When the opening line to me on my County email is “Have you lost your mind?” you can shape your response in the same tone or see the issue as an opportunity to educate. I prefer to take the latter approach. The matter at hand is whether or not the Board will provide approximately $250K to mail absentee ballots to registered voters in the County. While it is not on the current agenda, there is still a parliamentary option that will allow it to be added to the agenda. A commissioner can make a motion to add it on Tuesday and, as a practice, I would second such a motion if no other commissioner did so. However, my second comes with the understanding that it is for the purpose of allowing discussion, not that I would necessarily support the motion. It would be reasonable for a commissioner to have sounded out their peers on the proposal before making such a motion. But we’ll see what happens on Tuesday.

I would remind those who support the use of general fund revenues for this action, i.e., public tax dollars, that the Board of Elections had 3 opportunities during the public hearings in July for the proposed 2021 budget to bring their request before the Board. The BOE did not. For those who believe funds from CARES legislation should be used, the challenge is that there are more requirements for these funds than there is money. As we get into the fall, and if the Congress doesn’t renew the unemployment supplements, people will look to the County for assistance in such areas as food insecurity, and rental and mortgage assistance. We need to have some fuel left in the gas tank for these possible contingencies. I see it as one of my major responsibilities to lead the Board in addressing these matters.

In short, while I am canvassing daily, my main focus remains on serving the people and by my leadership giving them hope during these times. I strongly encourage people to mask up, wash up and step up by practicing social distancing. I also strongly encourage you to apply for an absentee ballot. To get one you call the Elections Office at 770 528 2581 or apply for one on line at https://www.cobbcounty.org/elections/voting/absentee-voting. The fact that more than 100K voters used this option in the primary testifies to the integrity of their votes.
Mike
www.likemike4cobb.com
likemike4cobb@gmail.com

This update begins with the issue that is of daily paramount concern to me-the consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of personal responsibility in mitigating the effect of the virus. The above line graph tells a story of who is exposing themselves most to the virus. It is not a vignette of the reasons for that exposure. But I am convinced that if social distancing is practiced, hands are washed and face masks are worn it will begin to flatten the curve in those populations with the highest numbers.

On the economic side, the virus has pushed unemployment back into Great Recession numbers-10% and higher. The weekly federal $600 supplement to unemployment checks has helped to ease some of the personal stress. But there are still large segments of the public that need more help. Thankfully the Board under my leadership has addressed many of those sectors with grants from the CARES legislation for programs for food insecurity, rental and mortgage assistance, small and not-for-profit businesses, the six cities in the County, public health, both school districts, and creating a strategic stockpile of personal protective equipment for county employees. Moreover, we have used both general fund and CARES revenue to provide hazard pay for county employees who courageously performed their duties during the early days of the pandemic. The people of Cobb County are looking for leadership and hope during these times and I am working daily to provide both.

Finally, it’s been mentioned by some that the don’t see our campaign regularly on social media. That will improve over time as we November 3d draws nearer. But I want to remind my followers that my record as Chairman, particularly during this pandemic, is the best advertisement for my campaign for reelection. Last Tuesday the Board reaffirmed my proposed millage rate, This millage is unchanged for the 3d straight year and leaves money in the wallet of the tax payer. Moreover, the Board approved by proposed budget which provides more compensation for many of our first responders and continues to reduce the water fund transfer by another 1%. The latter is important because it leads to a potential savings for their customers. Thanks to my record of fiscal responsibility and reasonably low taxes, we have more than $100M of unassigned fund balance. We don’t know what the future will bring but the public still expects us to provide quality services. We are in great place fiscally because of my leadership. It is a record for which I have fought hard during my time in office.

In my world there are doers and there are talkers. I am a doer. My complexion in the photo below didn’t come from a tanning machine. It is the product of canvassing in neighborhoods this summer on 90 degree days like last Saturday, which will be the norm through September.

 

Judy is also canvassing different parts of the County. We have drivers helping. Volunteers are phone banking and distributing and putting up campaign signs. Others are making financial contributions. I can’t thank them enough for their confidence me in me. It will require continued actions like these to lead us to victory. My hope at the end of this campaign is that you also have a story to tell of your role in it.

With the Board of Elections validating the votes on Friday, I want to thank everyone who voted for me. Receiving nearly 68% of the votes is a strong indicator that my emphasis on programs focused on quality of life and ensuring that everyone can safely work, live, play and pursue their dreams resonate with Republican voters. Now on to November.

As can be seen from pictures of my participation in the Juneteenth march on Friday, change is in the air.

How we respond to them as a community may best determine our future as a County. I have no doubt, however, that social and political pressure will produce changes. Some may not go far enough in the minds of many and some may go too far for others. Because passions are high in different corners arriving at acceptable solutions may be difficult. But the effort must be made because non-violent answers come through avenues where voices are heard and respected.

One of these channels is the ballot box. There has been significant controversy about the new voting system and there is a consensus that it has failed its first test. That may be true but the answer would depend upon the metric or metrics for success? Is it a system that guarantees your vote is counted? Is it one that produces results in a timely basis? Does it have sufficient options that permits voting for all? Perhaps the system is one that encompasses all of the variables. Following up on my comments last week voicing my displeasure about comments that he made about poll workers, I spoke with the Secretary of State Raffensperger on Thursday about future elections. I believe we both made our points. I did acknowledge that my words made his already difficult responsibility even harder and apologized. He graciously accepted which allowed us to move forward by agreeing that we needed to work together to find solutions.

In the end, if there is to be optimism in the future, there has to be respect for differing opinions. In a recent Around Town, comments by State Representative David Wilkerson might have led some to believe that he and I are on different sides of the same issue. I prefer to look through the lens that we both want to arrive at the same place but we don’t agree on the route to get there. We both concur that there need to be more drop boxes and use of funds from the CARES legislation to address some of the shortfalls. Notably the Board of Commissioners has already approved the use of CARES funds to increase compensation for poll workers. Furthermore, the Board has a record of fully funding the cost of all elections and recently approved the purchase of a new building to house election operations. Likewise, I am confident that the Cobb delegation will work with the State legislature to identify funds for extra machines, technical workers, and the drop boxes which must be special ordered.

Let’s end on a high note. There were more than 100,000 absentee ballots cast. Everyone was the result of successful absentee ballot application. The results reflected the Get Out the Vote effort by a broad spectrum of people who believe in change through the ballot box. One certain way that will peacefully come is through the voters in November. I fought for that expression of freedom and treasure it profoundly.