Important election at a time of crisis:

Cal Beverly's picture

Who and what I'm voting for

I can remember one other election since 1964 that has as much import as this year’s: 1980 and the seismic shift to a man of hope, Ronald Reagan.

The nation was changed dramatically — many would say for the better.

There seems to be a similar seismic shift this year in favor of an untested, mostly unknown first-term senator, but I fear the naked hopes of many are unfounded, even illusionary. I predict there’s going to be a tsunami of buyers’ remorse by this time next year.

The nation will be changed dramatically — and most of us in Fayette County will be (literally) poorer for it. I hope I’m wrong, for the sake of a nation that for the first time in 70 years may come to believe that our country’s best days are behind us. Whatever else Obama may turn out to be, he most assuredly and deliberately is the anti-Reagan.

(An astute local political observer said that an Obama presidency will be Jimmy Carter’s second term.)

And, yes, I’m voting for McCain in defense of unborn babies, the continuing rule of law and the preservation of American capitalism.

Locally, our nominal Republican leaders continue to pile on the tax requests, as if Reagan never existed.

I’m voting NO this time on a special local option sales tax for schools.

One letter writer in this issue urged us not to make a “punitive” vote to send a message to at least three of the five members of the Fayette County Board of Education.

The financial incompetence of board members Janet Smola and Chairman Terri Smith and their majority vote partner in ineptitude, Lee Wright, is simply breathtaking.

I don’t want to hand over another $115 million over five years to the same people who have over-built two (and soon to be be three) schools in the past four years at a time of known declining student enrollment and known declining state funding.

Let’s stop punishing the Fayette taxpayer and insist on some competence and accountability on the board with the largest budget in the county.

Seeking openness and accountability is the platform of Post 1 write-in candidate Nicole File. I plan to move past incumbent Janet Smola on the touchscreen ballot and press the “write in” option just under Smola’s name. Then I will type in “NICOLE FILE” for the Post 1 slot.

File’s election will give control of the board to a new three-person majority consisting of File, Bob Todd and Marion Key. That new majority will begin a major improvement to the school system’s governance.

They will make the hard choices all of us are being forced to make during this tough economic time, and they will do it openly and with respect for the taxpayers. And they’ll do it without an extra $115 million that would otherwise be used to bail out prior bad decisions by Smola, Smith and Wright.

And despite the hand-wringing pro-SPLOST folks, our kids will continue to do just fine. Most of us come from schools not nearly so well-financed as the Fayette system, and most of us have done pretty well. Our kids will, too. And they’ll get a much-needed life lesson in practical limits.

Even education, even in Fayette County, must pocket its always outstretched hand that wants ever more money even when student numbers are declining and must learn (there’s a novel concept) to make do with what we have.

Another outstretched hand wanting your money is a private consortium wanting you to pay for a Peachtree City ice rink, fitness center and sports building.

At a time of global financial panic, the $9.9 million “recreational facilities” bond issue is just simply a joke.

A private group, including fitness center owner Dar Thompson, wants the city to tax PTC residents to build privately-operated businesses on some city-owned recreation land. And they don’t even propose to pay the city (meaning us, the taxpayers) the full yearly debt service on the new facilities.

If the ice rink fails to turn a profit for the private owners, the city (meaning us) will be on the hook to repay the entire debt.

The promoters declare such a facility would enhance our property values. Will they put up a bond out of their private pockets in the amount of $9.9 million to guarantee the taxpayers won’t be stuck with several empty buildings?

I didn’t think so.

What a novel scheme to get around the credit crunch and lender scrutiny: Let the city with its great credit rating borrow the money, foot most of the bills and assure the loan’s repayment.

And the privately owned, for-profit businesses — using city buildings on city property — will operate almost risk-free. What a deal.

Haven’t we suffered through that local joke before? Make sure the joke is not on us, the taxpayers. Vote NO on the PTC bond issue.

On the three state constitutional amendments, keep it simple: Vote NO on all three. A NO vote will help schools and deny developer welfare.

[Cal Beverly is the editor and publisher of The Citizen.]

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sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:33am.

Cal's Picks: McCain, No SPLOST, File, No Ice Rink
America's Picks: Obama, SPLOST, Smola, No Ice Rink

One out of four.

25% right, up considerably from his historical 20% average!

Is the curse weakening?

WakeUp's picture
Submitted by WakeUp on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 11:45am.

. . . and I am still here to stir up the pot. I am here to argue with anyone and everyone. I am here to rub whatever I can into your face. I am here to let you know my views are right (or left) and that I am part of the majority. I am here to shun tolerance. I am here to ignore my meds.

Also, I am still here trying to kill that stupid bug running around.

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 2:22pm.

"All the women want to see me, all the menfolk want to be me...." Eye-wink

Submitted by MYTMITE on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 9:05pm.

I notice when you hit reply it stops that little bugger--then back he comes--guess we will have to get out the Raid.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:40am.

and the local results were........?
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by heatjam on Fri, 10/31/2008 - 3:25pm.

Do you know if the BofE has ever considered having a person on the board who wasn't elected? That person would not have a vote, but would be in on discussions, meetings... It might give us "peons" more of a voice since that person would have to answer to citizens, not constituents. (in other words not worrying about getting re-elected). Even Delta Air Lines has Pilots on the Board of Directors (non-voting members I believe)

Thanks for answering.

Submitted by NeilSullivan on Fri, 10/31/2008 - 1:57pm.


Thank you for the coverage you gave the PRO E-SPLOST side this election season. I truly appreciate that you gave both sides their say in print and on the web. I can truly say we received a fair treatment.

I was sorry to see that we did not get your endorsement although we did receive endorsements from the AJC and the Fayette Daily News/ Today in Peachtree City. however I think that reflects the tough decision the voters have in deciding to provide this resource to our schools.

I respect that there are differences of opinion on this topic and I hope our neighbors will decide to vote YES for the Fayette County E-SPLOST.

Neil Sullivan
Co-Chair Fayette Citizens for Children

DragNet's picture
Submitted by DragNet on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 3:21pm.

You are right on your choices, except for the presidential election, where you are betting for the losing horse, the candidate that represents the past. I can understand you have generational coincidences with McCain, but I resist to believe you have not done your homework in looking at the platforms of these candidates (other than where they stand on abortion). I posted a blog with a link to the editorial endorsement of Obama by the New York Times in which the editor writes with crystal clarity the compelling reasons for Obama to be elected the next U.S. president. An excellent analysis by the editor of one of the most important newspapers in our country. I guess The Citizen is not in that league and I understand that you fear losing audience and people buying your newspaper if you go for the rational the end is understandable, it is a business decision for you. I almost believe that in the secret moment of casting your ballot you will vote for Obama. That is the right choice and that is what many Republicans will be doing next Tuesday.

Aniways, Cal, thanks for keeping the freedom of expression in this blogspace. We'll talk next Wednesday.

Making you think twice......

Submitted by cdl305 on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 12:12pm.

I very seldom agree with Cal Beverly, so I suppose that puts me on the left, but one place where we agree is on the Ice Rink. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO,NO! This whole deal looks like a southern backwood political process where the meeting was held to discuss spending 9+ million dollars of taxpayer money with little to no discussion by Council in public. It was irresponsible of council to put this on the ballot without a much, much clearer plan. Leases and good financial positions amount to little in the current world - if in doubt we can certainly list all the companies that were turning incredible profits two years ago and are now receiving government support or are defunct. And if that does not satify you, lets go back to 20 years and start listing the companies that no longer exist from the previous two downturns. A failure on this means another tennis center where we are left holding the bucket for the desires of a small few. The more distressing point is that 9+ million represents phase 1 - what will phase 2 and 3 cost us? The ad program for this project approaches absurdity - land values and for our children. What garbage! If a community center is required, lets see the justification for it.

zoes's picture
Submitted by zoes on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 12:20pm.

If a community center is required, why not re-purpose the tennis center?

"Never love anything that can't love you back."

Submitted by dar thompson on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 5:47pm.

What Will You Decide? PTC “Recreational Bond Referendum”

It was over 2,300 years ago when Athens was defeated by Sparta in a long and devastating war. After the war, the city fell into chaos and was in ruin. How could this happen? Athens was once the envy of the entire world.

Although the dynamics are somewhat different, the problem ultimately stemmed from those who were more concerned about themselves than that of the greater good, which was what was best for the city.

Next Tuesday, on November 4th you will have the opportunity to vote for the greater good of our children, our city, our community, and our future. Voting “YES” for the “Recreational Facilities Bond” will be for the greater good of our community and our city.

Maybe, you don’t have an interest in ice hockey, figure skating, public ice skating, or a fitness center on the south-side of town, but that is just phase 1 of the proposed three phase project. Phases 2 and 3 are scheduled to include indoor lacrosse, indoor soccer, 4 basketball and volleyball courts, large banquet like meeting rooms for our civic groups and senior citizens, nature trials, a center for the performing arts, and possibly a teen center. When the main (1200 seat) rink floor is covered, this facility offers the option of floor seating; combined total capacity is 2200 seats, which is great for graduations and other large events. There is truly something here for all of our citizens.

I think it is also fair to mention that the Atlanta Thrashers have committed to having some practices here in Peachtree City as well as offering hockey camps for our children. There is the potential of visiting NHL teams staying here in Peachtree City and using this as a morning practice facility before a night game. The Gwinnett Gladiators have also made similar commitments.

Maybe your children or grandchildren have already left home for college or they just don’t live in Peachtree City any longer. So you ask, why should I vote YES if it doesn’t benefit me? First, increased amenities mean increased home values. Secondly, many of the fields (baseball, soccer, football, etc) were voted on at one point and time. So if your child plays or played any sports in Peachtree City, someone had to vote yes to make that happen. Isn’t it our turn to do the same for today’s children?

People continue to talk about the economy; the economy will not be the same in two years when phase 1 is scheduled to be completed. The cost is $2.18 per month (average Peachtree City household), less than the cost of one Chic-fil-A sandwich or even one large bottled water a month. The economic impact alone is over 1.5 million dollars annually. Having all the amenities in one location will save parents enough gas to cover the $2.18 cost in less than two days. In many ways, we are in control of our local economy; it is our responsibility. So the question remains, are we in control of our own circumstances or will we let circumstances control us?

There seems to be a consensus that Peachtree City and Fayette County are at a turning point. We are on the fence. Which direction will we go? Which path will we take? So the question remains, will we raise the bar and add value to our community by increased amenities, increased revenue, and increased home values or will we continue to sit on our hands and go the way of Clayton County?

Will we take a stand and control our own future or will we end up like the city of Athens?

On November 4th the choice is yours. Please vote “YES” on the “Recreational Facilities Bond”

Dar Thompson

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 11:07pm.

I'm impressed Dar could spell "Sparta." He must've found it his library of self help books.

I just hate it when the idiots come out of the wood work and start telling me I should be smiling because the extra taxes they're trying to pull from my wallet amount to a chicken sandwich each month.

Dar, you idiot, what if I want the chicken sandwich instead!

I'm more worried about my home value at the hands of fools like you and your schemes to make a buck off of my taxes.

You should be ashamed!

Vote Republican

Submitted by Spyglass on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 2:07pm.

This is not the place for debate. You are talking to about 6 people on here. These same bunch of clowns thought Westmoreland was going to lose big time in his last race. I'm convinced that many of the different "handles" are actually the same person.

I can see the benefits to the City, some obviously disagree. To me, it's worth the 2-3 bucks a month. And yes, I have changed my mind from a month ago.

I guess these same folks would like the City to plow up most all of its amenities, as they cost us money to maintain.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 12:36pm.

We'll know on Wednesday how this turns out. Until then, let's let it lie before it becomes your "Achilles Heel."

Submitted by jackyldo on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 12:30pm.

The cost of that sandwich or that water is OUR money being spent for your idea.

Soccer and sports fields pass from generation to generation, they can be left for a season or two to regenerate and then are as good as new.

The fact that we need a 9 Million and if built out completely 19 million dollar building to attract a few hockey camps is ludicrous.

If you came with an arguemeent that included that people were playing in hockey leagues and waiting until 2 or 3 in the morning for league ice time, that demand far exceeds current local ice capacity.

This is an idea without statistics to qualify it, the original argument was a lot of folks would move here from Minneapolis with Northwest and they skate and play hockey.

I counter with if this is such a good idea , a business man with a business plan and his on money to invest would have done it a long time a go, IF HE SAW HE'D MAKE A PROFIT.

I voted already and voted NO. I come from New England where there are ice rinks and lots of frozen bonds. Some kids ski and some kids skate and ice rinks are built for community purposes, when they are economically viable.

stevens770's picture
Submitted by stevens770 on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 10:22pm.

Please excuse the following question,but after trying to follow your logic in the above scribbled ramblings I have a need to know the following. Where,if anywhere at all, did you study history? In your comments concerning the war between Athens and Sparta I assume you refer to the Peloponnosian War circa 431 BCE.Its history was recorded in the fairly concise writings of Thucyddes. Perhaps your mind has become fogged due to lifting one too many of your barbells, but Athens did not fall into ruin due to its leading citizens no longer caring for the common good.But even if they had,what does that have to do with your ice skating rink?
The fact is you do not want to build your ice rink out of your lofty desires to lift the "COMMON GOOD". Dar, be honest with us and admit that you simply want to make a profit while at the same time leaving the bulk of the risk of loss at the feet of the taxpayers.
Don't emabrass yourself by appealing to the decline of Athens to make your argument. Instead, be more modern and appeal to the decline of America. For the fact is, we are at this moment in a state of decline due to our rapid injection of government cash and credit into the system while we are trying to keep businessmen from going broke. It is not called ancient Greek histroy Dar, it is called socialism. I say we stand against it. If you want an ice rink, go build one and pay for it yourself. Otherwise, leave us alone.

Submitted by dar thompson on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 12:04am.

for the 50th time now, i have no ownership or financial interst in the ice rink. to answer your question, education was tough for me, i barely made it through high school. you see, i started working when i was fourteen, but fortunately things seem to have turned out okay.

you (those on this blog)keep comparing this to the tennis center which is like comparing peachtree city to atlanta because they both happen to be a city. the city council has already stated that the lease would have to be for 20 years and be backed by strong financials and a financial guarantee. a private group never came in and paid the city for the opportunity to run the tennis center. these two issues are nothing alike...take a deep breath and let it go.

i find it ironic; those here on the blog complain of cost when you say nothing of a 22 million dollar park that is being built in north fayette county. a venue that will offer no economic impact to our area. that little project will cost the peachtree city citizen about the same as the proposed community and sports complex, not to mention they did it without even asking you, "yes or no." you say nothing of an aquatic center that is currently costing the citizens of peachtree city over 1 million dollars a year (twice what the ice complex will cost), and brings in no economic impact for our community.

you've been paying for recreation through your tax dollars because recreation is a big part of what makes any city could say it's kinda part of the deal. the difference with this component is that the city is only asking you to pay a portion of the expense not all of the expense, as you do with all other amenities in peachtree city.

sorry if this isn't so elegantly written, just remember it's because i barely made it through high school.

stevens770's picture
Submitted by stevens770 on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 10:27am.

It is true you are wrong in your advocacy of the ice rink and your ramblings about ancient Athens, but you are totally correct in your assesment of the North Fayette Park fiasco.The one and only reason this county is spending such a large sum in north Fayette county was our previous commissioners scheme to buy for themselves votes up there. Yes sad but true,the previous Fayette County commissioners in general and their chariman in particular thought they had devised a sure fire way to spend the taxpayers money to buy for themselves votes in the northern part of the county. Thankfully, this sure fire reelection plan of theirs resulted in their being fired by the voters. Yes, there is still some justice in this world.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 7:39am.

"for the 50th time now, i have no ownership or financial interst in the ice rink.

06 08 05 Public Hearing Consider Multi Use Sports Complex Proposal Bond Referendum and Election Resolution

“Dar Thompson addressed Council and said…”

“Thompson continued they had also met with Atlanta Thrashers General Manager Don Waddell…”

“The next building would be a 30,000 square foot fitness center for aerobics weight lifting and sports related classes and activities There would be four gym floors with a capacity of 150 seats.

It’s not just an ice rink’: PTC bond will pay for community sports complex

“Phase 1 of the conceptual plan includes a 76,000-square-foot ice facility and a 10,000-square-foot fitness center.”

And for the 50th time you've lied!

Submitted by Citizen_Steve on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 7:27pm.

This grand scheme makes no sense. Why not build something on the level of the centennial Olympic park rink, ideally in an existing facility and open on a seasonal basis. If there's a lot of skating interest, great, then expand it in proportion to the demand - that's the way to serve the community.

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 6:58pm.

Sorry dar but lenox and his boys already taught us a very painful lesson.

We can't afford the tennis center mistake let alone another one. You know the tennis center that was going to be a "world class attraction"??? You have to come up with a new scam, we have already seen this one. Thank you for your interest in PTC.

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 9:33pm.

Skyspy, you forgot that the tennis center was going to at least "break even" and was expected to be "profitable."

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 10:04pm.

How could I forget.

The proposed buisness plan for this little ice adventure shows a rent payment that won't even cover utilities and interest, let alone principle. What the..??

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 6:47pm.

No is the way to go on this one. Vote No.

No, No, No.

diva's picture
Submitted by diva on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 9:39am.

It just seemed a little out of left field. Doofus or dillweed maybe, but dork? Smiling

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 6:59pm.

Because my very good friend Scruffy got tossed from here after he called Cal a d*****ead and of course he said some true and untrue things about his parents, his newspaper, his boss and his underwear - I know, but I'm just reporting the facts.

So I'm sticking with dork.

Submitted by Margot on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 5:42pm.

Don’t want to be taxed out of existence? Just VOTE NO to all candidates, bond issues and amendments that require more wasteful government spending. Unlike the City of Atlanta, Fayette County actually has two newspapers who are not both left wing. Beverly and the Citizen Paper present both sides of a story and take commonsense fiscally responsible positions. While the left wing Fayette Daily News is the good ole boy puppet of socialists like Janet Smola & Terri Smith. The Fayette Daily News has as its motto: “What the people don’t know will hurt them”. Then their news articles go out of the way to make sure the people don’t know. My advertising dollars are never spent with the Fayette Daily. Keep up the good reporting Cal. And Thank you.

The Crime Dog's picture
Submitted by The Crime Dog on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 6:42am.

Because her opponent got the political kiss of death: an endorsement from Cal Eye-wink

As if Nicole File didn't face enough of an upstream battle with the whole write-in thingy.

Submitted by Missy-Sippy on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 8:22pm.

It would certainly be a crime in a depression economy to vote for Janet Smola & Terri Smith, the big spenders of taxpayers’ money. These two Obama-like democratic candidates are masquerading as Republicans.

Submitted by hi grover on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 10:09pm.

I guess SMOLA & SMITH like to dress up for the holiday and pretend to be REPUBLICANS!

Submitted by Missy-Sippy on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 8:28pm.

Crime Doggy, you’ve apparently forgotten that Cal endorsed the opponent of Janet Smola’s husband Mike in the Tyrone Mayor’s election last year. Bully Mike was defeated 68% to 32%. One Smola down, one more to go. Write-in Nicole File for BOE against Janet Smola.
Don’t worry about Nicole File losing, a recall vote on Janet Smola will win hands down, now that she has been exposed.

Submitted by hi grover on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 9:12pm.

Wow, I wonder what will happen if the other smola gets the boot? I have many friends & neighbors in my part of town that already voted for Nicole. Nicole has alot of friends from her old part of town. Smola doesn't seem to have any friends in any town.

Submitted by head_ragg on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 9:26pm.

He was in office when TCG Holdings was wheeling and dealing in Tyrone. TCG Holdings was up in front of the town council wanting variances very my knowledge, I can't remember any that weren't granted.

Submitted by hi grover on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 9:32pm.

It is kinda ironic that manly smola was wheelin n dealin with TCG at the same time the mrs. was wheelin n dealin with same company? Does any one know how much the FCBOE got paid for the school land that was sold to terri smith's husband?

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 8:36pm.

the other is going to get splattered! and please don't make a mountain out of that like you did the sign deal...Lord, I think you lost a lot of votes with that stunt. But that was just like what you have dished out to the other 2 BOE members that dared cross you and your amigos.

gelato's picture
Submitted by gelato on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 6:56am.

If I read it in my native German I cannot see that Cal in any shape, way or form endorsed Smola.

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 1:50pm.

Crime Dog is simply pointing out the fact that Cal Beverly's prognostication skills leave more than a little to be desired historically. I think someone calculated the average number of people whom Cal endorsed vs. those who actually got elected, I believe the number was around 19% or so in the past 4 election cycles.

It's a pity Cal didn't weigh in on Saxby Chambliss vs. Jim Martin.

Submitted by swac on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 6:32pm.

Looking good for Janet Smola with Cal Beverly and Steve Brown attacking her. She must be doing something good to be attacked by that pair

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 6:05am.

It is that time of year where someone (usually me) who says "How dare Cal telling me how to vote? Who does he think he is?" So, I've done it, but your election-inspired advice column doesn't bother me as much as it used to for whatever reason.

Besides - you are right. McCain, of course and this AM it is a 2 point race - well within the Bradley factor and a normal margin of error. Thank God!

The BOE situation is exactly as you and others have described and Smola needs to be the first to go. Write-in is not the most efficient way to unseat someone, however. Hope it works, but looks shaky to me. The SPLOST has to be defeated.

Don't worry about the extra schools we don't need for students They will make great housing for seniors with minimal renovations; besides, the buildings and land is all paid for by those of us who will be seniors in a few years. Real solutions for real problems.

The ice rink is truly a joke and must be defeated as well. Maybe they will start to understand and stop putting forth these dumb ideas.

You didn't comment on Sunday liquor sales in Fayetteville, but I did. My answer to Dr. Chancey was an insightful and respectful case for a yes vote.

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