30 June 2021

Delving Into The Numbers -- City of Covington's HUGE Budget Increase

 By: MB McCart, Ed. 

The City of Covington will be seeing the largest budget increase in its 199-yr history as the city council recently approved the FY 2021-22 budget in the amount of $142 million. 

This represents a $14 million increase over the previous year & corresponds to an 11% increase in the size & scope of government here in the home city. 

Without getting into the irony of how many in the We Took Back Our City crowd - the folks that ensured a major change in the makeup our city government in the most recent municipal elections - must be feeling right now, the fact remains that our city government seems to be very financially irresponsible right now & that affects all of the approx 14,000 residents that call this city home. 

So, let's get into some specifics. $14 million. That's a lot of dough. Where did these increases come from? 

- In terms of percentage growth, the gold medal is awarded to "Community Development" which saw its budget increase 44% to approx $1.3 million

- The Engineering Department saw a 16% increase

- Planning & Zoning jumped to approx $1.34 million, a 15% increase 

- Good ole HR, Human Resources, jumped 20% & is right at a cool million for the upcoming year, just edged out by...

- E911 which is seeing its budget push up to almost $4.4 million representing a 21% increase

- Upcoming capital projects & major purchases also played a major role as just over $700K was budgeted for new computers w/ another $1.45 million for vehicles

You know it's bad when the Newton Co. BOC looks good in comparison. 

Covington, Covington... 

- MBM 

28 June 2021

Gang Bangin' in Jamestown: Why So Quiet?

By: MB McCart, Ed. 

*Updated 6/30/21: see below

 I actually knew something was up Saturday evening when I personally witnessed the most police & emergency responder vehicles I think I've ever seen go zooming down Hwy 36. Traffic became backed up in the southwestern direction (heading towards Jackson), but then later it became backed up heading back towards Covington (more on that later). 

As this writer was made aware of from a direct source, there was a drive-by shooting in Jamestown Saturday evening during a community BBQ/gathering. 

A black male in a ski mask opened fire w/ a semi-automatic rifle shooting multiple folks & killing one*. 

As I mentioned this to a few different people they seemed almost incredulous considering the lack of local media attention. 

After it was confirmed, I had one person ask me if they thought the local media wasn't carrying it because "it didn't fit the narrative." 

No, I don't think so. For starters, local media doesn't carry water & push the talking points of the power elite like national legacy media. Furthermore - and just being REAL here - most shootings in the home county & city involve black-on-black crime & that's never stopped any of the other papers from not covering it. 

My best guess is this: 

Allegedly, a Sheriff's Deputy vehicle was involved in a bad automobile accident en route to Jamestown (the other traffic back-up) that was reportedly the fault of the Sheriff Deputy. 

Regardless, it is well known by many that major gang activity is occurring & actively getting worse w/in both the home city & county. 

Be carrying, TPCers - an armed society is a polite one. 


*update: the report of one fatality was erroneous 

27 June 2021

Ellis Millsaps: Uncle Al's Legacy

 It was 2007 when my son and I drove to Virginia to visit Uncle Al. Jack says it was 2007; I couldn't hit the year within five and if I did it would be a lucky guess. He can do this because it happened when he was young. I can pretty well date things that happened before 1985, the year I graduated law school, because up until that time significant events were associated with where I was and what I was doing-- what grade I was in, where I lived, who my girlfriend was-- but after that it pretty much all runs together in a middle and post middle-aged blur. I remember much of my life, but dating occurrences is often problematic.

 Uncle Al was neither of our uncle. He was the uncle of Jack’s Eastside friend Steven. He gave Jack and Steven work in his landscaping business at a time when both needed structure in their life.. Hell. he wasn't blood relative to any of us. He married Stephen's father's sister and they were divorced, but Uncle Al, as I was later to learn  personally, was a good man.

 We were visiting Uncle Al because he was dying of cancer. It wasn't on this trip northeast that the ice storm came. That was later. We took that trip to North Carolina because Jack had found a car there.. Although the meteorologists told us the blizzard was coming at three pm that Sunday, Jack didn't get his ass moving until noon.  


We found the car, negotiated a price and headed home. At three the snow started as predicted. Within minutes we could only see a few feet in front of us. We left my Prius at a truck stop in Gainesville and proceeded  in Jack’s new four wheel drive at 15 miles per hour down a solidly iced I-85. Chipper Jones did not have to rescue us, but it was four or five hours before we made it to TJ's house near Grant Park in Atlanta. There I was snowed in for two days. Fortunately there was a grocery store and a liquor store within fairly easy skating distance.

 The only thing memorable about the trip to Richmond was that on the way we stopped at a McDonald's in  small town North Carolina and were served by a beautiful girl. I mean Kate Beckinsale, Audrey Hepburn beautiful. Both of us wondered why the hell this girl had this McJob, but stern looks from my son who knows me well prevented my asking her.

 As I mentioned earlier, Uncle Al had a landscaping company, not the mow the lawn and weed eat kind but the kind where you lay sod and set out shrubbery at commercial buildings. And he had as I recall now around six or more greenhouses in which he not only grew exotic plants but several strains of excellent marijuana.

  After the last election I learned that Virginia had legalized recreational marijuana and cultivation therefor. That is what prompts this essay. Uncle Al could have got in on the ground floor.

Uncle Al died shortly after our visit but his legacy lived on because he gave us three stuffed baggies of different kinds of marijuana. Jackson ,Trent and I, the boys in the band and various guests smoked Uncle Al's legacy for what in hindsight seems like a year. I thought of it, obliquely I admit, as like the remnant of oil and flour the widow proffered Elijah when he asked for food. He blessed the oil and flour so that the remnant never ran out. I Kings 17 :16. 

- Ellis Millsaps

Ellis "Da" Millsaps is a recovering Attorney but has worn many hats over the years: father, bus boy, stand-up comedian, novelist, wiffle ball player, rock'n'roll band manager, and at one time wrote a popular and funny column for The Covington News. A Fannin Co. mountain boy originally, Mr. Millsaps now stays at the mill village of Porterdale by way of 20 years in Mansfield.

23 June 2021

TPC Check-In; State of TPC; A Moment From MB; Summer Sabbatical Soon

Greetings, TPCers & hope it's lovely out there. The rain has moved out for at least a few days & it's looking like we're going to have a few days w/ decent temps & moderate humidity. Nice! 

Well, you know, w/ so much drama in the COV it's kind of hard being the MBM, double-C, ART, but somehow, someway - I keep comin' up w/ that funky gonzo journalism every few days...I got those cultivatin' words that be captivatin' they - who - at ease - be readin' up on TPC. 

And that's how we play the game. G's Up! 

SOTPC (State of The Piedmont Chronicles)

Your Source for the REAL Story

Friends, it's been quite the thing. Despite the limited posting here lately, TPC has reached a totally new level in terms of readership & reach. April of this year become the #1 month in the 11-yr history of the ole site, obliterating the previous best from a couple of years ago by over 10K views, only to be outdone by May. June looks to be continuing the new normal. So, thanks for that.  

A Quick Moment 

Look for a new piece from Da later this week & the next edition of our Point; Counterpoint series to follow soon thereafter. 

And look for at least a piece or two related to local REAL Politick before we go on Walk-About. 

Speaking of which.... 

TPC's Summer Break will be beginning soon & will probably last at least two weeks, maybe three or so. I will be releasing a few "Past Piedmont Chronicles" during that time related mainly to local places & history w/ maybe a piece here & there from our friends Da & Perrin. 

As always, we appreciate you reading.

Your Friend, 

- MB McCart 

17 June 2021

Perrin Lovett: Giving The Gal Credit

 Hello, Piedmont! There are so many national affairs-worthy stories out there. However, I am sometimes unable to report on them here. All things considered, I suppose that’s really just as well. Maybe today’s message will stick.

Yours truly is lodged somewhere in West’s database of international media professionals. My profile is ridiculously inaccurate and there appears to be no updating it. Still, the masters of the MSM claim I just luv❤ to cover the old A&E “beat.” Odd, no? I do have a certain affection for a certain ultra-hot, super-smart, bold-as-all-heck, sweet-as-molasses A-list Hollywood actress from Israel. I also have this thing for geopolitical theory and post-modern warfare. So, I thought to cobble together what follows. It’s a little “what if” theory, sure to please.

In my last column on these digital pages - the last one that made it - I raved about Gal Gadot’s short-form documentary series, IMPACT. Specifically, I praised Episode Five, Killer Red Fox (which, again, has nothing to do with Fred Sanford). I linked to the show as presented on gorgeous Gal’s official YouTube channel. Now, as of drafting Sunday, it and the whole series are gone.

GG/YT/❤❤. (Yeah, I subscribed).

I have no idea what this alleged copyright thing with Fox is. I cannot recall any included material that came from a Fox camera, but who knows? Maybe it will blow over by press time. I do know that the same video is, as of drafting Sunday, available from National Geographic’s YT channel.

NG/YT. (That look…😍).

It is a little strange that Fox would go after GG and her boutique Pilot Wave Productions with whatever its claims are while leaving NG (Disney) alone. And Fox just unilaterally blocks material on YouTube? If one knows how Susan Wojcicki and YT operate, then one understands selective censorship. Trust me. I know it well. If this is a legitimate source issue, then that kind of thing is easily cured. Again, the question is about a corporate giant going after a sweetheart and not another corporate giant. 

Back to the larger issues, some of you may remember my column from May about how great GG is and how her innocent Tweet started a fake social media war. Right? Goldfish do remember the previous lap, right? 

As I noted then, I immediately sensed something nefarious behind the vicious attacks on our Wonder Woman. Immediately. I mentioned some obvious signs of SJW attack, 5GW, a book people won’t read, and the existence of various wars most wouldn’t understand or even acknowledge. About a week later, I was backed up by some Israeli publications, the engineers at Twitter, and a consulting company in France.

I don’t expect the average person to understand what Gal’s sweet message was about. I don’t expect people to understand anything about the latest Likud-Hamas row. I don’t expect them to understand what happened in Israel this weekend. They generally know nothing of politics in Israel (or anywhere else). They couldn’t find Israel on a map of the Middle East if the area between the Jordan and the Med was highlighted in bright orange with a huge “X” on it. They don’t understand the religious-cultural differences between someone like Gal and someone like Susan. The most likely explanation, outside a real copyright issue, for the Fox block on Gal alone, would be lost on them. It plausibly involves a weak, after the fact, passive-aggressive revenge attempt for some of the foregoing things they don’t or can’t fathom.

Yet and still … big things may have just happened. It is entirely possible that Gal Gadot, intentionally or (most likely) unwittingly, ran necessary interference so as to end a war, institute a new government, and provision a nation for the post-USA era. Let me keep this Facebook simple: The girl may have literally saved the day. A real superhero. Time will tell, but for now, I’m going to give her all the credit. She deserves it, even if my theory isn’t exactly right.*

*I’m fully open to the idea that the IMPACT issue was just a silly editing oversight at a young production company. Gal still rocks!

**This column anticipates the arrival of another well-announced-in-advance TPC fishing break!

***Rejoice! Saturday JUNETEENTH!!!!!

News of Newton: BOC Holds Off on Budget Approval In Order To Find Further Cuts; BOC 3 Rep Sanders Hates America?

By: MB McCart 

 In a move that pleasantly surprised many, including this political watcher, the Newton BOC held off on approving the 2022 Budget in order to find additional cuts to offset proposed pay increases. 

Folks, I have an idea. How about we greatly curb the limits of P-Card holders? Or better yet, how about we do the hell away w/ all of them? 

ORRs are being filed as we speak & there's going to a very big stink here very soon, I believe. After all, what's good for the goose is certainly good for the gander.

I'd recommend the BOC wait to see just how much money could be saved by fixing this obviously flawed situation. You add up all of those P-Card limits & you start talking some pretty big money. 

Hey, every bit helps, right? 

Alana Sanders 

So the lede on this piece was...well, you know...maybe a little hyperbolic?


Yeah, something like that... 

Anyways, apparently, based on her words & actions, Ms Sanders seemingly just doesn't like celebrating Independence Day or its time-honored tradition of setting off fireworks. 



So long for now, fearless readers.

'Til next time, 


13 June 2021

Home County REAL Politck Drama: The Budget, The Chairman & The Newton Exposer

 By: MB McCart, Ed. 

Welcome back, friends! 

An interesting week we just saw, no doubt, it's all very, very interesting. 

The Budget 

The first (second & third) rule about the millage rate is that apparently you don't talk about the millage rate here in the home county. 

Supposedly the Newton Co. budget will be voted on on Tuesday evening (6/15/21) so I guess our county government will be sharing that information w/ us at some point.  

Regardless, with the recent real estate valuation increases, that millage rate better drop a whole bunch. A true "rollback" rate would be very nice & helpful to the taxpayer as we continue to see the Biden administration (sic) effect & the worst inflation we've seen in two generations continue to pummel the working class (but #NoMoreMeanTweets). 

The Chairman 

Well, well, well...

Marcello obviously likes to keep that ride clean.

Maybe it's just me? I'm more of maybe a twice-a-year-wash-your-car type of guy; however, the other MB is seemingly more like a once-a-every-couple-of-days kind of guy. 

Different Strokes, maybe... 

Looking through his P-Card purchases, some items definitely looks suspect; however, in order to get to the REAL Story, I'll be filing an ORR for his expense reports first of next week. 

So stay tuned for that. 

The Newton Exposer 

This week-old Facebook page has created quite the stir the last few days. Many have wondered about who is behind it. 

I'm not completely sure about that (working on it), but I can report on the following (speaking of ORRs): 

Denise Williams is the one that filed the ORR for Marcello's P-Card purchases. 

I reached out to Ms. Williams but she didn't seem very forthcoming w/ any answers. 

Based on my research & conversations w/ sources, Ms. Williams is friendly w/ BOC 3 Rep Alana Sanders as well as former Madam Coroner, Dorothea Bailey-Butts. 

Interestingly enough, according to one source, she is also friendly w/ Covington Councilwoman Fleeta Smith Bagett. 

- MBM 

07 June 2021

A Quick Check-in From MB: What's the Word Around Town?

Howdy Ho, Neighbors, and I hope this post finds everyone well.

NC Tax Situation 

Well, as has been known to rarely be the case, I was a little off w/ my info the other day. The first public budget meeting is tomorrow, not this past Tuesday as I erroneously stated. Still, the process is definitely way behind what we've been accustomed to in years past, and we still haven't seen a proposed millage rate yet! At least, I haven't...

What can I say? In the words of Ronald Reagan - I'm more of a big picture kind of guy; or, if you will, I don't sweat the small stuff too much. 

Regardless, all of the news has been pretty okay lately, especially after that initial shock-to-the-system of last month's home county's ad valorem assessments. 

Looking like right around a total 2% increase at this point, supposedly. Hell, considering it's government we're talking about here - it could've certainly been worse, yeah?  

The Oaks 

The Porterdale Planning Commission voted 4-1 to recommend denying the proposed rezoning to turn this historical & wonderful golf course into a mega-subdivision/apartment complex/total traffic nightmare.

Word on the street is that the Porterdale City Council - the final say on the matter - looks like they're leaning towards approving it.

For any & all Qualified Electors, landowners, residents & Citizens in the loveliest of mill villages, I'd recommend reaching out to your council representation (future post coming w/ contact info). 

The Chief Abides 

When I first heard about it, like many, I was taken aback & worried. So glad to hear that the stroke was a minor one. Get well soon, SC. 

Odds & Ends 

The number of folks turning left from Floyd onto 278 has, apparently, seen a marked & decided decline here lately.

Is there hope for the future? As always, I remain optimistic. 

Still we see these jogger types still running on the damn road. The concrete sidewalks are apparently tougher on their knees. Well, my word! 

And we've got the Vampire enthusiasts still standing & talking pictures in the middle of Conyers & East streets. Jesus, who are these people?! 

Okay for now. Hope all is well. 

- MBM 

02 June 2021

Perrin Lovett: Seven Generations

 In developing these columns, I wrestle with several considerations. Any given subject matter must be at least remotely interesting to me. It must be presented so as to be plausibly understood by the audience. And it must be reasonably calculated to survive the whims of the house expurgators. It’s not easy, let me tell you.

Fortunately, today’s issue kind of suggested itself via a short, informative video and a simple, single-picture cartoon. Let’s see if this one works, shall we?

GG (and Yaron, et al) came out with another great IMPACT episode last week, No. 5: Killer Red Fox. Watch that at your leisure. And, no, it has nothing to do with Fred Sanford. (I laughed too). It’s about the work of Chief Shirell Parfait-Dardar of the Grand Caillou-Dulac Tribe (LA) and her efforts to maintain her People’s ancestral environment. Her words are thought-provoking (for the sufficiently intelligent): “We live for seven generations.” It makes sense if one can devote twelve minutes to the show; our lives are interwoven with those of the generations before and after us. The notion isn’t limited to Native American lore.

Jeff Keane wrote and illustrated the same beautiful principle this past weekend. See the Family Circus panel for Sunday, May 30, 2021. Mom and Dolly photograph “all the men in our family.” One will note, in addition to Dad and the three lads, the presence of ghostly characters to the left and to the right. Those on the right, behind Dad, are the men who lived and died in the past. Tallied with the living males, the number of generations who are and who have been equal seven. On the other side, are seven little boys yet to be. Seven. Interesting, no?

All of this presupposes that there will be future generations. Remove one link in the chain and … it’s done, the fabric unravels and the line ends. Make of that what you will.