Courtesy Maggie Lee / Beacon Media
With Friends Like Rep. Ed Lindsey, Who Needs Enemies?
Talk about teamwork.
He's the only Republican House member that represents part of Atlanta.
He got elevated to Majority Whip in January, with the enthusiastic support of Speaker Pro-Tem Jan Jones (R- Milton).
But now Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Buckhead) is poised to single-handedly sink the hopes for Milton County -- at least in the 2010 General Assembly.
A hearing in an obscure committee attracted north Fulton's state legislative heavyweights, only to divide them in a tight vote on the idea of recreating Milton County.
By 9-7, the House State Planning and Community Affairs Committee passed a resolution that would trigger a statewide referendum on the question of reconstituting old counties.
That's a long way from the two-thirds super majority Jones needs to get the resolution through the House.
The committee has only 14 members; but using their privileges as House officers, Jones and Lindsey also voted. On opposite sides of the House Resolution 21, that is.
The two-hour hearing began with Jones and Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) again outlining their vision of Milton County: a place governed more efficiently than Fulton County, saving Fulton taxpayers millions of wasted dollars in the long run.
LINDSEY'S PLAN TO STRANGLE THE NEW COUNTY
The substantive opposition to Milton County actually came in the form of a surprise amendment from Lindsey.
HR21 envisions the entire state voting on a constitutional amendment that would allow for the recreation of former counties. If the amendment carries statewide, then North Fulton voters would be required to approve Milton County before it could be chartered. But Lindsey said all of Fulton County should have to approve it -- not just potential new Milton county residents. Lindsey's amendment to HR21 would have likely proved a death knell for the new county's hopes. However, Lindsey's bid failed.
FULTON COUNTY GOP FISSURES
In another shocker, Fulton County Republican Party official Brad Carver, speaking on the behalf of the Buckhead Coalition and Cousins Properties, testified against the new county, furthering the divide in the North-South Fulton County GOP camp. Carver, who is expected to run for Fulton County Republican Party Chairman when incumbent Shawn Hanley leaves the post, is sure to draw North Fulton GOP opposition from Roger Bonds, a party leader from Milton. Bonds has a better than two to one edge in members.
FEDERAL DOJ MAY STRIKE IT DOWN, ANYWAY
In any case, it's not clear that the federal Department of Justice would allow a Milton-only vote given the racial demographics; excluding south Fulton from the ballot box approval process is also apparently contrary to state code.
Lindsey's amendment didn’t carry despite the alleged legal problems with the HR21's current language.
The Buckhead legislator plans to reintroduce the amendment on the House floor. His language may doom Milton independence, as the question would go before the entire population of Fulton south of Sandy Springs.
Jones' next task is to guide the bill through the Rules Committee for a place on the House debate calendar. Then she's got to marshal two-thirds of the vote -- without her Majority Whip -- to pass the resolution.
With friends like Lindsey on your leadership team, who needs enemies?
The noose around Milton's neck is tightening -- and fast.
Many thanks to Christopher Bloor for bringing this story to our attention.