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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Milton Georgia - City Of Bias.

Editorial by Tim Enloe;
Accessmilton.com


As a boy, I can remember my parents telling me why America was so special. "It is about equal treatment" they would say, "the laws of our land apply to each citizen without bias." They also taught me how to behave with others, "Treat people the way you want to be treated. If you offer respect, then respect will come to you." I wonder where this belief system has gone today...especially in my hometown of Milton, Georgia.

When word came to me about unincorporated North Fulton becoming a city, it excited me. "Local Control! Better Services!" was the buzz. I took the bait like many others and voted proudly to make the area where I was raised the new city of Milton, Georgia. With high hopes, I encouraged others to do the same and even ran for one of the council positions in the hopes of giving back to an area that had given so much to me.

After the election of our first city council and with my being a lesser choice, I still remained active with the goal of making Milton the best city in the state. From donating equipment and food to our fire and police departments, to being a Milton Round Up Volunteer, to creating social events that not only helped to support local businesses, but also aimed at giving back – I pressed forward. I even chose not to pursue legal action against the city after they stole Accessmilton.com’s horse logo. I did all of this with the focus of making our city the epitome of perfection.

Over the last three years, however, my positive focus and passions have truly waned. The cause is quite simple - double standards and unequal treatment. City Councils, both past and present, have chosen to support this ideology instead of fix it.

With any accusation, one needs examples and proof. Unfortunately, I have plenty to share. Here are but a few:

Cowart Road

First up comes the story of Cowart Road; a city owned and tax payer funded street. Located off of Providence Road next to Summit Hill Elementary, this public road harbors two large barriers about a quarter mile in that keeps any traffic from continuing north to Brittle, Summit, Redd, and Bethany Roads. With traffic woes a common topic and connectivity being encouraged, one would think all public roads would provide both commuters and residents full access.

While some would argue that Cowart is blocked due to a portion of it being gravel and school traffic, the argument holds little weight due to their close neighbor to the West. Wood Road residents worked diligently to close and privatize their street. When all was said and done, they lost the battle. They now have a new neighbor as well…an elementary school by the name of Birmingham Falls. However, I doubt any barrier will be constructed. If school location is the prime reason, then all side roads leading to a school should be barricaded, correct? Also, all Milton residents pay for our roads; be it gravel or paved. With that, shouldn't all residents have full access?

When Public Safety Director (and now City Manager) Chris Lagerbloom was questioned about the blockade, he replied “I see no reason to get heartburn over that road.” Interesting...then the impediment of any other city street will keep Rolaids away as well, right? I look forward to seeing barriers on Bethany Road then. To read up more about Cowart road, click on the following link:
http://www.accessmilton.com/CowartRoad.php.

Noise

According to dictionary.com, the first definition of the word "noise" is "1. noun - sound, esp. of a loud, harsh, or confused kind." A simple, all encompassing definition...except for the City of Milton.

You might remember the on going feud between the Bethany Creek subdivision and Montana's Bar and Grill; both within city limits. The argument spawned from noise generated from rock bands and an audio system in the restaurant.
Residents complained of disquiet past 11pm and vibrations that could be felt within homes. After numerous city meetings on the topic, the council took it upon themselves to take a "field trip" to Montana's with the hopes of rectifying the situation. Eventually, the proprietor of Montana's had to spend almost $100k in sound proofing equipment to calm the masses.

It should be noted, by the way, that the shopping center where Montana's is located was built before the Bethany Creek subdivision...

Which brings us now to the arrival of the "new" Milton High School which opened in the Fall of 2005. Built as a result of the Fulton County Board of Education's lack of planning and foresight, seven long time families would eventually lose their homes to the $100 million dollar behemoth.

Various concerns were voiced from local residents to bus drivers to police, but the BOE refused to be swayed.

Since that time, surrounding residents are exposed to constant noise, speeding, and trash on a regular basis. From as early as 7:30am to as late as 11pm, homeowners are the unlucky recipients of amplified mics, drums, and full fledged bands throughout the seven day week. In some cases, the noise and vibrations remain constant for over a 13 hour period; forcing citizens to flee their homes for the day. Loud, booming car stereos going to and from are also common place.

With exception of one small meeting where Milton Principal Ron Tesch defended his school by stating “I don’t want to have the Milton Marching Mimes”, no action or "field trips" have been taken. It should be noted, by the way, that the "new" Milton High School was built after the majority of homes in the area...

Speed Enforcement

Speeding is a common problem throughout Milton. From subdivision to open road neighborhood; no one is immune.

Bethany Road where I have lived for 32 plus years handles 4500 cars a day with speeds being common in the 60mph range. Residents of Bethany even petitioned Fulton County before the City took over to lower the speed limits and enforce them.

In knowing these facts, I took it upon myself to research the issue. In January of '09, I made a presentation to the City Council and others offering up my findings as well as suggestions. Hopefully, some lives could be saved. Citizen testimony was also included to share experiences and concerns.

While I never expected all options to be implemented, I was hoping for a few. Not one was activated even though zero tax dollars would have been spent.

When May rolled around, I came to an article in The Milton Herald titled "Council Considers Traffic Calming". It stated that "the highest priority is in Crooked Creek on Club Creek Drive due to the number of speeders and the rate at which they speed." I was taken a back. While I hold nothing but respect for my Crooked Creek neighbors and wish them equal safety, why were they shoved to the front of the line? Crooked Creek was developed in the late 90's; many years later than the majority of dwellings in the open road neighborhoods of Milton which experience far more traffic and far more speeders. In 2009 alone, we have had two fatalities within our open road neighborhoods. There have been no fatalities on Club Creek Drive.

I would later hear from both council and staff that the company they hired that did the study had a certain "four prong test" that omitted residents who do not reside in subdivisions. Not one council member found error; not one council member stood up and demanded data that would represent all residents, yet all would end up paying the bill.

Both Club Creek Drive and Bethany Road are city owned and taxpayer funded streets.

In Conclusion

America was founded on the belief of equal treatment under the law. If that is the case, what has happened to our Milton? Why are such blatant double standards and hypocrisy supported by our elected neighbors?

We can be that shinning city on the hill. All we have to do is make sure our laws apply to all evenly. If not, expect a drastic change over the next few years as those who receive such bias wash their hands of their Milton residency. When that happens, the advantage of what we are today will be lost forever.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tim,

Time to start looking into Mt. Airy, NC.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, an police officer I know was assigned to work Club Creek Drive to slow down speeders. After the first three days, he told me he had not given out a ticket or warning to one single driver who did not live in Crooked Creek. Gating Crooked Creek will not necessarily slow down drivers, but it might make them easier to find.

Anonymous said...

What a disappointment. The city was formed based on the promise of "doing government differently." Look at the AJC front page today. The city's ditching the company that competes yearly for the contract to provide non-safety services to put in place "traditiional government," as the mayor was quoted. Johns Creek and Sandy Springs are doing just fine. Milton will not be able to afford bureaucratic govt, its high employee costs, defined benefit plans, etc. Can we disolve this city before it files for bankrupcy??

Anonymous said...

Wah! Wah! Wah! A lot of missing data here to truely back up whats being said......

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with above poster. Does CH2M Hill really "compete?" It seems to me they are more akin to a sole source provider.

Anonymous said...

Milton High School is a NATIONAL School of Excellence which helps our property values! Your description of noise is a gross exxageration and what little noise we hear from our nearby home is worth it for good education for our children and good real estate values.

Tim Enloe said...

Milton high school could still have been a "national school of excellence" had the BOE done the right thing and knocked down the old location and rebuilt the same school there.

Funny, in knowning who you are, I doubt you would have been ok if the gov't kicked you out of your home due to their lack of planning.

Regarding noise, the high school is way too loud. If it wasn't, I wouldn't hear it one road over on the nine acres that my family owns.

Once again, you are ignorant about the facts and truths. Once again, you are not objective. Once again, you fear me.

Tim Enloe
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

Nothing is fair in life. A community just needs to keep trying. This will only get worse as the population of our world explodes. Too many people, too close together.

But how could you live in your home for 32 years? You are not that old. Do you still live in your parents home?

Tim Enloe said...

Good question. I have lived here for 32 years. My family moved here in 1978 from Dunwoody. My mother still owns the home that I was raised in. My wife and I purchased a home right down from her a few years back.

Tim Enloe
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

Tim,

Though I do not know you very well, I have always had a lot of respect for you and your passion for our community. Because of this, I am saddened to see your enthusiasm souring.

Regarding Cogburn Road and the Montana's noise issues, I believe you are completely correct. By leaving Cogburn Road blocked and not doing the same to Wood Road leaves the Council in a position looking like they are playing favorites. I think they could go a long way in earning credibility by removing the blockage. I thought the whole Montana's noise issue was ridiculous and another waste of precious City Council time. In their defense however, the surrounding subdivisions are constituents and voters and the Council members are elected officials, so their involvement was guaranteed just like the City of Atlanta had to intervene into the Chastain Park concert noise twenty years ago.

Your post had a topic subject of biasness by the City Council, so I believe your comment about Milton High School and their noise is unfair. I think we are all well aware that the City Council had nothing to do with putting Milton High School at its current location and that this decision was made under the authority of the Fulton County Board of Education. In addition, the site selection for the High School was made before the City of Milton was formed. You noted the BOE as the decision maker, but there is an implication that the City is somehow implicit in the selection.

Regarding speeding, I would like for Chris and the City to let us know what the speeding priorities are for the Police Department. It shouldn't matter to any resident of Milton whether they have been here for thirty years or just moved here, what should matter is that the Police are putting resources into the highest problem areas. I cannot imagine that Crooked Creek has the highest speeding problem in the City since it is apparent to most of us that the speeding issues are on the main arteries of Birmingham Hwy., Providence Road, Hopewell Road and Freemanville Road. I hope that you agree that our City and our Public Safety should not become a conflict of Open Road citizens vs. subdivision citizens and that quantifiable data provided by the Police Dept. should drive the public safety priorities. This is an opportunity for Chris and the Police Dept. to tell the community what the priorities are and why and what the Dept. plans to do to police the problem.

Anonymous said...

Where is the road block on Cogburn Road?

Anonymous said...

My apologies, Cowart Road is blocked.

Skewer me lightly please.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Tim, you asked what has happened to OUR Milton. It never was our Milton, it's a city designed and run by outsiders who moved here. Try as hard as you may, you'll never be allowed in the "click" because you're a "homer" and only tolerated by the group in charge.

I've lived here 58 years and seem many changes. However, creating a city tops the list and was the worst change ever.

Anonymous said...

This city is a joke. No parks or rec for kids, Birmingham Village is a disaster of a development with businesses pulling out and no end in sight. We need new city council that will enable this area to prosper.

Anonymous said...

This iReport article offers a slightly different perspective on the impact of advocating a police state for Milton.