Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Who are these People

So the original Milton County wants to secede from Fulton County and it is because of racial issues? I don't think so. This article implies that the secession minded citizens are southerners still obsessed with separating themselves from blacks. However, 65% of the residents of the soon to be Milton County are transplanted northerners at some of the most "diversity minded" firms in the US.

The north county residents come from all cultures. They are not rednecks with rebel flags in their yards. They are doctors, lawyers, middle managers, pro sports athletes, teachers, bartenders, UPS drivers, and most of the icons of the Atlanta music scene. A diverse and multicultural mix of classes, cultures, and races with one common issue. They don't feel their county tax dollars are providing them with much in the way of county services.

The city of Atlanta politicians created this problem. They allowed county and city tax dollars to be used for vote buying schemes that bought their citizen's votes, but didn't protect their citizens quality of life. Verizon, Nortel, UPS, and other companies did not move into downtown Atlanta when they located their corporations to Atlanta. The crime level was too high and the property taxes levied on City of Atlanta businesses too obscene. And none of the politicians were seriously addressing these issues. Yet, the area is a major hub for transportation, with moderate climates, a relatively low cost of living and an ideal location for multi-national businesses.

The city of Atlanta tried to woo these companies to locate in the downtown and midtown areas, but they were offered little if any beneficial reasons to do so. The city's infrastructure is falling apart with little or no attempt at repair (other than to call for the federal government to fix it), the fire and police departments are underfunded and inadequate, there is little affordable land suitable for housing, and greenspace is disappearing. These companies, quite likely, decided that they didn't want to move to Atlanta proper to become cash cow substitutes for the feds.

These companies relocated to unincorporated northern Fulton County where they were welcomed with tax breaks, lower land costs, and plenty of open vistas to develop mixed use developments of housing, shopping and industry. And the workers followed. Now some in the county government, acting in concert with city of Atlanta politicians, are making noises about taxes on these companies and their workers to fund projects for downtown Atlanta. Not to fix the decrepit infrastructure, but for discretionary projects that solve none of the serious problems.

Miltonites are rightly saying "no, thanks." And not because of racism as this article implies. They are fighting to have their tax dollars invested in the northern part of the county, preventing it from the decay that is now plaguing the city of Atlanta. They have seen this future and they want no part of it.

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