More on “Democracy”

The decision Tuesday to spend another $19 million of Gwinnett County’s savings to pay for a 50 percent cost increase in the county’s new stadium was so straightforward, it didn’t require any public discussion or debate, county commissioners said.

The commission voted to spend the money as part of its consent agenda, a package of typically non-controversial items that on Tuesday included filling a vacancy on a golf commission, accepting the donation of dog food for the county animal shelter and spending $16.7 million to replace county transit buses.

Commissioners said the decision didn’t require public debate because there was little choice but to approve the money, without which project officials said they could not build the stadium currently coming out of the ground on Buford Drive near I-85 in Lawrenceville. The stadium will cost $59 million, up from an initial estimate of $40 million.

Yet, at least two citizens (Don Shaw and Lee Baker) attended the hearing who had something to say and were not permitted to voice their opposition.

But anyway, at least one commissioner feels your pain.

Commissioner Mike Beaudreau, who is known for keeping an eye on county spending, said he lost sleep over the decision. He said he even considered plowing over what has been built so far and converting the land to a county park.

But because the county has to have revenues to pay back the bonds, he said the only choice was to move forward and create a stellar ballpark.

“I felt it was the only thing we could do that was fiscally responsible, believe it or not,” he said. “I felt we had no other choice.”

Yeah, Beaudreau is a real pit bull when it comes to combating government waste.

Government Watchdog

He looks all broken-up, doesn’t he? As for keeping an eye on county spending, he seems to be more concerned about increasing taxes than cutting spending. This is from a March 28 Op-Ed that he wrote.

It is our job as commissioners to listen to input from our constituents and then make informed decisions as to the level of service desired by county citizens. It is clear that our citizens want more than merely the status quo. For the legislature to put us on a path where all local governments cannot even keep up with inflation in terms of service levels is probably unworkable in most, if not all, parts of Georgia. I can tell you for sure that it will hurt Gwinnett County.

While I may have only scratched the surface on some of the policy questions, the real point of my writing to you is to ask that you not do anything that strips away the decision-making capability of school boards, city councils and county commissioners. Do not cap our revenues or our ability to adjust millage rates. Please do not limit assessments to some artificial growth rate. Please do not enact some one-size-fits-all policy without first examining all the facts. Services are unfortunately not free, and we need to be able to respond to what is going on in our local areas.

Give me a break, Mike. You voted for this boondoogle. Don’t try and have it both ways. And please, stop describing yourself as a fiscal conservative. You’re an old-fashioned tax-and-spend liberal, embrace it.

Addendum: I forgot to mention that the Gwinnett Daily Post did not report the fact that the commissioners did not allow any discussion.

4 Responses “More on “Democracy””

  1. CG Hudson says:

    For the record, Don Shaw is really Dorothy “Dot” Shaw, a tireless advocate of the people in Gwinnett County. Hopefully the AJC will correct accordingly.

  2. JC says:

    Don Shaw has posted on this site many times. It may have been Dot Shaw who attended the meeting, but there is a Don Shaw who has also been a vocal opponent of the stadium.

  3. Don S says:

    I am Don Shaw not Dot Shaw and yes I attended both the moring session and the afternoon. I would like to ask the question of why somebody with the name Dot would assume Don, so CG Hudson get the facts straight, the AJC did report properly.

    I would like to get some thing staightened out. I would support the stadium if my money was not being used to build it. I had a conversation with some BOC and they said they would never vote to spend public money on something a private organization would profit from. I wanted to have the county build a competative swimming complex to holds US Swimming meet like GT’s. It is proven that a meet brings in $650,000 revenue per weekend. USA Swimming stated that we could hold a minimim of eight regional meets per year. Oh yeah we could use it more than ten times per year as citizens.

    I oppose the way this project was kept under cover and the residents of Gwinnett had not one say in spending now 60 million on this. I was at the first meeting when the stadium was only to be 6 million then it went to 12 million and by that afternoon it was at 28 million at 2pm, now it is 60 million, I only wish my investments had increased like that over the past year.

    I wonder why 6.8 million of the 19 is for the storm water holding, the feasiblity study stated we needed 25+ acres but the county said they could do it on 12 acres since Brand Morgan’s retail center would hold some of this. My how things change! It should also be noted that Kevin Kennerly purchased a track of land this past October right down the road from the stadium, just a flike I’m sure.

    At first I thought the ground hog was a terrible choice for a mascot, now I think it is right on the money. Ground Hogs are almost totally blind, I think this is what the county officials think about the residents of Gwinnett and I think they are blind to how we feel abpout this project.

    Don Shaw

  4. CG Hudson says:

    My mistake indeed, Don. And kudos to you for being there.