Before we get started, I should point out that I stole this post's title from Bill Harris's hilarious post "The Road to Shreveport Is Paved With Suck", an article about his family's annual trip to Louisiana to visit his wife's family. At the time, it was hosted on GoneGold.com, but Gone Gold has since evaporated. I tried looking at Bill's personal site, Dubious Quality, but alas, I could not find it. Perhaps if we all email him, he'll post it again. On that note, happy birthday to Bill's son Eli, who has just completed an upgrade to version 5.0.
One tick after midnight on December 1st, 2006 the missus and I will no longer live in unincorporated Fulton County, GA and will instead live in the newly formed town of Milton. In the July 18th elections, in which a) about 4 people showed up and b) 3 of them did not vote for Ralph Reed, a referendum was voted on to further carve up Fulton County and make part of it, the part we live in, the city of Milton. Linda is not happy.
Allow me to explain. When we first started researching where in Atlanta we wanted to live, she came upon the glorious town of Alpharetta. The houses looked so nice, there were parks and shopping places, and a general rosy sense of goodwill and peace on Earth. When we visited the area, to determine if we wanted to live here, we found that the streets of Alpharetta were paved with gold, that bluebirds sang and rainbows cascaded from on high. OK, that's an exaggeration, but we did very much like the town and wanted to live in it. How fortuitous that when we found a house, we found one in Alpharetta. Or did we? Bum-bum-bum!
As it turns out, we did not. We found a house in unincorporated Fulton County that just happened to be close enough to Alpharetta to have Alpharetta as the city for postal purposes. Note I said postal purposes. For any and all other governmental services we're either serviced by the county or the state. No city government for us. This idea apparantly bothered people so they rallied together to get our little neck of the woods made into a city, the city of Milton.
According to the referendum's supporters, Fulton County sucks and because it's so damn long (70+ miles long) there's no guarantee that the money collected by taxes in our area is actually spent in our area. Instead, there's a high chance that it's spent in South Fulton county, a noticeably less affluent area. Add to this the comments made after the referendum was passed that the Republicans in our neck of the woods were annoyed with being constantly ignored by the mostly Democratic members of the county government and my bullshitometer starts blaring.
Linda was opposed to this new city from the get-go, mostly because of the name, a fact that I mock her about at any given opportunity. According to her, no one will know about the city of Milton, but people know what Alpharetta is, and associate it with nice houses, so a name change will only bring our property values down. I find this reasoning somewhat flawed as she forgets the fact that all of the time we lived in Ashburn, our property values only went up and for most of that time, there was a step in the directions to our house that directed travelers to "Take a left at the burned out bank." When we first moved to Ashburn, no one knew where it was. When we left, maybe 3 people knew where it was, and 2 of them (us) were leaving, yet we sold our house for more than double what we paid for. It won't take time for people to learn that we live in a nice place, and there are plenty of nice places around us. Plus, Milton is already talked about as a "rural" area and rural = land, which should attract some cashola.
Her other reason for not wanting us to become Milton, and I agree with her on this one, was that the referendum supporters never gave a good reason for turning us into a new city. Basically, their talking points were something like "Fulton County sucks" and "If we're our own city, you'll have a local government to represent you." My take on this is that a) I haven't seen anything indicating that Fulton County is any worse or better than any other county I've lived in since emerging on this fine planet and b) just because you have a local government to represent you, it doesn't mean it's going to be any good. The city government may end up being just as useless and impotent as the county government. In fact, me being a Democrat, I'd say we just took a step backwards. I also find it odd that this was a push from Republicans, which has traditionally been the party of less, not more, government. Oh well, I guess if you don't like how things are done, rather than try and mobilize voters and getting your own people elected, you can just create your own layer of government to deal with things. If this new government starts making shitty decisions I'm going to become my own town of Brandonia Heights, population 4.
Add to this the fact that once the county isn't on the hook to provide us with services like police and fire protection, we'll all have to pay for it. And how do you think they'll do that? Certainly not with bake sales and raffles, but with higher taxes. I guess it's ok to spend more money on taxes as long as that money isn't going to those filthy, filthy poor people. Curse them and their shitty roads! Personally, I hope to never use the services of either the police or the fire brigade so I was fine with paying less for them to deal with my neighbors to the south.
In the long run, I'm sure it won't make much of a difference to us, other than having to get new address labels and checks, something that also bothers Linda to no end. Sure, our taxes will go up, but I'm sure they would have gone up for something else at some point anyway. What this does do is give me the opportunity to do something I've always wanted to do, namely run for public office. This new town is going to need someone to run it and I'm just the man to do it. I'm thinking Sherrif, but only if I can beat people up in the thoroughfare and/or shoot them. I'm also thinking of running for the office of Commisioner of Personal Transportation. People in my neighborhood use golf carts to get around the neighborhood, despite the fact that you can walk from one end of the development to the other in less than 20 minutes. My first act as Commissioner would be to ban all golf carts for personal, non-golfing use. Then we'll see how they like their new government. Granted this would be an entirely new appointment, of my own creation, but as this whole exercise has shown us, if your government isn't doing what you want it to do, simply create a new level and use it to get things done. My slogan can be "Cackowski-Schnell for Commissioner, Because You Need a Democrat Somewhere Around Here". Remember, a vote for Cackowsk-Schnell is a vote for sausage!