“I sincerely believe Tim Lee is a mirror image of Barack Obama and that Obama’s policies have placed this country in peril, and the voters are going to have to make a decision as to which direction our country is going to go,” Byrne said in a Friday interview. “Tim Lee has done the same thing in Cobb County,
furloughing public safety and increasing their taxes by 16 percent and their water bills by 12 percent and then authoring a TSPLOST proposal that benefits the city of Atlanta, not Cobb County, and with his commitment to the Chamber of Commerce versus Cobb County residents, the voters are going to have to determine what direction our future is going to be, and I sincerely believe that if they reelect Tim Lee we’re going to become a mirror image of Gwinnett County, and we are watching them implode as we speak because of the political turmoil that is going on there.”
Byrne said voters need not take his word for it. Just look at Lee’s record in word and deed from raising property taxes to Lee’s reference that opponents of the TSPLOST were spoiled brats and racists.
“I sincerely believe that if the TSPLOST passes and that rail line happens — we don’t bring Cobb County to Atlanta we bring Atlanta to Cobb County — and that is going to dramatically change our future,” Byrne said.
Byrne agrees that the establishment is backing Lee. Just look at the names on the host committee for Lee’s recent fundraiser, including Chamber CEO David Connell, Atlanta Regional Commission Chairman Tad Leithead, Cumberland Community Improvement board member Connie Engel, former Cobb EMC board member Johnny Gresham, lobbyists Michael Paris and Chuck Clay and banker Clark Hungerford.
“All of those people have self serving interests, and they believe that Tim Lee can best serve their business interests by going the regional approach, and they clearly like the way he’s doing business,” Byrne said. “I am just the opposite. I’ve said this before, my opponents are far bigger than Tim Lee. They begin with the Governor, Gov. Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, you have the Speaker of the House David Ralston, you have our own Attorney General Sam Olens, and you have the Secretary of State (Brian Kemp). Those are the five most powerful Republicans in the state of Georgia, all proponents and fundraisers for the passage of this TSPLOST, and I’m their lone enemy in Cobb County. Then you add on to that the Chambers of Commerce plural, and the two CIDs, and all of the people you’ve just mentioned, which are all tied to those people or those groups, and the battle is between all of them and me. They know that if I prevail they’re all out, and there would be radical changes in the way Cobb County does business, and they will not be welcome, and they know it, and this is a very, very major period of time for them, because as they see it their financial future is tied to this election.”
In a recent letter to the editor, Richard Hodges of east Cobb described the Byrne campaign as “advocating a narrow and arrogant provincialism” compared to Lee’s “courageous and visionary leadership throughout the region.”
Asked about those comments, Byrne said he hadn’t read the letter, but “I would say he’s probably very accurate. I might not have used the exact terminology. Tim has been convinced that Cobb County’s future is tied to the future of the region, and that Cobb’s best interests are to focus on regional issues as being more important than county issues. And I am just the reverse. I believe that county government has to take care of Cobb County first, and we are the economic leaders of our region, and the rest of the region can follow us, so I think that analysis is very clear. We’re either going to grow as the region determines we’re going to grow or Cobb County is going to grow as Cobb County people decide we’re going to grow. There’s a complete difference of philosophy and policies, and (the letter writer) is pretty close to defining the difference. I don’t think I would have used the word ‘arrogant,’ I would use the word ‘concern,’ concern for Cobb County’s future, rather than concern for the region’s future.”
After campaigning all year, Byrne said he is more excited than ever over the countdown to election day.
“It isn’t until after the July 4th holiday when voters begin to pay attention,” he said. “So we’re going into this and we passionately believe — in Cobb County, anyway — that we’re going to be able to defeat this TSPLOST, and I personally believe if the TSPLOST fails, Tim Lee fails. If it wins, he wins. And I think both are going to fail, and we’re getting all kinds of encouragement from people literally coming out of the woodwork wanting to know what they can do to help. The one thing Tim Lee cannot do is hide his track record, and people either know about it or are finding out about it, and they don’t like it.”