County cars, C-Tran and Xpress, oh my!

Thanks to Governor Sonny Perdue’s late signing of House Bill 1446, one thing that we will not be voting on come July 20 is the legislation aimed at reinstating bus service. It is also possible that by this time next year, there will be no public transportation in Clayton at all.

On Tuesday, July 13 (5:30 PM–7:00 PM) C-Tran supporters will march from the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) Park and Ride in Jonesboro to the Board of Commissioners meeting. As per the web site, “The purpose of this rally is to urge the [BOC] to approve House Bill 277, allowing for a public transportation only sales tax to bring back public transportation in Clayton County.”

According to the AJC, Clayton residents will vote on whether to join MARTA in November via a non-binding straw poll. The BOC has until September 2 to approve a binding vote and if not, the state legislature would need to grant an extension.

Additionally, Xpress bus riders are facing fare increases and a looming cutoff date.

“In order to permit the Xpress service to continue operation until June 2011, when the fiscal year 2012 state budget can be considered, [GRTA] management has proposed a group of expense reductions and revenue enhancements,” states Marketing Director Robert Alexander.

Those enhancements include, “Reduc[ing] the rate of discount on the pre-sold fare media and restructure the pass and multiple ticket system; end acceptance of free transfers from MARTA; and, increase cash fares for six GRTA-operated Xpress routes …”  which includes Clayton’s route #440.  Fares will be calculated based on distance, so the farther away you live the more money you’ll pay.

Xpress will accept public comment on the proposed fare policy change through August 6, 2010.  Xpress customers and the public may provide comment on the proposed fare policy changes in writing delivered to the GRTA offices (245 Peachtree Center Ave., Suite 800, Atlanta, 30303); by e-mail to customerservice@XpressGa.com; or at either of two public meetings that will be held on August 5, 2010, the first from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and the second from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Both meetings will be held at the GRTA offices.

Do you ride the Xpress bus? Will you pay the increased fare or find another way to work? Will you march on Tuesday to help reinstate bus service in Clayton?

Finally, what are your thoughts on Tax Commissioner Terry Baskins’ recent brush with the law? Out of all the county employees whose car(s) could be taken, why take one from the person responsible for collecting taxes?

84 comments Add your comment

Roach

July 12th, 2010
11:59 am

You have to believe that the attack on Terry Baskins is personal. We can only wonder what it was that Baskins said to, or refused to do for, the puppet (wade for it) master that caused him to lash out like this.
Actually, I’m disappointed. What, no SWAT team? No snipers on the rooftops? An urgent order to impound the cars (maybe Baskins was threatening to go to Sonic for lunch?) is fine enough, but Clayton County has come to expect more from its two-bit tyrants. Lawsuits are looming–if Clayton County wants to save money, it needs to retire the three-headed puppet of Smith Street.

Nemesis

July 12th, 2010
12:16 pm

While I don’t know If Mr. Baskins needs to take his car home or not. I Do feel that if The policy is that the only ones to take home vehicles is Law Enforcement . Then every on of the commissioners County cars should have been the FIRST to go Oh that includes Starr’s and Cohilias cars too. The same goes with the pay cuts. you start at the top and work your way down..
Now The way Mr. Baskins vehicles were taken smacks at political dirty tricks. and unfortunately has opened the County up for another lawsuit we can not win. If it wasn’t political payback there would of been no reason to make sure the media was there to film it beforehand. The media were there so the voters could see Mr. Baskins arrested. I guess he should not have had a fund raiser and given his support for one of the Commissioners opponents. This taught him didn’t it?

sam

July 12th, 2010
12:19 pm

please lets not tax ourselves for marta and be taxed again in 2012 boc please keep it out. let the the state or fed pay for it .clayton co. pays more than anyone else in taxes

jimmy (conservative brother)

July 12th, 2010
12:47 pm

Roach, you are on the right track. According to the story printed by the Clayton News daily Baskins apparently attended a fund raiser for Wole Ralph’s ex wife who just happens to be running against Sonna Singleton for her commission seat. We know that Ralph is not above using law enforcement to strike out at his wife. Remember when he had Victor Hill tell his wife to leave the Love Joy City Council meeting where she had been invited to speak.
According to the same article Bell stated that there was no apparent reason for this action since the budget has already been balanced and passed. I think there needs to be an immediate investigation on the actions of this County Commission. This action and the questionable firing of the police chief which also seems to be more personal than business.
Turner stood up to the commissioners on several issues and won with the support of many homeowners associations. Now that he has been dismissed rumor has it that the commissioners are also looking at getting rid of the police vehicle take home policy as well. Turner made valid arguments for the current police vehicle policy and won.
This election appears to be so important now. We can not let this commission continue to drag this county into a hole. They talk about budget cuts but none of the cuts are coming from their offices. All the new positions created and raises given in the commissioners office while all other departments struggle with depleted staffs and no raises in six years.
We have to look at places where the county can not only save money but make money before we start making drastic cuts with regard to personnel, especially Constitutional Officials and law enforcement.
Why have none of the commissioners talked about selling the beach and the airport inside Henry County. Why are we building another Recreational Center. We are building another center in Jonesboro when we already have two (senior center at beach, aquatic center). There is no question in my mind that we are loosing money while securing, staffing, and everyday upkeep on the centers in existence. The two shootings over the weekend show that the great reasoning for building them in the first place just isn’t working.

disgusted

July 12th, 2010
1:06 pm

Please tell me how 2 (tax commissioner) cars can save so much money. What about those departments that have numerous cars, eventhough they fall under the umbrella of “law enforcement” they could be parked at night and not driven home as these go out at night on calls. Employees are furloughed, but they continue to get a car to drive to work and back. I could really save a lot of my hard earned money, if I did not have to upkeep a way to get me to my job.

19&41

July 12th, 2010
1:51 pm

Let the people who want public transit in the county PAY FOR IT. This county can not raise more taxes for freebies that are given away as commissioners’ patronage. MARTA will not transport people on a revenue negative basis. Atlanta is learning this Clayton County needs to. CTRAN’s current status should be a hint. Ask the operators from ATU 732 which ones will drive out of the goodness of their heart, because the buses ain’t gonna be burning extra taxes in this county. The people who has to pay them are getting tapped out, and are tired of paying for votes for these dead end commissioners.

Barbara

July 12th, 2010
4:53 pm

Don’t vote for people who want C-Tran

Ric Baxter

July 12th, 2010
5:15 pm

The tax commissioner’s office does a lot more then go back and forth home in a county car. They move tag inventory from office to office, make bank deposits, attends meeting in and out of the county.

Do I think that some of the take home cars are unnecessary, of course. The two cars that were take seem to b the only cars that the tax commissioners office had.The tax commissioner was elected by the people of Clayton to conduct the peoples business. I suspect that most offices have county vehicles to do county work. If they county took back all the cars that Baskins office has how is that business to be done. Edrin Bell says that the study of what to do with take home cars has not been finished. Can Bell not control the people who work for him?

This smacks of payback by a petty bunch of county commissioners who single out a department for retaliation for supporting someone else.

Last I heard, freedon of speech and assembly has not yet been taken away.

Bellwether

July 12th, 2010
6:55 pm

Keep chasing the boogeyman — and you’ll soon find yourself lost in the woods. That’s where the people of Clayton are. Constantly voting for a bunch of politicians that don’t have your best interest at heart! Since accreditation loss all Clayton’s politicians has gone in a free fall— 1) commission chair suits commission, 2) fires top cop, 3) commission chair shot off finger, 4) Sonny report legislators didn’t pay taxes 5) arrest tax assessor. This county is the abyss! Good Luck with your vote!

DirtyPolitics

July 12th, 2010
8:12 pm

Roach, you are exactly right. There is no doubt the attack on Terry Baskins (Clayton County Tax Commissioner) is personal, and for all the reasons you pointed out (he’s not a puppet in the BOC theatre and he supports a candidate that will replace a present board member in an upcoming election), and all those riding the vindictive wagon need to be removed as continued embarrassment for the county. This has to be the first time in history that an ELECTED tax commissioner is arrested and hancuffed (will Clayton County ever stop embarrassing itself?)
The Tax Commissioners office is the money collector for the county. If ANY department needs cars to conduct business, it is the tax commissioners office. Eldrin Bell cautioned about cutting off an arm to spite their face and setting themselves up for a possible lawsuit, and that is exactly what they have done with the seizure of the cars given the function of the tax commissioners office (revenue collection). Were the tax commissioners vehicles purchased through his budget? If so, those vehicles are not costing the county anything but gas given that they are probably still under the warranty (and repairs are covered). No one could possibly be so gullible to believe that the seizure of the cars is to save the county money given the many other individuals who use their county cars as personal vehicles including Eldrin Bell who recently wrecked his while NOT on county business and uses it for personal use all the time. There is no doubt that cars being used by others should be removed, starting with Eldrin Bell, the Board of Commissions, Starr, Cohilas, and working from the top down as another suggested. There is a long list of individuals who use county owned vehicles for personal transportation and who need to turn them in to truly save the county money. Why are they always exempt when the issue of county vehicles comes up, and idiotically thinking that a statement of how two cars from the revenue collecting aspect of the county is going to save the taxpayers has any merit? The transparent seizure of the tax commissioners office vehicles has nothing to do with saving the taxpayers money, especially given that odds are they are going to turn around and give the vehicles to other members of the county for personal use. Nemsis you called it right-”Political dirty tricks” and Mr. Baskin is a true leader by standing tall calling those responsible out for the “shenanigans”. We need more elected officials who will stand up and expose vindictiveness and political dirty tricks such as those displayed last Friday. These shenanigans are just another in the long list of reasons the entire board needs to be replaced, starting with the first two in the upcoming election.

Right Tyme

July 12th, 2010
8:33 pm

Clayton Voters:

Make the correct choice for Commissioner(s) or we are all doomed.

P.S. The Police are next on the 3 puppets chopping block. Now they are taking away all take home cars for CCPD.

VOTE THEM OUT, starting with the District 1 race.

bigdogears

July 12th, 2010
8:33 pm

I do not ride the Xpress bus nor do I plan to march in favor of any bus service. If changing routes and fare structure make Xpress bus service self sustaining than that’s fine. However, I hope C-Tran or a MARTA bus equivalent does not return to Clayton County. C-Tran was clearly the vehicle of change for the county. I think most homeowners would agree. I also think it would be the final nail in the coffin for the county’s retail businesses if our sales tax were higher than surrounding counties. On the other hand, A MARTA type rail service is a different story and would probably be supported by more homeowners.

The Baskin county car incident is very unfortunate. At least Mr. Baskin lives in the county. I say give him the car back and take them away from the “first responders” that live outside the county.

RayJay

July 12th, 2010
11:07 pm

That guy that was dismissed by Jewell Scott because he dared to run against her husband, Lee Scott is suing in court. The fact that Mr. Baskin is supporting someone other that a sitting commissioner – and for that is being singled out for retaliation, smells like another lawsuit. Is there no recourse for the citizens – other that wait and hope until they come up for election. Doesn’t the state have any power here?

Michael

July 13th, 2010
7:39 am

I say no to public transportation in Clayton County. If there is enough demand for buses so as they can be run profitably, then private industry will provide it. The same can be said for recreation centers and many of the other “services” provided by government.

Barbara

July 13th, 2010
8:07 am

And why are we building recreation centers and we don’t have any money and then charge people to use them. Only in Clayton County that we charge to get in a recreation center to swim when I grew up we used the gym for free and had a safe place for neighborhood kids to come to get away from the streets.

We should all be disgusted!

July 13th, 2010
9:35 am

Bell and company sought to use the CTRAN issue to launch campaigns. His hatred for his fellow commissioners is obvious. His lack of concern for the citizens of Clayton County is even more evident by his actions.

Bell and Company are trying to help Shegale Crute the ex wife of Commissioner Ralph. He has been trying to raise money for her and begging for votes on her behalf.

When questioned, “Why are you running in District 1? The response from Crute was, “Because “they” asked me to? When asked what are the issues? She replied, The issue is 3-2. Sad, sad reason for wanting to be a public servant. Sounds like a woman scorned or desperate to prove something to herself.

Crute does not know the citizens of District 1. She moved into an apartment in District 1 with the sole purpose of trying to get a seat on the Commission.

We can not afford to be bamboozled by those who are funding her campaign. Intelligent and astute voters will not fall for the lies about Commissioner Sonna Singleton. Eldrin Bell needs to know his politics of misinformation and division will no longer work here in Clayton County.

District 1 resident

July 13th, 2010
11:20 am

Shegale Crute is an opportunist that’s for sure. She’s run for three different offices in three different districts and never won, but Singleton’s not much better. Rosa Barbee is District 1’s best shot at honest leadership.

Nemesis

July 13th, 2010
11:51 am

After reading the two anti Shegale Crute. I realized something. If she gets elected we cut two of the puppet-master’s strings for controlling the BOC. 1- we get rid of Singleton. and 2- any thing her ex supports she will be against. Or he won’t come to the meetings so he won’t be able to vote. Sounds like a win-win situation to me. I bet that has the Puppet-master shaking in his boots. So VOTE for Shegale Crute. She can’t be any worse than Singleton. LOL.
BTW the politics of misinformation and division seem to be coming for the Puppet-master and the gang of three. So that is kind of like the pot calling the kettle black, isn’t it?

WTF?

July 13th, 2010
12:32 pm

so instead we’ll elect an ex wife with an axe to grind who may vote against anything her ex supports just for the hell of it? If you think Shegale has NO ties of her own, you’re fooling yourself. Do some research before you support a candidate based on how others will react to her election. No wonder this county is circling the bottom of the bowl.

District One

July 13th, 2010
12:39 pm

Am sick of both Sonna and Shegale. They both crooked as the day is long and we all know it. We in District 1 don’t need their stuff.

I got to agree with “District 1 resident”, my vote is for Rosa Barbee. Once she is elected all this petty politics of Sonna, Shegale, Wole, Wade Starr and Eldrin go out the window. Barbee don’t play that.

Citizen of Rex

July 13th, 2010
3:58 pm

I agree! I’m so sick in tired of all the B.S!
My wife and I have lived in Rex for over 30 years. We need to vote them All out.
Our vote is also for Rosa Barbee.

stanthefireman

July 13th, 2010
4:16 pm

Say it loud Barbara

We are feed up with this mess and will not take it any more

Barbara

July 13th, 2010
4:23 pm

I agree with District One I’m sick of these people. We need a change all over Clayton County getting on TV talking about a hit and run why do you have a vehicle on Sunday driving to church and the police cars have to go? I would like to see a police car in my neighborhood sitting keeping out fools.

James

July 13th, 2010
4:34 pm

Richard Reagan is the BEST candidate running in District 1. The “powers-that-be” are worried he might actually win and are supporting candidates they can control.

We should all be disgusted!

July 13th, 2010
5:13 pm

Richard Reagan is a elderly gentleman who once served on the Morrow City Council. Have you seen him in District 1 and the community? No! Will you see him? No! This is another attempt by the “we want our county back” folks to regain control of the commission. They are well heeled liars who use derogatory methods to divide the voters.

MorrowDude

July 13th, 2010
5:52 pm

James, you are correct. Singleton has not listened to her constituents about lack of code enforcement, which is one of the main issues in my Morrow neighborhood. Giving code enforcement the power and support to do their jobs is never mentioned as a campaign issue. The lack of enforcement hurts our property values. Crute is just a plant to hurt Singleton. Barbee doesn’t have any experience except being a “community organizer.”
REAGAN FOR COMMISSIONER!

Just Thinking

July 13th, 2010
10:23 pm

Does any supporters that live in Clayton County ever march ? They want a free ride not walk.

MorrowDude

July 14th, 2010
8:40 am

Double Action- I’m just curious, what rights do we not enjoy as enumerated in the US and Georgia constitutions?

C-TRAN should be a dead issue by now, the majority of the taxpayers (HOMEOWNERS)do not want to fund intra-county public transportation. The Xpress buses are a good thing and possible light rail would garner support.

Jimmy (Conservative Brother)

July 14th, 2010
8:53 am

As crime escalates in this county “the three puppets” do everything they can to belittle law enforcement and ensure that citizens will get less and less law enforcement value for their tax dollar. Officers who live in the county will not be able to take police vehicles home. Former commissioners made the decision that it would be a good idea to have marked patrol vehicles in neighborhoods to deter crime. This commission came to the same conclusion last year when they were confronted with HOA after HOA president telling them they felt safer when a police officer with a marked vehicle lived in their community. Somehow between last year and this one that fact has changed.
I saw a story in the paper a couple of weeks ago where the county had received funding to provide affordable or discounted loans for Police Officers and teachers to purchase homes in foreclosed areas in the county. That money was made available with the reasoning in mind that police and teachers provide a great value to the community. I guess “the three puppets” just don’t get it.

19&41

July 14th, 2010
8:56 am

I see Shegale Crute has the endorsement of the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union. They will be expecting big things of her, as will Roberta Abdul-Salaam. If you want to see a increase in the sales tax and a death blow to business in this county, be sure that they (the candidate, the union, the fixer) get your vote.

Employer

July 14th, 2010
9:44 am

I vote for Rosa Barbee. She is the best candidate. Rosa Barbee is someone we all can trust.
Rosa Barbee! Rosa Barbee! Rosa Barbee! Rosa Barbee! :)

Make it Count on July 20th

July 14th, 2010
9:58 am

@ DoubleAction of Clayton County

I’m finally glad that someone else knows that CC will not change until the INCUMBENTS in the State Legislature are VOTED OUT. They have all been around for about 6-8 years, yet all everyone talks about is the Clayton County BOC and school board.

As long as Valencia Seay, Victor Hill, Roberta Abdul-Saleem, and Darryl Jordan are in charge of anything in CC, the county will remain the same! GET IT TOGETHER CLAYTON COUNTY!!! Did you know that Valencia Seay was the mentor for Victor Hill? Did you know that Valencia Seay is the mentor for Roberta Abdul-Saleem? Did you know that she was part of the CC school board for 7 yrs? No wonder Governor Perdue’s people had to step in and pull the accreditation! So if all the followers are bad for the county……how bad do you think their mentor is? Take a look at her legislative record for the past four years! NOTHING POSITIVE PASSED FOR CC……..only resolutions honoring her friends and family.

BonBon

July 14th, 2010
10:07 am

An article in the AJC – about Jesse Jackson again coming to Clayton to drum up the C-Tran bus system, and happily it rained out – the article was, I thought appropriately, on the Obituary page. Thumbs up.

Barbara

July 14th, 2010
11:27 am

Ha, Ha, Ha the Scott ’s didn’t get out of this one. Good for the courts to allow the lawsuit!!!!!!

new neighbor

July 14th, 2010
12:55 pm

Rosa Barbee has are vote.

Jason

July 14th, 2010
12:56 pm

To all the people on this vent who do not want Marta but seem to be infavor of the light rail you need to check out actnoegeorgia.wordpress.com . the .1cent sales tax will also go to help fund the Lovejoy to Atlanta comutter rail line. You are not getting one without the other. For the ones who say the Express buses are great well they will be out of money come April of 2011. By the way all of you do not speak for all of the home owners in Clayton. I will will vote yes for the .1 cent sales tax.

new neighbor

July 14th, 2010
12:58 pm

I agree with District one. Vote No to Sonna Singleton and Shegale Crute.

BonBon

July 14th, 2010
7:24 pm

Jewel Scott was in the court room testifying on the Randall case against her and Lee. Now she gets to see the inside of a courtroom – since her never saw it when she was DA.

Barbara

July 14th, 2010
10:10 pm

I agree with you BonBon she thought she was in a fashion show always worrying about what other people were wearing on the job instead of working to put criminals away.

Nemesis

July 14th, 2010
11:04 pm

@ DoubleAction of Claton County. Turner had every right to criticize the State Laws and the Actions of the Governor. He was exercising the Amendment that our Founding Fathers thought to me more important than your favorite . He was exercising his First Amendment Rights. The
Right to free Speech. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

We should all be disgusted!

July 15th, 2010
8:02 am

Can anyone help determine who is sending out these negative, lying mailers about candidates? It is being sent from P.O. Box 2045 Morrow GA. This smear campaign is being waged by cowards who are trying to divide the community. We must stop this type of political ignorance now. Whoever these culprits are, they are weak, mean and quite illiterate. Stand up voters and say NO to this stupidity. Send a message and send the derogatory mailers back to the sender at P. O. Box 2045 Morrow GA 2045.

Baskin is a Basket Case

July 15th, 2010
8:08 am

If this man thinks that going to the media is going to help his cause, he is crazy. He should focus on his elected duties and stop trying to unseat his fellow colleagues in government. His level of intelligence has been brought into question by his latest actions to hold onto some cars. Is this the type of person we elected to serve us? Two more years!!!!

Roach

July 15th, 2010
9:11 am

This is *exactly* who we elected to serve us . . . someone who has the cometence and integrity to do their job and to stand up to intimidation from the puppet master. The last thing we would want is someone who is incompetent, corrupt or wilts under pressure (in other words, your typical Clayton County’s elected official). Go Terry!

Put in your pipe and smoke this

July 15th, 2010
9:11 am

Turner was dumb and still is a figment of his own imagination. Instead of moving on with his life, he is still trying to spew out anger and revenge behind the scenes. He and his defenders need to get over it. We are ready for a new day in policing in Clayton.

Pittbull

July 15th, 2010
9:17 am

Baskin is a Basket Case

Nice try! LOL

Pittbull

July 15th, 2010
9:41 am

Looks like a county commissioner is in here today trying to do damage control. He would be better off trying to find a real good lawyer fast. Spewing garbage in here will not save your neck.

Put in your pipe and smoke this

July 15th, 2010
9:50 am

you are really off track if you think any elected official will take the time to respond on this blog to the ranting and ravings of agenda driven bloggers.

Put in your pipe and smoke this

July 15th, 2010
9:53 am

Baskin– who cares who he has a fundraiser for. Its funny how these hit dogs will holler! suggestion to Baskin do your job and worry about getting reelected yourself. Right now you are looking real foolish man.

John Stewart

July 15th, 2010
10:14 am

@We should all be disgusted! – What lie has been told with those mailers? If you are referring to Sonna it’s a fact she is a pawn and part of the 3 amigos controlled by the puppet master. How about you send some scissors to Sonna’s campaign headquarters so she can cut the marionette strings.

@Baskin is a Basket Case – Doesn’t Mr. Baskins have the right to support whoever he wants? Again it’s your 3 amigos playing tit for tat retaliation games that are preventing Mr. Baskins from doing his elected duties. I think you need to call into question the level of intelligence of the enforcer Cohillas and why the educational requirements for his position had to be waved so he hired for his job.

Two more years? 5 more days!!!!

The handicapped match of the century takes place Tues July 20th 7pm. On the card will be…….

The 4 horsemen…..starring

Wole Ralph as Ric Flair….whoooooo, Sonna Singleton as Tully Blanchard, Gail Hambrick Ole Anderson, Mark Cohilas as Arn Anderson the enforcer and starring Wade Starr as James J. Dillon the manager.

vs

Informed Clayton County voters as the American Dream Dusty Rhodes ready to drop bionic elbows all night long!!!

WTF?

July 15th, 2010
10:25 am

Forget about talking to this blog! Elected officials won’t even address constituents who attend the commissioner meetings! As soon as the meeting is over they all scurry into the back like the rats they are. How about that?