Your morning jolt: TSPLOST pushback from south DeKalb

One day after Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed ramped up his efforts on behalf of the transportation sales tax, DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May declared he’d do the same thing – on the opposite side. From Channel 2 Action News:

Methinks there may be personal and geographic rivalry here.


And politics, too. May has just sent out this flyer to the 15,000 households in his district who represent the largest concentration of Democratic votes in the state. “I’m tired of politicians ignoring us in favor of the Buckhead crowd,” May quotes himself as saying. “I will fight to bring MARTA rail here.”

Brookhaven Patch has this prognostication on the July 31 TSPLOST vote from Charles Bulloch, the University of Georgia political scientist, who hones in on the split between Republicans and the state’s business leadership:

“We have the interesting phenomenon of disagreement between many GOP leaders and a group usually closely associated with the GOP.”

Bullock concluded: “With GOP leadership unwilling to step forward and reassure conservative, anti-tax voters that the projects to be funded with the T-SPLOST are meritorious, there is scant prospect for approval.”

On Wednesday, we told you about an expensive, glossy mailer that claimed to be paid for by and attacked Republican state Senate candidate Brandon Beach, who is challenging Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers.

But the campaign finance documents filed by the Transportation Leadership Coalition, which operates and opposes the transportation sales tax, don’t show any such expenditures, and its reported cash on hand wouldn’t cover the cost of a direct mail piece.

When we called Jack Staver, chairman of the TLC, he indicated he didn’t know anything about the mailer. How could a website finance that? he asked. Then Staver said the group’s spokeswoman, would have a statement on the matter.

The question is whether the TLC financed the piece. Here’s the vague and evasive answer that Bartlett handed in late yesterday:

”The filings for Transportation Leadership Coalition (TLC) are complete and correct. They always have been and always will be.

“TLC will continue to identify candidates for office who advocate this tax increase and we will continue to work with candidates who are against it. We understand it is not unusual for a candidate to complain when they are called out for advocating higher taxes.”

One possible translation: “Maybe we didn’t pay for it, but we know who did, and we’re not telling.”

My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy reports that U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland has joined House colleague Michele Bachmann, the former GOP presidential candidate, and added his signature to a letter demanding to know if federal intelligence agencies are considering the possibility of infiltration by Muslim extremists. From Malloy:

The Republicans specifically target Huma Abedin, the deputy chief of staff for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Bachmann, in a response to Ellison, noted that Abedin’s late father started an organization in Saudi Arabia, the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, that had the support of another organization, the Muslim World League, that was aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abedin is also the wife of former congressman Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.

Westmoreland said if Abedin does not have ties to the Brotherhood “then she needs to say something.”

Here is the blistering reaction that came from U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Wednesday:

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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30 comments Add your comment

Toes The Line

July 19th, 2012
11:40 am

Nice of McCain to make one of those rare “Country First” efforts re Clinton aide. Now maybe he should remind Senate colleague Saxby Chambliss that the same courtesy might be due when campaigning for the “world’s most deliberative” body (US Senate) in the wake of his scathing attacks on American patriot Max Cleland, who actually served in the military.

Anyone But Chip

July 19th, 2012
11:51 am

Noticed one of the major contributors ($5000 – roughly 1/3 of total contributions) to the Transportation Leadership Coalition this reporting period was Paul Hamrick. If this is the same Paul Hamrick who was indicted on racketeering, conspiracy and fraud while chief of staff of the governor of Alabama it wouldn’t surprise me at all things have turned sleazy.

Interestingly, last year Paul Hamrick was hired (then resigned after a firestorm) as the Alabama GOP Senate Caucus communications director. Didn’t we just see a bunch of pro Incumbent fliers mailed out by an “Independent” committee contracted by the Georgia GOP Senate Caucus.

Anyone else smelling smoke?


July 19th, 2012
11:54 am

Once again jgalloway laser focuses on who paid (or who knows who paid) for the mailer. He continues to ignore the truth of what it states – that Beach supports TSPLOST, and that he ducked a vote to end the GA 400 tolls.

Marlboro Man

July 19th, 2012
12:02 pm

Those GA lawmakers just love the spotlight.

Georgia, The "New Mississippi"

July 19th, 2012
12:06 pm

@ Toes The Line

+ 1, My father is a 30 year Army Vet…..Mention Saxby Chambliss around him and it makes him want to puke.


July 19th, 2012
12:08 pm

“Once again jgalloway laser focuses on who paid (or who knows who paid) for the mailer.”

Yes, thanks for that Jim, hopefully we can get to the bottom of this business as usual corruption that plagues the Georgia Republican party. This could get real messy.


July 19th, 2012
12:24 pm

Lee May is right on the mark. DeKalb County is getting short changed, rail into south DeKalb should have been one of the priorities.

Mayor Reed and Atlanta hit gold. Not only did they score Beltline funding they also scored with the Emory rail line which is at the western edge of DeKalb and mainly benefits the city of Atlanta. Reed should not have been so greedy.

Of course Reed is starting to panic, his bag of goodies is about to go bad. Reed’s payback for his enthusiastic support for the Savannah port expansion, Beltline funding, is about to be lost.

Jon Lester

July 19th, 2012
12:34 pm

Regarding (imaginary) Muslim Brotherhood infiltration: haven’t we lived under Baptist supremacy for long enough?


July 19th, 2012
12:36 pm

if i have to drive 20 minutes to get to MARTA i may as well keep driving to my destination.

IF i want to go to Dunwoody and i live in south dekalb why do i need to go into the city to get their….

TIme is of the essence in most cases…not interested in spending 3 hours on the train.


July 19th, 2012
12:37 pm

Just to go 30 miles..


July 19th, 2012
12:48 pm

I use MARTA and would love the state to do what it should and actually fork over more money to support it. And I don’t support Chip Rogers and his politics. But he IS correct on one thing: transit projects take 15-20 years to complete, so the promise being made that the TSPLOST will pay for transit projects in full and they won’t be back in another 10 yaers asking for it to be extended, is a flat-out lie. And considering the state of Georgia lied to our faces over Georgia 400 deciding at the last possible second the tolls needed to continue to pay for other things–after the promise that the toll would only be used to pay for 400 for 10 years and would go away–there’s no way in hell I’m choosing to fork over any more money.

Dana Blankenhorn

July 19th, 2012
1:09 pm

Republican establishments throughout the South have an increasingly difficult time maintaining contact with their grassroots. The grassroots will vote down TSPLOST, and the business interests will suffer as a result.

I’m an intown Democrat and voting against it. Why? Because lack of transport alternatives means more density in the city. If you really hate Atlanta — as all good rednecks claim — they should be maintaining contact with it and making poor people build more of the roads they need through TSPLOST.

The center isn’t going away. MARTA can get me to the Airport in a half-hour. Emory, GaState and GaTech are what drive the regional economy, and will continue to drive it. Lose touch with that and your suburbs lose touch with the money.

But the GOP grassroots is too stupid to see this. Their stupidity is dragging down the whole region’s economy, when compared to that in other regions of the country.

Bill Simon

July 19th, 2012
1:10 pm

With regards to Paul Hamrick, it says in this article he was found Not Guilty.


July 19th, 2012
1:11 pm

Thanks for finally putting something up about the Westmoreland letter. I’m glad McCain gave him a piece of his mind. To slander a woman who has honorably served her country for over a decade for no reason is atrocious and frankly should embarrass anyone represented by the man (I just know from previous statements of his that they aren’t).

I wish she would file a lawsuit for defamation of character.

Burroughston Broch

July 19th, 2012
1:13 pm

Why the big surprize about Lee May’s opposition? The DeKalb NAACP voiced their opposition to TSPLOST long ago, and Lee isn’t going to cross swords with them.

The real lunacy about TSPLOST is that it includes most of the $1+ billion funding for the Emory light rail project, while it ignores running MARTA to the ATL International Terminal at a cost of $300 million. The return on investment would be better on the airport project.


July 19th, 2012
1:14 pm

Westmoreland and Moonbat Bachmann have bought into the nonsense spewed by nutjobs like Pamela Geller.

Bill Simon

July 19th, 2012
1:24 pm

“the business interests will suffer as a result.”

Yeah, tell us ALL about those “business interests” like Georgia Power’s SB 31 bill which allowed them to change how reimbursement of power plant expansions are done. Rather than give Ga Power the incentive to methodically keep costs down, the ratepayers have to start paying in advance and it does not matter how long the plant takes to build, nor how much in overruns it experiences….the ratepayer is married to paying for it regardless.

Whereas, had Ga Power been required to tie-up their OWN capital (as it has been the practice for 50+ years with regards to regulated monopolies) to construct the Plant Voglte expansion, they would have paid more attention to costs.

Hope is Near

July 19th, 2012
1:29 pm

Lee May once again shows his lack of leadership and dedication to the city of Atlanta. Here is a clear opportunity to stimulate the economy in Atlanta and bring a solution to the very annoying, and times unbearable, traffic problem that all of us who live in the metro area face on a daily basis. It is not productive to hold Atlanta back from its full potential. This transportation referendum is exactly what will move Atlanta in the right direction.

I am 100% FOR the referendum and will be voting YES!

Anyone But Chip

July 19th, 2012
1:38 pm

@Bill Simon

…and the Governor for whom he was the chief of staff was found guilty. That administration was proven to be involved in back room deals and pay for play. He has acknowledged he accepted a $25,000 “gift” while a state employee.

When you surround yourself with slimy people sometimes you get dirty.

Prove me wrong and get out of the red

July 19th, 2012
1:56 pm

I trust very few politicians, and don’t trust any inner city politicians. They have all mismanaged and red taped every one of their local governments. Totally incompetent. They win strictly on social ideological views, and cannot handle actual day to day competent management.

Prove me wrong and get out of the red

July 19th, 2012
1:58 pm

Look who their inner city constituents are and you can figure out how they get elected.

Concerned Citizen

July 19th, 2012
2:19 pm

“Methinks there may be personal and geographic rivalry here.”

….. I agree, and this is precisely the problem. The polarization and division is mind-boggling and rather nonconstructive. I side with Mayor Reid in that we need this referendum passed, “WE” meaning the City of Atlanta and surrounding areas (including DeKalb!) If the City of Atlanta does well, so will the constituents in surrounding areas.


July 19th, 2012
2:28 pm

No reason to go downtown except for a braves or falcons game

Bill Simon

July 19th, 2012
2:34 pm

@Anyone But Chip: The fact that you first put up that Hamrick was indicted, but failed to point out he was found Not Guilty, points to you being less interested in facts and more interested in innuendo…a weak position to defend.

Anyone But Chip

July 19th, 2012
2:58 pm

@Bill Simon:

It is a FACT that Paul Hamrick was indicted on racketeering, conspiracy and fraud charges.

It is a FACT that Paul Hamrick received a $25,000 gift while in office.

It is a FACT that Paul Hamrick contributed $5,000 to TLC.

Johnny P

July 19th, 2012
3:15 pm

Lee May needs to get his personal finances in order. He’s on his 3rd bankruptcy. 2 of which occurred before the Recession.


July 19th, 2012
3:34 pm

Can’t wait to see Andrew Young come out next supporting this tax increase for transportation. Bring out all the regulars.

reelect chip rogers

July 19th, 2012
5:49 pm

I voted no!!!


July 20th, 2012
8:19 am

Rock Gaines

July 20th, 2012
8:58 am

I live in South DeKalb. I will vote for TSPLOST because the problem is regional, not just local. Yes, we need a MARTA rail line to Wesley Chapel, Panola, Evans Mill and Stonecrest, but I’m not willing to vote no because we’re not getting what we want.

Commuter rail to our area could help out in the meantime. More Express bus service outside of rush hours may help out. Voting no means setting this metro area back even further than it is.