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Newton Phone Poll - 04/11/09

"City gets grant to beautify Interstate 20 exit, $50,000??? to beautify the exit? Come on. Highway 20/212/Brown Bridge is a mess and we get $50K for an exit? It will look out of place if you "dress up' one exit and not the others, even if using native plants. What is wrong with this picture? Gummint in action. What a terrible economic model. I'm sure many think the money is free. Is it really? Somebody (the taxpayers) paid the $50,000. Just because you can't directly link the payer doesn't mean it is free. This is another government ... the road to hell is paved with good intentions!"

"Now that the Wolf Camera in Newton Plaza is following Goody's lead and leaving, our city and county leaders may finally see that our county is not in demand by retailers like they claim it to be. We are BADLY undeserved by commercial development and when you ride up Highway 278 it looks like a half-deserted road with old and run-down buildings, not a bustling main artery road that you see in many thriving communities that look modern and attractive. All we have is the Super Wal-Mart and Home Depot and you can keep your overpriced mom-and-pop stores on the Square that wonder why no one shops there. Well, maybe it's the prices you all charge. Our leaders seem to not be doing anything to keep the businesses that we have from leaving, let alone try and attract any new ones. Wal-Mart got a lot of the ones to come to the area of Ga. Highway 142 in the new Covington Crossing Shane's Rib Shack, Subway, AT&T, Citifinancial, Dollar Tree, a new Wachovia, Aldi's, Wendy's and Hampton Inn), most are not open yet, but soon."

"To the bus driver ... that goes down 162, when you are coming in the subdivisions, you can hear you scream all down the road! What is wrong with you? Are you not supposed to be a professional? It is not the kids I hear, it is YOU ... I hope the parents of the children that ride your bus are reporting you. You set a very poor example to the students."

"Can anyone out there tell me why we need an underground walking trail? This just amazes me that this county is doing something sooooo stupid. What's wrong with walking on top of the ground like we usually do? Take that money and put it to some good use. When I first read of this, I thought it was a joke, but nooooo, they are actually going to do it. We may have folks going hungry and barely getting by, but we will have an underground walking trail. Good grief, I just don't get it, someone please help me understand this!"

"I think Barack's Attorney General Holder had it right when he called us a nation of whiners. First of all, I hope Barack is successful even though I didn't vote for him. No, I'm not a racist. I just thought if the governor of a state didn't have enough experience to be next in line for the presidency, a well-educated and distinguished gentleman whose main experience was community leadership wasn't ready for the top post, either. Now that he's in, it seems that any criticism of his leadership or that of the Democrats is met with a "what about Bush' response. That doesn't cut it. There are lots of folks who mean well that have and will mess your life up. When our president is praised or is criticized, look at the facts and decide for yourself. He doesn't need any defense. He is quite capable of standing up for himself. By the way the "what about Bush' or "Bush caused this' lines don't solve our problems."

"(With thanks to Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal'), I would like to make a similar modest proposal with respect to our president's recent federal support of stem cell research. Now that the president's executive order paves the way for federal tax funding for this type of cell development, it provides us with a beneficial solution to the desperate nutritional needs of Americans' ever-increasing, poverty-stricken millions. The heart-rending, brain-depriving lack of adequate protein in the diets of our poor, many of whom are now requiring vast sums of food stamps and other kinds of financial nutritional assistance, such as in our government schools, could easily and cheaply be provided by the establishment of federal food farms. These could be organized very similar to the food farms now in for-profit operation growing catfish, salmon, shrimp, frogs and many other food items for restaurants, grocery stores and other money-making enterprises. As Mr. Swift pointed out in his famous essay, this federally-subsidized embryonic cell growth could produce a "fair, cheap, and easy method' for solving the near-starvation food situation of Americans poor, homeless and destitute."

"I am very disappointed in the decision to close the Newton County library on Saturdays. That is the only day that is available for me to use the library. I return and check out my audible books that I listen to then. They do not want them returned in the outside cans so I guess I will not be able to check them out any longer. The only reason that I saw in the paper for closing on Saturdays was that during the week they need to remain open for their vendors. That is a poor reason. Vendors and delivery personnel learn what their clients' schedules are and when appointments and deliveries can be made. Every Saturday the library is packed. It is supposed to be a service for the people who are paying the taxes. They should be the ones that library management worry about working around schedules for, not the vendors."

"Since the economy began to falter and decline, and the value of our homes have fallen somewhat recently, some folks have been complaining about their property tax burden, especially those older folks who have not had any kids or grand kids in the schools in many years. I know the schools cost most of the property tax, but we all had the advantages of those schools when we went through the schools, didn't we - don't y'all remember the 1940s and 50s? I certainly do. First they started complaining about all the big nice federal, state, county and city buildings and land that pay no property tax. Then they complained about the schools and colleges themselves that have big buildings and big tracts of land, but pay no property tax. And, lo and behold, some folks have even complained about the many big nice churches and acres of land that also pay no property tax. Why, I even heard a person complaining the other day about the church pastors not having to pay property tax on their homes and not even having to pay income tax on their "free' housing- now that's going too far with your complaints."

"For those of you who were unsettled by my opposition to a substantial increase in retail development growth, I would say that perhaps you should move to DeKalb, Rockdale or another county in the proximate metro-Atlanta sphere. Oh, but wait, a majority of those areas surrounding Atlanta are decrepit places to live with high property taxes and high crime rates. Newton County is appealing because of its rural character. We already have many chain stores, and I seriously doubt that any further retail development we would get would be upscale like offerings in Forsyth and North Fulton. So my question for my detractors would be, what do we not have that would actually come to our county and be a valuable addition? Finally, if it's jobs that we need then incentives to attract corporate and industrial sectors would be a good thing, but not retail development and certainly not more residential development as it is destroying the county."

"The record needs to be straight about the zebras who died en route to a Missouri zoo. After the Oxford College prank by students who put the zebra in the clock tower, the zebra was returned to its owners where it was doing very well. The owners failed to get a DNR permit allowing them to have wild animals. There are rescue facilities in Georgia who probably would have taken the zebras instead of their being sent to Missouri and there would have been a shorter trip for the wild animals who probably went nuts in the vehicle transporting them all the way to Missouri."

"I was once told that anything that involves the county tax dollars or any county business concerning the county citizens may be open for public records. If that is so, are the county BOC e-mail addresses open for public records? If so, could the paper post them? I write to the Poll in hopes that these people read it, but all you read about now is ignorant Obama voters argue and for the people who are making sense in this nature trail thing they need the opportunity to write to the BOC directly."

Editor's Note: To get contact information for commissioners, including phone numbers and e-mail addresses, call county offices at 678-625-1200.

"I was calling about the comments in the April 4th Citizen Poll about this man having a mobile home moving in next door to him. Why did he call that a trailer and called his place a home? If that's their place then that is home to them, and as far as making Newton County beautiful, I think Newton County would look a whole lot better without big shots like he thinks he is."

With liberty and justice for all except in Newton County and Covington, Ga. We have pompous social climbers and publicity hounds in prominent positions in our judicial system. If you read the papers you know this to be true. You know also if you have a recognizable name you are treated differently and with kid gloves. Once again it is not what you know but who you know and who you are. The haves get their dirt swept under the rug and out the door and the have-nots go directly to jail. Please do not tell me I do not know what I am venting about because my family has been directly affected by this tragic truth. Yes, I know we have decent, honest law enforcement officers that do their jobs, but it doesn't take but one rotten apple to spoil the basket."

"Mr. Foxworth, I am reading on the front page of the Newton Citizen where you were spearheading on getting a new speeding sign up in Porterdale on Main Street. If I recall, and please correct me if I am wrong, but didn't Rebecca Roseberry at first time bring that to the attention of the city council while she was on the city council? And also are you in the political business just to have your picture on the front page or are you actually working for the City of Porterdale? Please let the citizens of Porterdale know we do have an election coming up in November, and I hope you are on the ballot."

"I want to say kudos to Veterans Memorial Middle School. I was there on Friday afternoon for a six-star general ceremony, which children who made straight A's received a six-star general medallions. I was very impressed by the way the ceremony was held, most of all when the principal went down the line and shook the hand of each child that received a medallion. He is such a top-notch principal; he has such a top-notch school. I have two children going there with special needs. They have received the best education that anyone could receive at Veterans. All the teachers are respectful, hard working, cooperative."

"I would like to know why the Newton County School Board paid to send a delegation to India to recruit teachers when in fact in Newton County we are laying off people. I would really like to have an explanation for this."

Editor's note: The Citizen school reporter has queried the school system about this trip several times, but so far have not had any response.

"My comment is about the stimulus money to redo the roads, bridges, highways, build schools and gymnasium, redo houses and all this other building to get Americans back to work. My concern is that the state will probably bid these contracts out to contractors and the lowest bidder then he would hire a bunch of illegals to do the work like it has been done before. That is what got us where we are now. Half the money they make they send it back to their homeland. So how does this help the USA workers?"

"To the student who is concerned about the Newton Library being closed on Saturday, I am confused. You stated that you go to school in Rockdale County ... hmmmm. Does this mean that you are there illegally? While I commend your efforts to study, if you are there illegally, it's time to fess up! Rockdale County has far too many students who attend the schools that DO NOT legally reside in the district."

"If I don't pay my income taxes, will President Obama offer me a job?"

"History is extremely interesting, but not nearly as fascinating as what's happening today. For example, on Jan. 8, 1835, the total public debt of the USA government was zero - that is, $0. As of the moment I am writing this, the USA government total public debt is over 11 trillion dollars - that is, $11,155,581,696,097.49. Since that kind of thing is hard to for me to imagine, let's put it in common everyday household budget terms. Each person in America as of this moment owes a debt of $36,460.61, or about enough debt for a really nice new car for every one of us including your little folks who cannot yet drive. (We'd need to build new garages!) In even more personal terms, that is probably about $100,000 of debt for each working person in the country (hard to figure exactly because of the present layoff situation). Ready for some more fascinating present news? The USA's government public debt is increasing by almost $4 billion every single day that we all live - that is, almost $4,000,000,000 per day in your tax preparer's terms. Wonder what would happen to me if I spent that much more that I make every day of my life? I'd probably be elected to some political office in Washington, right? I know all of y'all would vote for me, wouldn't you? The really fascinating thought that got me thinking about all this might interest you, too. What does the USA government's creditors repossess from us when we cannot pay our share of our debt?"

"It is time to think about Covington City Council positions. One candidate has already spoken up. We as citizens need to look at each candidate, his or her qualifications, connections to the city and hopefully their character. Now is the time to make a change in city government. If we don't elect the right people, we are going to have the same old stuff. Let's get busy and have a better city government. Please get out and vote. Economically, we cannot afford for the wrong persons to be in office."

"On March 11, President Obama signed into law the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, which provides funding this year for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office. This funding is in addition to the $1 billion that was recently appropriated for the COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In total, COPS received $550 million for FY 2009. This includes funding for Community Policing Development, Indian Country, Methamphetamine, Law Enforcement Technology, Secure Our Schools and Child Sexual Predator Elimination. I know that our county and city governments are struggling with their budgets. Question - Have our elected and appointed law enforcement leaders sought federal law enforcement grants? If not, why? I know for a fact that a lot of the surrounding counties and cities have already started collecting federal grant money for their agencies. The commissioners and mayors need to make sure that their elected and appointed law enforcement officers are aggressively seeking federal grants. Otherwise, we the citizens of Newton County will be making up for the revenue losses when the grants could help alleviate a lot of the financial struggles."

"On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which includes $4 billion in Department of Justice grant funding to enhance state, local and tribal law enforcement efforts, including hiring new police officers, combating violent against women, and fighting Internet crimes against children. According to the Department of Justice Press Release, $1 billion dollars will be used to fund the hiring of local police officers through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. Also, $2 billion dollars will be used for the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program to fund grants for state and local law enforcement combat crime. This was the program that funded the City of Covington, Newton County, and Rockdale County East Metro Drug Task Force which was disbanded in August of 2007. Have our elected and appointed Law Enforcement leaders given any thought to reactivating the East Metro Drug Task Force? Since the Department of Justice has acknowledged that Atlanta is the hub for the Mexican drug cartels, it would only seem appropriate that Newton County participate in a joint multi-jurisdictional drug task."

"Please note the difference between "yield' and "stop.' If you're IN the Square and driving around in the circle, you have a yiled sign, which means that you slow down and check to see if there's anyone coming your way from outside the Square. Stop only if you need to in order to give the other driver the right of way. Those of you entering the Square have a stop sign ... which means you STOP! Why is it that so many people stop for a yield and keep rolling through a stop sign? Geez. Pay attention. It's not that difficult!"

"Maybe I'm missing something here, but the new Liberal Arts Academy doesn't seem to have much to do with liberal arts. I see the inclusion of parental involvement and community service - both important - but nothing about the curriculum. I hope students are getting more information than the Citizens readers are before deciding to attend the Academy. As a writer and teacher, I hope there's a focus on language, philosophy, history, literature and abstract science (which is what the name "liberal arts' implies). While it's true that our country's leaders are worried about students' learning in math and science and, thus, throw money and resources at those areas, it is the liberal arts that are indeed responsible for fostering each new generation of writers, thinkers and communicators. Where would we, as a civilized nation, be without historians, authors, linguists or philosophers? Newton County School System, please make sure you're calling this new academy by the right name."

"So, our president told a reporter that he did not know how to say a phrase in Austrian. For those of you who voted for him, Austrian is not a language, they speak German. He also visited a mosque but not the Normandy beaches where so many of out greatest generation died to liberate Europe, and said that the United States was arrogant just before bowing to the Saudi King. Oh well, at least our great state was wise enough to not vote for him. The majority of Georgians see through his shameless promotion of wealth and envy, which is eaten up by the dumb masses that voted for him and then claim to not be ignorant. I have one question for those who rail against the rich, where do you think the revenues that give you government services come from?"

Bailout for irresponsible banks, auto makers, and soon insurance companies, and then take control of those companies. Limit salaries of CEOs of those companies. What follows then will be control of salaries of private companies. End the global war on terror by changing the name to "Overseas Contingency Operations.' Remember when Atlanta changed the name of Stewart Avenue to Metropolitan Boulevard to rid itself of crime, drugs and prostitution? Today, Metropolitan Boulevard still has crime, drugs and prostitution. Go to a foreign country and tell the world that America has been too aggressive, too divisive and derisive. Tell the world that America will never be at war with Islam. Tell a Muslim country, while in that country, that America is not a Christian country. Bow down and cower to the king of a Muslim country. Comment in a book that if things get tough, "I will stand with the Muslims.' This president is on the path of destroying in 230 days (or less) what took Americans 230 years to build. Welcome to socialism, comrade!"