2016
06.06

On May 24th, Walker County voters overwhelmingly approved, with 75% support, a ballot question about changing county government into a multi-commissioner board.

John Deffenbaugh & Steve Tarvin

But as feared, strong support for changing the county’s form of governance means little to the people who can actually make that change happen: local legislators Jeff Mullis, Steve Tarvin, and John Deffenbaugh.

Last week they confirmed to the Messenger they might not do anything in response to the non-binding vote in support of changing the county’s government, using the excuse of low voter turnout and lack of demand from the commissioner’s office.

    “So far [Rep. John] Deffenbaugh, along with state Rep. Steve Tarvin and state Sen. Jeff Mullis, both of Chickamauga, aren’t convinced — even after a recent straw poll showed 3-1 support for a board of commissioners.
    “…for the three lawmakers, who have the final say on whether to hold a binding vote on the issue, poll results aren’t enough.”

(Mullis specifically mentioned low voter turnout as a reason not to embrace the vote. However during that same election, more Walker County citizens voted to change the county’s form of government than voted to keep Jeff Mullis in his job. We want a board of commissioners more than we want him – and he needs to keep that in mind.)

Jeff Mullis 2016 Speaking / Dan Henry Times Free Press

The three local delegates also openly admit they personally prefer the current system, which has destroyed Walker County.

Deffenbaugh confirmed what Senator Mullis has said before: they won’t make a change or even put it on the ballot in a legally binding way until the elected commissioner herself/himself demands it, regardless of how the majority of their constituents feel.

    “‘The single commissioner would have to make a request to myself and Steve Tarvin, and then it would go to Jeff as far as local legislation goes,’ Deffenbaugh said.”

Unfortunately, the leading candidate to be the next sole commissioner has already gone on record saying he feels there’s no advantage between the two systems, and he’ll leave it up to the legislators to make the change – something they say here they won’t do.

The Times Free Press couldn’t get comments from the legislators, but did speak with candidate Shannon Whitfield and incumbent Commissioner Heiskell about the vote:

    Times Free Press, 05/29/16: “If legislators do choose to follow through on the move starting next year, that would mean the next sole commissioner could be the last, something incumbent Bebe Heiskell and Republican challenger Shannon Whitfield say they are completely fine with.”

They both have the same position on it, but it’s NOT the position given here. Bebe has always said she’s fine with a change while working to block change, and Whitfield’s indicating he’ll be on the same track. (And they can both be “fine” with it IF legislators take a move, which they will not unless the commissioner pushes it – something neither of them will do.) Both are all for the “will of the people” while personally opposing the change and working behind the scenes to block or delay that very change.

Shannon Whitfield Facebook on Sole Commissioner

Fortunately, the Commissioner race isn’t over. Voters have a third option besides board opponents Whitfield and Heiskell.

Perry Lamb’s campaign to run for Commissioner needs only a few hundred more signatures – about 400 more – to qualify him as as an independent candidate for November. If he reaches that goal by the end of July, his name on the ballot will give the county another choice, one that isn’t part of the Chickamauga clique fighting to preserve the broken status quo.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Michael James Gobert, who shot and killed JJ Montgomery last October, has been found guilty of murder.

Michael GobertGobert opened fire at Montgomery and two friends as they were leaving his daughter’s home off Straight Gut Road last fall.

Gobert’s lawyer said he felt threatened by the men who had just gotten into a fight with his adult daughter after an orgy came up short.

A jury rejected the self defense argument in favor of the prosecution’s position: Montgomery was no risk to him since he and his friends were inside a vehicle trying to flee. He opened fire on men who were no risk to himself or anyone else, and in the dark shot one of them in the head.

The jury decided Gobert’s actions constitute felony murder – a conviction that will likely put the 52-year-old in jail for at least thirty years.   Tiny Facebook

Haier is expected to finalize its $5.4 billion buyout of GE Appliances today.

Roper-Haier Combined?

Once the deal closes, the biggest employer in Walker County – Roper – will be a fully-owned subsidiary of a Chinese company, itself owned in part by the government of China.   Tiny Facebook

Even with an election five months out, Commissioner Heiskell’s spending priorities are out of whack with the needs of her constituents.

Bebe Facebook - Walker Transit Schedule Change

Bebe has cut back Walker Transit service for the county’s poor, disabled, and elderly by limiting non-medical trips (shopping, socialization, and going to work) to two days a week.

Did she cut anything else out before making this decision?

Rode the bus and voted for her?Heiskell tried to shut down Transit completely in 2013 when she refused to renew a contract with the state to fund it. LU found out, posted it here, and readers blew up her phone.

She backtracked then, but fired the Transit director and put in place some temporary restrictions like the ones just announced again.

The county budget was too tight to offer this service in 2013, but she continued to spend hundreds of thousands on her (now closed) restaurant, walking trails to nowhere, a new tax office, etc.

This year she’s gotten a pay raise herself, but she can’t keep letting old folks pay $4 for a one-way trip to the Senior Center or library three days a week.   Tiny Facebook

Randy Barfield

Randy Barfield Jr, who slipped away from a county jail work crew in Rock Spring on May 20th, was re-arrested Wednesday afternoon after deputies spotted him during a traffic stop.

Sheriff Wilson has still not explained why his office waited five days after Barfield disappeared to notify the community and media of his escape.   Tiny Facebook

Summerville Police Chief Stan Mosley recently suffered a stroke.

The community held a prayer vigil for Mosley at Summerville City Hall Thursday. No updates since then on his condition.   Tiny Facebook

Another wreck last week at Twin Cedars Rd. and Hwy 27 was the third in May.

No details on what happened; a burning SUV was observed at the scene.   Tiny Facebook

Memorial Day Pool Opening - 2016 / Whitnie Manning-Kimbrough

Pool’s open, yall.

(Photo courresy Whitnie Manning-Kimbrough.)   Tiny Facebook

Before Memorial Day, the City of Hiram erected 79 crosses along a highway to honor residents killed in defense of their nation – a display similar to the one LaFayette has in Joe Stock Park.

After a single complaint about the Christian symbolism of a cross, the city took down every one, fearful of a lawsuit.

After a heated city council meeting, they all went back up.   Tiny Facebook

Ongoing studies show the bat population of Northwest Georgia has cratered in recent years and may not recover.

Researchers say the number of chiropteras in the region has fallen off by 92% since 2013 when a bat-killing fungus called White Nose Syndrome was first seen here.

(That’s bad news if you like bats or hate mosquitoes, but probably good news for an Alpharetta family that spent $70,000 on rabies vaccines after a bat flew into their home.)   Tiny Facebook

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  1. Poor horse looked like it was starved. Damn dope heads don’t need any animals. You need to investigate all the sorry ass dope heads on airport road, because that dope head didn’t care about those horses one way or another. SORRY,SORRY,SORRY. Everybody knows what happens on airport road, I don’t know why the law don’t do something. COME ON MR. LAWMAN DO SOMETHING. The worst one just moved.