I’m writing this issue at Marietta Coffee Company on Roswell Road. It’s a quaint spot that used to be Darwin’s Burgers and Blues with relaxing and chill vibes.

The relaxing and chill environment is needed after what happened on Tuesday.

In this issue, I’ll recap what happened at the Commissioners’ meeting, which was probably the most contested, vitriolic meeting I’ve been to.

Let’s kick it off with something more positive, our FIRST A Better Cobb social gathering! (if you want to skip to the Commissioners meeting, click here…)

A Better Cobb Kickoff Event

We had our first social gathering this past Sunday at Schoolhouse Brewing and it went GREAT! It truly is amazing to be surrounded by others who are passionate about our core issues: transit, safe streets, sustainability, and land use/housing.

After introductions and a general conversation about what we’re trying to accomplish, we broke out into four different discussion groups for each core issue. The discussion centered around how we can build consensus around these core issues and make a difference.

Here’s a recap of each of the conversations:

  • Transit: Cobb 4 Transit already exists and its main focus in the near future should be centered on coalition building to build consensus for the 2024 referendum.
  • Safe Streets: Cobb Streets for All needs to be launched and will focus on building out the bike and pedestrian network throughout the county with an initial priority on Connect the Comet. The next event will be announced soon!
  • Land Use/Housing: (Name to be determined later) will need to come together and focus on getting changes in the Unified Development Code. Long term, creating a group that makes zoning and land use conversations fun and educational will have a huge impact.
  • Sustainability: Sustainable Cobb will launch soon with a focus on driving sustainability efforts in Cobb. There is SO MUCH to do here that it’s sometimes difficult to even define what is needed. Determining the goals and the role of government, individuals, and businesses is very important. A climate action or sustainability plan would be a great way to move forward initially.

Personally, I thought it was a great event, but hearing some feedback from others only got me more excited about future events!

“It was heartening to see not only the amount of people that showed up, but how everyone seemed to be aware that our varied interests aligned and overlapped. Land-use is key to sustainability, and transit, and safe streets – and each is key to the other. Even if the minutia are up for respectful debate – we certainly agreed on the overall direction. I look forward to the future of A Better Cobb!”-Tyler B., who led the Cobb 4 Transit discussion

“It was interesting to hear from folks in different areas of Cobb about the different challenges and opportunities they see for making Cobb a better place to live.” -Matt C., who joined the Land Use/Housing discussion

We’re finalizing the next events in each of these areas as well as the next A Better Cobb gathering. Hopefully we’ll have some news in next week’s issue!

Commissioners’ Meeting Recap

Well, that went about as expected. Since this is such a complex issue, I’m going to just start it from the beginning.

So that’s a recap on the meeting in the context of everything that’s happened. As Commissioner Sheffield said, the temperature of the room was definitely dialed up and I’m sure you can hear the crowd reactions one way or another in the videos above.

You can read the AJC story and MDJ story.

I wanted to review the public comment individually as I do think they are important to highlight. When I showed up at 5:10PM (almost 2 hours early), I was 4th on the list. By 6:00PM, the list was already full (12 people can sign up). Before the initial list comes out, there is an unofficial list being kept by commenters against Home Rule and Jerica Richardson keeping her seat. They got caught trying to save a spot for one of their speakers who showed up late. To their credit, they did fix the issue, but still…

Here’s a recap of the public comments:

So that’s the recap of the meeting. It was a pretty sad spectacle but at least the business of the county was completed.

I would say the audience was about 70% against Home Rule.

As I mentioned in my Public Comment, I wish I was talking more about transit, safe streets, and sustainability, but these are historic times in the county as we move forward.

I look forward to brighter days ahead. This is why we must stay engaged and focus.

Other news and updates

Transit Advisory Board meeting was Monday, January 25th and there were a few highlights from the meeting worth mentioning:

  • Caleb Stubbs from ATL Trains presented and shared his vision for Regional Rail and how it would benefit Cobb County.
  • Updates were received for an upcoming Mobility On Demand study, progress of the Transfer Center Site Selection studies, and rider.
  • A calendar of what to expect as we progress towards a referendum was shown

I’ll probably write about this in more detail soon, but there has been A LOT of articles that EVs are not the end-all-be-all solution to save the environment. Here’s just a sample from a few must-read articles this past week:

Transit. Sustainability. Land Use. Micromobility (bikes). See a consistent theme…;)?

Last and not least, Transit Equity Day is next weekend, February 4th, to celebrate Rosa Parks’ birthday. People are encouraged to take transit on either February 3rd or 4th. Let’s find a way to take transit, take pictures, and we can share it on Cobb 4 Transit’s social media accounts!

That’s a lot for now. Hopefully you came for the Commissioners’ meeting recap and stayed for the links at the end. Can’t wait to see y’all again!