The Downtown Marietta Development Authority had purchased bright orange warning signs and DMDA Chair Tom Browning had gotten Tillman’s permission to erect them alongside the lot (which is owned by Bob Tillman and Chuck Clark, husband of Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley) to help make potential parkers aware.
But then the City Council last month decided to cap all booting fees at $50, which considerably cut down on the $150-plus amount Tillman was charging.
Clearly upset by the Council’s decision, Tillman has now ordered Browning to remove the traffic signs.
Tillman’s apparent fit of pique underscores what many have been saying — that Tillman was not booting to protect parking for tenants, but was preying on unsuspecting drivers, for why else wouldn’t he want warning signs along the property?
However, Mayor Steve Tumlin seems determined to have the last word on the matter. He noted to Around Town that Tillman has no control over city right of way.
“The DMDA is going to donate those signs to the City of Marietta, and we’re going to put them on public right of way,” Tumlin told Around Town. “I think he’s got six of them. (City Public Works director) Dan Conn’s going to find a place where we would put them on a public right of way where a warning would help. Anderson Street would probably be a good place to start.”
AND THAT’S NOT THE ONLY PARKING SAGA DOWNTOWN these days. Turns out the pricey electronic gate system the city bought for the entrance of City Hall’s parking deck last month has been “a disaster,” not working more than two consecutive days at a time, the city’s deputy city manager, Shannon Barrett, told Around Town on Monday.
It’s not the gates that lead to the lower deck for staff parking that are the problem, but the gate that controls access to the public spaces on the upper level of the deck. Sometimes the ticket machine refuses to spit out a ticket when someone tries to enter, and other times it fails to recognize the ticket as the driver tries to exit. As a result, the city has simply left the public gate open until it figures out what is to be done, she said.
The city paid ITA of Georgia $81,775 for the gate system while it was making other improvements to the deck, totaling a cost of $154,000.
MORE THAN 1,500 supporters of school choice from around the metro area are expected to rally today at the state Capitol in Atlanta. Speakers at the 10 a.m. rally will include state Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) and state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Austell), reports spokeswoman Sarah Douglas of Cobb. For more, go to www.schoolchoicerally.com.
A CHRISTIAN SCHOOL for elementary and middle-school students with dyslexia will open just off Marietta Square this fall. Heading its board will be Georgia Educational Training Agency head Brenda Fitzgerald, who also is on the board of the Georgia International Dyslexic Association.
An informational meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at StoneBridge Church, 176 Roswell St., in downtown Marietta. For more info contact Angie Strack at (678) 472-2023. ... The Cobb Republican Womens’ Club hands out awards and installs new officers at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Marietta Hilton Conference Center on Powder Springs Road. ... The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is sponsoring a leadership breakfast titled “Breaking Down Barriers to High Quality Education in Georgia” will be at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at The Georgian Club.
The panel discussion will feature Lisa Kelly, president of the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program; Dean Alford, president and chief executive officer of Allied Energy Services, and Lisa Gillis, president of Integrated Educational Strategies.
PRESIDENTIAL candidate Newt Gingrich set a couple of personal “firsts’ on Saturday with his runaway victory in the South Carolina Primary. For starters, the 240,000 votes he received were the most he had ever garnered in an election before. His prior record was set in 1996, when as the incumbent Sixth District Congressman representing a mostly east Cobb district he got 175,155 (or 58 percent of the vote) to defeat Democrat Michael Coles, who was best known as the founder of The American Cookie Co. That was the former House Speaker’s electoral high-water mark until now, as in 1998 (a non-presidential year) he pulled just 164,966 (or 71 percent) while running against Democratic lawyer Gary “Bats” Pelphrey of Marietta.
Gingrich’s other “first” set Saturday was that it marked the first time he had ever won a statewide race for anything.
Closer to home, politicos are already speculating on how Gingrich will fare in his former congressional district. Cobb County as a whole gave Mitt Romney 33,622 votes, or 37.8 percent, in the 2008 GOP presidential primary. Eventual nominee John McCain, another moderate, came in second with 26,280 votes, or 29.5 percent. In third place was Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who was just starting to gain traction with voters and had been a virtual unknown in Georgia just two or three weeks earlier, with 25,258 votes, or 28.4 percent. Coming in last was Ron Paul with just 2,684 votes, or 3 percent.
Translated, that means nearly 7 of every 10 votes that year cast in Cobb went to moderate GOP candidates. Will that hold true this year as well?
MEANWHILE, one of Gingrich’s top strategists told Around Town the candidate is approaching the upcoming July 31 Florida GOP Primary as the first “multi-state” primary, even though it only involves one state. That is, the Sunshine State is so big geographically and so diverse demographically that it is far more complex than any of the states on the campaign schedule thus far.
“You’ve got the Panhandle, which basically (votes like) South Carolina,” he said. “You’ve got the Jacksonville area, which has lots of upscale Republicans and retired military officers. You’ve got the central part of the state, which has got lots of retirement communities. And you’ve got South Florida, which is heavily Cuban-American and Jewish.” Plus, the state is so big that “You just can’t do it by bus” like you can South Carolina or New Hampshire, he said.
In related news, you can look for a prominent former U.S. Senator from a Southern state to endorse Gingrich today or tomorrow, the operative predicted.
COBB LANDMARKS & HISTORICAL SOCIETY handed out its annual awards Jan. 17 at The Anderson House, with a combination Preservation and Special Recognition Award going to Douglas Frey and Jim DiVitale, coauthors of the fabulous new book “Marietta: The Gem City of Georgia.”
Retiring Root House curator Maryellen Higginbotham was presented the James and Florrie Corley Award for Lifetime Achievement; Nancy and Sandy Edwards were given an Award of Appreciation for letting Cobb Landmarks use The Anderson House its headquarters; Roberta Cook was given a Preservation Award for her work on the Johnston River Line Historic Area in south Cobb; Theresa Jenkins was honored for her 28 years heading the Marietta Welcome Center; and president Scott Mackay and VP Jay Dement of the Kennesaw Mountain Trail Club were honored for that group’s work maintaining the trails at the battlefield park.
Corporate Sponsor of the Year Award went to Jim Kelley of the CPA firm Kelley, Bosholl, Toole & Ellison for its labors on behalf of the organization the past 15 years, reports CL’s Becky Paden.
THE FEMALE HALF of the “Greatest Generation” will be on full display Friday evening at the Marietta Museum of History. That’s when the Fielding Lewis Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will present two volumes of published oral histories from 36 chapter members sharing their memories of the World War II era. In addition, a number of the women who shared those memories will be on hand as well, reports Museum curator Amy Reed.
Among those who took part include Virginia Jenkins Bickers, who was a Marietta High School student at the time; war bride Evylene Anderson Canup; Barbara Foster McPherson, a Marietta High grad/Bell Bomber stenographer; and Beverly Cobb Amacker, a pre-schooler during the war who had a family member who commuted to the Bell plant in Marietta via horseback, according to chapter Heritage Chairwoman Teresa Roby.
The public is invited to interview, photograph or film Friday’s 11 a.m. event, Reed added.