Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Analyzing Numbers plus

I pulled the details from the primary election as soon as they were available after the election and did a mini-analysis. They ran fairly true to form for most of the past primary elections as to which areas turned out, although Peachtree City usually has a higher turnout.

One of the things I think we had working this election cycle was the fact that so many of the folks running were friends and had a very strong political machine. A large percentage have a lot of family in the county. They grew up here and have roots. They have school friends, family friends and they all stuck together. If I were in their shoes I'd have run my campaign pretty much the same way so don't take that as a criticism, it's just a fact.

In any election there's a ton of factors that factor into the outcome. I'm sure that some people weren't enthusiastic about the candidates. I just happen to think more flat out didn't care. It would be interesting to do a real survey to see how it actually broke down... I can speculate and so can others, but we don't really have any facts to back up any assertion we might make.

Run-off elections are lower typically and I expected them to be lower, but you have to admit 10% is pretty pathetic.

When Horgan won initially there were four or five candidates running. I think it was two Republicans and three Democrats. Voter turnout, if I'm remembering correctly, was 12%. Could have been a bit higher, numbers have never been my forte although I can remember the phone number we had when I was in the fourth grade for some reason! It was a special election and was held at an off-time, but it wasn't summer vacation time. The kids were in school. No excuses on that turnout.

Some of my candidates won, some lost. Even with a 90% turnout the outcome could have been the same. I don't know that it would have made a bit of difference, although it might have. I just think it's sad that good, bad or ugly candidates, so many were ignorant of who was running. This past weekend I talked to one person and my husband talked to another who didn't even know there was a run-off. If we can run across two people, how many others were there?

Time will tell whether my view of the future is going to be right or wrong. I've watched this cycle in other places, just seems so familiar. My parents lived in Clayton County (Morrow) when it was "Delta country".

My grandmother (who ultimately ended up in Tyrone), lived through Ben Hill's decline and the East Point decline.

I had good family friends who lived in the Old National Hwy. area when it was rural.

I know the circumstances are somewhat different, but the change from a Peachtree City / Tyrone type area to the current is clear. I do think there's a cycle.

My son lives in Tucker. It seems to possibly be moving toward a higher cycle after going into an apathy slump.

I haven't been over there recently but the area around Zoo went down and now has become a desirable area (or so my friends are telling me).

I think we have a long ways to go and maybe people will open their eyes, get involved and we'll stay the shining jewel of Georgia. Over the years though I've been right-on the money when I've made my predictions regarding the best time to move from areas. I hope I'm wrong this time, I hope that being closer to this situation is clouding my vision. I love this county, I love the beauty, the people and what we have. My son is in his 30's and we moved here when he was going into the first grade... I've been here a long time and seen many changes.

I hope people will wake up, get involved, let their voices be heard. I know the level of involvement we used to have. We've had good people in office, dull people in office and downright bad people in office over the years.

Change is inevitable. I just think with good stewardship we can avoid some of the pitfalls. We can still be the shining star. I don't happen to agree with a large chunk of what's happening now and firmly believe we're headed in the wrong direction. I don't expect everyone to see eye-to-eye with me, but if people are involved, even when they have different views, it sure does make it harder for the wrong kind of things to slip through.

I think I've jumped from one topic to another this go around, not even sure if it flows at all. Just rambling from one subject to the next. It's a blog. I guess I can get away with it .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is your blog, and you can get away with jumping around.
No question, Fayette County is much different than it was 26 years ago when you first moved here.

However, before you write it off, please look internally. You (and your gracefully aging peers that make up a greater and greater portion of our population) must recognize that you are changing as well.

The county has grown and grown, but the growth has generally been productive. The schools are still the best in the state. No other metro system and no other statewide system even close to our size has had every school meet AYP.

We still have the lowest crime rates in the metro area. I know that you have been skeptical of crime statistics in the past, but I encourage you to resist conspiracy theories. The plain and simple fact is that Peachtree City and Fayetteville have the two lowest crime rates of all metro (20 county area) communities within their size range. A recent article from the local trash paper tried to take a negative tone concerning open retail space in the county, but even in that article, it was clear that Fayette is doing a better job filling old retail and office than its metro peers. Crime in Fayetteville has actually been on a steady decline as the city's excellent police force has learned how to deal with the vast retail area in/near the Pavilion.

A couple things we could do better:

We do need more white collar job centers, but that is a sign of changing economic tides, not ill planning by Fayette County leaders in particular. Over the past few years it has become less and less desirable to commute from bedroom counties to centralized job centers. Traffic and fuel prices have led to more people wanting to live closer to their jobs and big city amenities (hence the up and coming Grant Park and downtown college park areas that you mentioned).

Also, we need more middle income housing developments. The Uber-luxury developments that flooded the county at the apex of the unsustainable housing bubble have been a complete failure. Such luxury developments helped drive the traditional Fayette middle-income family to other, more affordable areas. Plus, the luxury homes haven't really sold. Many have failed.

So... exactly what--besides not-unprecedented low turnout in a recent local election--leads you to believe that it is time for your to move on?

While I am in no way of accusing you of harboring any bigoted feelings, the sentiments you expressed in your last blog seemed to echo and look back on the traditional 'white flight' mentality. One change we have experienced is that Fayette has become more appealing to middle class minority families. It's not nearly as white as it once was--which is a good thing.

Perhaps you are simply getting older and looking for a change of scenery. Fayette was a great place to raise a kid, but is it a great place to retire? I have members of family who think so, but maybe you would be more comfortable elsewhere.

All I am saying is that Fayette is still one of the best places to live in metro atlanta. It is not immune to growing pains, but I can only see things getting better. The halfway decent local paper ran stories today about PTC courting the Atlanta Christian College and the ongoing work at Fayetteville's 'Villages at La Fayette" project.

Our leaders are good people. They are moving us in the right direction. I have the utmost confidence in Ken Steele. I respect and believe in Jack Smith (although, I know that you would disagree on the latter of the two).
I respect that you are concerned about our community and I would respectfully ask that you ask your friends who are politically active to support the school SPLOST. If we want to be the best, we have to invest.
Now, take a deep breath and relax.