Fifteen, Four And Fight!

This morning, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the efforts to re-create Milton County cleared a major hurdle this week when the House State Planning & Community Affairs Committee passed out House Resolution 21 on a vote of seven to one.

To my knowledge, this is the first time that the Milton County bill has ever made it out of committee, so to echo the words of House Speaker Pro Tempore Mark Burkhalter, “This is an important first step, a required first step.”

But, and forgive me for continuing the Speaker Pro Tempore’s steps metaphor, there is still a whole lot of stepping left to be done.

It takes 120 votes in the House and 38 votes in the Senate to pass any constitutional amendment. The GOP currently holds 105 and 34 of those votes respectively meaning that the operative slogan here is fifteen, four and fight.

Fifteen votes in the House, four votes in the Senate and the fight of a lifetime for the re-birth of Milton County.

That’s just not hyperbole on my part, but the promises of every individual, group or organization that is dead set in opposition to splitting Georgia’s largest county.

Vincent Fort, who represents portions of Fulton County in the state Senate, declared two years ago that “there will be blood on the walls” if the Milton County bill made it to the floor.

Well, the Georgia Building Authority might want to invest in a few gallons of paint (hopefully some of Glidden’s America’s Finest paint) for both legislative chambers as it seems more and more apparent that this debate over the division of Fulton County is likely to happen.

31 comments

  1. This WILL get interesting if it makes it to the Senate. Even in the short time I’ve been watching, Fort has been well known to voice his opinion passionately.

    He’s probably going to need a year long Caribbean vacation to get over this one if it ever hits the Senate floor.

    Regardless of how passionate he is though, he is dead wrong on this issue.

    When government is not doing what the citizens want, it is their duty to create for themselves a government that will. The Founding Fathers made this a central theme of their efforts, and thus it became one of the founding principles of this great land.

  2. Andre says:

    Dark Knight,

    I agree with you one-hundred and ten percent.

    Our Founding Fathers were radicals for their time, but they were absolutely correct when they wrote:

    “When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. ”

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

    That’s some powerful stuff.

  3. Dave says:

    I’m glad to see some semblance of public rage at this situation of the producers having to pay for the irresponsible. Finally!!! Watching the CNBC guy (Steve Centani sp?…) go ballistic on the floor yesterday was the best thing I have seen in years! “Do you want to pay for some ‘loser’s’ mortgage?” Not only “no” but “hell no!” It isn’t the responsibility of the hard workers to prop up those who haven’t played by the rules. The welfare parasites should begin to quake in their boots. Hallejullah!!

  4. B Balz says:

    If this Bill passes the House/Senate it then goes to a Statewide public referendum vote, correct? I don’t see most Georgians, who essentially are either amused by or actually ‘hate’ Atlanta giving much care to this issue. Except those who will oppose it on partisan grounds.

    If THAT passes, then Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta, Milton, and Johns Creek would be in Milton County, Georgia’s first city-centric County. Good for them, but how does it affect ME?

    How can Dunwoody become part of Milton County. Annexation? I am sure Rep. Millar has a plan, I trust him on that. Don’t know the plan, but I still trust him…

    Mr. Fort, and allies, may have some powerful WDC ‘push-push’ to oppose Milton County, as well. Sort of an unplanned obstacle to those who rightfully favor better governance.

  5. Mike Hauncho says:

    I can’t imagine why anyone would want to support Fulton County. I live in the City and the thought of Milton County makes great sense to me, unfortunately, I live in Buckhead and will not get included in Milton if it were to come about. It is very clear why Vincent Fort is against this. North Fulton pays for so many fo the services in Fulton County and to lose that puts the burden on the rest of the county, more specifically, South Fulton. This should not be about race but it will be played that way. I think Milton is the way to go, even though it will hurt me individually.

  6. Bucky Plyler says:

    I live in Hart Co., but I’m interesed in the issue. Normally, I wouldn’t be for more counties in GA. However, in this case there’s much upside. There are situations similar to this around Atlanta & other urban areas in GA.

    If you still believe in the words Andre quoted above-then you’ll be interested in this issue regardless of where you live in GA.

  7. dsean says:

    Glad that this finally got out of committee, though it’d be nice if my condo (in Buckhead) could be included too.

    As an aside, anyone know of any tax/anti-stimulus protests going on in Atlanta?

  8. B Balz says:

    That’s encouraging Bucky, I hope there are a million ‘clones’ like you if this comes to pass.

    Proponents of this have called for the end of the ‘big Cunty’ gov’t system for years. That DOES have a lot to do with the Georgia Gang…

  9. When government is not doing what the citizens want, it is their duty to create for themselves a government that will. The Founding Fathers made this a central theme of their efforts, and thus it became one of the founding principles of this great land.

    *Warning* (Red Flags are popping when Andre agrees with a Libertarian)
    The Founder’s despised Democracies (Tyranny of the Majority). There is doing the will of the people and there is doing the right and legitimate thing… sometimes these are not the same.

    The will of the people (majority) could be that everyone’s house be painted green… but that would be wrong and an illegitimate law.

    Those great words of our Independent declaration, has to do with the lack of representation combined with repression by a government instituting laws that were illegitimate… not just a government that was denying the will of the people. Please be cautious when interpreting when should a people legitimately rise up against or change their government.

    We are a Republic that uses democratic procedures (limiting results by not infringing individual’s natural rights). We are not a Democracy (where individual’s rights are what the majority says they are).

  10. Note: My previous comment was a comment concerned with the phrasings read in other comments and not pro or con the main issue of this thread.

    I do not know enough about it to have formed an opinion.

  11. Andre says:

    Daniel,

    I agree with what you’re saying and so are the Founding Fathers; that governments should not be overthrown on a whim; that, to pull another line from the Declaration of Independence, “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. . .”

    The Founders listed more than two dozen grievances that they felt demonstrated how the British Crown had lost the colonists’ consent to be governed.

    Tying this back to the discussion of Milton County, folks up there would argue that Fulton County abdicated the people’s consent to be governed when the county failed to provide the services the residents desired; when the county taxed them and sent their dollars to south Fulton; when the county allowed for zoning that lead to a rapidly growing area that few in north Fulton wanted.

    As with King George III and the American colonies, Fulton County would rebut all of north Fulton’s grievances by saying that they’ve treated them good.

    Obviously, the people of a would-be Milton County strongly disagree.

    I guess what I’m saying is that while I agree that we should be very careful when we’re advocating overthrowing or seceding from an established government, each person must decide for themselves when the existing rulers have lost their consent to govern.

    Folks in north Fulton County feel that way. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t be having this conversation about splitting the county.

  12. foray says:

    It high time that this happened–

    No better time esp. with Burkhlater and Jan Jones occupying 2/4 leadership positions in the House–

    Casey is all for it–

    Lets remember that there is a movement in South Fulton to split also–

  13. jamesr57 says:

    “Transient cause” indeed. This is not sensible. Johns Creek and Milton are struggling in the current economic climate. Milton County joined Fulton because it was broke after the Depression. Now it wants out. I say fine, but Sandy Springs is not part of the deal.

    Bill Shipp called all of this racist a few years back on Georgia Gang and of course Dick Williams grumbled something under his breath.

    My problem is simple…
    The bill is deceptive by allowing a committee made up of Sandy Spring/north Fulton enthusiastic legislators to decide that Sandy Springs (Hammond) should be a part of a Milton county it was NEVER a part of to begin with. Sandy Springs has always been a part of Fulton County.

    For those new to the area South Fulton’s Fulton Industrial Blvd was once the biggest and most profitable industrial park east of the Mississippi (stick with me). For years the tax dollars were spent to build out Sandy Springs. None of that money was used in South Fulton, that is why it remain relatively undeveloped. Once north Fulton was built up the commission started spending money on South Fulton and then all of a sudden the whining started.

    The Shafer Amendment keeps South Fulton from receiving any funds generated in north Fulton through the district funds. The general fund dollars are spent all over the county.

    The County School Board used SPLOST and property take $ from South Fulton to build at least six (now seven) high schools in north Fulton between 1990 and today. In the meantime, the first high school to be built in South Fulton since 1990 opened this past year (more than 17 years).

    Bottom line this is nothing more than theft of a city. Maybe the Justice Department should investigate. I’m sure they’d be interested in the state legislative leader who took monies from Fulton County through his friendly commissioner (orange jumpsuit) for his pet arts project.

  14. B Balz says:

    Substitute Dunwoody for Sandy Springs, and Fulton with DeKalb and ditto J57’s points.

    Rep. Wendell Willard proclaimed the end of FULCO in ten years after the ‘Springs incorporation.

    There are powerful forces at work to dimantle FULCO, and possibly DeKalb. To change who benefits, really.

    The popular VOTE in Dunwoody ws driven by a careful, coordinated behind the scenes campaign. Blogs played a big part of it Powerful stuff.

  15. Bill Simon says:

    Bill Shipp called all of this racist a few years back on Georgia Gang and of course Dick Williams grumbled something under his breath.

    I am reminded of the chorus lyrics of a song in the late 1960s. The chorus went like this: Tax the rich, feed the poor, ’till there are no rich no more...

    It’s not “racism” to not want your tax dollars stolen from you to be used to prop-up other people who will not work for themselves.

  16. B Balz says:

    @Bill

    And that is what makes a specious argument so compelling. AS long as there are two properties, one valued at 100K and another at 500K somebody is going to feel like they are subsidizing someone else.

    The fact is, FULCO and Dekalb are both bloated. As long as enough people, like Bill, agree that the County is broken, and the problems are intractable, bringing back Milton is te end-game promised to Dunwoody.

    The smart ones will leave….

    Insightful on Sen. Balfour, Mr. Simon. A black Waffle House cup for you….

  17. Icarus says:

    If you drank the borax from the black mug of waffle house, I’m pretty sure you’re last drop would be to the floor.

  18. SouthFultonGuy says:

    1) Georgia is a jurisdiction covered by Section Five of the Voting Rights act.

    2) As such any legislative change with respect to voting cannot legally be enforced unless and until Georgia receives pre-clearance from the US Department of Justice. Most submissions are sent to the US Attorney General, in this case Obama appointee Eric Holder.

    3) The burden of proof would be on Georgia to prove that the proposed voting change to split off Milton does not deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group (like for instance Hispanics in Sandy Springs).

    4) Just the resolution of MARTA and Grady financial responsibilities and the inherent obstacles have huge racial elements alone.

    5) The likelihood of Georgia “proving” to the Obama Department of Justice, that the “de facto” splitting of Fulton into majority white and majority black counties, has no discriminatory aspects is about zero and none.

  19. NonPartisanGA says:

    Andre,

    It is absolutely absurd to charge Fulton County allowed for zoning that lead to a rapidly growing area that “few” in north Fulton wanted. These zoning changes were made with the full support of North Fulton Republican County Commissioners elected by North Fulton voters. It was not those “evil” South Fulton Democrat Commissioners who did it to NF. The same thing would happen in a Milton County.

    Anyone who follows Fulton County commission meetings knows that typically zoning votes follow the lead of local Fulton County Commissioners. If you want to blame someone for zonings that “allowed the massive growth that no one wanted”, blame North Fulton Commissioners like Mitch Skandalakis, Mike Kenn, Bob Fulton, and the developer’s friend Tom Lowe.

    Since the Schaefer Ammendment for Special Services Districts, the contention that this is about “North Fulton Tax Dollars” flowing South is simply false and playing to people’s ignorance.

    As James rightfully points out the disparity in school construction governed by a school board that votes 5 (north) 2 (south) every time to build up North Fulton Schools, shows that there are inequities all around.

    The opening of the new Westlake HS this year to replace the one built in the 1960’s was not an incremental school like the 6 high schools built in North Fulton. The continued inequity from Fulton Schools is why Fulton Schools were only recently released from court ordered school desegregation ordered in the 1970’s.

    The schools issue alone will be a deal killer and when you lump in Grady and MARTA, unlike Sandy Springs this is really a pipe dream…

  20. B Balz says:

    @SFG

    “…Mr. Fort, and allies, may have some powerful WDC ‘push-push’ to oppose Milton County, as well. Sort of an unplanned obstacle to those who rightfully favor better governance. …”

    I guess you made my point, above. If FULCO stay bloated and ineffectual, the process cannot be stopped, only slowed.

  21. Decaturguy says:

    Andre is a fellow conservative. I already told him he should consider the GOP! We’re not all bad.

    Harry, you can have him.

    Andre, where have you and your feeble little brain been lately?

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