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Newton Poll - 02-05-11

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.

"As it was with the Rockdale Citizen Poll for Jan. 29 so it seems to be with your poll for Jan. 29, a repeat of Jan. 22. Maybe enough people in either county can find enough to gripe about this week; so the editors had an easy time of it!"

Editor's note: There was an error in posting the Citizen Poll online ... the correct polls are now posted.

That poll piece 1/29/11 talking about one on 1/22/11 sounds like some banker who got rich on those no-doc loans that flushed the rest of us down the economic hole. A dead giveaway came when he said SPLOST was no tax. Starts off calling us wrong for calling out Doug Holt for calling in the county to clear out his driveway. Claims this was OK to get Doug to Atlanta ... . Writer says he might leave Newton to get away from us negative people. Goodbye and good riddance. Chews out Ms. Morgan for being late with a county commissioners project list when commissioners couldn't agree on one until Mort Ewing stepped up with those plates of pork for Mort, J.C. Henderson and Tim Fleming. Writer claims you got to put in the pork to get it passed. Says Mort's ag center is not planned for Mort's district. Must have forgot that plans change. As for folks coming here buying Big Macs and paying for the center, don't kid us! What reads like a banker's no-doc comes where he says he is certain that information that SPLOST is not a tax increase but an extension will come out. That will show it is a deficit reducer and this gives him hope 'people will relate to it in an intelligent manner.' Seems sort of ignorant to say that when SPLOST stands for Special Purpose Local Option Sales TAX. Truth is, let enough people show up to vote against it March 15, and the sales tax goes down in Newton County for everybody but the big banks and other corporations that pay little or nothing anyway thanks to exemptions, write-offs, credits and moratoriums."

"To the person that stated numerous times about how they get all their 'facts' from Wikipedia -- really? I mean really? Have you ever even researched the site that you're getting your information from?"

"To the commenter on the proposed SPLOST tax and other issues, I offer the following. 1. You commented that the proposed SPLOST tax is not an increase but rather an extension. If it is not extended, then the people of Newton County end up with more money in their pockets. That ain't bad in these days and times. 2. Relative to the 'revenue' producing proposed Ag center you refer to. Anyone can produce 'revenue' -- all you need to do is sell something, collect the money and ship it. That equals revenue. The real trick is to make a profit, (after all expenses) and return that back to the investors (i.e. taxpayer). A more meaningful bit of information and question is what is the expected return on investment and assets and over what period of time?"

"No, I'm not jealous of anyone getting their driveway cleaned by the taxpayers money, but they did get 'busted.' I wonder exactly how much money was repaid? I cleaned my own driveway with a shovel; I'm retired and enjoy the physical exercise. I think the people of Newton County feel Newton County is being run by relatives of the Emperor Nero -- you know the guy that played his fiddle while Rome was burning."

"This comment is in regards to last week's poster concerning the special ed training held at Turner Lake -- if that person had investigated further, before speaking their mind, they would have seen that the majority of these cars did not belong to special Ed teachers, but rather to administrators (i.e., principals, assistant principals, or directors from the BOE). And, as for posting their pay scale, you are more than welcome at any time to view this pay scale on the Newton County School System Web site -- all pay scales are posted on this site for public viewing, for both certified and classified employees! I work in the school system, and I can promise you, that my car is currently 12 years old -- it is definitely not a luxury car, but it is paid for! Thank you for your concern!"

As I sit here typing away I am thinking, wouldn't it be nice if the politicians in Washington would start working toward getting this country back on track? All I am reading and seeing on TV is how the Republicans are going to defeat the Obamacare and in the next two years how are they going to defeat Obama. It is very sad that those who are now our representatives are not working for the people but for themselves. I realize that the general public has a tendency to believe what their representative tells them when their representative is up for election, but after the election all this goes away. I do believe there are some good politicians out there but the media only highlights the bad ones. As the cities and states struggle to maintain themselves (which of course they brought most of the problems on themselves) the first thing they think about is to cut education, cut police forces cut fire department personnel and all of the services people depend on. I know, we are very bad about wanting so many services, but when tax time comes we say no new taxes. Of course, as we watch how the powers that be spend the money, (fishing ponds, property next to their property, money to renovate a gym, pork to hopefully get reelected the next time) I am sure the few people this money will benefit will vote for them, but we forget. We had a governor who promised the moon but nobody even got a glimpse of it. But the people voted him in again. ... "

"More late mail! This must be a new record for slow delivery. Business envelope postmarked 12/07/2010 and forwarded locally arrived 1/29/11. It took 54 days to arrive in our mailbox. Great job Post Office!"

"By the way, the chairwoman is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the county government -- that includes the Web site. I did not vote for Mr. Sims but I will give him a chance. By the way, is Pork Chop Mort's 'alias?'"

"I wanted to comment on the JV wrestling coach at Alcovy High school. I attended a few wrestling matches and its the same thing over and over, the kids wrestle their hearts out and if they lose the coach just walks away, doesn't give them any support or even cheer them on during the match like the other coaches. Coach, you signed on to be a coach not sit in a chair with your hands on your head. If your guys get a bad call you speak up.... "

"For the past week, the front page headlines in our local newspapers: 'NCSS must make deep budget cuts.' I work for the Transportation Department and will probably lose my job due to these cuts. For the last couple of weeks, I noticed a new face in the department. After a few inquires, I was told that this person is a consultant to help identify areas that could be cut. I'm sure this individual receives a tidy sum for his services. I would like for someone to explain to me why a consultant is needed when a lot of cuts are so blatantly obvious! As of January 2011, all transportation employees are paying 100 percent for insurance. Are we the only group working for the county this applies to? A new superintendent was hired with a salary higher that the outgoing one. We have a BOE that also receives a salary. This does not include personnel at the Transportation Department that sees first hand daily operations. Are these individuals not capable of making these important decisions? As the paper stated, the groups affected most by these cuts are paid the least: this includes bus drivers/monitors, custodians, and food service employees. Newton County already has an unemployment rate over 10 percent. Does it make sense for all county employees to take a 10 percent pay cut for others to keep their already low-paying jobs or would this be asking too much?"

"This is about the county grass cutting contract. If my memory serves me right two or three years ago this contract was put up for bid. I don't remember the name of the other company ... but I do remember they were $25,000 to $30,000 per year lower than Durden and the prices were guaranteed for four or five years. However, Durden got the contract regardless. The way I understand the way things were done this time, the contract was not even put up for bid and it was awarded to Durden again. I am a taxpayer concerned about how the county is spending our tax dollars in these difficult times. It seems like the good old boy system still works in Newton County. I think someone should really look in to this and see what is going on."

"I beg of our county officials to think about this SPLOST vote. We are in a recession, and people are out of work and a lot of people are losing their homes. I look over the SPLOST list and I see nothing that we absolutely need during this hard economic times that we are in. The people are learning to do without and our government needs to cut back on spending. We need to concentrate on safety and the courts. I urge all voters to vote 'no' on the SPLOST coming up in March."

"Regarding the 118 acres recently purchased by the Newton County School System. I would like to get a little more information about the monetary details. As I understand it Burnt Pine Partners LLC acquired the property from J.D. Wyatt Farms in 1998 and what did they pay for it? They sold it this October 2010 to First State Bank, Northwest, Ark.,, and what did the bank pay for it? Then the bank sold it shortly after that to Newton County System for $2,276,600. If you could supply these details I would be very interested."

"Nancy Schulz seems to be the only commissioner who 'gets it.' We are in the throes of a severe economic downturn, ie depression, but our Board of Commissioners wants to do 'business as usual.' Most households are cutting back and trying to economize wherever possible. However, this group of commissioners continues on spending, not in the least bit interested in seeing if they can get a better price. Of course, needed services and commodities should be let out for bid; that is the system. If it is to much effort for the commissioners, why did they run for the job? I hope the citizens will remember these inactions when it comes time for reelection."

"I was calling about Michael Vick. People are so concerned about him getting a second chance. I think he got a second chance cause he wasn't put in the pokey about the dope situation down in Miami in the bottle. There too I don't think him and his dog killing thing was a mistake, a mistake a spur of the moment thing. When you go to the trouble of building dog houses and buying up all these dogs and killing them if they don't perform, that is not a mistake, that is a way of life. I think everything he has done he has done for Michael Vick and nobody else. As far as him endorsing products, if I wanted the product I would get it, but I wouldn't get it and pay him any attention."

"I agree with last week's comment that there are thousands of people who use the recycling centers. I do use a private service to pick up my household garbage, but they do not pick up my larger items that I have on occasion. That is why I try to use the recycling center. I have tried to use another center but when I drive to it the bins are also full. If you or someone else are willing to give me gas money then I will drive around the county trying to find a center that is not full. As a taxpayer I feel that the commissioners should see what is going on and make sure the bins are empty on a regular basis."

"There was a post regarding special education teachers on 1-24-11. I am not sure why someone would say what they said without knowing the facts. Several teachers are married and have a spouse that makes more money than the average teacher salary. Teacher salaries are available to view online. If teachers decide to purchase expensive cars, I really do not see what a car has to do with education. If it was not for a teacher I am not sure where anyone would be. The county has a lot of special education teachers and triple regular education teachers. There are several elementary, middle, and high schools in the county. Do the math! The Board of Education has little offices inside of little offices. There is no way the entire Newton County special education department would fit at the BOE. To end my comment I will leave the couple that was walking at Turner Lake this quote, 'I truly believe that the only disability out there is attitude.' Hope you found something better to blog about."

"In this time of economic challenges in Newton County and city of Covington, it pains me to see county and city workers losing their jobs due to budget cuts. We should be looking for any and every way to save each dollar in all areas. The waste of county and city money is very evident. As you drive through the county and city, just open your eyes and look around. Reporting of these wastes are the only way to get anything done about them. Folks, let's use this and other forums to begin to communicate our dissatisfaction with this waste of our tax dollars. Remember county and city employees, the citizens pay your salary and hold you accountable for your waste of our dollars. I will present the first waste example. Today as I drove through a local fast food restaurant to get my morning biscuit and coffee, I observed three sheriff's deputies inside eating their breakfast. No problem, they get breaks just as I do. The problem that I saw was that their cars were in the parking lot with the engines running during their trip inside to sit down and eat. The Newton County Sheriff's Office Web page states that there are over 65 patrol deputies. If every deputy left their motor running for each meal that they eat while on duty over a month, this could add up to a huge amount of money just wasted in gasoline alone, not to mention wear and tear on the vehicle. This doesn't include the vehicles owned by the city of Covington Police Department. Over a year, could these dollars perhaps save a job? Maybe not totally, but these dollars combined with other waste around the county sure could. Please submit to this forum the waste of our tax dollars that you notice. Let's hold these people accountable for our money."

"Hello, Poll, this is Chickwing. This Citizen says we got 2,500 handicap and cripple kids in our county. They need a park to play in like everybody else. Put me down as much for that as the next one. But that Tamara woman working for this Miracle Field had ought to told us why we going to put it out there on City Pond that runs water in the water plant over on Elm Street in Covington. Smart folks just don't crowd up stuff around reservoirs and drink whatever runs out. They keeps them clean and clear. Tommy Hailey's gotta know he can tuck this Miracle Field in out there on the Stone Street Park. Then this Miracle Field will cost more than a couple of million of that SPLOST tax. The folks out of work are going to pay that out at the grocery store when that Legislature gets through working over taxes. Chickwing wants to know what's the rush until times gets better."

"On Tuesday night (2-1-11) I was watching a cable news show where Mayor Bloomberg of New York City was being interviewed. He was explaining the harm that illegal and stolen guns had done to his city and what great lengths he had gone to in combating the problem. He explained how these illegal guns were used in drug and other crimes. He called I-95 the iron road, and he had sent his detectives all over the U.S. to prosecute illegal gun sales. Here in Newton County we have recently had over 50 guns stolen either by burglary or robbery. The burglary was in Covington, and the robbers headed for Covington with their stolen guns. Why is the mayor of N.Y. regularly in the news media fighting this type of crime and trying to protect his citizens while the mayor of Covington remains silent? We have seen no response from her whatsoever. She seems to be oblivious to the dangers involved. The citizens of Covington need to remember this in the November city elections."

"Congratulations to NHS and surrounding schools' players who signed Feb. 2. Did Eastside High have any player to sign? What is going on there? A playoff team and no one sign on signing day. Is it just about having a winning seasons and not the players who put in the hard work."

"Looks like the BOC is starting off the New Year wasting taxpayer dollars as in the past. At the Jan. 4th meeting Mr. Ewing made the motion to extend the lawn maintenance contract for another five years. This is the contract voted in five years ago ... , which cost the taxpayers over $200,000 above what the county should have paid if they had gone with the other lawn company. That's right, Mort, I did some research this week and found out 'you' paid Durden Landscape $594,597.30 from 2006-2010 to cut grass. I also found the bid from the other lawn company, and we would have paid them $392,500 for the same service. That's right BOC, a difference of $202,097.30. The county is cutting jobs and employees are taking 15 furlough days a year without pay. I think four commissioners who voted for this need to take 15 days without pay to think about their actions, not only on this contract but all issues they vote on. Oh, if they cancel Durden's contract he get's two months severance pay, approximately $20, 000 -- way to go Mort!"

"My wife and I walk at Turner Lake on a routine basis also and we do drive a clunker but we did not write nor do we agree with the Citizen Poll article of Jan. 29 regarding the special education teachers meeting at Turner Lake and filling the parking lot with high end vehicles. We think the teachers in the NCSS and the law enforcement people do a wonderful job and deserve all the wages they receive and then some. If they have the means to drive nice vehicles that is their business and more power to them."

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."

"The SPLOST early voter turn out is low? Could it be it is always low because it is standing by itself and that's how the BOC wants it? It is the only way that it could pass because the people don't think there is a vote. Maybe a law should be passed to have these votes only in November on even years. Let's say the first Tuesday after the first Monday. I would encourage everyone to vote whether you are for it or against. It is the only way the right thing will happen. One more thing -- the last SPLOST did bring us a state-of-art civic center -- it's right behind the new administration building. Drive by, go in and look around and see what a SPLOST can do. Go vote for or against the SPLOST because I will and do you really want the Village Idiot to be the one that cast the winning vote ... "

"Just reviewed the SPLOST list on the county Web site. Out of $57.6 million of spending I only see about $16.8 million worth doing. The rest I think we can do without in a down economy. Why don't explain what transportation projects they are funding. Have not made up my mind, but until the transportation spending is explained by the BOC I will hold my vote."

"My wife and I walk at Turner Lake on a routine basis also and we do drive a clunker but we did not write nor do we agree with the Citizen Poll article of Jan. 29 regarding the special education teachers meeting at Turner Lake and filling the parking lot with high end vehicles. We think the teachers in the NCSS and the law enforcement people do a wonderful job and deserve all the wages they receive and then some. If they have the means to drive nice vehicles that is their business and more power to them."

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."

"The SPLOST early voter turn out is low? Could it be it is always low because it is standing by itself and that's how the BOC wants it? It is the only way that it could pass because the people don't think there is a vote. Maybe a law should be passed to have these votes only in November on even years. Let's say the first Tuesday after the first Monday. I would encourage everyone to vote whether you are for it or against. It is the only way the right thing will happen. One more thing -- the last SPLOST did bring us a state-of-art civic center -- it's right behind the new administration building. Drive by, go in and look around and see what a SPLOST can do. Go vote for or against the SPLOST because I will and do you really want the Village Idiot to be the one that cast the winning vote ... "

"Just reviewed the SPLOST list on the county Web site. Out of $57.6 million of spending I only see about $16.8 million worth doing. The rest I think we can do without in a down economy. Why don't explain what transportation projects they are funding. Have not made up my mind, but until the transportation spending is explained by the BOC I will hold my vote."