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Newton Poll - 02-12-11

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.

"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 turnout 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."

"Regarding the SPLOST. The facts are as follows: The chair of the county commission, Kathy Morgan, asked the commissioners to come to a work session with ideas for SPLOST items. Each item would then be discussed individually and a SPLOST list would be formed. That's the way it should have been done. The commissioners did not do that. Commissioner Ewing submitted a list and called for a vote. Commissioners Fleming and Henderson looked at the list for less than one minute and said they were ready to vote. There was no discussion. Those three commissioners (Ewing, Fleming and Henderson) who then voted for the SPLOST list each had a $1.1 million pet project for their districts. When questioned later all three commissioners claimed that there was no back room deal; Commissioners Fleming and Henderson further claimed to have never seen the list before but voted to approve it without any discussion and with a review of less than a minute. I'm sorry but if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck — it's a duck. And now we're asked to vote for this SPLOST. Our county has more than 12 percent unemployment and was recently rated as one of the top 20 distressed counties in the entire country. The proponents for the SPLOST claim that it's 97 percent things that we ‘must' have, that only 3 or 4 percent is pork and corruption. I, for one am not going to be bullied into voting for this SPLOST. If it fails, the county won't go bankrupt; a new SPLOST can be voted on in two years. We have simply got to send the message to our commissioners that corruption and wasteful spending is no longer going to be tolerated."

"Let me get this straight. We need industry to locate in Newton County. We need the jobs. Bridgestone Manufacturing made an accounting error and overpaid taxes to the city and county. The commissioners voted to not refund their money because ‘It's already been spent.' Is that correct? How in the world do our commissioners expect to attract any new industry with that kind of attitude?"

"I think we need to end the SPLOST and go to a HOST that would lower our tax on all our homes. Just like Rockdale County."

"To the person who commented on the Cadillacs and BMWs driven by teachers at Turner Lake Park, I say this: Do your homework! Did you stop and think for one minute that these teachers have spouses who work? Did you bother to research if these teachers have children to pay for? Of course you didn't! These teachers could be young, with working spouses and no children, living in apartments with little expenses, so they have the money to drive these nice cars. Besides, it's none of your business what they drive anyway!"

"To the recycle center complainer. I really don't think having someone drive around to make certain the bins are emptied in a timely fashion to meet your occasional needs is a real valid use of anyone's time and it would be ‘another' waste of county money (gas to drive around.) But if you really and truly need the ‘extra' gas money then here a few more suggestions that are in lieu of asking the people of Newton County to subsidize your added fuel expense. 1.) you might consider taking metal items to the metal recycling businesses on Washington Street. They will pay you money for it (scrap metal is going for a good price right now). 2.) Take the items on your way when you are doing other errands (you know, kill two birds with one stone approach). 3.) Or, as a last ditch measure, get a tin cup and make a sign on a piece of cardboard to support your special cause and stand at a busy intersection near you (you'll probably need to get a county permit to legally do that and have to find a time when the donut sellers are there.)"

"Banker … hardly. Gave me a good laugh, though. It is truly amazing how one twists things to suit their needs. Ms. Morgan was not chewed out, SPLOST was not referred to as not being a tax but rather, and I quote, ‘SPLOST is not a tax increase, but rather an extension,' did not call ‘you' wrong for ‘calling out' Doug Holt and for saying the ‘writer claims you have to put in the pork to get it passed' when, in fact, ‘the writer' said that one district has to get what the other one gets or the people in it think it is not fair. ‘District 20 gets everything and we get nothing so I am not voting for it.' — sound familiar? Oh and yes, I know we do not have a district 20. Anyone interested, check the Poll on 1/29/11 and see for yourself. Twisted and tied!"

"With almost 12 percent unemployment in Newton County can you please tell me why we continue to fund the Chamber of Commerce? Should we rename it the Chamber of No Commerce?"

"Why does the chairman of the Newton County Water Authority not live in Newton County — he lives on Bellevue Drive in Conyers - I would think that the person in charge of overseeing the county's water authority should at least live in the county — immediate removal would be in the best interest of the Newton County citizens or at the very least everyone should know that the person heading up their Water Authority doesn't even live in the county."

Editor's Note: The Director for the Newton County Water Authority Mike Hopkins does live in Newton County. The chairman, Jimmy French, also lives in Newton County.

"I unfortunately know the Alcovy JV wrestling coach and could not agree more with the critique... . This guy needs to stop selling the athletes of our wrestling program short. Wrestling is an extremely difficult sport and coaches who are not giving 100 percent are a liability to the athletes and could cause an injury if they do not pay attention and have a trusting relationship with the individuals that they coach. It makes me sick to my stomach to watch him sit there and not appear to care. I think I may have a wrestling move for him next time!"

"This is in response to the bus driver that might lose her job. I am sorry to hear that you might lose your job. You can blame the NCSS for that. If they would have listened to me, as I have written to them about the school buses before, here were the ways they could have save some money and not have to lay off all you people. 1. Do not let the drivers let their buses run for 30-60 minutes every morning to warm up. That wastes a lot of fuel. If they stopped this you might not be losing your job. Some bus drivers also let the buses warm up in the afternoon. This is also wasteful. 2. All buses should be parked in the bus lots. This way they could be watched and the fuel would not be wasted. 3. School buses only need to warm up for 10 minutes max."

"While the chairwoman had the county Public Works employees clean a politicians driveway, other streets in the county remain unclear even a week and two days after the storm. I know Ms. Morgan will say these are minor streets and not well traveled. But they were traveled by school buses and they still were more than 70 percent covered in ice. One street on the west side of the county was at least 50 percent ice-covered and it is a major cut-through for the buses going to Alcovy High on the first day of school after the storm. While the privileged get their driveway cleared, our children were put at risk. Shame on you, Ms. Morgan. Shame! Shame! Shame!"

"I would like to thank Mr. Steve Biggers for reopening the Newborn Opry House. I have always enjoyed going there to hear good music and singing. I just wished others went for the same reason, but they don't. They, however, go so they can talk on their cell phones and sit and visit with others. And, of course, they have to talk above the music and singing. This is such a distraction for others that are there to listen to the person singing. Wonder how it makes the singer feel, looking out and seeing these things going on? So lady with the bright blue coat, please stay home if you are not coming to enjoy the music and singing. You can talk on your cell at home and you can visit with people elsewhere. Let's show some respect to the ones that give their time to come out and perform."

"I have been depressed since my unemployment benefits ran out and I was going to have to go to social services for assistance, but I was pleasantly surprised about all the ‘freebies' I qualified for. I can get a voucher for Section 8 housing and, if my current landlord accepts Section 8, I won't even have to move. I can get a generous amount of food stamps, and if I run out before the end of the month, there are many agencies and churches that have food pantries and my children can even get free breakfast and lunch at school. I can get free health insurance and prescription meds. I can get assistance with my utilities. My children can also qualify for free school supplies and have school fees waived. My credit card debt can be drastically reduced and I can get free cell phone service. If I'm still on assistance when Christmas comes, my children will get free Christmas gifts from various agencies. So far I still haven't found anywhere to get free gasoline, but I'm still working on that one. If I do decide to take a low-paying job, I can get earned income credit to supplement my income. I'm thinking it might be nice to move near the beach so I can enjoy my free time. Life is good again: I'm so glad I live in America!"

"Why does the county have so much debt that we have to have a SPLOST to pay for it? It is time the people say stop spending and cut up the county's credit cards before the county goes bankrupt. Have we not learned anything in the past three years? Newton County has not got a clue. The people are scraping by cutting their personal budgets to survive. It is time to cut to the bone, not trim a little fat or buy more pork. If the county is in good enough shape that we can send crews to clean a driveway, we still have fat to cut. We cannot afford the employees that we have. Where is the money going to come from to staff these new buildings?"

"At Eastside it must be just about winning seasons because after no one signed on signing day — the head coach Rick Hurst has a meeting with all returning players that says if you (as a player) don't like it that no one at EHS was signed — then you can go ahead and quit. The rumor is that there are no scouts looking at Eastside anyway because of Hursts' attitude. Maybe somebody definitely needs to look into it on the school level, because his walk don't match his talk."

My response is for the commenter who on 02-05-11 defended school teachers who drove luxurious vehicles. If this person has a spouse who makes more money than they (the teacher) does, then that teacher should be the first on terminated under our current budget crisis. This was the policy of the Bibb Mfg. Co. and other industries during past recessions and depressions. This caller stated that "if it was not for a teacher I am not sure where anyone would be." In the quality of education and on achievement scores, the U.S. ranks near the bottom in the industrial world, Georgia is at the bottom in the U.S., and Newton County is always below the state average. How much lower can we get? This tells us where we are with the teachers we currently have. We couldn't be much worse off if all of our students were either home schooled or attended a private school. Both of these endeavors are growing by leaps and bounds. Instead of discussing ones "attitude" or "disabilities" this person should explore the definition of "self-centered" and be thankful that people who are less fortunate than they pay a large portion of their salary. They have a right to complain.

I cannot believe our county commissioners are going to keep the $108,419 that Bridgestone overpaid on their 2006-2007 property taxes. This is morally wrong to the extent of stealing. Bridgestone may have made a mistake. We all do. If it was the county commissioners money they sure would have wanted it refunded. No wonder we don't get more industry in Newton County. This type of business with county officials will not create any kind of good will at all. Then they ask us to vote for SPLOST with this kind of leadership. Please vote No.

I am disturbed that a low life neighbor turned in David Corley because of his chickens. This is apparently the "need" that keeps Mr. Corley alive. Either his neighbor was not aware of Mr. Corley's health problems, or they don't care. I hope the City Council will allow Mr. Corley to keep his chickens. I have had a couple of strokes and we all look for some form therapy to keep us going.