Ending years of contentious political and legal fights, Snellville voters turned on the taps for restaurants to sell beer and wine on Sundays clearing the way for seven local restaurants whose licenses were voided back in January to open their bars this Sunday. Other establishments will have to wait three weeks to being pouring.
For years, Snellville Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer has maintained that Sunday alcohol sales are the linchpin to the city’s economic future, with opponents arguing the perils of alcohol accessibility and its affront to religion.
“The people of Snellville have spoken,” Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer said after the vote at City Hall. “We won. Now we can put this thing behind us and move Snellville forward again.”
In other Snellville news, the City continues to struggle with its 30-year snail mascot.
A Hall County Superior Court Judge will set a final hearing to determine whether a recall effort against Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister should proceed. The recall effort began after the Gwinnett County Commission voted 4:1 to increase property taxes by nearly 21%.
In late March, resident Randolph De Vault received certification for more than 100 signatures he presented to the elections office, the first step in applying for a recall petition. The petition lists five charges, ranging from the county’s handling of its solid waste plan to the its feud with cities over a service delivery agreement and accuses Chairman Bannister of malfeasance.
This month, Chairman Bannister filed a motion to stop the elections office from granting the recall petition of Mr. De Vault . Chairman Bannister contends the petition does not cite sufficient grounds for a recall.
A Gwinnett County judge will hear arguments this week on whether the taps in Snellville will continue to flow on Sunday.
The opposition wants the judge to overturn the Snellville City Council’s Dec. 14 decision to approve Sunday sales by council vote arguing that such a change can only be done by a public referendum vote.
“This is not about religion. This is not about prohibition. It’s not about standing in the way of progress. Progress is giving people the right to vote,” [Attorney for the opponents Rick] Stepp said. “These are residents. They want a say.”
Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer doesn’t see it that way. He believes the plaintiffs, namely the mayor’s political nemesis Robert Jenkins, are standing in the way of economic prosperity by promoting “some moral mumbo jumbo.”
“Those people who are doing this are trying to destroy Snellville,” said Oberholtzer, who plans to attend the hearing in Lawrenceville. “I will be there to testify if necessary.”
Last week, DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis issued a one-year assessment report. The report measures the County’s responsiveness to the finding and recommendations of the December 19, 2008 Transition Report.
The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners will vote on December 15 on a resolution calling for a referendum to amend the county’s Organization Act to eliminate the elected Chief Executive Officer in favor of a professional county manager appointed and directed by the County Commission. If the resolution passes, it goes to the Georgia General Assembly. If legislators pass the legislation a referendum could be on the 2010 ballot so that DeKalb voters can decide.
County Commissioner Elaine Boyer spearheads the effort and is supported by Commissioner Lee May. The proposal united former CEO Vernon Jones and Burrell Ellis and a number of citizens in opposition.
Last week the Gwinnett County Commission voted 4 to 1 to increase property taxes by nearly 21%. This week the Gwinnett County Elections Office accepted applications to recall Commission Chairman Charles Bannister, District 1 Commissioner Shirley Lasseter and District 3 Commissioner Mike Beaudreau.
Recall organizers must collect the signatures of 100 registered voters living in the commission district by December 23. If certified, the recall organizers then must obtain the signatures of 30 percent of registered voters within 45 days – 28,000 signatures to recall Lasseter, 41,000 to recall Beadreau and 126,000 to recall Bannister.
If successful, the recalls would go to vote at a special election.
The Atlanta Regional Commission broke from tradition and elected Tad Leithead as its first ever citizen member as its chair. Leithead is a former vice president for Cousins Properties and currently chairs the Cumberland Community Improvement District, a self-taxing business district in Cobb County. Leithead is one of 15 citizen members of ARC, which is mostly made up of metro-Atlanta elected officials.
As ARC Chair, Leithead succeeds Cobb County Commission Chair Sam Olens.