Public Comment not welcomed in Cobb by Chair
If you have lived long enough in Cobb County, you can recall different people that the voters elected through the years to serve as Chair. You have seen many of them at work and have been able to access their strengths, as well as their weaknesses. We have all heard the good stories about Chairs, along with the ugly ones – some that many would prefer to forget. What we all know about government leaders is that they cannot hide bad temperament – as it will present itself at some point. Thus is the case of Lisa Cupid and her bad temperament as Cobb Chair.
Citizen engagement with their elected government is a fundamental right that we each possess, but most do not exercise, for one reason or another. For those who do exercise their right at Cobb Commission meetings to speak to their government, such as community advocate Monica Delancy, Chair Cupid is throwing down the gauntlet and her true temperament is revealed. It is not pretty and not what citizens voted for.
We are reporting to the citizens of South Cobb that actions are being directed by Lisa Cupid to lessen and erase public engagement by its citizenry. Under the directions of Chair Cupid, County officials are changing the rules of engagement in the middle of the game. Cupid is annoyed by comments from the poor and renters, led by Delancy. Many who come to speak are on the verge of being on the streets, but Cupid does not want to hear it; Cupid does not care. She has demanded a revision on the policy’ for public speaking during the public comment sections of county meetings. She has requested this drastic action to reduce, eliminate, and erase citizen engagement. Cupid no longer wants to hear from the poor or those near homeless any longer on how she is failing them in the community, so she eliminates their ability to speak to her.
This goes back to a recent meeting where Cupid abandoned the decorum a chair should possess on the dais to instead chastise those on the verge of becoming homeless. The moment was supposed to be one where there was an update on the county’s rental assistance program, but instead, Cupid pivoted from that county businesses to accuse renters (the poor, and those on the cusp of homelessness) of being ungrateful to “her” because they dared to question why the federal funds the County accepted were not being disbursed.
Obviously uncaring as to their plight, Cupid had the audacity to say to them, “The county did not need to take these funds.”
WHAT? What kind of crazy talk is that from the elected leader of Cobb County?
Cupid went on to say, “The Board elected to do it to help the residents. There has never been a thank-you for that.”
Cupid’s true temperament was on full display, and all of this was being viewed live by Cobb citizens, those in the audience and those at home watching. A recording of Cupid’s rebuking of Cobb’s poor and needy families is logged in the county records.
During that meeting, Cupid went on to say that as a policy, the board does not make direct responses on public commentary.” Yet, Cupid felt the need to abandon that policy to go after the renters. Again, bad temperament. Cupid accused the citizen speakers of having an adversarial approach in their tone and tenor.
Question – what is the appropriate tone and tenor when you and your children are about to be put on the street Chair Cupid? How should they approach you to ask why the county is holding on to millions in federal dollars that is supposed to go to these people.
Many say this is not the first time Cupid has shown her true temperament and flipped out while on the dais. They point to how rude Cupid treated the business leaders from the Chamber who criticized her leadership on Dobbins, or how she threatened citizens at a town hall meeting with the police when they had the audacity to query why she was skipping over their questions. Many also point to the verbal fights she and former Tim Lee had on the dais on various subjects and say she is Tim Lee 2.0.
We know that the public comment section was devised for the public to come before its elected body and share their thoughts on issues, but this will no longer be the case if Cupid gets her way.
This is not the only thing Cupid is trying to change in county government. After SPOTLIGHT found out that Cupid was in discussions with Garvis Sams to do a land swap near Dobbins, we sent Cobb County an ORR on this land swap discussion, an upcoming meeting she was planning on Dobbins, and other alleged secret meetings that Cupid has had outside of the purview of the community. Cupid and her administration have refused for almost a month to provide the Open Records Documents we requested on the subjects. Since submitting an ORR for this information (July 16) as well as a check for $500, (July 27) we have yet to receive any information from Cobb County relative to our ORR, just continued excuses. At 5:00 p.m. on Friday, we received yet another email excuse from the Open Records coordinator for Cobb offering an apology along with a message that the records are not ready yet.
If Cupid succeeds in changing county policies and shutting down citizens ability to speak to government, I recommend that Delancy, her supporters, and others that are tired of Cupid’s dictatorship come together and do in Cobb what they are doing in California, RECALL.
If you care about county government and the rights of the citizens to speak to their government during meetings, I urge you to write to Chair Cupid and demand that she and the county refrain from changing the rules and polices re public speaking and that they adhere to the Open Records Laws for the State of Georgia.
Chair Lisa Cupid