…First, let me say that it is not lost on me that the white voters of Fulton County voted overwhelmingly to get out from under control of the Fulton County Commission, while the black voters voted to as my leader Benny Crane said, “have a city controlled by six commissioners who don’t live in south Fulton County.” It also is not lost on me that the South Fulton Special Services District (that’s Fund 301 in the Fulton County budget) has a deficit of $10,877,320 which can only be offset by either raising taxes, cutting services, or a combination of both.
Last night’s vote re-opened the door to annexation in South Fulton. I know for a fact that the new City of Chattahoochee Hills Country plans on annexing about 7,000 acres of land on the western borders of unincorporated South Fulton. Members of the Sandtown community are now free to pursue (once again) annexation into the City of Atlanta. The City of College Park can now go after the Old National Hwy. corridor. Union City can continue their annexation of South Fulton Parkway.
Do you see where I’m going here?
Lastly, South Fulton’s fate is now at the mercy of the Joint Legislative Study Committee on Fulton County Governance. At this committee’s last meeting, the panel’s members said they were in a holding pattern waiting to see what the result of the South Fulton vote would be. The results are in and it was a resounding no, and quite frankly, South Fulton does not have the votes in the Georgia General Assembly to stop any recommendation that comes out of that committee, barring a proposed constitutional amendment.
I personally don’t have any regrets about the campaign the South Fulton Concerned Citizens ran to win yesterday’s referendum. We surrounded ourselves with some great people; people like Jon Anderson, former Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Georgia, who (along with the other folks at Mad Dog Mail) ran our direct mail program. We utilized some of the new organizing tools provided by the Democratic Party of Georgia; particular the VoteBuilder online voter file database to target the “super voters” who would be more likely to vote in yesterday’s referendum. We used that information to get out in the field and talk to voters about the benefits of the new city as well as to recruit volunteers to help us spread the word about the new city.
In the last month of the campaign, we raised close to $10,000, and we used it efficiently. We ran robo-calls. We did direct mail. We ran newspaper and radio ads. We picked up several endorsements. In short, we left it all out on the field, and while there are a few things I would’ve done differently, I believe the overall campaign we ran was a great one that was run the way campaigns are supposed to be run.
Honestly, we were outspent and out-gunned. There was a lot of money spent in defeating the City of South Fulton, and to this day, the public does not know where that money came from. We ran a clean campaign while our opponents ran a dirty campaign that may have violated several ethics and election laws, but we’ll let the Secretary of State’s office and the State Ethics Commission be the judge of that.
In the end, I don’t have any regrets whatsoever. The people decided and the people will have to live with their decision along with the consequences of their decision far into the future.