Barking dogs should not be used to
Randy De Carlo
Special to GwinnettForum.com
LILBURN, Ga., May 2, 2008 -- I am involved in an ongoing and now
controversial case under the Nuisance Animal "dog barking"
statute of Gwinnett County's animal ordinance. The law has some
serious constitutional issues, not limited to what most would deem
powers granted to our policing agencies and the courts under the
Dog barking is listed under the "Public nuisance animal"
sec. 10-33 a-5. Pet owners found guilty under this ordinance find
themselves facing up to $1,000 in fines, six months in the county
jail and impounding their pet(s) for each citation issued. These
penalties are the same for both repeat and first time offenders
While we all understand to enforcement of penalties on other "animal
nuisance" issues, including neglect, quality of care and those
found to be fighting their pets, lumping in barking dogs makes no
sense at all.
The ordinance defines "barking" dogs as any pet who "Makes
any vocalizations for more than 15 minutes without interruption
or more then 30 minutes if vocalizations are intermittent."
These time limits do not apply if the vocalizations are given as
a warning to the presence of an intruder.
This ordinance does not require animal control to witness or measure
the noise levels in order that a citation be issued. The law does
require a letter to the owner of the dog explaining the situation
and requesting a timely resolution. But there is no mechanism for
the pet owner to determine whether changes made solved the problem
for which the warning was sent.
First time violators should not be treated the same as repeat offenders
and have to face the maximum penalties under the law. Reasonable
fines should send a message, as opposed to the threats of jail time
and loss of the family pet on what often times are issues that should
have been mediated with the neighbors themselves.
This law can be easily manipulated by neighbors who have issues
or squabbles that have absolutely nothing to do with the dogs involved.
Rather than drawing our neighborhoods together, squabbles that lead
to the loss of our family pets will instead serve as a catalyst
for ripping them apart.
Many citizens who choose Gwinnett as their home also have a love
affair with their family pets. The image of having Fluffy or Fido
ripped from the family home is one that will seriously damage an
already depressed market for the homes we own.
No one wants to live in a community where a family lives in fear---even
that fear that their family pet could very well be next to be accused
of being a "public nuisance." Our community will be judged
on how we treat our elderly, our children and our family pets. That
is the core values of family values.
Braselton leads Gwinnett cities in those registered
Editor and Publisher
MAY 2, 2008 -- More of the residents of Braselton are registered
to vote in city elections than in any other city in the county.
Nearly three-fourths of Braselton residents -- that's 74 percent
-- are registered to vote, based on those registered to vote on
March 1, 2008, and comparing this to the estimated population figures
for 2007. The information comes from the Georgia Secretary of State,
and from Gwinnett Elections Division Director Lynn Ledford.
In reality, that 74 percent of the Braselton population is probably
close to 100 percent of the adult population. So hats off to Mayor
Pat Graham and her city for getting their residents participating
in city government.
Braselton's percent registered is up seven per cent from the previous
Right behind Braselton is Berkeley Lake, with 63 percent registered;
followed by Suwanee and the Loganville portion in Gwinnett, with
63 percent each. However, Berkeley Lake lost four per cent since
2006, while both Suwanee and Loganville increased significantly.
The two cities with the lowest number of people registered to vote
are Rest Haven, only 18 percent registered, and Norcross, 34 percent
registered, up from 28 percent in 2007.
What much of this shows is that many cities seem to have a plan
to get newcomers to their cities registered quickly after they move
in. That's good.
But it also shows other areas, like Norcross and Lawrenceville,
where only 42 percent are registered, may not be making it easy
for folks to register to vote. This could be that some of the cities
see significant minority and immigrant populations moving into their
areas, and are not registering these folk. If a city in the county
does not have at least 50 per cent of its population registered
to vote, that's an indication that more attention needs to be paid
to this subject. That means that Lilburn and Buford (both at 47
per cent) also need to get on the ball with registration.
The City of Duluth had the fastest increase of percentage registered
to vote, up from 45 to 54 per cent. The cities of Braselton, Loganville,
and Sugar Hill gained seven percent in registering people from 2006
to 2007, while Snellville went up six per cent. Grayson dropped
from 61 to 59 percent registered.
For all of Gwinnett County, 66.8 per cent of its people are registered
to vote. However, that represents 387,355 voters, as of March 1
(as of the April 22, the active voters totaled 340,850, a record
number.) Yes, that can translate into long lines on election days.
That should give you pause as to when to vote
..not early in
the day, nor particularly any time after 4 p.m. Around noon can
see longer lines. However, if you can schedule voting mid morning
or mid-afternoon, most of the time you'll have no waiting or a very
But mainly, congratulations to the cities of the county, for improving
the number of people registered to vote.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com
to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is the Gwinnett
Philharmonic. The Philharmonic presents Philharmonic Jazz:Sizzling
Swing, Big Band Style at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 13, in a rousing
close to their 2007/2008 concert season. Featuring the orchestra's
own Philharmonic Jazz big band troupe and Sam Skelton, acclaimed
for audio samples of his work). Several wonderful jazz favorites
are on the playlist, including Duke Ellington's Take the A Train
and Glenn Miller's Pennsylvania 6-5000, plus Miller's In
the Mood,Count Basie's Sweet Georgia Brown, and George
Gershwin's Summertime. All this will be at the Gwinnett Performing
Arts Center of the Gwinnett Center. Tickets are $28 adults, $24
seniors and $12 students. Tickets are available at any Ticketmaster
outlet, by calling Ticketmaster at 404-249-6400, or in person at
the Gwinnett Center box office between 10 and 5, Monday-Friday.
For more information on the Gwinnett Philharmonic, visit the website
Be sure to sign up for their e-newsletter while you are there, to
receive inside information on concerts and timely reminders.
need for more recycling education within Gwinnett
Editor, the Forum:
There was a recent article on the county marking Earth Day by adopting
a solid waste plan.
I always thought recycling was a great way to bring communities
together. There should be more focus on the many ways to recycle
and its many benefits.
If could be very educative for many, especially our youth. Sadly,
I am one of only two who recycle in my subdivision of 32. I find
that there are many who would like to recycle, but their excuse
has been "It's just easier to trash it all." I think that
idea can be changed!
I would personally help in executing a multi-lingual Recycling
Campaign that could speak to this issue.
-- Patricia Malaver, Buford
Wants Linder to return
to Congress, even if he's boring
Editor, the Forum:
commentary about John Linder and the Fair Tax, Linder will be
re-elected because he faithfully does exactly what we sent him there
to do, even if it is boring. Besides, we will really need him there
if the Democrat becomes president.
If you had read the Fair Tax Book, you would know that the Fair
Tax would completely untax the poor and raise everyone's standard
of living. Your mainstream media bias is showing.
-- Bob Foreman, Stone Mountain
Dear Bob: No way you can get this in without
rebuttal. Putting a national sales tax on everything, even visits
to the doctor or an accountant, puts far more of proportional
burden on the poor than it does the wealthy. That's why it is
unfair in concept, in reality, eliminates many taxes that the
wealthy currently pay, and makes the poorest pay tax on anything
they do. That's why it is not fair, but unfair.--eeb
Interstate 85 North
of Pleasant Hill Road now 18 lanes wide
Editor, the Forum:
Looking North on I-85 from Old Norcross Road Bridge
On April 25 the Georgia Department of Transportation opened the
new northbound Collector/Distributor (C/D) lanes that extend northward
on Interstate-85 through the new I-85/SR316 interchange project.
The significance of this is that, with this event capacity expansion
on I-85, there are now a total of 18 lanes on I-85 at the Old Norcross
There are three northbound C/D lanes, five northbound mainline lanes,
seven southbound mainline lanes and three southbound C/D lanes.
This part of Gwinnett County has certainly come a long way from
the time not that many years ago when Pleasant Hill Road was a dirt
A footnote on this historic benchmark: GDOT leadership has gotten
a lot of bad press recently, but the Gwinnett County District GDOT
team continues to do an outstanding job. The Wayne Shackelford Interchange
construction team has done a great job and is WAY ahead of schedule!
-- Dave Rouselle, Pendergrass
Dear Dave: This reminds me of a bus trip one
year when a question was addressed to Wayne Shackelford about
traffic, asking how wide Interstate 85 might become. He replied,
jokingly, that they could build it 43 lanes wide, but it would
take forever to cross all those lanes to get to an exit. The way
it's going, we may get to 43 lanes some day! -eeb
sound bites are everywhere
Another great cartoon by Bill McLemore:
service center marks 10th anniversary on May 6
Norcross Human Services Center will celebrate ten years of providing
services and programming to Gwinnett citizens.
The public is invited to join in the celebration on Tuesday, May
6 at noon at the center, 5030 Georgia Belle Court in Norcross. Commission
Chairman Charles Bannister and Katherine Sherrington, Tax Commissioner
of Gwinnett County, will be speakers.
Linda Bailey, manager of Senior Services, remembers the excitement
of the seniors back then. "Several seniors created an exquisite
handmade quilt in anticipation of the groundbreaking event. They
were just so excited of being a part of this; to have a place to
call their own - Norcross Senior Center."
Ellen Bottoms, an assistant manager from the license plate office,
was the recipient of the quilt which was raffled at the grand opening.
To this day, the quilt remains intact and will be on display at
the 10th anniversary celebration.
Ingrid Hervey, coordinator of the center for four years, notes
that Norcross Human Services Center is a one stop center for the
entire family. "It houses five different agencies which provide
education, health services, vehicle registration and renewal, a
senior center, multi-cultural programming and other activities.
I am honored to be part of center which provides such services to
For more information on the services Norcross Human Services Center
has to offer, call the center at 770.638.5660 or visit the website
Hassell to address
May meeting of Gwinnett Sierra Club
The Gwinnett Sierra Club will meet on Thursday, May 15 with Carol
Hassel, former Suwanee city council woman, with Gwinnett Open Land
Trust, speaking. She is currently seeking one of Gwinnett's county
commission seats. The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be
at the Willowrun Condominums clubhouse at 1015 Country Court, Lawrenceville.
Hassell was influential in crafting development standards and other
city ordinances geared to maintain a high quality of life in Suwanee.
For more information, contact Tom Morrissey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With summer on the
way, you ready for swim lessons?
Summer's almost here. Are you ready?
Summer swim lessons for ages six months to adult at the J.M.Tull
Gwinnett Family YMCA begin June 3, and will continue through the
summer at two week intervals.
Need help placing your child in a level? Simply call 770-513-5949
or 5948. Scuba, lifeguarding and other aquatic activities are also
available. For more information and to print a seven day pass, visit
the website at http://tgy.ymcaatlanta.org.
Gwinnett Medical Center,
St. Joe's team for heart surgery
Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) and Saint Joseph's Health System
(SJHA) have joined forces to create Gwinnett Cardiovascular Services
(GCVS), a collaborative arrangement designed to ensure that the
most advanced cardiac services, including open heart surgery services,
are available in Gwinnett County quickly.
In January, Gwinnett Medical Center submitted its certificate of
need (CON) application to the Georgia Department of Community Health
(DCH) to develop the open heart program on the campus of its flagship
hospital in Lawrenceville. Gwinnett County is the largest county
in the nation that does not have an open heart surgery program within
its boundaries. Gwinnett Medical Center's CON application has attracted
widespread support from local leaders and citizens. A decision from
DCH is expected by June, 2008.
Phil Wolfe, president and CEO of Gwinnett Medical Center, says:
"When we launched our open heart campaign last October, we
looked for ways to create a best-in-class program from day one.
Collaboration with Saint Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta means that
a nationally- recognized leader in the provision of open heart surgery
and other cardiovascular services will assist Gwinnett Medical Center
as we develop similar programs and services here in Gwinnett."
Gwinnett Cardiovascular Services will be jointly owned and managed
by GMC and SJHA, with Saint Joseph's providing non-exclusive consultative
services through GCVS, including training and clinical advisory
support, to GMC's cardiovascular center of excellence, which will
include open heart surgery services upon receipt of CON approval
from DCH. The collaboration through Gwinnett Cardiovascular Services
will seek to make certain that the open heart surgery program and
other expanded services achieve the highest quality and patient
satisfaction standards already established by Saint Joseph's.
Suwanee police officers,
employee receive recognition
Several Suwanee police officers and department employees have received
recognition recently from community organizations and colleagues
for service above and beyond the call of duty.
The Gwinnett Bar Association has named Lt. Matt Scott Officer of
the Year for his pursuit and arrest of a bank robbery suspect last
year. A Dacula resident, Scott has served as a Suwanee police officer
for more than 22 years.
In addition, Suwanee Police Department awards for 2008 recently
were presented. For the second consecutive year, Officer Elton Hassell
was voted Officer of the Year by his colleagues. "Day in and
day out, Ofc. Hassell provides consistent, professional service,"
notes Deputy Chief Janet Moon.
Sgt. Elias Casanas, Suwanee's community relations officer, received
the Chief's Award. "I'm not sure what Sgt. Casanas' secret
is, but every time we have a Citizens Police Academy, the participants
end up our best friends at the end of the seven weeks," says
Moon. "We appreciate his work in building bridges between the
police department and the community."
Nancy Miller, the police department's administrative assistant,
was voted Civilian of the Year.
- An invitation: What
Web sites, books or restaurants have you enjoyed? Send us your
best recent visit to a restaurant or most recent book you have
read along with a short paragraph as to why you liked it, plus
what book you plan to read next. --eeb
Progressive movement facilitated economic growth
Because it facilitated economic growth, Georgia's
Progressive movement enjoyed the support of businesses, large
land owners, and urban interests. When reform served a broad public
(railroad regulation, highway construction, maximum hours for mill
workers, and education) or accomplished moral and civic goals (juvenile
justice, prohibition, and abolition of convict leasing), the state
was in step with national trends.
Georgia was out of step with the nation (though not the South)
in its neglect of some of the poorest segments of society and its
rejection of woman suffrage. Sharecroppers lost ground during the
Progressive era despite the fact that farmers' initiatives before
1900 had set the stage for what came later. The disfranchisement
of blacks not only excluded 46 percent of the state's population
from the political system but also condemned many to a segregated
underclass. The absence of a two-party system (distinctive to the
South) probably diminished the depth and longevity of reform in
Reforms were expensive and depended for their success upon the
capacities of government. When Progressivism arrived in Georgia,
the state was still in recovery from the human and economic disaster
of the Civil War (1861-65). Further, the broadly supported priority
of maximizing the power of county units while minimizing government
expenses meant that the ad valorem or general property assessment
tax (established in the Constitution of 1877), which kept taxes
low, was the state's main generator of revenue. Not until the existence
of a program of general taxation (income, gasoline, automobile registration,
and the sales tax that began in 1951), and an economy and population
to support it could more be done. Progressive-era reform in Georgia
was a modest but important first step in that direction.
Ultimately, Progressivism's greatest legacy for Georgians and all
Americans---and a central facet of all subsequent reform movements---lay
in its underlying assumption that government at all levels could
and should take responsibility for guarding the interests and the
welfare of certain elements of society and should utilize the powers
of legislation and regulation in so doing.
How one guy looks at
bridges and politicians
"I once said cynically of a politician, 'He'll doublecross
that bridge when he comes to it.'"
-- Wit Oscar Levant (1906-1972).
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