from the Heritage side and Salem side, mostly the Heritage side. ... Please control your children if you are an adult in the stands and tell your children not to talk so ugly."

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"Oh, this drought. It is getting critical now. You have to have water to drink. Let's don't blame the drought on the lack of water, let's blame the drought on our elected officials. They have known of problems with infrastructure for years and years. We even built a reservoir so we would have a proper amount of drinking water. Politicians, though, keep filling this county with more and more people. Clog the roads, it just takes longer to get somewhere and there are more traffic accidents. You can overload your schools. You have school children in trailers - oh just another thing to put up with - and lower the quality of education. But think about allowing more and more people to come in and overload the water supply, and now it is a matter of life and death."

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"I think the pictures they are showing of Osama bin Ladin are fake. I think he is dead. Take a look at the beard. It is not the same person. Even the nose is different. The beard before was very, very gray, now it is black. Anyway, I think he is dead."

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"The Rockdale County High School Band director, the band students and parents of those students are to be commended for sponsoring again the Marching Festival. To see so many bands and so many children hard at work was a wonderful event. It was a day of great music and shows put on by these bands coming from all the different counties. I cannot say enough of how proud I am of the young people who participated in this long day. Thank you for giving us this event."

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"I would like to comment on Jack Simpson's viewpoints which he addressed in 'Where did Rockdale County go?' I have been a resident of Rockdale County since the 1940s. I can remember when we might have one significant crime a year. The old jail house on Milstead Avenue only had six cells. You didn't have to lock your door or even lock your car. There was never a water shortage and traffic was never a problem. We didn't have food stamps, but people grew their own gardens, had chickens, cows, hogs and plenty to eat. People worked for a living then. There were no government subsidies. County taxes were a fraction of what they are now. The more diversity we get, the more crime we get. You see a gang of high school kids robbing a grocery store, you know it is bad. Why are the county commissioners and city government approving the development of more and more subdivisions when our schools are overcrowded, traffic is terrible, our jails are full, yet the Chamber of Commerce is encouraging growth. Rockdale County has become a dangerous place to live - just like Clayton and DeKalb counties."

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"I have been a manager for a medical center in the Atlanta area for a number of years. It is amazing that a small hospital in a community like this has survived this long. Folks, the hospital needs to be part of a larger group. This is an important thing for them to do. It may be a change, and it may be hard to say goodbye to the past, but let's move on. It is an important move for the financial health for future medical services."

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"To paraphrase the saying 'Sometimes the shadows of inaccuracies cover the shadows of truth.' The president and CEO of Signature Hospital Corp., in an article in the Rockdale Citizen on Oct. 13, made it very clear how Signature would run Rockdale Medical Center if the purchase went through. If only the authority and board of directors had been willing to share the problems of the hospital with the citizens and elected officials before the facility was headed for broke, there might have been a chance of something different being done other than a sale. The assets purchase agreement, which is being proposed and unexecuted and being sent to the attorney general's office, consists of eight volumes of information. The authority has stated that any other information a citizen might want that is not in these volumes may be researched by paralegals and lawyers at a cost of at least $85 per hour for paralegals and $215 to $385 an hour for the supervision of the lawyers. Most citizens could not afford this cost, if any information they wanted to see was not in these eight volumes. Mr. Cleveland Stroud, city council member, said it well in an article in the Rockdale Citizen on Saturday, Oct. 21. He stated the city council agrees to support the RMC sale to Signature, but that he would like to cast a protest vote against the resolution of support. Thank you, Mr. Stroud. I hope there will be others on the council to follow suit."