There was one instant side effect, it seems, to the controversy over Columbia County commissioners wanting to allow Fatz Caf in Evans to temporarily bypass county rules and use a gravel parking lot.
Monterrey Mexican Restaurant had to pave its gravel lot.
It seems that a couple of years ago, when the Evans restaurant expanded, commissioners quietly granted the owners a similar temporary exemption to the law requiring paved parking. Then everybody apparently forgot about it.
Lo and behold, when the Fatz folks asked for a "hardship" exemption to the paving ordinance, somebody finally noticed that Monterrey had been allowed to turn "temporary" into "semi-permanent."
Within a few days, the overflow parking lot at the restaurant was turned into asphalt-covered impervious surface (which probably means more money for the rain tax -- a bonus!).
Commissioners are likely to approve the Fatz variance on a 3-2. Part of the justification, as floated by some commissioners, is that customers at the popular eatery are having to park at the medical plaza and walk across Belair Road to get to Fatz, which a dangerous hardship -- for the pedestrians.
Maybe this would be a good time to remind them that the school system is building a new elementary campus on Mullikin Road in Evans, near Riverside Middle School, and that children from multiple subdivisions will soon be swarming down the sides of the narrow, two-lane street. Think that's enough of a dangerous "hardship" to earn at least a bike path?
Heck, we'll even settle for gravel. Temporarily.
A couple of days ago I recounted a confusing exchange with Gov. Sonny Perdue's office regarding whether the governor was endorsing the re-election of state Sen. Joey Brush, as Brush had been saying.
All I wanted was a straight answer from the governor, yes or no. Language in previous comments left it very unclear whether Perdue was, in fact, recommending Brush for re-election in a contested Republican primary, or simply expressing appreciation for Brush's efforts in the state Senate.
The governor's deputy communications director, Derrick Dickey, didn't help matters much when he responded to the direct question with "I will allow you and Sen. Brush room to interpret my words as you wish."
Of course, I should have known better than to ask for a simple "yes" or "no" from either a politician or his PR flack.
Nonetheless, Brush maintains there's no wiggle-room -- and has a solid piece of evidence to back it up. "I want you to be 'clear' where the governor stands," Brush wrote Thursday in a note attached to a copy of an invitation to a fund-raiser reception set for Wednesday morning in Atlanta.
Scripted boldly across the top are the words, "You are cordially invited to a reception hosted by Governor Sonny Perdue in honor of Senator Joey Brush." Included in the list of hosts are all members of the Columbia County legislative delegation: state Sen. Don Cheeks and state Reps. Ben Harbin, Barry Fleming and Sue Burmeister.
The list of supporters also includes state Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson, and Perdue's Senate floor leaders Preston Smith and Daniel Lee, and assistant floor leader David Schafer.
Tickets to the soiree at the Commerce Club start at $250 each, rising to $1,000 for hosts and $2,000 for sponsors.
Dickey confirms the governor will be there. So there should no longer be any doubt that Sonny Perdue supports the re-election of Joey Brush.
But couldn't he have just made it simpler by coming out and saying that to start with?
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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