and all the BS fit to read!

Troubled Waters, Broken Dam- Part 2

Troubled Waters, Broken Dam- Part 2

Jul 25, 2013

Considering that there was no resolution included, (one did not exist) and that a contract had never been submitted for review by the Council, the Lower Johnson Lake agenda item was premature. At best, it struck me as being nothing more than irresponsible, unprofessional and unethical political posturing. At worst, it struck me as something about which there is no way to make a non-inflammatory comment.

Profiling- Racial and Otherwise

Profiling- Racial and Otherwise

Jul 15, 2013

The trial of George Zimmerman has sparked an unprecedented level of conversation about the practice of racial profiling. As distasteful and inexcusable as racial/ethnic profiling is, the practice of activity profiling is a useful and legitimate tool for law enforcement and anyone else involved in crime prevention. Unfortunately, the race card is too often played in an attempt to place a racial focus on suspicious activity—and to incorrectly label activity profiling as being racially motivated. That thought resonated with me when I considered a recent personal experience. As I drove up to my place of business, a manufacturing facility surrounded by other similar businesses, located on a street with no sidewalks, I saw a person standing in the driveway. I immediately became suspicious, because I rarely see anyone walking in the area, the driveway is gated, it was a weekend so all the businesses were closed, and I had made no plans to meet anyone. My suspicion was aroused because the activity—a person standing in the driveway– was so unusual. As I approached the driveway, I saw that the person was a black man who appeared to be in his mid twenties. I stopped and asked if he was waiting for someone and he said that he was walking home from the store and had stopped to rest. I acknowledged his response, drove up to the gate, opened it and drove in. That is the end of the story. Yet it could have turned out much differently, perhaps tragically. Had I gotten out of my vehicle and approached the person aggressively, I could have gotten into an altercation– I could have become George Zimmerman. Had that occurred, I have no doubt that I would have been accused of racial profiling and it would have been claimed that my reason for stopping and confronting the person was racially motivated. My accusers would have ignored that the activity of standing in a driveway of an obviously closed business, in an area with no houses close by, is a bit suspicious. They would have ignored the possible reason for the activity was to scout the area before committing a crime. The fact that I was white and...

The Lynching of Paula Deen

The Lynching of Paula Deen

Jun 27, 2013

Anybody who thinks that a lynching won’t occur in a courtroom, or in the media has obviously not been following the Paula Deen case.

GOP- Stuck in The Middle

GOP- Stuck in The Middle

Jun 13, 2013

The RINO/CINO predicament brings to mind lyrics of the old Stealers Wheel song, “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you”. For Republicans, the more appropriate lyrics are, “RINOs to the left of me, CINOs to the right, here we are stuck in middle trying to win elections.”

Does it Really Matter?

Does it Really Matter?

Apr 1, 2013

On March 20, 2013, Fox 5 news in Atlanta (and apparently, a number of FOX affiliates across the country) aired a story by investigative reporter Dale Russell dealing with repeated court actions by creditors who are attempting to collect payments on Kelly Kautz’s long past-due debts. The latest activity involves a garnishment against her mayor’s wages, which are paid by the City of Snellville.Personal finances are just that—personal. Which has prompted questions about the relevance of personal debt to the city and its citizens. The most common question is, “Does it really matter?” Russell’s report addresses that question quite well; the over-riding concern is that an apparent pattern of personal financial irresponsibility could easily become a pattern of irresponsible city spending, and that has a direct—and negative—impact on taxpayers. A few recent examples of questionable proposed and actual expenditures include: *A last minute, “slide it in under the rug” proposal to add $50,000 to the budget to pay for four “Welcome to Snellville” signs *A strong suggestion that the City spend almost $100,000 to make repairs on private property *Payment (without Council knowledge) of over $30,000 in attorney fees that were identified as excessive and unjustified *Irresponsible budgeting that would have added $16,000 in expenses that had already been paid in an insurance settlement Fortunately, responsible fiscal decision-making prevailed, so Snellville’s current financial situation is excellent. Prudent budgeting, tight control of expenditures, and the Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) settlement with Gwinnett County has enabled the City to build an impressive cash reserve. A portion of that will be returned to taxpayers in the form of continued low property taxes, some will be used for physical improvements within the city and the balance will be kept on hand for emergency situations. Had members of the City Council not rejected previous budgets, which contained what can best be described as irresponsible expenditures, Snellville’s financial condition would have been far different. It might have been similar to that of Woodstock, GA, where the consequences of excessive municipal spending in the past are apparent in a recent city audit, as reported in Woodstock Patch. Some of the city’s financial highlights include (by June 30, 2012): The unassigned fund...

Divided We Stand, Part 3- Judgment Day

Divided We Stand, Part 3- Judgment Day

Mar 21, 2013

On March 19, 2013 the citizens of Snellville’s were awarded a victory in the fight for transparent, honest, productive and democratic government. That may seem like a bit of hyperbole, considering that the victory was the denial of the mayor’s ability to unilaterally fire the City Attorney. However, the ramifications of that decision are far reaching, and unquestionably reconfirm that the mayor, as well as every other member of the City Council, must abide by the city charter. While Judge Timothy Hamil’s decision will enable to City to move forward on a number of matters requiring the involvement of a City Attorney, a significant issue remains—the division within the Council. There was no legitimate reason for Kautz’ to file a lawsuit; as Judge Hamil noted, the matter should have been settled outside the courtroom. Unfortunately, Kautz seems to prefer litigation to conversation. Since she was sworn into office, she and her backers have seemed bent on running roughshod over the Council, the charter and anything else that interferes with what can best be described as a self-serving agenda. When members of the Council stated their belief that the mayor could not unilaterally fire the City Attorney, Kautz’s first response was not to discuss the matter, but to immediately file a lawsuit. That speaks volumes about her seeming attitude of, “I want what I want and to heck with what’s best for the city”. Charter issues aside, why would anyone attempt to fire an extremely competent, ethical and effective City Attorney and replace him with someone with little or no prior municipal law experience? The only reason would appear to be that the choice of a replacement was motivated by a desire for malleability rather than for competence. This isn’t the first time that Kautz’s unilateral actions have sent the City careening on an ill-advised “Adventure in City Attorneyland”. Immediately upon taking office in 2011, Kautz informed Tony Powell (who at the time was serving as City Attorney) that she intended to replace him as soon as her new appointee learned the ropes. Mr. Powell elected to resign, rather than stick around and serve as a nurse-maid. The new appointee was Stuart Oberman who, by...