Cobb has long enjoyed a reputation for being a great place to live and raise a family. Visionaries like Ernest Barrett, Bill Byrne and Sam Olens were dedicated to making Cobb a “best place to live” community. Their intuition and intelligence, combined with endless hours of work, resulted in attracting and retaining top-notch leadership throughout the county’s workforce. They planned and built one of the most highly regarded counties in the nation.
Our exceptional quality of life has been buoyed by low taxes, excellent schools, an outstanding water system, well-managed community development, the best parks in the metro area and a world-class public safety organization. Growth has been rapid without sacrificing high standards. People move here and they don’t want to leave.
Cobb’s growth has been solid with a strong balance of residential and commercial development. Unfortunately, it seems current Chair Tim Lee has chosen to lead the county away from its traditional balance in favor of a more commercial orientation.
Judging by the cast of his recently published “kitchen cabinet,” Lee prefers to seek his private counsel from Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders. Ordinary residents are noticeably absent from the group. The Chamber has become a prominent influence over Lee and several of his commissioners as they’ve dealt with the TSPLOST, light rail transit, BRT and the Braves deal.
The Chamber has promoted use of taxpayer funding to pay for initiatives that will offer little direct benefit to the residents. Chamber affiliates spent some $6 million promoting a light rail transit system in the T-SPLOST. Our BoC supported it, even though it admittedly would do little to relieve traffic congestion. Fortunately, the residents got out and voted it down, thus preserving some balance.
In the proposed SPLOST, Lee continues to persist in advocating a fixed guideway transit system from Atlanta to Kennesaw, using our county’s tax facility to fund a major transit project that will benefit only the commercial development interests. The loss of balance will worsen if voters pass it.
With the pending retirement of Commissioner Helen Goreham, the Chamber of Commerce has now delved deeper into politics by recruiting and supporting a Chamber-friendly candidate to replace her. Lee will have another voting ally on the BoC and further loss of balance will ensue if they succeed.
Let’s return to our primary concerns: our quality of life, our public safety and controlled taxation. District One residents have a chance to restore some of the balance by getting out to the ballot box on July 22. West Cobb residents need to vote for our future. Let’s regain our balance.