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Newton Citizen Poll for Aug. 3, 2013

“I’m calling in regards to the county always talking about covering your loads so nothing blows out on the roads. But the county needs to heed their own saying by making sure the county roll-offs have their loads covered right. On several occasions I have met or been behind a county roll-off and trash is blowing off the truck going down the road. I would like to know what the landfill management is doing to fix this problem. Or better yet, what is Chairman Ellis doing to have this problem fixed for our county and state roads won’t look so trashy.”

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“During the 2050 Plan meeting at Flint Hill Elementary School on Thursday, July 24th, we witnessed County Commissioner Nancy Schulz and county manager Tom Garrett laughing and smirking during the question and answer period. As concerned citizens asked questions or sought clarification on certain parts of the plan, Mrs. Schulz and Mr. Garrett looked disengaged from the proceedings. Is this what we want from our county officials who should be listening to Newton County residents and hearing their concerns and issues? Perhaps these county officials have already made up their minds on the 2050 Plan and do not value the voices of the people of Newton County. Concerned Citizen.”

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“It is obvious that Kay Lee, Hunter Hall, Randy Vinson and the other insiders at The Center have known for some time what the 2050 Plan entailed and yet acquiesced, letting it go forward as drafted, apparently hoping it might pass inspection. This indicated at least their tacit approval and their mindset, and their lack of (1) common sense and (2) regard for property rights. And they have engaged the services of like-minded consultants. Are these the people we want to rely on to prepare a plan that will materially affect our lives and our livelihoods for the next 36 years? I don’t think so. In fact, I am having serious doubts about the entire process. This is an attempt to look into a future we cannot see. It is an attempt to deal with problems that have not yet arisen. It is an attempt to control the actions of future elected officials whose job it will be to deal with the problems as they arise. It indicates a lack of confidence in those officials and in the majority of the people who will elect those officials every four years, to make decisions in real time that will be best for the entire county. Are we on a fool’s errand? I am afraid so.”

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“It is good to see that the two school board members that voted to not promote or hire Ms. Fuhrey voted to extend her contract. Hopefully Mr. Johnson has decided to become a constructive member of the school board rather than an impediment to the improvement of our school system. I see where a Carpenter crony has time during ‘Leadership’ meetings to complain about being overworked and bored at the same time. It is obvious that you are not cut out for your current job. If you can find another job somewhere else, please take it. From the poor quality of your post, I am amazed that you graduated from college must less have a management job.”

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“Why trade Good Friday for day after Christmas? If we have to trade any days, trade MLK for that day. Good Friday is a religious date that prepares us for Easter.”

Editor’s Note: The Board of Commissioners voted to give county employees both the day after Christmas and Good Friday as paid holidays.

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“Tell me that the 2050 crowd did not say at Flint Hill that the Silos was a good example of neighborhoods that should be built in Newton County. I guess they are not from around here.”

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“Let see, take one and a half hours to talk about how great the 2050 Plan is and then take a question and not answer it with another 15-minute filibuster. Poor meeting, Hunter. The Chamber and The Center need a new format … Mr. Ellis, please take over the meetings.”

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“Georgia has 159 counties. Residents of all 159 counties may initiate amendments to (or veto referendums against) local ordinances, resolutions and regulations. They may also amend or repeal the local laws governing the county at the state level. Can you say bye-bye, 2050 Plan?”

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“Listen up folks, especially you public officials. Here is the skinny on the 2050 Plan. To enjoy a pastoral scene overlooking land owned by someone else is not a right. And to require the owner of that land to maintain that scene for you to enjoy, the controlling authority must show that it is necessary for the health, safety or welfare of the public. So it is very unlikely that the broad-brushed approach to land use regulations as proposed by the 2050 Plan could meet that test. For the same reason, the blanket 2-acre lot minimum now imposed on the entire eastern side of the county will likely fail when it is challenged. The key to all of this is property rights, which are protected by our Constitution and are not to be trampled on by overly zealous environmentalists or politicians. Yes, we all want clean water, but this plan is overkill. With the usual residential development, reasonable buffers along the streams and around bodies of water are adequate to protect our water sources. And yes, we all want a good ‘quality of life,’ which is relative, but whatever your quality of life, you are not entitled to it at the mandated expense or sacrifice of someone else.”

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“It is about time we learned more about The Center, where the 2050 Plan was hatched and has been incubating for the past several years. Who started it? What is its organizational structure? Who owns the building it occupies, and what do we pay in rent? Who hired Kay Lee, what are her duties, to whom is she accountable, and what is her compensation? How much taxpayer funds go to it each year, from the city, the county, and the Chamber of Commerce? Since it receives public funds, who audits its books? Who was it who began arbitrarily drawing boundaries on our county map and deciding what could and could not be done within those boundaries? Was that Kay Lee, or Randy Vinson and his college kids from the University of Georgia, or someone else? Who selected the ‘experts’ and consultants who prepared the 2050 Plan, what were they paid, and where did the funds come from?And how is it that, out of all of the land in the county, the only land exempt from the plan is that owned by Mount Pleasant, LLC in the northeastern corner? These are questions the public has a right to have answered, and I hope the Citizen will do some investigative reporting and publish its findings.”

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“No more county funds to the Chamber until Hunter is gone.”

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“Talk at the BOE — is it true James Woodard is the next to say bye to NCSS? That is the buzz from the busy BOE parking lot this morning. They are leaving like mad.”

Editor’s note: James Woodard has been named the sole candidate to fill the superintendent position in Morgan County schools.

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“If what we hear today at the Career Academy is true, and Woodard is leaving for Morgan County … many more will leave this year. Please BOE, do not let the Academy that hired a board member’s relative last year fall deeper than it has.”

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“So when the guys in yellow T-shirts weeding at the BOE know the Career Academy CEO is looking to get out, you know the walls have ears.”

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“Look, I’m all for helping breast cancer research and victims, but can we please stop with all the ‘release the ta-tas’ and all the gross references? Going bra-less for cancer day? I have donated time and money to many cancer benefits, but I’m tired of the inappropriate breast references. What’s wrong with keeping it clean?”

“(2) Amendments to or repeals of such local acts or ordinances, resolutions, or regulations adopted pursuant to subparagraph (a) hereof may be initiated by a petition filed with the judge of the probate court of the county containing, in cases of counties with a population of 5,000 or less, the signatures of at least 25 percent of the electors registered to vote in the last general election; in cases of counties with a population of more than 5,000 but not more than 50,000, at least 20 percent of the electors registered to vote in the last general election; and, in cases of a county with a population of more than 50,000, at least 10 percent of the electors registered to vote in the last general election, which petition shall specifically set forth the exact language of the proposed amendment or repeal. The judge of the probate court shall determine the validity of such petition within 60 days of its being filed with the judge of the probate court. In the event the judge of the probate court determines that such petition is valid, it shall be his duty to issue the call for an election for the purpose of submitting such amendment or repeal to the registered electors of the county for their approval or rejection. Such call shall be issued not less than ten nor more than 60 days after the date of the filing of the petition. He shall set the date of such election for a day not less than 60 nor more than 90 days after the date of such filing. The judge of the probate court shall cause a notice of the date of said election to be published in the official organ of the county once a week for three weeks immediately preceding such date. Said notice shall also contain a synopsis of the proposed amendment or repeal and shall state that a copy thereof is on file in the office of the judge of the probate court of the county for the purpose of examination and inspection by the public. The judge of the probate court shall furnish anyone, upon written request, a copy of the proposed amendment or repeal. If more than one-half of the votes cast on such question are for approval of the amendment or repeal, it shall become of full force and effect; otherwise, it shall be void and of no force and effect. The expense of such election shall be borne by the county, and it shall be the duty of the judge of the probate court to hold and conduct such election. Such election shall be held under the same laws and rules and regulations as govern special elections, except as otherwise provided herein. It shall be the duty of the judge of the probate court to canvass the returns and declare and certify the result of the election. It shall be his further duty to certify the result thereof to the Secretary of State in accordance with the provisions of subparagraph (g) of this Paragraph. A referendum on any such amendment or repeal shall not be held more often than once each year. No amendment hereunder shall be valid if inconsistent with any provision of this Constitution or if provision has been made therefore by general law. In the event that the judge of the probate court determines that such petition was not valid, he shall cause to be published in explicit detail the reasons why such petition is not valid; provided, however, that, in any proceeding in which the validity of the petition is at issue, the tribunal considering such issue shall not be limited by the reasons assigned. Such publication shall be in the official organ of the county in the week immediately following the date on which such petition is declared to be not valid. Bye Bye 2050 Plan!”