25 June 2018

A Moment from MB: Recent Developments at TPC; the Word Around Town - Atty Johnson's Greatest Hits

Your Source for the REAL Story

Hello, friends, and welcome back to The Chronicles - Your Source for the REAL Story.

And what exactly is the "real story"? Good question. Well, that can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different folks. In some respects, it'd really be more what you might see at one of the other local papers, and we've got some good ones. The Covington News, current legal organ of the home county, and the Newton Citizen, are both two publications that are going to give you a pretty good rundown of the regular, everyday local news, including crime & punishment, local business news, etc.

The East Metro Times, a monthly circulation, and a good one at that, has really developed a niche as a "good news" source of information & tends to concentrate on local businesses & professionals sharing their knowledge & wisdom, good health tips, community events & information, etc.

So where does that leave us, TPC? Well, unlike any of the previously mentioned publications, we tend to really just do our own thing. In terms of local news, it's more in the realm of "real politic" & I as the local political writer & editor tend to specifically follow a few key stories at a time. Usually these are in the realm of taxes & keeping an eye on those who serve as public servants & making sure they are doing the right things & doing things right. Also, in a pure, unadulterated political junkie way, I follow Georgia politics in an H.S. Thompsian manner.

The biggest asset of this publication that's been one of my true passions for so many years is fairly recent thing - our Contributing Writer staff:

- Kayla Leasure, Asst. Ed.
Perrin Lovett
- Ellis Millsaps
Ms. Bess Tuggle

They have facilitated an ascension for this paper which has truly created a situation of the sum being greater than the parts. Each has a true talent & a contribution level that has taken The Chronicles to a place it could never be without them. I am humbled, and so grateful, that they've been willing to become a part of Team TPC.

With Kayla and the "Corner" talking about local happenings & dining, Perrin Lovett as the C.F. Floyd Feature Writer of National Affairs, Ellis, AKA, "Da," talking about all sorts of stuff & Bess with her real-life, human interest stories, it's really a great mix. 

Now for the big news!

Thursday, June 21st, marked the first-ever publishing of the print edition of The Piedmont Chronicles. Volume 1, Number 1 - On Newsstands Now! Also, you can reach out to me, or Assistant Editor Kayla Leasure, to get a copy directly or to sign up for a subscription & delivery plan. 25 cents for a copy, or a dollar a week for delivery. Call 678.712.8652, or email: ThePiedmontChronicles@gmail.com

As I mentioned on the front page of our inaugural print edition, it's been a dream of mine since I was a boy to be the publisher of the legal organ of our great, beloved home county. The Law says we have to run a weekly print circulation for two years to be eligible to be a candidate for that all-too-important position. So, now, the candle is lit, and it's very exciting. 

The Word Around Town

Attorney Phil Johnson's Greatest Hits

As reported by a few publications, the city of Covington has recently denied a rezoning request for a particular tract of land, owned by Freddy Neely, in which Phil was ivolved to facilitate said zoning change for a large, multifamily development. Many folks were not thrilled about the prospect of such a large development & cheered the decision. In addition, the city had previously instituted a 60-day moratorium to be able to revisit & tweak their ordinances in preparation for the apparent incoming onslaught of growth & new development, and that, in my estimation, was a great move by this forward-thing city council we are fortunate to have.

But going back to Phil, he's kind of an easy target for derision in our community. Now don't get me wrong, he's got his fans, supporters & cheerleaders, but like many of us, he's got a good number of detractors & "haters."

Before I get into the list, let me just say this: I like Phil. He's a cool dude. Great conversationalist, obviously smart as hell. Personally, I like him. He's just one of those special guys. Always reminds me of "A Man in Full," the genius work from the recently departed Tom Wolfe (RIP). Especially the part about the guy the main character remembers reading about - (paraphrasing) - a man, from humble & hardscrabble origins, who had it all; lost it all; had it all again; lost it all again, etc.  

The old fella has built it back up pretty good, hasn't he?

Another gripe by many in & around the home city & county is how Phil may have been as responsible as anyone for the "Great Selling Out of Newton Co." back in the late 90s & early aughts. Well, if you're going to pick one, I might have to vote for Hubert Huberto White, but really the biggest blame has to be laid on the feet of the multiple editions of the Newton Co. BOC during that time (so, again, Hubert).

Oh well, regardless, here's some of the best of the best of Phil:

- the alleged driving force of the Mosque deal out in the western part of Newton. Once again representing land owner Freddy Neely in a situation that left many scratching their heads as how it could've gone completely under the radar until former Newton BOC Chair Keith Ellis took it upon himself to break the story to the Newton Citizen.

       - Speaking of Freddy Neely, it is my understanding that Phil, as his legal representation, was integrally involved with getting the city to basically throw out most of the specific, detailed ordinance in the by-pass corridor that several other businesses had to follow when it came to the development of Freddy's distilled-spirit behemoth - Nitro 2 Go.

- he was the attorney involved in the infamous Bad News Bear Creek deal which saw Newton Co. pay approx. 1 & 1/2 million bucks for some land only to eventually quit-claim it back to the original landowners.

- and there are others, some maybe true, going back to the 1980s. But, let's not forget this one: 

- being singularly responsible - and Phil will tell you this - for bringing Wm Thomas Craig, Esq. to Newton Co. in 1975.

Atty Phil Johnson, folks! The gift that keeps on giving...

Well alright! That'll do it for this go-round.

In Liberty,