"To all the folks criticizing Doug Holt: Hey, zoning is both legal and constitutional. If you don't like it, maybe you'd like someone opening a junkyard or a hog farm next door to you?"
"Just got finished reading the front page item about Varner running for re-election. How much did he have to pay for that advertisement that touted all of his wonderful one-man achievements?"
Editor's Note: The Citizen publishes an interview with each person who announces his or her candidacy for the county commission.
"Finally! The citizens of our community are finally getting it and discussing matters that are truly important rather than trite and frivolous. For the past four months, the Citizen has been my link to news of home as I am deployed to Afghanistan. I have witnessed the extremely backward life of people outside the wire over here. Seeing women washing clothes by a well near a dry riverbed in 40-degree weather; being told by medics of lines of children awaiting medical assistance while standing barefoot in the snow; watching young men and boys chasing goats and cows with no hope of an education or better life; seeing children no more than 10 years old pulling up woody weeds for fires at night; running past mud brick buildings and walls on my daily run. Preceding are the images of poverty at its worst that I have witnessed during my deployment. Standing on foreign soil amid this backward world and reading the Citizen polls of people complaining because the channel lineup changed disgusted me. Now, finally, I am reading the thoughts of people who get what the point of the First Amendment is all about. You are discussing issues that affect our quality of life in the form of taxation, politicians who want a free ride ... call it the "entitlement mentality' if you will ... and issues that not only affect us locally, but reach to our state and federal representatives. I am also encouraged that you are not just using the poll to rant, but many are offering solutions to problems mentioned. In particular, I have noticed some solutions to the lines at the county offices. I have noticed many comments regarding parking around the new offices and have read in past editions of the paper some of the proposed solutions. The ones I have read include turning the small park on the north side of the railroad tracks into parking and working a deal with AT&T to purchase a good portion of the parking lot directly across the street from the city offices and erecting another parking deck. I would encourage you to look at these proposals, as I am sure they are posted in the community development building. I would also encourage you to look at what is already going on. An example of this is the new parking deck that was built on First Baptist's property with a contract that stipulates how the parking is to be used. Again, I am very glad to see important issues of government and infrastructure being discussed through our free speech medium that is the Citizen Poll."
"In response to the writer that was talking about the county employees, I agree with you about (an employee) at the Probate Court. I have never seen a county employee that is so rude. I know that some days are better than others and everyone has their good and bad days, but if you are a county employee you are helping the public and there is a right way and a wrong way to say things. I'm sure there are plenty of unemployed people with as much skill and would appreciate having such a good job. Growing up I was always taught "Treat others the way you want to be treated.'"
"I have a question for everyone: Why is it that a person who commits a petty crime as forging a $100 check over 20 years ago, paid for the crime, cannot have a second chance at being a citizen. That's right, if a person is convicted of any felony even small, they are punished all of their lives for it. How is a person like this supposed to live an honest life like that? No rights. No life."
"To the person who last week commented that "The people running against incumbents are having their buddies put all the negative statements in the paper,' in reference to negative comments in the poll coinciding with an election year. Did you just start reading the poll? People have been complaining about Newton County politicians since I started subscribing to the Citizen two years ago. It's finally time these irresponsible politicians have to pay for the destruction they have committed against this county. Likewise with the rude employees at the Probate Court (where I too have been treated very rudely) and other government entities. I have no affiliation with anyone running for office, I am just sick and tired of the "Good Old Boys' that are running this county into the ground for their own financial gain."
"I am a little bit puzzled today looking at the Charter TV advertisement on TV here, and one of them is talking about voting and everything. They have it all in Spanish. To me if they don't speak English and they can't read English they shouldn't be voting."
"Salem Road is about five years from becoming another (Ga. Highway) 138, but to everyone on the east side of the county, (Ga.) Highway 36 is another five years away from becoming another Salem Road, so you guys better get ready for it."
"I have a comment about the 16-year-old boy that (allegedly) tried to stab the school teacher. It is my understanding he was turned over to his mother. His mother was supposed to be in charge of him before all this happened. I can't believe that a 16-year-old attempted murder and the law just turned him back over to his mother. I can't believe that."
"Mr. Maurice Carter's Letter to the Editor on Jan. 29 stating that the land use plans are in our best interest isn't realistic. Unfortunately, the "Good Old Boy' network is alive and well in Newton County. If one has the right name, that alone enables them to get favorable zoning; for the rest of us we are fortunate to have an objective court system that levels the playing field. It appears that most decisions of the planning and zoning and the board of commissioners are not made with any degree of objectivity. That must be the reason they have lost so many zoning court cases and may account for their attempt to change the law."
"Mr. Maurice Carter, your proposed policy concerning the future land use map would be financially devastating to those affected. How much property are you and Doug Holt willing to give up? You are supporting a policy that would amount to inverse condemnation, which is taking without compensation. The future land use plan is terribly flawed. Unfortunately, equal treatment in Newton County is a right that is totally disregarded. The policy you are promoting would absolutely benefit the few land owners with the right connections. ... "
"I am in the ninth grade and I just completed an American Government class. I agree with the previous caller that it is hard to find local articles for assignments, more people need to write letters and articles on the U.S. Constitution like Mr. Long did. These articles are required for school projects and they are needed for a good grade."
"A letter to the Citizen on Jan. 29 by Maurice Carter confirms the fact that Doug Holt is only concerned for the interest of government and the big-time developers. He wants to allow the government to have complete control over your property. They already have control over your income; why doesn't Mr. Holt just come out and say that he wants a government like they have in Russia and be honest about it."
"I am calling about the article I saw about Clara Lett. The woman, the preacher I guess I should say, with the homeless shelter in Covington. I thought that was one of the worst things that Covington had ever done. My cable TV bill went up $4 according to what folks are saying, 'cause Covington sold it to Charter. Well, Covington took this money and they wasted it away. One of the things they wasted a million dollars on was this homeless shelter to be run by Clara Lett. I don't like that. I don't think we should have done that. I come from Savannah. Fifteen years ago and we had a few folks trying homeless shelters down there. It didn't help the local people, it just attracted bums, people that come from other places, and that is what we are going to have here. I don't think we should have done this. We are dealing with somebody who (allegedly) broke the laws in Porterdale, (allegedly) getting into fights with other people. We need to forget this thing, take the money back out and spend it on something that would benefit the public."
"This is the scenario: Young man comes home from Afghanistan. While there worked very hard to be able to buy himself a laptop computer so that he could keep in touch with people from home. Saturday night he goes to Starbucks to get on the Internet. Some scumball who doesn't work, lazy, wouldn't have a job if you offered it to him, eyes the computer and decides that he likes it. So after the young man leaves Starbucks, I suppose this scumball followed him and later broke into the trunk of his automobile and stole his laptop. This just really infuriates me. When it says "land of the free,' it does not mean that you can go take anything you want from somebody else. Get a job and get off your lazy butt."