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Newton Poll - 03-12-11

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.

"Before deciding whether HOPE scholarships should require an A or B or C average, our Georgia legislators should sit in on a college science or engineering course. I doubt any of them would pass an advanced math for engineers, or organic chemistry, nuclear physics, etc. course. Does anyone know how many students drop out of science majors so they can keep their scholarship? Are we trying to increase the number of English and history majors? It seems so when we put up an arbitrary GPA number such as 3.0 or 3.5 to keep a HOPE scholarship. My suggestion would be that the science and engineering departments at our Georgia colleges set the HOPE GPA for their schools, and, that this GPA may change with the students course load and from freshman to senior year. Politicians have no clue how to measure scientific achievements -- they should focus on cutting out lottery bonuses and increasing the education budgets. The USA's future lies in creating a scientific super power to feed our economy. We can't do this with states cutting education money willy-nilly."

"Vote No! on SPLOST. The bad, ridiculous outweighs the good by a long shot."

"The reason why the sheriff's budget went over ... Hmmm maybe he put a large number of people in the jail. Because we have had a spike in crime. Guess what the county by law has to house them, feed them, pay for the toilet paper and medical care. Need a root canal -- get arrested. Have cancer -- don't worry go to the county jail and get treatment... We can let the jailbirds out, shut down the sheriff department and let Newton County go the way of Afghanistan. Get real. If the sheriff didn't lock up the criminals we would raise Cain, and he does a good job you complain. I did not vote for Ezell because he was a Democrat. Next time I will vote for him because he is doing a good job."

"I keep hearing that 'if' we vote in SPLOST then our taxes will not increase. How is that possible? SPLOST funds come from sales within the county and Newton County has run off every good retail, food, and entertainment establishment. Instead, we should vote on a SPLOST for Rockdale since that is where everyone goes to spend their money."

"Why does everyone want a hand-out? What happened to hard work and paying for what you need? At the pharmacy, a woman ahead of me was complaining about having to pay $2.50 total for five medications because 'Medicaid' should cover that. Friends who chose to have five children want free health care, free education, and free after school care for their children. Renters are refusing to pay rent and leaving homeowners no choice but to evict them (no money in means no paying the bills). What has our society come to?"

"It seems that every town, county, school board, etc. in this nation has overspent and borrowed beyond their means and now expects us to bail them out. (Yes, I said 'us' since we are the ones who fund the government). Why not be proactive and look at what your income is and then design a budget from the ground up based on that? If my income goes down, I reassess my needs. Your income has gone down -- so reassess your needs, not just your wants."

"In our current financial crisis it would be nice to see our local governments hire the most professional employees possible. Recently in Covington I saw a police officer in one of the shopping centers whose appearance surprised me. Both of his arms were covered with tattoos (sleeves) from his wrist to above his elbow. I thought that most police departments operated with policies about the appearance of the officers. Not that I am against anyone getting a tattoo, but I feel that our police officers and sheriff's deputies should appear as professional as possible. In my opinion one or two tattoos would be OK if they were appropriate. It surprised me because I always heard that Covington was a nationally recognized police department."

"'The American system of democracy will prevail until that moment when the politicians discover that they can bribe the electorate with their own money.' -- Alex de Tocqueville. That has happened during the Obama/Pelosi tenure and is certainly happening now in Newton County. Vote no on SPLOST 2011."

"This is the Chop here, wanted to comment on the SPLOST issue. The wonderful board we have is threatening to raise our taxes if we don't vote yes on the SPLOST. Well listen up Chairwoman Morgan and your posse, the constituents will not vote yes for your pet projects, and threats will not work. The SPLOST list is $4 million for E.R. expansion, for what? The E.R. we have now diverts everything to Atlanta unless you have a common cold. So what is the dire need for expansion? Then we have Mort's agriculture center at the cost of $1.1 million, $1 million for fire station they don't have the people to staff the stations they have now. So how in the world will they staff this new station, will the SPLOST include salaries for new personnel? ... "

"Once again people who were not very successful in running their own business in the private sector are now running our county business. No wonder the only way they can solve problems is to threaten to lay off police and firemen and raise property taxes to get voters scared so they vote in another tax to spend the money on projects we do not need in a recession. But won't that picture look good in the paper when they open up another playground replacing the last one we paid for that was destroyed by unappreciative children and parents. How about a picture in front of the old jail after wasting millions on something very few people will ever go see."

"The Constitution of Georgia requires county commissions to perform certain tasks. Georgia law requires county commissions to perform a number of other tasks. Once these required tasks are met, county commissions may provide services above and beyond those mandated services, when funds allow. We are deep within a multi-year recession and every one of us has family or friends that have been severely economically impacted. Money is tight and we have cut spending on luxuries and focused only on 'the necessities.' Family and friends need all the dollars we can spare to help them through these rough times. We are praying, but there is no immediate relief in sight. How does your Newton County Commission respond? Three of our county commissioners, Mort Ewing, Tim Fleming, and J.C. Henderson formed their own commissioners' 'cartel' and entered into sub-public agreements on how to load the proposed Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) with their pork projects. These pork projects are not necessities by law, but dictated by their pork political fat cat friends. These PORK projects include Commissioner Mort Ewing's Agricultural 'Pork' Center. Mort's pork-o-rama is not required by the Georgia Constitution or by Georgia Law, or by the voters, but by something more important to Mort, by Mort's fat cat friends. This project is so well thought out that Mort Ewing has not bothered to include a business plan, a business proposal, nor even a blueprint. Mort is so smooth, he knows that he can get passed a $1.2 million building project without even presenting a sketch for public approval. Plans, smamas .... It's Mort you're talking to. Leave the details to Mort. You are not smart enough to understand."

"Have you ever been bullied? As a child or as an adult, at school, or even at work, if you have, I bet you have never been able to forget it. Bullying is widespread and maybe the most under-reported safety problem on American school campuses. When my grandchild's very life was threatened just a couple of weeks ago, our school system did not appear to be very well prepared to handle the situation. How many of our children have to be threatening and terrorized before our schools will do something about this? Why can't this newspaper report on this problem? How does Newton County school's level of bullying compare with that of other schools? How does our schools identify bullies? Are records kept? Are they adequate? Are school counselors in the loop? I hope your children or grandchildren will never have to suffer as my grandchild did. Please consider investigating and reporting on bullying in our schools. Thank you."

"In follow-up to last week's comment about the help a friend job at the county maintenance shop, rumor has it that there's an extra county vehicle parked in the lot at night."

"I will be voting no for SPLOST because it is structured like those bills that come out of Washington. In order for it to pass, the voters have to vote for everything in it even if they disagree with parts. That's called 'pork.' For instance, parks in subdivisions. Wasn't Mr. Henderson behind that idea? He doesn't say in what subdivisions these parks would be in or how many. Since when do subdivisions need their own parks? The Agricultural Center ... in light of the financial condition we are all experiencing, couldn't this idea be put off for another time? Is it really a necessity right now? My all-time favorite in the SPLOST 'pork' is the Historic Jail. The BOC wants to budget $1.2 million for refurbishing it. The fire department would receive $1.1 million. Yes, you read this correctly. Now, I don't know about the rest of the citizens in Newton County, but I would rather the fire department have the equipment and personnel necessary in case they have to come to my house, or yours, instead of fixing up an old jail. I would venture to say that most citizens in this county have no idea where this is. Perhaps that $1.2 million could be used toward the cost of the ER expansion at Newton Medical. I commend the Citizen for publishing articles detailing the various projects. However, in my opinion, it would have been better to have those articles a few months ago before early voting started."

"Thank you to all that turned out for the first meeting of Citizens for the Creation of the City of Pace. We will have a follow-up meeting and the public will be invited. Again thanks to the 84 that turned out to help us win our freedom from the BOC. For those interested in joining the city of Pace group their e-mail is cityofpace@ymail.com Facebook page will be set up soon."

"As I sit and watch the things Democrats say and do on TV, I wonder if there is a stupid test you have to take to become a member of that party."

"Fellow non-union retirees, we need to wake up! This president and his administration do not care what happens to us or the elderly. Remember how long it took them to finally pass and sign off on extending the Bush tax cuts? I found out why, when my February pension payment was received. In January, I noticed a slight decrease in the amount of federal withholding. I assumed the extended tax cuts were the reason. Was I in for a shock! My February withholding was over two times what it had been since the original cuts went into effect. When I called my GM Benefit Center, I was told the recently extended cuts did not apply to non-union retirees. How ludicrous is that! I retired from GMAC, the only non-union company affiliated with GM. Obama is obligated to pay back the unions that helped him get elected, so they will be there for him in 2012. Why wasn't the public advised of this exemption? Obama and his transparency -- what a joke! Unions will also be given an exemption from the Obamacare fines. I also love the fact that Obama and his administration did not feel Social Security recipients needed a cost of living Increase for the second year in a row. Duh! Have they been to a grocery store or gas station recently? Of course not, they are not living on a fixed income as so many receiving only Social Security are. 2012 is not that far away. True Americans who believe in God and our Constitution need to make sure Obama and his cronies do not get reelected. Prayer is the key. We must peacefully take back our country ... "

"I would like to ask folks to please vote no on the SPLOST election. Those who oppose voting for the SPLOST don't have the money to buy full page ads in the papers or to put up signs all over the county, especially some of the large ones you have seen, but we want you to know there are those of us there that feel this is a bad idea at this time. There are some good projects such as the fire station in North Newton county and some others, but right now the financials are not good in the county and a lot of us are not doing well and some of us don't have jobs. The SPLOST includes some things we need to think about that are not a good idea. One of them is the SPLOST includes money to reduce debt. That sounds good but watch out -- the debt it would pay off is now being paid as part of the regular general fund budget and has been for some time. If this debt is moved over to SPLOST it leaves general fund money that the commissioners can and will waste as they choose. Please vote no. We don't have the money to support a big campaign we just ask for your vote and your faith. Vote no."

Editor's Note: Debt for the administration building and jail pods has historically been paid by SPLOST proceeds. If SPLOST is not approved, debt service will have to paid from the general fund.

My comment today is I live near Crowell Road off Highway 81. Every day there are hundreds containerized trucks with Glover written on them. I know they are coming out of DeKalb or Fulton county and are going to our landfill. What kind of waste are they hauling? Is it chemical waste? Medical waste or what? There are several issues that are affected by all this extra traffic. Remember when Crowell Road was closed at Harold Dobbs Road when the road was caving in due to the traffic we already had. All this heavy traffic will surely destroy the patch job they did. Will all of these tractor trailers be going by our new high school that will be built on Crowell Road? Do we have enough traffic at Highway 81 and Crowell Road without all these trucks? Who made the decision to have all this waste brought into our landfill? How much money are we receiving from DeKalb or Fulton County? What are we doing with the extra money? Is that what we used to clear the state rep's driveway when it snowed? These comments are not from Pork Chop, Ham Bone, or Possum. These comments are from a concerned taxpaying citizen."

"I picked up the Newton Citizen on Friday, March 4, and I thought the black history month was over with and then I saw that they were going to celebrate the local black history. I was just thinking that I like Thai, but if I eat it 28 days and then if someone wants me to keep eating it, I believe I would be a little upset."

"I'm a regular reader of the Citizen and I enjoy it very much and I appreciate so much my carrier bringing it into my yard because I am not able to walk very far to pick it up. I especially enjoy the religion section on Saturdays, and I look forward to that. I also enjoy Darrell Huckaby columns during the week, and I agree with him wholeheartedly on the green card used in the grocery stores. I am older, in my 80s, lifetime resident of Newton County, and I applied for the green card and I was awarded a big $16 per month card. While recently in line at the grocery store, I saw a woman with two buggy loads loaded down with all kinds of meat in the market and also she paid for it with the green card. She went into the parking lot where she was putting her goodies in a practically new shiny big car. I guess my property taxes pay for her goodies while my children and grandchildren pay for my bread and milk. It is a great way things are handled in Newton County. Vote yes for SPLOST."

"Are city of Covington recycle pick up personnel in such a time schedule that they cannot pick up recyclables they drop and leave on yards and streets or is it just the employees? This does help to make for some of the trash on our city streets."

"This is about the comment of the person who claims to be a Christian talking about could they stop the alcohol sales on Sunday. If you are really a Christian you would know God himself does not like no drinking or alcohol sales on Sunday. Sunday is the Sabbath day and no it is not good to do it. I agree with the people. God bless them for stopping alcohol sales on Sunday. Heck you got six days a week that is five or six days too many. So think about it."