ARC Board Shake up!

Today’s AJC has an article about HB 33 that I submitted to change the make up of the ARC Board membership. The title just about sums it up and is 100% accurate, ARC blamed with shirking Southside. I have not discussed this legislation with Steve Cash but I am very excited to see the HCCQG supporting it. “We’ve never had a level playing field as far as representation,” are Mr. Cash’s comments. This is exactly the point of the bill and as a previous legislator from Henry County there is probably not anyone else more understanding of the frustration we have with the ARC. We only have 1/3 of what Fulton has and if you add Dekalb to it we have only have 1/5 of the amount votes they have. I wonder if the Henry County Chamber of Commerce is going to support this bill. They have been pushing a “regional agenda” and even had Lisa Borders, an Atlanta City Council member, down to speak at their Chamber luncheon. I hope they will see the logic in equal representation for our local area.

Mr. Kruetler, who I respect, said “This idea about who has the most votes doesn’t really play out in the way decisions are made,”. Well I respectfully disagree and I believe it is proof positive that the big guys control it all, which is why they don’t want to give up the two automatic seats for the City of Atlanta. Why can’t she (Franklin) go out and explain to the rest of the Fulton County Mayors how important she really is? Meanwhile lobby to get the votes from the the Mayors to have the seat just like everyone else in all of the other 10 counties represented in the Commission.

I am surprised the article did not elaborate on the change to the third member from each county. As a state commission it currently only has local representation and not any state government participation. The appointment by the local delegation would not only give equal representation to each county but would also balance the power of government representation. One city member, one county member, and the newest member from the state. It also reduces the length of the third member’s term from 4 years to 2 years mirroring the members of the General Assembly which will be making their appointment.

I am also surprised the article did not address the make up of the signers of the bill. If you use the link above you view the signers but here is the signers home counties; Fayette, Douglas, Cherokee, Gwinnett, (2) Henry- Rep Lunsford and myself.

You can view my earlier post on the bill with its make up here. Shockingly Eldrin Bell from Clayton county does not support this bill, even though this would benefit his county as much as ours! First he rights a check he can’t cash for commuter rail, then he tries to squash the voice of his constituents by not supporting a referendum, and now he does not want Clayton to have an equal voice in Regional decisions. Am I missing something here? Really this is just political but it still does not make sense!

In the article they listed the members and where they represent. Below is a chart of number by county and you can determine for yourself why the ARC is pushing to urbanize the region and looking for “Regional” approaches. Actually they just want to take our money and control what we do! They not only want to control what we already pay but they also want to raise taxes for the entire region to pay for urban projects! Remember there are 10 counties and the City of Atlanta is not a county! Also remember we already have a representative style of government based on population, it is called the General Assembly. This commission is supposed to represent the views of the entire region but majority rules! Here is a simple number breakdown by county:

1. Fulton 9 members (including ATL)
2. Dekalb 5 members
3. Gwinnett 4 members
4. Cobb 4 members
5. Clayton 3 members
6. Henry 3 members
7. Douglas 3 members
8. Cherokee 3 members
9. Fayette 2 members
10 Rockdale 2 members

13 comments

  1. Steve, DeKalb and Fulton have way more people than Henry. When you say equal representation do you mean on a per person basis (like Congressional districts) or on a per-county basis (like the US Senate)?

  2. As stated in my post we already have a representative government by population, its called the General Assembly. The bill is plain and simple, each county has equal representation on the commission.

  3. Decaturguy says:

    I don’t think that certain counties should be over-represented on the ARC. It should be represenative of where people actually live. And most people actually live in Fulton, Dekalb, Gwinnett and Cobb.

  4. All of these counties seperately elect their officials. If you want representation by where people live we can either dissolve the ARC and let them serve the people that elected them. Or if we want to join together as a “Region” then we need to ensure that each of the areas participating have an equal seat in Regional approaches, but to give one elected body control over another elected body simply does not carry water with me. Especially when the controling body is the City of Atlanta!

  5. Without Atlanta there would be no region. I suspect that what you really would like to do is to gut the ARC . . . Or at least castrate it.

    Henry, Douglas and Cherokee counties are not Equal to Atlanta, Fulton, Dekalb & Cobb in terms of their importance to the region. Why SHOULD exurban counties have the same voice as urban ones when it comes to regional planning? Within a vote or so it seems like the number of votes each entity has on the ARC seem about right to me (especially considering that the fulton number includes 2 seats for the city).

  6. Steve by your bizarre logic that an equally apportioned body already exists (ie the General Assembly) shouldn’t these other agencies by decommissioned and repopulated on a per county basis:

    State School Board.
    Georgia DOT.
    Georgia DNR.

    Etc, etc.

    If you don’t think (let’s just pick an example here) the State School Board should be apportioned by population (ie Congressional District) instead of an equal county basis, then perhaps you can tell us why not.

    Your proposal is a short sighted attempt at trying to prevent alternatives to exclusive road building. But guess what, even if you are somehow able to pass this, eventually your beloved Henry and many other less-central counties will also determine that transportation alternatives (and a regional approach) are the way to go.

    More roads may be the answer to Henry’s traffic woes, but I assure you it is not the answer for DeKalb and particularly the Buford Highway corridor, where I live.

    I don’t know why it is so hard for you to figure this out, but more people live and work where I live in North DeKalb than where you live in Henry. Our representatives from DeKalb are more than willing to work with those from Henry, Cherokee and elsewhere to develop a regional solution, but we need more of that solution and should have more of a say, because we have more people.

    I mean, why not just take your bill to the logical conclusion and just let the Governor make all decisions for the ARC?

  7. Oh and one more thing Steve, since we pay more in tax revenue in DeKalb than you do in Henry, that means we’ll be kicking in more money for new transportation developments.

    I think if we pay more, we should have more of a say over how the money is spent. What’s so un-conservative about that? Why are you only in favor of government subsidies when they would benefit you directly?

  8. Jason Pye says:

    The ARC for all intents and purposes is worthless to Henry County. We should just pull out of it. It’s nothing but another layer of bureaucracy and is the cause of several problems, one being the eminent domain issue in Stockbridge.

  9. Chris it is not just about transit! If you want transit pay for it, but don’t ask everyone else to pay for your transit. This is about LCI, TAD, “Smart Growth”(which is not so smart), true quality growth, density, zoning, land use, water, enviroment, schools, transit, traffic, roads, government cooperation and fairness. Not everyone in this region supports Urbanizing the region, which seems to be the agenda!

    How did we ever make it without our friends from Atlanta telling us what to do?

  10. StevePerkins says:

    > Without Atlanta there would be no region.
    > …
    > Henry, Douglas and Cherokee counties are
    > not Equal to Atlanta, Fulton, Dekalb & Cobb
    > in terms of their importance to the region.
    > Why SHOULD exurban counties have the
    > same voice as urban ones when it comes to
    > regional planning?

    Having grown up in rural south Georgia, and living today near the Gwinnett-DeKalb county line, I have seen and experienced Georgia culture from both poles. I can say with certainty that the above text is a beautiful illustration of why Atlanta is deeply resented by the rest of the state, and why the city must constantly scratch and fight for support.

    Georgians outside of Atlanta resent the city for failing to pull its own financial weight, and requiring the budgetary equivalent of welfare from the rest of the state. Atlantans such as candlerparkliberal, like any welfare recipient, grow resentful of the situation also… and develop attitudes of moral or cultural superiority as a compensation mechanism for the shame. This of course generates even more resentment among those financing the welfare system, and the vicious cycle continues.

    Atlanta is not “more important” than its surrounding region, and such attitudes do it no favors whatsoever. At best, the relationship is symbiotic… the region depends on Atlanta to attract industry (or at least we used to), while Atlanta depends on the region to prop it up financially so it can continue to avoid difficult choices regarding waste and corruption. However, Georgia is not Atlanta’s lapdog, and failure to show due respect will only harder for you to extract financial support from the state, not easier.

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