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Newton Citizen Poll 6/28/2008

"I want to urge every citizen of Newton County to educate themselves on impact fees and what it will mean to the taxpayers if these fees are not paid by those impacting our community. Maybe it is me, but it seems that a lot of folks that are associated with the real estate profession want to hold a public office. Ever wonder why that is? Well, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure that one out!"

"Change, a word we are hearing in abundance this year. Change is not always for the better. When I hear people say they are voting everybody out of office because we need change, it makes me shudder. We must look at every candidate on their own merits. There are a lot of problems out there, and we must use clear judgment, not emotions when voting."

"Reading about the sheriff candidates forum was very disheartening. One of the worst laws ever passed by the law enforcement community and the elected politicians was the drug bounty hunters law. Under the current bounty law, all law enforcement organizations get to confiscate and keep all assets associated with all drug-related arrests (drugs, money, cars, houses, jewelry, boats, airplanes, guns, bank accounts, etc.). Since this law was passed, all law enforcement personnel have concentrated almost entirely upon drug-related activities. What this has resulted in is a near-total abandonment of all other crimes - home burglaries, home invasions, car thefts, muggings, business robberies, insane drivers, highway littering beyond belief, domestic violence, etc. Perhaps, morally, the worst result has been the intentional understated reporting of all non-drug-related crimes to hide the unworked crimes. The best example of this is trying to get a law enforcement officer to write up a crime report when your home has been broken into and burglarized. I know this sounds a little crazy at first, but listen - what we should do is legalize all illegal drugs like we have done with alcohol and tobacco. Then, tax the hell out of all the drugs we have legalized. This would vastly improve the quality of our law enforcement, vastly increase tax revenues, vastly decrease the illegal profits being made, and punish only those mindless people who are foolish enough to use alcohol, tobacco, and all other drugs. Please think it over."

"I guess that I have been stewing over the article about the CPD officers that graduated recently. I understand that the city has higher taxes, utilities ... I read that the city is paying for partial tuition and then giving the officers a pay raise on top of that for obtaining the degree. First off, kudos to the officers, but how much money are we talking? As a mother who put her two children through college, I have a good grasp on the cost of what it takes. How much of my money, as a citizen, is going towards their tuition/salary increase? Second, it said in the article that the city required that the officers serve two years with the city after receiving these benefits. I understand that the Chief of Police is seeking office at the sheriff's department. Will he be required to pay back tuition funds to the city? (Taxpayers' money?) Third, I tried calling to ask exactly how much money is allotted each year for tuition and salary increases. I was told that I would have to obtain that info at City Hall by using an Open Records request (and they wanted to charge me a fee for obtaining that info). What's up with that? It's my money, and then the city wants me to pay to find out how they are using it! I truly have mixed feelings about this whole situation. It seems like a lot of city taxpayer monies are being used to benefit only a select few. ... "

"Change the tune from change. Any self-respecting Republican should not fall for the Change song. It's all hype and no depth."

"I totally agree with the baseball comments. My child is an outfielder and one of the youngest on his team. He always shows up to play, always goes to practice, looks forward to the games and is just as good as anyone on the team. However, I spend half the game watching him on the bench while the coach's son and his buddy's son are in the infield playing. I am truly considering coaching next year so my child will have the same opportunity to play as everyone else's child. And, on my team everyone would have to sit on the bench once or twice. Give the kids equal time to play or give the ones sitting on the bench half the game a discount on the outrageous amount of money we spent on baseball fees! Get out of the 'good ol' boy' system Newton County! The way they draft is ridiculous! These boys aren't Major League players. They don't have contracts. It's crazy that they use the system they do."

"The Public Safety and Public Works departments are doing a great job on conserving fuel. In the Board of Commissioner meeting in Nov. 1, 2005, (online) there is an update to the Fuel Conservation Program where they cut their fuel usage by 25 percent. Who knew? Our county has a fuel conservation program and it started years ago when fuel costs were obviously lower. I'm impressed with leadership in Newton commission and with our sheriff's department and works department for finding ways to conserve and do their jobs. Newton County commission is doing a great job with being fiscally ahead of their time with programs like the Fuel Conservation Program being initiated years ago and being on top of saving us money."

"I just wanted to praise the Newton Citizen for being a much more reliable and useful newspaper than the old Covington News. The old News has never been of any use to anyone in Newton County, but a very few of the old elite families and politicians of the town of Covington. I would like to ask the Newton Citizen to please publish a complete sample ballot in your paper the weekend before the early voting starts, you know, the weekend before the week before the July 15th election. This would sure help us early senior voters out. Thank you so much."

Editor's Note: Please see today's edition of the Citizen for the sample ballot.

"I guess the Board of Newton County commissioners figure all us taxpayers are pretty dumb, huh? I saw in the paper that they were bragging about keeping the same county budget as last year and not raising taxes. Said they were going to get extra money from the new Wal-Mart and Home Depot sales taxes. Now, let's see, the Wal-Mart is not new, just moved from one side of town to the other, so no new sales taxes from that. The Home Depot is new, but the national business news has been saying all year about how Home Depot's sales are falling off to just about nothing due to the housing depression, so not much new sales taxes expected from that. And then there's long-gone Belks, guess we'll have to subtract those sales taxes, huh? Seems I heard about a (local supply store) going out of business in Covington. Guess we have to subtract those sales taxes. Oh yeah, didn't that (84 Lumber) just outside of town also go out of business? Subtract that one. Do you suppose our commissioners really think we have no memory and can't do arithmetic? They have been pulling that higher property appraisals on us for years and say they aren't pulling that one on us this year, I guess because of the housing depression. My property appraisal went up this year just like always though, didn't yours?"

"I am not originally from Newton County. However, I am concerned about the information that has been circulating around about the dismantling of the county multi-jurisdictional drug task force. It would appear that certain information was withheld from the board members and citizens like myself. I checked and the funds have been cut; however, they are still available to the multi-jurisdictional drug units. In my opinion, any assistance is better than none. Now, we are doing the same thing without any federal assistance. When I lived in Maryland, the office of sheriff had a citizen advisory board. As I recall, the mission of the citizen advisory board was to assist the sheriff by being an outside observer to issues like the dismantling of a unit. Maybe one of the sheriff candidates should look into the St. Mary's county office of the sheriff citizen advisory board. It would take away the impression that I have now that decisions are made without the public knowing why or how they were made and certain information is not even disclosed!"

"This is to the person or people who was at the Newton library Monday the 23rd around 3:45 in a silver Honda Civic. How dare you park your car in the sun when it was 90 degrees out with your windows closed and a dog inside crying? I know you had to be inside at least 20 to 30 minutes. I tried to get an employee to help but by the time he got out you were pulling away. Next time leave your dog at home! By the way, will people start driving into the right entrance going into the library. The first drive coming in is the exit, where the sign says 'Exit' and there is an arrow."

"In response to the person begging us not to vote for the politicians in office, now is not the time to vote without understanding the issues at hand. I admit many politicians do not need to be in office, but some do a good job and care about our community. We need to cast our vote on what is best for our county not what is best for the selected few in our county. I, for one, will not take advice from a Hollywood actor to determine who I vote for or against."

"Hey, I wish I could afford to shop where our mayor does! I guess it helps when it is not your personal money you are spending."

"Let's see a gas station in the top 10 of www.atlantagasprices.com from Newton County."

"This statement is to the lady that commented in the June 13 Citizen Poll regarding the puppy she hit. You did more than most people in this town would have done for that dog. The owner should be ashamed that the dog was not cared for enough to be left running around in the street to begin with. Don't apologize to this low life. If you have animals, be responsible, if you can't then you have no business with them! Newton County is full of lazy people that don't care!"

"I read in the Thursday paper, 'County Denies Request.' This is regarding the county commissioners denying a request to expand a day care center already approved for Salem Road. The paper reported there was no opposition to the petition at the meeting, but District 3 Commissioner Fleming said the overburdened road would not accommodate additional traffic. 'I've looked at this, and I've had grave concerns regarding more cars put out there on Salem Road,' he said. The petition was unanimously denied. Aren't these the same commissioners who approved the new Wal-Mart on Salem Road despite all the 'grave concerns' of the Newton residents about the negative impact of more traffic on this already 'overburdened road.' Where is the logic in all this?"

"Would the Citizen be able to print the ballot for the July 15 Primary? I'm considering voting early. It would be great to make sure I know who and any issues on the ballot while there is still time to research!"

Editor's Note: See note above.