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Straight from the Mike…What about us?


More than likely many of us could not remember who their high school or maybe, even college commencement speaker was. Hey, I can recall the speaker at my college commencement. He was the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY). Senator Moynihan came to mind because of the theory he espoused on racial disparities. He dubbed it “Benign Neglect”. I got that feeling from the treatment and lack of action, so far, on the city of Mableton ballot question.

As a long-time Mableton resident, I look at the upcoming ballot question for practically every other unincorporated area of Cobb County but mine. I am inclined to ask the big question, ‘What about us?’

There is such an irony at the forefront of this issue of cityhood. Our proponents were the first to brooch the question in the public arena years ago. I can recall a community meeting on the subject in downtown Austell, Hosted by State Representative Erica Thomas (GA-39). Funds were being solicited for a feasibility study. The basic questions were addressed. The funds were attained, the study was done, and the report suggested that the issue had sustainability. Furthermore, it was Mableton that, at one time, was a city. My question remains, ‘What about us?’

A key point that transcends so much of this issue for me centers on the right for us to decide the governance we feel best reflects our values. It is critically important that we have choices. It is offensive that other vital areas of the county have a question to mull over, Mableton does not. What are we…chopped liver or a potted plant on the patio waiting for spring budding?

There are several public policy principles at work here. Not the least being that a citizen has the right to determine the local government they desire. Moreover, it has been the truism that government that governs best, governs closest to the people.

I readily recall my appeal, albeit, unsuccessful at the time, before the Boston area Republican delegation that was contemplating the issue of Boston city changing from an elected school board to an appointed body. My point to them was in support of always giving a citizen the right to vote on issues of governance. As it turned out in this case, the board did change. Fortunately, it has continued to fare well over the years and quality education in the City of Boston has prospered. Imagine the stark resistance that such a move would garner now in these times of parental empowerment and input.

But back to the cityhood issue, I had long opined for a serious discussion of adding another district commissioner to lighten the current load on the board. If it’s about services, your voice should be heard more directly and effectively. If it’s about zoning, the facts remain; you are not likely to ever please everyone on those decisions, anyway. Furthermore, we know that there is no ‘free lunch’ and even if taxes should increase, so will the expectations. If every other area is getting the chance to vote, I want the same privilege. Thank you very much.

It looks like there will be no shortage of important votes coming before us in May. For the citizens of Mableton, an additional question should not tip over the apple cart. To my representatives, bring it on before Sine Din. We want the Mableton citizens to decide, along with a good portion of our nearby neighbors, the challenging question of cityhood.

Until next time… 

Michael Murphy


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