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Newton Citizen Poll 5/17/2008

"In the news lately are reports of various companies' store closings and many in Georgia. I wonder if the owners of these companies ever bother to visit the affected stores to see where problems might be. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out if a store has very few customers that something is wrong. Many stores you frequent, the employees act like they're doing you a favor to even wait on you and many are socializing with each other and totally ignoring the customer. Many are grossly uninformed about the merchandise and don't seem to care about learning. Just there for the paycheck. And Life Goes On."

"What is Mr. Gresham thinking? He is missing the point. Voters are not against him just because he has a felony record. They are against him because he was convicted of (one count) of sodomy with a boy under 14 years old. It's the gravity of the conviction, not just because it's a felony. He thinks this has been front-page advertising for him. Mr. Gresham was living in relative obscurity and now everyone is aware of who he is. Why would anyone in their right mind want to put themselves out there and open themself up to ridicule? He could have lived out his years quietly without this. Mr. Grehsam also said that 99.9 percent of voters in his district are church-going people who believe in forgiveness. Forgiveness is not the same thing as turning a blind eye. What has Mr. Gresham done to warrant Christian forgiveness? Has he admitted his guilt? Has he asked for forgiveness? Has he atoned for his sins? I don't think most church-going people would let him babysit their children. I think he is badly mistaken about the voters in Newton County. This county is a little more conservative than he would like to think. By the way, what exactly are his qualifications to hold office? I notice he has yet to say why he thinks the good citizens in Newton County would want him in office. I think this is just a big joke to him. I guess he hasn't got anything better to do with his time. I really hope he takes this to the federal court level. A conviction of this kind of felony should not be allowed to have their right to hold public office restored. I don't think this is what our founding fathers believed when our constitution was written."

"I'd really love to see a Burger King come back to Covington. Maybe near Wal-Mart. Who wants to drive to the other side of Porterdale to 'Have it your way'?"

"1. Why do we still allow city and county employees to drive SUVs and full-size pickup trucks just for transportation?

2. Why do we allow them to drive them home at night and some drive them home for lunch, as well? Note: Some of these employees live 5 to 8 miles out of Covington. I know this because they live near me.

3. Have you gotten too comfortable spending taxpayer money unwisely?

4. Don't you know that citizens are fed up with property taxes going higher and higher? Especially the Baby Boomers who have been paying taxes for 40 years or more. In the city, there is the stormwater runoff fee, which is nothing but a tax. I can write a whole new article on that fee.

5. I see city employees, county employees and a fireman in my neighborhood driving city and county vehicles home. The fireman drives a SUV and the others drive full-size pickups. Isn't this expense paid for with taxpayer hard-earned money? Doesn't this come under M&O (maintenance and operating or operations) on the taxpayer paid budget? Accordingly, I think it is time that our county chairman and the board, the mayor and the council take a hard look at what is going on with their or should say our M&O accounts under the 'property taxpayer' paid budget. Again, why do they need SUVs? If they do have to have a vehicle, what is wrong with four-cylinder small trucks or even small four-cylinder cars?"

"Two years ago I had to go to the Rockdale Hospital ER for problems with my pregnancy. I was treated like a child during my seven hours of being there. I was talked down to and my choices were questioned. It was one of the most traumatic moments of my life and we lost our child. After that incident, my husband and I have refused to ever set foot in that hospital, despite it being right down the street. Fast forward to last week. I went in for surgery at Newton Hospital. I was treated with dignity and respect. All the nurses were friendly and helpful. My stay was comfortable and inviting. I want to thank the entire staff at Newton Hospital. You've calmed my fears of hospitals and helped me through a difficult time. And to my anesthesiologist, I believe your name is John, thanks for everything! You made me laugh (white wine)!"

"'Gresham qualified to run for school board on Tuesday and is running on the Republican ticket.' Are you kidding me? I am positive that I just had a stroke and completely misunderstood the article that actually suggested that a person who was 'convicted of sexual misconduct involving a boy under 14 years of age in 1988' is even considering, thinking, having a conversation about a seat on the Board of Education in Newton County, or anywhere else in the universe. That he is himself pursuing the position is mind-blowing - the fact that he can qualify for such a position? While the Citizen article states that, 'State election law requires that a period of 10 years must have elapsed between completion of the sentence for a conviction of a felony involving 'moral turpitude' and qualification to seek elective office,' shouldn't an accusation of 'sexual misconduct involving a boy under 14 years of age' render him permanently barred from even applying? Thank you, Citizen, for reporting this. Now tell the community what we can do to make sure he never, ever finds his name on a ballot. P.S. Did I say 'accusation' of sexual misconduct? I meant conviction. Of sexual misconduct. Against a child. Pleaded guilty. And he's running for a seat on the Board of Education. Sexual Misconduct Against a Child. BOE. Children. Oh, but maybe he thinks it's all right since there aren't any children on the BOE or in the meetings."

Editor's Note: Mr. Gresham dropped out of the race on Wednesday.

"In reference to your headline story on the May 3 issue about Mr. Gresham that is running for office: My only question is to the citizens of Newton County - why do we allow a person with this type of criminal record even living in our county near our children, much less running for a position like this? This is sad. Why don't we have all of our candidates pass a criminal background check as part of their qualifications? Very sad, he should have never even went this far as being considered for this election."

"OK, Newton County, here we go back to the polls for the 2008 voting season and Newton County has 37 people running for public offices in this county. Do not fill the Citizen Poll with comments and complaints about your elected officials; remember, get your butt out there and vote for who you want to put in office. Don't vote for the same ... politicians that we have in there now. "

"This message is for the Newton County voters: At last we have a chance to have a clean slate and start anew with the county commissioners as well as chairman. Let's get out there, people, and vote. This is the opportunity we have all been waiting for. And get it done in the primary so we don't have to deal with these incumbents in the general election. So, get out and vote folks. Now is the time to change the county."

"Yet another college student murdered in N.C., the hiker in North Georgia, teacher in Florida, a young lady in Las Vegas, the father in Alabama who threw his children into the river. It seems our justice system is no longer effective - commit rape, murder, child molestation - receive a 'life' sentence, be a good boy, receive two days' credit for each day served, out in five to seven years, and do it all again. Perhaps it is time for the U.S. Supreme Court to take yet another look at capital punishment: dust off the electric chair, oil up the rifles, build a gallows on every court square in the nation. Anyone convicted of a capital crime, with DNA evidence of course, shall be punished using one of the above methods, one week following conviction. Think this might help to reduce crime and overcrowded prisons?"

"All these candidates running for the Board of Commissioners makes for some interesting politics this summer. Much like a swarm of bees, they all seem to sound alike, though. Now let's see which ones are paying attention and which ones aren't. Newton County has four major issues, road improvements on the west side including the nightmare in Porterdale called the bypass; lowering property taxes; relocating the Civic Center to an accessible location that will accommodate parking; and hiring someone to run Animal Control that will enforce the dog and noise ordinances that are already in place. I for one am tired of listening to yapping dogs all day and night and getting nothing but excuses from Animal Control. Which raises the question: 'Which ones of you wanna-be politicians will step up and grab that bull by the horns and take action to keep your promises once you get in office?"

"The more low scores I see in the newspaper on health inspections at local restaurants, the more I like my own cooking! It's hard to imagine how a restaurant can attain such a long list of violations and not even bother to do anything about them until they get caught by a health inspector. And, more than likely, that's just a Band-Aid to correct the infraction until the next inspection time. When I see exceptionally low scores at a certain location, you can bet your bottom dollar I will grill my own steak and have a baked potato and tossed salad at home. My mama didn't raise no fools!

"In response to pre-K, didn't you read what you signed? The pre-K classes are voluntary, based on a lottery, and the form indicates that one is not guaranteed a spot just by completing the pre-K information. Furthermore, the county has to request grant money from Bright From the Start just to get funding. Also, there is no room to add classes at most of the schools."

"My comment is to the person who wrote in about the fair and the fairgrounds that was here in Covington last week. I have been living in Covington all my life. We used to have a fair day at Porterdale Elementary, if that tells you how far back the late '60s this was. We enjoyed going to the fair; we felt safe. It was a good time for the whole family, but I just want to agree with the person who wrote in. A friend of mine and myself went in to the fairgrounds. I was shocked to hear the people in the booth taking the money for tickets were even complaining about the young teenagers running wild. I have never, ever been more embarrassed to take someone to the fairgrounds for that fair. Not only was it unsafe, it was filthy. Kids were hanging around on each other half dressed; the curse words were just impossible to get away from. There was no adults, no police, one police officer for that crowd was embarrassing. Please do something about these unruly, half-dressed children that are running around on the streets. And we wonder why all of our teenagers are pregnant, on drugs or on the streets. They have no parental supervision. Where are the parents on Friday and Saturday night when these kids are out there?"

"After reading negative comments in last week's opinion poll about Veterans Memorial Middle School, I wanted to call in and comment. I have a grandson in the sixth grade at Veterans. He is in resource all day. He has had the most excellent school experience since he started school in Pre-K. His teachers have been both dedicated, compassionate and encouraging. This child who was told in the fifth grade you are not ready for middle school, you are not going to make it, has become a Six-star General, which means he is straight A's. He is doing sixth-grade work, which he was not doing fifth-grade work when he started sixth grade, but these teachers have worked diligently with him. I feel like Veterans is an excellent school with excellent teachers and my hat goes off to the principal and his whole staff for providing a very good experience for my grandson this year. He will definitely be going back to Veterans next year even though it is not the school he is zoned for because I feel like it is the best school in Newton County."

In response to the May 14 story "Time limit for election signs purged": Well, it just goes to show you that our elected officials believe they are exempt from the rules. Since Newton County can no longer regulate the amount of time a political campaign sign is displayed but can regulate the size of the sign, our District 3 commissioner stated that he hopes code enforcement doesn't go out to measure signs because that's indicative that the staff of that office has nothing to do. How ridiculous! The commissioners make sure that subdivision directionals and realtor signs are properly placed (and that they are not out when they're not supposed to be). I guess that since our District 3 commissioner has a son running for a BOC seat, the rules should be bent or overlooked.

OK! GRTA! Gas is about to top $4 a gallon. Lets get on the ball and stop all this nonsense with studies (that take years) and get us some mass tranprtation to the outlying areas of Atlanta. There are railroad tracks going just about everywhere and not being used except for freight trains. Put some pressure on these railroads to support passenger service. Ever hear of self-propelled-rail diesel cars(RDC)? They used to exist years ago. Or how about some buses to unused parking lots, example the old Walmart lot in Covinton. Its time to act and do something NOW, not three years from now.