Wolves in sheep’s clothing, ‘AKA de-annexers,’ have entered the race for Mableton government: Here’s why
Most of us have heard of the term ‘buyer beware’. The dictionary describes it as a warning that notifies a buyer that the goods he or she is buying are “as is,” or subject to all defects. The dictionary also offered an example saying, “If you tell someone to beware of a person or thing, you are warning them that the person or thing may harm them or be dangerous.”
Community advocates in South Cobb are sounding the alarm, voters beware, warning voters to look at each candidate for Mableton city government and determine their motives for being in the race. Many are concerned that de-annexation candidates have entered the race and may become a member of the new city’s governing body. Yes, candidates supported by the de-annexation group, those demanding to be let out of the City of Mableton, are running for Mayor and for various council seats.
Many in the community are concerned that this could spell trouble for a new city trying to get off the ground. Others commented that these types of groups have historically counted on communities like ours to have their heads in the sand on the issues that impact us. When it comes to the new city of Mableton, we are watching what they say and do.
In recent social media postings from the group that was shared with SPOTLIGHT, these candidates are shamelessly touting their de-annexer list of candidates and how they will be used to alter the new city’s government once elected if the state does not heed their demands.
Many in the community are wondering why these candidates are running, saying ‘if they do not believe, support, or want to be part of Mableton, why pay the money to run’. Thanks to the Cobb Delegation meeting last week, we think we have discovered the answer. During the meeting, Rep. Teri Anulewicz told deannexers that instead of turning to the general assembly for help in deannexing, the solution they seek could come at the Mableton City Council level. “There’s a slate of City Council candidates who are opposed to cityhood,” Anulewicz said.
Thanks to this information, the Community now knows that if candidates who support de-annexation are elected, they could de-annex themselves by adopting a different map and redrawing the districts themselves, thus harming the new city of Mableton. Even if a single candidate is elected, that person could derail chances for the new city to succeed before it even gets started.
A determined group, de-annexers have been at work since November 9, the day after the election, after learning that the voters favored Mableton becoming a new city. Organizers claim to have gone door to door and gathered thousands of petitions. Much of this cannot be verified, but during a town hall meeting, hundreds of people came out for a meeting on the topic. Those in support of the new City of Mableton realized quickly the hostility in the room, which was being chaired by Rep. David Wilkerson.
As a result, they elected to sit quietly as the de-annexers took over the meeting. If anyone dared to speak in support, they were jeered, booed, and silenced, which caused many to refrain from offering an opinion or asking a question.
What is needed now says many in the community is a counter-movement by leaders in support of Mableton. Last month, SCLC Cobb leadership sent a letter to state lawmakers demanding that uphold the vote that was cast on November 8th regarding Mableton Cityhood. An excerpt from the letter reads as follows:
As you know during the general election in November the majority of South Cobb residents affected by the Cityhood of Mableton ballot question voted to approve it. The validity of the vote, though it was not even close, had been contested by those who were opposed to such Cityhood and was found to be valid by the relevant authorities at the County and State level. So, the formation of the city is in process, as per applicable Georgia law.
During a meeting last week, lawmakers discussed the complications of de-annexing by voting precinct versus neighborhoods, and whether to remove residential areas while keeping commercial areas in the city limits for tax revenue, but they did not establish a path forward. Many of the other lawmakers were noncommittal until they see the bill, which Wilkerson said will come in the next few weeks.
State Rep. Michael Smith, D-Marietta, who supports de-annexation, suggested that it was in the best interest of the new city to let the de-annexation crowd off the train. Smith pointed to the slate of candidates they have advanced and suggested that de-annexers, an anti-cityhood government, could end up in charge of the new Mableton city. Said Smith, “Do you guys really want to see these people, who are organized, in a special election? Not just special — a special, special election — in March?
SPOTLIGHT is bringing this information to the community and asking you to check out each candidate before you vote to ensure that they are representing your interest when it comes to the new city of Mableton, and not their own when it comes to de-annexation.
SPOTLIGHT and partner community organizations will be hosting a Candidate Forum to hear directly from candidates for the Mableton government as well as other pro-Mableton events.
Please look for updated information that will be shared with you soon.