Newton Phone Poll - 08-13-11

It is a mystery to me how a couple of wealthy (or even formerly wealthy) citizens control the boards and consequently the lives of tens of thousands of taxpaying citizens. Don't the boards realize these people only cast votes numbering in single digits? Do the politicians think some of this money is going to rub off on them? I suppose if you want to learn more about how these decisions are made here you could just go to www.stupid.com."---- ——---- "The oft overused but seldom discussed executive session meetings. There is nothing in executive session meetings that is reserved from public view. There is no client/attorney privilege under Georgia law between councils and commissions and their attorneys. All information is available under the law. So why ‘hide' the fact the city or county is about to be or is being sued or to discuss strategy? As far as ‘land purchase' is concerned, why does this have to be discussed in secret? If the fear is that some unscrupulous investor will rush out and buy the land first, they can't make any money on it because the city or county can just condemn it and the most accurate value would be the recent purchase price, which would allow the investor to make nothing. As far as personnel decisions are concerned, these records are also available under the Georgia Open Records Act. Our elected officials do not have to discuss anything in secret, by law, and do not have any protection from public disclosure in the first place. These meetings are supposed to be documented and details made available to the public. But it is a running joke within these secretive discussions that, ‘If you don't want the public to know about it, then just don't make a record of it.' If a board or council were to be elected who didn't believe in executive session meetings, there is nothing that requires them to meet in secret. Open government is the best government. Are our officials ashamed of the discussions or the decisions they make in secret? Although they have to ‘come out and vote in public' these meetings obviously give our elected officials an opportunity to hide their ulterior motives in some of these issues. Why can't Covington and Newton County break the mold and become a true open government? We would all benefit from such action."---- ——---- "This is in response to the letter about the school open house being on a Wednesday night. I don't know who it was that scheduled it but it would be a safe bet that they are not Christian. I figure they are probably a distant relative of the ones that had Bibles and prayer removed from the schools. It would probably be safe to say that there may be a distant relative that is working for the ACLU, who by the way still hasn't figured out what separation of church and state is. This country was founded on the Word of God and ever since someone complained that they were upset because of something that pertained to God was said, it has been going down hill. I can't wait for Judgment Day to get here so I can watch them squirm."---- ——---- "To, the lady who wanted NCSS open house changed from Wednesday night because she attends church on Wednesday night as others do. I suggest we have open house on Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Since most people are in church on Wednesday. I'm just asking."---- ——---- "In response to the National Association of Realtors e-mail rumor erroneously reported in the Poll on August 6th: The truth is that only a tiny percentage of home sellers will pay the tax. First of all, only those with incomes over $200,000 a year ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly) will be subject to it. And even for those who have such high incomes, the tax still won't apply to the first $250,000 on profits from the sale of a personal residence — or to the first $500,000 in the case of a married couple selling their home. This tax falls on ‘net gain attributable to the disposition of property. That would include the sale of a home. But the bill also says the tax falls only on that portion of any gain that is ‘taken into account in computing taxable income' under the existing tax code. And the fact is, the first $250,000 in profit on the sale of a primary residence (or $500,000 in the case of a married couple) is excluded from taxable income already. (That exclusion doesn't apply to vacation homes or rental properties.) Some home sales would see a tax increase under this bill, but it would have to be a second home or a principal residence generating (a gain of) more than $250,000 ($500,000 for a couple). So there you have it. ... Please voters! Be responsible! Don't believe and disseminate false information. If you believe anything from the likes of Boortz, Limbaugh, Beck, and FOX News you are simply confirming what you want to believe. These people are making big salaries to pass on what large corporations want you to believe. A quote from a 20th century dictator — ‘Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.' — Benito Mussolini. Don't be lazy! Check & verify! Email rumors never list legitimate sources for the alleged information and that should be your first clue. There are too many sources for the above information to list here, but one is the Joint Committee on Taxation. Technical Explanation of the Revenue Provisions of the ‘Reconciliation Act of 2010,' As Amended, In Combination with the ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.' 21 Mar 2010. Other easy sources for anyone to check is Factcheck.org; politifact.com and snopes.com."---- ——---- "Last week you ran a comment from an uniformed person about a new 3.8 percent real estate sales tax hidden in the Obamacare bill saying it would add $3,800 to the cost of a $100,000 home. Not so! The bill includes a change in the capital gains tax but it is not a sales tax. An example would be if a couple bought a home for $400,000 and sold it for a million. The gain would be $600,000. There is an exemption on gains for a couple filing jointly of a half million dollars. So they would have to pay an additional 3.8 percent on the gain of $100,000. ($600,000 gain less the $500,000 exemption.) Ignorant comments like this one just stir folks up for no good reason."---- ——---- "This is Chop, I read this week's poll and someone mentioned they loved reading the Chop, although the Chop sounds like an addict. I will have you know that I happen to drink in moderation — 12-pack a night, just joshing you. Seriously folks, I have compiled a little list of things the Chop is addicted to. Things the Chop is addicted to; hot wings extra wet get in my belly, being awesome, the movie ‘Talladega Nights,' midget wrestling, driving fast, the old kung fu movies, you know the ones where the barely 5-foot-tall Asian man jumps onto the three story buildings, and the movement of the lips don't match the words, haunted houses, scary movies, snow ball fights, fireworks, ice cream and last, but certainly not least, wearing socks with my flip flops. Remember if you ain't first you are last. Wait, I almost forgot one, Frank's red hot sauce on my pizza."---- ——---- "I am disgusted by the constant negativity and the derogatory depiction of Barrack Obama in the Mallard Fillmore cartoons. I'm sure others are, too. If you're paying to have this no-sayer in your paper, save your money. Or, add someone with analysis and insight into today's problem for a change."---- ——---- "My family has lived on Conyers Street in Covington for over 30 years. We want to sincerely thank the retired police officer living on Jackson Lake for his Aug. 6 comments on the Covington Police Department. Over the years we have grown to view the police department as no more than a pain in the neck. Numerous times we have items stolen from our property along with property damage. We would call them, and they would come and look and leave, and that would be the last you would ever hear from them. They routinely block our street for every possible type of events, and we can't even get out of our driveway. We also want to thank our local merchants for their ‘street blocking' complaints. Perhaps the election of a new mayor and city council in November would put the control of the city back in the hands of those who live here and work here instead of a bunch of outsiders who hire our police to yell at us."---- ——---- "I would like to thank the person that wrote in the Citizen Poll about Florida making it mandatory for welfare recipients to pass a drug test. The Florida governor signed this bill into law on July 1. I have contacted both my representative and senator to see if Georgia can do the same. I got an answer from the representative and senator to see if Georgia can do the same. I got an answer from the representative saying they (the Republicans) couldn't get out of committee or something. Come on, don't the Republicans have a majority in both the house and senate? Get it out of committee!! I have to pass a drug test to work to pay for welfare, the recipients should have to pass one to draw it."---- ——---- "It's interesting to read about the Assistant Principal who got RIF'd. There are many more out there, both in ADM and teaching, who qualify due to lack of effort, absenteeism et al; yet there are well qualified teachers at home waiting on a phone call. I would think in these dire straits with education, we want the BEST people out there as our teachers and leaders. But I guess I think incorrectly."---- ——---- "Ah, the antics of Covington City Council. Although it's a never ending saga of inept and uneducated elected officials making ridiculous decisions, a new incident requires comment. Led by Keith Dalton and Chris Smith the City Council decided to change the sign ordinances for the City of Covington with absolutely no input from the citizens of Covington, without any input from the professional planning staff, and without any input from the city attorney. I guess these two guys, neither of whom has darkened the halls of any university to learn their zoning skills, just figured they could throw something together ... they so convoluted the zoning ordinances so that almost any sign, banner, balloons, or giant apes on the tops of buildings was permissible. Welcome to urban blight, welcome to a continued falling tax base, and welcome to losing what's left of our beautiful community. Fortunately, citizens complained and the Council has agreed to take another look. After the Council decided to reconsider, Chris Smith went on the record to protest that "no one had complained before." I thought that Chris Smith was elected to do what was best for the City of Covington, not what was best for his friends until he got caught. It's truly a sad state of affairs at the City Council and not likely to get any better."---- ——---- So, when will parents be able to drop off their children on time and not be late for work themselves? Street considerations should have been one of the first things addressed before building Flint Hill in such an out-of-the-way location. It will be interesting to see how traffic flows at the new high school on Crowell Road."