Commissioner Bob Ott can tell you what political weakness looks like whether it is in East Cobb or South Cobb.
On Tuesday, there was a rare, open to the public, meet and greet of local politicians at the Parc at Piedmont retirement community off Roswell Road. Of the 50 or so in attendance, about half were elected officials and their primary opponents. A few of the highlights.
Rep. Don Parsons was sighted for the first time in a decade. Without a DNA test we can’t be sure but it looked like a much older version of the Don Parsons picture we see in the MDJ. His smiling opponent, JoEllen Smith, chatted up the crowd, and had a pleasant productive evening.
Still no Rep. Matt Dollar but one of his opponents, Cynthia Rozzo, was the most talked to person at the event. People stood in line to have the opportunity to say hello.
If David Banks had supported quality public education, instead of his extremist agenda on the school board, he wouldn’t have two primary opponents.
Democrat Kevin “Big Kev” Westphal is running for Bobby “Dr. No” Franklin’s old seat in HD46. "Big Kev" was comfortable talking to all comers. Think the folks in HD46 will vote for another representative with a nickname?
Tom Price, another phantom elected official, as usual, wasn’t there. Some of his defenders said that he gets out in public, like addressing the Chamber of Commerce or a fundraiser at an Atlanta Country Club home.
The last reported town hall meeting was reported to be in front of some East Cobb seniors a few years ago when he tried to sell the privatization of Social Security. The knowledgeable seniors left him hurrying for the door. Tom Price's most likely Democratic opponent, Jeff Kazanow, was present, shaking hands, answering questions, and having a fun time with East Cobb Republicans.
Commissioner Ott came in a little late but it probably took just one look for him to know who politically was on the way out and who was moving forward. The next night, the commissioner was in Powder Springs, so he dropped in on a local candidate’s forum hosted by popular representative David Wilkerson. It was similar to the Parc event, short on introductions and long on mix and mingle with about 100 in attendance.
School Board member David Morgan has worn out his welcome in South Cobb and has two formidable primary opponents, Bobby J. Allen and Karyn A. Harrison. Both opponents are well-qualified and supporters of strong public education with no personal financial or political agenda.
Outstanding school board member Alison Bartlett was present. For those who wanted a quality school board representative, they didn’t have to look far for a model. Republicans can’t beat her, so they are redistricting her district to try to improve their chances of maintaining control of the biggest pot of money in Cobb County, the school board budget.
The other invited candidates were running for Commissioner Woody Thompson’s job. I would not guess who the front runners are since most had signs all over the district. They were all well connected to local organizations, and seemed more qualified than the folks currently on the commission. They were Lisa Cupid, Monica Delaney, Ruth Negron, Michael Rhett, and Connie Taylor.