The field of candidates for various offices seems fairly set, but one can always expect a last-minute surprise or two. In better days when the economy was humming and there was plenty of “political money” to be spread around by movers and shakers, last-minute candidates stood a better chance of attracting support.
But with the economy still stagnant, there is a premium put on organization and grass-roots work, both of which take time and money and which make last-minute, under-funded runs even more of a challenge.
One of the bigger questions as we head into qualifying is whether Cobb Democrats will offer a candidate to run for chairman of the county commission this fall. Four Republicans are vying for the job: incumbent Tim Lee and challengers Mike Boyce, Bill Byrne and Larry Savage. But if there are any Democrats thinking of giving it a try, they are running so stealthily as to give Lockheed Martin a run for its money. One of Cobb’s most senior-level Democratic leaders told Around Town last week he had heard of no such candidate — not even a “token candidate” — and speculated the county would need to undergo a few more years of demographic changes before his party could hope to mount a serious threat for the job.
Yet the presence of Barack Obama at the head of the ticket this fall might generate such heavy turnout among local Democrats to give a Democratic candidate for chairman more “juice” than he might normally get in Cobb.
ONCE QUALIFYING IS OVER one of the next items of business on the political calendar will be an array of candidate forums, several of which were announced late last week.
First up will be the Cobb NAACP, which will hold its forum at 7 p.m. a week from tonight (May 29). Invited are candidates for Cobb Board of Commissioners, Cobb school board, district attorney and local judgeships, according to president Deane Bonner. It will take place at the TV 23 studios in the County Administration Building, 100 Cherokee St. on Marietta Square. The public is invited.
There’ll be another forum the next night sponsored by the East Cobb Civic Association. It will be for commission chairman and Southeast Cobb Commissioner. (The Northeast Cobb Commission seat is not on the ballot this year.) All four commission chair candidates and incumbent Southeast Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott have confirmed attendance at the event, which will take place at 7 p.m. May 30 at the East Cobb Library on Lower Roswell Road.
The Cobb County Republican Women will hold a series of candidate forums for county offices and local legislative seats. The forums will take place at the County Administration Building starting June 12, continuing June 14 and culminating June 19 with the commission chairman candidates. A fourth night might have to be added due to the expected number of candidates involved, spokeswoman Barbara Hickey told Around Town.
Further out in the pipeline will be the informal — and likely best-attended — forum slated June 26 at the PARC at Piedmont in east Cobb organized by Oliver Halle and Don “The Godfather” Jenacova. The candidates get a brief introduction, make no remarks, then mingle with the crowd. Confirmed candidates thus far include district attorney hopefuls Vic Reynolds and Cindi Yeager, Sheriff Neil Warren, judicial candidates Reuben Green, Nathan Wade, Van Pearlberg, Marsha Lake and others, Halle says. The retired FBI agent predicts attendance in the 300-people range. And that’s including the public, not just candidates.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Wondering what happened to Cobb school system brass of days gone by? Look no further: Many of them have landed at Education Planners LLC, the outfit founded by former interim Cobb School Superintendent James Wilson that was picked by the school board last week to compile the project notebook for SPLOST IV.
Other top EPers with past Cobb schools connections include Sherri Sallinger, former director of the system’s Leadership Development Program; Judy Comer, a 30-year administrator; Jill Kalina, former chief school leadership officer and interim superintendent; and Steve Salmon Ed. D., assistant superintendent.
PROBABLY BEST KNOWN of those listed on the Education Planners letterhead is Dr. John Abraham, who served a tumultuous term on the Cobb school board from 2007-10. The Education Planners web site notes that while chairman of the school board, Abraham “successfully guided the school board through a SACS review (and) a $125 million budget cut.” No mention though, of his famous flip-flop on the school calendar, voting to impose the “balanced” calendar just months after making his support for the “traditional” calendar a key plank of this electoral platform.
The web site notes that Abraham (who also advertises himself as a consultant and speaker) authored a book, “From Ballpark to Boardroom: Lessons for CEOs From a Little League Coach.” And it reports that he’s working on a follow-up: “Madmen, Educrats and Demagogues” about his stint on the board. A fitting title, many might say.
GEORGIA House Speaker David Ralston and Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones will co-host a fund reception for state Rep. Earl Ehrhart from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. June 14 at The Commerce Club in Atlanta. Ehrhart (R-West Cobb) is dean of the House Republican Caucus and is vice-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
TWELVE WRITERS FROM COBB, including Doug Frey and Joe Kirby, are among the nominees for the Georgia Author of the Year Awards given out by the Georgia Writers Association.
Frey is nominated as author of “Marietta: Gem City of the South,” published by the Cobb Landmarks Society; and Kirby, Editorial Page editor of the MDJ, is nominated as author of “The Lockheed Plant.” Both are nominated in the “History” category, and all of the nominated books were published in 2011. And Frey’s book also has been named one of three finalists for the Benjamin Franklin Award by the Independent Book Publishers Association.
Other nominees from Cobb for the Georgia Author of the Year awards are Cindi Crane (“Roswell Redemption,” First Novel category); Karen McGoldrick (“The Dressage Chronicles,” First Novel), Michael Sanserviro (“Lessons I Learned From My Mother: A Reflection on the Past, a Critique of the Present, and Guidance for the Future,” Memoir category), Sandy McClure (“Things I Ponder,” Children’s book), Tom Scales (“Terrible Things Happened to Me: A True Story of Violence and Victory,” Fiction category), Robin Lynne Gordon (“Lift: A Gosling’s First Flight,” Children’s), Ann Hite (“Ghost on Black Mountain,” First Novel), H.W. “Buzz” Bernard (“Eyewall,” Fiction), Cheryl Miller (“Sell More Books!” Inspirational) and Sandy Weaver Carman (“The Original MBA — Succeed in Business Using Mom’s Best Advice,” Essay).
Past winners of the award include former President Jimmy Carter, novelists Terry Kay and Philip Lee Williams, poet David Bottoms and the late Atlanta sportswriter Furman Bisher.
This year’s Georgia Author of the Year Awards Banquet and Ceremony is June 16 at the KSU Center at Kennesaw State University. For more, go to authoroftheyear.org.
THE MARS HILL MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION will mark the 175th anniversary of one of Cobb’s oldest burial grounds, Mars Hill Cemetery, at 3 p.m. Sunday. The service will be at the Mars Hill Schoolhouse, which was built adjacent to the cemetery in 1873. More than 90 veterans, from the Revolutionary War to the first Gulf War, are buried at the cemetery at 2850 Mars Hill Church Road in Acworth. The graveyard was established by Mars Hill Presbyterian Church in 1837.
American Legion Horace Orr Post No. 25 will lay a wreath with full military honors as part of the ceremony. The legion takes its name from Horace Orr, the first soldier from Cobb killed in battle during World War I, who grew up near the cemetery and now rests there.
For more information, contact Jimi Richards at (678) 571-6218.