Is this wrong?

Last week, I received an e-mail from Fulton County Commission Vice-Chair William “Bill” Edwards talking about this, that, and the other. In fact, when I first received the e-mail, I didn’t pay it any attention because Bill Edwards is forever inundating Fulton County residents with e-mail messages. However, an associate of mine highlighted something in the e-mail that I will address presently.

Remember, a few months ago, when I filed an ethics complaint against Commissioner Edwards alleging among many things that he had been improperly using his office to affect the outcome of the City of South Fulton referendum. Well, in an e-mail dated August 10th, Commissioner Edwards sent out a PDF file entitled “Sample Ballot”. At first glance, you’d think that something named “Sample Ballot” would be the sample ballot for the September 18th vote, but…

…It wasn’t.

Instead, what the “Sample Ballot” file was, was literature subtly encouraging people to vote no.

Why do I say that it was subtle encouragement?

Because the flyer doesn’t explicitly tell you to vote no, what it says is…

Your NO vote means:

  • South Fulton is the only unincorporated area left
  • County dollars can only be spent in Unincorporated South Fulton
  • Special Services District Millage Rate decreased to 5.659
  • General Fund Millage Rate decreased to ZERO
  • Keep Police – increased by $2.3 million
  • Keep Fire – increased by $1.8 million
  • Keep Parks – increased by $500,000

Now I could spend all day picking apart how factually incorrect this flyer is, but I won’t. What I will do, however, is point out that this flyer was sent out from a Fulton County e-mail address and included literature that could definitely influence the outcome of an election.

Am I the only one who thinks this is wrong?

7 comments

  1. Chris says:

    Once South Fulton incorporates, can we get the state to dissolve Fulton’s charter and let the cities go their own way?

  2. SouthFultonGuy says:

    Andre,

    You only think it is wrong because it is contrary to your campaign for a new city so you can run for city council of that city.

    I seems like all the ballot is stating is what will happen if a city is not formed. That is not a partisan campaign, merely a statement of facts with spin.

    Just like the fact that you are chairman of Chairman of Citizens for the City of South Fulton PAC, the fundraising arm of South Fulton Concerned Citizens. Its no different than being part of the Vernon Jones Senate Campaign puts your objectivity in this campaign question too.

    It could have pointed out that voting YES would mean bankruptcy for the city because the understatement of police, fire and public works costs in the feasibility study covered up what would otherwise be a projected deficit ending up in large tax increases.

    While I am sure you can split hairs with the totality of each statement, he’s just putting his spin on things like you do with every post on your BLOG.

    Maybe you should file another ethics complaint since the last one did not seem to muzzle Commissioner Edwards as you’d hoped.

    BTW this is the real South Fulton Guys writing – not someone who unsuccessfully tried to hack my blogger/email account from a GSU IP address…

  3. jm says:

    If the flyer had pretty pictures on it and looked like an ad, then OK. If it looked like an actual sample ballot, then that’s possibly misleading. For him just to use the words “ballot language” by itself I do not think is misleading, especially with the bullet points underneath. After all, you figured it out…

    Seriously, I wouldn’t cry foul on the content of this ballot, but if he pays to have it printed and distributed using county funds, that may be an issue.

  4. AlanR says:

    Send an open records request for all his email sent using the Fulton County server. Be sure to ask for the emails in electronic format — on disk. Consider limiting your request to a specific period of time to limit volume and cost. State in your request an amount not to exceed.

    I don’t know much about the South Fulton issue and if you want to run for city council once there is one . . . well, be careful what you wish for.

    But there is a pattern of behavior here that merits a bit more of a look. A couple more questionable example and you may have another complaint of substance.

    And by the way, don’t rely on the ethics commission to think.

    Good luck with it.

  5. Icarus says:

    Well, Icarus got another e-mail from Robb Pitts yesterday. Claims that Fulton County is running a huge surplus.

    I’ll bet about 80% of that surplus is used to fund a court ordered new jail, and another 80% is used to bail out Grady.

    I’m not sure what the remaining 70% will fund, but I’m sure it will be spent somehow, and soon.

  6. SouthFultonGuy says:

    Icarus,

    This Fulton County surplus is precisely why South Fulton voters should look at facts not rhetoric.

    The worst thing they can do is panic based on the fear mongering of South Fulton “Concerned Citizens” and their lobbyist Lieutenant Andre Walker.

    His credibility was shot when he claimed not to be a member of the organization and now we see he is not only Chairman of their fund raising PAC, but running their chat line briefing folks with the pro-city scripts and numbers for targeted voters to call.

    If you think this city is a dream, just look at the nightmare of a meltdown occurring in Milton and the other new cities in North Fulton County.

    Voting to form yet another layer of government for wanna be politicians like Andre would be foolhardy and disastrous.

    Of course Democrats like Andre just love Big Government.

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