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Sandy Springs erupts over ‘nightmare’ plan to run Braves traffic through its streets

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Construction of the canopy continues at the Atlanta Braves new ballpark in Cobb County. SunTrust Park is scheduled to open in time for the 2017 season. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

Construction of the canopy continues at the Atlanta Braves new ballpark in Cobb County. SunTrust Park is scheduled to open in time for the 2017 season. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

Cobb County’s plan for handling traffic generated by the Atlanta Braves next year is to get fans off I-285 and onto surface streets in adjacent communities.

The mayor and city council of Sandy Springs learned of this for the first time on Tuesday. They are not pleased. From John Ruch with Reporter Newspapers:logo-all

The news was delivered in a non-voting council work session by Jim Wilgus, Cobb’s interim transportation director. The specific topic was permission to install directional signs for the Braves’ SunTrust Park and related Battery Atlanta commercial development, which are slated to open early next year in Cobb’s Cumberland area at I-285 and I-75.

Then Wilgus dropped his bombshell: On days of games and other big events, the signs—with “dynamic” messages that change on the fly—would direct stadium-goers to get off highways one exit before Cumberland and use local streets. On 285, that exit is Sandy Springs’ Northside Drive, and traffic would route onto Powers Ferry Road and Interstate North Parkway, known locally as the “access road.” Cobb wants to put one of the signs on Powers Ferry near the Chattahoochee River….

“You want to take all the traffic off 285 and put it on surface streets?” asked an incredulous Councilmember Tibby DeJulio.

The news account quotes a “visibly angry” Mayor Rusty Paul as calling the Cobb plan “our nightmare.” The mayor also said he had made calls to ranking Cobb officials to discuss traffic planning, but had never heard back.

We contacted Paul last night. He declined to escalate the situation – saying he was “optimistic that a solution can be achieved.”

Note to Cobb officialdom: Your boss, Commission Chairman Tim Lee, is currently in a delicate political situation. You may want to take care of this with some haste. We have Paul’s cell phone number if you need it. Give him a shout.

Updated 3:30 p.m. Now comes this from one of our secret squirrels: In a letter sent in August 2014, Paul asked Braves officials to back more “variable message boards” that could be used to direct people off the highways. “It’s hard to be blindsided by a request that you asked for,” said our source.  Take a look for yourself here:

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Your update on the sit-in led by U.S. Rep. John Lewis in House chambers, from the Associated Press:

A drained and dwindling group of Democrats, some draped in blankets and toting pillows, carried their remarkable House floor sit-in past daybreak Thursday, disrupting the business of Congress in the wake of the Orlando shooting rampage with demands for gun-control votes in an extraordinary scene of protest broadcast live to the world.

Unyielding Republicans who control the chamber branded the move a publicity stunt and summarily adjourned the chamber at around 3:15 a.m. EDT until after the Fourth of July. By 7:30 a.m. Thursday — 20 hours after the protest commenced — around a dozen Democrats remained, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, giving speeches that mixed victory declarations with vows to never back down in their drive to curb firearm violence….

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who had participated in the civil rights sit-ins in the South in the 1960s, said Democrats had “crossed one bridge.” He added, “We have other bridges to cross.” He said Democrats “made a down payment on ending gun violence” in America.

At one point overnight, the two sides nearly came to blows after Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas approached the Democrats and yelled, “Radical Islam!” Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., started yelling back. The two came within inches of each other, both yelling, and were separated by colleagues.

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On a related note:

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The Democratic race for president isn’t ending with a bang, but ebbing like a tide. From the Washington Post:

Bernie Sanders came closer than ever on Wednesday to conceding the Democratic race for president, telling C-SPAN that he would not be nominated when the party meets next month in Philadelphia.

“It doesn’t appear that I’m going to be the nominee, so I’m not going to be determining the scope of the convention,” Sanders said. “I do think I’ll speak at the convention.”

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At least two Georgia politicians have more cash in their campaign accounts than the presumptive Republican nominee. You read that right.

Donald Trump’s shockingly paltry campaign stash of $1.3 million was easily exceeded by not just Democrat Hillary Clinton but by a pair of Georgians. Tom Crawford of The Georgia Report has more:

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who’s in the middle of a reelection campaign, had $5.57 million cash on hand as of May 4, according to FEC records.  That is more than four times the amount of cash as the Trump campaign.

U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell), who has token Democratic opposition in the general election from Rodney Stooksbury, had $2.52 million cash on hand in his latest FEC report — or nearly twice the amount of the Trump campaign.

Trump’s campaign cash is even exceeded by at least one state legislator: state Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth), the president pro tem of the Georgia Senate.

Actually, Shafer may be just under The Donald’s current total. The ranking member of the Senate had $1,258,112.46 in the bank as of March 31, according to campaign disclosure reports. Shafer may or may not run for lieutenant governor in 2018. If he does, “having nearly as much cash as Donald Trump” is an excellent bragging point.

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Marco Rubio’s Georgia supporters are rallying around him once again now that he’s announced he’s running for another term in the U.S. Senate. Jason Anavitarte, a Georgia co-chair of his ill-fated presidential campaign, sent along this note:

“I believe Marco will win.  People want to be safe, see their kids have a real chance to grow up and be successful, and to give future generations a chance to dream without the worry that government or security threats will take away their peace.  Leadership is about not being complacent and sometimes the more difficult road is the one that must be traveled with little choice.  Everything comes down to Florida once again.”

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It’s pretty tough to top barbecue, in our humble opinion. But U.S. Sen. David Perdue is going to try.

The freshman is bringing Holly Chute, the longtime executive chef of the Governor’s Mansion and food education advocate, to the Capitol today to headline the weekly Senate Republican lunch.

It’s a GOP Senate tradition to take turns catering their weekly Thursday meal in the Capitol with fare from their home states. Johnny Isakson took his turn a few weeks back, memorably trucking in barbecue from Sam’s BBQ-1 in Marietta for the eighth year in a row for a rare bipartisan fete.

Perdue’s office says Chute will be serving up a menu that’s entirely Georgia-grown: chicken from Mt. Airy, fresh peas from Ashburn, grits grown in Ranger, Vidalia onions and ham from Avondale Estates’ Pine Street Market. Chute will also be giving out doggy bags filled with other Georgia goodies such as Joe Kem’s Bar-B-Que sauce, sugared peanuts and, of course, Coca-Cola.