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Newton Poll - 05/08/2010

The Newton Citizen Poll is a compilation of opinions submitted by readers. They 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. Please remember that the Citizen Poll is not a forum for comments about candidates seeking elected office.

"Hard to believe Covington Council refused to even investigate the rails-to-trails option. What a gift it could be to the community -- great for residents, for health, for increasing property values, for attracting good folks and good development. Guess we like being a second-class town."

"As a city of Covington employee, I find it to be a slap in the face when I see a lawn service cutting the grass at City Hall and then I'm told that the city can't afford to pay me for overtime hours that I'm required to work. I've had a 'little bird' tell me that this can't be done. Citizen, can you look into how the city employees are compensated for overtime hours."

"I am writing to ask who in the world would go and break into somebody's vehicle and steal some ones's stuff out of it? We have to work a hard, long day to pay for the items and somebody can just walk up to that vehicle and bust the window out and take it, and this person or persons did this on school grounds and got away with it. I hope you are found and put away for a very long time and maybe that will change the way you are, I hope."

"Listen up fellow senior citizens and all those who care about us ... Obama is getting ready to cut funds to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. He cares nothing for the Americans who make up this large percentage of the population. He is much more concerned with the illegal alien situation. He is looking ahead to 2012 and how indebted to him these people will be if he gets the Amnesty For Illegal Aliens Bill passed. This is his plan to get reelected. It is pathetic when the American elderly are considered by this president and his administration to be second-class citizens and expendable. If he were to cut all the pork for his special interests, the debt could be lessened considerably. He still blames the former administration for the problem. Doesn't he realize that his Obamacare will only maximize our debt? I am sure he does, but his agenda must prevail at all costs! The November 2010 election can make the difference. We need to vote out all those who stand behind Obama and his quest towards Socialism and the removal of our freedoms. The choice is ours and the time to act is Nov. 9, 2010! We will be heard!"

"To the person I followed on the Covington Bypass Sunday a.m. that decided his dog rides so much better on top of his tool box of his pickup rather than in a crate or inside the cab. I followed this person for several miles afraid this dog was going to lose balance and fall. I am not sure what the laws are here for carrying a pet, but I would love to post the pic of your stupidity I have for all to see how smart you really are."

"I want to encourage you to thank your teachers this week since it is National Teacher Appreciation week. Mrs. Strickland, Miss. M, Mrs. Nix, and Mrs. Alexander, you guys are awesome. You not only have loved and nurtured my children but you have touched their lives in so many ways. I could never thank you enough. Also, to the rest of the staff at Palmer Stone Elementary, thank you for making us feel like we are a part of your family and not just a number. All of you do an awesome job and we thank you for all you do."

"Could someone please tell me how the people on Creekview Boulevard got the commissioners to deny a petition for a group home in their area and we on Alcovy Trestle Road have no choice about the halfway house for convicted criminals in our neighborhood? When I called planning and zoning I was told that if the gentleman had all the proper permits there was nothing I could do to stop him. You would think that a group of convicted criminals would pose a greater threat to the community than a group of rowdy teenagers. I bet if it was in the commissioners' neighborhood they would not allow it."

"I know a way that NCSS can save some money. They can save money by not allowing the school bus drivers to let their buses run for 30 to 60 minutes in the morning. There is no need for this."

"Let's all thank Doug Holt for his recent vote of yes to Senate Bill 346. Yes, it requires an assessment notice to all property owners each year now. Keep in mind this includes commercial and industrial properties who can afford legal representation to fight and have their assessment lowered. What about us residential homeowners who cannot afford a legal team? Once again, the state Legislature has helped the big guys who will ultimately have their assessment lowered and the rest of us regular homeowners will end up paying more because of this."

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"I read with great interest the comments that the Eastside football coach had to say about the Recreation Department, and I must respond. First of all he is not qualified to make any comments about this department as he has had little or no interaction with it since he has arrived. To say we have no vested interest in these kids is so off base it is laughable. Coaches and Rec staff in our program do so much for these kids that I cannot list all that they do, but I will give it a try. First of all in a 12-month period we employ as many as 50 former and current participants. Secondly, we daily counsel a lot of our participants on academics as well as athletics. In our program we stress discipline that is needed in these participants athletic and academic careers. We have numerous coaches and staff people who stay involved with these young people well past their careers with us. This includes financial and other areas that are essential to these young people. For this football coach or any body else to say that we do not have a vested interest in these kids is so wrong that is ridiculous. On a personal note there are kids who are playing high school sports right now because of what I personally do for them. While I have my faults I can assure you that not having a vested interest in these kids is not one of them. If you do not believe me Coach, go and ask your star running back the leading rusher in Eastside history, one of the main reasons for your success who has a vested or otherwise interest in him and he will tell you. Or ask your other running back or your best receiver from last year or your best line backer from last year and they will all tell you. If that is not enough go over to Newton and those kids will tell you the same thing. In closing, I am proud to be the Athletic Director for our recreation department and I am also proud of our athletic staff and our volunteer coaches who you can be assured have all the interest needed for all our participants."

On Thursday, April 29, 2010, at 7 p.m.., I attended the meeting District 3 Commissioner Nancy Shultz and Commissioner Chair Lady Kathy Morgan had at the Oaks Golf Course. It was a very informative meeting. They did a great job discussing the issues and challenges facing Newton County. The primary topic of the meeting was the county budget. John Middleton, Newton County Chief Financial Officer, discussed the county budget and the challenges facing the county due to revenue shortfalls. Bottom-line, the county is facing an $8.6 million dollar deficit. Those of us in attendance were provided a draft copy of the county budget. Due to the revenue shortcomings of the county, most County Departments appear to have implemented zero-based budgeting, except for the Sheriff's Department. A zero-based budgeting system starts from a 'zero base' and every function within a Department is analyzed for its needs and costs. Budgets are then built around what is needed for the upcoming period, regardless of whether the budget is higher or lower than the previous one. The Sheriff's Department approved budget for Fiscal Year 2010 was $17,760,001 and the requested budget for Fiscal Year 2011 is $20,054,224, which represents a 12 percent increase ($2.3 million dollars). I support a well funded Sheriff's Department and commend the Sheriff Brown (and the Sheriff's Department employees) for their contributions to our safety. However, as a taxpayer, I question the 12 percent increase, especially when the county is struggling for revenue. I noticed that the Public Safety Departments, such as Fire Services, are maintaining their budget using the 'zero-based budgeting system'. As a taxpayer, could Sheriff Brown please tell us (the Newton County citizens and taxpayers) where he is spending the additional $2.3 million dollars?"

"This is a response to the individual complaining about the McGibony Road trash site. The site normally fills up on Sundays because the county landfill shuts down on Sundays. Heckel and Jeckel have no control over this. If you have complaints call your commissioner as they are one who made the decision to shut everything down on Sundays. The big problem is people leaving the site and then dumping their yard waste on Brown Bridge Road. You and I both know what I am talking about."

"Great idea! Having my nails done was great for my self esteem and purchasing a specific type of foundation at Stonecrest Mall eliminated my acne problem; however, my spouse removed those items from our budget to allow for things such as electricity and water. Should I have known that protesting with posters and publishing my opinion in newsprint would have helped, maybe I would not be in depression. It was explained to me that the decision made was a priority ... was it really?"

"I get so disgusted seeing people who are not handicapped parking in spots reserved for handicap. Almost every time I go to Krogers on Salem Road I see vehicles parked in the handicap spots that have no legal identification of their handicap status. The other annoying part of it all is there will be one or two cop cars parked allowing this to happen. At a time when the county needs money so desperately these people who insist on parking in spaces reserved for the handicapped should be given tickets for illegal parking and pay a fine then maybe they'll think twice the next time. The other day I witnessed a woman driving a Kia ... park in one of the handicap spaces ... nothing on her vehicle identifying a handicap and she didn't appear to have any problem walking. I took a picture of her vehicle parked there and will take pictures of any vehicle I see parked in a handicap space who doesn't display a legal handicap identifier. Shame on anyone who does this and are not handicapped."

"I've never had a problem at the McGibony Road dump. Yeah, sometimes the bins get full. That's not the workers' fault. Those guys always seem to be working and have always been helpful to me. So I say; kudos to them!"

"This 'trails' issue is truly on my last nerve. Either way, I do not see how it will affect me personally, but we cannot always look at our personal self to evaluate. Kudos to Dalton, et al. Kudos to the person who stated that the mayor and especially her husband have a too personal interest in this issue. Further kudos to the paper for printing that one. I have said this before and it didn't make print. I have friends who support this trail issue. I say to them, and they could do this, dig into your pockets and purchase the property, give it to the city/county and write it off. Drum up some community groups to 'adopt' parts to maintain it and there you go .... you have your trails. All of that being said, the real questions have not been answered: what jobs? Jobs for how long? Who would be qualified to have the jobs? What economic benefit? Who is committed to open restaurants, shops along the way? (this is a pipe dream). The trails would be 'frosting on the cake,' 'whip cream on the sundae,' but the cake and the sundae are the priority. What are the priorities of Newton/Covington? It is not the time for 'special interest' but rather the time for 'Newton County interest.'"

"In response to the author of the quote 'Heckel and Jeckel' article on May 1, I have been using McGibony's facility for years. I too was unable to use it every time. However, one should know this is by far the busiest unit in Newton County. For as far back as I can recall, never has an employee ever given me a smart remark. In fact, I have learned to have a lot of respect for them. Has the author ever taken a moment to talk to any of the workers, Let's see, two are Viet vets, one a two-tour vet. Check out their wages and then go to work there. They need more help And have you taken a moment se watch how people use this facility?? Most simply do not care. I for one, use it at least three times a week and never have I not spent a few minutes with the workers. Try it. You'll quickly change your attitude. The full to capacity is the county's problem and not the on-hand workers. Need more tax dollars for equipment and employees."

"OK. I have been reading what is going on with the bike trail issue. I grew up with Keith and Chris. I think they are great people. They are looking out for what is best for our city and county. Bikes this, bikes that. You cannot promise there will be enough traffic to pay for anything. Plus the foot traffic of the trail 'will' cause crime issues. However, I have been thinking of a good use for it. If we just have to have it, put a small two-car transit train on it. The tracks are there. That way the people could get from Covington to Newborn and save money. This would benefit many more Newton County people than a dumb bike trail. It would save a lot of gas for people who work in town. People could ride it to the doctor, store, and hospital. It's very close to all that. (Within walking distance). Everyone moves out here because they are tired of the Atlanta, Rockdale, crowds and traffic, and want to get into the country. Yet when you get here, you want to build stores and bring in all this mess because you don't want to drive so far. We have been fine out here for a long time without any of this. That's what living out here is all about. We don't need a trail that brings in riffraff from outside this county. (And it will happen). Leave well enough alone."

"In all the talk about the cuts in the Newton County School System, one thing seems to be underreported: teachers are going to have to pay for their own insurance, at the rate of $300 to $700 per month. I also wonder if many people realize the county is operating without substitute teachers, which requires classes to be split among other classes if a teacher must be absent. I realize that times are difficult, but many of the teachers I talk to are exploring the possibility of moving to another county where they are duly compensated for their time and talent. We currently have some excellent teachers. Do we want to lose them permanently?"

"The elimination of middle school sports in Newton County is a smokescreen to draw attention away from the problem of unleashing larger class sizes on elementary teachers at the same time para-pros are being removed from the schools. There is the real problem. How are schools going to improve the delivery of education to the children when the system is simply further increasing the burden on the classroom teachers? This is a perfect example of a lose-lose situation."

"I live in the eastern part of Newton County. I have two grandchildren who attend Indian Creek Middle School. This morning they missed the bus, so Granddad took them to school. Something really needs to be done with the railroad crossing on the bypass road. Does anyone know how much fuel is wasted just by the school buses that have to stop and go at that crossing? Why can't the city of Covington, or Newton County, put an officer at the crossing for a couple of hours each morning and evening to direct traffic? Newton County schools could even put someone there. Am I wrong to think this would make more sense that to waste fuel and time? Maybe Norfolk Southern should be required to put up automatic arms at this very busy crossing, so people will not get hit by all those trains that go by."

"Hurrah for Arizona from all Americans whether you are black, Caucasian, Oriental, Latin or whatever race and legal Americans. It is time we stood up for our country. People have a right to become Americans -- Greatest Country in the world -- as long as it is done legal. Illegal aliens need to be deported along with people who hire them. Americans need their jobs. Hire legal citizens only and send illegals packing."

"I was driving through Porterdale and had about a 15-minute wait for traffic. I just looked over to see the cemetery coming into town and the one going further out of town. They were in such a derelict shape. I sure wish somebody would figure out a way to get them cleaned up. It is so embarrassing to think that we let our dead not rest in peace but in weeds."