DeKalb signs fuel controversy

By April Hunt The Atlanta Journal-Constitution With the primary election less than two months away…

Georgia (Jun 4, 2012) — By April Hunt


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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

With the primary election less than two months away, one DeKalb County incumbent appears to have a 4-foot by 6-foot advantage. 

CEO Burrell Ellis’ name appears in bold letters on eight tall stocky signs that sprouted with the flowers and greenery this spring. Just above his name is his local jobs’ stimulus slogan, “Creating jobs. Building Hope.”

Taxpayers, not Ellis’ re-election campaign, have paid $4,000 on the eight temporary signs so far. That figure is expected to double when another eight are put up later this year and could swell to $40,000 if the county erects signs at the 82 upcoming water/sewer projects, according to records obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Ellis dismissed any question about his name appearing so prominently, saying he had no role in the design. But Ellis' opponents in this summer's Democratic primary have called for the signs to be taken down, and some taxpayers readily agree. …

Politics, though, can often be about both things at the same time, said Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University.

True, similar signs in front of the schools in his native Cobb promoted only the projects, not the politicians behind them. But, Swint noted, that makes them an ethical question for voters, the same people the signs are trying to rally to the polls.

“It’s a little bit like the letters members of Congress send out with their pictures and accomplishments, which, funny enough, tend to go out in election years,” Swint said. “It may skirt the propriety of spending public money, but it’s pretty common.” 




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