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Allen criticized - for courtesy

Posted: February 5, 2012 - 12:00am  |  Updated: February 6, 2012 - 9:16am

It’s true: No good deed goes unpunished.

Trey Allen needs to get a T-shirt with that on it.

This past week, Damon Cline announced that he planned to run against Allen in the District 2 County Commission race because he’s still worked up about the Magnolia Trace project. A couple of days later, Allen let Cline know that because of redistricting, Cline won’t be in his district any more.

If he’d been thinking politically, Allen would have zipped his lip and let Cline go on raising money and scaring off other potential contestants – until Cline or someone else figured out he was in the wrong district. Yet Allen did Cline the courtesy of alerting him, and for that he got criticized. Huh?

Predictably, the conspiracy crowd sees yet another phantom to chase, alleging the county commission had “gerrymandered” Magnolia Trace out of District 2.

Those commissioners must not only be really smart, but they must have one heckuva crystal ball to plan to alter the area where a controversy would take place months later.

Here’s reality. County commission and school board districts are redrawn every 10 years based on the U.S. Census. The county’s population grew by some 35,000 people from 2000 to the 2010 census, so all four county districts had to be redrawn to compensate.

Former County Administrator Steve Szablewski, working with the county’s Board of Elections and GIS Department, redrew the maps and submitted two options to Commission Chairman Ron Cross on May 10, 2011. (The Magnolia Trace site wasn’t purchased by the developer until four months later.)

The only difference between the two options was in one precinct near Oakley-Pirkle Road – nowhere near Magnolia Trace. Commissioners and school board members gave “consensus” approval to Option B in early summer. The new maps now await legislative approval and the OK of the U.S. Justice Department.

If you’d like to see the new map, just look inside the county’s 2012 calendars printed last fall. Inside the cover, a “New County Districts” map clearly shows District 2 ending at Washington Road – south of all things Magnolia Trace.


Show the money

A week ago, I listed the money Republicans had reported raising in their quest to challenge U.S. Rep. John Barrow in the newly drawn 12th District.

One of those four Republicans, Maria Sheffield, didn’t file a report because she had decided not to do any fundraising during the Christmas holidays.

On Thursday, her camp sent out a press release to say, “We will announce $150,000 cash on hand on the March 31 finance report.”

Add that to the amount the other three GOP candidates reported (Rick Allen, $270,000; Lee Anderson, $138,000; and Wright McCleod, $130,000) and you get $688,000 – or about $200,000 less than Barrow now says he’s raised so far.


(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimes online.com, or call 707--863-6165, extension 106. Follow at twitter.com/

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Comments (3)

Little Lamb


I did not get any comments last week about my proposal that the Columbia Co. Commission pass a resolution saying that for 2012, all commission district residency requirements are waived. The winners can serve out the entire term, and the waiver policy will be reviewed every two years.

Barry Paschal

Not sure if that's legal

I'll have to research to see if that's legal. Because it would affect specific voters, it likely would not be constitutional (Georgia constitution). It also probably couldn't be enacted by commissioners unless it went to a referendum, like the one that created the countywide elected chairman. It also would require justice department approval.

Little Lamb


Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. You have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet; and you have to enact a law to find out whether it is constitutional.

Riverman suggested that Damon Cline rent a cottage in District 2 and declare that to be his official residence. That has been done before with varying degrees of success.