Teen Court - Found Guilty of Redundancy, Waste

So, we're looking at ways to save money in City affairs, and I start looking through some of the various things the City does, and I see a new concept being developed. The mayor is championing a teen court concept as an alternative means to adjudicating misdemeanor offenses for adolescents.

The impetus for this new initiative came from a child who was assaulted on a school bus. His mother decided to file charges against the attacker, but then the victim "wanted [his bully] to have a fair chance," according to the AJC article discussing the birth of this idea.

What will the teen court do? According to their concept documents, available on the Peachtree City website, the system will "be a community based intervention/prevention program designed to provide an alternative response for the juvenile justice system for first-time offenders, in which community youth determine the appropriate sanctions for the offender."

That's right. We're going to let the youth decide what happens to other youth. And you're going to pay for some of it. One of the groups working documents will start its budget at $10,000 for the first year and also have considerations for "hir[ing] staff", if required.

I guess I didn't realize the judicial system in Peachtree City and Fayette County was so bad. I also didn't guess that when I was "assaulted" as a child in school, I could've pressed charges and had the child arrested. In my day (and it wasn't that long ago), there were two things that usually happened if someone beat someone else up - there was an additional challenge for "the big fight", or the victim just moved on.

But, in today's "Dr. Phil" environment where feelings matter and a paranoia for Columbine-like repercussions to childhood "trauma" combined with a zeal for litigation, it must be more important to have other teens pass sentences such as "write an essay about what you've done" or "work community service" on their evildoing peers. Both of those "sentences", by the way, are already given out in courts today. I've seen it.

I thought that's what we voted judges in for. Why do I need to help fund or even have to consider this "village" concept of jurisprudence? The argument may come that if there's an opportunity to stop a child from harmful behaviors at an early age, we should take it. And that's what YDC is for.

Why can't we let the system do its job? The "attacker" should have been given out-of-school suspension, prosecuted, have it put on his juvenile record (which goes away when he's an adult), and his parents forced to pay a fine for his actions.

So, as warm and fuzzy as it sounds, I don't want my child participating in anything like this. I teach my children my way - the village can keep their idiotic idea.

And hey, should I reiterate that the MAYOR (Steve Brown) is championing this cause? Fiscal responsibility? Well, the jury's still out on that one, but it doesn't look good for the incumbent.

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Submitted by dkinser on Sun, 11/27/2005 - 10:53pm.

Idontknow, you've been doing what I have been asking from Harold Logsdon for some time now. Go through the current budget and find areas to cut the fat.

Why hasn't Harold done this. Simple issues like this could easily sway the undecided. It would at least give the appearance that he is indeed going to be the guardian of our tax dollars versus turning a blind eye. I won't mention his deaf ears, because he certainly hasn't heard us asking for some answers.

Keep up the good work and I see that Dan Tennant has volunteered you to buy the pizza.

Dana Kinser

Submitted by Reality Bytes on Sun, 11/27/2005 - 11:03pm.

Well, wish I could answer you, Dana, regarding Harold's reticence. I hope someone will let him know there are still wanting to hear his take on some of these things in more detail.

All that said, I think most everyone knows my stance and my support, so I won't reiterate it. I hope that what's been proven by poor (in my opinion) performance is stronger than what is speculated. At least with the challenger, there is always hope.

As far as pizza - well....I'll have to see if I have enough cash on hand for the buffet on Monday nights at Partners Sticking out tongue

Submitted by Investq on Mon, 11/28/2005 - 7:49am.

Logsdon has not been reticent; he has been silent.

Take for example the issue you raised: the Youth Court. Not only has Logsdon made no statements on this issue or any other related youth issue, his campaign literature does not even acknowledge youth. One should readily agree that in a family oriented community, activities for youth (and teens in particular) should be a significant public service issue. And yet Logsdon acts like teens don't exist. This silence on the issues is a constant, repeated in areas like storm water. You say "Well, there always hope with the unknown." Some say, give the new guy a chance, he may end up being the "Git 'r done" guy." Frighteningly, that is precisely what was said about Italian dictator Benito Mussolini: "He made the trains run on time." Harold's silence on the issues is a significant issue.

Submitted by Reality Bytes on Mon, 11/28/2005 - 8:22pm.

Here's what teens can do in the community.

1. Go to school.
2. Do their homework.
3. If over 15, get a job.
4. Participate in a extracurricular activity (academic, athletic or performance-based) in school.
5. Do the chores they're parents tell them to do.
6. Spend time with their families.
7. Sleep.

There are 168 hours in a week. There are 5,989 people (as of the 2000 Census) who are between 10 years old and 19 years old in Peachtree City.

School takes up 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (40 hours). Homework takes 1-2 hours a day, 5 days a week (10 hours). Doing what their parents tell them to do should take about 1-2 hours per week (being charitable). Sleep, as doctors advise, should be 8 hours a day, 7 days a week (56 hours). Spending time with their families should take 1-2 hours per day, 7 days a week (14 hours).

Before extracurricular activities or a job, that is 122 hours. This leaves 46 hours per week to find something else to do. If they play sports, that would take up about 2-3 hours per week. OK, got 43 more hours to go. If they're working, take 20-25 of those hours for the job. That leaves 18 hours.

What does the City provide for the youth? 80 miles of recreational paths to go walking, jogging or riding a bike on. A library with over 30,000 pieces of information, Internet access, and other "teen friendly" activities. Athletic activities to fill in the "extracurricular" time.

And you'll notice I didn't mention church, religious education and the associated activities with that (3-4 hours per week). Running low on time - when does a teen just get to listen to music, watch TV (if they're allowed), or cultivate other interests? When do they get to associate with their friends? Surprisingly, teens find they can do that without a dedicated teen center.

The youth council puts on annual events, including a "battle of the bands" style concert. 500 "youth" show up. 500 out of nearly 6,000 - that's not even 10%.

What would a "youth center" provide? Anybody remember Jitterbuggers? Do we need to staff a "youth center" for 10% of the youth population to use?

Conversely, there are 5,092 people in Peachtree City 55 years of age or older. I don't have statistics on how many people use the Gathering Place, but I would guess it's fairly close to the 10% that teens get (Peachtree City residents, now, remember).

Here's an idea that won't cost us significantly more money - combine the Senior Center and Teen Center into a single entity. The Seniors use the facility during the day, the teens in the early evening.

I am of the opinion there are plenty of options and activities available through a variety of sources for the teens of Peachtree City. I further believe that government shouldn't necessarily have to be the "babysitters" for individuals, regardless of age, who need something to do. What are parents for (for the youth)?

Just my misguided, wrong opinion, as I'm sure someone will point out to me.

PTC Guy's picture
Submitted by PTC Guy on Mon, 11/28/2005 - 8:27pm.

It is your opinion.

We want to know what Logsdon thinks.

Submitted by Reality Bytes on Mon, 11/28/2005 - 7:58pm.

Nice relation - and I again come back to the "council" versus "dictator" relationship.

I still think Harold has outlined what he sees as important and given his bases. You want him to give detailed, specific plans - good for you. Hope you get what you ask for, from BOTH SIDES.

I would hardly equate a candidate we "don't know" to a dictator, and beyond that, I would equate the incumbent with a "media lover" (and pick your worst euphemism for lover.

I want Peachtree City government out of the papers and doing its job.

So, when given the choice between an unknown hope and a defined despair, I will choose hope.

PTC Guy's picture
Submitted by PTC Guy on Mon, 11/28/2005 - 8:20pm.

idontknow, your whole stance is anyone but Brown.

With respect, got news for you. Logsdon has guaranteed there will be strife if he is elected.

Shoots down the Stormwater and I have word at least one HOA will sue the city over flooding. At least one and probably two minimum.

Approve it and those looking at him to freeze or cut taxes will be furious he lied when costs go up.

So, you have already lost the dream of PTC out of the papers, my friend. You have no hope.

Submitted by Reality Bytes on Mon, 11/28/2005 - 8:29pm.

...as this is a topic you have privileged information on, I cannot combat with you on this. If you were willing, however, to divulge your source, I could then have an even playing field to work with.

By the way, I never really made a point of this, but Logsdon says he will help "reduce tax burden". I believe that can be taken several different ways, but that's another debate we had a few weeks ago.

I also understand that the Free Speech and Letters to the Editor will never be rid of Peachtree City, nor the City of them. I would just like to get off the FRONT PAGE for starters, with "monobates" and "sewer-gates" and "development-gates".

And yes, I guess I am "anybody but Brown", since my initial choice didn't make the cut. I know who I DON'T WANT in office.

And here's the thing - four years ago, I voted for Steve Brown. Twice. Made sure he got elected. And I'm disappointed now for that decision.

PTC Guy's picture
Submitted by PTC Guy on Mon, 11/28/2005 - 8:48pm.

You knowing which HOAs would lend nothing to the fact that a suit would put this issue big time into newspapers throughout the area, including Atlanta.

The fact of the animosity alone over Logsdon's current position alone shows he does not understand how to deal with this issue properly as regards the issues of peace and tranquility within PTC.

The threat or mere possibility alone should be a signal it is past time to speak up.

By the way, I never really made a point of this, but Logsdon says he will help "reduce tax burden". I believe that can be taken several different ways, but that's another debate we had a few weeks ago.

It cannot be taken several ways when the full statement and issues are considered. He said he would hold and even reduce tax burdens.

Dealing with the 9.1 million dollars in Stormwater related repairs alone puts that beyond any possibility.

As far as off the front page that isn't going to happen. Logsdon, as I have shown why, has made this impossible.

I can understand not liking Brown. But with who is backing Logsdon, and his silence EXCEPT for the Tennis Court Center issue showing his ties to the Ole Boys and developers, just not liking Brown is not a good enough reason.

Submitted by Reality Bytes on Mon, 11/28/2005 - 8:58pm.

PTC Guy:

First, please don't have me take back that gold star I gave you - your intolerance is almost discernable.

Again, good luck to you - I hope Logsdon answers you to your satisfaction. I also believe, with regard to stormwater, that the other four councilmembers, at least two of whom have heard all the information on stormwater, will stick to their guns and keep the process rolling (that is, if that's their will).

I have become beyond sick of the "developers/good ole boys" argument. Are you going to tell me that Logsdon's got a war chest of over $50K too?

And, yes, not liking the way Brown LEADS is a good enough reason - for ME. You are allowed to your opinion and your sway. I am allowed mine as well. I believe there are more who side with me than may side with you, this blog notwithstanding - it will all come out on runoff day.

And the most important thing to remember? How many people read these blogs? Webmaster or Cal, can you give us traffic statistics specific to these blogs? How many unique hits are you getting?

We're talking to a very small room, here.

Steve Brown - the people spoke on election day, and they want him gone.

PTC Guy's picture
Submitted by PTC Guy on Mon, 11/28/2005 - 10:51pm.

There are potentially 3 new members coming on. The vote outcome is unknown and either way the Mayor is the leader of the government. So he can help or hamper at will.

Good reaon to not want Logsdon as Mayor.

If Logsdon answers, which he won't, I will let you know.

We are all sick of Developer and Good Ole' Boy influence. But they are backing Logsdon. That speaks volumes.

Of course you can vote for whatever reason you wish. But that does not make anyone but Brown a good reason.

As for how many views more than you think. Remember anyone coming on site for any reason hits the index page which shows the headlines, Blogs and Comments. People were visiting before they added the Blogs in pretty good numbers.

How do I know? It is a newspaper. Local ones are always popular.

No. The people have not spoken yet because Election Day is not yet over.

Brown can win. Might not, but he sure isn't out of it yet.

Curious, if so unimportant why do you post so much? Eye-wink

Submitted by Reality Bytes on Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:04am.

Since you have them all, I'll just go away.

Get a life - I'm going to try to.

PTC Guy's picture
Submitted by PTC Guy on Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:58am.

We would have those if Logsdon would actually say something.

Sorry, anyone but Brown is not an answer.

Nor is get a life an answer for those with issues the city must answer concerning the safety and well-being of their homes and families.

Those issues are part of their lives.

Therefore your desire for off the front pages and tranquility in PTC government is also not answered.

Later, idontknow. This is frustrating for many of us.

DanTennant's picture
Submitted by DanTennant on Mon, 11/28/2005 - 9:06am.

Investq, we are obviously polar opposites in the mayoral race support game, but one thing I do agree with you about is that youth issues, and paticularly teen issues haven't gotten near enough play in this election. And to his credit, Brown has done a good job supporting and staying involved in teen matters. That is not to say, however, that Logsdon doesn't see the youth issues as important. My guess is that there are just so many things the average mind can absorb when it comes to remembering who stands for what, and the nature of youth issues is such that it doesn't get much attention because they don't vote.

You are quite correct that in a community built around families that youth issues are vitally important.

I'd love the see the teens get a place of their own here in town, much like the seniors have the Gathering Place. The biggest burden wouldn't be the spot so much as the staffing. The way I would handle that would be to elminiate the $130,000 we spend on an unnecessary assistant city manager, and hire three $35,000 annual salary youth counselors to run the show. The actual place could be bought and paid for with proceeds from the sale of the tennis center, plus user fees.

My wife Robin has been the adult advisor to the Youth Council for several years, and I am very proud of her accomplishments.

Dan Tennant

PTC Guy's picture
Submitted by PTC Guy on Mon, 11/28/2005 - 10:35am.

Assuming one's silence means they will do the right and good thing is very dangerous thinking.

Many of the worst in history rode to power on the back of the dislike for current leadership. We should not disregard that lesson from history.

There is nothing barring Logsdon from taking firm stands on issues such as Youth, Stormwater, Annexation and the other pertinent issues.

If he actually respects the voters he will. The current strategy, to me, says he sees us as fools who can be played by feelings about Brown.

It is disturbing to me the only issue he has taken a firm stand on is paying for the Tennis Court in full.

Why is that THE issue he is willing to step up front on and make a declaration about? The more I think about that the more it seems to be the reason he is running. My thoughts and speculations here.

Fish bait statements like freezing taxes and even cutting them sound good and will fish in some. But those who see all the work needing done know that simply isn't going to happen.

No matter how much many people dislike Brown they really need to step back and look at Logsdon as other than Not Brown.

A challenge. Sit down with paper and pen and list exactly what promises Logsdon has make that you support. No vague statements like will freeze and cut taxes, or will play nice with others, but exacting policies, programs and expenditures. Where you know what he will do versus what you hope he will do.

Your paper may remain blank.

Investq laid it out very well. We don't have a clue who Logsdon really is or what he stands for.

Yes, you have the right to vote on a dice roll. But remember, in dice you can crap out on the roll.

ptctaxpayer's picture
Submitted by ptctaxpayer on Mon, 11/28/2005 - 12:16pm.

When a candidate like Logsdon relies on "safe" promises like "cut taxes, control spending" with no specifics, he holds the taxpayer in contempt. I had not realized it but PTCGuy is right--- the only issue on which Logsdon has been specific is to pay the "technically illegal" debts of the Development Authority. (That quote was from the DIRECTPAC Letter to the Editor).

I agree--- the sheet of paper with Logsdon positions is blank.

PTC Guy's picture
Submitted by PTC Guy on Sun, 11/27/2005 - 11:22pm.

Hate it. No matter who is in.

I have seen other jobs called waste financially speaking.

But not knowing the work loads and such I cannot say others are or are not.

I would rather pay two good workers than drive one into the ground with absorbent hours.

But I am opposed to feather bedding and jobs that amount to just decorations.

I sincerely hope if there is waste it gets whacked by whoever is in next year.

Funny, Partners is in walking distance but I have not been there in a long time.

And thanks guys for the kind words. They are appreciated.

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