F’ville Mayor Steele flip-flops to left of center

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The most difficult thing for me to comprehend as a Fayette County resident is how we ended up with so many elected officials on the center-left of the political spectrum. They talk the talk in front of the local conservative audiences, but their actions tell a much different story.

My ears perked up at the Sept, 22 Board of Commissioners meeting when Commissioner Robert Horgan kept saying we were a “progressive” county. The term “progressive” is often used in our modern political parlance to merely avoid the word “liberal.” President Obama proudly describes himself as being “progressive.”

As we’re looking down the cliff at another dip in our economy, we’ve witnessed Chairman Frady, Commissioner Horgan and Commissioner Hearn raise our taxes, increase government spending, create new government fees, vote to keep Fayette County in regional mass transit plans and waste precious tens of millions of our dollars on dim-witted items like the West Fayetteville Bypass. This isn’t conservative behavior, ladies and gentlemen.

The parallels to President Obama’s attitude on raising taxes, increasing spending and promoting programs that lead to failure are chilling.

In fact, the three comrades on the Board of Commissioners just approved another $2.5 million of your money to begin another section of the bypass that you don’t want.

As a public service, I have been digitally recording these types of government meetings and you can watch the three commissioners carelessly stick it to your wallet on Youtube.com. The address is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fbG6OZ1EuU.

It’s insulting to have Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele, Chairman Frady, Commissioner Horgan and Commissioner Hearn tell us (notice I didn’t say “convince us”) why wasting our money on the West Fayetteville Bypass is a good idea in a time of financial crisis.

Chairman Frady actually said his justification for moving forward on the unwanted project was that more automobiles were registered in Fayette County now than in 2004. You should’ve seen the people in the audience shaking their heads in disgust when the chairman gave that pitiful excuse.

It’s pretty clear Mayor Steele wants the West Fayetteville Bypass so he can over-develop the area using the Fayetteville sewer. The Fayetteville sewer already goes beyond the hospital now and Steele has annexed more land in that area. I’m surprised at how many citizens of Fayetteville don’t know what is going on.

The last thing the people of Fayetteville need right now is to expand the city’s borders and create more of a drag on city services. Crime is bad enough in Fayetteville now. Spreading the police and fire out even thinner is a dangerous idea.

Mayor Steele has turned into the Fayette Flip-Flop King. Undeniably, the mayor voted in favor of the Concept 3 regional mass transit plan at the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Transportation and Air Quality Committee on Nov. 13, 2008. He personally approved bus routes between Fayetteville and Riverdale (Clayton County) and others. He did this at the exact same time he was telling the locals he opposed such things. Flip.

Even after his votes were discovered, Mayor Steele denied supporting mass transit in the county. Not long after, the County Commission Chairman Jack Smith (he was voted out of office last July and is a supporter of Steele) admitted to voting in favor of mass transit in our county. You could say the progressives came out of the closet. Flop.

Mayor Steele confessed at the December 2010 meeting of the Association of Fayette County Governments meeting (you know I’m recording all of those) that “mass transit was coming to our county, but not in my lifetime.“ The political double-talk was enough to make you sick to your stomach. Flip.

Later on, Mayor Steele and Fayetteville Councilman Wilson Price (both of them are up for re-election in November of this year and should be replaced) went to a Fayette Republican Breakfast where County Commissioner Steve Brown was speaking on transportation issues. This time Mayor Steele speaks up and says there will never be any mass transit in Fayette County. Flop.

At the same breakfast, Commissioner Brown said in front of Mayor Steele, Councilman Price and the entire Republican audience that he was introducing a resolution calling for Fayette County to be removed from all regional and federal mass transit plans and publicly asked for Mayor Steele’s support. Mayor Steele didn’t respond. Flip.

A copy of the resolution was sent by email to all the mayors in Fayette County asking for their support of Commissioner Brown’s resolution. Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix and Tyrone Mayor Don Rehwaldt responded with support. Mayor Steele stayed silent. Flip and Flop.

People, we’ve got some important elections coming up this year and next. Pay attention to what the progressives want to do in our community.

David Barlow

Tyrone, Ga.