Cobb Commission approves backyard chickens but says no to immigration program
by Jon Gillooly
February 27, 2013 01:24 AM | 9143 views | 59 59 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb residents line up Tuesday night to express their opinions on the federal IMAGE program, which ensures employees are legally able to work in the U.S., and the proposed code amendment on backyard chickens.<br>Staff/Todd Hull
Cobb residents line up Tuesday night to express their opinions on the federal IMAGE program, which ensures employees are legally able to work in the U.S., and the proposed code amendment on backyard chickens.
Staff/Todd Hull
slideshow
From left, the votes were Bob Ott: Chickens, yes, IMAGE, yes; Helen Goreham, Chickens, yes, IMAGE, no; Tim Lee: Chickens, no, IMAGE, no; Lisa Cupid: Chickens, yes, IMAGE no; JoAnn Birrell: Chickens, no, IMAGE, yes.<br>Staff/Todd Hull
From left, the votes were Bob Ott: Chickens, yes, IMAGE, yes; Helen Goreham, Chickens, yes, IMAGE, no; Tim Lee: Chickens, no, IMAGE, no; Lisa Cupid: Chickens, yes, IMAGE no; JoAnn Birrell: Chickens, no, IMAGE, yes.
Staff/Todd Hull
slideshow
The Cobb Board of Commissioners meeting room was packed for Tuesday night’s meeting on the issues of chickens and IMAGE.<br>Staff/Todd Hull
The Cobb Board of Commissioners meeting room was packed for Tuesday night’s meeting on the issues of chickens and IMAGE.
Staff/Todd Hull
slideshow
A proposal to allow federal agents to review the hiring records of county contractors to ensure employees are legally able to work in the U.S. was voted down by the Cobb Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

In addition, commissioners approved a code change that would allow property owners who want to have hens on fewer than two acres to apply for a variance with the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals.

The meeting began with more than 30 speakers addressing commissioners on the topics of chickens and the legal employment proposal.

Public support for IMAGE


Nearly all of those who spoke on the legal employment proposal urged the board to pass it.

Norm DeWalt of north Cobb asked the board to approve the proposal to require county contractors to enroll in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers.

“To vote against IMAGE is nothing more than supporting economic terrorism,” DeWalt said. “These people are illegal aliens. They’re coming here, and they’re taking Americans’ jobs, so I appreciate you supporting it.”

Susan Stanton of Kennesaw also urged the board to pass the proposal, offered by commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell.

“As you can see, we again are hiring illegal aliens to build our buildings,” Stanton said. “They shouldn’t be here. It’s time we put our foot down, protect our people, our workers and restore our integrity.”

Patricia Hay of Mableton said she supports IMAGE because she wants her children to have employment.

“I want legal residents of the United States to be employed, and if you don’t support IMAGE, if you vote against it, then obviously you’re voting to have illegal aliens have jobs over U.S. citizens and legal residents and I want my children to be employed,” Hay said.

In a reference to Lee, Maxine Saless of east Cobb said, “I am very disappointed in people who run on one political platform and then change their mind.”

Commissioners discuss alternatives

Commissioner Lisa Cupid suggested there were alternatives to accomplishing the goal of eliminating illegal workers from receiving county funds. She suggested random audits take place for the companies with which the county contracts. And if a company was found to have employed illegal workers, she suggested they be fined. She also supported bringing in ICE to conduct training.

Lee revealed that WellStar Health System had informed him it would not enroll in the IMAGE program if the county approved it.

“Right now the sheriff has services being provided to him by an entity for medical care for the inmates in the jail, and it’s being provided at a reduced cost by WellStar Health System,” Lee said. “WellStar Health System told me they will not go through the process of applying for IMAGE for over 12,000 employees for the volunteer program, which means they immediately become ineligible for the contract under the way this was written. Which means, of course, that we now have to go to the next best provider at whatever cost that is which no doubt will be higher, assuming we can find someone who is willing to provide health care to our inmates and apply to IMAGE.”

Lee called the proposal bad policy. He said he agreed with some of Cupid’s suggestions and called for exploring them in the near future.

“If we really want to make it with teeth, we tell our vendors that if you are caught with an illegal immigrant you will never work with Cobb County again,” Lee said.

Commissioners Helen Goreham, Cupid and Lee voted against the proposal, while Ott and Birrell voted for it.

After the meeting, Michael Opitz of east Cobb expressed his disappointment with Lee, Goreham and Cupid.

“We have a major illegal immigration problem in Georgia,” Opitz said. “It’s larger than Arizona, and we continue having people vote against the best interest of Georgia, our nation, our county, and I have to question their motives.”

The fact is there are entities in the state and county who did not want to see the proposal pass, Opitz said.

“They mentioned WellStar, they mentioned several companies, so you can only imagine that companies brought pressure to them and then you have to ask why because good government and good governance is not hiring people who are not supposed to be in your country illegally and hurt the employment prospects of American citizens,” Opitz said. “We have a problem, and these people are on the wrong side of the issue.”

Support for hen proposal

Just about all of the speakers at the meeting said they favored allowing hens on fewer than two acres.

Bob Harber of Smyrna said the board should leave chickens alone.

“Personally I think you’re wasting your time trying to regulate chickens,” Harber said. “No. 1, they are not a traffic hazard. Where you could spend your time on is asking Cobb’s finest to enforce these illegals jaywalking on all major highways. That is the traffic hazard, and if you have a fatality that takes your police department four or five hours to investigate that. I think you should spend more time on that than worrying about chickens.”

The commission voted 3-2 for the code change with Lee and Birrell opposed.

Comments
(59)
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mk- the real truth
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March 03, 2013
In May 2012, Mexican workers sent home 7,096 transfers, totaling $2.34 BILLION.

That was just one month!

Between June 2009 and June 2010 immigrants (including illegal aliens) gained 656,000 jobs, while U.S. born workers lost 1.2 million jobs.

57% of immigrants admitted to being non-citizens.

Remittances from the U.S. is Mexico's 2nd largest source of income, 2nd only to the oil industry.

Remittances to Mexico from the U.S. in 2009 totaled $21.2 billion.

Inter-American Development bank reported that in 2009 alone, all of Latin American countries received 69.2 billion.

All government entities(local and federal)are working against the American citizens and against America.

The Truth
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March 02, 2013
I am very glad that the Chairman and Commissioners Goreham and Cupid voted the way they did on this DA King/Ott show. DA King is a criminal and Ott used him like he does many others. We would be much better off if they both took their road show to anther community. We don't need or have any use of their racist views
Sheriff Warren
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February 28, 2013
Please do a raid in combo with ICE at the new Smyrna Elementary school and the new roads surrounding it.

If the sheriff won't, maybe the MDJ could go out to the jobsite and do some snooping.
I propose-
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February 28, 2013
Send the illegals back where they came from and let them deal with their own corrupt governments.

Then and only then, will the displaced Americans be able to find jobs again.

The wages are too depressed by cheap labor and do not reflect a true living wage at this time.
anonymous
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February 28, 2013
Get absolutely real, will you? "Illegals" have not taken jobs from the IT world, the corporate world, the white collar jobs. More drama, theatrics, bully talk, and just plain ignorance. If we send all "illegals" back, then our unemployment rate drops to zero and all can make the "true living wage" of $7 plus change bucks an hour? Pleezzee. Send them all back and the only thing that will change is your lawn service will triple this summer.
Rich Pellegrino
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February 28, 2013
Here is what I propose: a jobs program to help those who are out of work to find jobs so they don't have time to waste blaming and scapegoating others. We have CobbWorks and other programs. And I will guarantee a job to anyone who follows my job search program.

The facts are that there are plenty of jobs for those who really want to work, and that undocumented immigrants don't take anyone's jobs but actually create jobs by their buying power and taxes paid.

So this is all really a non-issue and smoke screen for other motives.
mary kirkendoll
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February 28, 2013
Pelligrino, you are pathetic.

You are simply a willing partner in the criminal enterprise of illegal alien labor. And yes, that puts you in the same class with the county commissioners and the contractors that use illegal aliens on their crews.

I wouldn't come to you for anything, if you were the last person on the planet.

You are a traitor to this country.

Need Your Help Rich
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February 28, 2013
Hi, Rich. I am more than serious. I want your help. My daughter is in need of a job and in spite of sending out tons of resumes, she cannot find one. I do not think for one second the reason she can't find one is because of anybody. I just think companies are so overloaded with resumes, that is the problem. Also, she has taken the last 2 years off to be with my grandchild who was born with birth defects that have since been fixed. How do I find out about your job search program? I am most interested in my daughter following it. I told her maybe we are on to something and she is excited about possibly getting suggestions from you. She does not live in Cobb; she lives in Fulton. I live in Cobb.
anonymous
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February 27, 2013
The pictures look like an AARP meeting to me.
Sheriff Warren
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February 27, 2013
There is road work on Casteel Road at Dallas Highway. I counted 7 Hispanic workers standing there. Why isn't ICE out there checking workers on the road crews that are paid for with taxpayer dollars?
Rich Pellegrino
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February 28, 2013
Hmmm Sheriff Warren...I guess you are for racial profiling then? Aren't there tens of thousands of Hispanic citizens? Pardon me...your slip is showing.
The Truth
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March 02, 2013
Careful there, Sheriff. It was the courthouse construction that started this mess. And who is in charge of the courthouse? Careful to throw stones since they may come back to you!
Also There
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February 27, 2013
What the prevailing side on IMAGE explained, was that they are in favor of something much stronger, and locally enforced, than another federal program. The unintended consequences of the proposal were spelled out by Lee and were pretty dramatic. I heard several people indicate they had changed their minds. I was one of those. The 2 commissioners making the proposal sounded right until the three opposed had equal time. The latter were so persuasive one would have thought Birrell might change her mind, but it wasn't to be. I am convinced the county is on the right track and came away satisfied.
truthbetold2us
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February 27, 2013
The unintended consequences as you describe were not truthfully told. They were embellished and made to scare just like Obama is doing now with the pending sequestration. I doubt Birrell was ever going to change her mind because she believes she and the other commissioner who voted her way are right in trying to follow the law. I agree with them. I have a hard time believing anything Lee says. He's lied to us before so why should it be different now?
Marie in Marietta
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February 27, 2013
Nice try Tim. We can still see you! So the county can do it betetr than the feds...right? Too funny. And: GOODBYE HELEN
mk-please.....
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February 28, 2013
...locally enforced,... what a joke!!

Oxymoron.

It's called lip service, buying time.

The practice of using the cheap illegal labor is widespread and very clear to the commissioners and everyone else that isn't asleep.

Elected officials intend to do nothing.

If they had ANY intentions to do the right thing, they could have very easily said, lets let ICE do the initial audits with IMAGE, WHILE we work on an ordinance with real meaning and teeth.

Ain't gonna happen.

Too much PROFITS at stake.

It's a money abyss.

The county and local entities are party to this criminal practice!
Crow or Bark
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February 27, 2013
Does the new chicken ordinance only apply to chickens being allowed or residents allowed to have roosters also? I sure hope not. My neighbor in the City of Marietta has had chickens for years and I hear them ALL the time.

But I must admit, the chickens are not as loud as the neighbor's barking dog. The difference between a barking dog and a rooster would be the dog barked only occasionally and the rooster crowed EVERY day.

It all comes down to consideration and that trait among people is fading.
Joseph Pond
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February 27, 2013
The new County Ordinance allows only hens- no roosters. It also does not apply in the city of Marietta!
anonymous
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February 27, 2013
Before you jump on the bash Cobb bandwagon, please be informed about this issue. If Cobb had passed it, Cobb would have become one of the nation’s first counties to pass such an ordinance. If no other counties have adopted the ordinance in the entire nation, I say there is surely something wrong with it. And Cobb is extremely progressive to be one of the first to vote on it. I support Cobb, and I respect and support the voting process whether the outcome is what I would like it to be or not.
Good Bye Helen
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February 27, 2013
An good riddance. Geez you are dumb.And dishonest

DD

West Cobb
The Truth
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March 02, 2013
You need to look in the mirrow when you say this. Helen is the smartest one on the Commission. And she will beat any one who thinks like you.
Peachtree City
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February 27, 2013
We watched your plight with great interest and are sorry the Americans in Cobb lost to the Chamber of Commerce representitives. It should be noted that Tim Lee is known here as one of the state's most ardent Chamber slaves. King almost got it done. The question is, HOW MANY illegal workers will remain on the job on your contractors because of the corrupt nonsense Tim Lee pulled?
Rich Pellegrino
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February 28, 2013
Sorry Peachtree City...but you must have Matt Ramsey disease...there are no illegal workers here and in fact undocumented immigrants are creating jobs by their buying power and taxes paid. Check your facts.
NO IMAGE
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February 28, 2013
Hey Peachtree. The Chamber didn't even take a position on IMAGE so stop trying to set up a straw man. Fact is, all the pressure exerted to pass this repressive, counter-productive ordinance came from convicted felon DA King and his hate-filled followers. Fortunately, level heads prevailed, and we are spared from becoming a backwater of reaction.
IMAGE or DIE!
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February 27, 2013
The drama here is unreal. The threats and name calling...equating the opposing Commissioners as "criminals" and stating they have "harmed fellow Americans." The theatrics and mud slinging here are uncalled for and only hurt any sound opinions in support of IMAGE.

The IMAGE ordinance was presented as a possible means to addressing the issue of illegal immigration, however it was deemed not to be THE solution to addressing illegal immigration in Cobb County.

The long term ramifications of implementing the ordinance was deemed to create a volatile business environment that ultimately leaves Cobb County on the loosing end. Compromises to the services provided by contractors would have to be made resulting in less than the best for the citizens of Cobb.

Every single Commissioner reaffirmed their commitment last night to supporting a legal workforce in Cobb County. Some even put forward ideas of their own that address the issue MORE head on and stringently than IMAGE. Why not move forward with some of those proposition. Cupid hit the nail on the head - why not address the issue at a county level rather than inviting the federal government (which we all know does a poor job anyway) to lord over us. On that same note but at a different angle - comprehensive immigration reform is slated to be addressed this Congress by both GOP and democrats - reform that is going to offer a path to citizenship for all of those here illegally. Why would we ask businesses to allocate resources to IMAGE, especially during these cash strapped times, when they will have done so in vein in the coming months?

Why not take Goreham up on her idea of a task force? Why not press Cupid to lead the effort in materializing her alternative suggestions? Why does it have to be IMAGE or die?

I honestly think there is a ring to the word "ICE" that has become a beacon for those who maintain illegal immigration is the cancer of this country. Let's take a step back and then forge a different path...

Also, there is no denying - more people were concerned about chickens last night than they were the implementation of IMAGE.
Naturale ndsclMa
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February 27, 2013
Amen about the drama, threats, name callng, theatrics, and mud slinging some people post out here. I completely disregard comments that show lack of respect and only read and consider polite ones such as yours that offer sound alternatives.
Marie in Marietta
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February 27, 2013
Hi Helen....we can see you typing
you make sense
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February 27, 2013
Nice to hear a voice of reason. I'f for trying some of the commissioners ideas before caving to another federal program!
Rich Pellegrino
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February 28, 2013
Very wise words indeed!
Cobb votes for Lee
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February 27, 2013
Tim Lee has been won again and again supported by Cobb County voters. To all who think that he is not doing the job they want, remember the majority of voters support him and reelected him, and do not support you and your radical plans. Get over it, he will win again in four years because he really does care about the County and it's people without the theatrics found in letters here on the MDJ website.
truthbetold2us
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February 27, 2013
Please Tim don't break your arm patting yourself on the back
A Taxpayer
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February 27, 2013
OK, Tim! We'll see about that! Personally I don't think you have a chance after you spit in the face of the American worker like you did last night.
anonymous
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February 27, 2013
Isn't there a name for what just happened with larger employers threatening commissioners?

In some circles it's called extortion.
Watcher...
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February 27, 2013
"ananymous" is absolutely correct!

A large portion of revenue to Wellstar probably comes from Illegal Aliens and to make matters worse probably a large chunk of the Illegal revenue is in Medicaid and other welfare payments and direct indigent charge offs, by the Hospital.
I'm moving
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February 27, 2013
This is a sad day where American Citizens put illegal immigrants above their own citizens. I know that Mr. Lee gets lots and lots and lots of money from his contractor buds so no wonder why he was against it. Let's see if you actually audit anyone - like maybe your biggest campaign contributors! You who voted against this aren't looking out for anyone but yourselves. I hope you can live with yourselves.
pack your bags
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February 27, 2013
Would you be willing to pay US citizens a fair wage to roof your house? Or, do you want it done as cheaply as possible by men you know are not citizens, but you turn your head when they are on your property? If you answered no then yes, please move!
JR in Mableton
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February 27, 2013
If Tim Lee, Helen Goreham, and Lisa Cupid are so "unsmart," then why don't one of you run for district commissioner? It's easy to be a critic. It is tough to lead.

Also, take note of how many times the good Cobb County citizens reference the "illegal aliens" (which is code for Mexican) as "THESE PEOPLE."

Maybe you should ask yourself what it would take for THESE PEOPLE to uproot their entire family, enter the US (legally or illegally) to pour concrete, pick lettuce, or work in a poultry plant. Maybe THESE PEOPLE are trying to create a better life for themselves and their families. Maybe THESE PEOPLE are harder workers than most Americans. Maybe THESE PEOPLE understand that America is a land of equal opportunity and are seizing that opportunity.

When did YOUR PEOPLE come to this country? Why did YOUR PEOPLE come to the US?

Maybe YOUR PEOPLE and THESE PEOPLE are not so different after all.

For a county with so many who profess to be Christians, you might want to re-read the story of the good Samaritan.

Finally, since when does the Tea Party crowd in Cobb County look to the federal government for solutions? The IMAGE program is another flawed federal solution. It is a back door tax on business and will kill many of the jobs that you think you are creating or saving.

divananny7
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February 27, 2013
If THESE PEOPLE are so rightous as you imply they are why dont they follow the LAWS, we as US citizens have to. I am sick & tired of THESE PEOPLE being protrayed as "victims" They arent!!!!! we are victims of their breaking our laws. I say run all out of Cobb County, dont need em or want em.
Marie in Marietta
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February 27, 2013
Rich....stop it, you are killing me! hahahahaaa
Pat H
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February 27, 2013
Goreham, Lee, Cupid are traitors and puppets of the Chamber. Time to end the incestuous relationship between the commission and chamber.
mk- flag
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February 27, 2013
I will be flying my American flag upside down.

I urge all who understand the harm that was done to the American people last nite, to do the same.
Julie Smart
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February 27, 2013
This is so wrong. Voters will remember at election time what is going on.....Let the latinos line up with those anchor babies and their hands out for that last dollar sending back to all below the border with those tax free dollars that aren't reported. They say they pay their fair share in taxes....at the grocery store and it goes to the state and then right back into their EBT cards to start the cycle over again. Just remember, we will be getting in line for assistance and there will be no money left to hand out. We need to start adopting or they can start putting limits on children people are having.....Yeah, that is a thought. We will be able to start taing advantage of some of those perks they are getting too.
Rich Pellegrino
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February 28, 2013
Hmmm...these are some of the most racist comments here--but I applaud you for at least you are expressing your real feelings which most of the people fearful of the immigrants won't do--the fact that you are fearful of the the "browning" of America and the loss of white dominance. That is the real underlying issue.
to rich
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February 28, 2013
You are apparently afraid of the truth.

Anchor babies are just that, ANCHORS for illegals.

I understand it's hard for you to comprehend.
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