Issue 11.53 | Friday, Sept. 30, 2011
GwinnettForum.com is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.
Ga., Sept. 30, 2011 -- As a 35+ year resident and business owner in Peachtree
Corners, I believe the upcoming November 8 election to incorporate, or
not, is very important. While the question is simply "YES or NO,"
the charter (which cannot be changed) lists dozens of specific services
the city could do. That includes issuing bonds without needing voter approval,
and not only higher property taxes on residents and businesses, but also
added ad valorem taxes on cars, motorcycles, trailers, higher franchise
fees on cable TV, natural gas, electric power, and others.
Corners would be the largest city in Gwinnett County, with about 40,000
residents, and stretching from Winters Chapel Road, near Doraville, to
Buford Highway, west to the river and north to Berkeley Lake and Duluth.
For people in these areas, our tax rate now is zero mills; with incorporation,
it would be up to one mill (at first) and then more if needed, after a
vote. All this plus all the other fees, rules and regulations, and even
gun control. (Read the complete charter on Google: out in Georgia House
SEPT. 30, 2011 -- It was several months ago. Speaking to a group of Gwinnettians one Saturday morning, and recognizing my audience, I asked a simple question.
"Where are you from?" I explained what I wanted from each person: where they were originally from, and where they lived now.
For sure, Gwinnett is one of the key places in the United States where you can find quite an array of people from many different locations. After all, Governing magazine has reported that Gwinnett is one of the most diverse, if not the most diverse, county in all of the United States.
why I was not entirely surprised at the answers that I got from the audience.
Just take a gander at where these 27 were originally from:
Now a list of where they were now living:
How many places in Georgia can find such diversity? Not many.
What most impresses me about this group, and many others in Gwinnett, is what these people moving here from other parts of the country or the world tell me: that they feel most comfortable in Gwinnett.
They move here for many reasons, primarily perhaps, jobs. But then they start coming to Gwinnett for what any parent wants for their children: good schools. They also find that their children, some who speak very little English on arrival, thrive in Gwinnett schools. It seems obvious to us that the Gwinnett schools must have the best "English as a second language" program in all the nation, as newcomers become quick learners and blossom in our schools.
Last month we got a note from a friend who told of an acquaintance living in another suburban county around Atlanta. This minority person did not feel entirely comfortable in their present county, but was there because of proximity to work. What caught our eye was his feelings: "I would like to live in Gwinnett," he said, then gave the reason: "Where everyone is accepted for who they are."
This small thought made me proud to live in Gwinnett, a county where this person felt like he would be accepted in Gwinnett.
These days when many ethnic minorities are living in Gwinnett, our county is thriving from the diversity that these newcomers bring. We can make friends with them at work and in schools, we can visit their festivals and activities, and learn more about their culture, and we look forward to seeing them assimilate more into the overall Gwinnett culture.
We're not completely to this point yet. However, most people in Gwinnett are working toward it.
Gwinnett needs to celebrate its diversity all the more. Apparently, it shows!
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Editor, the Forum:
If you are like me, you have said to yourself many times, "Every time I turn around, it seems that the Post Office raises the cost of stamps."
I decided to take action. I made a conscientious effort to not turn around anymore. It did not help. The Post Office kept raising the cost of stamps.
You cannot imagine my great relief a couple of days ago when I went to my local Post Office and found that they had taken action to reduce expenses. They are doing this to save money as an alternative to this seemingly unending upward spiral of rate increases.
I became aware of this new policy when I looked for a chained counter ballpoint pen to use. The chains were there but the ballpoint pens were gone. There was not a ballpoint pen to be found on any counter accessible to a patron in the entire post office. I was so pleased!
Just about this time I saw the Postmaster General and his entourage walk by. I decided to try and get more information about this significant cost saving effort. I ran up to him and attempted to pose as a local Action News Reporter. I held my cell phone up to his mouth and tried to make him think it was a recorder. He was, however, too smart for me (that's why he is General) and he brushed by me.
Being sly, cunning and alert I was not diverted from my effort to get more information about this herculean attempt to not pass on more rate increases to the American public. Right behind the General was his aide, the Postmaster Lieutenant. I presented the imitation recorder to him and he fell for it (guess that's why he is only a lieutenant).
He seemed pleased to see that I was paying attention to him. He straightened his tie and was real proud as he told me all about the Post Office's Pen Removal Initiative. I can't figure out all of what he said, but I will give you the bottom line: this National Pen Removal Plan of Action is going to delay the next increase in our postal rates a full 27 minutes!
Now don't you feel better? I know I do.
State can save money, benefit by moving primary date
Editor, the Forum:
In 2012, we are scheduled to have a Presidential Preference Primary and a Georgia General Primary. My question, and one also asked by many I have talked to, is "Why both"?
We have these separate more out of tradition. If we combined the General Primary and the Presidential Preference Primary to the same day, it would save millions of taxpayer dollars across all 159 counties of Georgia.
I know that the Secretary of State has been given the ability to set the date of the Presidential Primary. This was done so Georgia could be in the mix to have an impact on the GOP nominating. In 2008, we had the earliest Presidential Preference date in decades at February 5. Generally, we have held our Presidential Primaries in early March. However, in none of these has Georgia played a major role on the GOP side.
There are new rules in place from the Republican National Committee governing the nominating process. The traditional early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) may hold their nominating processes in February. Any other state may hold their caucus or primary in March, but only if they apportion delegates proportionally. If a candidate receives 25 percent of the vote, they get 25 percent of those delegates. Any remaining states wanting to keep the traditional "winner take all" for delegates, can hold their events from April on.
The GOP primaries and caucuses start with Iowa on February 6, and end in Super Tuesday (eight states) on March 6. By then, the GOP nominee will likely be pretty clear. If Georgia is forced to dilute its delegates by proportional representation, that will handicap the state at the National Convention. So why would we do that?
The Legislature has already moved the General Primary date once to July 31. Why not move the date again to June 12 or 19? There is no other state having a primary or a caucus on that day. We would have the sole media attention. Further, if the nomination is still in doubt, we would have the single largest group of delegates to fight for of any state left.
For this to work, the Legislature, Governor and Secretary of State must work together. Saving a few million taxpayer dollars in these tight budgetary times is something I'm sure we all could agree with.
Feels this proposal would catch attention of the Congress
Editor, the Forum:
Yesterday I called the offices of Sens. Isakson, Chambliss, and Rep. Woodall to encourage them to vote for the Jobs Act. Their aides were less than enthusiastic about this, being Republicans, (and this being a bill-proposed plan by a Democratic president), even after I pointed out to them that I'd been out of work for 22 months and the situation was getting no better.
My idea is this: make government smaller. I'm not talking about closing a post office here or a military base there, I'm talking about downsizing Congress.
If the unemployment rate is 10 percent, go through and abolish 10 Senate seats and 43 House seats. Give no warning, no severance pay, and certainly no retirement or health insurance. Just throw the jerks out, dismiss their staff and lock their offices.
Never mind that they've been good legislators, attended regularly, or worked hard. It makes no difference in the real world; why should it matter in government? Let them see how mere mortals live. Select the victims by lottery, seniority, or Ouija Board, for all I care. Pro rate them by party, if you like, but make it swift, sudden, and terrifying.
If the unemployment rate improves, they might be called back - or not. If it get worse, more cuts would be made.
Of course, this idea won't take hold, but I guarantee you it would get the attention of Congress and would motivate them to create jobs. Nothing else seems to.
As I've told several people, when you're about to be evicted from your home, or have already been evicted, you don't much care whether the federal budget is balanced or not.
Autumn is in the air and Aurora Children's Playhouse October schedule reflects the fun associated with the Halloween season with several performances.
October 15, the theatre will present the American classic, The Legend
of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, adapted for the stage by Kathryn
Schultz Miller and directed by Jaclyn Hofmann, Aurora Theatre Director
of Education. Unlike most Aurora Children's Playhouse events that are
geared for pre-school through early elementary age children, The Legend
of Sleepy Hollow is recommended for second grade and up. Aurora Theatre
brings these vivid characters of the 18th century to life in production
featuring Atlanta actors, Tony Larkin, Kelly Criss and Vinnie Mascola.
are $7. For reservations, call 678-226-6222 or visit
City Council has approved initiatives that further strengthen the community's
ongoing "green" sustainability efforts. Earlier this year, the
City of Norcross was certified at the silver award level in the Atlanta
Regional Commission's (ARC) Green Communities Program. Only three local
governments have achieved the Silver level: the City of Norcross, Cobb
County and the City of Roswell.
Four agencies serving area residents have been awarded grants totaling $37,500 by the Jackson EMC Foundation, a charity funded by the electric cooperative's members through their donations to the Operation Round Up program.
the Jackson EMC Foundation began in 2005, it has funded 562 grants to
organizations and 208 grants to individuals, putting more than $5.8 million
back into local communities. The Operation Round Up program which allows
participating electric cooperative's members to have their monthly electric
bills rounded up to the next dollar amount.
Tom Wages Funeral Service wins Excellence award again
Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) has just announced that Tom M. Wages
Funeral Service, LLC has earned its prestigious Pursuit of Excellence®
Award, for a second consecutive year.
Gwinnett Tech dedicates new Life Sciences Center
Gwinnett Tech dedicated its new 78,000 square foot Life Sciences Center on Wednesday easily visible from Georgia Highway 316. Aimed at training future healthcare professionals, the building will serve 3,000 students annually. On hand to make remarks, besides Gwinnett Tech President Sharon Bartels and students, were Technical Education Commissioner Ron Jackson and U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson. Over the next four years, the Atlanta region is expected to add another 27,000 healthcare jobs.
In 1735 the Trustees proposed three pieces of legislation to the Privy Council and had the satisfaction of securing the concurrence of king and council. An Indian act required Georgia licenses for trading west of the Savannah River. Another act banned the use of rum in Georgia. A third act outlawed slavery in Georgia.
South Carolina protested the Indian act vehemently and objected to the Trustees' order to restrict the passage of rum on the Savannah River. The Board of Trade sided with South Carolina, and a compromise was reached, allowing traders with Carolina licenses to continue their traditional trade west of the Savannah River. The Trustees objected to the Board of Trade's tampering and refrained from proposing any additional legislation requiring approval of the Privy Council.
Continual complaints by the colonists and the near abandonment of Georgia during the war with Spain discouraged all but the most dedicated of the Trustees. Especially embarrassing was the list of grievances presented on the floor of Parliament by Thomas Stephens, son of the Trustees' agent in Georgia, William Stephens. A committee went through the motions of looking into the complaints and then exonerated the Trustees. Stephens was made to kneel in apology on the floor of Parliament.
However, the prestige of the Trustees had been wounded, and their influence in Parliament weakened.
Oglethorpe returned from Georgia in 1743 and never again showed the same enthusiasm for the work of the Trust. He disagreed with the relaxation of the ban on rum in 1742 and with the admission of slavery in 1750. He engaged in an unfortunate argument with the Trustees over expenses. The accountant claimed that he owed the Trust £1,412 of funds used for military purposes for which he had been compensated. Oglethorpe countered that the Trustees owed him far more than that amount. No agreement was reached. Oglethorpe attended his last meeting on March 16, 1749.
In March 1750 the Trustees called upon Georgians to elect delegates to the first representative assembly but cautioned them only to advise the Trustees, not to legislate. Augusta and Ebenezer each had two delegates, Savannah had four, and every other town and village had one. Frederica, now practically abandoned, sent no delegate.
Sixteen representatives met in Savannah on January 14, 1751, and elected Francis Harris speaker. Most of the resolutions concerned improving trade. The delegates showed maturity in requesting the right to enact local legislation, and they opposed any annexation effort on the part of South Carolina. The Trustees intended to permit further assemblies, but the failure of Parliament to vote a subsidy in 1751 caused the Trustees to enter into negotiations to turn the colony over to the government a year before the charter expired. Only four members of the Trust attended the last meeting on June 23, 1752, and of the original Trustees only James Vernon persevered to the end.
The earl of Halifax, the new president of the Board of Trade, secured broader powers and infused new life into the administration of the board. He regretted that the colonies had been neglected for so long, and he intended to make Georgia a model colony and an example to others. Thus Georgia passed from the control of one set of gentlemen of Parliament to another.
In 2009 the Georgia Historical Society, in conjunction with the governor's office, created an awards program called the Georgia Trustees, which honors "Georgians whose accomplishments and community service reflect the highest ideals of the founding body of Trustees, which governed the colony from 1732 to 1752."
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(NEW) 8th Annual ArtsFest, with 180 local and national artists line key streets in Norcross: from 10 a.m. Oct. 1 and from 1 p.m. Oct. 2, Heritage Park, across from the Community Center. New this year will be a Literary Arts Venue, where published authors will read from their work, creative people will talk about their work, and historians and longtime residents will recollect yesteryear in Gwinnett. More info.
(NEW) Ribbon cutting of McGinnis Ferry Road extension project: 11 a.m. Oct. 4. Ceremony will take place at the intersection of McGinnis Ferry Road and Gwinco Boulevard. For more information, call 770 822 7180.
(NEW) "Connecting People Who Care With Causes That Matter" will be the theme of the Snellville Commerce Club meeting at noon Oct. 4 at the Snellville City Hall. Speaker is Judy Waters of the Community Foundation of Northeast Georgia.
(NEW) Market extension: Originally scheduled to close October 1, the 2011 Suwanee Farmers Market has been extended two weeks. The market will now be open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays through October 15. About a dozen farmers/vendors are expected to participate in the extended market.
Free Admission to the Aurora Theatre's presentation of a play, Gray Area, about Civil War re-enactors: 8 p.m., Oct. 4. he free admission is part of the annual Fall Into the Arts celebration by the Gwinnett County Public Library. Reservations are suggested by contacting the theatre.
(NEW) Fall into the Arts: 7 p.m. Oct. 6, Thomas P. Hughes Ballroom at Gwinnett Center, Duluth. The event will present author Siddharta Mukherjee, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, as part of the Gwinnett Public Library's Gwinnett Reads program. Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies has been recognized as one of the "10 Best Books of 2010." For more information, visit online here or call 770-978-5154.
(NEW) PhotoMix Exhibit: Third Annual Kudzu/Atlanta Celebrates Photography Event Friday and Saturday, October 7-29 at Kudzu Art Zone in Norcross. This month-long exhibit of 12 Kudzu members seeks to expand the awareness of visual arts. The opening reception is Friday, October 14. Details here.
(NEW)Snellville Historical Society meeting: 2:30 p.m., Oct. 9, City Hall Community Room. Speaker will be Dr. George D. N. Coletti, historian of Stone Mountain.
Rainbow Village Gala: 6:30 p.m., Oct. 22, Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek. Wilmington Trust is the presenting sponsor. Dinner, entertainment and a silent auction will mark the 20 years of celebration. Entertainment will be with Blue Sky Atlanta. Reserve seats.
© 2001-2011, Gwinnett Forum.com is Gwinnett County's online community forum for commentary that explores pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.