Byrne should apologize for attack on Cobb Chamber
April 28, 2014 09:09 PM | 1720 views | 16 16 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR:

District 1 Cobb Commission Candidate Bill Byrne was quoted by the MDJ in the Around Town column this weekend as promising to boycott each and every activity of the Cobb Chamber if he is elected. In doing so, Byrne attacks over 2,500 local business members and over 100,000 of their Cobb employees solely because some Chamber leaders won’t support his candidacy.

This threat of retaliation against private citizens by someone seeking government office simply is wrong. Byrne apparently has decided that if all the Chamber’s volunteer leaders don’t back him, then his payback will be refusing to support our teacher recognition and education efforts, small business support programs, public safety initiatives, joint programs with our 10 business association partners, important efforts to save Dobbins and support Lockheed, veterans and active duty military personnel support programs, youth leadership activities and the dozens of other community programs sponsored by the Chamber and run by hundreds of volunteers.

Byrne also suggested to the MDJ that a BRT/express bus proposal was promised to the Braves by the Chamber. This allegation is utterly false, and there is not a shred of accuracy to it. The truth is the Chamber has not even decided whether to support a BRT. We have a task force of business leaders from large and small companies currently looking at that issue and other transportation ideas that might be a part of a SPLOST proposal. Our members will make a reasoned and informed decision based on facts and data. That is a process we wish more of those seeking public office would employ.

In the end, we recognize that candidates can get carried away in their comments trying to score political points. Still, such shrill talk of retribution and harsh, anti-business sentiment are far beyond typical political hyperbole one expects from a candidate seeking public office in Cobb County. Byrne owes the Chamber and its dedicated members, volunteers and employees an apology for his reckless rhetoric.

Ben Mathis

Chairman

Cobb Chamber Board of Directors

Comments
(16)
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We Deserve Better
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May 14, 2014
Our community deserves better than Byrne. If you can't work with your local chamber, then you have some serious issues. He is not worthy of being a leader and would be a train-wreck. It is important that a commissioner can work with local partners to make this community better and that includes the chamber, business associations and many more. We do not need a repeat of the past and lose something significant like we did when we lost the Olympics under Byrne's leadership.
THE TRUTH
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May 06, 2014
Bill Byrne and many of his supporters appear to be the torch carriers for the "YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN" wing of the Republican Party. Trite, tired and played out. Cobb deserves better.
PdcJdc
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May 03, 2014
Bill Byrne need not apology to Ben Mathis or any one else. The C of C opened this issue when they decided to endorse Bob Weatherford for District 1 Commissioner. I hope and pray that the message from District 1 voters is loud and clear that they will not stand by and let the C of C buy this seat!
Rich Pellegrino
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May 01, 2014
If there is a need for any apologies, the Chamber should apologize for encouraging the BOC and others to go around the people when their money is being committed to huge projects, like the Braves & BRT. Brave to Byrne and anyone else who is willing to stand up to them for this.
GO BRAVES
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May 14, 2014
I think Bill Byrne said he supported the Braves move to Cobb.
Harry F. Hagan
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April 29, 2014
I don't think Mr. Byrne needs to apologize to anyone. His stance will be taken into account by the voters. The C of C seems to me to have been vaulting itself into the sphere of the Elites for quite a while now. They quite obviously have a disdain for "ordinary" middle class people. They champion in every surreptitious way they can legalizing illegals, which is again, obviously, illegal, and it shows a disregard for law and order, and it also plays right into the hands of the Democratic party, who have already shown us their penchant for socialism. Don't most C of C members have children? Do they think all their children will be among the Elite? Do they ever consider what this country will look like 20 years from now? Touting amnesty is nothing short of playing with fire; arson, really.
Say What?
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May 01, 2014
Huh???
Peter Tax
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April 29, 2014
Is this the same Ben Mathis who is the legal eagle for lots and lots of county commissions and other government entities?

A list of clients former and present clients represented by Mr. Mathis and his law firm would be mighty interesting. That's a hint for the new news editor, Jon G., at the MDJ.
Oh how things change
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May 01, 2014
This is the same Ben Mathis who hosted Dan and Marilyn Quayle at his home for a fundraiser, pretending to be a conservative Republican but now hasn't met a tax he doesn't like (as long as it benefits Chamber leadership).

Hey Ben, how does it feel to be a RINO? For MONEY?

Your compound there on Whitlock needs a few Obama signs during the next election.
Really??!
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April 29, 2014


Clearly there is a reason why the public vies lawyers with the least amount of trust of all professions. In one stroke of the pen, Mr. Mathis loudly implies that he speaks for over 100,000 workers and 2.500 business owners. Please don’t try to twist the truth to fit your needs.

Obviously if the chamber was able to accurately claim they spoke for all those folks, we would not have rejected the Chamber sponsored TSPLOST; which Weatherford and the Chamber loudly championed. I am personally happy that someone is finally pointing out that the Chamber is trying to steal the West Cobb Commission seat from the voters by throwing a lot of money at their minion, Weatherford.

I, like many voters in West Cobb, are sick and tired of the large number of new taxes which the Chamber, Tim Lee and Bob Weatherford advocates at a sickening pace.

Peter Tax
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April 29, 2014
Excellent remarks. Does Ben speak for 100,000 people? We know he speaks in court for lots of government agencies. That we know, paid for with our tax money. When did we ever get to vote on employing Mathis and his firm?
AmericanMale
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April 30, 2014
Good comments!

Our comments in response likewise represent the 588,000 people who are NOT members of the Cobb Chamber.

588,000 > 100,000

Therefore, we win?
anonymous
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April 29, 2014
It ain't Bill Byrne who is hiring illegal workers in Cobb,now, is it?

Hmmm? I wonder who is??
Peter Tax
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April 29, 2014
Uh-Oh, now you're hittin' hard! Look for more illegals to be hired as the economy picks up around election time as the govt. incumbents dump money for projects so they will be reelected.
Fine line
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April 29, 2014
I agree Mr. Byrne should be held accountable for his comments, however it should be the voters that do so, not the "Chamber". The Chamber does represent many different businesses and by doing so it should not endorse one candidate, it should offer equal forum for its members to judge the individual. If an individual chooses not to respond, or makes disparaging remarks, this individual will be answerable to the voters. The Chamber needs to remain neutral for it to represent ALL of its membership. There may be some or even one member that may support Mr. Byrne, if so the respect of representing without bias is the place of the Chamber. The information source should be the direction of the service of the Chamber, not the political control of our county. For the Chamber to individually endorse Mr. Weatherford is unfair and bias to AlL of its membership. The Chamber also should apologize for its support for only one candidate. The Chamber is a tool, a source of information, a gathering of businesses to visualize the future of the county, not to determine who is next in its leadership, this is up to the voter, by crossing this fine line, we endorse an unfair, distorted or even cloudy view of the voters responsibility to decide for themselves.
Peter Tax
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April 29, 2014
What a brilliant comment. These comments are great. Thanks to the readers and the MDJ for printing them.
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