This blog site deals with Kennesaw, a small city located NW of Atlanta, Ga. in Cobb County. The site covers several things, the Mosque Issue, Castle Lake MHP, City elections and just general observations. This is a private site and no comments are allowed. For additional Mosque info go to: http://suffadawa.blogspot.com and http://suffadawatsuit.blogspot.com for Castle Lake Info go to: http://castlelakemhp.blogspot.com. - Contact me via: email@example.com
MARIETTA — Responding to reports that several libraries and their staff could be cut this fall, several Cobb residents strongly urged county commissioners Tuesday to back away from the proposal.
The remarks from seven citizens came in the wake of a publicly released county proposal to close eight of the county’s 17 libraries in an effort to address a budget shortfall. Under a draft plan authored by Helen Poyer, who heads the Cobb County Public Library System, the county would also cut 124 positions to save about a quarter of the library system’s nearly $12.3 million budget in fiscal 2018.
The draft was obtained by the MDJ through an open records request and was created in response to county commissioners’ directive in late October for Poyer and other county staff to cut nearly $2.9 million from the library system in an effort to address a projected $30 million shortfall in the fiscal 2019 budget.
“What’s the cost? It’s people’s lives, people’s futures,” said Marietta resident Peggy Pool, who argued that shuttering libraries to save county funds would affect adults who may go to the library to search for jobs as they have no online service at home, while children could go without access to books to build their vocabularies or scholarly resources come research paper time.
Pool also expressed concern that the library system could lose state funding if several branches were closed — a worry that had also been aired by Poyer in an email obtained by the MDJ last week. Poyer in that email said she had been contacted by State Librarian Julie Walker of the Georgia Public Library Service, who had questioned the support for state funding for the county system based on news that branches would be closed.
Also speaking to commissioners was Susan Kendall, a Powder Springs resident and volunteer ESL teacher with the county’s adult education program. She said the libraries are helpful to immigrant populations when they move into the county because the facilities play a role in helping them assimilate into the American and local cultures.
“These are people who want to be good, American citizens, and what they need are tools. As an ESL teacher, I also include library databases — citizenship, American GED, small business — these are all library databases that I include in my program,” Kendall said.
County Chairman Mike Boyce said the possibility of closing libraries remains just a proposal as the county remains months away from crafting a framework for the fiscal 2019, which he said would be taken around the county and presented to the public at town hall-style meetings this spring.
The library reduction proposal, he said, had been made public knowing that it would draw comments as the county stands within the initial stages of putting together the budget.
“We have five months as we put together our budget for 2019,” Boyce said.
But library proponents, such as Rachel Slomovitz, say they intend to speak at future commission meetings to continue to voice their desire to keep branches open. The east Cobb resident, who considers herself a frequent visitor to the East Cobb and Mountain View libraries, said she planned to attend the 7 p.m. meeting on Feb. 27 after being unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting.
Slomovitz began a change.org petition in mid-December titled “Save Cobb County Libraries with Millage Rate Increase,” which as of Wednesday afternoon had more than 1,200 signatures.
Several of those who spoke on the library topic Tuesday morning said they would support a millage increase to keep library sites from closing.
MARIETTA — Responding to reports that several libraries and their staff could be cut this fall, several Cobb residents strongly urged county commissioners Tuesday to back away from the proposal.
CLASS ACTION SUITS - Is it worth it? Now and then on various sites someone opines that this or that company should be the subject of a ‘class action suit’. Frequently the offender is Comcast who has terrible service. Below are some points to consider on such suits. Just today, Feb 12, 2018, I got a final disbursement from a class action suit against Wells Fargo. It was $2.22. Prior to this final check there was the initial payment of a bit under $13, I remember thinking that it would just about pay for one meal at Zaxby’s, so it was not a real memorable amount. Most results are similar, only the lawyers walk away with any real money. So what do I think about such suits? I have absolutely no problem with class action suits but you should be aware that there are some problems with them. Here are things to consider, not in the order of importance, just pot luck. The first issue is to get past the initial agreement you went with, which almost surely that any disputes will be heard in arbitration. OK, so let’s say you get past this roadblock (but you might not). A) Finding a law firm to represent the proposed ‘class’. No individual or even small shop will take on something like this, far to labor intense and far to long to reach a conclusion. B) These things drag on for years, not months, years, and it favors the organization being sued to have this happen. It wears down the opposition. C) Just because you get a dozen or so initial plaintiffs there is no guarantee that a judge will certify it as a class action. This is an up hill struggle to get certification. D) You may be filing first in a state court, BUT Comcast will easily have it removed to Federal District Court due to what is called ‘diversity of citizenship’, which just means that the proposed class is in more than one jurisdiction and/or that the state filed in originally is not where Comcast has its corporate HQ. So one way or another it will be in a Federal District Court. E) It is a long shot for it ever to be certified and reach a trial. Most likely is a settlement with those original filers and such settlements are almost always ‘confidential’, which means that you might ‘win’ in theory but you can’t tell anyone what you got and the suit will show as being dismissed with predjudice. Note: If it isn’t certified as a class action, those party to the original filing can still proceed with the suit. F) One stop along the way is arbitration, usually sent there by the trial judge to see if there is some way to avoid a few more years in his/her court. If no agreement it is back on the Court’s calender. G) Who is paying for the representation for the suit? Even if the law firm agrees to bear the costs for 40% of the eventual payout, they might want the plaintiffs to at least pay for the various filing fees, costs of depositions etc. Something to work out before you start out. ----------------------------------------------------- Misc: I have been involved in 3 civil suits. 2 filed against me, one by Target Corp for having published their ‘security manual’, that suit lasted 23 months in Fed Dist Ct Atlanta before being tossed out. see: http://targetfiling.blogspot.com/search?q=jason+rubner Another where a realty firm sued me for having taken them to task for their way of doing business (dismissed by plaintiff)
Last was where I sued my condo for not enforcing the CA’s of the association. This lasted about 3 yrs and was ‘settled’ with them paying me $7,000 for my legal expenses and of course they agreed to correct their errors of ignoring the condo documents. See I didn’t ‘win’ on the record but I did really win. Part of my agreement with the Board was that the results would not be confidential, so I got to tell the other 100 or so owners what went on. Usually this isn’t done, and it is confidential, but I had them over a big barrel so they agreed to that stipulation.
------------------------------------------------------ Boyce: Raise taxes or risk several library branch closures Jon Gargis MDJ 2/7/18 MARIETTA — Cobb Chairman Mike Boyce believes concern over the possible closing of eight county library branches will lead residents to support a property tax increase to keep them in operation. “My hope is that by getting this proposal out early there will be sufficient public input that will convince the Board (of Commissioners) to raise the millage rate to keep libraries open,” Boyce wrote in an email thread to a Cobb resident Wednesday morning, a thread obtained by the MDJ. “If your neighbors want to keep libraries open they'll need to send emails to the Board members to approve a millage rate that will keep them open,” Boyce wrote. The “proposal” referenced by Boyce is a draft plan authored by Helen Poyer, who heads the Cobb County Public Library System, to close nearly half the county’s 17 library branches and cut 124 positions to save about a quarter of the library system’s nearly $12.3 million budget in fiscal 2018. The draft was obtained by the MDJ through an open records request, and was created in response to county commissioners’ directive in late October to cut nearly $2.9 million from the library system in an effort to address a projected $30 million shortfall in the fiscal 2019 budget. The idea to close libraries is not new. A similar debate occurred under the administration of Boyce’s predecessor, Tim Lee, who faced a $30 million deficit in 2011 and in response proposed closing 13 of the 17 county libraries. The plan faced significant backlash from library supporters, leading Lee to back off the plan and instead, with commissioners’ support, increase property taxes by 15.7 percent that year. EAST COBB BRANCH, OTHERS SUGGESTED FOR CLOSURE Suggested branches to be shuttered as part of the county’s 2019 budget include the East Cobb Library, which drew 249,000 visitors in 2016 — the last full year for which data is available — making it the second busiest library that year. Closing the branch, according to Poyer, would save an estimated $771,000, making it the second largest cost-saving portion of her plan. “I saw the list, so I called Commissioner (Bob) Ott, and said ‘You’re going to see the list, and I’m going to ask you to do one thing and one thing only — don’t shoot the messenger,’” Boyce said late last week. The library branch is in Ott’s district. Ott says that while he has “repeatedly said that libraries that are underperforming should be consolidated,” he has never supported closure of the East Cobb branch. Rumors of a possible closure of the branch swirled last year after Commissioner JoAnn Birrell suggested closing it in an effort to consolidate county services. She previously said that users of the library would still have two regional libraries within a 7-mile radius of the East Cobb Library if it were to shut its doors. She also said the closure would save hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs spent to lease the library’s space within a shopping center, which could go to other county purposes such as hiring police officers. Another $353,000 would be saved through the reduction plan’s suggested closure of the Kemp Memorial Library in west Cobb. Other closures would affect branches that in 2016 each saw less than 32,000 users walk through their doors — the Lewis A. Ray Library in Cumberland, the Sibley and Windy Hill libraries near Windy Hill Road and the Sweetwater Library in Austell. Lastly, the plan calls for the consolidation of the Acworth and Kennesaw libraries, which are scheduled to be replaced by the future North Cobb Regional Library, scheduled for a 2019 opening. The plan does not affect the recently opened $10.6 million Sewell Mill Library and Cultural Center, which opened its doors to the public in early December and replaced the East Marietta Library next door, which was demolished to make way for part of the new library’s parking lot. The largest portion of Poyer’s budget reduction proposal, however, would affect people rather than facilities, as it would eliminate every part-time position in the system — 124 people employed as technicians or assistants. Though the move would save the system nearly $1 million, Poyer noted the branches would lose “skilled frontline staff” who provide numerous services to library patrons, and would further reduce service hours at the nine libraries that would remain open under the proposal. Earlier in the same email thread in which Boyce had referenced a possible millage increase to keep libraries open, Poyer had shared system funding concerns with several Cobb Library Foundation board members, including Abby Shiffman, Stephen Hughes and president Gilles LaMarche. Poyer said she had been contacted by State Librarian Julie Walker of the Georgia Public Library Service, who had questioned the support for state funding for the county system based on news that branches would be closed. “Please encourage family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and other library supporters to email/text Commissioners, speak at BOC meeting and/or attend meeting with (Cobb Library Foundation) heart,” Poyer wrote. BOYCE: LIBRARY FUNDING LIKELY ISSUE IN COMING MONTHS Boyce said he believes the library closure proposal will be discussed in public hearings to be held later this spring ahead of consideration on a fiscal 2019 budget, which would be voted on during the summer. He says that while he personally does not want to see branches closed, shuttering sites that see less use may be inevitable.
“This isn’t 1965 anymore, this isn’t 1975, this is 2018. The use of the library shifts over time, and you have to be realistic — if one library gets x number of people, and another library gets y number of people, it’s a reasonable approach to say, ‘Well, they’re not getting the service they used to, so do we still need that?’” Boyce said, but added that county residents will be asked if keeping branches open is something they would be willing to pay for through property taxes. “When we start trying to please everybody, you please nobody,” he said, “so we’re going to have to take a good, hard look at the product that the library put out, and then we’re going to have a long discussion about what part of that plan we’re going to implement.” Boyce last week also said a property tax increase was seemingly the only way left for the county to raise additional needed revenues in the wake of Cobb legislators’ chilly response to a proposed sales tax referendum. Commissioners last month passed a resolution seeking the referendum for a 1-percent sales tax that was dubbed an Other Local Option Sales Tax or OLOST. The tax had been proposed by Commissioner Bob Weatherford. ================================ MY COMMENTS ARE: I have said for years that the 'Director' and 3 Regional managers are paid to much. Reduce their salaries and if they don't like it they can find other work. The library system was poorly managed as I laid out in my blog of several years ago. I am no longer in Cobb but I doubt there have been any 'good' changes to that system. See: http://cobbcountylibrary.blogspot.com/ ====================================
Kennesaw special election set for May 22
Staff reports MDJ 2/6/18
Kennesaw city officials have chosen May 22 as the date for a special election to fill a vacant seat on the city council. Council members voted 4-0 Monday to set the election date, qualifying dates and fees associated with filling the fifth seat on the council, which has been empty since Yvette Daniel abruptly resigned in January. The winning candidate will fill the remainder of Daniel’s term, which expires Dec. 31, 2019.
City officials say setting the special election to coincide with primary elections also taking place on May 22 saves the city as much as $12,000. Adding the race to the ballot costs about $2,000, according to City Clerk Debra Taylor, while a standalone election could cost as much as $14,000.
Kennesaw elects its council members city-wide — as opposed to using districts or wards — so all eligible city residents can vote in the special election.
Candidates looking to get their names on the ballot must qualify for the election March 5, 6 or 7 at Kennesaw City Hall. Qualifying is scheduled to take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. on March 5 and 6 and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on March 7.
To qualify, candidates must be at least 21 years old, a qualified voter in the city and a “bona fide” resident of Kennesaw for one year prior to Election Day, May 22. Those convicted of a felony cannot qualify unless they have received a full pardon and had all rights of citizenship restored, according to the city.
Qualifying also requires a $360 fee, which represents 3 percent of the $12,000 salary council members receive.
The election is nonpartisan, and there will be no primary. Kennesaw is unique among Cobb cities in that it does not allow for runoff elections: the candidate with the most votes on May 22 will be declared the winner.
Former council members Jim Sebastian and Jimmy Dickens, who were ousted in November, both said they don’t plan to run for the vacant seat. Dickens told the MDJ earlier this month that he plans to run for mayor next year.
Things continue to move along for the Overture on Barrett rental apartments. They are open for business for 55+ rentals. Further down the blog you will see the progression of the complex in photos and relevant text.
Here is what it looks like 2/3/18:
1/23/18 KENNESAW CITY COUNCIL ELECTION DATES The date of May 22, 2018 is going to the Council for approval to be set for a Special Election to fill a Council vacancy on Post 2 the qualifying to dates to register to run are March 5 and 6, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed for lunch from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.) and March 7, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Work Session Meeting Agenda
January 29, 2018 6:30 PM
VII. NEW BUSINESS A.Approval of RESOLUTION to set qualifying fees for 2018 May Special Election to fulfill a vacancy on Council Post 2 and authorization to advertise said notice and fees. The Georgia Election Code §21-2-131 requires the governing authority of any municipality to set qualifying fees and publish such fees at least 35 days prior to a special election for each office to be filled. Due to the resignation by Yvette Daniel, in 2018 a vacancy exists for Council Post 2 therefore it is necessary to call a special election to fulfill the term of office which expires December 31, 2019. The City Clerk recommends approval of the 3% qualifying fees for the May 22, 2018 special election to fulfill a vacancy on Council Post 2 hereby set at $360. Staff is directed to publish the required notice in the Marietta Daily Journal. B. Approval of RESOLUTION authorizing the 2018 Special Election qualifying dates, authorizing the Mayor to execute the contract with the Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration to conduct the City's Special Election to be held May 22, 2018.
The City of Kennesaw shall have a Special Election on May 22, 2018 to fulfill a Council vacancy on Post 2 due to the resignation of Yvette Daniel and will be elected at-large. In accordance with the City of Kennesaw Code of Ordinances §42-2, the Council shall appoint the Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration to perform all duties as superintendent of elections. In accordance with O.C.G.A. §21-2-540(b) and Kennesaw Charter 5.02 the qualifying period will be for a minimum of two and one-half days, and hereby establish the qualifying dates of March 5 and 6, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. closed for lunch from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. and March 7, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The City Clerk recommends approval of the Resolution and to authorize the Mayor to sign and execute the contract agreement with Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration.
Here is something of interest for both homeowners and renters about the RoundUp Concentrate Class Action Settlement You might want to spend 5-10 minutes online to put in your claim at:http://www.classactionrebates.com/settlements/roundup-concentrate/ Class Eligibility - All persons in the United States, who, during the Class Period, purchased in the United States, for personal or household use and not for resale or distribution, Roundup® Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate Plus or Roundup® Weed & Grass Killer Super Concentrate in packaging whose neck or shoulder label stated that the product “makes up to” a specified number of gallons Estimated Amount - Varies You will receive up to 50% of the retail price of the item purchased less if there is high participation Proof of Purchase - No Claim Form Click here to complete RoundUp Concentrate Claim Form Case Name - Joshua Rawa, et al. v. Monsanto CompanyCase No. 4:17-cv-01252-AGF District Court for the Eastern District of MissouriElisabeth Martin v. Monsanto Company,Case No. 5:16-cv-02168 District Court for the Central District of California Case Summary - Settlement resolves a class action lawsuit pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (the “Court”) against Monsanto Company, the manufacturer of the above two concentrated Roundup® products. The lawsuit alleges that Monsanto advertised these Roundup® products as making more spray solution than the products were capable of making. Monsanto denies these allegations and any wrongdoing. The two sides disagree on what relief, and how much, could have been won, if any, if the Class won at trial. The Settlement avoids costs and risks to you from continuing the lawsuit, provides relief to affected persons like you, and releases Monsanto and others from liability for the related claims. Settlement Pool - $21,500,000 Settlement Website - RoundUp Concentrate Class Action Settlement Deadline - 03/06/2018 ========================================= GDOT: Managed lanes project speeding toward September opening
Jon Gargis MDJ 1/23/18
Signage facing the opposite direction of traffic going south on I-75 will direct motorists along the managed lanes. The project is expected to be open in September 2018.Staff-Kelly J. Huff (File photo)
MARIETTA — Cobb drivers should expect to see shorter drive times to and from Atlanta through the county starting September. That’s when state transportation department officials expect to open the $834 million Northwest Corridor project, which includes about 30 miles of reversible toll lanes that will run south in the mornings and north in the evenings. County commissioners received an update on the project during their work session on Monday.
Crews have completed about 85 percent of the project, which follows Interstate 75 from Akers Mill Road in Cumberland to Hickory Grove Road near the Cherokee County line and along I-575 from I-75 in Marietta to Sixes Road in Holly Springs, according to Jill Goldberg, spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Transportation. Northwest Express Roadbuilders, the company building the managed lanes, broke ground on the project in September 2014. Toll rates will vary based on traffic conditions, Goldberg said, and drivers will be able to see the prices on overhead signs before entering the managed lanes. Rates for the Northwest Corridor lanes have not been set but are expected to be priced between 10-90 cents per mile with a 50-cent minimum trip cost, Goldberg said. Rates likely to be set in July or August, she added. Commissioner Bob Weatherford, whose northwest Cobb district abuts the west side of Interstate 75, asked whether drivers would be willing to pay close to $15 to get from the project’s northwestern most access point to Cumberland.
“You decide if that money is worth your time savings. Maybe you don’t use it every day, maybe you use it when you have a meeting,” Goldberg said. GDOT estimates predict that drivers who use the managed lanes will save up to 43 minutes on their commutes, Goldberg said. Drivers who opt to use the interstates’ existing lanes will save an estimated 16 minutes due to drivers leaving those regular traffic lanes in favor of the express toll lanes. Those wishing to use the lanes will be required to have a Peach Pass, which are usable on Gwinnett’s managed lanes and the I-75 south Metro Express Lanes in Henry County that opened last year. Drivers with a Peach Pass can also utilize the express or toll lanes within the states of Florida and North Carolina, with Goldberg saying future states that could one day be added onto the Peach Pass include Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
"The fifth member of the council, Yvette Daniels, officially became a former councilwoman earlier in the meeting. The remaining council members voted unanimously to accept her resignation, which she submitted Friday after having missed about 75 percent of council meetings last year.
There was no discussion of the resignation, but Mayor Derek Easterling said a special election to find Daniels’ replacement would be forthcoming. He said the council would discuss the matter at its Jan. 29 work session and its Feb. 5 meeting."
KENNESAW COUNCIL approves 44-acre, 83 home subdivision on Pine Mountain Road
Ross Williams MDJ 1/16/18
The Kennesaw City Council has approved a plan to annex and rezone just under 44 acres of property on Pine Mountain Road and build 83 homes.
The plan by developer Venture Homes calls for a total average density of 2.6 lots per acre, and the planned homes will be 2,400 to 3,600 square feet and cost between $350,000 and $400,000.
The council approved the plan 3 – 1, with Councilman Pat Ferris opposed.
The fifth member of the council, Yvette Daniels, officially became a former councilwoman earlier in the meeting. The remaining council members voted unanimously to accept her resignation, which she submitted Friday after having missed about 75 percent of council meetings last year.
There was no discussion of the resignation, but Mayor Derek Easterling said a special election to find Daniels’ replacement would be forthcoming. He said the council would discuss the matter at its Jan. 29 work session and its Feb. 5 meeting.
In discussing the new development, Ferris cited concerns about storm water drainage in surrounding neighborhoods, a worry shared by several nearby residents who spoke during the public comment section of the meeting.
“Twice at the end of last year, our area, my neighbors’ area had flooding where we had two to three feet of water in our yards,” said Lisa Atkins, a resident of the nearby Butler Creek neighborhood. “Where this subdivision is, it’s higher than us, therefore there’s only one way the water can go, and that’s down.”
Sean Randall, Senior vice president at Venture Homes, said the company is required by law to perform a full hydrology study before breaking ground, and cannot legally build unless the study shows it will not make the problem worse for neighboring subdivisions.
“We cannot increase the problem,” he said. “We might not be able to solve the problem, but we cannot increase the problem of the property in its fundamental state.”
Atkins and others also said they had concerns the development would contribute traffic to an already congested area.
Randall said a traffic study showed the neighborhood would contribute fewer than one car per minute to the roads during morning and evening rush hours.
The majority of the property will be annexed to the city from Cobb County.
The homes will have two-car garages and a mandatory homeowners’ association. The number of rental units is not to exceed 15 percent of the total units.
Two-month closure planned for turn lane in front of Big Chicken
A westbound turn lane on Roswell Road in front of the Big Chicken will be closed for the next two months while crews continue to work on the state’s managed lanes project.
The closure of the sidewalk and right turn lane on Roswell Road between Hagood Circle and Cobb Parkway began Monday morning to allow for drainage work and lane and sidewalk reconstruction, according to Tori Brown, spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Drivers will still be able to turn right onto Cobb Parkway northbound from Roswell Road, according to Brown.
Drivers are asked to use caution when driving through these areas. The dates of the closures may change depending on the weather.
The $834 million managed lanes project will add about 30 miles of “reversible” toll lanes through Cobb and Cherokee County, lanes which will run south in the mornings and north in the evenings. Northwest Express Roadbuilders, the company building the managed lanes, broke ground on the project in September 2014.
The lanes are expected to open in the summer of 2018.