According to Cobb Democratic Chairwoman Melissa Pike they are state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan of Austell, Marietta Housing Authority commissioner Michelle Cooper Kelly, retired music dean Dr. John Morgan, McNeal Professional Services, Inc. cofounder Nathan McNeal of Kennesaw, IT salesman Derrick Brown of Kennesaw and MetLife Resources financial services rep Tania Kiara Phillips.
Rep. Morgan and her husband, David Morgan, a member of the Cobb Board of Education, have two children.
“It’s probably one of the biggest honors of my life,” Rep. Morgan said, on being chosen.
As a delegate, she will get to help set the agenda for the National Democratic Party.
“My No. 1 interest is public education, and so I cannot wait to get to North Carolina and be a part of those critical conversations in helping set the agenda for where I think we need to go in education,” she told Around Town.
Morgan said that she was also thrilled her pastor, Wilbur T. Purvis III of Destiny World Church in Austell, who lives in Douglasville with his wife, Kimberly, was also chosen as a delegate. She related how Purvis’s Sunday sermon was on the topic of dreams, sharing his personal dream of meeting Obama. The pastor said years prior his father had tried to become a delegate also.
“He said at that time they wouldn’t let black people go and become delegates at the convention, and so it was pretty amazing that it was his father’s dream but it came to fruition in his son,” Rep. Morgan said.
Mrs. Kelly works as a senior resident environmental and safety manager for Anheuser-Busch. She and her husband, Bill, have three children.
Dr. John Morgan, a retired professor and music school dean at William Carey College in Hattiesburg, Miss., and his wife, Shirley, live in east Cobb and have two children.
“I am deeply honored to have been elected to serve Cobb Democrats in Charlotte,” said Morgan, a 36-year resident of Cobb.
McNeal and his wife, Leslie, have three daughters and live in Kennesaw. Derrick Brown, a father of one, said this is his first time as a delegate.
“Despite obstructionism, President Obama’s policies have lifted the Dow Jones Industrial Average from a dismal 7,900 to a robust 13,000 in 3½ years without the presence of a tech bubble or housing bubble,” Brown said. “My 401 has found its ‘K’ again. Additionally, my taxes — excluding property — are lower than ever, wars are ending, and hopefully Obamacare will continue to eliminate coverage denials due to pre-existing conditions. Much work remains to be done. ”
Phillips, an Acworth resident, told AT she is “honored, humbled and excited” to be picked.
“What a unique opportunity I have to not only experience the convention, but learn and convey the platform of the Democratic National Committee for the four years to the constituents of the 11th district!”
PLAYBILL: Mike Russell and Susan Reid clearly put a lot of effort into writing their business plan for the proposed Trackside Theatre Company in Marietta that ruffled some feathers last week. Russell was chairman of the board of Theatre in the Square, which abruptly shut down amid financial trouble on March 19 after a much-ballyhooed 30-year run.
Reid is former education director of that theater and directed numerous plays over the course of the past decade. And with word from landlord/City Councilman Philip Goldstein that Reid and Russell had spoken with him about leasing the same theater space, many were left with the impression that a coup had been staged to oust Theatre in the Square’s surviving co-founder, Palmer Wells, and change its name, but otherwise continue mostly as business as usual. That, at least, was Mayor Steve Tumlin’s take.
“These are basically the same people, so that’s where my reservation about jumping for joy is happening,” Tumlin told the Journal last week.
On April 19, the “Trackside Two” asked the city for a $50,000 grant for the venture, although they put that request on hold last week until the IRS grants their 501(c) 3 status, which confers tax-exempt status on contributions.
Still, as part of that request, Russell and Reid presented city leaders with a 12-page business plan for Trackside.
“We are the Trackside Theatre Company,” it proclaims, “where acting is art and theater is business.”
According to their plan, Trackside would begin its first fiscal year of operations on July 1, with the first show in October. The first-year budget is just under $1 million, with more than half of the income from donations, government grants and the city of Marietta.
The first year would feature a short season with five shows, and the company’s budget projections bank on “minimum capacity crowds” of 75 percent paying customers per performance.
“We estimate that the new Trackside Theatre Company will draw a minimum of 25,000 people in its first operation year and approximately 50,000 people during the fully operational 2013-14 year,” states the plan.
The budget does not include renovation expenses, which are projected at $175,000, though Reid insisted to the Journal that they don’t yet know where the company would be located. The plan also notes that the new company “will continue the long tradition of quality professional theatre in downtown Marietta.”
That’s an obvious nod to Theatre in the Square and Wells, who none the less conveyed shock and betrayal when asked about Trackside last week. And in a thinly veiled jab at Wells, Trackside’s plan promises that, “We will make efforts to coordinate focus groups periodically, to ensure the programs presented on stage meet the demand for quality and subject matter that our community desires.”
Critics of Theatre in the Square had argued that it produced too many avant garde shows without mass appeal.
SOUTHERN POLYTECHNIC STATE UNIVERSITY President Dr. Lisa Rossbacher will not be departing to Kansas after all. Rossbacher was a finalist for the position of president of Wichita State University but lost out to a former chancellor of Western Carolina University, John William Bardo.
Rossbacher was a finalist in March 2010 for the president of the University of Alaska but ultimately withdrew her name. And in 2009, she was passed over for the top job at New Mexico State University after visiting its Las Cruces campus.
But Rossbacher — who has won rave reviews in Cobb for her tenure at SPSU — says her job applications do not mean she is unhappy where she is. Rossbacher said it’s just that every now and then an opportunity presents itself that looks like it would be an exciting challenge.
“If you look at the kinds of places I’ve been willing to talk to, they have been much larger, much more complex, but all public institutions, and so I think that there are ways in which it speaks well of what has happened at Southern Polytechnic that I would be in a position to even be considered for leadership positions at large research universities, so I think that it reflects well on everything we’ve done at Southern Polytechnic,” she said.
POLITICS: The Bill Byrne for Chairman Committee will open a campaign headquarters for Byrne at 10 a.m. May 12 at 30 S. Fairground St., in the Atkins Apothecary Building. “Supporters are invited and a special invitation is extended to the Atkins Apothecary Drugstore Cowboys,” said the former chairman’s wife, Babe Atkins-Byrne. … Commission chair candidate Mike Boyce will host a fundraiser from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Paper Mill Grill, 305 Village Parkway Northeast in East Cobb. Music will be by Nic Slade and his band. … Marietta attorney Marsha Lake reports that she has been endorsed for Cobb State Court judge by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 13 in Cobb.