The Newton Citizen Poll is a compilation of opinions submitted by readers. This week's poll was an open line:
"I see the bickering has started about the Obama pride and Confederate pride shirts at the schools. One way to avoid this foolishness in my opinion would be for the Board of Education to implement a systemwide uniform policy. And I know Obama's mother was white, but if no one told you that and you saw him on the street, what race would you think of him as? One hundred percent black, just like I would, and that's for the people who say he's not African-American."
"Just thinking about our new Juvenile Court judge. It's a shame that people from such a wonderful family with roots very deep in this county would act (this way). I hope the people know that Judge Capes is not really like (that) ... . I do hope that all this will not be swept under the rug, and that some justice for the police officers that had to deal with this childish behavior from (adults) is taken to the top."
"Why can't someone tell us if we can request formally for Newton County to have an indoor pool with possible diving facilities. This is good exercise, it is something families can do together, it can be used year-round, it will give kids a place to go. I just don't understand why we can get tennis courts at a whim, which by the way are empty a lot of the time. Whose idea was that? ... Listen to what your residents are asking you, please can we have a discussion that is open to the county, and remember you can charge non-Newton County residents a fee like Rockdale does and recoup monies that way. People are buzzing about it, now let's see if we can ever get an aquatics center in Newton County ... "
"Can we get this pool in our county? I know a bunch of kids that like to do rec swimming. Why does it get talked about but no one that can do anything will comment? Please, please, please get us an indoor pool!"
"New vehicles? It's interesting how department heads of both city and county government get new vehicles to ride around in. In the days of School Superintendent Whitlow Richardson and County Commission Chairman Tom Bates, all the employees used government surplus Jeeps! The average price to purchase those Jeeps if you were a government entity was $35. I should think any prospective industry considering moving here would be more concerned with frugality in government spending than the opposite, which is what we soundly portray in Covington and Newton County."
"I smiled when I read the comment about calling the Grammar Police on Sheriff Brown. I live in the city of Covington and our top law enforcement officer has two, yes two, master's degrees, and he still can't seem to solve our city's crime problems. As long as Sheriff Brown reduces crime in the county and in the city of Covington, I don't think we need to call the Grammar Police. Hopefully, the top law enforcement officer in the city of Covington will reach out to Sheriff Brown and ask for his help with our city's crime problem. Can you believe that someone shot an intruder in his home in the city of Covington? Did the homeowner use proper grammar when he shot the intruder? I don't think so! For the first time in my life, I am seriously thinking about buying a gun for my own personal protection. Good luck, Sheriff Brown, and don't let anyone try to intimidate you because you do not speak the Queen's English. We, in the city of Covington, know you'll do a great job. That is why we elected you sheriff of Newton County. All we ask is that you not only address the crime problem in the county but also the crime problem plaguing city of Covington."
"It is a sad day in Covington when some of our public officials' (relatives) have their (actions) printed on the front pages of both local newspapers! Even the thought of such a drunken brawl had to be far from the minds of local citizens. ... "
"The arrest of four family members of the recently appointed Newton County Juvenile Court judge raises some interesting questions concerning politics in Covington. It is my understanding that all the four people arrested were also ... related to the mayor of Covington. It is also my understanding that one long-time council member is employed by the mayor's family. It seems to me that these entanglements could be a future hindrance in the Covington Police Department and other city employees being freely able to perform their duties. We have already observed the mayor trying to push a no bid contract toward her friend on her office renovation. Hopefully the Newton Citizen will continue to keep a 'close eye' on City Hall.
Editor's note: The City Council member to which you refer was employed by the mayor's family member prior to her election.
"The conglomeration surrounding the recent arrest of the four people on Crestview Drive in Covington is a total embarrassment. Those arrested appear to be ideal candidates for the 'Jerry Springer Show.' ... Chief Stacey Cotton and his policemen are to be commended for putting the 'rule of law' above pride and favoritism."
"Citizen and Covington News - It appears Mr. Gresham thinks John Douglas writes your stories since he so boldly accuses John Douglas of talking about 'sex' all the time. What I read was both newspapers reporting on Sen. Douglas and his activities as a state senator. One bill does address sex offenders and suggests they should not be able to run for school boards. What's wrong with that! Keep these guys away from our kids! Oh - right, Mr. Gresham fits the bill and is not happy about this as he wants to unseat Sen. Douglas. He even goes as far to say the citizens of Newton County do not want him. Well, truth be told, the citizens of Newton who decided to come out of the woodwork to vote (not that they were not entitled to - where have they been?) in the election happen to favor any Democrat who ran (just look local) ... think that will happen in two years? Need I recall the results of the runoff? Sorry, Donnie, but I'm not sure many of the citizens of Newton County will feel very comfortable having you serve anywhere ... 'thoughts of the day' - hit dog hollers!"
"I was wondering when the citizens of Newton County are going to see some use of the school bus parking lot that we just had to have. It seems to be a big waste of taxpayers' money. It has been completed for over two and a half months. Get the buses out of people's yards and subdivisions and put the special parking lot on Jack Neely at Kirkland Road into use. If the lot is not going to be used, the money to buy the land and build the lot should not have been used. Put it to good use on road projects in west Newton that could serve more people. Thank you."
"When did the Citizens of Newton County vote on the Civic Center, and how was it worded on the ballot? If it was on a ballot, now can we readdress this issue? How can we readdress this issue?"
Editor's note: The voters of Newton County approved a $5 million allocation of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenues in a 2005 referendum. In August 2008, the county and city agreed to issue $23 million in revenue bonds for the project, with the debt expected to be paid off through an increase in the hotel/motel tax and payments by the developer in lieu of property taxes. In November, Covington Mayor Kim Carter announced the project was on hold due to high interest rates that would be owed on the bonds.
"My comment pertains to your Saturday front page article covering the four arrests made on Crestview Drive in Covington. My husband and I bought a lot and built our house in the Farmington/Crestview neighborhood 36 years ago. For many years this area consisted of ... people who are quiet and respected their neighbors. Some of the newcomers who have moved into this neighborhood ... drink and party at night with loud talking and music. In the past it has done no good to call the Covington Police Department ... I want to thank the policeman who arrested the four ... and hope this is a sign of better things to come."
"Why are you not printing the comments about the coach at Eastside getting arrested? Who is paying you off? He is just as guilty as the other people posted on the paper. It is silly of the Newton County Board of Education supporting him when he is just as guilty as the other folks, so I think you need to print this."
Editor's note: Coach Rick Hurst was charged with an offense, but his case has not yet been to court. He pleaded not guilty to the charges against him on Monday in DeKalb County Superior Court. Citizen editors sometimes choose to delete comments that are repeated week after week.
"I am sitting reading my Newton Citizen on Saturday reading the Citizen Poll, which I enjoy reading. I saw the incident on the front page regarding Judge Capes' family being involved in a drunk and disorderly incident. As I am reading the Citizen Poll I see a comment in there about this incident. I was just wondering how that got in there when the incident was on the front page of the same paper."
Editor's note: Residents of the community were aware of the incident prior to our publication of the story and called to comment on the arrests. The Citizen staff was also aware of the incident; however, we held the story until Saturday so that we could ensure that all of our information was correct prior to publication.
"This concerns the Social Circle Police Department, and I have no axe to grind on this thing. Social Circle has seemed to establish a speed trap. The police seem to want to warrant their existence by fining everyone not having Walton County tags. I suggest if you don't live in Walton County you stay away. I enjoy Blue Willow Inn, Freshway Market and Ace hardware, but they are history for me and my family. I hope you do the same until they change their attitude about visitors. I encourage anyone else with these views to write the Newton Citizen with their comments. I do not know anyone in Social Circle - no axe to grind - the Police Department wants to justify their existence."
"So the Newton County BOC just voted to keep the same attorney for the county, with no bidding, qualifying or any competing proposals being considered. The vote was the 'good ole boys' on one side, and the 'wait a second, let's actually think about this' folks on the other. Guess who won?"