The event clearly comes in response to the aborted nomination of Kent State University senior associate Provost Dr. Timothy Chandler to be Provost of Kennesaw State.
"We see the Chandler episode as a teachable moment," KSU history professor Dr. Tom Keene told the MDJ on Monday. "This will be the first of a series. The press is warmly welcome!"
Chandler ultimately chose not to come after a KSU professor tipped off the MDJ to an academic paper the nominee had co-written in 1998 about university governance reform. The paper was written from a Marxist viewpoint, according to Chandler, and described the United States as "the most violent nation-state in history." That remark has prompted some to wonder how Chandler could have earned a Ph.D. without ever having heard of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia or Maoist China. Others are still shaking their heads that anyone could find anything positive to say about the philosophy that underlay the latter two of those regimes.
A common thread among feedback AT has received over the past two weeks is how the KSU Provost Search Committee could have thought that someone with such views would ever be a good fit as the No. 2 person at KSU, which relies heavily on support from the local business community and the state legislature.
After belatedly learning of the Chandler paper, KSU President Dan Papp spoke disparagingly of it and offered little more in the way of encouragement than to say that Chandler was "a nice guy." Chandler decided to stay put at Kent State after the KSU Faculty Senate last week declined to pass a statement supporting his nomination.
Papp celebrates a birthday this week, and wags have noted that Chandler's decision to stay put is probably the best birthday present that he could have received. The next-best would be for the Chandler story to die down. But that doesn't appear to be on his faculty's shopping list.
There's no word on whether Papp will be in attendance at Thursday's "Academic Freedom" forum. But if he chooses to be elsewhere, who could blame him? As Around Town reported Saturday, he was subjected to a public mini-lecture on the positive legacy of Karl Marx last week from one of his own professors. Papp, who was introducing New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof at a "Pathways to Peace" Conference, was introduced to the crowd by associate professor Tom Pynn, coordinator of the Peace Studies Program at the school. Among other things, Pynn described Marx's "The Communist Manifesto" as "a call to conscience."
Thursday's event will take place at noon in the atrium of the Social Sciences Building. The public is invited.
MARIETTA City Manager Bill Bruton said he expects to announce the names of the two doctors and two nurse practitioners who will staff the city’s new health clinic by Wednesday. Bruton expects city employees will be able to begin using the clinic the first part of April, although Bruton originally said he expected the clinic to open in February. The City has had a lease since Jan. 1 on the old J.F. Shaw Insurance Building at 78 Atlanta St., where it plans to house the operation.
What Bruton didn’t tell the Around Town is that he rejected the first three doctors that CareHere of Tenn., the firm that will run the clinic, recommended be hired on the grounds that they were not a “a good fit” with the city, whatever that means.
In September, Council approved funding the clinic in a vote of 4-2, with Van Pearlberg and Grif Chalfant opposed, and Johnny Sinclair absent.
The clinic is an exclusive benefit for the 695 city employees, their 1,121 dependents, as well as 255 retirees and their 121 dependants. It does not impact their existing health insurance, but serves as an added bonus, charging no co-pay. At the time Council approved the clinic, Bruton claimed it would see savings to its health care expenses of $3 million from January 2011 to December 2014. We’ll see.
SO WITH THE COBB SPLOST out of the way, attention next shifts to next year’s planned T-SPLOST, the vote to approve a regional tax to pay for regional traffic improvements. And you can expect it to be a “harder” sell in Cobb than last week’s SPLOST was, according to Marietta attorney and political strategist Heath Garrett, who helped manage the Cobb effort.
“The T-SPLOST will be harder in Cobb County than (Tuesday’s) vote was,” he told Marietta Rotarians as their speaker on Wednesday. “And this was a very difficult and engaged campaign.”
But in some ways, the T-SPLOST will be an easier vote because the project list it will fund will be so large, he said. “When you tell folks you’re going to improve I-285 and I-75, and you’re to improve I-75 at I-575, and this is what you’re going to do, those projects are so large and touch so many people that they can get their mind around them and say, ‘OK, I’m going to give one more penny for that.’
“The flip side is the numbers are so much larger. It’s $10 billion over a 10-year period. So it’s going to be difficult. And this region is so diverse economically, politically and philosophically. Clayton County and its government are on one end of the spectrum and Cobb County and its government are on the other. I think what people are going to be suspicious of is, ‘Is any of my money going to Clayton?’ and vice versa. Nobody in Clayton wants a single one of their pennies coming up here to Cobb, so that’s a balancing act.”
GOOD THINGS ARE WORTH WAITING FOR: You’ll recall that Gov. Nathan Deal’s inaugural festivities, organized by Tricia Pridemore of east Cobb, were severely disrupted by January’s very un-Georgia-like heavy snow and ice. The weather was so bad that the swearing-in was moved inside the Capitol and the inaugural ball was “cancelled.”
Now it appears the operative word should have been “postponed.” Around Town has learned that the ball is likely going to take place May 2 at the Cobb Galleria Centre.
MARSHA LAKE has announced her candidacy for the State Court Division I judgeship now held by Roland Castellanos, who has announced his plans to seek the Superior Court seat long held by Judge Dorothy Robinson, who is retiring.
Lake ran unsuccessfully in a crowded three-way race for the State Court Division II judgeship last year against Angela Brown and Jason Fincher. That contest was known around the courthouse as “The Alphabet Race” because the candidates were not generally well known, and many voters were therefore cast in favor of the first name on the ballot, which happened to be Brown’s. She came in first place in the General Election, but lost to Fincher in the runoff. Lake received only 27 percent of the vote in the General Election.
SICK BAY: Former Congressman Fletcher Thompson of east Cobb was to undergo gall bladder surgery Monday morning after falling ill while attending Saturday’s anti-Cobb EMC petition drive at East Cobb Park.
WIT CARSON OF SMYRNA, a lover of small children and small animals and a fixture at the North Georgia State Fair in south Cobb for decades, passed away early on Sunday. Services are at 11 a.m. today at First Presbyterian Church in Marietta.
Carson operated the fair’s petting zoo, which annually features a menagerie big enough to fill a sprawling circus tent at the fair. Carson started the program in the mid-1980s and it now draws around 10,000 schoolchildren a year.
He was the longest-serving volunteer at the Fair, according to Fair spokeswoman Melissa Kromer. He had been involved there since 1932 when at age 11 he entered cattle at the livestock show at the fair. That was an era when many of the Fair’s offerings were more rural-oriented, such as livestock-judging contests.
Carson was the father of former west Cobb Commissioner Wit Carson.