Cobb County has a heated election runoff for the commission chairman between the incumbent Tim Lee and former chairman Bill Byrne. I doubt that you can find two more dissimilar candidates for this office unless you don’t count that both are from New York. This may be a good case for not stereotyping New Yorkers if nothing else.
Cobb County faces most of the same problems that every other municipality in America faces: declining property values with the concomitant decline in tax revenues; layoffs of not only employees that provide important services, but police and fire fighters; furloughs; roads not being maintained; fewer police and fire vehicles purchased; closing of police precincts and fire stations, and more. The voters have every right and reason to know how the top leader of our county plans to address these issues, how they will provide services with less revenue, if tax hikes are necessary or not, and what alternative plans might be in place if the fiscal situation reaches crisis proportions. Yet we have learned from the MDJ that Tim Lee does not want to debate Bill Byrne concerning these or any other important issues. Lee says that his campaign schedule is too busy to allow him the time to defend his ideas in a public forum. This is the same Tim Lee who often is prickly when asked a tough question after a speech or town hall meeting. Can it be that he is running on empty and trying to “fake it until he makes it?”
I honestly don’t have a horse in this race. But I believe that the citizens of Cobb County deserve better than what Lee is not giving them---his views and plans where they can be publicly aired and challenged. Debate can distill some of the best ideas, and when ideas clash, truth emerges. I hope that the voters of Cobb County are paying attention to this, and that more importantly, Lee will change his mind and prove that he really is a serious candidate.