Category Archives: Politics is Local

Person of the Week: Andrew Wordes, Roswell Chicken Man

This weeks PC POW WOW: Andrew Wordes, The Roswell Chicken Man

Many of you have closely followed the Roswell Chicken Man saga and his fight against the city of Roswell. He was recently released from his stint in jail and it’s time to update his supporters.

Mr. Wordes is the PC POW WOW due to his hopeful and positive attitude despite the hardships he has continuously encountered.

Thanks to an article in the AJC, it was public knowledge that Mr. Wordes’ home was sitting vacant during his absence. Andrew returned to a ransacked home with hundreds of legal papers strewn about, antiques and guns missing and the overall property in dire condition.

If you recall, Roswell stated that they would secure the property while Mr. Wordes was incarcerated. Once again, Roswell…BRAVO!!

Mr. Wordes has no word on the state of his home. He has not received formal foreclosure papers, though he was in jail and anything could have happened to them had they been served. He has not been evicted from the premises either. The home has been advertised as foreclosed and rumors are circulating that the home has been condemned by the City of Roswell. This idea presents a few questions, like, if it were a health concern, wouldn’t condemnation come from the County Department, not the City? And if it’s a structural problem, wouldn’t this again be associated with the excessive flooding situation that the City of Roswell has yet to rectify? (See prior Chicken Man blogs explaining these issues here and here.)

The great news is all of Andrew’s birds are in the care of sweet friends who have been so kind to nurture them in his absence. They are all healthy and thriving. For now, Mr. Wordes will seek employment, continue his fight against the City of Roswell, petition for his STILL outstanding Open-Records Requests to be answered (30 to be exact) and work on reuniting with his birds.

You can show your support by writing and calling Roswell City Officials and contacting Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens:
Office of the Attorney General 40 Capitol Square, SW Atlanta, Ga 30334-(404) 656-3300

Also, visit the Roswell Chicken Man Facebook Page for updates.

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Person of the Week: David Belle Isle

The Perspicacious Conservative is starting a new feature! A Person Of the Week that did something that deserves a Wow!, thus the PC POW WOW! I can’t think of a better person to begin the feature with than Mayor-Elect David Belle Isle!

David sprung out of the gates in February at his kick-off party and never stopped running. Knocking on doors (I believe he covered ~2,500), speaking to community groups, debates, making phone calls, attending Meet & Greet’s hosted by generous members of the community, and everything else, David never stopped.

Running for public office isn’t easy. It takes dedication, time and sacrifice. David’s family and circle of friends are second to none. Candice is one of the best wives I’ve ever seen. That woman ran the office, the campaign and the household. I know her journey through this campaign was anything but easy but her positive attitude kept us all going when things would hit the fan.

It seemed in the final 96 hours of the race, opponents made last ditch efforts -fueled by panic- to try to destroy David. It didn’t work. David and his campaign kept the faith and powered through and it paid off. The best man for the job was elected!

I’ve never seen someone have such a wonderful following of volunteers. Like I said in ‘Why Belle Isle is the Best Choice’, everywhere David goes, he has support. From the initial kick-off party at the Old Blinde Dog, to the people standing at the polls to call in results to Smoke Jack (and the plethora of events in between) people showed with their shirts, their smiles and their support. As the person who coordinated these people over the course of the campaign, I couldn’t be more grateful.

It has been a true blessing to work for David during his campaign over the last eleven months. It’s been inspiring to take part in a campaign that ALWAYS took the high road and never slung mud. David’s family is a joy to work with and I am thrilled, elated and so-darn-happy that he will soon be the Mayor of Alpharetta, Georgia!! I can’t wait to see his wonderful journey as Mayor begin!

Why Belle Isle is the BEST Choice

I met David Belle Isle during the District 56 Senate race. I was working for another candidate but was so very impressed. So impressed by his debate skills, his ability to connect with voters, his knowledge on the issues and his true desire to serve the people that I was actually disappointed to be working for another candidate.

I reached out to David when word spread that he was going to be running for another office. I really wanted to be a part of his campaign as I admired how he was the only candidate not to ‘sling mud’ during the Senate race. When I learned that he would be running for Mayor of Alpharetta, without hesitation, I knew he was the best man for the job. After serving 2 terms on the Alpharetta City Council, living in Alpharetta, operating a business in Alpharetta and raising his family in Alpharetta, David knows the issues.

David wants to keep Alpharetta great. In creating a vibrant Downtown with Retail Shops, Restaurants and Galleries, bringing jobs to Alpharetta and improving traffic through light synchronization, David will KEEP Alpharetta a desirable place to live. David has the leadership skills to make these plans a reality. In addition, he is honest and genuine in his desire to serve the people. Over the course of this campaign, David has taken a beating by his opponents, many of which are baseless lies. Even still, David has taken the high road and only used the records and platforms of his opponents to argue. David is a candidate of moral value.

Everyone is tired of the same ‘ol same ‘ol. If you vote for Jim Paine, that is what you are going to get. Jim has been on the Alpharetta City Council for FIFTEEN YEARS! During the debates over the last 6 weeks, I’ve heard Councilman Paine repeatedly tout his record of establishing and maintaining recreation areas in Alpharetta. That’s great and all, but aside from that, Jim simply parrots initiatives by others. During the Alpharetta HS debate, he began every answer with ‘As Doug said…’. I also have to question whether he is simply looking for something to fill his time since he is retired. It’s true that Jim has several endorsements, but no one is doubting that Jim is a nice guy. And a nice guy that’s been around for 15 years is bound to build relationships. Clearly that’s what he’s been doing because he hasn’t been building a record of achievements.

If you want someone to bully you around, you should vote for Doug DeRito. Doug DeRito has a reputation for pounding Alpharetta citizens. Recall how he behaved towards me at the Alpharetta High School Debate  He’s been at the center of TWO ethics scandals in the past 5 years– both of which have been raised by citizens who felt he was abusing his privileges as a public servant. Doug DeRito is also a liar. Doug claims on his website that he is a ‘Founding Member’ of the Alpharetta Public Safety Foundation. Why don’t you try calling any of the Executive Board Members of the APSF to confirm that. Mr. DeRito claims to support the Tea Party but voted to accept Federal Stimulus funds for the City. He wrote in an Alpharetta-Patch Article that he was planning to pay back the money from the ACVB ticket scandal but a month after his statement, the AJC reported he (and Mr. Paine) had still not refunded the money (Here is the WSBtv video) . We also know that Mr. DeRito is buddy-buddy with Senator Albers… if the two are anything alike, we can gather that it’s a whole bunch of HOPE but an end result of NOPE.
I believe that volunteers are a true indicator of who a candidate really is. Have you been to an event where David’s campaign was present? He dominates. People like David. People like his platforms, his plans, his record. They want to see him elected. I don’t live in Alpharetta so I can’t vote for David. But I wouldn’t walk neighborhoods knocking on doors, make phone calls, attend events, wear his campaign shirt 10 days in a row (these final days are killin’ me-don’t worry, it’s been washed), and print, fold, seal and stamp thousands of mailouts if I didn’t truly believe David was the best man for the job.

I encourage you to vote this Tuesday November 8th for David Belle Isle as the next Mayor of Alpharetta.


Visit the Belle Isle Campaign website at www.votebelleisle.com for more information.

Public Servant on a Power Trip: Councilman Attempts to Bully Constituent

The thing I love most about politicians is if you hand them a microphone and ask them for a statement, in a matter of seconds, they will probably make themselves look worse than any posed question could. Last night, just this happened.

Alpharetta High School hosted a debate for the Alpharetta Mayoral candidates. With the election in less than two weeks, it’s no doubt that tensions are running high. Candidates look exhausted and stressed. But all of these things are normal with an election.

What is not normal?….Watch this video. This is the closing statement from Candidate Doug DeRito.

It’s true that Candidate Belle Isle had to leave early to attend another event. Mr. DeRito harped on this in almost every response of the evening – in between making unsubstantiated digs at his former Co-Councilmember- so much so that it took away from his responses to the questions asked. It’s distracting when he says things like “…and our missing candidate who’s not here no longer”.

And how about the moment at which he points to me in the front row and says, “And I know you’re filming this, so you can tell him I said that”. I’m sorry Councilman DeRito, do you have an issue with the First Amendment? Or are you worried you may have said something inappropriate throughout the evening? And why are you calling out a young girl, sitting alone in the front row with a video camera? The press attended the debate, as did a number of constituents, all whom brought cameras and video. Was that REALLY necessary or were you just on a power trip, looking for someone to take your campaign trail frustrations out on?

I also think it’s shameful that Mr. DeRito stated he has abilities that he could “bless the City with” if he is elected, followed by “I’ve done it for 1o years”. Really, sir? You believe you have been BLESSING the City of Alpharetta for the 10 years? Well bless your heart. THANK YOU!

You can also see Doug DeRito flip-flop on the ACVB ticket scandal with these three videos:
Video 1 is the DeRito response, Video 2 is Paine’s response with DeRito interjecting and Video 3 is the moderator questioning DeRito’s lack of consistency. Maybe this is why he called me out during his closing…cause his flip-flop was documented?

1.

2.

3.

A Letter to the Citizens of Roswell

Guest Blog: From Roswell City Council Candidate Lee Fleck (Post 2)

Citizens,
Please see the above photo of the Financial History of Roswell. This was provided to me by the Current City Budget Director, Keith Lee  during the FY2011 budget hearings.
  • There is absolutely no way to frame this in a positive light and for the incumbent to state  that the council has been “preserving a balanced budget” is the height of deception.
  • To further state in the Georgia Voters Guide on the AJC Website (http://www.thevoterguide.org/v/ajc11/race-detail.do?id=221392494)  that Roswell continues with “sound spending practices and maintenance of healthy reserves” is untruthful.
  • The truth of the matter is that by the end of next year all your savings will be gone (Red Arrow) .
To quote Mayor Jere Wood from a publicized interview in Late June 2010:
“We’re not covering our current costs with current revenues. We’re covering them with savings. That’s not sustainable.  I’m looking a few years down the road. I see a deficit coming. At the current rate, the Council will have spent all of our available reserves by 2012. After that they will either have to raise taxes or make drastic cuts in the City budget.”
  • And prior to using “Reserves by Policy” (purple bar graph) which BY CITY POLICY is only to be used in the event of a catastrophic natural event (i.e. tornado, flood, etc)  this current Council will be forced to rack up debt to the maximum of the carrying capacity of the current bond millage rate. 
  • The city’s AAA bond rating is dependent on these reserves by policy.   But once the city is leveraged to the hilt  this administration & council will be able to spend this safety net of money.  To facilitate this objective these funds have conveniently been renamed, just this year,  as “sustainability reserves” so that any reference to the fact these savings are specifically earmarked has been eliminated.
  • When the dust settles after the election the current council will call for a General Obligation Bond in the amount of $40,000,000.  The reason they will do this is because the current Council is morally incapable of reducing expenses.   So they will rack up debt for younger citizens of Roswell to pay.
Please vote Tuesday November 8th.
Lee Fleck
Candidate for Roswell City Council, Post 2

Why the Amana Academy Has the Right to Expand

**This blog is written a little different. Based on a memo written for a graduate school class, the memo is apolitical and analyzes the Amana Academy controversy from an administrative standpoint.

The Alpharetta City Council is currently faced with a decision on whether Amana Academy, a Fulton County Charter school in Alpharetta, should be granted a zoning permit to expand in the Windward Business Center.  The proposed building is not technically zoned for a school, but could easily accommodate the desired expansion.  A great deal of opposition exists with the expansion of the school, mainly by influential members of the community adjacent to the Windward Business Center. City officials, however, risk legal, political and managerial implications based on the way they vote.

Amana Academy is a Fulton County Charter School established in 2004 that operates in Alpharetta, Georgia. Founded by a group of parents wanting more out of public school for their children, Amana Academy uses Outward Bound learning programs and encourages stewardship. The Academy also requires every student learn Arabic in order to “enhance cognitive skills, broaden students’ perspectives and bridge cultural gaps” (Amana 1). Although Amana Academy is the only public school to teach Arabic in the state of Georgia, a similar program at Mimosa Elementary Charter in Roswell requires students to learn Japanese.  The program at Mimosa is also part of the Fulton County school system but has received no opposition.

Operating out of a building in downtown Alpharetta, the Amana Academy is restricted in the number of students that are allowed to enroll. In an effort to expand, the Academy scouted a larger property in the Windward Business Center Association (WBCA) on the corner of Windward Parkway and Edison Drive. Having been vacant for four years, the property would allow the Academy to accommodate 721 students, the maximum allowed by their charter contract.  In terms of property use, Amana would add green space by adding a playground, garden and recreational field (Pepalis 1).

The building that Amana Academy is requesting use of is zoned as “Office-Institution, research and development, office-professional, light industrial and hotel conference center zoning categories” (Windward Master Plan 1). In May 2011, the Windward Business Center Association Board of Directors approved a variance for use of the building and land.  The Board does not have authority to deny the variance per the Windward Master Plan. Upon receipt of approval by the WBCA Board, Amana Academy moved forward with its’ rezoning request to the City of Alpharetta Planning Commission so the property could be used for a school.  The Planning Commission deadlocked on a vote, 3-3, and passed the vote to the City Council without a recommendation.

Prior to the Planning Commission meeting, members of the Windward Homeowners Association (WHA), the residential community that is adjacent to the Business Center, were unaware of the proposed expansion. Many homeowners attended the Planning Commission meeting and were angry to learn that Amana Academy was requesting expansion where the roadways were already heavily congested.  Upon learning of the potential expansion of Amana, the WHA coordinated a meeting with Amana Academy to gather more information and possibly come to a consensus. The two parties did not come to an accord and Amana moved ahead with its agenda for the August 22, 2011 City Council meeting.

In the interim, publicity surrounding the issue continued to increase in both amount and intensity. Flyers were circulated throughout Windward by unknown sources. Some were informative, others were derogatory in nature calling those affiliated with Amana Academy “camel jockeys” and “ragheads” and insisted that Amana was a “terrorist training camp” (Shan 1).

On August 18th, Amana Academy requested and was granted a deferral from the City Council meeting claiming they needed additional time to review traffic studies, consider other potential locations, as requested by the Planning Commission and continue negotiations with the Windward homeowners (Pepalis 1).

The City of Alpharetta has three options in this dilemma The Alpharetta City Council has the option to deny the request for a rezoning permit.  Recall in the Windward Master Plan that the current zoning specifications of the property permitted office-institution and research and development. Both specifications could easily be argued by Amana Academy. Therefore, the Alpharetta City Council, per the Windward Master Plan, could allow the school to occupy the building. The City Council would reinforce the verbiage “office institution” or “research and development” and allow the expansion.  This option, however, would leave room for appeal by the constituents since the wording is not explicit.

The Council also has the option to grant the rezoning permit and allow the expansion of Amana Academy in the Windward Business Center.  This option would protect Amana Academy by making the decision final with the wording being precise.

Both cases of approval could lead to some managerial implications.

Finally, the Council has the choice to deny Amana Academy a rezoning permit based on the premise that it will create a transportation issue for the residents in the surrounding areas.  This option leaves opens the door for many legal and political implications.

Legal Implications: The Alpharetta City Council risks a plethora of legal implications should they deny Amana Academy the right to expand within the Windward Business Center Association. The fact that members of the Windward Homeowners Association have expressed concern over Amana Academy beyond traffic and tax base concerns, the supposed opposition to the teachings of Arabic and the possible Islamic foundations, leaves the City in a precarious situation. Despite the justification based on traffic and the possible tax base loss, Amana Academy could file a lawsuit on the basis of discrimination.  In turn, the City will not be able to offer proof that the decision was made solely on economic and transportation bases. Although the City of Alpharetta denied the expansion of a Mosque on legal grounds, it would certainly justify probing from higher institutions if the City denied the permit.

Political Implications:  There are strong political implications for city council members who vote to either allow the school expansion under the current zoning specifications or who grant a rezoning permit to Amana Academy.  With the high level of political activeness in the Windward Homeowners Association and Windward voters making up 1/3 of the voting bloc in Alpharetta, members of the city council risk being replaced come election time.

There also may be political implications should the city council members continue to push the rezoning hearing back until after the 2011 election. Amana Academy was the petitioner for a deferral, however, rescheduling of the issue is now the responsibility of the Council.  Those members of council who have opposition in the November election could scathe by without having to confront the issue, therefore buying themselves more time.  Constituents may not think this is the most ethical sequence of addressing the issue, and members of the council could again face scrutiny.

Managerial Implications: Members of the Windward Homeowners Association argue that if Amana Academy takes over this new building in WBCA, the taxes will go to Fulton County and not Alpharetta.  While this could be detrimental for members of the Council come election time, the amount of tax dollars lost is minimal, as it is only one parcel of land and a relatively small building. Should the city deny Amana Academy use of the property, Amana could leave Alpharetta and operate in Roswell, Mountain Park, Johns Creek, or anywhere else inside the limits of Fulton County.  The City has an obligation to promote business that will produce revenue.  A nonprofit school that sends taxes to the county could be seen as a betrayal by the City. Constituents want to see their city flourish. 

Recommendation: The Alpharetta City Council should grant Amana Academy the zoning permit
based on the compliance of Amana with all other restrictions. Bob Pepalis made an interesting point in his article for the Alpharetta Patch, “If the Fulton County School System was buying the property it wouldn’t even come before the city’s Planning Commission…And City Council wouldn’t get the chance to make a zoning decision” (Pepalis 2). School systems are generally immune to zoning laws, but because Amana Academy is a charter, some restrictions apply.

Some members of the community have expressed sympathy for members of the city council due to the intense emotion and publicity surrounding this issue.  Unfortunately, politicians are not entitled to sympathy.  Members of the Alpharetta City Council were elected to serve the people by upholding the values of government granted by the Constitution.  While it may seem that serving the people means “playing by their rules”, it more importantly requires that core freedoms are protected. Those freedoms include freedom of speech, which is why Amana Academy should legally be granted the zoning permit.

Goin’ Through It Like It’s Water…

A lot of things in Roswell are swept under the rug and citizens know nothing about it–until their taxes go up. In the blog “Roswell Isn’t “Wynning”, Vote for Lee Fleck!” I mentioned the Revenue bond the city would be proposing after the election in 2011 and without the vote of constituents. The bond would go towards a new water plant in the city.

Some have argued that the plant will bring jobs and industrialize Roswell, but there are some much bigger costs:

  • Last fiscal year (2011) the city bought over $1.0 million in water from Fulton County
  • In essence, every glass of water you, and everyone who gets their water from the City, drink contains 50% Fulton County water. There are two major valves on the city’s water grid located on Holcomb Bridge that are directly tied to Fulton County.
  • Currently, the city has a water plant on Dobbs street that is capable of producing 1.2 million gallons per day (MGD). It was built in 1937 and has been refurbished to 1960 standards.—-The engineers analysis indicated that this plant will be obsolete in 10 years.
  • On average the City’s demand is well over 2 MGD and Fulton County supplies the rest of the demanded water for the very limited number of homes and businesses (approx 5000) that get their water from the City of Roswell.
  • The current cost to produce 1000 gallons of water is slightly over $2.00, however what customers are actually charged is a higher rate which includes distribution costs, and administrative overhead.
  • Contained within the Master Plan (pg 18) is the long-term sustainability costs which project this $ 2 cost accelerating to as much as $15 per 1000 gallons by 2060.
  • The proposed revenue bond will be funded with an annual utility increase of between 2-3 % through 2060.
  • Fulton County water costs in 2060 are projected to be $8.04 / 1000 gallons, suggesting that the City should rely on Fulton County for 100% of its’ water.
  • The above information is from the “Master Water Plan, July 2010” submitted by an engineering firm that the City of Roswell hired.

What’s the disconnect, people?

As mentioned before, Becky Wynn needs to go. To insure that the limited number of citizens who receive their water from the City of Roswell (and not Fulton
County) will actually have the final say on the $17 million “revenue” bond that will be presented by Wynn to build a new water plant. Again, Lee Fleck would like government to become more transparent and would call for a referendum for the people affected.

The full DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT GROUNDWATER WELL AND TREATMENT FACILITY PROJECT plan is available here.

Below is page 19 of the 2010 Master Water plan and it gives a projection of the future costs of 1000 gallons of water from a new Water Plant the will be the subject of the forthcoming “Revenue” bond.

The entire plan is listed below.

Roswell Water System Master Plan text 7-2010

For more information on Lee Fleck, to request a Yard Sign, make a donation or volunteer, visit http://fleckforroswellga.com/Home.html

Roswell isn’t “Wynn-ing”, Vote for Lee Fleck!

I have long opposed the Roswell City Council. Their mismanagement of the budget, disconcert for what constituents want and disgraceful vendetta against the Roswell Chicken Man have left a bitter taste in the mouths of citizens. Thankfully, two of the problems are up for re-election this November, Rich Dippolito -Post 1 and Becky Wynn – Post 2. Both have opposition and both opponents have the right idea.

I am supporting Lee Fleck who is running against Becky Wynn. Fleck, a self-proclaimed ‘City Council watch dog’ has lived in Roswell for over 25 years. He has raised his family here and wants to keep Roswell a desirable place to live, work and raise a family.

Fleck has a long list of accomplishments including, but not limited to:

  • Commissioning the first water bottling plant in a war zone for the U.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • Being licensed by the Department of Homeland Security as a customs broker. He has helped the city implement the Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlements (SAVE) Program, which requires foreign nationals receiving public benefits to verify their legal residency in the United States.
  • Introducing the Roswell Police Department to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Secured Communities Program, a program that integrates all of the federal crime data bases to include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, ICE and Interpol with the state Georgia Bureau of Investigation criminal data bases at the point of arrest and detention

Mr. Fleck believes he is a better fit for the job than Councilwoman Wynn who has voted each year for a budget in which expenditures exceed revenues on average by $8,000,000 annually.

Fleck is also against Councilwoman Wynn, and others, who by the end of 2012 will have use up the City’s savings and have planned two bonds totalling $57 million containing some gratuitous expenditures. According to public record, besides a $40 million bond referendum, an additional $17 million “revenue” bond to build a new water plant will be implemented AFTER the November election, the latter without say by the taxpayers. The burden to repay the bond will be placed solely on the taxpayers.

When elected, Fleck plans to:

  • implement a Zero-based balanced budget and establishing a citizens financial review board will result in lower taxes
    (and fees), greater efficiencies, and more value for tax dollars spent.
  • insure that the limited number of citizens who receive their water from the City of Roswell (and not Fulton County) will actually have the final say on the $17 million “revenue” bond that will be presented by the Council to build a new water plant;
  • call for a referendum of those 7,500 residents who will be saddled with a $30,000,000 long-term liability to sustain such a facility that will be financed with a 2 to 3% annual increase in water rates for the next 50 years;
  • propose publishing the City’s check registry on the city website to promote transparency so citizens can oversee expenditures and even make cost saving suggestions.
  • provide the infrastructure and incentives to attract high tech business in conjunction with the Comprehensive 2030 Plan

This election, we have an opportunity to make a difference. Because of the Sunday Sales referendum on the ballot this November, a higher turnout is expected. It’s time to take Becky Wynn off the social committee and elect someone who can help Roswell function at its’ highest potential TODAY.

Lee Fleck is running for Post 2 of the Roswell City Council. Election day is Tuesday, November 8th. For more information, visit http://www.fleckforroswellga.com/ or e-mail Lee at leefleck@fleckforroswell.com . He is also on Facebook.

9/11 Disappointment

No matter what your beliefs about 9/11, you can’t deny the emotions that 9/11 evokes–thinking about those that died that day, how you felt, where you were, how our lives have changed since, the list could go on and on. We don’t think about these things on a daily basis, so on the 10th anniversary I was really hoping that people would reflect on everything we’ve lost-from people to freedoms.

But, things don’t always go how they should. To me the day felt like an endless campaign event. I attended the Alpharetta-Milton 9/11 Memorial and was completely disappointed to learn that the agenda for the memorial included a long list of speeches from politicians. Alpharetta Mayor Arthur Letchas and Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood spoke first. This was appropriate. As hosts of the events, they welcomed us and encouraged us to really reflect. But they were followed by a total of SIX political speeches!!

We opened with a heart wrenching recording from the 911 dispatch in New York, the color guard, Star-Spangled Banner, and a prayer. So far, so good. After a long line of speeches from Representatives, Commissioners, and the like, we were graced with Senator Albers dressed up like a firefighter. (Don’t worry, you would still be able to identify him. He had on his Alpharetta Volunteer Firefighter name tag, as well as a Senator name tag–a uniform code violation, mind you. Diplomatic immunity? I suppose.) His speech was solemn, followed by a radio call into the local dispatch and some sirens. Quite a show. I was wondering if he was going to shoot someone out of a cannon.

But the whole thing was entirely set up. It lacked genuineness. Each politician got up there, said what THEY were doing on 9/11, how things have changed for THEM since 9/11, what great Americans they are and then they thanked our public servicemen and women. Some of them read directly from press releases they had sent out earlier in the morning. It was a sham. A complete disappointment.

I thought on 9/11 we would be honoring the firefighters, the police officers, the Port Authority, the victims and the men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq–those we’ve lost and those who continue to serve. Thank those who protect us unconditionally every day.

I thought on 9/11 we would pray for our country and take pride in the foundations: liberty, freedom and vigilance.

I was wrong. All we got was a slew of politicians and a headache—At least it was free.

Cops taking a Scroll…

The Alpharetta-Milton Patch reported the crime blogger on August 30, 2011.  In it was your usual identity theft, car break-in’s and drug busts.  But I found one particular case that disturbed me.

Earlier in the week, two teens were pulled over in Milton on Cogburn Road because of broken tail light.  The officer smelled alcohol and marijuana coming from the car and subsequently charged the driver with DUI, possession of marijuana less than one ounce and brake light citations.  Clearly, these kids were up to no good, and clearly, they were headed to jail.  No one would argue that.  But then I read this: “Police read text messages on the driver’s phone that sound as if a drug deal was being made.”

Excuse me, but what gave the officer the right to scroll through this young man’s text messages?  How was the cell phone suddenly evidence in a DUI, possession and brake light case?

The text messages prompted the officer to do a SECOND search of both of the teens and found a scale, more marijuana and $655 in cash.  The officer then charged both teens with ‘Intent to distribute’.  I have a major problem with how all of this went down.  Sure, these teens were going to jail and all of the above mentioned items would have been confiscated when they were booked.  The fact that they were discovered by a search of the cell phone is absolutely incensing to me.  There is this thing given to us by the Constitution called ‘rights’ (they often pertain to privacy) and it’s absurd that a police officer can violate that, especially when it is irrelevant to the case.

My disbelief lead me to do some research.  Apparently not too long ago, a Georgia appellate court decision upheld a warrantless search of a cell phone found in an arrestees’ car (not on her person).  Various websites also stated that officers must have reasonable suspicion that a crime is occuring…was there more reasonable suspicion to lead to a cell phone search? I don’t think so.  And wouldn’t most agree that this law was instated (and upheld) on the premise of texting and driving? I also learned that many states are classifying cell phones as ‘containers’- how they think that adds up, I’m not sure.  Is my brain a ‘container’ as well? It holds information.

**Note: Had the phone needed a password for it to be unlocked, the teens could have invoked their 5th amendment right to silence and the officers would not have been able to search the phone without a warrant.

Alpharetta-Milton Patch Article http://alpharetta.patch.com/articles/milton-teens-face-drug-charges-parents-wrath