John Williams shouldn’t leave Cobb just because of a kick to the bum-bum
by Dick Yarbrough
April 19, 2014 12:29 AM | 2035 views | 1 1 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dick Yarbrough
Dick Yarbrough
If only he had called, I could have helped him. I’m talking about mega-developer John Williams. Like Elvis, he has left the building or in this case, Cobb County. Mr. Williams has announced he is moving his operations to Fulton County after an unsuccessful effort to get a $103 million project approved for construction in the Cumberland/Galleria area.

One reason seems to be that the Cobb County school board objected to a 10-year tax abatement in the proposed project that would have cost the school system an estimated $4.3 million in tax revenue and which seems not to have been discussed with school board members ahead of time. After the board kicked up a ruckus, the project was withdrawn by the Development Authority of Cobb County. Now John Williams is withdrawing, too.

Williams told Atlanta newsletter editor Maria Saporta that he was leaving Cobb County in part to consolidate his operations, but he was clearly miffed by the fact that his development plans were thwarted by the school board’s actions. He told Saporta, “I’m only willing to get kicked in the bum-bum once.” Actually, Mr. Williams used a more graphic term for where it was that he got kicked, but this is a family-friendly column and you might want to share it with the kids, so let’s stick with bum-bum.

He went on to add, “A lot of Cobb County politics has been taken over by the tea party, and being a member of the tea party doesn’t equal having an IQ.” Neither does shielding your face with a Manila file folder at a public meeting when an MDJ photographer attempts to take your picture. But I digress.

Obviously, Williams isn’t used to getting his bum-bum kicked. He is used to getting his way and because he didn’t, he is leaving Cobb County forever or until the sewers clog up in Fulton County, whichever comes first.

You are probably thinking that given my extensive experience as an external counselor over four decades in some very large and complex organizations I am talking about the help I could have been to Williams in selling his project to the public. With as much modesty as I can muster (insert joke here) there is no doubt I could have done that. Who else do you know that was named one of the “100 Most Influential Public Relations Practitioners of the 20th Century?” OK, so it was a slow century for PR practitioners, but you take your fame however you can get it.

But this isn’t about my venerated skills as a public relations practitioner. No, I am talking about sharing with him the experiences I have had in getting my bum-bum kicked and living to fight another day. It happens to me all the time but I don’t pick up my marbles and leave. And I certainly wouldn’t entertain the thought of leaving for Fulton County, of all places. You can’t kick my bum-bum hard enough for me to contemplate that nightmare. And talk about your IQ? Wait until Mr. Williams has to deal with the Fulton County Commission. I have seen more IQ on a doorknob.

I am an expert on getting my bum-bum kicked. It comes as a result of my strong opinions in this space. In my defense, the bum-bum kickers are generally suffering from a serious case of humor-impairment as well as extreme self-righteousness. And they run the gamut. I have dealt with some tea party members who seem to be much as John Williams describes them but I have also had dialogue with liberal weenies that, if brains were dynamite, couldn’t blow their nose.

An aside: I wonder if the Guns for God crowd and President Swivelhead’s apologists ever get together and compare notes. I’d love to be a fly on the wall.

One note on kicking my bum-bum: Just so you know, I don’t read Web comments or anonymous mail. Save your time unless being ignored gives new meaning to your life. I did make a rare exception one time and read a comment from “Molière.” That was because I had it on good authority that the French playwright was very dead. Unfortunately, he was alive enough to dis my friend, Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) so I promptly kicked Molière’s bum-bum. I like Mr. Ehrhart a lot more than I like Molière or his plays.

I am sorry John Williams got kicked in the bum-bum and has decided to leave Cobb County. He has made major contributions to the quality of life in our county and will be missed. The sad part is that I could have helped him. I know I could. But what did I do? I sat on my bum-bum and did nothing. I feel terrible.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139; online at or on Facebook at
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Trench Worker
April 19, 2014
Mr. Yarbrough, my comments concern Mr. Williams so it doesn't matter if you read this or not.

I was born in Cobb county. I believe I would be classified as a white collar worker-a college graduate, working in a Fortune 100 international corporation, but definitely one of the workers, not the chosen upper crust. If Mr. Williams wants to talk about having his bum kicked, then he should be one of the worker bees like me. Yes I know Williams started his company, supposedly, but these high earners tend to forget once they have made the millionaire club. NO salaries of a CEO, CFO or COO should be 350 times the average employee at their company. So I do believe workers like myself have more right to be angry than just grateful to the corporation and feeling that we need to bow to the chiefs in order to maintain our jobs for our families.

And when we are laid off or our job is transferred to some God forsaken town for the sake of a tax break, we don't get $10 Million with stock options to help us pay the bills. And we don't get that same amount when we screw up either. We get the boot and that is it. Can you imagine that Mr. Williams?

We hear about AND see all the inflated salaries and stupid decisions the corporate honchos make. And we, the workers who work more than 40 hrs a week out of necessity and fear, are suppose to be grateful and humble with a 2.3% raise, while they get 5 figure bonuses on top of their $300,000plus paycheck, and I'm low balling it.

Mr. Williams's actions are typical of the many wealthy donors. They give to get something for themselves or business in return. Much of this "generous, community giving" is a farce. They don't really give two hoots about a performing arts center or a museum or a park. They want the favors that will come back to them for their "gift".

But you, Mr. Williams, made a huge corporate bigwig mistake. You revealed your true feelings and thoughts and your false, giving, public persona dropped. You lost it. But don't worry. A new set of politicians will be in office soon that can return your "favors" and the public has a short memory. Not me, but many do.
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