Monday, August 21, 2017

Kennesaw passes resolution asking lawmakers to allow cities to make decision about Confederate flags

    MDJ   8/21/17 
The Kennesaw City Council passed its resolution Monday that asks the Georgia Legislature to revisit a law prohibiting cities from removing military memorials, including Confederate flags.
Monday’s decision comes a week after 19-year-old Kennesaw resident Reid Jones began a petition to remove the Confederate battle flag from a flagpole in the city’s Commemorative Park, which is located next to the Southern Museum at the corner of North Main and Cherokee streets. As of Monday evening, the petition had more than 4,600 supporters.
Kennesaw council members passed their resolution by a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Jim Sebastian the sole vote against it.
“This resolution, at this point, is nothing but a temporary action, placating the proverbial squeaky wheel,” said Sebastian, who was not in attendance but took part in the meeting and cast his vote by phone. “Until the legislature takes action, it’s still going to come back to all the municipalities to deal with and will most likely not be what was requested or intended by any individual or municipality, and then it’s going to become the responsibility of each of those municipalities to have to confront this individually and all the other issues.”
Sebastian, who made public comments on the issue over the phone during the meeting, said he believed the city, as well as other municipalities, needed to listen to the voters on the flag issue, but did not express his personal opinion on whether the flag should remain in the park or be removed.
“In this particular case, we should be pursuing the ability and the right to have referendums,” Sebastian said. “We can’t do that today, so we should be pushing something like this so our voters can speak to us, and we in the city can act according to their views, not the views of individuals or small groups and their personal agendas.”
The resolution does not take down or otherwise have any effect on the flag that is displayed in the city’s Commemorative Park, as state law prevents officials from state or local governments or any agency to remove monument, plaques, markers or memorials regarding military service of any personnel from the state, the United States or the Confederate States of America.
“I’m uncertain about the need to move Confederate or other historical monuments of any type into a museum or secluded venue,” Mayor Derek Easterling said before the resolution was introduced. “I am certain, however, of the need to change the direction of our history, the history we are creating today. We cannot change the events that brought us to this place and time, but we can certainly change the direction we travel from this point forward. Symbolism is not our enemy — our enemy lies deep in the hearts of these people who use these symbols to express or represent their alternate views.”
The law preventing removal of the Confederate flag from the Kennesaw park or other displays was passed when then-Gov. Roy Barnes was in office. In 2001, Barnes pushed for the Georgia General Assembly to change the state’s official flag, which featured the Confederate battle emblem on two-thirds of its space with the state seal on a field of blue on the remaining third. It had been Georgia’s official flag since 1956.
Barnes could not be reached for comment Monday.
The earliest state law could be changed regarding the Confederate flag or other displays would likely be in 2018, as the Georgia General Assembly is not scheduled to return to the capitol until January. If legislators approve a measure on the issue, it would have to be approved by Gov. Nathan Deal in order to take effect.
Jones told the MDJ last week that he sees the flag as a symbol of racial division, white supremacy and segregation. On Monday, he led about two dozen protesters who opposed the Confederate battle flag’s display from Commemorative Park to Monday’s city council meeting. He called the council’s passage of the resolution a good first step, with the next step being a push for state leaders, from legislators to gubernatorial candidates, to consider changing state law.
“It’s definitely progress in getting proper treatment of Confederate and Union monuments put into all facets of our community, and also because the law that protects the flag is the same law that protects Stone Mountain, it also is going to be challenging that on a state level, so this is a big push and this is exciting,” Jones said.

Kennesaw (MDJ 8/21/17 Election Summary)  

Council posts 3, 4 and 5 are up for grabs in Kennesaw. They are currently served by Councilmen Nimesh Patel, Jimmy Dickens and Jim Sebastian, respectively.

In July, Patel said he was undecided on whether to run again. Dickens said he will, and Sebastian said he will not. (Blog Author: I heard he will run, guess we will find out soon)

Qualification will run from today through Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a break from noon to 1 p.m. It will be held in a training room at City Hall, located at 2529 J.O. Stephenson Ave.

The qualifying fees for all of the positions are $360. Candidates must be at least 21, be a registered voter in the city and have been a resident since at least one year before Election Day, Nov. 7. 

More info on Dickens at: his prior Felony criminal record will be a factor.



Kennesaw’s Confederate flag on agenda

Councilwoman says it should come down; Demonstration planned for Monday

Kennesaw Confed Flag 02.JPG
Cut rope on the ground next to one of the flagpoles in Kennesaw's Commemorative Park where the Confederate flag would normally be flown. The flag was not on the flagpole Wednesday morning, with city officials saying it had been removed in an act of vandalism.
One Kennesaw City Council member is not shying away from making her feelings about the Confederate flag known — even if most of her colleagues are.
Yvette Daniel, an Army veteran and former law enforcement officer, said Friday the flag that flies in a downtown Kennesaw park is divisive and should be taken down.
At her request, the City Council will discuss a resolution Monday asking the state Legislature to revisit a law prohibiting cities from removing military memorials, which would give council members the authority to decide whether the Confederate banner should remain on display at the city’s Commemorative Park.
A petition calling for its removal received more than 4,400 signatures as of Saturday afternoon and a demonstration against the flag has been planned outside City Hall ahead of Monday’s council meeting.
 Online petition aims to remove Confederate flag in Kennesaw
When reached by phone, Councilman Doc Eaton refused to discuss the matter altogether—as did Mayor Derek Easterling, who said the subject would be taken up Monday.
Councilman Jimmy Dickens weighed in on the issue Wednesday, telling the MDJ he would rather see the flag in a museum than flying publicly. He said he was inundated with calls, texts and emails since last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I’ve had some reach out to me that want to keep the flag, and I’ve had a lot more who reached out to me who want to have the flag removed,” he said.
Even if the majority of council members want the flag removed, the city’s hands are tied by a state law prohibiting the removal of any memorial dedicated to honoring the military service of past or present military personnel of Georgia or the nation, including the Confederate States of America. Daniel hopes Monday’s resolution will be the first step in changing that.
The discussion over whether it’s appropriate for the city to fly a Confederate flag was re-ignited last weekend when an Ohio man drove his car through a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, killing one woman.
Someone apparently took the matter into their own hands following the weekend violence, cutting the flag from its pole at the corner of Main and Cherokee streets, Kennesaw police confirmed.
“I do not feel that it should be there,” Daniel said. “It is divisive and if Kennesaw is going to move forward, I don’t think that’s any place for it to be.”
The veteran said she’s all for people’s right to fly the flag on private property, but doesn’t think Main Street is an appropriate place for it.
“I fought for a flag that says justice, not for a flag that says ‘just us,’” Daniel said. “That’s basically the way I feel about that.”
She said the city should be concerned with the safety and well-being of its residents and oppose any symbol that could spur violence or make people feel they aren’t welcome.
She also called the Confederate flag “crippling” from an economic development standpoint.
“No business wants to come into the city and sit next to something like that,” she said. “Take a look at all the businesses that have passed on coming to our downtown because of it.”
Council members Nimesh Patel and Jim Sebastian did not return requests for comment by press time.
Reid Jones, the 19-year-old resident who started the petition to have the flag removed, is also organizing Monday’s demonstration.
He said the response to his petition has been overwhelming and that he would like to “keep the ball rolling” until the flag is taken down for good.
“This is the right thing to do,” he said. “To suggest (the flag) isn’t racially motivated is just being ignorant of its history.”
Daniel said she believes Kennesaw’s residents should have a say in whether the city continues flying the Confederate flag, and would not oppose putting the matter up for a vote.
She also said she stands behind the demonstrators planning to rally, so long as the event remains nonviolent and does not impede the flow of traffic or the city’s operations.
The demonstration is planned for 6 p.m. Monday at the flag pole in downtown Kennesaw. The council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 2529 J.O. Stephenson Ave.
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For information on Council member Daniel see: 


Shared from the 2017-08-19 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution eEdition
Leave Confederacy’s old monuments alone

By Lyn Vaughn

I’ve had it with the people who choose to be offended by the symbols and memorabilia from the nation’s past.

First it was Confederate flags. Now monuments and statues have to go. What’s next? The carving at Stone Mountain? Oh yeah, now someone wants that wiped out!

What the hell is wrong with us? Have we lost all sense of reason, all common sense? There’s no erasing history. Our children have only cursory knowledge of it today. “The past cannot be cured,” said Queen Elizabeth in the 16th century. Philosopher George Santayana penned the most famous quote warning against tossing out history, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

The absurdity of the attempt to erase the past was never more apparent than in Henry County this year. It was reported a Henry County Commissioner — on behalf of a constituent, she says — complained about the flying of the Confederate flag outside a Confederate museum in a house on a Civil War battleground — land owned by the county. So the museum owners took it down. Then the commissioner complained that the flags in the window were visible from the distant roadway and asked that they be removed. That was it for the owners. They shut down the museum. Couldn’t the complainers have just found another route?

Do you imagine as the museum curator Bill Dodd noted, that there are no Nazi flags at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington? How about the National Museum of African American History and Culture? I’ll just bet you’ll find in more than one exhibit Kente cloth, featuring the red, black and green colors that adorn flags of many African nations. What if white people decide Kente cloth — popularly worn by African-Americans at graduation ceremonies — should be banned? What if extremists decide the statues of Civil Rights heroes are offensive to them and should come down?

We are living in dangerous, kooky times, but it has nothing to do with Confederate statues or flags or museums. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. must have passed quite a few on his way to Washington, D.C., in 1968. But his eyes, mind and heart were on the bigger picture. To be “offended” by what someone has flying in his or her yard, or in a museum or memorabilia store, or when a white person utters the “N” word, as we now ridiculously say (as if a word can do you harm), is infantile and petty.

What happened to these other people’s free-speech rights? I can’t think of a better way to alienate and drive blacks and whites further apart than perpetually asking others to change themselves to make yourself feel better. What if they’re offended by dreadlocks, or corn-row braids or rap music? Are you going to stop wearing them, or listening to that?

Here, by the way, in no particular order, is what offends me:

■ Violent home invasions, robberies and carjackings in which metro Atlantans are murdered senselessly every single day, and the nightly TV news parade of mug shots of those responsible; 
■ The lack of acknowledgment and anger by some at dictator Vladimir Putin’s efforts to sabotage our presidential 2016 election; 
■ Men and boys, pants sagging and walking like penguins; 
■ Songs and other forms of pop-culture entertainment that denigrate women; 
■ Blaming someone else for your failure to thrive.

We’re never going to convert the 10 to 15 percent of folks in America who hate black people. They aren’t the majority anymore, far from it. So, let the bigots hold their marches. When there’s no one there, they’ll do what they always have — retreat until the next generation of racists appears. They’re right about the statues and monuments, though. After you tear them down, then what? Trump will still be president and all you’ve done is create turmoil where none was necessary.

Former WXIA-TV and CNN Headline News anchor Lyn Vaughn is a freelance writer whose opinion pieces appear online at An Atlanta resident since 1983, she currently lives in Marietta.

‘The past cannot be cured,’ said Queen Elizabeth in the 16th century.

Friday, August 18, 2017


Now that all things relating to the Confederacy are to be banned due to minority Taliban like intolerance, what will Kennesaw be doing regarding the Civil War Museum? 

Will the City stop any funding of this museum? 

Will the City publicly destroy the General locomotive? 

Will the City remove any depictions of the General from any signs, stationary or City logos? 

Will the City remove any Confederate flags? 

Will the City no longer have re-enactors on City property and ban the use of cannons downtown? 

Will any references on gravestones to the Confederacy be removed? 

Since Kennesaw is widely associated with the Confederacy and the War Between the States will Kennesaw have to change the City's name to South Acworth or North Marietta?
Online petition aims to remove Confederate flag in Kennesaw

Council: Resolution would ask state to allow city decision on flag

Nearly 2,700 people as of Wednesday night had signed an online petition to remove a Confederate flag from a downtown Kennesaw park. About the time it crossed the 2,500 signature mark, Kennesaw city council members agreed to consider a resolution aimed at allowing the city to make its own decision on whether the banner should remain on display.
But no such flag flew on any of the three flagpoles in the city’s Commemorative Park for most of the day Wednesday, as Kennesaw Police Officer Scott Luther confirmed that the flag had been removed sometime during the past few days. The park, which features monuments and plaques honoring veterans from several armed conflicts and a Sept. 11, 2001, memorial, is located next to the Southern Museum at the corner of North Main and Cherokee streets.

The petition on was started Monday afternoon by 19-year-old Reid Jones, a 2016 Kennesaw Mountain High graduate who says he was prompted to start the endeavor by the past weekend’s protests and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I personally see it as a symbol of division in the U.S. It’s definitely not a symbol of unity,” Jones said. “I think leaders on both sides right now are calling for unity, and the last thing we need is to raise a symbol of the biggest divide our country’s ever seen. And it also represents white supremacy, segregation, any kind of racial division.”
Jones said he began the petition to catch momentum of the growing movement to remove memorials and symbols “glorifying the Confederacy.” The push has sparked similar efforts across the country as well as other parts of Georgia, such as a call for removal of the giant granite depiction of three Confederate leaders on the side of Stone Mountain.
Supporters of Jones’ call-out were not limited to those residing in Kennesaw — with signers hailing from other cities in Cobb as well as other states across the country.
Jones said many local residents who had signed the petition were not aware of the flag’s presence in one of the city’s parks. “I’ve gotten so many messages from people that were simply appalled at the fact that it was even in downtown Kennesaw,” he said.  He added he was not involved in the flag’s removal from the park.
Council members discussed the petition during their work session Wednesday night. Kennesaw Councilman Jimmy Dickens told the MDJ earlier that day that he began getting numerous calls, texts and emails Tuesday about Jones’ petition.
“I’ve had some reach out to me that want to keep the flag, and I’ve had a lot more who reached out to me who want to have the flag removed. It’s been a very diverse (response) — it’s not just one race of people,” Dickens said. “Even (Jones, who) started this petition, he’s not African-American, so it goes beyond a race of people. I think it’s a majority of people that wants it (brought down), in my opinion.”
Among those who want the flag to remain on display is 86-year-old resident Dent Myers, who operates the Civil War surplus store Wildman’s in downtown Kennesaw across from Commemorative Park.
“(It’s) a symbol of some of my ancestors’ blood,” Myers says of the flag. “It’s not a hate flag — if you want a hate flag, go with the American flag. Slavery, we had 200 years of that (in our history). All (supporters of the flag) are trying to do is maintain the heritage of our people who went to war because they did what they thought was right.”
Myers said he believed the flag had been taken twice in the days since the violence in Charlottesville, and could not recall any other times it had been taken from the park in past years.
Luther said Wednesday the flag had only been reported stolen once in recent days.  While some may label the Confederate flag as a racial symbol, Myers said he does not see it as such.  “It’s the Christian flag, and we put stars on it. It’s the St. Andrew’s cross,” he said.
Dickens said he sees both sides of the issue, but would rather see the flag in a museum rather than in a public setting.
“I understand that to many of the Southerners and people who love the South, they see the heritage, and I honestly believe the intent of the flag when it was originally created may not have been for the intent that it is being used for now,” he said. “But at the same time, they have to realize that there’s people that also fought against that same heritage for rights, and they see the flag as a sign of everything they hate about the South. They see the flag as a symbol of their struggles they had to go through for many years to try to get rights.”
 Proposed city resolution would not remove flag
Though the Kennesaw council on Monday could consider a measure regarding the flag, its approval would not and could not remove the flag from the city park due to existing state law, said Randall Bentley, the city’s attorney, who said he had spoken with Jones prior to Wednesday’s meeting regarding the city’s lack of power to remove the flag.
Georgia law prevents officials from state or local governments or any agency to remove monument, plaques, markers or memorials regarding military service of any personnel from the state, the United States or the Confederate States of America, according to a statement put out by the city Wednesday.
“(A resolution) would not have legal significance. It’s just making your stance known,” Bentley said.
Councilman Nimesh Patel said he would be working with Bentley to draft the resolution.  “I would support a resolution that basically lets us make the decision,” Patel said. “I think the resolution should take the tone that we acknowledge this issue, and we acknowledge this law, but let us make the decision, not you (the state), on what we can and cannot have. I think that should be the tone of the resolution and let us make the decision if and when that law is repealed.”
The council could vote on the resolution at its 6:30 p.m. meeting Monday after Jones and others who support removal of the flag gather outside city hall beginning at 5 p.m.  Jones said he is encouraging attendees to keep the demonstration peaceful.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Confederate flag in downtown Kennesaw reportedly stolen

by: Justin Wilfon Updated: 
The city of Kennesaw told Channel 2's Justin Wilfon they have no choice but to the put the flag back up.
The Confederate flag usually flies high in the middle of downtown Kennesaw in a small city park. But Wednesday someone brought it down.
“I think this is kind of a cowardly act.  You know, this is history,” said Lisa Hinson.
A city spokesperson confirmed told Wilfon that someone stole the flag in the midst of escalating racial tensions across the country.
I feel if we erase our history, we’ll erase the fact that there was slavery,” Hinson said.
More than 2,000 people have signed a petition on to have the flag taken down permanently.
“I don’t believe that the flag should be flown on city property,” said Reid Jones who started the petition. “I believe that the flag should be removed because it’s used as a symbol for white supremacy, racism and sectionalism.”
A few of his supporters joined him at the Kennesaw City Council meeting Wednesday night to begin their fight to remove the flag.
But a city spokesperson told Wilfon in a statement that the city has no choice to put the flag back up, because of Georgia state law which prevents cities from taking down monuments dedicated to those who served. 
The flagpole that flag was on is part of such a monument.  “I don’t think it represents any kind of unity and I think unity is what we need most in our nation right now,” Jones said.
The group that's working on the petition plan on being back at the City Council meeting on Monday night.
They hope the City Council will pass a resolution pressuring the state to change the current law.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Things continue to move along at Whole Foods and the Senior Apartments:

Kennesaw sued over gas station request

The request was met with opposition from area residents who argued they didn’t want a bustling convenience store built on the corner of their dead-end street, which contains a daycare center and more than 800 units comprised of two townhome communities and two apartment complexes. On May 15, the council voted to deny the developer’s request to move forward with plans for the gas station.
Court documents show the lawsuit was brought against the city by both Speedway and Ellison Lake Partners, the developer of the 130-acre community, which owns two remaining undeveloped parcels along Highway 41 it hopes to develop.
“The council turned Speedway’s rezoning request down and as a result they’re suing in Superior Court,” said Randall Bentley, Kennesaw’s city attorney. “I think in large part, most of the residents were against it.”
Richard Calhoun, the attorney representing the developer in the case, said the lawsuit seeks to have the council’s ruling overturned so his clients can move forward with their plans to build the gas station and develop the front of the neighborhood.
“I’ve done zoning a long time and this is one of the most unusual cases I’ve ever seen,” he said, adding the community’s master plan was approved back in 2001 with the intention of including commercial development along the property’s frontage.
In 2011, however, the city changed its zoning ordinance, removing convenience stores from the list of commercial uses in districts zoned “planned village commercial,” Calhoun said.
But in 2014, filings show, Kennesaw rezoned the 52-acre Market Place development along Barrett Parkway to the PVC classification and approved a 5,000 square-foot QuikTrip.
Calhoun said he hopes a judge will overturn the council’s decision on the basis of equal protection of the law, but a decision in the case could still be months away.
Representatives announced their plans to build the convenience store on the vacant lot last year, but were told their request would require an amendment to the community’s original 2001 master plan, filings show. That request was ultimately denied.
Developers maintain the inclusion of commercial and retail space “was, and is, an integral part of the overall Ellison Lake development” and Calhoun said they made about $450,000 worth of infrastructure upgrades to the 34,000 square-foot parcel, including two curb cuts, a traffic signal at the intersection and an extension of utilities to the property.
“The defendants’ denial of Speedway’s and Ellison Lakes’ application was based upon erroneous and prejudicial advice from city staff that the mayor and council had the legal authority ‘to allow any use deemed appropriate or not,’” the lawsuit asserts, maintaining the developer has every right to build the gas station on the property.
Joyce Yung, president of the Ellison Lakes homeowners association, said most residents living in her neighborhood are opposed to the gas station, which was slated to be built next door to a day care center.
She said she hopes the court upholds the council’s unanimous denial of the rezoning application.
“The city staff said no, the planning commission said no and the mayor and council, 5-0, said no,” Yung said. “Ellison Lakes is a dead-end road and with a school bus stop and a day care center right there. We don’t want it.”
An April petition started by residents in opposition to the Speedway generated 265 signatures. Most cited safety and traffic concerns as their reason for opposing the convenience store.