Around Town: For one night at least, Cobb again to be center of the Republican universe
by Otis Brumby, Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
May 01, 2012 12:00 AM | 5827 views | 12 12 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
COBB HAS OFTEN been called “the center of the Republican universe” — or at least the part of that universe that includes Georgia. And that will certainly be true on the evening of June 11.

That’s when Republican presidential candidate and likely nominee Mitt Romney will return here for a fundraiser and private dinner at the Cobb Galleria Centre and the Cobb Energy Centre.

The evening will begin with a general reception at $1,000 per person/$2,000 per couple, followed by a VIP session at $5,000 per person/$10,000 per couple. There also will be a host committee private reception with the candidate at $25,000.

Or, should you desire to break bread with Romney, a dinner will follow at a private home for “founding members of Romney Victory,” his umbrella fundraising committee. Cost? Just $50,000 per person or $100,000 per couple. Dinners at that price hopefully include lots of chocolate and no Brussels sprouts or broccoli. …

This won’t be Romney’s first touch-down in Cobb. You’ll recall that last June he toured Kenny’s Great Pies in Smyrna as part of a Georgia campaign swing, with Attorney General Sam Olens, Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon and Cobb Chamber CEO David Connell in tow.

DELEGATES: Joe Dendy, chairman of the Cobb Republican Party; Barbara Hickey, chair for the Cobb Republican Women’s Club; and Patrick Burns, a former aide to Speaker Newt Gingrich in the 1990s, have been chosen to represent Cobb at the upcoming Republican National Convention in Tampa.

An additional 31 delegates and 31 alternates from Georgia will be selected on a statewide basis at the upcoming state party convention in Columbus on May 19. And considering how dominant Cobb is in the state party, and it’s likely that some of those 62 people will be from Cobb as well.

Hickey, a grandmother of four who lives in Mableton with her husband, Jim, and runs The Etiquette School of Atlanta, said this will be her first time as a delegate.

“I’m in awe,” Hickey said. “I’m just in awe of this because I was a political junkie as a little kid.”

Dendy, a grandfather of 10 who lives in west Cobb with his wife, Billie, served as an alternate at the 2008 convention in Saint Paul, Minn.

Burns, a father of three who lives in east Cobb with his wife, Mary, and who works as president and CEO of ARC 3 Communications, said he served as an alternate at the 2004 New York Convention.

“I’m very happy to represent Cobb County and represent the 6th District of Georgia. I’m very much looking forward to it,” Burns said.


WITH A RE-VOTE ON HARRISON HIGH’S ninth-grade center scheduled for the Cobb County School District’s May 9 work session, some board watchers have suggested the board might be bending its rules by bringing the matter back up. They contend the board is not allowed to return an item to the agenda for another vote unless a board member has announced plans to change his vote on the second go-round.

But not so, according to board chair Scott Sweeney, who says there is no limit on how many times something can be placed on the agenda.

“Items may be placed on the work session agenda by the superintendent, the board chair, and any board member with approval of the chair, or through a request by any two board members.” Additionally, Sweeney said that while a majority of times they don’t vote on items at the work sessions, “the board policy also states that ‘If action is needed on an emergency or time-sensitive item, specific action may be taken.’”

The project may not be considered an emergency build but there could be some time sensitivity that comes into play. If the board decided to approve it as recommended in a re-vote, the project is on tap to be completed July 2013. Delaying construction any later than that could result in kids trying to return to school for the 2013-14 school year and not having a finished ninth-grade center.

None of those who voted against the center earlier are believed to be ready to switch their vote in favor of it should it come back up for a vote. The most likely vote-changer might be Vice Chair David Morgan, who voted for the location of school and hiring of an architect in February 2011 but then, in an apparent bit of political payback, voted against the project in March.


ONE OF THE MOST AVIDLY CONTESTED RACES this spring and summer is likely to be the one between lawyers Rebecca Keaton and John Skelton to succeed longtime Cobb Superior Court Clerk Jay Stephenson, who is retiring.

Keaton’s report shows she raised $31,625 during the first quarter, including a $25,000 loan from herself to her campaign. Her total contributions to date were $51,765, with cash on hand of $48,814. Her biggest contributors were lawyers Lance Cooper and Bill Gentry and former State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine ($1,000 each).

Also notable were contributions of $500 from Marietta lawyer Tom Cauthorn, $250 from Cobb Superior Court Senior Judge Grant Brantley, $250 from former National GOP Committeewoman Carolyn Meadows, $200 from The Committee to Elect Judge (Harris) Adams to the Court of Appeals, $100 from John Sours, administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection, and nearly $1,000 in in-kind contributions from the Marietta law firm of Browning & Smith.

Skelton reported $13,301 in contributions thus far in his campaign, all of it since Jan. 1; and had cash on hand of $8,755. His biggest donation was $9,600 in in-kind services from Eureka Laboratories of Marietta, a graphic arts company owned by Elva Dornbusch, chief deputy clerk under Stephenson. Dornbush had planned to run for clerk herself, with Skelton running as her chief deputy, but dropped out late last year for health reasons. Skelton at that point announced he would run as clerk, rather than deputy. Skelton’s second-largest donation was $2,500 from Stephenson.

Other noteworthy contributions included $1,000 from attorney Mitch Durham; $500 from attorney Danny Schulman of Marietta; $500 from the Barnes Law Group headed by former Gov. Roy Barnes of Marietta; $300 from J.D. Westbrook of Elon Salon; $250 from lawyer Matt Flournoy; and $200 each from retired Cobb State Court Judge Beverly Collins and banker Joe Daniell of Vinings.

LOCAL PRESERVATIONISTS will hold a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 21 at the historic Anderson House, 65 Whitlock Ave., reports spokeswoman Becky Paden. Sponsors are the Marietta Historic Preservation Commission, the Marietta Historic Board of Review, the Cobb Historic Preservation Commission, Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society and the Cobb Preservation Foundation. ... Lyric Resmondo and Jay Garten will host a “meet the candidate” reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday for Marietta Council Ward 4 candidate Patti Pearlberg at 1032 Park Manor Terrace, Marietta.

VETERAN KENNESAW rocker Roger “Hurricane” Wilson’s drew a nice-sized crowd for his late-afternoon set at the Taste of Marietta on Sunday. His latest CD is a joint effort with the late Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. Smith was best known for his “shuffle-style” playing as drummer for blues legend Muddy Waters, but also was an accomplished vocalist and harmonica player. Wilson and Smith toured the country as a duet from 2008-10, and the CD in question was recorded at a show in Harrisburg, Pa. For more, go to

COBB’S first-ever “Helicopter Day” will be from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the Aviation Wing of the Marietta Museum of History. That’s when an array of law enforcement, emergency and media helicopters will be on display. Among those slated to be present are machines from AirLife Georgia, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Georgia State Patrol.

Organizers also are hoping to secure a UH-60 BlackHawk Medevac chopper and UH-72 Lakota helicopter based at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, and there’s also a possibility that the “StormChaser” helicopter from a local TV station will be on hand, reports organizer Bob Williams. In addition, Blue Ridge Helicopters will be selling rides to Kennesaw Mountain that day for $35 per person, with a portion of the proceeds being given to the museum.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
May 01, 2012
Cool, another day for a helicopter ride! My son and I will be back at the Aviation Wing Saturday.
Fishy in Cobb
May 01, 2012
@ John Skelton,

Thank you for clarification on the incorrect invoice issue.

How does one submit such a big difference in $$$$ like that so incorrectly??? “If” this was by one of your campaign member(s) who submitted the wrong information then one would only have to ask oneself if this is something we should expect to see on a regular basis if you are elected?? Money in Cobb County is a very important issue and all monies need to be properly and accurately accounted for period.

And can you please explain the flip flop with you and Elva Dornbush? First she runs for the Clerk’s job picks you as her CDC “chief deputy clerk”, then withdrawals for “health reasons” and in a two week turn around you are now running for the Clerk’s job and picks her as your CDC. Chief Deputy Clerk ????

No matter how I look at it. It all sounds and looks fishy. Rebecca Keaton you have my Vote!!

Bob Williams
May 01, 2012

The "Storm Chaser" is an SUV equipped with some really neat weather tracking equipment. The local TV station that has this vehicle called me indicating they will not be able to bring this vehicle out on Saturday. Also, the Georgia State Patrol notified me this afternoon that they will not be able to participate either due to newly imposed flight restrictions to conserve maintenance on aircraft. Regardless, there will be plenty of aircraft and other vehicles to see at the Aviation Wing on Saturday, so come on by to see us. Parking and admission for this event is free.
Cobb EMC Member
May 01, 2012
Can't wait to see the guess lists for all of this fine dining with Romney - Maybe one of the guests would like to buy the naming rights to the Cobb EMC Center - hear they can be had, along with a box and likely meal ticket on the cheap - Where is Dwight Brown when it's time to waste member money ?
May 01, 2012

Hmmm let’s review the MDJ timeline:

Chief Deputy Clerk Elva Dornbush reported to the MDJ back months ago that she is running for her bosses’ job Jay Stephenson Clerk of Superior Court. Note to self “she was his personal secretary prior to becoming CDC” and announces that she picked John Skelton as her chief deputy clerk.

Two weeks later, she reports back to the MDJ that for “health reasons” she will not running and she has encouraged Mr. Skelton to run.

Two weeks later “give or take later”, Mr. Skelton reports to the MDJ that he is running for Mr. Stephenson position and has selected Ms. Dornbush to be his chief deputy clerk. We as Cobb County residents deserve a Superior Court Clerk that has uncompromising Integrity.

Just saying………..

May 01, 2012
Ummm, excuse me, but isn't the maximum contribution limit well under the $9,600 Skelton took from the company owned by the Chief Deputy Clerk and what is the Chief Deputy Clerk doing running a company when she is also working for the taxpayers?
John Skelton
May 01, 2012
Teed-off is correct about maximum contributions, but the problem was an incorrect invoice that was submitted to the campaign. It should have read $960, and not $9,600. I am in the process of correcting the report with the State Ethics Commission. I am glad to see that folks are paying attention out there. However, for the sake of accuracy, please note that the company that provided the services is not owned by Elva Dornbusch, but rather her son and daughter-in-law.
Cobb Taxpayer
May 01, 2012
John Skelton is a bright young attorney with a vision to lead this county operation into the 21st century - he will get out votes for integrity !
May 01, 2012
Excuse me Mr. Skelton...since it is an in-kind contribution, how do we know the value except what you reported? If I accepted a nearly $10,000 contribution and got caught, I guess I might also say, "Whoops, I meant $1000!"

Also, if it was the invoice that was incorrect, why did you not know the law well enough to say, "Wait, I can't accept this. It's illegal."

Aren't you a lawyer or did I read that wrong? Aren't lawyers supposed to know the law?

Also, if you made that big of mistake on something as simple as your disclosure, what kind of mistakes are you going to make when you are charged with keeping up with hundreds if not thousands of documents that come in daily?

But I guess it's all okay so long as it's in the Dornbush family.

Cobb Taxpayer...starting your campaign with a campaign ethics scandal doesn't seem to speak too much for "intregity."
May 01, 2012
being in the center of the "Republican universe" is like being the center of a doesn't amount to much.
great comment
May 04, 2012
rjsnh, that is just priceless. Thank you for a great Friday morning chuckle!
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