Liberty

Nick Sandmann: The Truth in 15 Minutes

Another view of the controversial Covington Catholic High School in Washington. This is a film made by their attorneys that are suing various media, celebrities, etc. that jump to conclusions over a 30 second clip. Lot more to the story here.

Nick Sandmann: The Truth in 15 Minutes

2 weeks ago, the mainstream media, politicians, church officials, commentators, & celebrities rushed to judgment to wrongfully condemn, threaten, disparage &…

Source: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSkpPaiUF8s

Not Far Right, Just Right

As always, a good post from Hank Sullivan. It would behoove us all to get informed and get on the same page as to who is the real enemy of The People.

Not Far Right, Just Right

If you felt dismay reading my recent article, “Syria Pullout Explained,” I suggest your discomfort arose from the shock of finally reading …

Source: georgiapatriotfiles.blogspot.com/2019/01/not-far-right-just-right.html

Legislative Plunder of the Grand Jury – Analysis of Georgia H.B. 941


Signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 which was the genesis of the grand jury
Photograph: Universal History Archive/Rex

“Historically, this body has been regarded as a primary security to the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive persecution; it serves the invaluable function in our society of standing between the accuser and the accused, whether the latter be an individual, minority group, or other, to determine whether a charge is founded upon reason or was dictated by an intimidating power or by malice and personal ill will.”  Wood v. Georgia (1962)

By Paul Nally

Obviously, the continued effort of our legislators is to throttle the free and unrestricted use of our Liberties is exemplified by the fact that throughout the verbiage of this HB, the term “district attorney” is used. This, instead of the generic “prosecutor”, is an unabashed attempt to make a reader of the law, a reader of the rules of practice and procedure, believe that ONLY an elected district attorney, or one appointed by the Attorney General, has the sole authority of law to present a case of police use of excessive or deadly force to the Grand Jury. Further, that such presentation be made within one year. That is found in the proposed language of 15-12-71(B) in Section 1.

That one paragraph turns this proposed legislation into an instrument of a legislative plunder of the rights and power of a Grand Jury and a citizen’s First Amendment Rights.

The precise verbiage used by those entities who author our laws and are skilled in craftily contrived deceptive advocacy are too often placed in our printed statutes.  The reasoning behind this is rather simple.

A conscientious judge, hearing a claim of being obstructed in a citizen’s access to the Grand Jury, would know that the letter of the law must be interpreted in the light of a citizen’s protectable guarantees and all other statutes which pertain to that particular issue.  This is required of judicial interpretation so that the totality of the law, the totality of meanings and applications of the law, are all in harmony.  So, a good judge would know that the use of “District Attorney” or “one appointed by the AG” would not be interpreted as exclusive language to just those two,  but would be a general reference which would not exclude any citizen.

But, if you have a corrupt lawyer, corrupt District Attorney, and/or a corrupt Judge who seek only to exercise the maximum control over a group of citizens, then, when a citizen tries to access a grand jury to lay before them his / her evidence of corruption and crime, the lawyer, judge, or district attorney can drag out the statute, point to it, and “show” the citizen that “the law” plainly gives the authority to the DA, or Judge.

What is a citizen to believe??  He does not know of, or understands, the concept of judicial interpretation.   He is looking at the black letter of the law being shown to him, but because of his lack of education, he cannot understand why the verbiage used by his legislators is wrong.  He knows it’s wrong, he just doesn’t know how to express his understanding that the words used don’t jive with his concept of what his Liberties mean.  Therefore, he is left to accept as true, or believe, a lie and simply assume that the Legislators had some “good” reason for denying him the use of his Liberties of petition, free assembly, responsible speech, and his right to be heard, in the words of our Constitution, by those vested with the power of government to redress his grievance.  This is how those skilled in deception will tell you just enough of the truth so that you will believe a lie.  Deceptive verbiage has become the new weapon, the gun and knife, for the deprivation and theft of Liberties.

This is one of the most effective methods of preventing citizens from bringing evidence before a grand jury of political and governmental corruption; using our ignorance as a tool to bring about our enslavement.  And, so, we are left at the mercy of thieves and liars who have convinced our neighbors to elect them as “public servants” when, in reality, they are a part of an autocratic oligarchy, an “elite of society”, subverting the law and turning it to an instrument of plunder.

Each morning you awake to a new day; yet, in reality, it is just another day of you and your children being the victims of a very deceptive theft of your liberties.  The instrument of that theft is not a gun or a knife, it is the words and phrases of bad laws and bad applications by judges and lawyers, with the tacit, at least, approval of the State Bar, and the enhancement and ease of use of those tools by our own ignorance.

That is the very reason our founders put the supreme power of government into the hands of citizens when, in our Constitution, they acknowledged the power of a citizen, in a Grand Jury assembled, to be the ONLY lawful “Judges of the Law” in this State, and with that power,  they have the authority of the Supreme Law of this State to punish those who would subvert the law and turn it to an instrument of plunder.

But, unless we, the people. are willing to educate themselves to  understand the depth, the breadth, the sheer magnitude of the concept of being a “Judge of the Law”, and be willing to exercise that awesome power, we all will suffer servitude at the hands of our servants; and now, as I’ve just recently learned, there is evidence that we, and our children, are being poisoned, and in some cases killed, by those same servants so that they can receive large sums of money and influence by poisoning our medicines.  That is definitely within the jurisdiction of a Grand Jury to investigate, but until corrupt judges and DAs are removed from standing between a citizen and his evidence and the Grand Inquest of a Grand Jury investigation, we will be subjected to physical abuse, harm, and death by those who pretend to serve our best interest.  We can no longer afford their indifference to their ignorance or their criminal negligence.

Paul Nally is retired from GaDOT.  Formerly city patrolman, Bartow County Deputy, Chief of Police w/ City of White, Ga., and former judge of the 827th Militia District, Bartow County (Justice of the Peace before that court was merged with the Magistrate Court in the 1983 Constitution).

Editors note:  For more on the Grand Jury, see  The Fifth Amendment’s Grand Jury: A Proud & Lost Protection of Liberty.

Angst against government at all time high

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. ~
Plato

Every 4 years, we march to the polls believing that if we change the occupant of White House it will fix the problem. For the vast majority of the population, it’s really glossed over that there are 469 other elected offices at the federal level that will also be on the ballot this November. Nationwide, it’s estimated there are as many as 30,000 offices up for election. These state and local political offices oftentimes have just as much or more effect on your individual freedoms, property rights, zoning regulations, licensing regulations, local and state taxes as do the federal offices.

The great philosopher Plato said, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” It’s not your fault though. In fact, it seems that you’ve been discouraged. We’ve been told not to speak about religion or politics, it’s not “politically correct”. Or, maybe you have been interested but haven’t known or been taught how to be politically involved.

If you happen to read your county paper under the fine print legal ads, you might have seen an ad similar to this which ran for 7 days between 1/22 and 1/29 in the Marietta Daily Journal. The county party is required to run this ad as the “call” for the Precinct Mass Meetings.

Cobb-GOP-Mass-Precinct-Call

If you really want to get involved in the political process, it starts at the grassroots; at your local precinct. In Georgia, it works like this. Every odd numbered year and during the national election year, the local county Republican Party issues a call for the precinct mass meeting. If you are a registered voter and believe in the principles of the party, you are qualified to participate in the precinct mass meeting to be elected as a delegate to the county convention held in March.

Why is this important? The delegates to the county convention elect delegates for the district convention and the state convention which in turn elect delegates for the national convention. Of course, the delegates to the national convention will determine the nominee for the party to run for President in the general election in November. If you want to have a voice and see that good government and the principles you believe in are upheld, the precinct process is where it begins. You can be a part of shaping the party at the local and state level as well as the federal.

From government overreach, wasteful spending, over taxation, failed promises and corruption, to willful violations of the Constitution and outright attacks on the Bill of Rights, angst against local, state and federal government is at an all-time high. The solution will not be found in a single man or woman in the White House. If you want to retain limited self-government, The Key Is We! We the people are the sovereigns. All of the elected representatives work for us. It’s our responsibility to keep them in check within the bounds of their oath of office to the Constitution. George Washington stated it plainly, “The power under the Constitution will always be in the people.” It’s time to get informed. It’s time to get engaged.

PRECINCT MASS MEETING INFORMATION

If you are a registered voter in Georgia, your voter information can be found at https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do . Visit this site and enter your first initial, last name, county and DOB in the MVP Login to find out your voting precinct and districts.

COBB COUNTY
If you happen to live in Cobb County, you can register for the mass precinct meetings at https://www.cobbpmm.com/register.php. Online preregistration is available through Wednesday, February 17, at 11:59 pm. The Cobb GOP Precinct Mass Meeting takes place on Saturday, February 20, 2016, at 10 am. The location is 774 Roswell Street Baptist Church, Marietta GA. Walk-in registration will be available starting at 8:30 am. Please bring a valid photo ID. Participants in the Precinct Mass Meeting will elect delegates/alternates to the Cobb GOP County Convention in March.

Be sure to arrive early as doors close at 10:00 am and no one will be allowed to register after that time. You should also know that precincts that do not have any participants are not allowed to form and cannot send delegates to the county convention.

OTHER GEORGIA COUNTIES
For all other Georgia counties, go to http://gagop.org/ (scroll to bottom of page) to find your county GOP contact information or check your local newspaper for the legal ads.
The dates for the conventions have been set as follows: (please note that due to Georgia GOP Rules Changes, some individual counties may have elected to adjust their county convention/precinct meeting date. Please verify with your local county GOP)

Precinct Mass Meetings for Counties over 80,000 Population: February 20, 2016 at 10 AM;

Precinct Mass Meetings for Counties under 80,000 Population: March 19, 2016 at 9 AM;

Precinct Mass Meetings have each Precinct ELECT, by majority vote in each precinct, Delegates to the respective County Convention.

County Conventions: March 19, 2016 at 10 AM; County Conventions ELECT, by majority vote, Delegates to the District and State Conventions.

District Conventions: April 16, 2016 at 10 AM; District Conventions ELECT, by majority vote, 3 National Delegates and 3 Alternates to the National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

State Convention: June 3-4, 2016 in the Augusta Convention Center in Augusta, Georgia; The State Convention ELECTS, by majority vote, a National Committeeman and National Committeewoman to serve a 4 year term on the Republican National Committee (RNC), as well as 31 Delegates-at-large and Alternates-at-large.

 

Restore and Preserve the Constitution Event Video

Dangers of the Article V Convention of States

Article V Convention - Publius Huldah & Paul Broun

Media Contacts
Jane Yandow,  janeyandow@gmail.com, 770-815-5599
Field Searcy,  info@indefenseofliberty.tv, 678-525-7072

For Immediate Release February 6, 2015

Dangers of the Article V Convention of States and Understanding the Facts Public Forum: February 12th

Most people are not aware that the Georgia Legislature adopted legislation in the last session calling for an Article V Convention of States for the purpose of amending the U.S. Constitution. The recently formed Committee to Restore and Preserve the Constitution will host their second public forum on Thursday, February 12th at 6:30 p.m. at Taylor Farm Pavilion on 201 Lucas Rd., SW in Cartersville, Georgia 30120.  The Committee is a strong supporter and defender of the U. S. Constitution.

Guest Speaker Publius Huldah, a retired attorney and renowned lecturer on the Constitution, will give a discourse on the “Dangers of the Article V Convention of States and Understanding the Facts.”  Her documented information will provide attendees with an insight on how the States and citizens can peacefully restore Federalism, the Rule of Law and the individual rights of American citizens.  Included are the concerns of calling for an Article V Convention and the multiple reasons it is not advisable to do so at this time.

Former U.S. Congressman, Paul Broun, will share his plan on how Americans can best work together to restore Constitutional principles.  Prior to the Forum, he will be available at 6:30 p.m. to meet and discuss various issues the public may have on this volatile subject.  Attendees are also invited to come at the same time for coffee, light refreshments and to check out the vendors’ booths which will have an assortment of related material  for sale.

Debbie Harris-Staver, the organization’s founder said “the goal of the event is for attendees to leave with an increased understanding of the dangers involved with a convention called by Congress and also recognize that there are safe solutions the states can utilize to rein in the Federal Government’s continued violations of our Constitution.”    (For information call 770-435-4558 or 770-815-5599)

For more information visit the Restore and Preserve the Constitution Facebook page.

Permission granted for reprint and distribution. Please forward.

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Sent on behalf of the Committee to Restore and Preserve the Constitution, an all-volunteer grassroots group dedicated to defending the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  Our goal is have the states assert and implement their right and duty to contain the federal government within its constitutional bounds.

Freedom of Speech is Not Politically Correct

ARC Public Comment Policy Falls Short

By Field Searcy
September 28, 2014

Last Wednesday, twelve private citizens addressed the Atlanta Regional Commission about the adoption of a more friendly public comment policy at the monthly board meetings. For some on the board, the comments were not welcomed. Maybe they were offended by the tone or the political correctness. Maybe the words cut to close too home. Or, maybe they’ve forgotten the price that was paid to secure the right.

The very foundation of the First Amendment was the right of political speech of the people to petition their government or challenge its authority. The ARC receives federal, state and local money. Its existence is the creature of government legislation at the state and federal level even its structure violates the republican form of government. In every way, it is bound by the Constitution for the United States and the Georgia Constitution. In fact, the board members all swear an oath of allegiance to the same.

While all the ARC board members have busy lives and political careers, they should never be too busy to hear from the people that have delegated representative authority to them.

Indeed, the policy adopted is more liberal than the previous policy which required a 10 day notice, a motion by a board member, a second and a 2/3rd’s vote. The new policy on public comment remains inadequate for the following reasons.

  1. For a regional commission for 10 counties and a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) of 20 counties representing more than 5 million people, allowing a total of only 10 minutes with up to 2 minutes per person is not sufficient. Even Cobb County, which has recently been under fire for limiting public comment, has a more liberal policy.
  2. Given the limited amount of time allotted for public comment, safeguards should have been included to allow time for all points of view to be heard. Witness the backlash that was caused in Cobb by stacking of the deck with supporting voices against the citizens with opposing views. A true consultative approach of allowing differing opinions should be protected. A wise person once said “The shining spark of truth, cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.”
  3. Public comment should be guaranteed directly in the ARC governing bylaws rather than a policy that can be changed “from time to time.”

The ARC Board passed the new policy with a vote of 19-7. We don’t believe the 7 that voted “no” are against free speech. Quite the contrary, we believe they wanted the sounding committee to rework the policy with some of the reasons cited above in mind. We salute them for their courage to not vote in lockstep with the rest. This was really the significant event since rarely is there ever a dissenting vote on any ARC Board decisions.

For too long, the people have been asleep and silent; not paying attention to what our elected representatives have been doing. We were too busy or too trusting to notice that authority was being subverted to unelected persons that cannot be held accountable to the people.

That is no longer the case. All across the spectrum, a political awakening is taking shape. The citizens are coming together, rediscovering that “We The People” are the sovereigns’ of the government and are reclaiming our rightful place to keep the government accountable and safeguard our liberties.

Field Searcy, a Cobb citizen, represents RepealRegionalism.com an education campaign by the Transportation Leadership Coalition, LLC which led the grassroots effort against the Regional Transportation Tax (TSPLOST) in 2012.

Permission to reprint is granted with full attribution.

Cobb County Board of Commissioners Blocks Opportunity for Dissent

Read the stunning rebuke of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners by the Atlanta Journal & Constitution as well as Chairman Tim Lee’s continued excuses for the process.  These are behind the pay wall.  You can comment here or on AJC if you have access.

Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, June 14, 2014
Atlanta Journal Constitution

Recently, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners ratified a series of agreements between the county and the Atlanta Braves obligating Cobb taxpayers with $397 million in revenue bonds. Braves President John Schuerholz has publicly stated this deal would not have been completed if more time had been allowed for public scrutiny.

What the commission allowed on the night of the vote was a sickening display of affection as 12 supporters showered praise and admiration on the board for negotiating the public financing of a private sports stadium. This shows a lack of leadership and a serious breach of the public trust.

Knowing the contentious nature of this transaction and the magnitude of the obligation from the taxpayers, the commission should have made every effort to hear dissenting opinion. The AJC later reported that 3 of the commissioners were open to amending the rules to allow additional comment from the public. Any one of them could have made a motion. Once seconded, the chairman would have no choice but put the motion to a vote.

Chairman Tim Lee claims rules were followed. Yet the board’s Rules of Procedure were violated by releasing the agenda on Friday after 5 p.m., less than 5 days before a scheduled vote. Chairman Lee seems more concerned with getting the agenda of the Chamber of Commerce passed than he is with transparency and upholding the citizens’ rights.

Under the Georgia Constitution, the people have a right to petition those vested with the powers of government for redress of grievances. Based on that principle, the board of commissioners has a higher obligation to hear from those that disagree with the funding for the Braves stadium. Instead, they chose to disenfranchise the citizens of their right to speak.

From the very beginning, this deal was done in secret, rushed to a vote after only 12 days, and now the commission has blocked public comment.  These are the actions of an oligarchy.  Ironic that this was pushed through following Memorial Day.  The Braves deal is just a symptom of a larger political disease running rampant through our governments.

Whether taxes are raised or money is shifted from other priorities, the fact remains this kind of public-private partnership is nothing more than corporate fascism, a merger of state and corporate interests benefiting the elite. That’s money that could be going to the general welfare of the county to fund schools, roads or other public services.

We elected the board of commissioners to represent the people, not the Chamber of Commerce and a multimillion-dollar media empire. No wonder public trust in government has deteriorated.

We’ve come to expect large document dumps after hours on holiday weekends from the federal government in Washington. Is this going to be the “Cobb way” of doing the peoples’ business? As usual, the deal is touted as a great model of public-private partnership that creates jobs and grows the economy. Isn’t it really another PPP that’s more about private profits, power, and politics than anything benefiting the public?

Field Searcy, a Cobb County resident, represents RepealRegionalism.com, an education campaign by the Transportation Leadership Coalition.

Source:  http://www.myajc.com/news/news/opinion/cobb-board-blocks-opportunity-for-dissent/ngJxc/#b5a50c00.3471904.735399

Light this field

Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, June 14, 2014
Atlanta Journal Constitution

It is a long-held tenet of good governance in this country that the inherent power in any political subdivision resides firmly and ultimately with the people — and not those they elect to represent them. Or it should.

This non-negotiable truth has been cast aside and utterly ignored in Cobb County. The board of commissioners there badly needs a refresher course in this essential lesson of civics. This realization is based on the commission’s ongoing conduct around the matter of relocating the Atlanta Braves to new digs north of the ‘Hooch.

Cobb officials’ behavior thus far has drawn to mind images of questionable-at-best backroom deals forged in secret by political kingpins who believe their positions are beyond, or impervious to, public oversight and accountability. The process thus far as this deal clanks along has heavily tarnished the reputation of a county that, not long ago, was widely spoken of as an example of forthright, open government.

No more can that be said. Which is a profound shame, both for that county and the region it is part of.

In our view, there is no reasonable reason why a proposal of such importance to Cobb, this entire metro area and, arguably, much of the Southeast, had to be sprung upon the public and raced to done-deal status in scarcely two weeks’ time start to finish. Such a breakneck, reckless really, pace may have safeguarded vague business interests, but it has heavily damaged the public’s trust in government — in Cobb and beyond, we believe. Both this fractured region, and Cobb itself, should not have to bear such inflation in the price of civic distrust.

With hundreds of millions of public dollars now linked to this deal, taxpayers are fully justified in demanding that they have a right to know just what is, or was, going on much earlier than they did. And these same citizens are correct in questioning why this agreement could not have been conducted to a much-larger degree in the clean light of day. To do otherwise, as Cobb has done, frankly stinks.

Yet, the commission has been maddeningly consistent in its lockout of those who might dare criticize its maneuverings. During a commission meeting last month, opponents or skeptics of the proposal were barred from stating their case. Bureaucratic reasons feebly offered for this outrageous affront of the right to petition government also badly fail the smell test.

Cobb’s mulish insistence on keeping the public as far away from, for as long a period as possible, the decisions around the Braves’ move also unfairly call into question, if not impugn, the merits of what, at its core, is simply a business deal. Albeit a big one that moves an Atlanta — and Southern — institution from the central city to a new OTP home.

It’s worth stating here that this newspaper is not opposed to the team’s move. This Editorial Board has no position on where the Atlanta Braves ultimately play America’s pastime. In our view, the team, as a private-sector entity, is to be expected to seek the deal offering the best possible upside — wherever that may be around this great town.

Yet, Cobb County government’s behavior to this point has done no favors for a proposal that is best considered dispassionately — and openly. That would have been the best way to reach the best deal for all concerned, we believe.

And it should be the way forward from this point on for Cobb’s county commission.

Andre Jackson, for the Editorial Board.

Source: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/opinion/light-this-field/ngKYG/#1e1d7d57.3471904.735399

Cobb rightly seized fast-moving opportunity

Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, June 14, 2014
Atlanta Journal Constitution

When the Atlanta Braves approached us about building a new stadium in Cobb County, it was a tremendous opportunity for our community. And like most opportunities, it was only going to exist for a short time.

The team wanted to move from its old stadium. Cobb County had the infrastructure, the capability and the ideal location for this to happen. We were the best choice­ — but we were not the only choice.

Even metro Atlanta was not the team’s only choice.

With discussions of moving the franchise out of downtown it was a priority for me to get the team and their planned $400 million private development here in Cobb. Thousands of new jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in local investments and new economic growth are now on the horizon. Thanks to our community and their support, this move will benefit metro Atlanta and boosts the region’s economy with every game.

The necessity for a fast process frustrated some, even as most residents celebrated. We were aware of our critics’ objections. We held meeting after meeting after meeting to discuss everything with the public. We posted details to the Internet and shared it with the media.

We held almost a dozen public meetings between the announcement and last month’s vote. Opponents routinely attended and detailed the reasons they felt we should not help bring the Braves here. We listened. And though we do not believe they are correct, we respected their concerns.

Individual Cobb County commissioners held their own public meetings to hear from both sides. Commissioners kept a careful tally of those who called and emailed their offices with opinions both for and against the stadium agreement. The numbers were overwhelmingly in favor of this deal.

We worked to ensure residential property taxes would not rise as a result of this project. Businesses near the new stadium will bear a substantial portion of its construction costs and the team itself will invest $280 million upfront and another $6.1 million annually for 30 years. These figures exclude the estimated $400 million the team plans to spend by creating an entertainment district around the new stadium.

Cumberland area businesses are willing to help support this agreement because they understand what it means for them. It means customers. The Board of Commissioners understands what it means for the county. It means jobs. It means visitors. It means an unparalleled economic boost that will benefit the entire county. It means funds that will help keep our tax rates low.

We could have held a year’s worth of meetings on this topic with the only result being that the team would go elsewhere. The fundamental objections of critics would remain, the huge support would remain, but the opportunity would be lost.

Instead, this will be a successful project for the public and the region, because we made the right choices for Cobb.

Tim Lee is chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners.

Source: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/opinion/cobb-rightly-seized-fast-moving-opportunity/ngKYM/#031fafaf.3471904.735399

Cobb Chairman Blocks Public Comment on Lobbyist Contract

Last Tuesday night, the Cobb Board of Commissioners approved a contract for $168,000 to the local firm Garrett McNatt Hennessey & Carpenter to lobby for federal government grants and influence at the state capitol. Moments earlier the BOC had closed out public comment on any topic after hearing 12 supporters shower praise, admiration and thanks on the Cobb BOC for negotiating the funding for public financing of a private sports team. Not one dissenting comment could be heard on any other county business because the BOC had closed out any further public comment. Even after asking the county manager and two commissioners for permission to speak on the lobbyist contract, Chairman Lee wanted to know why I waited until that night and that he’d “think about it”. I told him that the agenda was not dropped until after business hours on Friday. This shows a lack of leadership and disenfranchises citizens of their right to speak, period.

Under the Georgia Constitution, Section I, Paragraph IX, the people have a right to petition those vested with the powers of government for redress of grievances. That is, in all counties except Cobb, where the people were also blocked from opposing comment on a seemingly small outsourced contract for lobbying services.

The $168,000 contract seems insignificant in comparison to the larger Braves financing deal but the impact could be just as big. One of the main lobbying efforts for the county would be for federal assistance on a $500 billion dollar bus rapid transit (BRT) system that would run from the Arts Center in downtown Atlanta to Kennesaw State University. The BRT system will likely require additional tax revenue to subsidize the total cost and ongoing operation of the project.

That’s the problem. Taking federal grants and incentives in the first place usually obligate taxpayers to additional unfunded expenditures. It’s not appropriate to spend taxpayer money to lobby for incentives that will ultimately cost the taxpayer more money on projects they may not want. But then again, Chairman Lee is not concerned about what the citizens want, just as long as the Chamber of Commerce and Cumberland CID (both unelected organizations) get their agenda passed.

Research handed out by the Transportation Leadership Coalition (TLC), a group which fought the TSPLOST in 2012 and was successful in blocking passage in 9 out of 12 regions, shows that taxpayers are already paying elected officials a combined $10,027,596 annually for elected representation at the federal, state and local level. This figure includes salaries and office expenses for US senators, US representatives, state senators, state representatives, and Cobb county commissioners.

Based on additional research by the TLC, it’s estimated that the salaries and office budget for the chairman and commissioners is around $1,198,557 annually. Notwithstanding the arguments against the county hiring a lobbyist firm to seek federal grants, why should Cobb taxpayers give the county commissioners more money to do their job of contacting state and federal legislators?

The county is already a member of the Association of County Commissions of Georgia which lobbies for the county’s interest at the state level. One has to ask why the county needs to hire another firm to do the job expected of county commissioners and employees.

There are still other questions to be answered. Why should Cobb taxpayers pay a lobbyist $168,000 to get federal incentives for a ½ billion dollar boondoggle BRT system that will require more taxes to subsidize in perpetuity? Was this lobby contract put on that agenda so that it could be overshadowed by the Braves bond financing approval? Isn’t the Garrett firm the same group hired to promote the failed TSPLOST? One wonders if they will do a better job the second time around. Is it possible this is being done because the local Cobb legislative delegation is not in agreement with what the county commission is doing? Is this a way for them to circumvent the Cobb delegation and strong arm the state legislature?

We elect representatives to work for the people not to work against us in creating additional tax burdens. No wonder public trust in government is at an all-time low. We’ve come to expect large document dumps after hours on holiday weekends from the federal government in Washington. Is this going to be the “Cobb way” of doing the peoples’ business? We’re seeing locally how public officials negotiate secret deals with multi-million dollar private entities outside of public review and transparency. These are touted as great models of public/private partnerships that create jobs and grow the economy. Yet, this PPP looks more like private profits, power, and politics than anything benefiting the public. Now we see the blocking of public comment that opposes the actions of local government which seems reminiscent of the all-powerful oligarchs of Soviet days. What’s next?