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Free Press 8-3-12

Free Press 8-3-12

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AUG. 3
, 2012 • VOL. 15, NO. 19 FREE
www.facebook.com/ championnewspaper
www.twitter.com/ championnews
Follow us.
Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
See Primary on Page 17A
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comThere will be no new penny sales tax in DeKalband the rest of metro At-lanta after a vote July 31.Voters decided notto pay a 1 percent salestax for regional trans- portation projects.“This is
truly a blessing for the taxpay-ers and voters,” said
of the Unhap- py Taxpayer and Voter.“This shows that coalitionscan overpower money.”The tax would have raisedapproximately $6.14 billion for regional transportation projects se-lected by the Atlanta Regional Round-table, which represented Clayton, Cherokee,Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett,Henry and Rockdale counties and the city of At-lanta.“The transportation referendum, if it had passed,would have been a significant stimulus to theeconomic vitality and growth within the region,”said DeKalb County CEO
. “But the problem doesn’t go away. We’re going to have tostep back, make sure we understand why the votersvoted the way they did and work toward a plan B.”Ellis, who served as a member of the AtlantaRegional Roundtable, said the failure of the tax is a“major blow to the region.”As of 
press time, the vote re-gionally was 36 percent for the tax and 64 against it.In DeKalb County the tax was failing 52 percent to48 percent.The projects on the final list were selected fromrecommendations from each city and county in theAtlanta region after being submitted to the Geor-gia Department of Transportation and the regionalroundtable.In 2010, Georgia’s legislature enacted the Trans- portation Investment Act, which provided for re-gional referendums throughout the state. In the ref-erendum, voters in the various regions had to decidewhether to support a penny-sales tax to fund varioustransportation projects, including transit, roadway,safety, bicycle and pedestrian improvements.For DeKalb County, there was $1.1 billion to be divided among 18 proposed projects, includinga $700 million Clifton Corridor MARTArail that would run from LindberghCenter to Emory University anda $225 million I-20 corridor  park-and-ride bus system thatwould have eventually beenconverted to high-capacitytransit stations.Other proposed projectsincluded interchange im- provements at I-85 Northat I-285, a bridge replace-ment on Clifton Road and pedestrian improvement onBuford Highway.Proponents of the salestax said that there is no alter-native plan to the tax.“It means we all go back tothe drawing board,” said
, president of the DeKalbChamber of Commerce. “They’re going tohave to look at other alternatives.”McClarty said he knew the vote “was going to be tough in metro Atlanta.”McClarty said “there was a lot of hope amongmany of the proponents that this would turn outmore favorably.”The failure of the tax means the metro Atlantaarea is “not ready to truly act as a region,” he said.“Trying to get a Cherokee County and a DeKalbCounty to come together is truly like oil and water,”McClarty said.Much of the opposition to the proposed tax inDeKalb came from south DeKalb residents who un-successfully campaigned for an I-20 rail system thatwould have connected Indian Creek MARTA stationwith Stonecrest Mall in Lithonia.For more than 30 years, residents of DeKalb,Fulton and Atlanta, have paid a penny-sales tax tosupport MARTA. Opponents say that DeKalb Coun-ty was promised the I-20 rail three decades ago.“The people spoke and they did not whisper,”said DeKalb County Commissioner 
, who campaigned against the tax. “We won’t betaken for granted anymore.”Johnson said both sides of the transportation taxissue need to sit down and come up with another  plan.Johnson’s opposition to the tax stemmed froma proposed rail to Stonecrest Mall not being on thefinal project list.“I just heard the sentiment of south DeKalbabout being left out,” Johnson said.
A penny saved: Transportation tax fails
Voters havetheir say inprimary
espite changes of the boundaries of the 5th Congres-sional District so thatmore of it is in DeKalbCounty, it appears that
John Lewis
with 83.10 percent of the vote at press time will be theDemocratic contender for the seat in Novem- ber as he apparently de-feated Democratic chal-lenger 
Michael John-son
(16.90 percent).He will face
, the only Re- publican in the race in November. Lewis wasfirst elected to Congressin 1986 and has servedas U.S. Representativeof Georgia’s 5th Congressional Dis-trict since then.In the 4th Congressional District,
Henry “Hank” Johnson
with 79.91 percent of the vote appears to have de-feated
Courtney L.
Dillard Sr.
(17.04 percent) and
Lincoln Nunnally
(3.05 percent), the other Democrats in therace. As the winner he would faceeither 
Chris Vaughn
Greg Pallen
,Republicans who at press time weretoo close for an apparent winner to bedeclared.Rep. Johnson practiced civil andcriminal law in DeKalb County for 27 years and served on the DeKalbCounty Board of Commissioners before being elected to Congress in2006.The other congressman runningfor re-election whose district includes part of DeKalb County is
Tom Price
,a Republican who faced no Republi-can opposition. Democrats
Robert Montigel
weretoo close for an apparent winner to bedeclared.At press time it appeared thatDeKalb County Chief Executive Of-ficer 
Burrell Ellis
will serve a secondterm. With 124 of 189 precincts re-
Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012
Former Georgia Tech employee arrestedfor child molestation, pornography
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comA DeKalb CountySuperior Court judge isconsidering whether toallow a former GeorgiaTech computer techniciancharged with childmolestation and sexualexploitation of children outon bond.
Sami Deen
, 43, is
charged with ve counts
of child molestationand 25 counts of sexualexploitation of a minor.He was present for a bondhearing July 24 in Judge
Gail Flake
’s courtroom.The allegations against
Deen were based on eventsthat took place over a
 period of 16 months. Hewas originally arrested in
 November, according to
court documents, and wasreleased on $75,000 bond
and ordered to live with his parents in Avondale Estates.However, investigators
allegedly found child pornography on Deen’scomputer. He was thenordered back to jail andsubsequently released asecond time on $30,000 bond, court documents state.
Investigators later found
hundreds of pictures on hiscomputer and he was jailedagain. Deen is currently being held without bond inthe DeKalb County Jail and prosecutors asked that Flakerequire him to remain there,citing his danger to thecommunity.According to informationon Georgia Tech’ Collegeof Computing’s website,Deen has a bachelor’s of science degree in computer sciences from Georgia Tech
and lived in Kenya, Cyprus
and the United Kingdom,as well as Wisconsin andCalifornia, before relocatingto Georgia.Deen’s attorney
has reportedly askedthat Deen’s $30,000 bond be
reinstated. Flake didn’t give
a timetable for when shewould make a ruling on thematter.
Call 311 or visit READYNYC.ORG
Commissioner says he was not drunk driving
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.com
Internal investigators at
the DeKalb County PoliceDepartment are seeking todetermine whether a county
commissioner was given
 preferential treatment.A police report from aJuly 12 incident alleges thatDeKalb Commissioner 
“appeared intoxi-cated,” but was al-
lowed to drive away
from a south DeKalbnightclub.Watson was ob-
served consuming“several alcoholic beverages” at the
nightclub, accordingto the report by Of-
“If I haven’t
 been charged withanything, why are people trying to make stories
up?” Watson said. “ I haven’t
 been charged with DUI. I’mnot J
amal Anderson
. I’m not
Hosea Williams
. I’m
. I wasn’t drunk. Iwasn’t drunk at all.“The deal is [that] I
haven’t been charged with
anything,” Watson said.According to police spokes-woman
Mekka Parish
,“The DeKalb County PoliceDepartment’s Internal Af-
fairs unit is investigating
this incident to determine if departmental policies and procedures were followedand appropriate actions weretaken. No additional infor-mation about this incident is
available at this time.”
According to the reportof an off-duty DeKalb Police
ofcer moonlighting at the
club, Watson complained thatsomeone had stolen his wal-let.Watson allegedly accusedtwo women of stealing hiswallet. One woman was citedfor disorderly conduct after refusing to calm down when
warned by the ofcer.The ofcer reported that
Watson used profanity andcontinued to make accusa-tions against the women.“I informed Mr. Watson…
to please behave like a publicofcial as if news cameras
were in front of him,” the of-
cer stated in his report.The ofcer lled out an
incident report about the al-leged theft, according to thereport.
“I also advised him tohave someone take him
home because he appearedintoxicated (slurred speech,unsteady walk, glossy redeyes),” the report stated.
At the ofcer’s request, asupervisor, Sgt.
M.B. Porter
,went to the scene.Watson got in his car andlater left the scene, accord-ing to the police report. Ap- proximately one minute later,he returned, stating that hewould let someone take himhome.“Due to circumstances be-yond my control, Mr. Watson
was allowed to have someone
take him home,”
the ofcer stated.
Watson said hewas “not drunk or impaired.”“If my eyeswere red or glassy…I had been crying for about three or four days,” Wat-son said.“Was I tryingto console myself 
over the death of my sister?”
Watson asked. “Yes. Had I been crying for a couple of days? Yes. Were my eyesred? I don’t know; I didn’t
look at my eyes. Did I have
anything to drink? Yes. I hadtwo glasses of wine. Did I
leave the place? Yes. Did I
return? Yes. Was I arrested?
 No. Did I have a DUI ever?
 No.“I wasn’t falling down or slobbering,” Watson said.Watson said that other 
media outlets have reported
that he had two glasses of chardonnay.“Come on guys, I’m a bigguy,” he said. “Two glasses
‘I informed Mr. Watson…to please behave like a public of-
ficial as if news cameras were
in front of him.’ 
- Officer O.B. Parker.
of chardonnay ain’t going todo nothing to me anyway. If I had two glasses of chardon-nay, I wasn’t impaired.”
Watson said he drove
away from the nightclub, butreturned shortly because he
was afraid the ofcer mighthave him arrested.
“So you know what Idid?” Watson asked. “I turnedaround and came back tothe parking lot. I parked mycar. I went inside and askedthe club manager to take mehome.“I left my car there thewhole night,” Watson said.“What else can I do? If that’snot a responsible person, Idon’t understand it.”Watson said he is not go-ing to comment on the matter again until the police depart-ment completes its internal
investigation.“I wasn’t drunk driving,”
he said.
Page 3A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012
Browns Mill recreation centergets $500,000 upgrade
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comThe Browns Mill recreationcenter, originally built in the 1980s,has gotten a half-million dollar upgrade.The building has a new gym
oor, bleachers, paint job, tileooring, front doors and entryway, and renovated restrooms. An
electric partition separates the gymfrom a multipurpose court area and
doors throughout the building have
 been replaced.“When you walk into the door you begin to feel the changes,” said
Marvin Billups
, deputy director of the DeKalb County Departmentof Parks, Recreation and CulturalAffairs. “We hope that we’re going
to have the type of programs thatwill ll every room in this facility
with countywide programs as wellas programs unique to this center.”
The center also has a renovated
kitchen and concession area withnew appliances, cabinets andcounters. Outside the center is a
new pavilion and outdoor signage.“I have a lot of fond memories
of this particular center,” saidCommissioner 
Stan Watson
duringthe reopening ceremony July 24. “Iremember when this center openedand I was complaining about the
 basketball oor.“The basketball oor was tile
with cement under it,” Watson said.“Anybody who plays basketball
understands that if you have cement
and tile, it hurts your knees.”“Playing basketball…was just not ideal” on the old surface,Billups said.
“This is one of the rst
 buildings we put in back in the1980s,” Billups said. “It neededmodernizing.”“We couldn’t do an entire new building, but we thought we could bring some modern features to it,”Billups said.The Browns Mill facility attractscrowds of patrons daily.Before being suspended for the
renovations, “the summer day camp
 program used to be so large that wehad a lottery,” Billups said. “We runa number of major programs fromthis building. It’s one of our mainfacilities within the southern part of the county.”Billups said the county is proud
of the improvements at the facility.
“When you begin to take a look at this complex, we started with
the athletic eld, we moved to theaquatics facility and now we’vetaken an old building and given it avery new feel,” Billups said.DeKalb County CEO
, surrounded by youth duringthe reopening celebration of thecenter, said, “In the worst economic
times in our lives DeKalb County is
able to do so much.”
Ellis cited the county’s new
Wade Walker YMCA, recreation
centers at Redan and Exchange parks, and eight parks that have been improved.
“We’re dedicating this to our young people, to our youth, to our 
future,” Ellis said.
Hundreds of children are enjoying a half-million-dollar renovation to the Browns Mill Recreation Center in south DeKalb. Among the upgrades, the center’s tile gym oor 
has been replaced. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

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