Keep Your Friends Close, and Your Commissioners Closer
Better luck next time, Clayton County.
That’s all this blogger can say after the heartbreaking vote to enact not a full penny, but a half-penny sales tax for Clayton County’s buy-in to MARTA last evening. ClayCo has been without public transit for about four years, and not even the emotional utterances of the residents couldn’t convince the three-out-of five commissioners to put the full penny on the agenda instead of the half-penny; even though for months, the public has been convinced in public forums, by developers and commissioners alike, that the penny is the only way to go. However, we certainly don’t see eye-to-eye on issues like this with politicians.
This blogger was there as the decision was made, even when MARTA CEO Keith Parker and MARTA Chairman Robert Ashe made it clear to the opposing commissioners that running with the dogs would mean one penny or nothing at all. However, the commissioners in question, namely Gail Hambrick, Sonna Singleton, and can’t-keep-a-comb handy Michael Edmonson, couldn’t see a Clayton County where anything but groceries would be tacked with an 8% sales tax, even if it was for the good of those roaming the county not in a vehicle, but walking on an unpaved ruts on the side of Jonesboro Road to get to Walmart on the other side of the highway across from where the “would-be” commuter rail station would go. Instead, they’d rather keep the wanna-be wealthy types protected in their gated Lake Spivey communities to assure to the world that there is a little decency in ClayCo and that it’s not all about over-funded jails and underfunded school systems.
Now today in a not-so-surprising resolution, the MARTA Board of Directors ruled to decline ClayCo’s half-assed request to join the transit system. This goes to show the commissioners, you may think you’re doing a service to protect your constituents by going all Tea Party on the idea of public transit, but unless you have an better plan on how to magically send buses down to the badlands, your fights don’t mean the hill of beans you live on. Transit is not free. You have to make sacrifices and if that means putting in for the future, so be it. Yes, your economy may not do well on an 8% sales tax in your aired-out brain, but your county DEFINITELY won’t survive once the businesses who just located there decide to move out once they see that there’s nothing but tumbleweeds and for sale signs everywhere. That’s not attractive. Partly a reason why signs outside Southlake Mall tell you to shop in Henry County. Was that a read?
So these knuckleheads have until Sunday, July 6th to reconsider their decision, or transit in Clayton County is off of the table for at least another two years. However, in a recent turn of events, the Special Call Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, July 5th. So if you’re still in town during that time, pay your need-to-be-axed commissioners a visit at the Commissioners Boardroom at 10 AM. My advice to the residents of ClayCo, you better look to move to Southwest Atlanta before home prices goes up. If you want to call the commissioners before the holiday, their numbers are below.
Chairman Jeffrey E. Turner (D): (770) 477-3208
Commissioner Sonna Singleton (D): (770) 473-5770
Commissioner Gail Hambrick (D): (770) 603-4135
Commissioner Shana M. Rooks (D): (770) 477-3214
Commissioner Michael Edmondson (D): (770) 477-3216