It’s time to dismiss the politicians who have proven themselves inept. It’s time to quit following idiotic rules that were made by people that are clueless.
Have you asked yourself why you have outsourced the management of your life to so called experts that one moment tell you that mask do not help and then tell you that everyone should wear them?
Are you tired of actors grandstanding on social media and chastising you for not wearing a mask while they wear a crochet mask?
The only person that can decide what is best for you is you.
We have given government a great opportunity and what they have done is show us just how far they will go to violate the US Constitution and incarcerate you at home, all for your own good.
If you do not mind being treated as a threat to those around you, then wear a mask and stand on the circle and wait your turn to move.
But if you are fed up, tired at the constant rule changes and fatigued by the fake outrage of people who have said we are not going to take it any more, then take your life back.
And there is no better time to do so as we approach the Fourth of July.
You have four weeks to test the waters with your toes. Check to see if it is safe. If by the Fourth you are still willing to enforce unproven and mystic rules for engagement with others, then you are part of the problem and not part of the solution.
The way you respond to this event will set the tone for how they handle the next. And believe me, they will act faster and with more draconian measures than this time.
It’s really time to end this BS. Take your life back. End the insanity.
As we watch events unfold and slowly but truly we see the truth coming out about the data, analysis, and forecasting models used to shut us down, it seems that all of this could be avoided with better math and analytical skills across the board.
And while we are only local peons(no offense to anyone), how can we drive the conversation forward that Math does matter? That proper analysis does matter? That the “experts” are not necessarily experts?
It appears that much of the modeling used for not only traffic, but the Congressional Budget Office, epidemic forecasting, economic forecasting, global warming and more, is static, for starters. It needs to be dynamic forecasting.
Beyond that, the baseline assumptions of the “experts” are just wrong. And it is costing everyone across the nation this time.
I can already hear some saying “What difference does it make? We were trying to save lives.”
Emergencies were declared
Educations were put on hold
Jobs were lost.
Homes were lost.
Constitutions at the state and national level were violated.
Drug and alcohol abuse went up.
Domestic violence increased.
What difference does it make? It’s a matter of life and death.
Most importantly, while this is the first time this has occurred it will not be the last time. And the next time, you can anticipate that governors act faster with less information than they did this time. All for your own good.
These decisions were not based individually by all fifty governors in the US either. They instead were based on a few points of failure, namely the CDC and whomever Trump has chosen to listen to on this issue. Can we afford such single points of failure for a nation of more than 340 million residents?
Math matters. Proper analysis matters.
And emotional responses can kill people, have unintended consequences and cause mor harm than good.
Often we hear that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or that we are doing this for the greater good.
Unfortunately, we seem to have done this for the few at the expense of the many. At what cost?
Government cannot end death. No matter how much is spent or what is sacrificed.
But you have seen what government is willing to do without solid statistical analysis.
It will take away your rights.
It will decide what is essential and not essential for you.
It will cite you and fine you for not following their ill conceived demands.
It will turn your neighbors into agents of the state and have them tell on you if you do not follow their guidelines.
With all of the things we see that can and will happen in a Constitutional Republic, just imagine what happens if the wrong charismatic leader is elected.
As the Covid19 medical crisis continues, governments continue to send mixed messages.
Governments race to take action building medical facilities to take care of the ill, the majority of them who have NOT followed the guidelines set over the last 2-4 weeks, which were to keep people from getting ill in the first place.
Why are the governments working so hard to develop rules as to what you can do and not do, and then at the very same time taking billions of dollars to be prepared to treat you when those that do not follow the rules get ill?
Maybe some of those quarantined have too much time on their hands.
While Georgia may have the second largest number of jobs relative to it’s neighboring states, the rate of job growth has Georgia only beating South Carolina.
As our tax burdens continue to increase in Georgia, and we work to attract more and more bodies to Georgia, we need to ask ourselves if we have are already being taxed at a level that is slowing business development.
Or we can just keep increasing the tax burden and hope for a better tomorrow.
There are a small but growing group of residents like myself who have been trying to hold our government accountable. We do not look the other way. We insist that our Charter be followed and not circumvented for the convenience of the Mayor or any other elected officials. The rules need to be followed otherwise they will be exploited by one or more individuals.
We are small in number. But we are growing. And we are not going away. What follows below is the result of residents such as myself that are not afraid to hold our government to a higher standard. A standard that should be the starting point and not the Exception.
Why Were Craig Kidd’s Records Requested In The First Place?
A Bit of Background
In the fall of 2015, I worked on campaigns for Coughlin and Endres. While I was at Wilson Road Elementary School, waving signs with Mark Endres for these candidates in font of the school, someone drove past and gave us the finger. All the other voters who we waved to were friendly and polite. Not this one.
“Who was that?” I asked.
“Craig Kidd”, Mark Endres replied. “He is a leader in the Republican Party.”
“No wonder I am not a Republican”, I responded.
Four Years Later
Four years later and Kidd is the Mayor’s assistant. And for several years there have been plenty of rumors about Mr. Kidd and what was going on locally. To summarize it briefly, candidates that could not be considered conservative in the least were being recruited by Kidd(A member of Republican Leadership in Fulton County) to seek office against candidates for City Council that were undeniably conservative, especially on fiscal matters.
Why would Republican leadership be recruiting candidates that were liberal? Rationally that makes no sense to someone like me, who is principled in their beliefs.
Johns Creek is small and rumors travel fast. Rumors that opponents of candidates Endres and Bradberry and Coughlin from years past were being coached by Bodker and Kidd were frequent. And as we know those candidates lost.
Time To Prove Or Dismiss The Rumors
In the spring of 2019, several things happened that heightened the awareness of what was going on to those residents that wanted to hold our government accountable.
The pursuit of Gateway Markers by the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, led by Lynda Smith, contained threats that were not so veiled against Coughlin, who dared to challenge the return on investment Gateway Markers would provide. Coughlin was told that there would be candidates in the fall to run against him because he was not supporting the CVB.
Endres was also at the same time catching hell for daring to report to Council what she had heard at CVB meetings.
There were rumors that the Mayor and Kidd were working to turn Johns Creek “blue” after McBath and Kausche both won in 2018.
Many of us debated why so called “Republicans” would do that. The answer is simple. They want to maintain their hold on power as long as they can. And if they have to compromise in certain areas then they will do so as long as they can maintain their control.
The FOIA Request
Most of us call it a FOIA request(Freedom of Information Act). But for local governments it is a GORA(Georgia Open Records Act). In order to get to the truth as to whether candidates were being recruited by Kidd and Bodker to run against duly elected candidates(Chris Coughlin), the activities of Kidd would need to be reviewed.
Records Requested *
For Craig Kidd I seek these public records.1. Text messages on city phone including phone number/contact from January 1, 2019 – September 30, 2019 2. Telephone log of all incoming and outgoing calls on city phone from January 1, 2019 – September 30, 2019 3. Copies of all emails to and from @FultonGOP.org, 4. Audit of website activity for city phone and city computer assigned to Craig Kidd April 1, 2019 – September 30, 2019 (what websites has he visited and for how long)
As you can see, the only materials requested were from City devices. The search was limited to the issues stated above. This was not a wild goose chase but a specific and narrow search.
Within five minutes of reviewing the information I had picked up from City Hall, it became very clear that the rumors were not just rumors but facts. These are not alleged, made up, contrived or fake news. The information was pulled by City Officials who are required by State Law to do just that.
The Mayor is an elected official. His assistant is an employee of the City. Here is the text exchange they had on March 2, 2019(I have bolded the crucial messages in the thread below-the “Me” in the thread below is the Mayor’s assistant as it was his text records I requested):
[3/2/19, 10:43 AM] Mike Bodker : Did you see the news about Sharon [3/2/19, 10:43 AM] Me: No [3/2/19, 10:46 AM] Mike Bodker : She resigned [3/2/19, 10:46 AM] Mike Bodker : Effective late March [3/2/19, 10:47 AM] Me: She was getting quite frustrated with the city’s lack of development desire. [3/2/19, 10:48 AM] Me: Do we know where she’s going? [3/2/19, 10:51 AM] Mike Bodker : Yep as am I [3/2/19, 10:55 AM] Me: Things will get once city hall and linear open. People need to see it. [3/2/19, 11:03 AM] Me: I spoke with Kausche’s aide. I think she and I will have a meeting this week to discuss November. I imagine I will blow her mind. [3/2/19, 11:50 AM] Mike Bodker : She said to Warren back to NY to be with family [3/2/19, 11:51 AM] Mike Bodker : Talked to Angelika Friday about the same topic she keeps getting no way from folks [3/2/19, 11:52 AM] Mike Bodker : I hope we can trust her given that Stephanie was already telling people I want dems to run [3/2/19, 11:53 AM] Me: I presume that was a leftover from the Bradberry Horton race. For the time being we will have to ignore the raw partisan talk. It will be tough but long term it’s best. [3/2/19, 11:53 AM] Me: If we can bring the chamber in on three November talks then Angelica will see how strong our intent is. [3/2/19, 11:55 AM] Mike Bodker : Arts and chamber [3/2/19, 11:56 AM] Mike Bodker : We need various Constituencies to align [3/2/19, 11:56 AM] Me: Already on that. The arts community is looking for a candidate. I told them more than one. Sadly they put all their energy into Horton so when she passed, they were left flat footed. [3/2/19, 11:57 AM] Me: I’m trying to get Baughman and Lynda Smith flaking. Somehow, they don’t know each other
Me: Craig Kidd- Mayor’s Assistant
Sharon: Sharon Ebert (Community Development)
Kausche: Agelika Kausche-Democrat who won Georgia’s District 50 Race
Stephanie: Council Member Stephanie Endres
Bradberry: Council Member John Bradberry
Horton: Vicki Horton, who ran for the same seat as Bradberry and lost in a runoff
Baughman: Maestro for JC Symphony and lead on the Legacy Center (new name for Performing Arts Center
Lynda Smith: Head of Johns Creek Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
Arts: Art Community who is pursuing a Performing Arts Center and Gateway Markers(one of the constituencies)
Chamber: Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce(another of the constituencies
Reviewing the results from a request under the Georgia Open Records Act I filed with the City of Johns Creek, it became obvious that resources(staff and equipment) were being used to engage in political activities that should have been done outside of the office and not using City equipment(cell phones, computers, etc).
You can read all the messages between the two using the link below:
The Johns Creek City Charter is similar to the US Constitution. It is a framework for the rules under which our City operates and what is allowed and not allowed. Elected officials swear an oath that they will faithfully execute the City Charter of Johns Creek.
What Does The City Charter Say About This Behavior?
Section 2.15 of the City Charter Section C states the following:
No elected official, appointed officer, or employee of the city or any agency or entity to which this Charter applies shall use property owned by such governmental entity for personal benefit, convenience, or profit, except in accordance with policies promulgated by the city council or the governing body of such agency or entity.
The replacement of Council Member Chris Coughlin from the Johns Creek City Council would have made it much easier for the Mayor to proceed with his agendas.
In the text messages using City issued cellphones and during normal business hours, we see a conversation that describes the Mayor’s frustration with the lack of development desire.
Next, we see the assistant discuss contacting the aide of Angelika Kause(D-50), our state representative. Rumors were circulating around Johns Creek that the Major and his assistant wanted to turn Johns Creek blue. These text messages confirm that there indeed was a strategy to do this.
We also see that the Mayor confirms that he has also contacted Kausche on the same topic and the answer from folks is no way.
It also makes it clear that the Mayor and the assistant were reaching out to other constituencies in an effort to field opponents for Council Member Chris Coughlin, who was going to run for re-election to the Johns Creek City Council. We also know that they were successful as Coughlin had three opponents during the race. Two of the opponents were both connected to the constituencies mentioned in the text messages above, and spent more than $100 thousand dollars in this effort.
What Needs to Happen Next?
When a resident wins election to the City Council they take an Oath to uphold three very important documents. Here are a few portions of that Oath:
I, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of Council Member of the City of Johns Creek, and will, to the best of my ability support and defend the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Georgia and the Charter, Ordinances and Regulations of the City of Johns Creek.
I will truthfully, honestly and faithfully discharge the duties of my office.
PORTIONS OF THE CEREMONIAL OATH OF OFFICE FOR THE CITY OF JOHNS CREEK
The second line I have included above is also critically important. To me this line means that you will do what is right, and not just what is in your own best interest.
The issue was taken up at the last City Council work session on December 9th, 2019. And it seems that this Council up to this point is delegate their responsibility to resolve this issue to the City Manager and an independent investigator.
The facts seem undeniable. City Property was used to achieve specific objectives that would benefit the Mayor for personal benefit and convenience. The Mayor directs the Assistant that he needs multiple constituencies to align. The Assistant responds that he has told them he needs more than one candidate.
We know this to be true as Council Member Chris Coughlin had candidates from the constituencies mentioned. We know that these constituencies did try to align to defeat Coughlin, although they failed.
And unless there is a policy that has been approved that states City Resources can be used for campaign purposes, recruitment of candidates, and for the personal benefit and convenience of the Mayor and his assistant, then the Charter has been clearly violated.
Residents of Johns Creek do not vote for the City Manager. While the Police Chief has the utmost respect, this is not a criminal matter. The outcomes for violating the City Charter are not necessarily criminal matters and those that violate the Charter do not necessarily go to prison.
What they did vote for are the seven bodies that serve as the Johns Creek City Council. And like it or not they have a job that they have sworn an oath to perform.
What Is Their Duty?
The City Council is required to enforce the City Charter. And they are required to enforce it for violating even one provision of the Charter. If they do not then they themselves are violating the City Charter according to Section 2.16 (a) (1) & (5) and also should be removed accordingly.
Section 2.16 of the City Charter states the following:
Sec. 2.16. – Removal of officers.
(a)The mayor, a council member, or other appointed officers provided for in this Charter shall be removed from office for any one or more of the following causes:
(1)Incompetence, misfeasance, or malfeasance in office;
(2)Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude;
(3)Failure at any time to possess any qualifications of office as provided by this Charter or by law;
(4)Knowingly violating Section 2.15 or any other express prohibition of this Charter;
(5)Abandonment of office or neglect to perform the duties thereof; or
(6)Failure for any other cause to perform the duties of office as required by this Charter or by state law.
Can This Behavior Be Defended?
Would the Mayor argue that he does not know the Charter? He shouldn’t. Otherwise that would then confirm incompetence. Another reason to be removed from office according to the City Charter.
Could the Mayor have his assistant do whatever he desires? No. The assistant is a City employee and is also bound by the City Charter.
The action of the Mayor’s assistant to knowingly pursue candidates to run against sitting Council Members, at the Mayor’s direction, in an effort to change the political makeup of the Johns Creek City Council, using City Equipment, during working hours being paid a taxpayer-funded salary and benefits, is clearly a violation of the Johns Creek City Charter.
For an individual in the Fulton County Republican machine to be recruiting democrats to run for City Council? That’s up to those that call themselves Republicans. That’s one of the reason many of us are no longer republicans. We will see if they police themselves or not.
The assistant to the Mayor reports directly and only to the Mayor. Who should have been making sure that this was not happening as a function of their daily job, rather than giving the guidance to pursue the objectives we saw stated above? Only one person: Mayor Bodker.
Where Does That Leave Us?
One or more of the Council Members need to take action and take action soon. If you are not going to enforce the Charter, I’d encourage you to resign. We can find residents who are willing to enforce the Charter on behalf of all residents, and not just when it is convenient.
It is past time to lead by example and address what we know has been going on and put an end to such behavior.
“You will earn the respect of all if you begin by earning the respect of yourself. Don’t expect to encourage good deeds in people conscious of your own misdeeds.”
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.
Nothing gets politicians or wanna be politicians more excited than a new crisis. And fortunately, as we head into the fall election cycle, we have one in Johns Creek.
Vaping is a choice, made by individuals, whom we give the right to drive vehicles that weigh thousands of pounds at high speeds that can kill instantly. We also give those individuals the right to terminate a pregnancy, go swimming, ride bicycles, and choose the foods that they consume.
The scope of this vaping “crisis” pales in comparison to a real crisis. First and foremost, the individuals can manage their own risk by stopping. As a parent, you can help by informing your children of their risks.
In 2017, 2,734 teenagers were killed in traffic accidents. That is 7.5 per day.
In 2019, there have been 26 vaping deaths reported(adults and teenagers). That works out to 0.09 deaths per day.
The death rate for traffic accidents for teens is 83 times higher than the death rate for all vaping deaths over the last twelve months.
One would think if the media and the politicians were interested in saving lives, then focus on that item which could save the most lives. However they never seem able to do that.
It’s about sensationalism and emotionalism.
We do not need sensationalism and emotionalism in elected officials. It generates knee jerk reactions to situations we would not even need to address if the individuals affected just took responsibility for their own actions.
And in this instance, it’s the same individuals we are willing to give a driver’s license to.
Logic needs to rule the day when it comes to public policy making and not emotion.
I keep asking myself why this topic keeps coming up. Certainly it was not the “Anything But Coughlin” signs. Coughlin is more than prepared to respond to such things.
Ask yourselves what is worse-anonymous speech or people in positions of authority who use these positions in an attempt to bully people into silence? Here’s a hint-anonymous speech is protected in the State of Georgia(more below).
How many people have come to me and told me that the Mayor of our City has made one disparaging remark after another about me. That’s his prerogative of course. People who know me know better. And when he tells people that know me these sorts of things, do you think those that know me and know my principles actually believe it?
There is the time after the John Bradberry-Vicki Horton Runoff debate two years ago where the Mayor of our City sought me out in a crowded room to make the comment to me that follows:
“I look forward to making your life a living hell the next four years”.
Free speech? Something else?
I’ll let you decide.
Then candidate and now Council Member Bradberry knows not only what was said to me, but stated to me that the Mayor came to him after I left the building and asked “Did your friend tell you what I said?”
Council Member Zaprowski, near the height of the “anonymous troll hunt” was approached by me to talk to his friend and supporter Tom Warren about repeatedly accusing me of posting under fake Facebook names. Did knowing a name make a difference?
He took a pass and told me to speak to him myself.
The Johns Creek Post had a series of IP addresses with pseudonyms from some of the individuals screaming the loudest about anonymous comments.
Here’s an idea: Lay out an unemotional argument on the merits of what you have been challenged on and post where you choose and leave it at that.
Our residents are smart. Very smart. They will cut through the nonsense and the BS and they won’t need your help to figure it out.
These are the very reasons some in our community choose to remain anonymous within our community while making comments. Who wants to be bullied? Who wants to be questioned about why they have a certain candidate’s sign in their yard? Who wants to be pushed for an endorsement?
Just to make it clear, protected free speech does include the use of false identification to avoid social ostracism, to prevent discrimination and harassment and to protect privacy.
The Georgia General Assembly passed legislation that eliminated rights to privacy when using the internet in the State of Georgia. Governor Zell Miller signed the legislation into law in April 1996. Several internet based groups that guaranteed privacy to their users sought to have the law overturned on constitutional grounds, and enlisted the support of civil liberties groups such as the ACLU.
After the plaintiff could prove likelihood of success of merits, substantial threat of irreparable injury, balance of hardships, and the promotion of the public interest, the court awarded the plaintiff with a preliminary injunction. Thus the defendant was enjoined from enforcing the newly passed act and was forced to revoke it. This act was found to be unconstitutional and in violation of the Bill of Rights.
Either get the Constitution changed or find another venue to address your issues over anonymous posters. This issue has already been resolved in the State of Georgia.
It is in the best interest of the Public overall, and your constituents, that they always have the freedom and the right to post anonymously.
It’s time to lead by example rather than by intimidation.
There is no better place than to start with this Council today.
On Friday September 27th, the City Council received the preliminary drawings for proposed Gateway Markers for the City of Johns Creek. The City Council was getting an early peak for the drawing and voting was to start this week from the residents. In less than 91 minutes from receiving the drawings forwarded by the Mayor, Council Members began to react.
Last April I wrote about how this effort was a complete waste of taxpayer monies. I also wrote the following(was I wrong?):
A government cannot define us. An artist will not define us. Gateway Markers will not define us. We do not need outsiders to come in and tell us who we are. Government can identify us but it will never define us. The moment we let government define us is the moment we have lost who we are. We should be defining government instead.
Is this a good use of taxpayer dollars? I’ll let you decide for yourself.
The Council reacted negatively and these drawings were withdrawn from Public View. While they were supposed to be presented and voting begin on September 30,2019, it appears that changes will now be made before presenting to the public for consideration.
How much this will cost or what the revisions are remains to be seen.
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.
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.