So What Does It All Really Mean?
Who needs to keep up with the news when you have me to tell you what it all means. (Kidding)
We're all exposed to a myriad of news stories each day from radio, TV, print and online. However, if you take time to digest and really analyze the impact the news has on your life, then you are in the minority. Hey, I know most people are far too busy to spend their free time on this stuff, so Uncle Chucky is here to rescue you and tell you everything you need to know about what you may have missed or ignored, so you can get back to watching football or reruns of The Walton's.
Hat Sales Are Slow: Last week was qualifying time as candidates threw their hats into the ring for numerous city council and mayor positions up for reelection in Bartow County's cities, along with some seats on the Cartersville Board of Education. The big news is most of our sitting elected officials are getting a pass with no opposition. Some will tell you it's because residents are generally happy with our current crop of political types, while others will say there were very few challengers because the financial and personal costs associated with running for office are too high.
While no one signed up to run against the mayors of Adairsville, Cartersville and Emerson, out in Kingston, I don't think anyone is surprised that controversial mayor Dexter Jones picked up two opponents. Plus both incumbent city councilmen up for reelection, Chuck Wise and Billy Sanders, gained opponents as well. Who needs to travel down to Zoo Atlanta for entertainment when you have the political zoo at Kingston nearby?
The only other eye-opener locally was longtime Cartersville School Board member and current president Linda Benton getting a challenge from Saunders Jones. Both the city and county school boards have their controversies, but the city always seems to do a little better job keeping their's under wraps. Whether this challenge represents a growing dissatisfaction with Benton's performance or not I don't know, but it will be interesting to watch.
The Rorschach Test: The special session of the state legislature is in the books and new congressional and state legislative maps (some looking like ink splats) have been passed and signed into law. Of course, they still need clearance from the U.S. Justice Department, and state Democrats plan a legal challenge, but a strong case can be made that the maps as drawn will pass muster.
In the state House, it's pretty much status quo for Bartow County. Though there were some changes made to district lines, the bulk of Paul Battles' and Chris Coomer's house districts remain intact. The big news is that both the new state Senate and congressional maps further cement Bartow's integration into metro Atlanta and away from our northwest Georgia neighbors.
In the state Senate, western Bartow is still paired with Floyd County and small parts of Chattooga and Gordon counties in an open 52nd district that will once again be dominated by Floyd. However, incumbent Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, was redistricted into the new 14th Senate District containing the eastern half of Bartow along with western Cherokee County. Cherokee County has metro Atlanta written all over it.
Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, saw a complete overhaul of his 11th District lines as he loses every county he currently represents except for Bartow and a decent slice of Cobb. In return he picks up all of Cherokee County (sound familiar?) and the Buckhead area of Fulton County. The reconfiguration of Gingrey's and Loudermilk's districts may not be all that bad, as going forward many issues impacting Bartow will have more in common with the metro area than our more rural neighboring counties to the north and west.
Play Ball! With the stroke a pen, investors putting together the Lakepoint sporting complex along Interstate 75 at Emerson recently completed the purchase of the land upon which they plan to build a world class tourist attraction and forever change Bartow County. Could this signal a trend away from industrial development to more of a retail/tourist attraction oriented future?
Think about it. We already have a major draw with Lake Allatoona and Red Top Mountain State Park. Couple that with the Etowah Indian Mounds, Booth Western Art Museum, Tellus Science Museum, and the Barnsley Gardens resort and you have the foundation of a serious tourist industry. With plenty of industrially zoned land and necessary infrastructure in place, Bartow will continue to play home to and attract more industrial facilities and distribution centers. However, a growing tourist industry would provide for a more balanced local economy and create a lot of opportunity for local entrepreneurs.
He Needs Another Vacation: Did you notice that while President Barack Obama was on vacation the stock market rallied and made back a lot of the ground given up during the debt ceiling meltdown? Obama then announced that he was planning a speech to a joint session of Congress this week to talk about job creation and the stock market tanked again. As an investor, I've seen this happen over and over during the Obama presidency. Whenever he speaks or announces some major new initiative the markets go down. My strategy over the past year has been to buy when he talks and sell when he's quiet.
Typically, a president only issues a request to address Congress for either the annual State of the Union speech or if there is a matter of national urgency such as a war or major natural disaster. President Obama has had two and a half years to put forward a jobs plan. Now suddenly he considers it a crisis, though not enough of a crisis for him to interrupt his two-week vacation.
The reason markets tanked when Obama announced his forthcoming jobs plan speech is the business community knows he's not changing his stripes. No, he will push once again for higher taxes and more government spending while playing the class warfare card and ignoring what is really needed to turn around our horrendous unemployment numbers. Unfortunately, September may end up being a bad month for investors and business owners hoping for some sign of a change from Obama.
Will Lucy Pull That Football Again? We saw this back in 2008. After announcing he was retiring and would not seek reelection as Bartow County Commissioner, Clarence Brown reversed course and ran once more. Word on the street is that Brown and the powers that be are so far not that impressed by the possible field of candidates that may line up to replace Brown in next year's election. Will Clarence have yet another change of heart? Stay tuned.