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Mableton de-annexers attend Cobb County Delegation meeting with ongoing demands


Last week, Mableton de-annexation backers attended the Cobb County Delegation meeting at the state Capitol hoping to convince lawmakers to surrender to their demands to remove them from the boundaries of the new city. Composed mostly of residents from (four voting precincts) this group is demanding that they be allowed to leave the new city before it begins, as they cite numerous questionable reasons for their demands.

With de-annexers lined against the walls of the room, lawmakers sat around a meeting table and listened to State Rep. David Wilkerson, D-Powder Springs, as he advised the group that he planned to introduce a bill that could go in several different directions, but it depended on how other lawmakers wanted to address the issue. Wilkerson (who represents a small portion of the southern section of Mableton) has suggested that the Legislation he pens could de-annex the group by voting precincts Birney 02, Lindley 01, Mableton 03, and Mableton 04, several neighborhoods, or it could have the election postponed and the cityhood vote redid completely.

Many within the Cobb delegation are not supportive of Wilkerson’s actions. Along with voicing their skepticism, they say they want to see what he is proposing as they highlight concerns regarding attempts to change the boundaries of the city after a legal election and majority vote by the people. State Rep. Terry Cummings is one of those waiting to see Wilkersons’ proposal. Cummings, who lives in and represents Mableton, said she needs to know what’s in the bill before she makes a decision. Disenfranchisement of the people who voted yes is Cummings’ main concern. 

“If I voted no for cityhood, then the question is, am I willing to disenfranchise the people that voted yes in a legal election. “It’s one thing to de-annex, a neighborhood. It’s another to de-annex an entire voting precinct,” said Cummings.

In addition, Wilkerson previously vowed to help anyone who wanted to de-annex from the city, but when questioned by Rep. Jordan Ridley as to why he wasn’t helping residents in the far south side of the city who wanted to de-annex, Wilkerson had no response to his altered position on de-annexation.

Reasons that this group has cited in their demands to be de-annexed were challenged with a recent article in SPOTLIGHT that pointed to the racism, classism, and dog whistles contained in the arguments of the de-annexers. Many from the group have questioned the article, but have yet to point to any inaccuracies as it relates to their actions thus far. 

Since the election, the group has continuously pointed to the number of people who voted no on the new city of Mableton. They reference the high number of ‘no votes’ that the referendum received as a basis for de-annexation or a ‘do over’ election.

Not so fast say astute political watchers of South Cobb who read SPOTLIGHT. The cityhood percentages of yes votes (54%) and no votes (46%) were similar in nature to those from the governor’s race. Brian Kemp received 53.43% of the votes and Stacey Abrams received 45.86%. Can Abrams supporters now use the argument being proffered by de-annexers to demand a new election for governor and other statewide offices? The latest de-annexation augment is silly and ironic, say many who are eager for Mableton to move forward and take its place as the largest city in Cobb County. 

In attendance and pushing her way into the conversation was Cobb Chairwoman Lisa Cupid, who has been mum thus far on the issue. Many described her comment as self-serving, irresponsible, and splitting the issue. Cupid led with having moved from Austell to her new home in Smyrna, which many said had nothing to do with the topic at hand, but reminded those in attendance of the promise she made as candidate Cupid not to abandon Austell, which she quickly did once elected to the chair.

Referring to the heart of historic Mableton, as opposed to the new city, Cupid said, “I perceive that those that live outside of Mableton were not amply nor reasonably aware of the impact … There has to be some better consideration for how those that could be impacted inside the boundaries are going to receive adequate notice.” State lawmakers pointed to that comment as not addressing the specific issues at hand for Mableton and suggested that what the chair shared was a different conversation on potential reforms of the cityhood process and not helpful to the conversation on the table. 

Having not shown any interest in the issue for months, many are surprised that Cupid left the capitol and scheduled a town hall meeting to be held in Mableton allegedly to share with the community what services they can expect as a new city. Critics say she should have called this type of meeting last year, after the vote was successful, which would have been beneficial to the citizens in understanding what services they could continue to expect from the county. They point to South Cobb continuing to be a low priority for Cupid and only useful when she wants to grab a headline.

Early voting for Mableton’s new government leaders commences within a few weeks, which leaves many concerned about the actions of Wilkerson and its overall impact on the race to elect a mayor and city council members for Mableton. Another concern for many is de-annexers who have entered the race for what some describe as malicious intent to harm Mableton as they have openly vowed to use the opportunity to achieve de-annexation once inside the Mableton government. 

Mableton Elections will be held beginning February 27, 2023.

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