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Newton Poll - 05/29/2010

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 either for or in opposition to candidates seeking elective office.

"Clements administration, staff and parents are making it seem like the closing of Clements Theme was a complete curve ball. Seriously, folks, the enrollment numbers were dwindling and the Board of Education had to make a responsible financial solution. Why was Fairview left open? That is a simple answer because Fairview has an administration, staff, parents and student body that understand the concept designed for the theme schools. Other than then general knowledge of the low enrollment numbers and information gathered from the parents, Fairview was not privy to any other information in regards to Clements. I have no idea why the administration, staff and parents feel slighted by the Board of Education. They had to see this coming."

"OK, let's get it straight. One hundred jobs is what the current county administration wants cut. Will John Middleton freely walk out? Will the other top department heads freely leave? Seems you have been doing this too long maybe. Was it not these people who asked for these jobs to start with? Why are (the employees) so easily discarded now? Mort, J.C., what were you thinking when you approved the budgets that allowed the hiring of these 100 extra, breaking the bank, not really needed jobs? Yeah, those guys have been around the longest. They were part of the group that made this mess. Really guys, these jobs are needed. These people are depending on you. Throw us away and we will remember. Throw Newton County away ... well maybe you already have and the mess needs cleaning up. Kathy, look around close. The ones that are walking the halls are the ones that said we were needed several budgets back. Kinda makes you wonder who is minding the store. One hundred jobs. John, I have heard you say 'We need these jobs.' Or were you just padding the numbers then? People look and see who is running this time. Speak loudly so others will listen."

"If the SCLC cannot get it together and be role models for others, it doesn't amaze me of the crimes of murder, bank robberies, drugs, home invasions, assault, etc. that is happening. What happened to when we get a new leader for 'change' life would change? I don't see it. It's time for all people to step it up and do the right thing. You know right from wrong. Be a role model for the younger generation. Become educated, be smart, be drug free and family orientated."

"I do watch Fox News because they are the only one giving fair and balanced news of the day. I am wondering where your information on Medicare came from? It sounded a lot like the propaganda expounded daily by AARP. It is a well-known fact that Obama has them in his hip pocket. They spent millions of dollars on advertising and lobbying activities to promote Obama's government-run (Socialist) health-care program -- a plan that will be an unmitigated disaster for seniors and for America. How can anyone believe in a trust fund being extended for nine more years when $500 billion will be cut from Medicare and Medicaid to help pay for Obamacare? Medicare pays so little now for treatment that it is extremely difficult to even find a physician that will accept assignment. Fewer students are making a decision to become physicians so there definitely will be a shortage. This, in turn, as all reputable economists have said about Obamacare, will result in the rationing (sharply limiting) of medical treatment for the elderly (as a way to save money). Many Americans are unaware of Congress's squandering of our Social Security Trust Fund savings. Most politicians don't want us to know. So far, Congress has taken (stolen) more than $3 trillion of our Social Security savings and spent this money on other projects and programs having nothing to do with Social Security. Our government will take another $250 billion this year alone. It is no wonder that Social Security is quickly running out of money. Fellow Patriots, we need to protect ourselves from Obama's Socialist agenda. The first step will be on Nov. 9, 2010. His followers must be ousted! The decision is ours and we must act!"

"This is in response to the concerned citizen wanting to know where Sheriff Brown was spending the additional funds he requested and the subsequent comment by another citizen that it should be obvious. Well, I must admit, it is not obvious to me either! I have not seen a sheriff's patrol in my neighborhood in about three weeks. I also heard that since being elected, Sheriff Brown has moved a lot of the deputies into administrative positions within the Sheriff's Department. Is that true? If so, maybe that is why I have not see a sheriff's patrol car in my neighborhood for about three weeks. Also, I think you (we) may be missing an important point. The sheriff is an employee of the citizens of Newton County. We elected him! He works for us! Each and every citizen of Newton County has right to ask Sheriff Brown, who is an elected constitutional officer, 'when, where and how is he spending our tax dollars to keep our families, homes, and community safe?' I think a public forum to discuss the sheriff's budget and expenditures is something that we should not have to ask for but should be done voluntarily by Sheriff Brown."

"I want to comment about all the cuts that are being made in the Newton County School System. Cuts are being made on all grade levels involving the children, but there are not very many cuts being made in the county office. I realize there is a deficit in county and state funds, but it shows what a sad state the whole of Newton County is in to be making the cuts that are being made! All the people that do the actual work and caring for the children in the school system are being targeted. No one has a clue what the paraprofessionals do for the children! I can't speak for all the Pre-K coordinators in the county but there is one at Ficquett that is more than a Pre-K coordinator. I don't know if the Board of Education has a clue what they are doing. This lady goes over and beyond to help the children not only at the school but throughout the community! She is not only a coordinator for the Pre-K children she is a social worker/resource coordinator for the whole school! The Board of Education needs to really rethink how these cuts are going to affect parents and children with no resources!"

"To those of you that wish to convert the old railroad into a 'Rails to Trails' walking and biking path, maybe you should contact other communities that have tried this. Contact some of the officials in Inverness, Fla., in Citrus County. Homeless people have moved into the woods near the Rails to Trails paths, living in cardboard boxes or tents; these homeless people use the woods as their toilets and garbage dump. There is a possibility that the same thing could happen here in Newton County."

"It is time for all our county leaders to go. Yes, all of them. They could not manage to get themselves out of a wet paper sack. The school board is going to run all the good teachers off. I am calling on everyone of them on the BOC and BOE to resign for the good of the Newton County and our children. It is time for leadership. Wake up Newton County. Take a stand today!"

"Some long-time Democrats were voted out of office in Tuesday's elections in several states. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will be going later in the year. I am thinking after reading that the Newton County School System and the county commissioners are wanting to raise taxes, that all of them should be voted out as well. I for one am sick of this Obama 'tax and spend' agenda. I say vote them all out and start over!"

"OK, Newton County. It is time to step up to the plate and make a great move for the county. You have taken all our shopping away, so we go to Conyers to make purchases and spend our tax dollars there. Now that the property owned by Mr. Donnie Clack has been de-annexed back into Newton, can you please make the right choice and bring some growth and jobs to our area! There is nothing in this county for anyone to do. We have no theaters, no skating rink, nothing for people to do. A drag strip would give us something great and exciting to do on the weekends and keep tax dollars here in the county. Please look at the big picture and the future of this county."

"I am very upset with the Animal Control in Newton County. Regardless of the contact made with them, nothing gets done. If it is after hours and mean dogs are roaming the neighborhood, Animal Control will not respond until someone gets bitten. If you call them to report the incidents, they 'attempt' to contact the dog owners, but if they see nothing wrong at that particular time, nothing is done about it. If you want action, it is required that you go to their office in order to sign and file a complaint and have a citation issued. You then have to take off to go to court when the citation comes before the judge in order for anything to be finalized about the problem. What is wrong with this picture? Since when is it OK to have vicious (pit bulls) animals running loose and have no county official man up enough to deal with it. What are we paying you to do?"

"I would like to know how many of our county commissioners have actually asked citizens in their district how they feel about raising the millage rate. Almost every one received a notice telling us our property value has dropped. If you're like me and your property dropped by 14 percent or more, that means the proposed 10.9 rate would only be an 11 percent increase and my net taxes would still be 3 percent less that last year. While I don't want to pay any more than last year, I will gladly pay the same amount so police and firemen are on duty if I call 911. I hope most other homeowners would feel the same way."

"A few months ago, a reporter did an article on the local jail. Seems it was $55 per inmate per day ... and I think we spend $40 per student per day for education. Something is wrong with this picture? I'd like to see accurate numbers on this, and I'm wondering why the jail does not have gardens like Porterdale -- growing and supplying the majority of their own food. Great idea huh? We need to bring the inmate cost down and help give some life skills at the same time. Education of our students should be top priority."

"With impending layoffs and property values down 20 percent, it is not surprising that the Newton County BOC will not raise the millage rate to balance the budget? Then people would have roughly the same property taxes as last year! The county would not have to spend millions on unemployment insurance! Experienced employees could keep their jobs! The time and cost of training people when the economy improves would be avoided! Why this would make too much sense, something the BOC seems to be lacking. Why not reconstruct departments to run more efficiently and consolidate department heads? I.e., do we really need to pay a tax commissioner $70,000-plus when the tax appraiser's department does most of the work? Before you start chopping off heads, try a little tummy tuck instead ... raise the millage rate ... it's less painful and the results might surprise you!"

Editor's note: Tax commissioner is a constitutional office of the county and is elected, not appointed. According to the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, constitutional officers are enumerated by office in the state constitution. County constitutional officers are elected for four-year terms and have such powers and duties as provided by general law. "Although dependent upon funding from the county commission, county constitutional officers have a degree of autonomy in carrying out their duties not enjoyed by other county government officials," according to the Georgiainfo Web site."

"Newton County commissioners are about to force the sheriff and fire chief to lay off our public servants, because they are having trouble balancing the budget. Yet they have been made aware of several issues that would save money, but will not address them. One of which is the fire tax money. Fire taxes are collected from every person in the county. Yet the Fire Department gets not one cent of that money to operate. Because that fire tax goes to volunteer fire stations only. Volunteers respond to only about 5 percent of the 911 calls yet get all the collected fire tax money. Our full time firefighters are the guys we depend on as taxpayers 100 percent of the time and are operating from county general funds. But some of our full-time guys will be let go instead of the volunteers' budget taking the hit. Volunteers are fine to supplement full time, but should not have a separate operation budget of about $600,000 per year. No, volunteers are not free it seems. That $600,00 per year could pay for a lot of firefighters and free up some general funds to help out our deputies. As well, the commissioners will continue to pay for positions at Factory Shoals and Gaither Plantation. Two full-time salaries as well as housing. Both non-essential county expenses. The commission continues to share expenses with the city on certain positions and city projects, which are in the city and should be city issues solely. The county needs the 'Dalton Gang' on the commission board. Some no nonsense guys."

"Hello Citizen, I would like to thank the Citizen for correcting me last week. I sent an e-mail with a misspelled word. The misspelled word was bonfire. I spelled it bond fire. Pretty much what I said was that we should have a bonfire for rap. We should all thank the Citizen for correcting us. In the e-mail I stated that rap was the lowest, most idiotic, raunchiest form of music known to the human race. I sent that e-mail to the Citizen before the rapper in Griffin was shot and killed, and all the witnesses got on TV news and proved my point. I would like to invite the citizens that support this kind of music to listen to the music of yesterday. Yesterday's music wasn't completely pure, but it left something to the imagination so we could go where we wanted to go with the music. There are so many types of music like country, jazz, rock, gospel, blues, rhythm and blues -- I could go on forever. There's no excuse for listening to rap. So why don't we have a bonfire and invite rap."

"In watching the Covington TV Channel's coverage of City Council meetings -- I see where the Turner Lake roundabout has been approved and they only lack a few minor details before construction begins. What a fiasco this is going to end up being. I'm glad the city of Covington will be responsible for maintaining and the upkeep of this intersection. It's going to end up being a nightmare. Yall voted for 'change' - and by golly - you got it!"

"In response to the person who found the ATM card, I recently had a similar experience. I found an ATM card, issued by Wachovia, in the parking lot of Wal-Mart. I did not feel comfortable turning the card into Customer Service, because you just really do not know who is honest these days. I took the card and dropped it in the night deposit box at Wachovia since the bank was closed. I called Wachovia the next day to let them know, and they said they would handle it from there. I'm not sure how things went from there, but I do hope that I was able to help keep a bank account from being drained."

"Can someone please tell me why the Newton County BOE wants to raise my taxes and yet they have been paying $7,500 to use Church in the Now for graduations? Why not make some cuts before raising my taxes -- it wasn't my idea to spend money pointlessly!"

"I completely support Sheriff Brown 100 percent. I don't think the average citizen (including our commissioners) has any idea how much crime there is in our county. If the commissioners cause us to lose the very people who are trying to protect us, I will insist the paper print all their home phone numbers so we can call them everytime we need a deputy. For them to try and cut the Sheriff's Department is just ludicrous!"

"I'm just a concerned citizen of Newton County and I hope what I am reading in the paper is not true. Don't all of you understand that we very much need a police and fire department which enables us to live with some security. Don't make a big mistake. We need the fire and police as bad as we need any department in this county. You can't do anything if you don't have some kind of security. Think about it."

"I and my eighth-grader attended an open house at Newton County High School for incoming freshmen. A group of girls in very skimpy costumes that left little to the imagination danced in a very provocative way. It was not entertaining. It was indecent. I was shocked. We and other parents walked out. This is not what I want my child exposed to. I wonder that the administration approved an exhibition like that. Something needs to be done."

"There is a simple solution to the school situation where all the teachers and school workers can keep their jobs. Start charging all people who have kids in school school tax. Don't just put the burden on people who try to have a home. There are more kids in school who come from rental properties and they are getting a free ride. Set an amount per child and see how much revenue there would be. This might help (stop) some people having so many children and cut back on welfare."

"When I woke up this morning I was in America but for some reason I have had to continuously press 1 for English. I don't understand this, and I am sure there are a lot of people who don't understand this. There is also the Hispanic girl that was caught in college going illegally and they are making such a scoop about her. Should she be able to finish school, no she shouldn't be able to. She is here illegally, her parents are here illegally and they should send them back."