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Newton Citizen Poll for July 6, 2014

The Newton Poll is a weekly compilation of reader comments on subjects of local interest. The Newton Citizen publishes as many comments as space allows. Comments, which may be edited for space or content, are published anonymously on Sunday. To submit a comment, call 770-483-7108, ext. 403, email: poll@newtoncitizen.com or complete the online form.

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“I simply think Newton schools will always fail at math. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring in math coaches to help math teachers we already fund, and math CRCT is still in the toilet. Great job, BOE! They will always blame the test or money or maybe even George Bush but never take responsibility.”

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“The 2050 Plan should be put to a public ballot if Newton County expects citizens to buy into this plan. There will be many successful lawsuits if this plan goes into effect as it currently is written in baseline form since no government has the right to this draconian type of power grab. I was involved in discussions of the Leadership Collaborative at The Center years back. When this plan was marketed to the elected officials that papers continue to say approve or buy into it, it never looked like the 100-page document does today. Nowhere when we agreed or gave the nod did this limit landowners to 20- or even 10-acre tracts. This is a bad bait-and-switch on us, and I don’t trust any longer the people involved with their out-of-town brinksmen and brinkswomen doing this and switching the game on us in the eighth inning. It must be stopped. Go to the forums and ask who paid for the fancy Italian-style salads and soft drinks bought in large supply at the multiple meetings per month where elected and appointed officials sit around The Center. I have witnessed this and these meetings not only produce nothing and are the same old same old, but they cost taxpayers. Who is paying for the time out of office for elected leaders and appointed ones like the school superintendent who all felt at one time compelled to attend but most of whom stopped when they saw what this plan was really about. Ask who paid for meals, for drinks, for time out of the elected or appointed office and for the fancy annual Leadership Collaborative meeting often held at Burge Plantation. Who paid that rent/lease for the day and who paid for the fancy catering in the little area outside the meeting room? There is a lot of money that truly could be donated, but there are work hours that are not being paid for, and I doubt the food and rent and drinks offered generously to elected and appointed leaders are all donated. If you don’t ask, you won’t know. Most of us stopped going to hear about this when we learned how socialistic this plan was emerging. Stop it in its current form if not entirely and shut down that Center, which taxpayers are paying to operate. We do not need it and very little productivity comes out of it.”

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“I would like to think John Douglas is right, that we should trust the BOC to revise and edit the 2050 Plan, but honestly this BOC has given no one reason to have much trust. Look at the waste at Nelson Heights and they all turn a blind eye. Look at the lost promises of the millage; they did not keep their word on that. Look at the crazy amounts of dollars paid to Tommy Craig, and no one has addressed that. When will they come clean about who knows what on the mechanics liens on the NSP houses that money keeps getting thrown at? Why have the contents in the presentment to the grand jury in the months preceding Keith Ellis’ election not been discussed when residents know what appears to be up on this? Look at the arrogance of security systems thinking anyone is going to cause security issues at their hillbilly meetings. The waste is high and this 2050 Plan is no different. They will close the door after they put on a county-wide show for the newspapers and the public with possibly no intention of changing that plan. The 2050 Plan must be voted on by the public in the 2016 general election November ballot when most voters are likely to turn out, and it must be stopped otherwise.”

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“I think that The Center people and the Not so Smart Growth types will put the 2050 Plan to a 2016 public referendum if they are genuine in wanting community support. If not, get ready for a lawsuit from landowners that will put Newton County on the national news much bigger than the Alcovy God is Dead artwork did. You should not seek to violate property rights because of your fantasy vision and expect no backlash. This is not fantasy land and you 2050 visionaries are a very small minority.”

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“So the JROTC did not do an inventory upon moving to the new building a year ago until now? Newton High must be an organizational disaster.”

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“I do not take these 2050 Plan groups seriously. They talk about districts being a bread basket, then they plop a dollar store smack in the middle of rural District 1 and they destroy historic Hub Junction in hopes of a roundabout we oppose. I guess their minds are clouded by greed and Baxter and dictating to others what to do. Just leave us all the hell alone! One thing I do take seriously is The Center needs to shut down if they are so bored they can only make up rules for districts they do not live in.”

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“Rockdale had much better CRCT scores than Newton. Why is our county stuck in low performance mode after tons of money just went to math support employees?”

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“I knew the 2050 Plan would hit the fan when the devilish details of the 100-page baseline came to light as I am told this was not what elected boards agreed to in 2011 and 2012. This new baseline is emerging as a scam.”

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“I love the Newton Citizen Poll! It gives me a place to touch base with the pulse of the community, and I am wise enough to separate fact from bashing. Free speech rules!”

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“I strongly suggest that people and groups who care about civil rights and liberty and property rights attend these 2050 Plan forums and write letters to editors and elected people and force this onto the next general election ballot and have the text of the referendum drafted with independent counsel so not to trick anyone. The 100-page base plan smells very 1930s Berlin.”

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“Plans like 2050 discourage business and newcomers due to government micromanagement and anti-free enterprise climates. So if you want zero economic growth, go for it, but any of us with land will fight it legally. I will hire attorneys who also oppose it to represent us.”

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“Instead of one house per 10 or 20 acres let’s make it 10,000 acres per house. And let’s do it countywide. I think I will get 10 friends together and we come up with that one and call it “The 2051 Plan” and make the other 100,000 people go along without any input in the planning. Wake up, Newton County. They are coming for your property rights. It is a Washington Street coup.”

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“Go back and really examine the behavior and psychology of socialist regimes and how they slowly gain control through rule of law and confiscation of individual property rights until the people they rule no longer recognize themselves nor recall how it came to this. You have this happening in Newton compliments of the 2050 Plan. If they really want this they need to overhaul 80 percent of the baseline plan and put that revision to a general election vote in 2016.”

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“Hey GPC, stop calling my son to get him to come back there. They treated him like royalty in the joint enrollment program but after that, changing to a freshman was horrible. Nasty people and bad attitudes in that admissions and enrollment — financial aid office. You really think he would come back?”

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“Are Athens and Gwinnett Tech leading the way with Baxter and edging out GPTC? That is what we hear and if true then maybe the TCSG will finally recognize the administrative disaster GPTC has become. It is miserable to work here and programs are behind the 8 ball.”

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“The figures in the 2050 Plan are imaginary. Our population has slowed dramatically due to high taxes in Newton, and blatant government abuse like twerking at Nelson Heights helps no one. We are 300k people away from 400k and people are not drawn to these low-performing, very poor schools. Nearly 70 percent of students get free or reduced lunch. It is hence a Title I county with declining enrollment since 2008 — not growing. Current enrollment moves toward 19,000 not the 25,000 the SPLOST pretends. Eastside delayed the Title I label as long as they could since newcomers avoid Title I schools. They are often poor and inferior and less safe behaviorally and infrastructurally. Reality check is that even in these conditions similar Rockdale blows Newton away in math and science and ELA. Local crime is high, weeds are all over our trashed up roads, and while there is much promise in Newton, it is being led to doom. Ask Realtors in Walton, Morgan, Putnam and Rockdale even what buyers avoid and you will hear Newton.”

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“I appreciate that county employees feel safe calling into the poll. As a past elected official in Newton I can promise you that many county and city leaders scramble to read this poll. Some even post replies. Sort of amusing really, but you are getting heard so keep it up. Be open and honest and know that you are safe here — just don’t lie. The Citizen paper proved a few years ago that it won’t yield to people wanting to know who you are: case in point the LaQuanda case.”