Voters are being asked to extend the 1 percent sales tax for another five years, through 2018, with the combined $773.3 million in expected proceeds to be shared by the Cobb and Marietta school systems. It would be the fourth Ed-SPLOST passed in the county.
Elected officials are often criticized, with some justification, for seeing SPLOST revenue as an “entitlement.” But even so, they don’t take passage of SPLOST or bond referendums for granted. Cobb voters rejected the first Ed-SPLOST ever put to them, back in 1997, and at other times have rejected county road SPLOSTs and parks bonds.
Most notably, voters in Cobb and the metro area resoundingly rejected last summer’s 10-year Transportation SPLOST referendum by a two-to-one margin.
The hoopla surrounding today’s vote, both pro and con, pales in comparison with what we saw last summer. Not only are the stakes and dollar figures involved smaller, but today’s vote is a stand-alone special election with miniscule turnout expected. Last summer’s TSPLOST vote took place in conjunction with the party primaries, which were swarmed with candidates and saw high turnout (31.3 percent).
Cobb Elections Supervisor Janine Eveler told Around Town on Monday she expects turnout will be only “in the low double digits.”
“Advance voting was similar to the 2011 SPLOST, which had a final turnout of 11 percent, so (turnout) should be similar,” she said.
But although overall turnout is expected to be light at best, its supporters expect to see strong turnout among various constituencies with a vested interest in seeing the SPLOST pass, such as local educators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and so on. Don’t forget that the Cobb school system is the county’s biggest public employer with more than 14,000 staffers. Add in the spouses and other family members of those voters, plus the Marietta system’s 1,100 or so employees and their families, and that could well be sufficient votes to pass the SPLOST without any help from anywhere else.
Polls will be open today from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. See you there!
COBB TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION head Lance Lamberton says his group plans an election night party starting at 6:30 p.m. this evening at Williamson Brothers BBQ on Roswell Road.
THE FIRST Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II with a center wing assembly (or CWA) built at the company’s Marietta plant was flown for the first time earlier this month at the LM plant in Fort Worth.
The aircraft, known as BF-25, is an F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing variant that will be delivered to the Marine Corps at Yuma, Ariz.
The CWA represents approximately one quarter of the aircraft’s fuselage, and approximately 350 people work on the F-35 program in Marietta.
In addition to building the CWAs, technicians also apply specialized stealth coatings to F-35 horizontal and vertical tail control assemblies and also coat spare and repaired aircraft doors, panels and covers. The Lockheed plant is producing one of the CWAs nearly every week.
IT WAS “BUSINESS AS USUAL” for those attending the Cobb Chamber’s March 4 “First Monday Breakfast” — but it was anything but normal that morning for those in the kitchen of the Cobb Galleria Centre, where the event took place.
As chefs were preparing to feed the 380 attendees that morning, one of the cooks had a severe cardiac arrest and collapsed.
Executive Chef Nick Walker and Sous Chef Nick Long quickly called 911 and building security. Officers Byron Moss and Nevin Hillegass were first on the scene and found the employee unresponsive on the kitchen floor with no pulse or respiration. The officers administered CPR to no avail, then used an Automated External Defibrillator to administer a shock. Moments later, the worker resumed breathing. He was whisked to WellStar Kennestone Hospital by ambulance after Cobb Police and Fire arrived, where he underwent immediate open-heart surgery and is recovering.
“Police officers and fireman told our public safety director, ‘Your officers saved that man’s life,’” Galleria marketing manager Karen Caro told Around Town.
PEOPLE: The farewell party for longtime Cobb deputy District Attorney Van Pearlberg will be in the Jury Assembly Room on the first floor of the new Cobb Superior Court Building, and will take place March 28, not on his final day in the office as earlier reported. Pearlberg is leaving to become senior assistant attorney general under state Attorney General Sam Olens. ... Retired Cobb educator Glynn Mathis has been named a lifetime member of the Georgia Southwestern State University’s Alumni Association board. Mathis spent 33 years as a teacher, coach and administrator, mostly with Cobb schools. He’s also a charter member of the Marietta Golden K Kiwanis Club. …
YARBROUGH BEAT: MDJ columnist Dick Yarbrough is putting his money where his heart is — at the University of Georgia. Around Town has learned that he plans to announce at a March 26 luncheon the gift of $1.57 million via his estate to create the C. Richard Yarbrough Chair in Crisis Communications Leadership at UGA’s Grady School of Journalism.
An additional gift from Yarbrough and his wife, Jane, will establish the Yarbrough Professorship, which will become the chair, bringing the total of their gifts and pledges to Grady to nearly $2 million.
The ceremony will feature taped tributes from U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson and former Atlanta Olympics Committee Chair Billy Payne.
Meanwhile, Around Town has learned that Gov. Nathan Deal’s office will announce on Friday that the columnist has been appointed to the state Board of Juvenile Justice representing the 11th Congressional District.
And also on Friday, Yarbrough will be in the Capitol where it will be announced that he has been selected to paint a portrait of the late Dick Pettys, the longtime Associated Press reporter who was the dean of the Capitol press corps until shortly before his untimely passing last year. Yarbrough’s painting will be officially dedicated next session.
“It has been an amazing week,” Yarbrough told Around Town on Monday.
POLITICS: Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee held a “Retire the Debt Party” Thursday at the home of Dan and Mary Lou Stephens in Marietta. Suggested minimum contribution to attend was $500. …
“The Committee to Keep Barry Morgan Cobb County Solicitor General” will hold a campaign kickoff from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on April 2 at the offices of Gentry, Smith, Dettmering, Morgan & Schnatmeier. RSVP to Phyllis Gingrey Collins at (678) 486-7050.
MARIETTA will host The Garden Club of Georgia’s 85th annual convention April 16-18 at the Marietta Hilton/Conference Center, with an opening reception sponsored by the Friends of Brumby Hall showing off antebellum Brumby Hall next door and its gardens.
THIRSTY? Then you might want to wander into Atherton Square next to the Marietta Welcome Center, where Around Town has learned that beer and wine tastings will take place in conjunction with the “First Friday Art Walks” in downtown Marietta on the first Friday of each month in April through October.
Welcome Center director Theresa Jenkins said details will be forthcoming.