Johns Creek City Council and Post 4

Friends,
Adam Thomas seems to find it necessary to suggest things about Chris Coughlin that simply do not hold up under scrutiny.  Even though the “tax promise” mentioned was made during a campaign that was NOT for the seat Chris currently holds, he still has not broken that tax promise.

The above states that Chris Coughlin pushed for a millage rate of 4.3. That was lower than the millage rate in the motion that was being debated. That would have been a tax cut.


How often does one see a incumbent chastised for offering an amendment to lower tax rates and then have that used against him?  This could be a first.  But it gets better.  


Chris never voted for a millage rate over 4 to be implemented in Johns Creek.  He did support an amendment to the motion to lower the rate from the roll back rate.  But if that passed, that did not mean that Chris would have then voted to set the millage rate at that level.  


His flyer is deceptive at the very least.  Council Members should offer amendments to motions to drive the conversation, even if ultimately they will not support it.  That is how you hear the debate on the principles and positions. 

 
It’s a shame he has to try and paint a picture that suggests something that is simply not true about Coughlin. 

 
So, are the statements made on Mr. Thomas’ flyer campaign flyer promises he will live up to?


Do you really think Thomas will have a budget where every expenditure will be justified?   Prior to implementation of this budget?  Has he actually watched the budget process?


Unless he redefines what audit means, the answer would be no.  

Let’s combine that with his argument that critical projects have been delayed and defunded.  We know that many of these projects have shown little to no value to Johns Creek. 

But they were “promised”  with TSPLOST.  Should not an elected official challenge wasteful spending on behalf of the residents?  Absolutely.


And to answer his question?


Yes Chris Coughlin represents me. And I will be voting for him because he has represented me, challenged bad ideas pushed by the majority, improved our traffic flow on 141, and worked on many other issues to improved our quality of life.

Why Do You Hate The Electoral College? Because You Were Told a Lie

It’s the “United States of America”

Yes, you read that correctly. People read words and phrases and never think of the meanings of the words. Notice carefully my liberal friends. We were meant to be a loose collection of states.

Each state would set their parameters for functioning. And if you did not like it, you could move to a state you did like.

Simple, clear and concise.

It’s NOT the United Citizens of America

There are those among us that want the President of these United States to be elected by popular vote. But that is NOT the basis for which we formed this nation. A popularity test is no way to run a country. Why even bother with state borders if you like that concept?

The ONLY way to get the smaller of the 13 colonies to go along with forming “a more perfect Union”(notice it does not say perfect) was to insure it was NOT going to be majority rule.

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.

Thomas Jefferson

A Constitutional Republic

That is what we are and what we must strive to be. The smallest of minorities, the individual, MUST have there rights protected. And those rights are enumerated in the US Constitution

To allow the majority to strip away those rights would be a grave mistake. You would effectively be owned by the majority.

“Being on the side of the majority is often a sign that you are wrong, or the most unlikely to be right.” 

― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

You Were Lied To In School

How many times were you told that you lived in a democracy? You do not. You live in a Constitutional Republic.

When you live in a democracy without the protections of a Constitution you are owned by the majority. Whichever side makes the most persuasive arguments wins.

Think about that.

“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

― George Carlin

The More People Vote The Better The Outcome

Nothing could be further from the truth. The more people that vote the more average the outcome will be. Guaranteed.

Imagine a society where everyone was required to vote. We are frequently told that “Every Vote Counts”. Yes it might be counted, but it will also lead to worse outcomes and not better.

Voters are not experts on every topic. It’s likely most people cast votes for individuals based on name recognition only . Is that what you want to decide issues that will affect your life, your income, your safety, and your freedom? Name recognition?

Please do not rely on campaign signs, mailers, or newspaper articles to pick your candidate. Go or watch just a few public debates or forums. See what they say, how they say it and if they know what they are talking about.

I voted for individuals currently on the Johns Creek City Council that I was and am still appalled at their arrogance, ignorance and general lack of respect for their constituents..

And I based my vote on their campaign mailers. I’ll never vote blindly for a candidate again.

I hope you do not, either.

Should They Be Begging Libertarians to Vote for Ted Metz?

Will Ted Metz Spoil The Govenor’s Race?

Ted Metz Libertarian Candidate for Governor

Despite the presence of Ted Metz, both the Kemp and Abrahms campaigns have had months and months to shape and promote their platforms and agendas.  Yet the race is too close to call.  This week they began to label Ted Metz, the Libertarian candidate for governor a spoiler.  Not even close to the truth.

The vote totals will include all three candidates plus the valid write-in candidates.  So for every vote for  Ted Metz or a write in candidate, it raises the number needed by the “winner” by 1/2 vote.  If Ted Metz gets 300,000 votes, for instance, the winner (Kemp or Abrahms) would need 150,000 more votes than their opponent to win without a runoff.

So who is winning?  And by what margin?  Do they want to go for the victory on Tuesday?  Or should they play the game as they have designed it?  One of these two candidates is NOT in the lead. Do their own parties have so much confidence as to ignore that fact?  The candidate who is behind should be begging for Libertarians to turn out en masse and vote.

And if neither campaign feels that confident about their numbers, then both should be begging for Libertarians to turn out and vote for their principles.

So do not tell me our votes are wasted.  Our votes just might save your candidate to make it to a runoff.

After Tuesday, if there is no runoff, rest assured one of the two candidates would have liked to have one.

They could reshape their campaigns and let the chips fall where they may.

Do you feel lucky Kemp?  Do you feel lucky Abrahms?  Do you feel confident that your side is in the lead sufficiently to win with 50% plus 1 of the vote?  Or should you play for the tie and go into overtime?

It’s not too late to encourage the Libertarians to vote for Ted Metz, for your own good.  In fact, it just might be the best move your candidate has ever made.

Georgia’s Gubernatorial Process is Broken-Will Ted Metz Highlight That Once and For All?

It’s a three way race for Georgia’s highest position and that race more than ever shows just how broken the process is.  It’s evolved into a race of popularity, not principles.  Truly principled candidates do not make it to the November race with one exception-Ted Metz. Ted Metz is the principled Libertarian candidate for governor.

Why might I say that?  It’s simple. A qualified principled candidate for governor for the State of Georgia will not get out of the primaries.  In fact, the truly principled candidates split their vote.  And the two names that move to the runoff?   They are more popular than principled.

Why might I say that?  During the primaries voters are repeatedly reminded that they should vote for a candidate that can “win” the primary.  And the primary is truly not about principles, but who has the greatest name recognition.  Look at the results below:

Georgia Governor Republican Primary
Candidate Percent Votes
Casey Cagle (Republican)  39% 236,486
Brian Kemp (Republican)  25.6% 155,037
Hunter Hill (Republican)  18.3% 111,206
Clay Tippins (Republican)  12.2% 74,047
Michael Williams (Republican)  4.9% 29,555

The leading vote recipient  LT. Governor, Casey Cagle received only 39% of the vote.  Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Secretary of State, received only 25.6%.  These two would go on to a runoff where Kemp eventually wins the nomination.

But be certain there were tens of thousands of votes who felt another candidate was more qualified, but voted for Cagle or Kemp only because they felt one of these two had the “chance to win”.  That’s the culture we live in.  Vote for the winner and not your principles.

Now we are facing the November election and Kemp, who only received 25.6% of the primary vote(74% of the Republican electorate thought someone was more qualified) faces Stacey Abrahms, who received 76% of Democratic electorate’s vote.

Which is why Ted Metz, the Libertarian candidate for Governor, is already being labeled incorrectly as a “spoiler” in this race.  Mr. Metz is not a spoiler.  Metz is highlighting just how flawed our system is.

A major party(The Republicans) eliminates the principled candidates systematically to select a “popular” candidate that will face the Democrats in November.  That is what I call flawed to the nth degree.  The Republicans have alienated a good number of voters prior to the November vote.  In reality, the more candidates you have in the primaries the more likely the principled candidates will fail.

What could address this issue? That’s simple.  Instant Runoff Voting. You can read about it here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting

You, the voter, would not be forced to compromise between principled and popular.  Looking at the results above, you would have selected three candidates and marked your preferences 1,2 and three. If no one receives 50% plus 1, then  the lowest vote recipient is removed, and if that was your first choice, your second choice is used.  This continues until one recipient has 50% plus 1.

Imagine what the vote would be like in Georgia’s Gubernatorial race if we used the Instant Runoff Methodology this November.

First, we’d have NO runoff and campaigning after the November election

Second, we could vote our principles first and foremost.  Shouldn’t this be what we do in the first place?

Were that to happen then during the election cycle, all the candidates would need to expand their appeal to as many voters as possible, and not just their party.  It’s likely both the Democrats and the Republicans would now find it worthwhile to appeal to the Libertarian voters in particular, because it would matter.

Were that to happen, we’d have a better outcome for everyone.

But, on the first Tuesday, we’ll see just who happened to be the most popular recipient of votes and not who was the most principled.

And for that, we will all suffer.

You, however can send a clear message.  Vote for Ted Metz.  Vote for him by the hundreds of thousands.  Force the runoff. Make both parties appeal to those that voted for Metz

Then you can vote in the popularity contest in a few weeks and see if it makes a difference with their campaign rhetoric.

The choice is yours.

Johns Creek Residents Should NOT Vote This Fall…

Residents of Johns Creek should not vote in this upcoming election if they are not familiar with the candidates, the major issues in Johns Creek and are basing their decisions on such variables as :

  1. You are not familiar with the issues we are facing such as potential widening of our roads to overcome the ineffective traffic light system we have today
  2. You are unfamiliar with the negative impact higher density housing has on our roads, schools, and property values
  3. You are basing your decision on the endorsement of an elected official, who just wants to avoid having someone challenge them on issues before the City Council
  4. You saw more signs for the candidate that you are going to vote for so you believe that is a sign of more support for that candidate(Signs for candidates are placed on the roads by the candidates and their crews-Signs in neighborhoods actually show you who your neighbors support but you still need to educate yourself!!!)
  5. You read their mailers to your home and they seem like a nice person

Residents of Johns Creek should vote IF:

  1. They have done their own research into the candidates
  2. They have watched the debates, forums, City Council Meetings and Work Sessions and see how these candidates actually think and function
  3. They understand that Johns Creek is at a crossroads.  Do we become Buckhead or stay Johns Creek.

Continue reading

This Is Why We Have Trust Issues With Government

Do you happen to remember the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009?

A large portion of the funds allocated for this act were to go to infrastructure needs such as highways.  States were not supposed to cut their own budgets and use these funds in their place.

Yet somehow, we never saw those massive investments pay off in Georgia did we?  The St Louis Fed has now given us the reason why.

Why the 2009 Recovery Act Didn’t Improve the Nation’s Highways

Click on the link above to read the short but informative analysis on what happened.

Here is a summary in my own terms:

What happened was that Federal Funds replaced(or crowded out) state funds for the transportation projects.  A major condition of receiving these funds was that states, such as Georgia, would continue to spend what they were planning to spend on highway construction and the new Federal Funds would boost that spending. Continue reading

Digging Into The Numbers: Forsyth County is Not the Cause of Our Congestion Problems(We Are)

Johns Creek has a constant claim that the traffic here is bad, although it is NOT the fault of our poorly timed and prioritized traffic lights.  No instead it is because of the growth in areas around us that is the cause of our issues.

So I decided to dig into the numbers looking at what the last ten years have brought us in terms of population growth among Forsyth County, Johns Creek, Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton.  What I found is amazing.

Fastest Growing in terms of % Growth: Forsyth County

While that is not a surprise the reason is rather simple:  Forsyth County actually started with a much smaller total population than Johns Creek, Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton did ten years ago.  Put simply they started with a lower headcount, which makes their percentage growth look higher.

Annualized Rate of Growth Over The Last Ten Years

  1. Forsyth County   3.67%
  2. Milton                  2.79%
  3. Alpharetta           2.20%
  4. Johns Creek      1.75%
  5. Roswell              0.66%

There are no major surprises there.  In fact you might look at the numbers for Johns Creek and say “AHA”!  But that is not all there is to this story. Continue reading

The Property Tax Model is Broken Beyond Repair

Let’s be honest. The system of collecting taxes for county, city, and school taxes is broken. And the larger the area dependent on funding from property taxes, the more broken it becomes. North Fulton County residents pay tremendously more for the same county services than South Fulton residents.  Why?

Here are three reasons it needs to be scrapped:

  1. There is no correlation between the amount of taxes you pay and the amount of “services” you receive.

A family of six living in a $500,000 home and a family of two living in a $500,000 home, pay the same property taxes if they live in the same community.  Why?  What makes us feel its fair to collect three times as much tax on a per capita basis from one family than another?  What if the family of two lives in a home worth one million?  What makes it right to collect six times as much for the very same levels of services?  Should I mention that the family of six likely creates more demand for services than the family of two as well?

When property values are high, and tax rates are high, this can have the effect of driving out empty nester residents to avoid the high levels of taxes relative to the services they receive for those tax dollars.

2.  Property values rising(and falling) should have no impact on how much tax revenue is needed to run your county, cities, and schools.

We’ve seen property values fall during recessions and rise during better times.  This should have nothing to do with how many dollars are needed to provide services in your community.  Yet we have made the tax digest the first step in the taxation process, followed by each government agency voting on the millage rate to be applied to that tax digest.  Elected officials vote far more often on how much they will tax you than you have a chance to vote on whether or not they should remain in office.

Let’s add to that the huge infrastructure we now have in place at the Tax Assessor’s office to track every piece of property, every structure, and every improvement you make to your home, all in the effort to make sure every $ of real estate(real or imagined) is taxed.

Why on earth should you owe the government more dollars because you decided to finish your basement or add a deck?

The perverseness of this likely discourages residents from making improvements to their properties.

How much time and energy is used by the Tax Assessor’s office to gather all of this information?  How accurate is it?  Is it worth it?  Who is really benefitting?

3.  How many hours of effort will the Public spend appealing these assessments?

If 1/4 of the households in Johns Creek appeal, that could be as high as 7,000 homes.  Spend five hours on this process, and cumulatively we will have spent 35,000 hours fighting our high assessments.

Instead, why don’t we take a moment and consider a different system?  We do not tax each resident within an HOA a variable amount do we?  It’s a flat rate per household.  While not necessarily the same on a per capita basis, it is a fairer system than taxing each household based upon the value of their property.

What would a fixed property tax collected per residence look like?  First, it would treat all of us as equally as possible.

We would not need an army of government employees tracking our properties, needing to know everything about the inside and outside of our homes.

We would never have to appeal property taxes in the future.

Our governments would be accountable to us directly for the rate of taxation we face, and there would be no finger-pointing as to who is to blame.

The current system of taxation has more expensive property owners subsidizing the less expensive property owners.  In a society where wealth redistribution is frowned upon by most of us, it is curious to me why we are so willing to allow tax redistribution with property taxes, where the level of services received are so far removed from what the property owner pays in taxes.

Johns Creek could lead the way to a better model of taxation for its residents.  It’s time we slay the beast that taxation based on property values has become.   Taxation should not be unfair or onerous.

It’s time for a change.  Contact your locally elected officials and tell them you want a different system.  Tell them you want a better, more equitable system.

None of the Above (or What’s a 6th Congressional District Libertarian To Do?)

The Georgia 6th Congressional District Race will go down as the most expensive Congressional race in US History.  Not because of the impact that the winner will have.  It will take years and years for that winner, if they stay in office, to amass the type of seniority and power to really make a difference.

There are no close votes in the US Congress that are going to be decided by 1 vote either.  Instead, this is about appearances.  It’s an opportunity for both national parties (who really could care less about us here locally) to symbolically suggest that the winner of this race somehow proves or disproves the election of one Donald Trump.

Making this race even more enticing is the number in front of the district: the 6th.  Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich once held the same seat number.  But the district is far removed physically from the same turf Gingrich represented.  Nevertheless the media has worked overtime to say just how symbolic a democrat in that seat would be.

As a Libertarian, neither of these two candidates are what I seek in an elected official.  There were several of the 19 candidates that were as close to being what I sought without running myself.  But we must be honest. Before the first votes were cast, the Republican Party leadership was already shaping the minds of the electorate as to who they should support.

An open election such as this would normally be a Libertarian’s dream come true.  An opportunity to participate in an open election without the ballot restrictions.  And were it not the 6th Congressional District, and it was not immediately after Trump’s election, things could have been a lot different.

Congressman Tom Price owned the seat.  In years past there have been no serious efforts by members of either party to unseat Tom Price.  That is the power of being an incumbent.  With incumbency comes money, power, and influence.

That’s also why you saw the mad scramble, mostly from Republicans in office who resigned to run, and those who had been in offices before, and saw this opportunity as the chance of a lifetime.

Due to ballot access restrictions in Georgia during the regular election cycle, Libertarians cannot generally meet the incredibly high number of signatures needed to be on the ballot, which is something the other two parties do not even worry about.

As a Libertarian, I feel that shows clearly that something is wrong with the system.  But, as a Libertarian, I am still entitled to vote for either of the two candidates remaining.

So do I vote for John Ossoff, the Democrat, to send the Republicans a message that they need to offer us true Constitutional candidates?  And then work to get a Libertarian on the ballot in 2018?

Or do I vote for Karen Handel, and give the Republicans another candidate who may likely have the seat for as long as she may want it?

No, I do not think I will do either.  I am going to vote for None of The Above(NOTA).  NOTA is really the only option for me, other than not voting.  And I will be voting.

Definitely Ossoff or Handel is going to win on June 18th. But there is only one way for those of us out there who are unhappy with both candidates to express our displeasure in a way that can be measured.

Imagine if 20,000 or more voters, unhappy with their choice of candidates, voted NOTA.  Would both parties get the message?  What if the race is so close, that one of those two parties learns that there is a group of voters out there that are being ignored that could have changed the outcome?  Will they try to appeal to us in the future?  Will they offer us better choices as candidates in the future?

It’s up to us to make our voices heard.  And we will not be heard if we just fall in line and support the (insert your party name here) because the other party is much worse.

While we are at it, let’s work together to end the restrictive ballot access issues third parties have in Georgia.  We are only cheating ourselves by eliminating competition before it even has a chance to be heard.

Is there anything less American than denying a candidate an opportunity to run for office because of their party, except in an open election?

As a reminder, both the US Constitution and the Georgia Constitution promise equal treatment under the law.  Every elected official has taken an oath to uphold that.  Isn’t it time they do what they promised they would and treat us all equally?

Picking Winners and Losers: How Our State Government Functions (Georgia Musical Investment Act)

Georgia’s State government is pretty much like every other government.  They love the idea of picking winners and losers.    Whether or not your business or sector is a winner or a loser is going to depend on a lot of things, but it will not depend on being equal under the law.


 

HB 155
Georgia Musical Investment Act

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 2 of Chapter 7 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the imposition, rate, and computation of and exemptions from state income taxes, so as to create an income tax credit for certain expenditures by a production company related to certain state certified musical or theatrical productions or recorded musical performances; to provide for rules and regulations and an application process related to such income tax credit; to provide for certain conditions and limitations; to provide for definitions; to provide a short title; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

We apparently need to offer tax credits to production companies to the tune of 15% for Production Companies to come to the State of Georgia.  And if they locate into one of the 100 poorest counties, they could get an additional 10% credit.

And while the tax credit is limited to $5 million the first year, it will expand to $15 million by year three.

If Georgia politicians want a better business environment, then why do they not lower taxes for ALL Georgia businesses?  What game are we playing here?

Is the music industry in crisis?  Is there a reason that they need additional support from the State of Georgia?  Frankly, it doesn’t matter.

When government picks winners, they also pick losers.  Government should not be in that job.

Supply and demand should pic winners and losers.  And under the law, it should not matter if you have started a Music business or a Automotive Repair Shop.  Each should be treated equally.

It’s no wonder the American Public looks at government with disdain.  So much time and energy is spent attempting to engineer outcomes when they should only be administering the framework, and not determining outcomes.

By the way, it passed 157-11 in the Georgia House.  Now it goes before the Senate.  Let’s hope they have a little more common sense.