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VOTE 2012 June 30, 2012


Hot-button issues stoke primary election

Rhetoric will fly hot and heavy when early and absentee voting kicks off for the July 31 primary election season. Metro-wide, all eyes will turn to the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Referendum, which seeks to implement a 1-cent sales tax in 10 metro counties to fund transportation projects geared toward relieving traffic throughout the region, while closer to home, DeKalb voters like Viola Davis (below left) of Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter will make decisions about cell phone towers at schools and whether there should be a new city of Brookhaven in north central DeKalb.


Vote 2012


June 30, 2012

Do you support ending the current practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators by imposing a $100 cap on such gifts?

Your Guide to the July 31 Primary Elections

These candidates are in contested races in the July 31 primaries and their names will be on the ballot. This information includes the office they are seeking, the salary, party affiliation (except in nonpartisan races) and occupation. Candidates who are running unopposed are not listed here. (D)= Democratic (L)= Libertarian (R)= Republican (I)= Incumbent

DeKalb Board of Education (Nonpartisan) Salary: $18,000 District 2 Population: 92,194 Registered voters: 63,761 Don McChesney (I), 65, Retired educator Marshall Orson, 52, Consultant/attorney District 4 Population: 92,163 Registered voters: 63,033 Tom Gilbert, 68, Sales associate Jim Kinney, 49, System’s engineer Jim McMahan, 46, Loan originator H. Paul Womack Jr. (I), 49, Chairman and CEO District 6 Population: 91,309 Registered voters: 69,989 Melvin Johnson, 68, Retired educator Denise E. McGill, 51, Business consultant Terriyln C. Rivers-Cannon, 43, School social worker Latasha Walker, 38, Personal assistant District 8 Population: 322,133 Registered voters: 206,807 Michelle “Mimi” Clark, 45, Operations manager Pamela Speaks (I), 61, Retired educator DeKalb Board of Commissioners Salary: $38,374.51 District 1 Population: 139,925 Registered voters: 46,091 Elaine Boyer (I), (R), 55, Business owner Larry Danese (R), 70, Retired District 4 Population: 138,186 Registered voters: 34,426 Steve Bradshaw (D), 49, Account manager Clyburn Halley (D), 48, Law enforcement Sharon Barnes Sutton (I), (D), 52, Educator District 5 Population:135,496 Registered voters: 90,034 Gina Mangham (D), 56, Attorney Lee May (I), (D), 36, Minister & author Kenneth L. Samuel (D), 55, Senior pastor Andre R. White (D), 47, Newspaper publisher District 6 Population: 322,133 Registered voters: 222,724 Kathie Gannon (I), (D), 63, Consultant/retired social worker Edmond Richardson (D), 31, Chief of staff DeKalb County CEO Salary: $116,749.57 Population:644,266 Registered voters: 453,970 Gregory Adams (D), 48, Clergyman Jerome Edmondson (D), 49, Entrepreneur Burrell Ellis (I), (D), 54, CEO Clerk of Superior Court Salary: $109,425.84 Population: 644,266 Registered voters: 453,970 John Q. Carter (D), 62, Retired Debra DeBerry (I), (D), 56, Clerk of court Oretha Brown-Johnson (D), 49, Retired Frank L. Swindle (D), 52, Courier/processor Cheryl D. Vortice (D), 48, Judicial case managerTax Commissioner

Tax Commissioner Salary: $109,425.84 Population:644,266 Registered voters: 453,570 Claudia G. Lawson (I), (D), 65, Tax commissioner

Melvin Allen Turks (D), 59, Senior pastor

State Court Judge (Nonpartisan) Salary: $116,749.57 Population: 644,266 Registered voters: 453,570 Division 6 to succeed Dax E. Lopez (I), 36, Judge Dionne McGee, 38, Attorney U.S. House of Representatives District 4 Salary: $174,000 Population:691,976 Registered voters: 240,438 Courtney L. Dillard Sr. (D), 49, Real estate developer/ minister Henry “Hank” Johnson Jr. (I), (D), 57, Attorney Lincoln Nunnally (D), 32, Consultant Greg Pallen (R), 43, President/CEO J. Chris Vaughn (R), 46, Minister District 5 Population: 691,976 Registered voters: 114,000 Michael Johnson (D), 43, Superior Court judge John Lewis (I), (D) 73, U.S. representative District 6 Population: 691,975 Registered voters: 99,132 Jeff Kazanow (D), 57, Business consultant Robert Montigel (D), 65, Small-business owner Georgia Senate Salary: $17,700 District 44 Population: 174,464 Registered voters: 37,544 Gail Buckner (D), 61, Communications marketing Gail Paulette Davenport (I), (D), 63, Realtor Marcus E. Davis (D), 39, Minister District 55 Population: 174,196 Registered voters: 54,760 Gloria Butler (I), (D), 70, Professional consultant Mark Williams (D), 42, Counselor Public Service Commissioner Salary: $116,452 Population: NA Registered voters: Chuck Eaton (I), (R), 43, Public Service commissioner Matt Reid (R), 56, Engineer Pam Davidson (R), 49, Energy consultant Stan Wise (R), 60 Public Service commissioner Georgia House Salary: $17,700 District 80 Population: 53,535 Registered voters: 22,722 Mike Jacobs  (I), (R), 37, Attorney Sandy Murray (D), 65, Computer consulting & training District 81 Population: 53,590 Registered voters: 24,579 Chris Boedeker (R), 31, Attorney Carla Roberts (R), 50, Physician Scott Holcomb (I), (D), 39, Attorney District 90 Population: 53,620 Registered voters: 22,690 Scott Hughes (D), 31, Health care administration Pam S. Stephenson (I), (D), 54, Attorney District 92 Population: 54,205 Registered voters: 15,515 Tonya Anderson (D), 42, Consultant and pastor Doreen Carter (D), 49, Accountant Kathy L. Harvey (D), 55, Minister/counselor and consultant Sherri Len Washington (D), 42, Attorney Doreen Williams (D), 61, Educator District 93 Population: 54,333 Registered voters: 11,126 Christine “Tina” Hoffer (R), 56, Registered nurse Dexter Dawston (D), 40, Truck driver Dar’shun N. Kendrick (I), (D), 29, Attorney Glen Williams (D), 44, Small-business owner

If your voters live in DeKalb, your ad should be here!

District 94 Population: 53,570 Registered voters: 19,786 Karen Bennett (D), 56, Small-business owner Patricia Bourdeau (D), 38, Teacher Tony Lentini (D), 47, Field collector Jaye Lynn Peabody (D), 39, Nonprofit executive director and counselor Superior Court Judge, Stone Mountain Circuit (Flake) Salary: $120,552 Population: 644,266 Registered voters: 453,970 Gail C. Flake (I), 67, Superior Court judge Michael Rothenberg, 34, Attorney Special Election Referendum 1: Atlanta Regional District T-SPLOST Vote Yes or No Provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen oversight. Question: “Shall DeKalb County’s transportation system and the transportation network in this region and the state be improved by providing for a 1 percent special district transportation sales and use tax for the purpose of transportation projects and programs for a period of ten years?

Non-binding Advisory Referendum Vote Yes or No “Should the local or independent school system of DeKalb County or a charter school in DeKalb County place or operate a telecommunications tower on any elementary, middle, or high school property?” City of Brookhaven Incorporation Vote Yes or No

“Shall the Act incorporating the City of Brookhaven in DeKalb County according to the charter contained in the Act and the homestead exemptions described in the Act be approved?”

Democratic Questions Vote Yes or No

n Should the Georgia Constitution be amended to allow the state to override locally-elected school boards’ decisions when it comes to the creation of charter schools in your county or city? n Do you support ending current practice permitting unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators? n Should Georgia adopt an income tax credit for home energy costs to support the economic security of our families? n Should Georgia reduce sales taxes on Made in Georgia products so as to support the growth of small businesses in our state?

Republican Questions Vote Yes or No

n Should Georgia have casino gambling with funds going to education? n Do you support ending the current practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators by imposing a $100 cap on such gifts? n Should active duty military personnel who are under the age of 21 be allowed to obtain a Georgia weapons license? n Should Citizens who wish to vote in a primary election be required to register by their political party affiliation at least thirty (30) days prior to such primary election? n Should the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the paramount right to life is vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency? Sources: DeKalb County Board of Elections and the Georgia Secretary of State, Georgia Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office.

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June 30, 2012

Vote 2012



Because of a number of precinct changes since the 2010 elections, it is important for voters to check their voting location before July 31.

Early voting period helps alleviate long lines on election day By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

DeKalb voters can start heading to the polls on July 9 to cast ballots in the July 31 primary elections and special elections. Also on the ballot are the controversial penny sales tax for transportation – TSPLOST – and a referendum on the DeKalb School Board allowing cell phone towers on school property. The early polls – now limited by Georgia law to the three weeks before election week – open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays through July 27. Voters also will be able to cast ballots on Saturday, July 14 and 21, but only at the DeKalb Elections Office, 4380 Memorial Drive in Decatur. The early polls will close the Saturday and Monday before the July 31 elections. Additional voting precincts will open July 23 at Community Achievement Center, 4522 Flat Shoals Parkway, Decatur; Clark Harrison Building, 330 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur; New Bethel AME Church,

DeKalb voters can cast ballots from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays at seven early voting precincts. Saturday voting will be available on July 14 and 21, but only at the Elections Office on Memorial Drive.

8350 Rockbridge Road, Stone Mountain; Tucker Recreation Center, 4898 LaVista Road, Tucker; and Chamblee City Hall, 5468 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. When early voting closes, voters can only cast ballots at their assigned precincts.

Last week, registered voters began receiving their voter registration cards in the mail listing their precinct name and voting districts for Congress, the Georgia House and Senate, School Board, and referendums. DeKalb Elections Supervisor Maxine

Daniels said the cards are for information only. The deadline to correct address and name changes for the July 31 elections is July 2. Voters are not required to take the card to their polling stations. Voters also can locate their precinct and other information at and at the My Voter Page at http://mvp.sos. Because of a number of precinct changes since the 2010 elections, Daniels said that it is important for voters to check their voting location before July 31. She said that a number of precincts changed because of school closures and because some churches no longer wanted to host precincts. To vote early or on election day, voters must have one of six acceptable forms of identification. They are Georgia drivers license, which can be expired; state or federal photo ID; a valid U.S. passport; valid governmental employee ID; U.S. military photo ID; or tribal photo ID.

July 2 is cutoff date for registering to vote on July 31 referendums, primaries The deadline to register to vote in the July 31 primary elections and referendums on a For more information: penny sales tax for transportation is July 2. Visit the DeKalb Elections Office DeKalb residents who want to weigh in at 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300, on the controversial Transportation Special Decatur, GA 30032, Monday-Friday, Purpose Local Option Sales Tax – T-SPLOST 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. – and on cell towers on school properties as Phone: 404-298-4020 well as pick the next CEO, commissioners, School Board members, State Court judge, and state representatives and U.S. and state You have to be 18 years old to vote. senators must register by Monday to do it. You also can change your address and To register to vote, you must be a citi- name on the ballot if you recently got marzen of the United States, a legal resident of ried by the July 2 deadline. DeKalb County and at least 17 1/2 years old. If you are registering for the first time in

Georgia, and you register by mail, you are required to provide one of the following IDs: n Valid Georgia driver’s license n Valid photo ID card issued by any entity of the state of Georgia, any other state, or the United States n Valid U.S. passport n A government employee photo ID n Valid U.S. military ID card with photo n Valid tribal ID with photo n Current utility bill showing name and address n Valid government check or paycheck showing name and address*

n Valid government document showing

name and address Voter registration forms are available at or www. or Applicants can print, complete, sign and mail their registration to the Elections Office. If you’re registering for the first time in Georgia by mail, you must provide one approved identification in the same envelope with your application. Applications without IDs will delay your voting process the first time you go to the polls.


Vote 2012


June 30, 2012

T-SPLOST comes out of the Transportation Investment Act of 2010, which won the support of a dozen of DeKalb’s delegation members.

Extra penny sales tax without rail a hard sell in South DeKalb By Donna Williams Lewis

One month from now, voters in DeKalb and across metro Atlanta will decide on the first regional referendum in more than 40 years. On July 31, they will say yea or nay to the T-SPLOST, the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. T-SPLOST is seeking to levy an additional penny in sales tax over the next 10 years for more than $8.5 billion in regional transportation improvements. The project list includes $556.8 million for projects entirely within DeKalb County. The county will share in another $1.3 billion worth of projects – including the $700 million Clifton Corridor Rail project from the Lindbergh Center to the Emory/CDC complex – that also will benefit the city of Atlanta and Fulton County. A long-awaited extension of MARTA rail along the I-20 East corridor is not on the project list – a factor that is killing TSPLOST’s chances among a number of south DeKalb residents.

Fairness and equity concerns State Rep. Rahn Mayo, who lives in Decatur, says that while T-SPLOST could be a “huge benefit” to the metro Atlanta region, he cannot accept it at the expense of the people he represents. “They have committed themselves for three decades and seen very little in return,” said Mayo, who represents House District 91. “I don’t believe we’ve been treated in an equitable manner in terms of our history of spending and investing in transportation.” State Sen. Emanuel Jones, who lives in Henry County, says he is voting for TSPLOST. “We recognize that it’s not perfect,” said Jones, who represents District 10. “But considering the environment we’re in, with the congestion and the lack of transportation dollars, to me this is a good approach to building the infrastructure we need in the Greater Atlanta area.”

“The beauty of this referendum is that the majority will rule. For the first time, we can ensure that there will be regional support of the MARTA rail system.”

“[South DeKalb voters] have committed themselves for three decades and seen very little in return. I don’t believe we’ve been treated in an equitable manner in terms of our history of spending and investing in transportation.”

Burrell Ellis, DeKalb CEO

State Rep. Rahn Mayo

How do elected officials plan to vote on T-SPLOST? See their answers on B6-B7.

For 40 years, DeKalb and Fulton counties and the city of Atlanta have collected a 1-cent sales tax for MARTA as the only governments that support the transit system. Through 2011, the two counties have contributed $7.5 billion to MARTA. If it passes, the penny for T-SPLOST would be added to the existing sales tax, increasing DeKalb’s sales tax from 7 cents to 8 cents on the dollar. Last week, the DeKalb School Board voted a 2012-2013 budget with a 1-mill increase that will cost DeKalb homeowners $27.50 more in taxes on a $100,000 home. The extra penny sales tax – on everything including food – without rail down I-20 to Lithonia is one of the major stumbling blocks for the referendum in DeKalb. Gina Mangham, a longtime Lithonia resident who is running for DeKalb Commission District 5, said she has to oppose the referendum on issues of fairness and equity. “The question is whether or not the entire package is equitable,” she said. “What assurance do we have that those jobs will come to our county. My understanding is that there will be state control, which will supersede MARTA. After all the investments we have made, we will have less control and less representation and no rail. I would like to see new legislation with local authority to choose projects.” Instead of rail, South DeKalb would get $225 million to build five “park-and-ride/ transit centers” billed as a precursor to heavy

rail between central Atlanta and the Mall at Stonecrest. The proposed stations would be at the Stonecrest mall, Fairington Road/Lithonia Industrial Boulevard, Wesley Chapel Road, Candler Road, and in East Atlanta. Funding is included for bus transit operations for at least 18 hours a day for the next 10 years. District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson, who is presiding officer of the DeKalb Commission, is voting against T-SPLOST because of the lack of I-20 rail. He is rallying referendum opponents at Lee May, the District 5 incumbent, said his support for the referendum was contingent on “fully funding” the first phase of I-20 rail from Indian Creek to the Wesley Chapel Road intersection. May said that would cost $560 million. “Today that has not been done, and none of the additional requests I’ve made were done,” he said. DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis calls the proposed I-20 bus stops “building blocks” that could leverage federal dollars to help pay for rail in South DeKalb. The cost of getting rail from Indian Creek to the Stonecrest mall has been estimated at $1.8 billion. “Rail systems are costly,” Ellis said this week. “Every one of them has federal money built into it. This is the down payment we need to extend MARTA rail further into South DeKalb.” But Jerome Edmondson, one of two opponents challenging Ellis for the CEO office in the July 31 primary, said I-20 rail would have been the best economic development driver for the South DeKalb community. “Ellis threw the African-American com-

munity under the bus,” said Edmondson, who opposes the T-SPLOST. “And if it were not for Larry [Johnson] and Lee [May], we would not even have the offer of bus rapid transit.”

Different playing field It was MARTA that brought metro counties to a regional vote in 1971. A referendum creating the transit system passed in Fulton and DeKalb counties while Clayton and Gwinnett counties soundly defeated it. The playing field is much different this time. T-SPLOST comes out of the Transportation Investment Act of 2010, which won the support of a dozen of DeKalb’s 25 House and Senate members. Some of those representatives and senators are now saying they will vote against the referendum spawned by the law. The TIA, which was approved in April 2010, created 12 transportation districts in Georgia that are led by “roundtables” of elected officials from within those districts. The metro Atlanta district comprises 10 counties – Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale. DeKalb was represented by Ellis and Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd. All 10 counties will vote on T-SPLOST, and unlike the 1971 MARTA referendum, if it passes, there’s no opting out for any city or county that doesn’t pass it. “The beauty of this referendum is that the majority will rule,” Ellis said. “For the first time, we can ensure that there will be reCONTINUED, page B5

NOW YOU CAN CHOOSE! Remember to Vote July 31st, 2012

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It matters who sits on the bench!

VOTE JULY 31, 2012

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Learn More. Visit My Website: electfrankswindle2012 Paid for by Committee to Elect Frank Swindle Clerk, Superior Court of DeKalb County P.O. Box 3304, Decatur, GA 30030

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June 30, 2012

Vote 2012



Early voting for the regional transportation referendum and the Democratic and Republican primaries starts July 9.

Bridge replacement, corridor improvements among projects for south-central DeKalb Here’s a summary of the projects planned for south-central DeKalb County. For a complete list, visit metroatlantatransportationreferendum .com. TIA-M-028: Clifton Corridor Transit - Lindbergh Center to Emory University/ Centers for Disease Control – Funds rail transit service in the Clifton Corridor with five stations from Lindbergh Center to Emory University’s Clairmont campus. n Project length: 3.7 miles n Funding commitments: $700 million in TIA funds n Construction likely to occur: 2020-2022 TIA-M-023: I-20 East Transit Corridor Improvements – Provides for park-and-ride/transit center infrastructure investment and bus transit operations along a route generally parallel to I-20 and connecting with the existing MARTA system either in downtown Atlanta or at the Indian Creek station. n Project length: N/A n Funding commitments: $225 million n Construction likely to occur: 2013-2022 TIA-DK-030: Hayden Quarry Road/ Sigman Road Extension from Turner Hill Road to I-20 East – New Alignment: Extends Sigman Road south of I-20 on a new alignment from the I-20 interchange (Exit 78) in Rockdale County to Hayden Quarry Road in DeKalb County. The four-

lane extension will provide an alternate route for access to the Stonecrest mall area. n Project length: 1.6 miles n Funding commitments: $27 million in TIA funds n Construction likely to occur: 2016-2019

to widen Panola Road (see DK-043). n Project length: Not applicable n Funding commitments: $10.6 million in TIA funds plus a federal funding match for a total of $21.2 million. n Construction likely to occur: 2016-2019

and connectivity to existing and planned transit facilities. n Project length: 3.2 miles n Funding commitments: $5 million in TIA funds. n Construction likely to occur: 2013-2015

TIA-DK-021: Clifton Road at CSX Railroad - Bridge Replacement and Associated Improvements to Haygood Road: Rebuilds and expands the bridge over CSX Railroad, adds sidewalks and bike lanes, and resurfaces and realigns Haygood Road. n Project length: 0.5 mile n Funding commitments: $25 million in TIA funds. n Construction likely to occur: 2016-2019

TIA-DK-048: Rockbridge Road from Memorial Drive to S.R. 124 (Rock Chapel Road) - Corridor Improvements: Turn lanes will be added at key intersections. Traffic signals will be upgraded. Sidewalks, bike lanes and enhanced pedestrian crossings are planned. Pedestrian facilities and bike lanes will tie into trail locations. n Project length: 9.6 miles n Funding commitments: $7.5 million in TIA funds n Construction likely to occur: 2013-2015

TIA-DK-022: U.S. 278 (College Ave./N. Avondale Road) from Adair Street/Atlanta Ave. to N. Clarendon Ave. - Corridor Improvements: Provide a complete street that connects Decatur and Avondale Estates and may include bike lanes, sidewalks, enhanced crossings to transit and businesses, and infrastructure improvements. n Project length: 2.3 miles n Funding commitments: $5 million in TIA funds n Construction likely to occur: 2013-2015

TIA-DK-043: Panola Road from Thompson Mill Road to U.S. 278 (Covington Highway) – Widens Panola Road from four to six lanes from Covington Highway to Thompson Mill Road. Other design elements include intersection improvements, bike lanes and pedestrian features. n Project length: 2.1 miles n Funding commitments: $15.1 million in TIA funds with proposed federal funding match for a total of $30.3 million. n Construction likely to occur: 2013-2015 TIA-DK-055: I-20 East at Panola Road - Interchange Improvements: The interchange would be reconstructed within the same time frame as the separate project

TIA-DK-029: Glenwood Road from Candler Road to U.S. 278 (Covington Highway) - Corridor Improvements: Improve pedestrian access and safety and expand the streetscape project, possibly with raised medians, sidewalks, landscaping and lighting. n Project length: 4.1 miles n Funding commitments: $5 million in TIA funds n Construction likely to occur: 2013-2015 TIA-DK-007: Decatur to Clifton Corridor: Redesign existing roads and intersections to create complete streets connecting Decatur residents and MARTA riders to the Clifton Corridor. Increases safety

TIA-DK-033: North Indian Creek Drive from Memorial Drive to Montreal Road - Corridor Improvements: Improve pedestrian access and safety on North Indian Creek Road, from Montreal Road in the city of Clarkston to Memorial Drive. Design elements may include sidewalks, bike lanes, traffic signal upgrades, turn lanes and enhanced pedestrian crossings. n Project length: 1.9 miles n Funding commitments: $5 million in TIA funds n Construction likely to occur: 2013-2015 – Source: Atlanta Regional Roundtable

A solution to ‘traffic nightmare,’ or fiscally irresponsible? FROM PAGE B4

gional support of the MARTA rail system.” But the law prohibits MARTA from using any funds from the sales tax on any of its system that existed before Jan. 1, 2011.

Voters and officials divided Some metro polls are showing voters almost evenly divided, and a Cross­Roads­ News poll of DeKalb’s elected officials was no different. Of 28 legislators and county commissioners contacted over the past two weeks, 11 said they will vote for T-SPLOST, nine said they would vote against the tax, and four were undecided. State Rep. Simone Bell (District

58) called herself “neutral” on the topic. County Commissioner Elaine Boyer (District 1) said through her spokeswoman that it’s too soon for her to comment on T-SPLOST. Susan Laccetti Meyers said in a June 26 e-mail that Boyer will not comment on the referendum until July. Early voting for the referendum and the Democratic and Republican primaries starts July 9. State Reps. Stacey Abrams (District 84) and Dee Dawkins-Haigler (District 93) were the only two legislators who did not participate in the poll. They did not return a series of calls placed to them over two weeks. Groups such as MAVEN – Metro Atlanta Voter Education Network – and Untie At-

lanta, Citizens for Transportation Mobility, have promoted the referendum as a way to unsnarl traffic in metro Atlanta, create and maintain thousands of jobs, and strengthen the region’s economy. The DeKalb chapter of the NAACP has rallied against T-SPLOST over the rail issue. The Atlanta Tea Party calls it fiscally irresponsible, and the Georgia Sierra Club has come out against the referendum, saying it continues the current practice of favoring highway construction over commuting alternatives. A group called Transportation Leadership Coalition LLC has launched its own anti-T-SPLOST site at The coalition says the proposed rail projects will

not relieve traffic congestion and that the tax is not “temporary” because projects will cost much more than their allocated amounts. Fourth Congressional District Rep. Hank Johnson said he will vote for T-SPLOST. “I will vote yes because this 10-county solution, despite its obvious flaws, is the only thing that we can get out of Georgia’s Legislature at this time that will help untangle the region’s traffic nightmare,” Johnson said. “With matching funds from the federal government, the investment DeKalb County residents make in transit can pay off not just in the Emory University area, but also in South DeKalb, where we all want to see rail expansion from Indian Creek MARTA station to Stonecrest mall.

LET’S KEEP…CLAUDIA G. LAWSON DEKALB COUNTY TAX COMMISSIONER As your Tax Commissioner, I am committed to serving DeKalb residents with the highest quality of customer service and fairest collection practices available. My knowledge and experience earned from 30+ years of service, in all functions of the Tax Commissioner’s Office, allows me to use a practical approach in leading this office. By using a people-first strategy, I will continue to work with taxpayers of DeKalb County to ensure that my office remains the standard for tax collections in the state of Georgia. Thanks for your support! Claudia G Lawson DeKalb County Tax Commissioner A Tax Commissioner that is providing results for DeKalb County A leader in utilizing technology to enhance the services offered to DeKalb County citizens A dedicated DeKalb County public servant for 30+ years in the Tax Commissioner’s Office Georgia Association of Tax Officials – District 19 Past-Chair & current member (Metro Counties); Past-President & current Board Member Tax Commissioner Technology Development Council of Georgia; Member Constitutional Officers Association of Georgia President Rotary Club of South DeKalb 2012 – 2013; President Decatur Epicureans, National 2012-2013; Treasurer Decatur-DeKalb Drifters 2012-2013; Board Member Scottdale Child Development & Family Resource Center; Board Member A New Thing Ministry & others A devoted wife and mother residing in DeKalb County for over 30 years




Vote 2012


June 30, 2012

“Nobody in the leadership is developing a plan for the Stonecrest area or for South DeKalb mall. The transportation SPLOST is a start.”

Elected officials run the gamut in positions on T-SPLOST The July 31 transportation referendum is the first regional vote DeKalb County will take since the 1971 vote to build the MARTA system. We asked 28 DeKalb elected officials how they will vote and their reasons for supporting or opposing the sales tax. Twenty-six of them responded. Only state Reps. Stacey Abrams (District 84) and Dee Dawkins-Haigler (District 93) did not respond to repeated telephone calls placed over the past two weeks.

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis 3 Yes

3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment “For the first time, we can ensure that there will be regional support of the MARTA rail system. This is an opportunity for us to expand a system that we’ve been investing in for 40 years. If DeKalb County takes $225 million to the table, we’re in the game. If we take zero, DeKalb’s not even on the scoreboard.”

COUNTY COMMISSION Elaine Boyer (District 1) 3 Yes

3 No

3 Undecided 3 No comment Boyer said through a spokeswoman that she will not comment on T-SPLOST until July. However, she prides herself on having never voted for a tax increase since joining the Board of Commissioners in 1992. “I believe the citizens of this county do not elect us to go to Decatur to find creative ways to spend their money,” Boyer said in a statement when she qualified for re-election in May. Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews “Government is large enough.” Proponents say the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax will help alleviate traffic snarls throughout metro Atlanta.

Jeff Rader (District 2) 3 Yes

3 No

3 Undecided

3 No comment

“If T-SPLOST fails, the Legislature could decide to move decision-making on projects out of local officials’ hands and into legislators’ hands. Even if we reject the list that we have it doesn’t mean the next list will be any better. {Given the nature of the current legislative leadership} I don’t think that would bode well for transit.”

Larry Johnson (District 3) 3 Yes

3 No

3 Undecided

3 No comment

“Because it doesn’t have I-20. I’m for transit. I think it’s needed. We just have to go and get it right. … That [I-20] rail line would be a benefit for us economically, health-wise and community-wise.”

Sharon Barnes Sutton (District 4) 3 Yes

3 No

3 Undecided

3 No comment

“I’m not campaigning against it, but I will not vote for it. I support improved transportation in the area. Central and South DeKalb need that I-20 rail. It’s needed for economic development, community transportation, access to all the benefits of this referendum. I think it’s important for the entire region and it’s important enough to do it right. We just needed to do the right thing. South DeKalb shouldn’t be the only segment fighting for South DeKalb.”

Lee May (District 5) 3 Yes

3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment I am voting against the transportation sales tax because it doesn’t fairly invest funds in the southern part of our region that includes South DeKalb. It leaves out the most important project. I-20 is the most promised, the most studied and the most qualified to receive investment from this sales tax. We just can’t rely on federal funds to get this project done.”

Kathie Gannon (Super District 6) 3 Yes

3 No

3 Undecided

“I came from a ‘no,’ but I’m at a ‘yes.’ One of the biggest reasons is I’m a real transit advocate. I think it would be a terrible loss and shame to give up our 30-year investment in transit by not supporting this opportunity to continue transit growth.”

DeKalb Delegation to the General Assembly

3 No comment

House Stacey Abrams (District 84) 3 Yes

3 No

3 Undecided

3 No comment

Did not return repeated calls seeking comment. She voted against House Bill 277, the Transportation Investment Act of 2010, or TIA.

Stan Watson (Super District 7) 3 Yes

3 No

3 Undecided 3 No comment “DeKalb is in dire need of economic Simone Bell (District 58) development. Nobody in the leadership 3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment is developing a plan for the Stonecrest 3 Yes “I am neutral at this time. If constituarea or for South DeKalb mall. The ents see something they like, they should transportation SPLOST is a start. I don’t vote for it. I am not making recommendalike the rapid bus transit for I-20 but it’s tions on it. I voted against the transportaa start. DeKalb is due a check, but this is tion bill because it didn’t provide anything a start.” specific to the constituents I served at the time.” CONGRESS Hank Johnson (District 4) 3 Yes 3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (District 85) 3 Yes 3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment “Despite its obvious flaws, it is the only thing that we can get out of Georgia’s “I have serious reservations about Legislature at this time that will help unthe T-SPLOST. For one, it doesn’t fix the tangle the region’s traffic nightmare. With MARTA problem and I am concerned matching funds from the federal governabout the lack of full funding for the ment, the investment DeKalb County I-20 corridor. I also think the Georgia residents make in transit can pay off not Legislature should have shown some more just in the Emory University area, but leadership and simply passed a gas tax. … also in South DeKalb, where we all want We have one of the lowest gas taxes in the to see rail expansion from Indian Creek MARTA station to country. As some areas approve and othStonecrest mall.” ers don’t approve T-SPLOST, the state could end up with a ‘patchwork’ approach to its transportation problems.” John Lewis (District 5) Voted for the TIA in 2010. 3 Yes 3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment Dee Dawkins-Haigler (District 93) “I have not really made up my mind. 3 Yes 3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment I am biased toward transit. We need to lose our love affair with the automobile Did not return repeated calls seeking and put more of our resources in transit. comment. … For the most part, Fulton and DeKalb She voted against TIA in 2010. have been bearing the burden of MARTA. That is not fair. I am going to do my part to champion rail for I-20.”

June 30, 2012

Vote 2012



“This is one of the biggest votes we are going to make and we turn it back to the people.”

Transit – or lack thereof – a factor in decisions for and against outstanding issues that are unanswered – control and governance, and MARTA. Why are we penalizing one system over the other? Why can the other transit systems spend their money on operations and maintenance but MARTA is being prohibited?” She voted against TIA in April 2010.

“Coach” Williams (District 89) 3 Yes

3 No

3 Undecided 3 No comment “I voted ‘no’ at the Capitol because the speaker of the House and the chairman of the Transportation Committee didn’t give us a chance to speak on the bill or even make comments. I don’t feel that the people in South DeKalb will be given their fair share of revenues. They deserve more.”

SENATE Gloria Butler (District 55) 3 Yes

Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Opponents say the transportation plan doesn’t include enough transit, including MARTA rail linking the Indian Creek station to I-20.

3 Yes

3 No

3 Undecided 3 No comment “I support transportation and the transportation reform and I see the importance of what we did in putting it on the ballot to allow citizens to vote for it. I am concerned over the project list and the cost of the referendum for my constituents. I think Fulton and DeKalb are being shortchanged by having to pay more than the rest of the counties for

transportation.” She voted for the TIA in 2010.

Michele Henson (District 87) 3 Yes

3 No

3 Undecided

3 No comment

“We need a regional transportation network. What we are getting is a heavily politicized patchwork of projects. The sales tax is a very regressive tax, which puts the burden on those who can least afford it. South DeKalb is disserved in all of this. The Clifton Corridor is going to serve the CDC and Emory, which are both tax-exempt institutions. People need to look at it.” She voted for the TIA in 2010.

Dar’shun Kendrick (District 94) 3 Yes

3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment “I am not advocating for T-SPLOST but I will vote for it. After education, transportation is the second reason people don’t want to locate here. It’s far from perfect, but my fear is that if we don’t pass it, then we’ll lose contracts … to other Southern states.” She wasn’t in the Legislature when TIA was approved in April 2010.

Rahn Mayo (District 91) 3 Yes

3 No

3 Undecided

“I believe a ‘no’ vote is the only way to compel the majority party and leaders in the state who are in favor of this transportation tax to come back to the table and structure a more equitable and favorable project list and governance structure. I believe if this doesn’t pass in July, the General Assembly will immediately get to work on another transportation bill

3 No comment

3 Undecided

3 No comment

“I’m going to vote for it although I voted against it during the session. A lot of people in South DeKalb have told me they don’t want it. In DeKalb we have been paying a penny for over 30 years for transportation and a penny for Grady and then we are being asked to pay another penny. But if you don’t do something, then the alternative is nothing. Something has to be done about the tied-up traffic.” She voted against TIA in April 2010.

Jason Carter (District 42) 3 Yes

Karla Drenner (District 86)

3 No

3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment “I support the T-SPLOST. I think it to create a law that will allow us to duplicate this effort and is critically important for our region’s make it even better.” economy and for creating jobs. Not to He voted against the TIA in April 2010. support it is to take a step backward for our economy and our community. It’s Billy Mitchell (District 88) not perfect, but we absolutely don’t have 3 Yes 3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment a choice as Atlantans. In the current environment, I don’t think we are going to “I have some severe concerns about do better for DeKalb.” DeKalb being asked to pay another penny He was not yet a senator when the TIA passed in 2010. without knowing what projects will get priority if the money doesn’t come in as Steve Henson (District 41) planned. I want to know who is going to get the contracts, who is going to do 3 Yes 3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment the work, and who is going to make the “I am not out there advocating for decisions. Will the people in my comT-SPLOST, but I will vote for it. I didn’t munity benefit? Until these questions are think we needed 12 regional councils. I answered, I don’t see how they can ask DeKalb to support would have preferred a different method this.” for paying for transportation improveHe voted for the TIA in April 2010. ments, but it’s the only game in town, so I’m going to vote for it.” Howard Mosby (District 90) He voted against the TIA in April President of the DeKalb Delegation 2010. 3 Yes 3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment “I don’t know yet how I will vote. We Emanuel Jones (District 10) need answers on the governance issue. 3 Yes 3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment What will happen if we don’t raise all “We recognize that it’s not perfect. the money? How will the projects be priBut considering the environment we’re oritized? Where is DeKalb in all of that? in, with the congestion and the lack of Who is going to get the jobs? Who will be transportation dollars, to me this is a good awarded those contracts? How can memapproach to building the infrastructure bers of this community get contracts? we need in the Greater Atlanta area. Keep “This is one of the biggest votes we are in mind that this is not a permanent tax. going to make and we turn it back to the people. We should It’s a short-term tax that I think will yield have just made the decision. As policy-makers we need to long-term results.” make the decision, not turn it back to the people.” Jones voted for the TIA in April 2010. He voted against the TIA in April 2010. Ronald Ramsey (District 43) Mary Margaret Oliver (District 83) 3 Yes 3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment 3 Yes 3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment “If we vote for this, we will not have “DeKalb is getting over a billion dolrail and citizens along the I-20 corridor lars, so I think we should vote for it for our will receive double taxation without [rail] own county’s interest. Georgia is the only transportation. I think we need to vote it state that does not provide any general down and force the issue back to the table revenue for public transportation. We’re so that we can craft a viable transportafalling behind other states. We have to tion plan that not only serves its intent step forward.” on a regional basis but that attracts the She voted for TIA in April 2010. kind of industry and growth that was the reason I voted for the transportation plan.” Pam Stephenson (District 92) He voted against the TIA in April 2010. 3 Yes 3 No 3 Undecided 3 No comment – Compiled by Donna Williams Lewis “If I had to vote today, I would vote no. Unless we and Jennifer Ffrench Parker get some clarity, I cannot support it. There are too many


Vote 2012


June 30, 2012

“People who voted in 2008 are not even in inactive status. It takes eight years to purge somebody from the files for inactivity.”

Voters won’t be purged from rolls in 2012 By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

“If the voter returns the card confirming the information, the registration status remains active. If the voter neither returns the card nor updates the registration information, his/her status is changed to inactive in the system.”

is completely false. She said that voters who have not had any activity (voted, changed addresses, sent in a duplicate registration, signed a petition) for the preceding three calendar years are sent a notice to confirm that they are still qualified

Voters are not being dumped from the voter rolls for any of the 2012 elections. That’s the word from DeKalb Elections Supervisor Maxine Daniels. Daniels said that a mass eMaxine Daniels, DeKalb Elections supervisor mail that has been circulating about purging the voter rolls is wrong and is not based on the law. registrants at the address. “There is a lot of misconceptions about purging the voter “If the voter returns the card confirming the information, list,” she told members of the DeKalb League of Women Vot- the registration status remains active,” she said. ers at the June 13 monthly meeting. “If the voter neither returns the card nor updates the Daniels said her office has received a lot of telephone calls registration information, his/her status is changed to inacsaying that voters who haven’t voted since 2008 have been tive in the system. An inactive voter still can vote in the same purged from the list. manner as active voters and upon voting, the status will be “That is not correct,” she said. restored to active.” Of DeKalb’s 453,570 registered voters, 57,600 of them Daniels said that electors who last voted in 2008 are still were listed as inactive, meaning that they have not voted in on the active voting list that was 395,970 as of June 4. eight years – or in two consecutive general elections. “Voters who were moved to inactive status would have Daniels said that those voters can become “active” again not voted since 2007,” she said. by participating in one election. “In short, it takes eight years of inactivity for a voter to be In Georgia, the voter list is purged in odd years, and purged from the system. Anyone who voted in 2008 would Daniels said the list was last purged in 2011 of people who not have been in inactive status and, thus, not eligible for had been inactive since 2003. removal in 2011. Those voters who were removed in 2011 “A voter who has not done anything, not voted, not had not had activity since 2003.” signed a petition, not done anything in more than four years Among those purged in 2011 were deceased voters and goes on an inactive status,” she said. felons. “Nobody is being purged in 2012,” she said. “People who For new registrations, Daniels said citizenship verificavoted in 2008 are not even in inactive status. It takes eight tion is now required in Georgia and that records are checked years to purge somebody from the files for inactivity.” overnight against the Division of Driver Services database. In a statement posted on the DeKalb Elections Web site, If verification fails, applicants are notified and have 30 Daniels said that there has been no change in Georgia’s elec- days to provide various documents – birth certificates, U.S. tion codes and that the statement that voters who have not passport, naturalization certificates and the like – to prove voted since November 2008 must re-register to vote this year citizenship.

If you’re not going to vote, keep your opinions to yourself!

Early voting starts on July 9

Poll more accessible for seniors, disabled DeKalb’s elderly and disabled voters who need a bit more room to maneuver will have the state’s first and only ADA Accessible-Only Absentee Poll in Georgia when early voting starts on July 9. The DeKalb Board of Registration & Elections said that even though all the county’s polling precincts are fully accessible as required by the Americans With Disabilities Act, it will provide extra room to accommodate seniors and disabled voters at its 4380 Memorial Drive location. Voters can cast early ballots there on weekdays through July 27 and on Saturday July 14 and 21. The polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The ADA Accessible poll will be located in the room usually reserved for absentee voting but will be populated with fewer voting stations to offer more room for voters using wheelchairs and walkers. The room, which usually holds more than 30 voting stations, will have about 20. Maxine Daniels, the county’s elections supervisor, said there will be better access to stations and some of them will be accessible from a seated position. There also will be better wheelchair access to the units on tables. More units will have audio ballots for sightimpaired voters. The voters will get help checking in from volunteers from the Stone Mountain and Decatur alumnae chapters of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Additional handicapped parking close to the building entrance also will be provided. Appointments are available for groups needing assistance by calling 404-298-4020. Georgia’s Election Code requires voters with disabilities and seniors 75 years and older to be given priority placement at the next available voting unit between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Daniels said the new provisions will allow the office to exceed the legal mandates and reduce delay for other voters who will vote in a separate room. For information about additional early voting sites and times, visit

I am proud to serve as YOUR DeKalb County Clerk of Superior Court and to have served as your Chief Deputy Clerk for over eight years. It is my goal to continue providing exceptional service because the citizens of DeKalb County deserve the very best. I need your support on July 31st! A vote for Debra DeBerry is a vote for the Citizens of DeKalb County. Honesty, Integrity and Experience Really Does Matter!!!

Vote July 31st! Visit my website at Paid for by the Committee to Elect Debra DeBerry



June 30, 2012

Vote 2012

“The towers have nothing to do with education, and are not needed for wireless inside the school house.”

Cell tower vote to be on July 31 ballot Candidate, T-SPLOST By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

DeKalb parents and other residents who have been fighting the DeKalb School Board’s decision to locate cell phone towers on school properties will get to vote on a referendum on the towers on the July 31 ballot. The non-binding advisory referendum won’t change the reality for thousands of children who will be attending the nine schools already leased to T-Mobile, but it could signal community sentiment to board members. Residents can vote yes or no to the question: “Should the local or independent school system of DeKalb County or a charter school in DeKalb County place or operate a telecommunications tower on any elementary, middle, or high school property?” Cheryl Miller, a Briarlake Elementary parent and member of, and said the referendum’s wording is so vague and misleading she fears voters won’t know its about the same cell phone towers they have been opposing. “We are afraid the general public will not understand that the cell towers we have been so opposed to for so long are actually the same thing as the ‘telecommunications towers’ they are being asked about on the ballot,” she said.“The wording sounds like the tower will be ‘placed or operated’ by the school system for some sort of educational purpose, which is not correct. The towers have nothing to do with education, and are not needed for wireless inside the school house.” Miller said parents opposed to the cell towers at schools will want to make sure everyone knows to vote “no” to the question. The referendum was created by House Bill 1299, sponsored by state Reps. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), Michele Henson (D-Stone Mountain), Rahn Mayo (D-Decatur) and other DeKalb legislators. Drenner, a six-term representative and a radiation physicist, embraced the referendum after House Bill 1197 which she sponsored to ban towers from other school grounds failed. State legislators have been seeking ways to prevent the location of more cell towers on DeKalb Schools property

after a July 12, 2011, vote by the DeKalb School Board to allow T-Mobile to locate 150-foot high towers on nine school properties for up to 30 years. Most of those schools are in south DeKalb County. The schools are Flat Rock and Princeton elementary and MLK Jr. High in Lithonia; Briarlake and Narvie J. Harris elementary in Decatur; Smoke Rise Elementary in Stone Mountain; Jolly Elementary in Clarkston; and Lakeside High and Margaret Harris Comprehensive School in Atlanta. School Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson signed the 30-year leases with T-Mobile on Dec. 8. Over the life of the lease, T-Mobile will pay the school district just over $2.3 million in rent. District spokesman Walter Woods said this week that the construction of the first cell tower is expected to begin in August. “All sites are in some phase of design,” he said. Drenner, a six-term representative and a radiation physicist, said she thinks the cell towers are a short, money grab by the school board. “We’re trading short term money for long term health reasons,” she said. Drenner has been fighting cell towers on school property because of Karla Drenner possible health effects associated with radio frequency radiation and magnetic field. She said that there are no longitudinal health study on the effects of cell towers on students,. “I would ask parents do you want your child to be a case study,” she said. Sen. Jason Carter (D-Decatur), whose bill requiring state and local governments to hold public hearings before leasing public property to private organizations for non-governmental and commercial reasons failed, said if the nonbinding refereundum succeeds, it will be valuable. “It will put pressure on the school board to create a policy that is in line with what the people want,” he said.


LEE MAY DeKalb County Commissioner, District 5

VOTE JULY 31 Lee May is Putting DeKalb 1st Putting your Pockets 1st Putting your Safety 1st Putting Jobs 1st Putting our Transit 1st



forums at DeKalb sites DeKalb voters can hear from candidates and supporters and opponents of the transportation referendum at a number of upcoming forums.

First Afrikan Presbyterian DeKalb residents concerned about paying an extra penny in sales tax if the July 31 transportation referendum succeeds can get some of their questions answered at a July 2 T-SPLOST forum at First Afrikan Presbyterian Church in Lithonia. The forum on the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax is hosted by Atlantans Building Leadership for Empowerment, or ABLE. It takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. The church is at 5197 Salem Road in Lithonia. For more information, call James Marble at 770-680-5622. Georgia Piedmont Technical College center Candidates for DeKalb CEO and the DeKalb Board of Commissioners will be at a July 12 forum at the Georgia Piedmont Technical College Conference Center. The 11 candidates seeking the districts 1, 4, 5 and 6 seats and the three seeking the CEO position have been invited. The candidate forum and meet-and-greet will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. It is co-hosted by the DeKalb Chamber, Leadership DeKalb, the League of Women Voters and a number of other groups. The conference center is at 495 N. Indian Creek Road in Clarkston. For more information, call 404-378-8000. Ray of Hope Church Candidates for DeKalb CEO, County Commission, School Board, State Court bench and Clerk of Superior Court will take questions from the community at a July 17 candidate forum and meet-and-greet. The event is co-hosted by CrossRoadsNews and Ray of Hope Church in Decatur. All candidates for the July 31 primary elections are invited to attend. The 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. forum will take place in the church’s chapel at 2778 Snapfinger Road. For more information, call Jennifer Parker at 404-284-1888.



Vote 2012

“We want to remind voters that they should’ve gotten new precinct cards. As a result of redistricting … many locations have changed.” Sarah Shalf (from far left), Harold Franklin and Helen Butler of the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition offer voter tips on June 26 at the State Capitol.

Polling place changes affect many voters Thousands of DeKalb voters will be casting ballots in different precincts on July 31 because of school closings, construction and other changes. The changes implemented since the 2010 election cycle affect residents who used to vote at Atherton, Glenhaven and Gresham Park Elementary and at Avondale Middle schools. Voters at Rehoboth precinct also have been relocated. Below are the changes that became effective last August. n Atherton Elementary precinct has been changed to Glenwood Road, which is located at First Rephidim Missionary Baptist Church, 4649 Glenwood Road in Decatur. n Avondale Middle changed to the Covington precinct at Avondale Pattillo United Methodist Church, 3260 Covington Highway in Decatur. n Glenhaven Elementary changed to Austin Drive precinct at Peace Baptist Church, 1399 Austin Drive in Decatur. n Gresham Park Elementary changed to Gresham Road precinct at First Baptist Church Gresham Road Inc., 2394 Gresham Road in Atlanta. n Rehoboth precinct moved from William Bradley Bryant Center for Technology to Rehoboth Presbyterian Church, 2729 Lawrenceville Highway in Decatur. The DeKalb Board of Registration & Elections says precinct cards have been mailed to all affected voters. To confirm your voting place, visit www or call 404-298-4020.

June 30, 2012

Coalition seeks to head off election day voter issues By Carla Parker

If problems arise on election day, voters can get expert legal help to understand their rights from the nonpartisan Election Protection, a coalition of state and national allies seeking to eliminate election day disenfranchisement. The program, operated by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, has been in existence since 2004. It moni-


tors elections in Georgia to help ensure that everyone entitled to vote is able to do so without any problems. At a June 26 news conference at the State Capitol, the group said that every election, thousands of voters call its protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE seeking solutions to problems that they encounter. This year, the group says it’s offering early tips to ensure that Georgians’ vote counts in 2012. Sarah Shalf, chair of the Georgia Legal Coordinating Committee for Election Protection, said the most important thing voters can do before election day is check their registration. She said voter registration is the top problem the group encounters from hotline callers. “They discovered that they weren’t properly registered, but it’s already election day and it’s too late for them to resolve that issue,” she said. Election Protection assists all voters, regardless of party affiliation or status, but it particularly targets historically disenfranchised communities, including Hispanic, African-American and low-income areas, with key information and advice.

Key information includes the importance of being correctly registered, knowing what’s at stake in the July election, being aware of advance voting, having valid photo identification, and double-checking your ballot before pressing “cast ballot.” The group will be on the job on July 31 for the Georgia primaries and special elections for the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and operations of cell phone towers on school properties. Shalf said the group will answer calls on the hotline locally and in Washington. “We’ll be able to solve your problems on election day,” she said. Helen Butler, executive director of the Coalition for People’s Agenda, said it is also important for voters to know where their precinct is located. “We want to remind voters that they should’ve gotten new precinct cards,” she said. “As a result of the redistricting process, many of your precinct locations have changed. So we want them to be able to know exactly where their precinct is.” To find out if you are registered and your precinct, visit For more information, visit

June 30, 2012

Vote 2012



The grass-roots volunteers behind battle Ellis on every county press release in a number-slinging war.

Brookhaven will become a city if residents OK referendum Advocates say residents of a new city would pay fewer taxes for better services, while foes counter that the city would add a costly new layer of government.

By Donna Williams Lewis

DeKalb County will get a new city of Brookhaven if voters there approve the city on July 31. If the measure passes, Brookhaven will officially become a 12-square-mile city of about 49,000 effective this December. It would be DeKalb’s largest city. Advocates say the residents of a new city between Buckhead and Chamblee would pay fewer taxes for better services, but opponents say the city would add another layer of government that would end up costing residents more than they currently think. No one except those within the proposed city limits has a say in whether it is created. DeKalb officials estimate that the county would lose $23 million annually if Brookhaven becomes a city. CEO Burrell Ellis said he had two words for the proposed city: “Peachtree Corners.” Peachtree Corners, the sixth new city created in metro Atlanta since 2005, recently presented its first proposed city budget of nearly $3 million, more than three times larger than what residents were told to expect when incorporation was on the table. House Bill 636, which passed last March, authorized the referendum on a city of Brookhaven. State Rep. Mike Jacobs (RAtlanta), who also helped spearhead the city of Dunwoody, was one of the architects of the new city in the Legislature. He was joined by Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody) and state Sen. Fran Millar (R-Chamblee/Doraville). The march to cityhood has pitted neighbor against neighbor and city advocates against the county CEO. The grass-roots volunteers behind www. battle Ellis on every county press release in a number-slinging

war over how much revenue the city will cost and how much it could cost to run it. Jacobs says that property taxes would be lower. Supporters cite research by the Carl Vinson Institute at the University of Georgia that showed the city would be viable. Between the 2008 incorporation of Dunwoody as a city, the proposed expansion of Chamblee, and the possibility of a new city of Brookhaven, DeKalb is beginning to deal with the prospects of reduced revenues to maintain its current size. To recover the lost tax revenue, the county could raise the property millage rate, currently at 21.21 mills, to between 23.19 mills and 23.63 mills. That would mean increasing the property tax by 9.3 percent to 11.4 percent, depending on the size of the tax digest, which declined 9 percent this year because of the impact of foreclosed properties. On April 19, Ellis ordered 21 department heads to stop filling vacant positions and to trim spending by 2 percent to 5 percent between now and 2013. His directive applies only to 390 of the 656 vacant positions that

are tax-funded and report to him. He told department heads the Brookhaven and Chamblee efforts to annex unincorporated areas could have substantial impact on the 2012 and 2013 budgets. Ellis also believes cityhood would be more costly for Brookhaven residents. “It will cost more to operate their city than they project. They’ll have higher taxes and they will cut out revenue for the people who don’t have a vote,” Ellis said this week. “We’re not anti-city, but we do believe that the Georgia law that allowed for the creation of cities is bad public policy,” Ellis said. “People outside the boundaries don’t have a say, and that’s fundamentally unfair.” The proposed city is bounded by the Fulton County line to the west, city of Dunwoody to the north, city of Chamblee to the east, and a portion of I-85 to the south. Annexations approved by the General Assembly in March are under way for not only for Chamblee, but also for Doraville, Decatur and Avondale Estates. On March 27, the governor signed into

Resources on the Web: n n n law HB 1006 that calls for a November referendum to approve a Chamblee annexation that would add the southern half of PDK Airport to the city, which already contains the other half. The annexation also would extend the city’s border southeast along Clairmont Road to I-85. It has been estimated that DeKalb will lose $2 million to $3 million in tax revenues from this annexation. This would be the second large annexation for Chamblee in two years. In 2010, voters approved annexation of the Huntley Hills area that added about 6,000 people and about 1.5 square miles on Jan. 1, 2011. Chamblee, which has about 16,000 residents now, will add about 11,300 residents and about 2.5 square miles if the referendum passes in November. Some of the area to be annexed was originally included in the proposed boundaries for Brookhaven. Decatur resident Elrado Ramsay, a financial analyst and frequent commentator on community issues, blames county leaders for its population exodus. In a May 10 letter to CrossRoadsNews, he wrote: “DeKalb County got slack and lazy. Its politicians became presumptuous. It had too many political and financial scandals. It took no opportunity to define a strategy that could improve the lives of all its people. … As long as DeKalb County continues to be second-rate in its capacity to show all its citizens the way to prosperity, and is not a place of high performance leadership and initiatives, more enclaves are going to peel off to do their own thing.”


JOHN Q. CARTER Clerk of Superior Court of DeKalb County


· Juris Doctorate, University of California at Davis, California · Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, San Diego State University, CA · 22 year resident of DeKalb County · Successful business owner, McDonald’s Franchisee · John Carter Enterprises, Arbitrator and Mediator · Superior Court Clerk of Fulton County, Deputy Clerk · Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, Contracts Administration · Gulf Coast Legal Foundation, Staff Attorney (Representation of indigent clients) · Husband of Linda Carter, former Superior Clerk of DeKalb County, 2000-2010 · Volunteer of Habitat for Humanity • xxx-xxx-xxxx

P.O. Box 36130 Decatur, GA 30036-1300



June 30, 2012

Join Us in Supporting Judge Dax Lopez

Roy Barnes, Former Governor

Sherry Boston, DeKalb County Solicitor General

Robert James, DeKalb County District Attorney

Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, State Representative


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CrossRoadsNews, June 30, 2012, Section B  

CrossRoadsNews, June 30, 2012, Section B - Voter Guide for 2012 Primary Elections