And what a defeat they got. The "they" in this case are the ones who tried to foist this mess on all of us. I plan to stay on this even though we had a resounding win.
The issues went beyond the 1% sales tax. There is the matter of governance, accountability, fairness and special interest control.
If this had passed, contrary to the commercials, your local officials would only have a small say-so over where the money would be spent.
And worse, you could not throw out the unelected bureaucrats and know-it-all planners that make up something called the ARC (Atlanta Regional Commission).
This group were part and parcel in coming up with all of this in the first place. They do not think that the folks or their elected representatives should be doing the thinking. No we are all to dumb and our elected people actually often do respond to the demands of the citizens. And, they can be voted out if they don't.
Something that I predict will become more common now that we citizens will hopefully get involved with issues like zoning and development. It is , after all, the rapent development that has brought all of this on us. The developers in turn wanted us to pay a tax so that they could start building high profit "sensible" housing that fits into the planners designs. In this madman's nightmare came forth the the thing that we just voted down, and voted down good.
Those who wrought this on us, or attempted to, should now be held accountable. They must be named and where possible be held to ridicule and also discharged from public appointed jobs such as City Attorneys, engineers, and elsewhere when fair and possible.
We can start with the big ones namely the various Chambers of Commerce like the Cobb version. I have been some part of this for years either as a business owner (back when) and more recently an attendee at meetings via my City Council position.
It was obvious that, over the past three years or so that they were getting to be a mostly big shot run organization. They always favored tax increases. Why?
Well it wasn't always for the public good. No, it was for the good of their high paying members such as concrete and asphalt concerns. These are the same ones who live off of the public till for the majority of their big profits. I will have more to say about this outfit later.
The vote itself was instructive. The "NO" voters crossed racial, geographical and political lines. We all came together and would it be nice if that could happen more often and end this "them against us" attitudes.
The pro forces spent at least $7 million. The volunteer peoples campaign spent about $15,000! What a good thought to think that small money could beat big money.
The pro organization used every consultants trick in the bag to convince us to vote for this. I can say with honesty that they flat out lied.
Today, the pro folks are worried. They fear that many of us are not going to stop fighting. Even they admitted that development has been at least poorly planned if not shoddy. That more needs to be done to reign in unbridled building and that elected officials need to begin taking a much closer review of these developments.
Remember that developers, large land speculators, real estate interests and others colluded to put this over on us and they will not go away.
In a later column I will address the run-off elections to be held August 21.
Thanks for reading,
Thomas D. Bevirt