Cobb Commission still divided on IMAGE issue
by Jon Gillooly
January 24, 2013 12:01 AM | 3966 views | 10 10 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Billy Inman
Billy Inman

MARIETTA — Residents lined up to speak passionately to Cobb commissioners Tuesday about a code change that would require contractors doing business with the county to apply for certification to a federal program that identifies illegal immigrants.

Commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell have proposed that the contractors who do business with the county be required to apply for federal IMAGE certification.

Tuesday was the first of two public hearings on the matter. The second is on Feb. 26, when commissioners are scheduled to approve or reject the code change.

While Ott and Birrell support the proposal, county chairman Tim Lee has doubts about its usefulness and commissioners Helen Goreham and Lisa Cupid say they are undecided.

“It was what I thought I would hear that I’ve heard in the past in relation to E-Verify,” Goreham said, referring to an online system designed to help employers confirm eligibility of job applicants. “The comments that I heard tonight were similar to when we were deciding whether or not we were going to sign onto E-Verify.”

Goreham said she will be ready to make her decision after the next hearing. Cupid said the same thing.

“I think compelling arguments were made on both sides, and I think it’s fair to let people have their say and to weigh each of those comments individually,” Cupid said.

One of the more emotional parts of the evening was when Billy and Kathy Inman of Woodstock, the parents of Dustin Inman, a 16-year-old boy killed in a traffic accident in 2000 by illegal immigrant Gonzalo Harrell-Gonzalez, addressed commissioners.

Due to the accident, Kathy Inman now requires the use of a wheelchair.

The couple urged commissioners to adopt the code change, saying it would discourage illegal immigrants from being employed by the county.

“I’d do anything if I could get my son back today,” Billy Inman said. “I’m not going to be a grandpa. All my dreams are shattered.”

Phil Kent of Sandy Springs, who was appointed to the state’s Immigration Enforcement Review Board by Gov. Nathan Deal, also urged approval of the code change.

“I say that because your leadership here can help deter ID theft and illegal immigration and the jobs lost to illegal workers, not only in my own county of Fulton but in other major counties, and I say that because many of the contractors that do work in Cobb also work in Fulton and other major counties,” Kent said.

Dr. Bill Hudson of Marietta played a series of media clips detailing coverage of the scandal that occurred a few years ago when illegal immigrants were discovered helping to build the county courthouse building.

“It’s also alarming that less than two years until the next election Commissioner Goreham may have backed up on her determination to prevent a repeat of the scandal endured on the illegal alien workers at the Cobb Courthouse,” Hudson said.

Eric Herfurth of Acworth and Dave Richardson of east Cobb, who both urged commissioners to adopt the code change, said it was about protecting jobs for citizens.

“No matter where we live, we are tired of losing our jobs to illegal labor,” Herfurth said. “We haven’t forgotten the fact that some of us couldn’t get a job on the Cobb County Courthouse.”

Lance Lamberton of Austell denounced the proposal, quoting the words of Emma Lazarus emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty.

“Unfortunately in recent years our country, our state, and now even our county is seeking to turn its back on this noble tradition with a xenophobic mindset which says in essence outsiders are no longer welcome, especially those with Hispanic surnames,” Lamberton said. “Yet what crime have these people committed other than to want to make a better life for themselves and their families by pursuing the American dream through hard work and sacrifice, just like my ancestors and yours did when they first came to our shores. I for one welcome them with open arms and ask that you do the same by rejecting this politically expedient requirement.”

Pat Henry of Marietta, who asked commissioners to approve the code change, rebutted Lamberton.

“In regard to the Statue of Liberty, I think that most of the immigrants who came through Ellis Island would take offense at being compared to illegal aliens,” Henry said. “You want to talk about fairness? You want to talk about need? Those are people who suffered greatly to come here and pay their way.”

Immigration activist D.A. King of the Dustin Inman Society pointed out that the current E-Verify system the county uses is only used for newly hired employees. It cannot be used to verify someone who was hired before E-Verify was authorized by the federal government.

“IMAGE, on the other hand, does exactly that,” King said.

In addition, King said the ordinance will address the fact that E-Verify only works for employees. An independent contractor is not an employee and cannot be run through the E-Verify system, King said.

The county itself is already IMAGE certified, which stands for ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers.

The code change would require all contractors doing business with the county to apply for federal IMAGE certification, which is a voluntary partnership initiative between the federal government and private sector employers designed to strengthen overall hiring practices.

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Rich Pellegrino
January 28, 2013
Hmmmm....very interesting that this article quotes and highlights many of those who spoke for the IMAGE and only one who spoke against it. Not very fair and balanced reporting when almost an equal number of people spoke against it, including many who came to speak about other issues and spontaneously decided to speak up and support the immigrants and speak against IMAGE. Shows what we all know...the tide has changed nationally and even in Cobb, as ordinary citizens realize that these immigrants are the same as our immigrant ancestors who founded and built this country. Perhaps the MDJ will soon wake up too and truly reflect what is going on in the community rather than peddling its bias.
January 26, 2013
I hear that Lance Lamberton is eyeing replacing Rich Pellegrino to lead the five people here in Cobb that want open borders. But that he was judged not smart enough. King has a funny blog on Lamberton.
Helen Watch
January 26, 2013
It is true that Tim Lee has openly sold his political soul to the Chamber devil. BUT WHY aren't people watching Helen Goreham?

When the IMAGE for contractors first came up, she was for it. Then she was probably for it. Now she is telling the newspaper that she is undecided.What happened?

I'l tell you what happened. The Chamber of Commerce $$$$$ happened. Word is that they have threatened her with finding a primary challenger and cutting of the campaign funds if she doesn't voe NO to finding the illegals the contractors use to shave their bids with low wages they pay the illegals.

Helen Goreham voted YES on IMAGE for Cobb last year.

Now she has put all in reverse at the orders of the illegal alien using business gang.

I hope there is a real honest conservative in Helen Goreham's district to replace here. I will doante heavily to her GOP opponent!
January 24, 2013
What's the problem, Lee? Having trouble keeping your promise? You said you'd use IMAGE and we expect you to do just that!

Keep jobs for citizens, not illegals who are a parasidic drain on our economy!

Pat Henry
January 24, 2013
Remember, our ancestors paid their own way as well. No welfare for their babies born here, no food stamps, no Section 8, no Earned Income Tax Credit, no free lunches and then extra food to carry home to their families, no extra food for pregnancies, and these immigrants were happy to be called Americans and paid income taxes on their income.

What was left out of this story is that several Hispanics that Billy Inman knows and thought he can trust said they would not inform him of the whereabouts of the hit and run driver who caused this accident. Are these the same kind of immigrants of our ancestors?

God bless Billy and Kathy Inman. IMAGE certification is the very least the Commissioners can provide for taxpayer funds.
mk- sad for Inmans
January 24, 2013
The true tragic victims of greed are families like the Inmans.

Just so the rich can get richer, our borders have never been closed to illegals that walk right over the Rio Grande.

Do ANY of these greedsters even care at all about their fellow Americans?

I say a dollar is more important to them.

What if Lees wife was in a wheelchair for all of her life, due to the negligence of elected officials. Wonder if he would be as smug and arrogant?

Or what if it was his son to die in an accident, knowing the illegal that caused the accident just got up & walked away?

Would he continue to support & encourage dishonest hiring practices??

And all these contractors that continue to knowingly use illegal day labor should all be jailed.

America will pay the price for all this greed. China owns us now & they will surely have the last laugh!
Marie in Marietta
January 24, 2013
OH fine! I just also saw where DA King has a news video posted on his blog from the meeting Tuesday night showing Lance Lamberton admitting his open borders position. Kick the door and call me Carl! What a person.
January 24, 2013

I just found this online from when the illegals helped build the courthouse. It looks like the "chaep" labor from the illegal alien employers ends up costing us even more in the long run. Shoddy work and higher taxes. I dare anyone to vote no on this. Except you Tim. You are already never going to be reelected.


"The masonry contractor removed from the Cobb County courthouse project for not checking his employees' legal work status also failed job inspections.

Records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed Marietta inspectors last fall cited the contractor for not grouting cement blocks, spacing rebar close enough or installing enough wall anchors to strengthen door jambs. His crew didn't lace concrete blocks together as required. These deficiencies turned up in the courthouse basement, where prisoners will be kept before trial. The county had wanted extra security features there.

"This didn't meet the plans," said Hal Cosper, Marietta building official. "I wouldn't have expected to see this on the courthouse."

In February, contractor Victor Candelaria and his crew were removed from the job after it was determined that Candelaria didn't use a federal data base to confirm his employees were legally cleared to work in the U.S., which is a state law requirement for public contracts. Candelaria was a sub-contractor for Suwanee-based Zebra Construction Co., which did the masonry work for Turner Construction Co., the prime contractor on the $63 million project."

Hello in there commissioners. We can see you!

Marie in Marietta
January 24, 2013
I just read the wording of the Cobb IMAGE law that the commissioners cannot seem to understand. Even to us, it seems pretty easy to understand. DA has posted it on his MDJ blog. THANKS DA!
Goreham is a rube
January 24, 2013
Helen Goreham needs some attention. She voted for IMAGE last year but is now undecieded? Hello Chamber of Commerce. Goodbye Helen.
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