|January 06, 2013||Which Georgia Congressmen Voted Against Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund||3 comments|
|December 30, 2012||Losing Homes over Unpaid Water Bills||1 comments|
|November 12, 2012||Veteran Day Free Meals 2012||no comments|
|September 25, 2012||What's Worse - Voter Apathy or Voter Suppression?||no comments|
|September 12, 2012||MARTA'S Leadership Change Should Include Public Comment/Input||no comments|
|July 22, 2012||David vs Goliath: Mayor Kasim Reed's "Do Over" - Why Not DeKalb County?||no comments|
|March 22, 2012||One in a Million: Food Stamp Recipients Demand Republican Majority Leader Chip Rogers Take Drug Test||2 comments|
|March 07, 2012||State of Georgia vs. DeKalb County: Representation Neutered and Tax Equity Denied||3 comments|
Which Georgia Congressmen Voted Against Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund?
By Viola Davis RN BSN
We look forward to the explanation the Georgia Congressmen will give to justify the vote against the Sandy Relief Fund especially when our state experienced severe flooding in the years 2005 and 2009.
In 2009, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported that 23 counties in Georgia were declared disaster areas due to flooding and that 16, 981 homes and 3,482 businesses were affected by floodwaters. Ten lives were lost in the flood. The total estimated damages exceeded $193 million. (H.E.Longenecker, Federal Emergency Management Agency, November 2009)
After reading several stories on the Sandy Relief Fund vote, we noticed the focus was on the 67 Congressmen that voted against the bill. Of the 67 Congressmen, five are from the great state of Georgia. Who are the Congressmen that voted against hurricane Sandy Relief Fund? We are embarrassed to say they include the following:
§ Tom Price – Republican from District 6
§ Rob Woodall – Republican from District 7
§ Tom Graves – Republican from District 14
§ Paul Broun – Republican from District 10
§ Doug Collins – Republican from District 9
An article published on Forbes.com stated “In 2009, Georgia Republican Paul Broun applauded the large sums of FEMA money being spent in his congressional district when parts of Stephens County suffered serious damage as a result of …wait for it…flooding.”
There are not many American citizens that would praise these Congressmen for voting against the Sandy Relief Fund especially after the devastating effect of the hurricane. How can anyone play such games with American suffering? Please contact these Congressmen and asked them if they plan to take such a stand the next time Georgia need a “helping hand” to survive a natural disaster.
Finally, contact the following bipartisan “Georgia Champions” and thank them for showing that a majority of the Congressmen from Georgia have a “heart” for Americans having to endure a natural disaster. Please send prayers for Congressman John Lewis whose wife of 44 year died, Lillian Miles Lewis.
Georgia Congressmen that are “Bipartisan Champions” which voted for Sandy Relief Funds include:
ü Jack Kingston – Republican from District 1
ü Bishop Sanford – Democrat from District 2
ü Lynn Westmoreland – Republican from District 3
ü Hank Johnson – Democrat from District 4
ü John Barrow – Democrat from District 12
ü Austin Scott – Republican from District 8
ü Phil Gingrey – Republican from District11
ü David Scott – Democrat from District13
Losing Homes over Unpaid Water Bills
By Viola Davis RN BSN
Time to “Wake Up” DeKalb County!
Once again, we may be the breeding ground for bad legislation and policies that threaten our homes and quality of life. What am I talking about?
I am speaking about the possibility of losing your home because you didn’t pay your water bill. Do we, as homeowners, taxpayers and voters, want to give our water bills the power of a tax to be sold to private companies?
Some politicians honestly believe that we need such a law in DeKalb County while there are law makers on the state level trying to make sure this never happens. What do you think?
We have included links to some news reports on this issue in states such as Maryland that have these laws. Please review and check with your elected official and ask them where they stand…
Citizens losing homes over unpaid water bills 7-13-2010.
Losing It All! American families losing their homes because they didn’t pay their utility bill 11-12-2012.
Veteran Day Free Meals 2012
We want to inform the Veterans of the restaurants that are offering free meals in celebration of Veterans Day. As a Veteran, I plan to visit the Golden Corral’s 2012 Military Appreciation Monday “thank you” dinner on November 12th from 4pm-9pm. The Golden Corral along with other restaurants is recognizing Veterans with free meals which include restaurants such as:
· Olive Garden
· Dennys (Monday November 12th)
· TGI Fridays (Monday November 12th)
· Famous Daves
· Red Robin (Monday November 12th)
· Krispy Kreme
· Outback Steakhouse (Sunday & Monday November 12th) – Blooming onion only
· Einstein Brothers Bagels
· Sizzler (Monday November 12th)
· Red Lobster – Appetizer only
· McCormick & Schmicks
· Little Ceasars (crazy bread only)
· BJs Restaurant & Brewhouse (Monday November 12th)
Tip: Some of these Veterans Day free meals are nationwide but some are only at participating locations. Please call the restaurant you plan on visiting before you leave home to make sure they are taking part.
To view the full 6 pages of restaurants and ID requirements, please visit the following link:
What’s Worse - Voter Apathy or Voter Suppression?
By Viola Davis RN BSN
There has been much discussion of the issue of voter suppression. While reading an article on the Annual Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference, the article stated that voter suppression was the major issue discussed with panelist such as political strategist Donna Brazile, activist and MSNBC TV host Rev. Al Sharpton and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga). The National Urban League also claimed the voter suppression issue was one of their top priorities.
I was fascinated that voter suppression took priority over jobs. I debated the issue with my family members focusing first on the issue of voter suppression then voter apathy. I asked my family members, what’s worse - voter apathy or voter suppression?
I refused to debate whether voter suppression should take priority over the issue of jobs because jobs should be our top priority period. With us in the middle of a recession (some say a depression), we are focusing on voter suppression. It’s hard to believe. Well, let’s first look at the definition of voter suppression and voter apathy:
· Voter suppression is a strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing people from exercising their right to vote. Voter suppression attempts to reduce the number of voters who might vote against the candidate or proposition advocated by the suppressors.
· Voter apathy is perceived apathy (lack of caring) among voters in an election. Voter apathy is often cited as a cause of low turnout among eligible voters.
My brother said that voter apathy is more dangerous than voter suppression because the suppressors can’t succeed with passing laws to “suppress” the vote without apathy. However, my mother said voter suppression was worst because changing the laws will stop the people from voting regardless if the people come out of their apathy. I must admit both opinions are good. I personally said apathy in agreement with my brother. One need only to look at the number of active voters compared to registered voter to realize what we are talking about.
According to the 2012 primaries in DeKalb County, approximately 127,311 of 405,103 registered voters cast a ballot for a percentage of 31.43%. This leaves over 68% (over 277,000 voters) of the electorate engaging in a personal act of “self imposed” neglect to exercise their right to vote.
Why should we care? In the state of Georgia, the difference between the vote of Barack Obama and John McCain was 204,792 votes. In the Georgia gubernatorial election of 2010, Governor Nathan Deal beat challenger Roy Barnes by 258,821 votes. More people stayed home in DeKalb County and refused to exercise their right to vote then the number of votes for the Republican candidate to beat the Democratic candidate. Do you see the power of the vote?
Let’s face some uncomfortable truths. Apathy is probably the greatest gift the public gives willingly to those who strive to control and suppress the vote. It cost no money to implement and the rewards are many in the name of passing laws the suppressors are advocating. If you are unemployed or have a family members or friends that are unemployed, you need to vote. Your vote will decide what laws and policies will pass in the upcoming years.
1. Veterans’ job bill blocked: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57517160/senate-gop-blocks-veterans-jobs-bill/
2. American Job Act: http://www.americanjobsact.com/
What’s your opinion? Is voter apathy worse then voter suppression?
Ruby Bozeman Davis, Co-Founder of the Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter, assisted with this article. Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter is a watchdog group and community ministry which focuses on anything that adversely affects taxpayers and voters.
MARTA'S LEADERSHIP CHANGE SHOULD INCLUDE PUBLIC COMMENT/INPUT
On September 12, 2012, the Transportation Equity Coalition (TEC) scheduled a press conference for September 13th to address the concerns over the selection of MARTA’s next Chief Executive Officer. Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) will join the Transportation Equity Coalition (TEC) to call on a fair vetting process that puts the people MARTA serves ahead of partisan politics.
The partisan politics started with State Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven), who chairs the legislative committee that oversees MARTA, inserting his preference into the process by making the following quote according to the AJC:
“It’s my understanding that MARTA has a very good internal candidate,” said Jacobs, a Republican, referring to deputy general manager and chief operating officer Dwight Ferrell. “The decision the MARTA Board makes…may well determine in the very near term the direction of its relationship with the General Assembly. An internal candidate who is committed to doing the work that needs to be done to get MARTA’s fiscal ship righted could go a long way to shoring up and bolstering the relationship with the General Assembly.”
TEC scheduled the press conference to urge the board to include public comment and input into the selection of the next Chief Executive Officer.
"Tomorrow's press conference will express concerns about the political interference in the hiring of the new MARTA general manager," said Barbara Payne, Executive Director. "The new general manager ought to be selected based on whether he/she will be the person best suited to improve MARTA's operations and help improve services for riders....period," said Payne.
The Transportation Equity Coalition (TEC) is composed of several organizations that came together to oppose the TSPLOST and now advocate for community-based solutions to Metro Atlanta's transportation challenges.
· TSPLOST will increase taxes on food and prescriptions. Since DeKalb and Rockdale County had their food tax increased January 2011, this will be a 2% tax increase on food in less than a two year period. Review Doc: http://www.scribd.com/doc/96545640/HB1221-Taxation-of-Food-and-Food-Ingredients#page=4
· MARTA can’t use any of the money from TSPLOST for operations and maintenance. Review Doc: http://www.scribd.com/doc/96553881/HB277-TIA-restriction-on-MARTA-operation-and-maintenance#page=2
· DeKalb and Fulton County already pay a 1% transportation tax called MARTA tax. Why should we be forced to pay double? Review Doc: http://www.scribd.com/doc/92194885/Transportation-Investment-Act-Return-on-Investment-for-County-City
Below is a list of the TSPLOST transit projects considered to be MARTA projects:
MARTA State of Good Repair Capital Projects:
· $600 million (Representative Sean Jerguson (Republican) threaten a lawsuit if any money from T-SPLOST is used for MARTA because it violate the law) View Video and AJC article: http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/debate-over-t-splost-1444861.html and http://youtu.be/0Pi0pri6_-k
Expansion projects in MARTA’s Jurisdictions:
· I-20 East $225 million (Buses)
· Clifton Corridor $700 million
Transit projects sponsored by other jurisdictions
Project Development Funding:
· North Line $37 million
· I-85 NE Line $95 million
· Griffin/Macon Commuter Rail $20 million
· Atlanta Beltline $602 million
· Cobb County NW Corridor $689 million
· Piedmont/Roswell BRT $50 million
End Result: South DeKalb will not receive its share of funding from T-SPLOST. We deserve better!
1 in a Million: Food Stamp Recipients Demand Republican Majority Leader Chip Rogers Take Drug Test
By Viola Davis RN BSN, Community Missionary
In the name of “Social Responsibility and Accountability Act” (SB292), Food Stamp Recipients have requested that an amendment be attached to Senate Bill 292 and Senate Bill 312 to include Republican Majority Leader Chip Rogers to take the drug tests (SB292) and professional development (SB312) for the following reasons:
· In August 2011, the AJC wrote an article titled, “Attorney for Graves, Rogers: Bank is at fault”. In the article, Republican Majority Leader Chip Rogers partnered with U.S. Representative Tom Graves on a 2.2 million dollar loan to purchase and renovate a Calhoun motel that quickly went under. Graves was quoted blaming the bank for loaning them (Rogers and Graves) money they knew they could not pay back.
Since Republican Majority Leader Chip Rogers is a co-sponsor of the bill (SB292) and want to demand food stamp recipients and TANF recipients are more responsible and accountable, he should lead by example by including himself on the bill due to his own irresponsible acts. We are sure he remembers that he is also paid by taxpayers’ money. However, the food stamp recipients merely receive approximately $280.00 in assistance, while Republican Majority Leader Chip Rogers received millions in funding from taxpayers for his district.
Senate Bill 292 claimed in one of its bullet points that the Georgia Assembly intent to ensure that the government does not subsidize the public health risk posed by drug use and the associated criminal activities. However, SB292 makes every adult regardless of education, background or situation guilty of being socially irresponsible and unaccountable for the act of doing nothing more than needing help, food and assistance in troubled times. With the passage of SB292 and SB312, one cannot help but claim this is a war on women and children as well as the poor.
Yet, a second bullet point of the “Social Responsibility and Accountability Act” stated it intent to ensure that TANF funds are ultimately utilized for the intended purpose of alleviating the effects of poverty and are not diverted to illicit drug use. Year after year, taxpayers have endured news of mismanagement and shortfall of the tax dollars that resulted in an increase in taxes. Millions of tax dollars have been diverted and used for other than the intended purpose. One merely needs to look into the Georgia Solid Waste Trust Fund or Joshua’s Law. Joshua’s Law has collected over $33 million dollars; however, barely a quarter of the funds were spent on its intended purpose thus risking the lives our students.
In the name of fairness, food stamp/TANF recipients state every elected official should take the drug test and professional development. Senator Vincent Fort attempted to add an amendment to require every elected official to take the drug test and his amendment was defeated. If the standards are set for over a million food stamp recipients, we demand at least “one” Republican Majority Leader, Chip Rogers, be added. We agree that everyone should embrace the act of being responsible and accountable. However, we deploy hypocrisy.
If a drug test is required of the recipients of food stamps, then it should be required of everyone receiving the benefits of taxpayers’ money such as:
· The developers who receive tax abatements to number in the millions should be required to take a drug test because these are taxpayer dollars that are subsidizing the projects.
· The elected officials who engage in unethical behavior that results in taxpayers and voters having to pay increase taxes should take a drug test.
· The owners of banks that have closed due to mismanagement and fraud that were then bailed out with taxpayers dollars should be drug tested.
· Lets drug test the administrators responsible for Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). GDOT was responsible for the mismanagement of over 400 million dollars in transportation funding and now are asking for a new penny tax referendum of 6 billion from the taxpayers and voters called T-SPLOST.
These are four additional examples of irresponsible and unaccountable use of tax dollars. If we are truly pushing, “Social Responsibility and Accountability Act”, then require the same standard for everyone that benefits from our tax dollars.
Ruby Bozeman Davis, Twitter from a Desktop of a Praying Grandmother, contributed to this article.
State of Georgia vs. DeKalb County: Representation Neutered and Tax Equity Denied
Viola Davis RN BSN
How can the taxpayers and voters of DeKalb County with close to 700,000 people secured the support of over 70% of its local delegation for local legislation (HB1197) to restrict cell towers on its school grounds; however, a representative from South Georgia with a population under 52,000 first stall the local legislation before completely making the legislation dead on arrival thus denying DeKalb County local control? Could it be through the use of a federal law called the Telecommunication Act of 1996?
We have learned the hard way the power of federal and state law over local control. As parents and homeowners, we simply wanted to have a law (HB1197) that restricted cell towers from our school grounds to protect the health of our children, prevent the decrease of our property value, and maintain a high quality of life for our citizens.
We managed to secure the signatures of 16 out of 18 representatives in our DeKalb Delegation on our local legislation. The end result was that a federal and state law dealing with telecommunication prevented us from protecting our children’s health and our property value. Putting it simply, our representation was neutered and our tax equality was denied.
We watched as the lobbyist for the DeKalb Board of Education worked with the lobbyist of the telecommunication corporations to make sure our local legislation to stop cell towers from being constructed on school grounds was declared to be allegedly unconstitutional. There was nothing more disheartening than to know that the taxpayers and voters of DeKalb were forced to finance the political actions of a person who was helping national level lobbyist risk the health of our children and decrease the property value of our homeowners.
As parents and homeowners, we often take the issue of local control for granted. I can remember attending a meeting on transportation and listening to a passionate debate between members of a task force and a man named Commissioner Steve Brown. Commissioner Steve Brown, from Fayette County, made an excellent augment on the issue of the loss of local control. He was reassured that a new state law would not threaten local control. I would join Commissioner Brown’s passionate debate to protect local control if I knew then what I know now.
We were ready to blame Chairman Chuck Sims, the representative from South Georgia with just under 52,000 population, and the many lobbyist of the telecommunication corporations; however, Chairman Sims delivered the true answer to our question of blame. He said, “Don’t blame us or the lobbyist…blame your local school board.” I hate to say this, but Chairman Sims demonstrated more compassion on our issue of stopping cell towers on school grounds than our local school board members. He even suggested ways to correct our problems and possible future actions to take. This is shameful to say the least.
This action elevated our fight to a new level. Local control start and end with our local elected officials that are hired with our vote and paid with our tax dollars. When school board member Dr. Eugene Walker stated that the corporations could place a cell tower in the front of his house, we knew that our fight would be uphill. Would you like to live under a cell tower in the middle of your subdivision or would you buy a house that's under a cell tower?
When school board member Paul Womack told the Briarlake community that the cell tower lease was a “done deal”, we knew that the decision to approve the T-Mobile leases were already made before the parents and homeowners were given public notice. These statements demonstrate a total disregard for homeowners, property value and children’s health. How can parents and homeowners demand safety for the children and protection of property right when the politicians make statements that reinforces the power corporations have over local control?
What actions can we take now?
First, we demand tax equity for our school system. In 2006, the state of Georgia removed over $101 million dollars from DeKalb County School System to use in other school system throughout the state. The redistribution increased to $129 million dollars in 2011. We ask parents and homeowners to multiply $100 million dollars per year for 25-30 years vs. $3 million dollars over 25-30 years (profit for 30 year lease to T-Mobile). Which will deliver the most money for our children? Which action will not increase health risk, decrease property value, and decrease our overall quality of life.
Second, we demand local control through electing competent public servant. As parent and homeowner who care about our children and property value, we must stop electing the same politicians and expecting a different results. We must hold our local school board accountable for the many negative problems taxpayers and voters were forced to correct through protest, financing legal fee, multiple criminal investigations, poor oversight of SPLOST funds, budget shortfalls, etc. This starts with mobilizing the parents and homeowners who want increase transparency, ethics, and accountability.
Third, we need to locate school policies that limit the actions and use of public property enacted by the Board of Education and convince our Board of Commissioner to pass a law/ordinance that match the policy of the school board to limit placement of the cell towers on school grounds.
Fourth, we need to contact CEO Burrell Ellis and demand a hold on the administrative permits until a law that secures our local zoning ordinance is formulated and passed through the Board of Commissioners.
Last but not least, we need to remember that the telecommunication corporations do not have absolute power. We the People have been given three powers by god. We have power was taxpayers, voters, and consumers. The day we exercise all three powers, we will no longer have to fight people elected with our vote nor people paid with our tax money. DeKalb County parents and homeowners will have a high quality education system for its children and a high quality of life for its citizens.