In this issue, we’ve got a lot to talk about! Here’s a quick agenda:

  • Preview of Sunday’s event
  • Create Austell Recap
  • 1/10 Commissioners’ Meeting Recap
  • 1/24 Commissioners’ Meeting Preview
  • News & Updates

With so much to talk about, let’s get right to it!

Sunday’s Event Preview

I truly can’t wait for Sunday’s event! NOTE: The start time for the event is now 1PM due to a request from Schoolhouse Brewing.

There’s so much opportunity in this county and I’m so excited that we have the opportunity to be a part of it and help make it happen.

I have three goals for Sunday’s event:

  1. We meet other people passionate about the changes we want to see in the county
  2. We talk about what we want to see happen in the county
  3. We talk about how we make it happen

For a quick preview, you’ll come in, grab a nametag and put a colored sticker on it to represent what topics you are most interested in (transit, safe streets, sustainability, land use/housing). We will have an specific area for each topic along with some initial discussion questions.

And that’s how the magic happens! See you Sunday (at 1PM)!

RSVP here:

Create Austell Recap

One reason I am so excited about Sunday is because of our successful event to launch Create Austell.

Huge kudos to the Creators: Natasha Dyer, Derek Caffe, and Daniel Lamb!

Some highlights:

  • City staff and elected officials attended the event and shared that they looked forward to seeing more people fighting for the city’s future
  • We did an exercise where we asked “Wouldn’t it be great if Austell ______” and asked people to fill in the blank. The common themes were that people wanted to see more things to eat, see, and do in Downtown Austell
  • A lively discussion took place where we discussed that in order to have more things to do downtown, there needs to be more people living there and better mobility. It’s a chicken-and-egg situation, but it’s happening. Removing the train horn and making Austell a Railroad Quiet Zone is a priority to attract businesses, restaurants, and retail.
  • The goal of Create Austell is to create community first. Any advocacy or politics will be secondary and driven by the community.

Create Austell plans to host numerous upcoming events. The next event is Thursday, February 2nd at 6PM. They will also host city council preview meetings before every City Council meeting. All events are currently scheduled at Austell CoWork, which is a short walk from City Hall.

To follow Create Austell, check out or sign up at

Commissioners Meeting Recap

History was made in the Commissioners’ Meeting on January 10th at 9AM. It was the first meeting after the new District Maps came into effect on January 1st.

Maps? Plural?

You must be new here.

Last year, the state legislature took the unprecedented step to redraw Cobb’s Commissioner Districts. The new District 2 was drawn so that Jerica Richardson no longer lived in her district. Afterwards, the county took the controversial step to utilize their Home Rule powers to draw their own maps.

So right now, Cobb has 2 district maps and it’s now up to the courts to decide what happens next.

Until then, the business of the county must go on.

So that takes us to the Commissioners’ meeting last Tuesday:

  • Things kicked off with Commissioner Birrell asking the county attorney which map they are operating under. The county attorney responded that they are operating under the map the Commissioners approved in October 2022.
  • Birrell mentioned that she had problems with that map because the state approved a different map and referenced an opinion from Georgia’s Attorney General.
  • After the third public hearing regarding a minor variance to allow a pool near the river, Commissioners Birrell and Gambrill chose to abstain their vote. They were informed by the county attorney that all members present must vote unless they have a valid reason to abstain.
  • After some back and forth, the Commissioners went to a private executive session.
  • After a few minutes, they came back, but the video does not show what happened next. (NOTE: this is because, technically, the meeting didn’t restart until the current action item was resolve)
  • The abstaining Commissioners were given another chance to vote…Awkward silence…
  • The abstaining Commissioners were then told that if they didn’t vote, they would be asked to remove themselves from the dais…more awkward silence
  • The chair then asked the presiding police officer to assist the abstaining Commissioners to remove themselves from the dais. Commissioner Birrell removed herself while Commissioner Gambrill asked the Chairwoman to specifically name who she was asking to remove themselves. Chairwoman Cupid then said she wasn’t going to play mindgames and asked the county attorney to remind the Commissioners of the rules.
  • Gambrill then left the dais and the meeting continued with the remaining three Commissioners.

It was one of those “you had to be there” moments. It was a circus. And it was another stain on the history of this county.

At the moment our county switches to become led by a majority Democratic Commission, you have the state (with their history of diminishing the power of minority voters) redraw the maps to remove a young, minority, Democrat Commissioner.

Then you see them show their protest and leaving the dais, resulting in the three minority women sitting up there alone continuing the business of the county.

And now the Republican Commissioners are playing victim and referencing Rosa Parks.

The audacity. I try very hard not to get political in this newsletter but it’s past time to call this out and each of us should be infuriated at the hypocrisy and double speak happening.

History will be the judge of what is happening here and right now, there are many who need to look themselves in the mirror and answer some difficult questions.

Moving on…

Commissioners Meeting Preview

So who knows what will happen next Tuesday at the next Commissioners meeting. I’m sure there will be more theatrics and drama. More fingerpointing and posturing. And more stains on the history of our county as we try to progress beyond our past.

Here’s the link to the agenda:

An overview:

  • 2 Announcements
  • Public Comment
  • Consent Agenda
    • Sheriff: 2 Items (Accepting grant funds and approving repairs and renovation of the Adult Detention Center)
    • State Court Admin: 1 Item (Accepting grant funding)
    • State Court Clerk: 1 Item (Electric filing system contract)
    • Water System: 7 Items (all work orders)
    • Transportation: 5 Items
      • 1 intersection change to an all-way stop
      • An agreement between Cobb Schools and Cobb DOT
      • Cleaning contract for CobbLinc (transit)
      • Engineering prequalified contract approval
      • Approve the CobbLinc Safety plan (I reviewed this and it’s a necessary document required for federal reporting and funding)
    • Parks: 4 Items (Various contracts and grant approvals)
    • Support Services: 2 Items (Replacing 491 computers and an architectural/engineering contract approval)
    • Community Development: Review 2 Summaries of Hearings for the License Review Board
    • Finance: 2 Items- Budget approval and approval of Ad Valorem tax to cover shortfall of E-SPLOST (this is mandatory by law and should not come into effect)
    • Community Development Block Grants: Redistributes unused funds to 3 non-profits (About $157k being distributed to SafePath, The Extension, and Zion Keepers)
    • County Manager: 1 Item (Approve public hearing for Parks engineering contract)
    • County Clerk: 1 Item (Approve minutes from previous meeting…which honestly are pretty interesting to read…)

Regular Agenda

  • District Attorney: Authorize creation and funding of Cobb Family Advocacy Center. This authorizes $1.1 million to create and fund a 6 staff Family Support Center, which will be the first in Georgia utilizing a special program initiated by the state. Good stuff here!

Transportation: 10 Items

  • 3 Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grants (All 3 are for planning…no grants for construction)
    • Cobb Parkway at McCollum Parkway/Kennesaw Due West Road/Old 41 Highway Realignment Planning Project (Say that 5 times fast…)
      • This project is for planning and engineering for the realignment of the Due West/Hwy 41/McCollum Parkway intersections. The desire is to remove the “Z” traffic pattern that creates a lot of congestion.
      • “Future transit service” and Noonday Creek trail are referenced in the grant
      • Asking for $4.4 million Federal grant to match $1.1 million of locally raised funds.

East-West Corridor Improvements Planning Project

  • “The proposed grant will facilitate further planning to advance, develop, and implement traffic congestion mitigation, operational safety concerns, access management, smart corridor technology, future and existing transit service, pedestrian safety, connectivity, and economic development within the area. This planning study will evaluate improving access to public recreational facilities, consider the future impacts of the I-285 Managed Lanes connection at Cumberland Parkway, and identify potential transit and pedestrian access opportunities.”
  • Asking for $4.5 million Federal grant to match $1.1 million locally raised funds.
  • This screams “increase road capacity to connect with managed lanes and transit and pedestrian connections are an afterthought”

Cumberland Core Loop, AKA Cumberland Sweep, Planning Project

  • Funds for a 3 mile multi-modal loop around Cumberland
  • 2 pedestrian bridges over Hwy 41
  • Autonomous Shuttle and Smart Corridor
  • Asking for a $7.1 million Federal grant to match $1.8 million in local funds
      • Nothing screams pedestrian and bike friendly infrastructure like 2 major highways cutting through the area. Not to mention the insane managed toll lanes expected to be built. Nothing in here about regional or local transit connectivity, just the autonomous shuttle. Sigh…
    • Other Transportation items include a couple of sidewalk projects, bridge repairs, and drainage projects.
  • Announcing Jerica Richardson as Vice Chair of the Board of Commissioners and Monique Sheffield as the Board Liaison for Cobb Travel and Tourism.

So…that’s a lot. If you’re able to, I highly encourage attending next Tuesday’s meeting at 7PM.

News & Updates

For those of us who hoped Tilford Yard would be a catalyst/bridge for transit between NW Atlanta and Cobb, we received bad news that 40 acres will be used for a data center…

MARTA parted ways with Deputy General Manager Josh Rowan, who on the way out decided to disclose an internal report about major financial shortfalls…

Article about Station Soccer, the building of soccer fields at MARTA Stations

Interesting article about the changing dynamics of the suburbs and their political impact

Veronica Miller, 60, was hit and killed by a car while walking her dog on a Saturday morning in Kennesaw.

Gwinnett County Transit changed their name to Ride Gwinnett (here’s hoping it doesn’t take them years to change the branding on their buses and bus stop signs…)

Civic Mapping Initiative reviews transit connectivity for Georgia’s 2-year colleges. Cobb’s connectivity appears to be among the worst in the core suburban counties…

Well, that’s enough good news for this week! Seriously, I look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday as we have some important news to share!

See ya’ Sunday!