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26 July 2010

Fulton County Leader Howls Like A Wounded Dog At Creative Loafing Column

Allow me to begin this particular blog entry by saying that I didn't vote for John Eaves in the July Democratic primary, and I plan on voting for the Republican nominee for Fulton County Commission Chairman this November.

Ten days ago, Creative Loafing staff writer Scott Henry took the dysfunctional Fulton County Commission to task, calling it a "a toxic waste dump of wasted potential and shattered ideals" where local politicians go for the "closest thing metro Atlanta has to a lifetime appointment," years of government checks and government jobs for their friends.

Below are some excerpts from the Henry piece:

Even as close to 90 percent of the county's real estate has incorporated into new cities or been annexed into existing ones as residents strive to put political distance between themselves and the Commission, the board continues to reject suggestions that it needs to reform or radically downsize county government.

Sit in on any Commission meeting and you're likely to see members belittling county staffers; offering grandstanding but ultimately irrelevant resolutions; complaining about the management of Grady Memorial Hospital, MARTA and other agencies; sniping openly at each other; and, most notably, protecting their own political turf.

Some, like Darnell, continue to fight the civil-rights battles of 30 years ago against perceived oppressors. Edwards specializes in lashing out at would-be reformers as racists. Eaves, well-meaning and endlessly patient, is impotent in his inability to rein in his colleagues. Lowe, long a confirmed cynic where the board is concerned, is content to engage in the few fights he knows he can win.

Henry, Scott (2010-7-16). Reforming the Fulton County Commission will take more than good intent. Creative Loafing. Retrieved on 2010-7-26.

Like a wounded dog, the column by Scott Henry prompted howls from Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves.

In a letter to Creative Loafing editor-in-chief dated July 23, 2010, Eaves wrote, "I consider this piece an attack on my colleagues and I am compelled to respond."

"Fulton County is a diverse community on many levels. The members of the Board of Commissioners individually represent the complex interests of their respective constituencies. At times, there are differences of opinion about what is best for the residents of our county – and those differences are sometimes reflected by our Commissioners," the Eaves letter reads. "In summary, I am disappointed and disgusted that the broad brush with which Mr. Henry caricatured our board reinforced long standing and inaccurate clichés – when you had an opportunity to really educate and inform your readers."

In short, the Eaves letter to Creative Loafing doesn't refute any of the claims in Scott Henry's piece. The Fulton County Commission Chair just dismisses them as "caricatures and clichés" about a long dysfunction and inept governing authority.

Since John Eaves took office, three new cities have been established in Fulton County. In addition, the calls to split Fulton County have grown louder on Eaves' watch than at any other time in the county's history. If Fulton County was not, as Scott Henry says, "a toxic waste dump of wasted potential and shattered ideals;" if Fulton County was not dysfunctional; if Fulton County was not governed by petty, squabbling politicians who remain stuck in the past, would Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Milton and Chattahoochee Hills even exist?

Would there be a growing chorus of calls to re-create Milton County if Fulton County operated like their neighbor to the south, Fayette County?

I don't believe so.

What's simple is true: John Eaves is wrong and Scott Henry is right.