Around Town: Lee says Cobb Sunday sales vote possible this spring
by Otis Brumby, Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
May 28, 2011 12:00 AM | 7272 views | 13 13 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THREE OF COBB'S CITIES are heading for the polls this fall to vote on whether to allow Sunday sales of alcohol. So what about unincorporated Cobb? Will its residents get a chance to have their say?

Probably so, Commission Chairman Tim Lee told Around Town this week - but not until next year. But his decision may hinge on the results of the voting in Smyrna, Acworth and Kennesaw, all of which have scheduled alcohol referendums in conjunction with already-planned municipal elections.

"It all depends on what happens in November and how the cities vote," Lee said. "If all three or four do it and it passes swiftly, I'll probably recommend it for the presidential preference election (primary), if I can do that."

The Georgia Secretary of State has not yet set a date for the primaries, but likely will choose March 31, he said.

The two other possibilities would be to schedule the special referendum on alcohol sales to coincide with the summer party primaries or the fall general elections.

Lee said what neighboring Cherokee County does might impact his decision as well. The Cherokee County board of commissioners is holding hearings and is expected to set a referendum for November. Meanwhile, Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin and Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins have said they most likely will follow Lee's lead on whether to call a referendum in their cities.

"If Cherokee passes it, I certainly don't want retailers in Cobb to lose potential business from folks going up there to buy alcohol," Lee said. "But I don't have a good feel (for whether Cherokee would approve the sales)."

"The plus for Cobb would be the added sales-tax revenue," he said. "Right now, every penny counts."

Lee also was uncertain how soon sales would be allowed after passage of such a referendum.

"It depends on how it's written. I heard that Kennesaw selected Jan. 1 (as the implementation date) to give retailers a chance (to make plans)."

Some have noted that added Sunday sales might not be strong enough to make it worthwhile for liquor store owners to be open on Sunday, once staffing and other overhead costs are considered. That's less of a consideration for grocery stores and beer and wine sales.

"Supermarkets won't have any problem, they just turn the lights on in their (beer) cooler," he said. "I would imagine as soon as the vote is certified, you could do it. You'd want to set a date certain."

So if Cobb approved such sales via a March 31 referendum, the most likely start date would be?

"I'd probably go with April 15 or something," Lee answered.

April 15 falls on a Sunday next year - so if the referendum is approved, you shouldn't have any trouble finding liquid ammunition with which to drown "The IRS Blues."

LEE, County Manager David Hankerson and County Finance Director Jim Pehrson journeyed to The Big Apple late this week to make presentations to the three leading bond-rating firms, trying to persuade them that Cobb deserves to keep its enviably-low Triple-AAA municipal bond rating.

The team left Atlanta at 6 a.m. Thursday, met with one agency late that morning, had face-time with a second that afternoon and huddled with the third on Friday morning. They flew back Friday evening.

Lee doesn't expect to find out the new scores for some time.

"I don't know (when we'll find out how we did)," he said. "I would imagine not while we're there, because I'm sure they will want to take the info we're giving them and dig into it."

Such ratings and meetings used to be pro forma for rating agencies and local governments, but are taken more seriously now in the wake of the Wall Street crash.

Cobb not only boasts the lowest property taxes in the metro area, but the best credit rating, and wants to keep it that way, Lee said.

IT'S A HELLO AND GOODBYE at the Strand Theatre this month: Christy Rosell, who has headed business development and marketing there since its reopening and is the "right-hand 'man'" to director Earl Reece, is leaving for an advertising job with Nissan. Her successor is Cassi Costoulas, who has been on staff at the Strand since 2008, initially as a volunteer intern and most recently as the Front of House Manager. She and Earl go back a long way: She was a musical theater student of his when he headed the Arts Magnet program at Pebblebrook High School.

CONGRATULATIONS to Rosser Southerland, who graduated from Marietta High School this week and is believed to be the first fifth-generation graduate of that school. He's the son of James (Class of '78) and Mary Ansley ('84) Southerland and grandson of the late Marietta Mayor Ansley Little Meaders and Frank Meaders, who were high school sweethearts in the Class of '63.

Rosser, 19, plans to study nursing at Chattahoochee Tech but wants to eventually attend UGA to study law. He is the great-grandson of Rosser Little (Class of '32) and the great-great-grandson of Irma Neal, who graduated from the Marietta School System in 1905.

"We have several documents from her days in the city schools, including an 1896 'Good Deportment' certificate signed by Superintendent S.V. Sanford," says his mom, Mary Ansley. Sanford went on to be president of The University of Georgia, where the football stadium now bears his name.

"SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TELL HER SHE LOST the election," a Smyrna official muttered, watching bull-in-a-china-shop former school board member Holli Cash at the Campbell High School library this week during the meet-and-greet with Dr. Michael Hinojosa, finalist for superintendent of the Cobb School District.

The way she marched up and buttonholed Hinojosa was a stark contrast from the way Tim Stultz, the board member who Smyrna voters chose last year to replace Cash, politely waited in line with Mayor Max Bacon to introduce Bacon to the new super-in-waiting.

MARIETTA attorney Kim Frye was en route to Cobb Superior Court Judge Rueben Green's fundraiser at King & Spalding in Atlanta this week when who should she spot jaywalking across Peachtree Street? Best-selling horror Sci-Fi novelist Stephen King, many of whose works ("Carrie" and "The Shining" to name just two) have been turned into hit movies as well.

King was in Atlanta helping develop his first-ever play, "The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," at The Alliance Theater.

Frye whipped her BMW convertible into a U-turn to catch back up to King, then climbed out to talk briefly with the author.

"He was nice. I was a total fan gushing about his 'Gunslinger' series," she said. "I would have loved to sit and talk!" Maybe next time ...

THE CAMPAIGN KICKOFF RECEPTION for Cobb State Court Judge Rob Leonard's re-election campaign will be from 5-7 p.m. June 9 at the law offices of Gentry, Smith, Dettmering, Morgan & Schnatmeier in Marietta.

Leonard was appointed to the bench last year by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue after 10 years in private practice, where he served as president of the Cobb County Criminal Defense Bar.

Live music at the fundraiser will be by Bert Reeves and David Willingham with barbecue by Sam Huff.

FORMER state Sen. Chuck Clay (R-Marietta) of Brock & Clay has been chosen by the State Bar of Georgia as the 2011-2012 Chair of the Advisory Committee on Legislation. The committee serves as the Bar association's lead on monitoring legislation and preparing legislative actions regarding issues affecting members of the Bar and the practice of law in Georgia. Other members of the committee from Cobb are Superior Court Judges Adele Grubbs and Stephen Schuster and attorneys Tom Cauthorn, Heath Garrett and Matthew Nasrallah.

Meanwhile, named to the State Bar's Communications/Cornerstones of Freedom Committee from Cobb are Co-Chairman Robert Ingram, Otis A. Brumby III, Dennis O'Brien and Jason Shepherd.

THERE'S GOOD NEWS from the Cobb courthouse this holiday weekend: Superior Court Judge Jim Bodiford, who underwent emergency heart surgery April 4 to repair four blocked arteries, is expected to be back on the bench when court reopens on Tuesday.

Bodiford has been at work for the past two weeks, but in his chambers, according to his wife, Nancy Bodiford, and is "doing great," she told AT. Bodiford was first elected to the Cobb bench in 1994 and since then has presided over numerous high-profile cases, including that of Atlanta courthouse shooter Brian Nichols.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
May 31, 2011
I thought EVERYONE had to take a furlough on Friday? No one was supposed to work more than 8 hours per day the week of furloughs either. Guess the rules don't apply to the select few. My spouse and I have to do with less but they are allowed to work? sounds about right under Lee's leadership. I use that term very liberally
mk-an American
May 30, 2011
Sheriff Warren & the sheriffs department is the BEST thing we've got here in Cobb County! He has done an outstanding job w/ the 287(g) program, understanding the threat of having 1,000's of nameless, traceless, undocumented ILLEGAL ALIENS running around our neighborhoods! He's had to face a bunch of unfounded accusations from people w/ an agenda! Kudos to the Cobb County PD for helping round up many of these illegals!

Now if we could just get the mayors & the six cities to stop being 'sanctuaries',... Cobb would be a much safer place for the people that DO have a right to be here!

As far as the shooting, the truth will come out.

God Bless OUR Great Sheriff!!
get a backbone
May 29, 2011
Really Tim?? Let's wait and see what everyone else does before making a decision? Seriously? You don't want to know what the constituents want as far as Sunday sales? This does not really show any leadership on your part. Cherokee, Smyrna, and Kennesaw will be making lots of money on this while you wait for NEXT YEAR. Should we be surprised?
Waisting Money
May 29, 2011
What is it with these Spring votes? Cobb County government must have money to burn.
Just Wait
May 29, 2011
Well, to address the REAL issue here, this is probably the only vote that would return to the tax payers more than the cost of having the election.
May 29, 2011
I would like to Sheriff Warren require the officers to ware there hat's when they are out of the patrol car for what every the need.

This makes our officers look more professional.

I think this was a requirement by Bill Hutson. his.
Dean graz
May 28, 2011
Tim Lee is the biggest buffoon in this county...please someone, anyone run against him
May 28, 2011
anonymous @ May 28 at 11:21 AM commented on the Cobb Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Neil Warren and his Staff do not deserve the comments that you made. Please do a little research and then sincerely appologize to the Sheriff's Department.
May 28, 2011
Maybe it's because the Cobb Sheriff's Office was not involved in any shooting last week. If you would check your facts prior to posting comments those of us who know what's going on would not have to waste our time filling you in on the story.

The Cobb Police Department was involved in a shooting in which the suspect appeared to reach for a weapon after becoming physically combative as reported by this paper. What else is there to say?
May 28, 2011
Why is it that christians don’t care if alcohol is sold on other religions sabbath? Why are we forced to pay homage to their sabbath?
May 28, 2011
So AROUND TOWN, was no one talking about the young man who was gunned down by the Cobb Sheriffs department last week and just why the Sheriffs department has told us nothing about why they chose to kill the man? There are more than a few law abiding citizens waiting to hear about why our Sheriffs department chose to kill this man!
May 28, 2011
Really, Tim?
May 28, 2011
Tim; Spring is almost gone, Summer is just about here.

Are you going to have a back room vote, by just the Board?

What a waste of money sending Hankerson on a Vacation trip to the Big Apple.

Sending Hank to the big easy would have been better for the tax payers of Cobb County.
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