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Letter to the Editor: 'Snellville, the Divided City'

This poem was read by Claudette Forbes during the Jan. 28 council meeting.

(Editor's note: this poem was sent to the editor by Claudette Forbes. She originally read it during the public comment portion of the Jan. 28 Snellville City Council Meeting. The views expressed are not representative of Patch.)

Snellville - The Divided City

I love this city, as I have said before
And plan to stay here until I am no more
The open pastures, peace and tranquility
Invited me to Snellville city.

Sometimes I go to City Hall
Listen to the Mayor and the Councilors all
To see how the city is being run
Meet my neighbors and have a little fun.

But alas! The Council is divided.
They oppose each other, they are not united.
It is four against two most of the way
Been that way since the very first day.

The Mayor, some say, should not have any power.
The Council is the majority, lets change the charter
Then we can hire and fire, it does not matter.
But hey! this is America, not Westminster.

We didn't vote for you to change the charter,
We voted for you to work together.
We elected the Mayor and the Councilors too.
So get it together, all of you.

We should be mindful of the  path we pave
On which others may walk who are not of our wave.
Politics by nature is hard to predict
You might one day live to regret it.

Snellville is not your private property.
You were elected to govern, you are not the almighty
We want you all to work together,
But instead, you are trying to grab power.

This division is tearing our city apart
It is grinding our nerves and hurting our hearts.
Snellville is too small for this type of fight.
For the love of God, please, make it right.

At nights before I go to bed
I go on my knees and bow my head.
And pray to God to show the way
To unite Snellville in a positive way.

So come on folks, let's stop to remember
We are not here to live forever
Let's reach out and hug each other
To hell with politics, let's make Snellville better.

David and Kathy Mascaro January 29, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Claudette Forbes - thank you for your insightful poem which so totally expresses my anguish when I read in the Gwinnett and Atlanta newspapers of these childish behaviors from the leaders we elected.
David and Kathy Mascaro January 29, 2013 at 10:41 PM
And while I am on this rant, I fail to understand why a faction of our leadership would think that the voters in Snellville would stand behind them as they fight the mayor to pay high fees to an attorney who is one of their cronies. I know nothing of the details but from the news articles it appears that the mayor only wants to spend taxpayer dollars as we spend our own finances. This seems to me to be a good idea.
Bobby Howard January 30, 2013 at 12:59 AM
Mr & Mrs Mascaro, I would like to offer you the oppprtunity to review for yourself a recent statement by the mayor on video, that her actions regarding a recent lawsuit did not " cost the city a penny" It is a downright blatant false statement. This lawsuit was settled out of court because City could not defend the actions of the mayor and her taking away a citizens 1st Ammendment Rights. Insurance Settled for $15,000.00 and cost the city another $7300.00 of our taxpayer dollars...( http://snellville.patch.com/articles/city-pays-15-000-to-settle-swinney-lawsuit )...See for yourself and decide if you can support this type of behavior.. as a member of this council..I will not accept this and I don't spend city taxpayer dollars in a wasteful manner. What the Mayor say’s here on video….. "not a penny" Start video at 30:18 and stop at 30:25 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7OMftOlLeY “No sir it did not. It didn't cost the city a penny”. What it really COST the City: $ 1000.00 the deductible on our insurance……. $ 1385.00 Paid to the law firm Cruser & Mitchell $ $ 5000.00 to our current city attorney. Increase in rates from Insurance Carrier ????????? Not sure what the mayor’s definition of “not a penny” is, but my math adds up to nearly $ 7300.00 of your taxpayer money! This was shown at the Meeting of Council 1-29-2013 Bobby Howard Snellville City Council
Brenda Lee January 30, 2013 at 02:18 AM
David & Kathy, are you aware that Kautz was elected in November 2011? In her 13 months in office she has hired and then fired 5 attorney's. In fact, the last, Cruser & Mitchell Mr. Howard references above, resigned with the statement that "it wasn't in their firms best interest to continue the relationship".
Lenora Church January 30, 2013 at 04:30 AM
Mr. and Mrs. Mascaro, "the devil is in the details" You need to "be informed about the details" before passing judgement. I would take Counselman Howard's suggestion and watch the video's of the counsel hearings this month. You could be as shocked at the temperment of our Mayor as many of us former supporters are.
Matt Czarick January 30, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Mr. and Mrs. Mascaro, The only city leader who is acting childish is our Madam Mayor. If she doesn't get her way she wants to settle everything in court (wasting more of MY hard earned tax dollars). While Councilman Sabbah usually agrees with her, and I have no problem with that, he at least disagrees in a civilized manner. Isn't actually a good thing that we have people who are willing to stand up for what they believe in? Differing opinions are valuable. This doesn't make the group "dysfunctional". In fact it makes it very functional. It's a check and balances system and for me, that is exactly what I see happening. Furthermore, what is childish is the fact that our Mayor still has a problem pronouncing her colleagues names and other simple words. It found it insulting to the Doctor who they honored this past meeting that she could not pronounce Ophthalmologist or Ophthalmology. She always laughs it off like it's funny. I personally think it is am embarrassment to this fine city.
Michelle Couch January 30, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Mr. & Mrs. Mascaro, You may want to stop relying solely on Gwinnett and Atlanta newspapers for "intel", and consider obtaining more information and details, first-hand. While these news sources fulfill the purpose of being moderately informative, they should not be considered a substitution for your own personal knowledge, information gathering and experience. I encourage you to interact with many Snellville neighbors, council members, community leaders and volunteers. Really familiarize yourself with the thick of the issues and draw your own educated conclusions. “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” ― Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29
John Long January 30, 2013 at 06:49 PM
Mr. and Mrs. Mascaro, Ms. Counch does not want you to rely on Gwinnett or Atlanta newspapers for information because at least by today's media standards they are unbiased and report the facts without taking sides in this battle unlike the newspaper that Ms. Couch once owned and unlike the blogs that these 4 members of Council support. Heaven forbid that the citizens get some truth instead of the PR slant that the Council is trying to push. It is amusing to me how it is always the same people responding to these posts and blogs against the Mayor, yet they can never provide examples of her policy or vision that is wrong. It is obvious that they just do not like her and that is childish.
John Long January 30, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Councilman Howard, Isn't it the Council that costs the City the $5000 for attorney's fees? The "current" city attorney who you refer to is Tony Powell right? The personal attorney for the Council. Didn't Mayor Kautz relieve him from working on the Swinney matter? That is why she brought in the firm of Cruser & Mitchell. It was the Council that has tried to keep Tony on retainer and it was the Council through their requests and meetings created a $5000 legal bill from Tony. The attorney for the City was Cruser & Mitchell. It appears to me that they achieved the same work for a fraction of the price. That to me is good business by the Mayor. I am not sure what Council was thinking by trying to keep a more expensive attorney involved except for the fact that Tony is a friend and political ally of the Council.
Crystal Huskey (Editor) January 30, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Mr. Long, Powell was still attorney at that point. Cruser and Mitchell were brought on separately by the mayor for legal advice, but weren't the official city attorneys yet.
Crystal Huskey (Editor) January 30, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Mr. Long, I found out some more info regarding that situation (which you may already know.) According to Mayor Kautz, she relieved Powell of his duties in representing the city in the Swinney case because he had a conflict of interest, since he was witness to the case. Cruser and Mitchell were brought in to represent the city for that limited period of time.
Dave Emanuel January 30, 2013 at 09:49 PM
John Long- I find it equally amusing that you apparently feel the need to use a false name when commenting. Your name does not appear on the registered voter list, nor does it appear that you are a Snellville city tax payer. My guess is you're just a stooge for Kautz. And that's fine with me and should be with you since you're a proponent of unbiased reporting of the facts. In that regard, I would encourage everyone reading this to simply watch videos of the council meetings and as Councilman Howard has suggested, make your own decisions. You also might consider that the "same people responding to these blogs and posts" are usually actual people, using their real names. As for visions of Kautz's policies or visions that are wrong, the list is too long to post here. However, I would be happy to meet with you, or anyone else, personally to discuss them with you. I can be reached at demanuel@snellville.org . As a city council member, I always welcome discussions, especially with people who disagree with me. I have found it both refreshing and educational to discuss opposing points of view, and I am always thankful that we are able to have such discussions openly and civily.
Bobby Howard January 30, 2013 at 09:50 PM
Mr. Long, The Mayor alleged that there was a "conflict of interest" however after further legal review by the State Bar and others, it was concluded that there was "no conflict" found in this matter and the firm was instructed that their services would no longer be needed. So your theory that the current CA was more expensive doesn't hold up due the total time spent on the case. Cruser and Mitchell's billing was for just a portion of the work and their rate is higher than current CA as well.. Just another attempt by the mayor to not state all of the information correctly. From our Charter............Section 3.12. - City attorney. The mayor shall appoint a city attorney, together with such assistant city attorneys as may be authorized,............................ Authorized is the operative word and is the reason members of this council are asking for clarification in the courts. Mr. Powell's firm is the Council for the City of Snellville, all members including the Mayor.
Brenda Lee January 30, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Mr. Long, we look forward to hearing from you again after you take Councilman Emanuel up on his offer to meet with you.
Lenora Church January 31, 2013 at 02:37 AM
Like that will ever happen.

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