Smith’s definition of ‘sanity’: $50 million road to nowhere


I was very surprised by Commissioner Jack Smith’s letter in The Citizen on June 16. Right off the bat, he said that a vote for him “is a vote for sanity in managing your tax resources.” Exactly what definition of “sanity” is he using to describe his actions?

This is the same guy who is building a $50 million road to nowhere with our limited resources (Georgia and federal highway departments found it did not score high enough and was too expensive).

In addition, he tried to dupe us into another SPLOST, taking an additional $135 million out of our wallets for pointless projects they came up with at the last minute. Smith and friends wanted us to throw away a sum equaling over two times our annual budget.

Commissioner Smith, your actions are definitely not my definition of “financial sanity.”

We have taken a real beating with all the careless spending and neither the school board nor the county commissioners seem to care.

In the letter, Smith boldly describes himself as “honest, ethical, trustworthy and dedicated,” almost perfect by the tone in his letter. But Smith’s taking the free junket filled with extravagant travel abroad from a company he rewarded with tax breaks is the kind of thing we despise Congress for doing. There’s nothing honest or ethical in that situation. This arrogance in government has to stop.

And everyone’s heard about Commissioner Smith being on the bank board. Just Google “Bank of Georgia” on the Internet and you will find plenty to be concerned about, such as a FDIC “Cease & Desist” order for unsafe banking practices and violations of regulations (his bank remains on the list of troubled Georgia banks). In many articles, the bank’s chairman comes right out and says most of their lending is to developers in Fayette and Coweta counties.

Chairman Smith said he’d leave the board room if business came up that conflicted with his public duties, but since the general public and the news media don’t have access to the records of that bank, how are we going to know if developer lending is affecting government decision making or not?

That’s exactly why Georgia law encourages public officials to avoid even the appearance of such conflicts. Interestingly, the Bible says, “Abstain from all appearance of evil,” 1 Thessalonians 5:22. The fact Commissioner Smith is so tenacious about keeping both the bank board position and the commission seat bothers me. Is the commission seat really about public service for Smith?

I’ve got a real problem with the chairman’s claim of trustworthiness when he tells everyone he opposes transit buses and turns around and votes for them every chance he gets. The Tea Party movement began because of nonsense like this. Commissioner Smith, say what you mean and vote the way you say.

Smith’s letter said Brown liked “promoting the one thing most important to him: himself.” But Smith spent at least 14 paragraphs crowing about none other than Jack Smith with the remaining few paragraphs tearing Brown down.

Smith throws out the accusations with very few verifiable references. Commissioner Smith’s trying to label Steve Brown as an egomaniac is truly hypocritical. There’s a book entitled, “Man in the Mirror,” by Patrick Morley. I had the privilege of meeting Patrick and Tom Skinner when they spoke to our “Promise Keeper” group in Jackson, Miss. The essence of the book is quite simple. Everything wrong in your life is caused by the reflection in the mirror, my words. I wonder what image Jack Smith sees.

I found it interesting that one of Brown’s columns forced School Board Chairman Terri Smith to come clean on her little cover-up of over $12 million in real estate and businesses she omitted from her financial disclosures. I wonder how she remains on the Board of Education with such fraud being exposed. A simple “bookkeeping error.” Yeah, right!

I have learned that it was one of Brown’s columns that exposed the phony 2009 SPLOST referendum. After reading what he had to say, a lot of informed people rushed to the polls and overwhelmingly killed the new sales tax.

Smith is probably extra sensitive to the light Steve Brown shines on our local governments. Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove (expose) them.” No one has exposed more wrong-doing than Brown and a lot of people rail against him because of it.

Think about it: Brown was the one who investigated Commissioner Smith’s voting record at the regional government. He found that Smith had been lying to us, saying he would oppose mass transit buses in Fayette County. In reality, Brown discovered Smith and the county’s engineer in charge of roads had voted in favor of the plan every time.

Smith can blow his own horn all he wants, but when it comes down to who is going to protect the average citizens of Fayette County, I have to go with Steve Brown. He takes the insults from the special interests and keeps working to protect our Fayette County lifestyle.

David L. Barlow

Fayetteville, Ga.