Newton Phone Poll - 05/16/09

The Newton Citizen Poll is a compilation of opinions submitted by readers. These opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Citizen newspapers. If you agree or disagree with something you read here, you may respond by e-mailing poll@newtoncitizen.com.

"Porterdale enters rail/trail controversy. During a heated meeting at the Newton Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night, with almost 40 people mustering their forces in opposition on very short notice, someone from the county or 'another interested party' has brought Porterdale into the controversy. Chairwoman Morgan was reported in the story about Porterdale as saying the railroad is interested in negotiating a deal with the county to sell. However, that's not quite right. Someone in the county has been trying to press the issue onto citizens who do not want it to be purchased and questioning Norfolk Southern about a possible purchase. The county is going to have to lay off 30-40 people due to the recession and some fool wants to spend over a million dollars for this fiasco? Get a grip folks and tell your local governments what you think! And will Porterdale wind up being asked to put up money for the purchase? And long term maintenance and hire a police force to patrol it like Cobb County had to do? Who will be dragged in next, Mansfield and Newborn?"

"Another person ties up interstate traffic threatening to jump. Idea, once the air bag is in position underneath, Tazer the offender. No more hours-long traffic stoppage. It won't happen because if the outcome was an injury or death to the offender, let's just say 'One Call That's All.'"

"I'm going to have to side with the Honorable Judge Greely Ellis and express my disgust and disappointment with the new Administration Building's lack of handicapped parking, making it inaccessible to persons who have a disability. It seems the grand plan was to change Pace Street from two lanes, which it has been and served well for over 100 years to a 'Grand Entry' for the 'New Hotel and Civic Center.' There is no hotel and there is no civic center, but there are hundreds of handicapped people who are having difficulty doing business with their county officials. Every private building and every government building across the nation complies with the Disability Act except the city of Covington and Newton County. Put it back to two lanes and follow the letter of the law, 'Access must be provided for handicapped parking at the nearest entry to the building.' Even without such a law, the county should have not shown disrespect for these citizens who fight their own battles daily due to unfortunate illness or accidents which render them, in the eyes of the city of Covington and Newton County as 'Second Class Citizens.' Shame on you all!"

"Well, it's finally happened. Highway 36 is turning into Little Mexico, Buford Highway and North DeKalb County. With the addition of Dollar General on Highway 36 smack in the middle of the residential area, we are seeing more and more Hispanics with small children walking up Highway 36 - it is a matter of time before someone is killed crossing over and walking too close. ... and with our laws, it's probably going to be blamed on the driver."

"I am 'Mr. this ain't Mayberry.' To all the complainers hating my comments, I was born and raised right here just like you all were. I can complain about whatever I want, just like you can complain about my complaining. Don't look dumbfounded when all of your Square-based businesses are going out of business because me and the majority of the county residents go elsewhere to shop. I've been here for 30 years, so you old heads can't tell me anything about Newton that I don't already know. As a previous caller said, 'Jasper County has the red carpet out for you' if you want to count cows all day. This hasn't been a farming-based county in a long time. Just accept it. Better known stores equal more tax money for the county."

"I was horrified to hear how much my daughter had to spend for my grandson's graduation. As it was, he and some friends skipped the prom and went to after-prom parties. There are seniors who cannot afford to walk graduation night. Why the big price tag? Not everyone is rich. Not everyone is sure they'll have a job next week, yet graduation plans are made without considering the parents who must pay the bill. These are tough times and people in authority need to be considering the consequences of their decisions. Especially the monetary ones."

"The Fourth of July celebration has been canceled due to the city and county wanting to make a point to the 30,000 or so citizens that they need another tax increase. Whenever a city or county gets in financial trouble, usually due to their own lack of restraint in spending tax dollars, they always use some ploy like this. A visible event or shutting down fire stations just to get some sympathy for their own, well no other way to put it, stupidity. Terminate administrative personnel instead of front line people? Never happen! This was probably the largest Fourth of July celebration in the entire state. It was something we all could be proud of. It was well organized, safe, and well presented. So, watch out people, we can spend millions on buying a railroad we don't need, but we can't spare a few thousand dollars for a grand celebration of our independence ... isn't that ironic?"

"To the parent of the Alcovy High student that is upset due to the lack of coverage for Alcovy School. You may want to put the blame on the your school and not on the other two Newton County schools. Alcovy has a phone line that runs out of that school as well and can call the paper to inform them about any and all things going on in that school. It is not Eastside, Newton High nor the newspaper that needs to hold the blame on this one. Sorry! Congrats to Alcovy, Newton and Eastside school students and staff."

"When is someone going to take down the huge McCain/Palin billboard located on I-20 near the Almon Rd. exit? Obviously it wasn't much good in November and it is certainly worthless now."

"Well it's been confirmed that General Mills will build their new distribution center in Social Circle and not Covington. Our city and county leaders could have offered them some incentives to come here, but it seems as if they are more concerned about trails, railroad tracks and raising utility rates during a recession instead of bringing in new jobs. From our county leaders to our city leaders all the way down to the Chamber of Commerce, it's all one big failure. Promises were made to weasel into office like 'I'm going to work hard to attract new jobs to the area.' Well 112 jobs just skipped over us while you all were looking the other way. Keep in mind that your position isn't permanent; re-election time will roll around eventually."

"You can raise my taxes! Don't cut the sheriff's budget! I currently work in the District Attorney's Office in Rockdale County, but have been a deputy sheriff for nearly 24 years. Cutting Sheriff Brown's budget would be shooting ourselves in the foot! I feel safe living in Newton County, and we have quality people across the board at the Sheriff's Department. Let's keep them and pay them ... please!"

"Auto workers are wondering why they don't have the public's sympathy. Well, all I can say is that it's hard to feel sorry for someone who averages about $75 an hour in pay. These unions are the reason cars cost so much now. The manufacturers pass on the union-related costs to us consumers. I'm pretty sure someone will call in defending unions. Please don't waste your or my time. Check the facts, auto prices rise almost every time unions renegotiate their contracts."

"This is in reference to the City Council raising the utility rates. How dare the City Council sit there and raise the utility rates when it and the mayor look out whenever they drive up to the City Hall and see that mud hole they have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on for nothing, and then you look at a parking lot that they also spent over $300,000 on that only the employees are parking in it. That was not necessary at this time. They are not taking into consideration that we have the highest unemployment rate of any county in the state of Georgia. One out of 10 people in the state of Georgia is unemployed, and if they cannot realize that people are suffering, our senior citizens on fixed incomes just received notice that there will not be a cost of living increase in their Social Security check and yet they continue to bleed and bleed the people for the utility rates just because they want to show a profit. What you need to do mayor and council is continue to cut your budget and get the waste out of the city spending that you have. You could go in there and trim the budget back, cut out some of this unnecessary stuff, such as buying a railroad, which we don't need. You are spending money on railroads and turn around at Turner Lake and you are spending money on stuff that is not necessary such as bike trails just because you are in favor of riding a bike and the citizens of the city of Covington are paying for all of this. Wake up and do what is right for the citizens of Covington."

"I am concerned about this proposal of the County Commissioners to cut employment. In particular, when you cut back employment severely like it looks like they are proposing to do, you lose a lot of experience and knowledge it takes several years per employee to acquire. Eventually these positions will have to be refilled and learning the curve will be something that will have to go through again. I would be concerned that a better approach might be to deal with the approbation request through individually commissioners and some of the other incentives that are being discussed such as the gym renovation and perhaps other projects that could be scaled back. The contractors who work these projects may not like it, but it would help to save some money for the county and hopefully keep their staff in place."

"Where are the preachers of old? Back then they were paid very little if any, and then it was with vegetables or meat from the farm. They visited the sick, but today they make mega bucks but show their members very little compassion unless they are in a certain group. They neither call nor go by and visit the sick even if they are dying. They are more concerned with money and what could be done for them. They expect you to be perfect but show no compassion for their members even though they help pay their salaries. We need our preachers to be real pastors to their members."

"I have two issues to address. Didn't Kim Carter campaign on lowering utility rates for the city of Covington? Now she wants to increase rates that are already among the highest in the state. As a senior citizen it is very difficult to make ends meet as it is. I would also like to comment on Newton Medical Center's decision to discontinue the position of lactation consultant. This was a great service to the community, and with breast feeding being encouraged for the first year of life the mothers of Newton County need all the support they can get. It seems to me the hospital could save money using other means."

Editor's note: Mayor Carter addressed Covington's utility rates during her campaign. but she did not promise to reduce rates.

"I am calling in reference to the two job openings that Newton County is advertising that are vacant. How can these jobs, the Mechanic III and part time CDL truck driver, be offered at this time. I am not real sure why Newton County is offering jobs when after July there are going to be people laid off. I think this is a big waste of time and effort for the counties part because if the county did not fill these jobs and save the money that would be paid for these two jobs and use it to help keep a current employee from being laid off because the county cannot afford to pay them."

"I am calling to complain about our lovely cable system (Charter Communications). Every night for the past week at 12 o'clock midnight our cable has went out and, yes, we are some of those people who stay up late to watch TV because we are actually working most of the day. Their excuse to us is they are doing an upgrade on the system from 12 till 5 a.m. every night and it is only impacting 110 customers, and I happen to be one of those customers. I am not very happy because that is money I am spending every month to be able to watch my TV, and there is no service. Just wondering if anybody else is having that problem as well."

"My comment is about the county commissioners. They are sitting up there dictating whose life they are going to destroy next. They are laying off county workers. They don't realize they will be losing their homes, losing their lifestyle they have worked for all their life. Now this is wrong. What is it when you see this picture, they are getting a grant and they want to use it to buy a railroad. That is not going to save jobs, that is going to lose peoples homes. First off, you need to start increasing some of these salaries ... County commissioners, you too could be lowered on the salary scales. It is not right people are trying to live in this world and y'all are sitting up there on your high horses dictating their lives."

"Let's see if I understand what I read in the paper. The city of Covington is raising the cost of gas, water and trash collection fees, but Mayor Carter would hope the county would lower the dumping fees at the landfill. Why is it OK for the city to go up on their fees and then she whines when the county goes up on its fees. Now she is wanting to look into a private garbage company for the city in future use. I would think about that a little bit if I was Mayor Carter. The city sold the cable company to Charter and look what a disaster that has been for the city of Covington. Think about it before you make another mistake."

"When Mrs. Carter was running for mayor, one of her platform points was that the utilities in Covington were needlessly higher than any surrounding area and she was going to correct that. Now Mayor Carter has a multi-million dollar surplus in the city funds and a plan to increase the already high utilities."

Editor's note: Please see note above.