The most directly related defenders or abusers of the citizens’ liberties and rights are our local and state representatives.
For the last three years, private citizen Randy Ognio has been investigating and evaluating every agenda item before the Fayette County Commission. He has repeatedly written letters to the commissioners and gone before the board with many questionable agenda items, concerns about their deficit budgeting practices, and the West Fayetteville Bypass.
Mr. Ognio started working on behalf of Fayette citizens at least two years before he even thought about running for office. He decided to run because a group of citizens begged him to. As the owner of a successful business in Fayette County, he knows the meaning of hard work.
At a cookout sponsored by the Greater Fayette County Republican Women’s Club on June 9th, former Commission Chairman Jack Smith spoke to the crowd telling them why they SHOULD put him back in office on July 31st. He said that when he left office in 2010 there was a reserve of $10 million.
However, he failed to say that the money wouldn’t have been there if he had repaired the crumbling storm water culverts under some of our roads. He failed to say that since he left office some of those roads had to be closed due to the fact that they were at the point of collapsing. He failed to say that school buses and emergency vehicles had to be banned from traveling those roads until they were repaired.
He also failed to say that the reserve wouldn’t have been there if he had repaired or replaced critical county equipment and vehicles that had become unusable.
During his time at the microphone, former Commission Chairman Smith never mentioned the fact that he told Fayette voters he was against mass transit in Fayette County yet he voted in favor of it as our representative with the Atlanta Regional Commission.
I become very leery when a public official says one thing and does the opposite.
Mr. Smith never said a word about the incident where he shouted at a room full of citizens to sit down. Those folks just wanted to rise from their seats to show how many people were against the West Fayetteville Bypass.
In his 5-minute address Saturday, Jack Smith left out many negative aspects of his former administration. However, in his closing remarks, he asked for our votes once again.
When David Barlow moved to Fayette County several years ago, he very quickly became an active member of the Fayette County Issues Tea Party. Almost immediately, he noticed that our county commissioners were very disrespectful to and oblivious of the citizens’ concerns. Our concerns became his concerns.
Mr. Barlow began donating his time, equipment, and talent as a certified legal video specialist to record commission meetings. He posted the videos on YouTube so there would be a visual public record of what actually happened.
Fayette citizens from all over the county are now able to see and hear some of the atrocities that have transpired during commission meetings under the Jack Smith and Herb Frady administrations.
David worked for the people of our community just because he cared, and that is why many people asked him to run for the office of commissioner. He is relentless on the issues of transparency and accountability in government.
Current Commissioner Robert Horgan also spoke at the Greater Fayette County Republican Women’s cookout this past Saturday. He spoke about his involvement with different civic groups but he never mentioned his unfortunate incident with Fayette law enforcement officers while sitting on the BOC.
Chuck Oddo’s family values and his love for the community are the reasons Fayette County is a wonderful place to live. His openness, honesty, fairness, and respectfulness are the reasons many Fayette citizens have asked him to run for commissioner. Chuck is a successful CPA and has owned and managed several small businesses, here.
When Mr. Oddo spoke at the cookout, he was well versed on local issues such as the West Fayetteville Bypass, mass transit, the Transportation Investment Act, and the Regional Transportation SPLOST which will also be on the July 31st ballot.
Current Commissioner Lee Hearn didn’t address any issues because he was noticeably absent.
Susan Stopford, who is running in opposition to Commissioner Hearn and Randy Ognio, also spoke to the crowd. She told us about her personal life, but I couldn’t say that I knew any more about where she stood on county issues after she spoke than I did before she spoke.
Attorney Sheila Huddleston is running in opposition to David Barlow and Jack Smith. She spoke, but again offered no substance with regard to county issues.
The people of Fayette County have seen and experienced, first-hand, what happens when we elect people with hidden agendas.
We have lived through a loose form of local government where county employees are given pay raises without written job evaluations. One of those county employees wrote his own job evaluation and went on to become one of our county commissioners.
We have been threatened with having our constitutional rights to free speech taken away if we didn’t conform to the governing body.
We have been publicly shouted at, humiliated, deceived, manipulated, and basically lied to by the people we elected to office.
I don’t think any of us want to continue along our present path any longer. That is why we must all know who and what we are voting for before we vote.
Our next opportunity to vote is less than eight weeks away. Please vote in the primary on July 31st of this year.