An analysis of the results of Tuesday's referendum shows the four-year extension of the 1 percent county SPLOST was approved - just barely - in each of the cities and in the northwest Cobb precincts represented by Commissioner Helen Goreham (who ironically, was the only county commissioner to vote against holding the referendum).
The results also show that when all the other precincts in unincorporated Cobb are added, that the tax failed. That's despite the fact that the county, not the cities, called for the SPLOST referendum and gets to spend the bulk of the $496 million it is projected to raise. On the other hand, the county lets each city determine how its share of SPLOST proceeds will be spent.
Marietta's decisive support for the SPLOST prompted one wag to tell Mayor Steve Tumlin that, "I hope (Commission Chairman) Tim Lee has a thank-you note in the mail for you."
And don't look for anyone to start referring to the chairman as "Landslide Lee" after Tuesday's vote, which passed the county by only a microscopic 79-vote margin out of nearly 43,000 votes cast, and which got a "thumbs-down" in three of the four commission districts.
The biggest victory margin for the SPLOST was found in Marietta, where it won by 334 votes, 1,753 to 1,419. Leading the way was the Whitlock Heights/Charlton Forge neighborhood of Ward 2 Councilman Grif Chalfant, where voters gave it a 117-vote margin, or 60 percent of their votes. In fact, that was the biggest margin of any of Cobb's 153 precincts. It also did well in Ward 3 (Johnny Sinclair), Ward 4 (Councilman Van Pearlberg) and Ward 6 (Jim King). But voters in Ward 1 (Annette Lewis), Ward 5 (Anthony Coleman) and Ward 7 (Philip Goldstein) all turned down the measure. Goldstein's ward - known for its abysmal turnouts, was true to form on Tuesday. Only 2.62 percent of voters went to the polls, and said "no" by a one-vote margin, 29-to-30. This marked the second time Marietta's votes were seen as decisive in passing an ultra-close SPLOST, just like they did in the 114-vote victory in 2005.
The SPLOST prevailed in Smyrna by a 100-vote margin, 1,136 to 1,036. And it carried Kennesaw - but only by a razor-thin two-vote margin, 656 to 654.
And although Vinings is not incorporated, the SPLOST failed in that upscale community by the Chattahoochee by a 380-to-460 vote.
As mentioned, Goreham's northwest Cobb district was the only one of the four commission districts to support the tax. It garnered 52.53 percent of votes there. But it was turned down by JoAnn Birrell's northeast Cobb district, Bob Ott's southeast Cobb district and Woody Thompson's southwest Cobb district, where it fared the poorest with only 48.04 percent of votes.
One of AT's numbers-crunchers noted that although the Cobb Chamber was one of the loudest groups in favor of the SP:OST, the Chattahoochee 01 precinct where its offices are located voted down the SPLOST by a 31-38 margin. That precinct also can claim the dubious distinction of having the lowest voter turnout of the day, just 1.75 percent.
The closeness of the precinct and district results is not surprising in light of the fact that overall, the SPLOST was reapproved by just a 79-vote margin out of nearly 43,000 votes cast.
On the other hand, the well-heeled Citizens for Cobb's Future, chaired by attorney Rose Wing, is believed to have spent $250,000 on the campaign. Divided by the 21,525 votes they won, that means they spent a jaw-dropping $11.61 per vote. And it prompted one old-timer to remark, "It wasn't too long ago that you could buy all the votes you wanted for a $4 pint of cheap whiskey."
WHILE THE COMBINATION of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear fallout has many people racing to leave Japan this week, it had the opposite effect on Chuck Casto of east Cobb. Casto, deputy regional administrator for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Center of Construction Inspection in Atlanta, is leader of an eight-person U.S. team rushed to Tokyo to provide whatever assistance is required there.
Casto is chairman of the Cobb school system's Facilities & Technology Committee, having been elected in February.
He will be the team's "point man" with the U.S. Ambassador in Tokyo. And he emailed pal Oliver Halle of east Cobb on Thursday that he had just left a meeting with the Japanese prime minister, cabinet and joint chiefs of staff. No word though, on what they said.
KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY President Dr. Dan Papp, who has gotten an earful about Marxism lately due to the abortive nomination of Dr. Timothy Chandler to be KSU provost, got another unexpected earful about it Thursday evening.
Papp introduced guest speaker Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times reporter and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, at the school's "Pathway to Peace" lecture series at the Prillaman Hall Health Sciences Building.
"Mr. Kristof is an individual who both represents and lives the principles of local engagement and global citizenship that we teach here at Kennesaw State University," said Papp in his introduction.
Papp, in turn, was introduced to the crowd of about 400 by KSU assistant professor of philosophy Tom Pynn, coordinator of the Peace Studies Program. Strangely - for an event advocating "peace," anyway - Pynn's rambling remarks focused on the importance of the legacy of Karl Marx.
Pynn correctly noted that Marx and colleague Friedrich Engels focused on the abuses and excesses of 19th century industrialism and capitalism, adding, "perhaps for tonight, most importantly, and perhaps most importantly for their legacy, is directing our attention to the oppression of people who are most susceptible to oppression. You know, it's not just simply a matter of the working class versus the owners of the means of production. That's simplistic."
Pynn argued that Marx, "like Confucius, Buddha, the Taoists and Jesus," worked to draw attention "to the people who are most susceptible to oppression: women, the elderly, children, and the environment."
Pynn described Marx's "The Communist Manifesto" as "a call to conscience" and said that his philosophy represented "a critique of society and culture, sounding a call to all citizens to engage their world in constructive ways."
How bizarre that someone advocating "peace" at a "Pathways to Peace" conference would find no better "call to conscience" to promote than a political philosopher whose writings were seized on as justifications for wars of aggression and genocide by the likes of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.
Many might say that holding Karl Marx up as an icon of conscience is like holding up Charlie Sheen as a model of sobriety.
FUNERAL SERVICES are at 2 this afternoon at Marietta First United Methodist Church for Valari Mathis Camp, 52, mother of MDJ courthouse beat reporter Katy Ruth Camp. Mrs. Camp, who was director of Georgia TAPP at Metro RESA in Smyrna, is also survived by husband, John, a teacher and football coach at Marietta High School, and son, Taylor, of Athens.
Mrs. Camp's brave fight against breast cancer was chronicled by her daughter in the MDJ, first in October 2009 in a poignant five-part series about local women battling the disease and then again last October in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Week.
The family will receive friends in the Family Life Hall of the church after the service. Donations are asked to the American Cancer Society or the charity of your choice in her memory.