While some of the dollars raised here by Untie Atlanta and the other pro-TSPLOST groups were no doubt used to fund ads that ran elsewhere in the state, it would appear that the campaign spent roughly $26.21 for each vote it received. Not much bang for its bucks in the metro region, in other words.
A FULL LIST of the companies that donated to the ultimately unsuccessful $6.5 million ad campaign touting TSPLOST can be found online at the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission’s web site (ethics.ga.gov) by searching under committee reports for Citizens for Transportation Mobility, Inc., the group chaired by Dave Stockert, CEO of Post Apartment Homes.
Four entities — Georgia Power; the Austell-based Yancey Bros. Co.; Cox Enterprises; and the Georgia Highway Contractors Association Inc. — each gave a quarter of a million bucks toward the effort. Marietta’s C.W. Matthews Contracting gave $200,000, and the Coca-Cola Company gave $187,500.
The National Association of Realtors not only gave $185,000 in cash, but nearly $100,000 in data work, “persuasion models,” and other in-kind support.
Delta Air Lines and the Home Depot each kicked in $150,000, and Vulcan Materials, which has its home base in Birmingham and which operates an asphalt plant and quarry in Kennesaw, gave $105,000.
At least eight firms gave $100,000 each, including Atlanta-based Cousins Properties; AGL Resources; AT&T of Atlanta; Newell Rubbermaid; Post Apartment Homes; Siemens; Turner Broadcasting System; and UPS. Caterpillar contributed $75,000.
Seven companies made donations of $50,000 or more. Among them were financial firms Bank of America; SunTrust Bank and Wells Fargo; plus Cumberland-based Holder Construction Group; Bombardier Transportation; GE Power Systems; and AECOM Technology Corp., of Virginia.
The Georgia Association of Realtors gave $37,609.
Six firms gave checks totaling $25,000: Atlanta law firm of Alston and Bird; AMC Inc. of Atlanta; the Bank of North Georgia; United Distributors Inc., of Smyrna; Norfolk Southern Corp.; and the Metro Atlanta Chamber. The latter also gave tens of thousands of dollars in in-kind services. Arcadis Engineers gave $15,000, while Cobb-based Hardin Construction gave $11,000.
Coca-Cola Enterprises, which makes its home near the Galleria, gave $10,000, and CEO John Brock added $5,000. And two other firms located in Cobb also gave $10,000: Edwards-Pitman Environmental Inc., of Smyrna; and Heath and Lineback Engineering, of Marietta. Those giving about $5,000 included the Cobb Association of Realtors; Graphic Packaging, of Marietta; Hemma Concrete, also of Marietta; Cumberland-based Multimedia Technologies Inc.; and Kennesaw’s Nova Engineering. Chatham Landscape Services, of Marietta, gave $1,000.
The Indian Hills Country Club in east Cobb gave $3,000 and Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead $1,000.
Former Georgia Attorney General Michael J. Bowers made a personal contribution of $250.
And Stockert, in addition to heading the group, donated $5,000.
THE “CITY OF EAST COBB” trial balloon floated last week by Cobb Commission Chairman candidate Bill Byrne continues to draw fire with Election Day just one week away. Initial reaction to his proposal was generally negative, with many questioning not just the need for such a city but where the funding for it would come from. Wrote one former municipal official to Around Town, “A new city would need to fund a city council, structures, planning and zoning staff, code enforcement and more. A tax increase would be needed to fund these. Where would the money come from to fund these city essentials? A tax increase! The entire campaign Byrne has advocated himself as a small-government conservative and against any tax increases. … And Byrne stated ‘East Cobb has always been enormously involved in the decision-making process, particularly with regards to infrastructure and zonings.’ If this is the case, why would Byrne want to add another tax-increasing layer of government on the citizens in east Cobb if, admittedly by Byrne, they already play ‘an enormous role’?”
And then there’s this, which was hand-delivered to Around Town on Monday from a tenured local office-holder: “Rumor has it that Byrne missed his ‘Egotists Awareness’ meeting and used the time to come up with his ‘new city’ idea. He supposedly likes the names ‘Bedminsterville’ and ‘Byrnetown.’”
EARLY VOTING is already under way for Tuesday’s runoff election, and 835 cast such ballots on Monday, according to Cobb Elections supervisor Janine Eveler. … Incumbent Chair Tim Lee will hold a free “Family Fun Day” from 10 to 2 on Saturday at the home of Jerry and Ann Mann at 144 Durham St., Marietta. … Sheriff Neil Warren and former Sheriff Bill Hutson have both endorsed State Judge candidate Marsha Lake.
THE MARIETTA CITY COUNCIL’s 14-member Vision 20/20 Committee is filling up. The Council formed the committee in July at the behest of Mayor Steve Tumlin. It is charged with examining such topics as railroad quiet zones, downtown tree canopies, trash management and parking.
Tumlin has appointed Theresa Jenkins, head of the Marietta Welcome Center; Councilwoman Annette Lewis appointed John Rossiter, a tenant of Councilman Philip Goldstein; Councilman Grif Chalfant appointed high school science teacher Pic Petelle; Councilman Johnny Sinclair appointed former car dealer Lloyd Hildreth, Councilman Andy Morris appointed Marilyn Massey, a sales rep for a school textbook manufacturer; Councilman Anthony Coleman appointed Leon Leak, a member of the North Marietta Neighborhood Association, and Councilman Jim King appointed former mayor Bill Dunaway. The council also selected Kelly Contreras of Marietta Pizza Co. to represent restaurant operators in the downtown area and will select one representative for downtown retailers.
The Downtown Marietta Development Authority gets to appoint two members to the committee, although at its Thursday meeting the DMDA failed to take action. The Downtown Branding Project also gets to appoint a member, which it has yet to do, according to Stephanie Guy, city clerk.
The churches in the downtown selected Phyllis Miller, director of administration at Marietta First Baptist, as their rep.
Tumlin said he wanted the committee to begin meeting in mid September.
“There are three or four people I probably would not have put on there, but others I see their value,” Tumlin said, adding, “It’s good to have as many different outlooks as you can.”
Several council members have balked at King’s appointee, saying Dunaway would cause dissension thanks to his reputation for personal attacks. One said King appointed Dunaway to “get him off his back” because the former mayor wouldn’t leave him alone. Another sniped that King was Dunaway’s favorite council member as mayor, rewarding King with multiple appointments to serve on the Board of Lights and Water.
Coleman said he didn’t understand the appointment.
“There’s going to be a lot of dissension there, I would think. I already see it coming, boy. Oh, man!” Coleman said.
King dismissed the allegations as “lies.”
“If I have to explain to you the value Bill Dunaway will bring to the committee, then I would really have to question your analytic abilities,” King told an MDJ reporter.
A BOOK-SIGNING is slated for 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Marietta Hilton on Powder Springs Street for Patricia Richards, author of the just-published “Perseverance, Hope and Faith: A True Story of One Woman’s Amazing Journey Through Life.” Richards’ autobiography recounts how she raised five children in Marietta, usually by herself, and living at times in the Fort Hill Homes public housing project on Lemon Street. She enrolled in Kennesaw State University in 1997 at age 62, earned her undergraduate degree in 2003 and followed up with a master’s degree in public administration from KSU in 2006 at age 73. Ms. Richards is the mother of retired Marietta High School head football coach Friday Richards.
AILING: Retired Cobb Public Safety director Bob Hightower is in ICU at WellStar Kennestone Hospital after a fall this weekend.
“THE BEST OF BROADWAY” musical revue at the Strand got rave reviews last weekend and tickets remain for the final three shows this Thursday-Saturday. Call (770) 293-0080 for ticket info. ... Saturday’s Dog Days Run sponsored by the Rotary Club of east Cobb raised $50,000, reports spokesman John Furman.