“I will not respond to your questionnaire nor will I participate in any Chamber sponsored event, now or in the future,” he emailed back to the Chamber, copying it to Around Town.
Mathis replied via a letter to the editor of the MDJ (its full text can be read nearby), accusing Byrne of attacking the Chamber’s 2,500 local business members and their more than 100,000 employees.
“This threat of retaliation against private citizens by someone seeking government office simply is wrong,” Mathis wrote.
Responding to another Byrne allegation — that the Chamber had promised the Atlanta Braves to support the county’s proposed $492 million BRT/express bus line, Mathis said it was “utterly false, and there is not a shred of accuracy to it.”
“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,” Mathis concluded.
IT WILL BE showdown time for Cobb Commission candidates this evening. That’s when the Cobb County Republican Women’s Club holds its final forum of the primary season, featuring candidates for the two seats up for election on the commission this year.
All five candidates for District 1 — Angela Barner, Byrne, Glenn Melson, Scott Tucker and Weatherford — have committed to attend, says CCRW spokeswoman Rose Wing. But incumbent District 3 Commissioner JoAnn Birrell will not be there, claiming a scheduling conflict, Wing says. Challengers Michael Opitz and Joseph Pond will be there.
Claiming a scheduling conflict is a common tactic used by politicians perceived to have a wide lead over the opponent or opponents, the feeling being they have little to gain by appearing and much to lose. There’s always the possibility the “leader” will misspeak or be confronted with uncomfortable questions. And the lesser known candidate(s) are perceived as gaining stature in voters’ eyes by sharing the stage with well-known incumbents.
Opitz and Pond have both been critical of aspects of the Commission’s handling of the Atlanta Braves’ move to Cobb, which Birrell voted to support last fall.
Retired Cobb Chief Sheriff’s Deputy and former state Rep. Lynda Coker will moderate Tuesday’s forum, with questions coming from a panel consisting of Toria Scott, former Cobb GOP chair Scott Johnson and Leo Smith.
The forum runs from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Cobb Commission Meeting Room, 100 Cherokee St., right off Marietta Square. It will be televised live on Channel 23.
EVENTS: More than 20 candidates are expected to be on hand for Wednesday night’s 10th annual non-partisan candidate forum at the Parc at Piedmont in east Cobb, sponsored as usual by Oliver Halle and Don Jenacova. The casual 7 to 9 p.m. outdoor event features no speeches, just a meet-and-greet format for the public. Confirmed attendees include state Attorney General Sam Olens, gubernatorial candidates John Barge and David Pennington, U.S. Senate candidate Karen Handel, 11th District Congressional candidate Bob Barr, Cobb Solicitor candidates Barry Morgan and Cindi Yeager, judicial candidates Ann Harris, Juanita Stedman and Nathan Wade, school board candidates Kevin Nicholas, Scott Sweeney and Bill Scott and District 3 Cobb Commission candidates Birrell and Opitz.
Halle is predicting a turnout of several hundred people and says from what he’s heard, many of the attendees plan to give the candidates an earful about the proposed Isakson Senior Center on Roswell Road.
U.S. SENATE candidate Michelle Nunn will be featured speaker at this year’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner sponsored by the Cobb Democratic Party on May 17. The event will take place at the Courtyard Marriott off Windy Hill Road and as it will coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, will be titled “From Brown to Barack: Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education,” according to Cobb Democratic chief Melissa Pike.
For info call (770) 420-7133 or go to www.cobbdemocrats.org.
THE KENNESAW BUSINESS ASSOCIATION plans a candidate forum at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Ben Robertson Community Center in Kennesaw. Moderator will be Pete Combs of WSB Radio.
U.S. SENATE candidate Art Gardner and gubernatorial candidates Barge and Pennington will speak at Saturday’s Cobb Republican Party Breakfast. The event runs from 8:15 to 10 a.m. at party HQ, 799 Roswell St., Marietta.
11TH DISTRICT Congressional candidate Barr hosted publisher Steve Forbes at a $1,000-a-head fundraiser at The City Club of Buckhead in Atlanta on Monday.
AN ATLANTA BAR ASSOCIATION members’ poll ranking candidates for the open seat on the Cobb Superior Court bench being vacated by the retirement of Judge James Bodiford has been released. Stedman was judged “Best Qualified” by 44 respondents, Wade “Best Qualified” by 26 and Harris “Best Qualified” by 16.
Stedman last week picked up the endorsements this week of Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren and retired Sheriff Bill Hutson.
THE “Save the Acworth Depot” Board will make a presentation at Thursday evening’s Acworth Board of Aldermen meeting. The decaying depot was moved decades ago from its original location on Main Street to a site on Winn Street. The City and non profit board, headed by Richard Boyer, are proposing to move the now privately owned depot to a city-owned site just yards from its original location. Although the structure is in “fair” to “poor” condition, the interior heart pine and oak timbers and rafters remain.
“Although it is our intent to ‘Save the Acworth Depot,’ the structure and its historical significance — reality, logistical and economic concerns would suggest the city’s offer of an alternate location, with alterations to the depot, is genuine and a welcome step in the right direction,” the group’s historian/advisor Davis McCollum told AT on Monday.
AROUND TOWN noted in a recent column that mega-developer John Williams had moved his business headquarters across the Chattahoochee into Fulton County after being spurned by the Cobb school board in his request for a 10-year tax abatement for his “Riverwalk” project, and warned that he was not willing to be “kicked in the ass” again. He also complained that the board had kept him waiting for two hours at a public meeting and then had refused to let him address them.
Not so, two board members tell AT.
“He never asked to speak to us,” said one. “I would have let him if he had.”
Said another, “All he did was sit there using loud profanities in our meeting room.”
Added another public official close to the situation, “(John) is a good enough businessman. If the demand for his product was there, he could (still) build it (without the subsidy) and capitalize on the opportunity.”
WHIPPING UP VOTES: 11th District Congressional candidate Ed Lindsey of Buckhead honed his political skills as majority whip in the Georgia House. But he had words of caution about that at last week’s Cobb Chamber candidate forum.
“Being whip is not usually about arm-twisting people for their votes, which is what you usually hear,” he quipped. “More often than not, it’s about begging.”