The story focused primarily on how Cobb residents were using social media like Facebook to show their support for same-sex marriage in the wake of last week’s two high-profile cases argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Everhart’s quotes came at the end of the story and were on the “jump” page, but that didn’t keep them from quickly gaining notice.
“Lord, I’m going to get in trouble over this, but it is not natural for two women or two men to be married,” Everhart said. “If it was natural, they would have the equipment to have a sexual relationship.”
She also predicted there would be wholesale fraud across the country if same-sex marriage is legalized. Straight people might get married and live separately, just in order to get health insurance and other benefits from an employer, she said.
“I just see so much abuse in this it’s unreal,” she said. “There is no way that this is about equality. To me, it’s all about a free ride.”
THE MDJ STORY had attracted nearly 18,000 hits and 130 comments on the MDJonline.com website by mid-afternoon, most, but far from all, critical of Mrs. Everhart.
Wrote “Janimal”: “And why would same sex couples be more likely to commit fraud than heterosexual couples, hmmmm?”
Not surprisingly, comments were much more one-sided in outlets like “The Huffington Post” that recapped the MDJ’s story, where most of the 200 comments were like those from “Barneyjake”: “How can you deny rights to a group because you’re fearful on how it might play out economically?”
Over at Talking Points Memo Livewire, “Banfrackingeverywhere” wrote, “All the straights who marry and divorce for sport put the SHAM in marriage long before gays took their fights to the courts.”
And “Clareomar,” who identified herself as a native Georgian, wrote, “Where is Lester Maddox when we need him? He’s looking more statesmanlike with every passing election.”
MORE POLITICS: Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens will be guest speaker at Saturday’s Cobb Republican Party Breakfast. The event takes place at the Cobb GOP HQ, 799 Roswell St., starting at 8:15 a.m.
DETAILS continue to emerge about the recent fallout between the Friends of the Strand Theatre and the Lyric Theatre.
Several Strand board members to whom Around Town spoke agreed with Around Town’s surmise of March 23 — that the Lyric was bluffing on having another theater already lined up. The Strand board was quietly irked by Lyric head Brandt Blocker’s front-page announcement that his group planned to relocate to another, unspecified theater in Cobb; and by earlier hints by the Lyric that it might relocate. There was also the feeling that even if the Strand took up Mayor Steve Tumlin’s offer to have the city and DMDA subsidize the theater, they might find themselves in a replay of the current contract scenario in the future. So they chose to pull the plug on the relationship.
THE LYRIC represents only 15 percent of the Strand’s revenues; not a huge hole to fill, in other words. Strand board members are confident their popular executive director Earl Reece, the longtime head of the Cobb performing arts magnet school program at Pebblebrook High School prior to his retirement, will be able to fill the gap left by the Lyric’s departure.
There also was a sense among the Strand board that a breakup with the Lyric was inevitable and that it was better that it take place now while they have their “ace in the hole” — Reece — in place to plot a reinvention of the Strand’s offerings for the next few years. As one board member told Around Town last year, “Earl has already retired once (from the Cobb School District) and we know at some point he’s going to retire again.”
COURTHOUSE: Friends of late Cobb Superior Court Judge Ken Nix will gather at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to dedicate a softball field in his honor at Field B in Tolleson Park in Smyrna. Nix developed the senior adult softball program at Tolleson in 1991 and eventually developed 12 teams in the league. …The Cobb Bar Association will hold its first Law Day Classic at the Marietta City Club on May 3, with registration deadline April 19, reports new president Mazi Mazloom. Proceeds will benefit the Bar’s Children’s Emergency Fund. Cost is $125 per player and includes lunch. Contact Linda Hill at Linda@cobbcountybar.org.
LAST WEEK’S CLOSURE of Shaw Pharmacy marks the end of an era in west Cobb. Terry Shaw opened the drugstore in 1988 on Due West Road at a time when the Due West Community consisted of little more than Due West Elementary and Due West Hardware. The retiring Shaw sold out to CVS and will work as a pharmacy consultant at the Due West CVS for the next month, then take his family to Disneyworld.
THE COBB SCHOOL BOARD meets at 1 p.m. Wednesday to discuss its budget and on how to fill an anticipated $86.4 million budget hole for FY2014. The budget has to be approved no later than June 30 and they’re shooting to approve it around May. There have been 13 ideas or solutions floated thus far, and here is how one insider thinks it will all roll out:
• $22.2 million in reserves — With frustration about the other suggestions, this one will more than likely rise to about $40 million, especially when there’s a little over $130 million still sitting in the reserves according to their last update on the Fund Balance.
• $22.1 million to cut 295 teaching positions through attrition — Should happen with ease, especially with the continued increase in retirements, resignations or firings.
• $15.5 million for five furlough days and to eliminate five instruction days — Cutting into classroom time for kids is pretty counterproductive so that could drop to about three for both reductions, mostly because teachers will argue they are already taking a salary cut from the district by taking away step increases.
• $10 million for employees not to get salary step increases — On average this is about a 1.1 percent raise per employee. “One can only hope that if it saves another employee’s job, those who qualify for a raise will deal with the sacrifice,” said AT’s source.
• $4.6 million to increase bus pick-up radius to 1.5 miles — Elementary school parents are not going to stand for this so more than likely it’ll be dropped for K-5 students and implemented for middle and high school kids. But do expect a longer wait at the drop-off and pick-up areas for these schools.
• $4.2 million to budget new teachers at the beginning salary step instead of average teacher salary and $1.8 million to provide only half credit for newly-hired teachers — This will pass but it’ll be hard to recruit veteran teachers, so expect your kids to be taught by youngsters when the district is fishing for new blood.
• $3.4 million to get rid of 34 administrators — This one is definitely the flip of a coin because some might argue that additional administrators are needed but at the same time, so are more teachers. So why not drop their salaries and put them back in front of the students teaching?
• $2.3 million to outsource custodial services — It sounds like a good place to cut and could work but the district will have to be cautious about who they hand the keys to and who will be around the students since these individuals won’t technically be employees of the district.
• $1.9 million to use 41 paraprofessionals for In-School Suspension positions — This should pass easily but the concern will be that you won’t technically have a certified teacher working with some of the most difficult students in the schools.
• $1.3 million to reduce central office staff by nearly eight people — It will pass because if the district wants to get the other cuts, the board will OK them, shaving off at the top.
• $1 million to cut bus services for magnet school programs and the Boys and Girls Club — This one is tough because you’re cutting services for cream-of-the-crop students and those who really need an after-school services.
• Plus $3.9 million to implement “Strawman Online Learning” concept that will introduce more online classes to students during a traditional school day — The board seemed pretty interested in this so it’s something they may actually take for a test ride next school year if they can get the developmental portion of it all panned out.