JONESBORO — Residents who appeared before the Clayton County Board of Commissioners during public comments portion of the meeting this week had a wide range of issues to address.
The issues brought up Tuesday ranged from mass transit, to giving thanks to commissioners and county employees, to police Chief Greg Porter being put on unpaid administrative leave. Residents also spoke up about the new head of Clayton County’s libraries, potential new opportunities for children and the local response to the Trayvon Martin case.
The following people spoke during public comments:
• Carlena Evans, president of the nonprofit organization, Kidsplosion Nation, announced her desire to expand into the county. She explained her organization is designed to help children develop and display their talents through extra curricular activity classes. The organization has been in a partnership with the city of Riverdale for the last three years, and has been recognized on television, said Evans.
“It is our desire to extend into Clayton County, to go beyond just the city of Riverdale, and see if there are also facilities in (other areas of) Clayton County so that we can also serve those children,” she said.
• Maude Edwards appeared before commissioners to ask why the county did not follow up on a 2010 non-binding referendum where a majority of voters said they’d support the county joining MARTA, by scheduling a binding referendum to make it official.
“When could Clayton County hold a binding referendum to join MARTA?” said Edwards.
• Karolen Mazyck praised the Clayton County NAACP Youth Council’s response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. She said they quickly organized a town hall meeting which was held last weekend at the Tara Center to educate the public on issues such as racial profiling and “stand your ground” laws. She said they plan to hold another meeting Aug. 17 at the Harold R. Banke Justice Center, 9151 Tara Blvd., in Jonesboro.
“They are tired of being racially profiled,” Mazyck said. “They are tired of the laws not being enacted in their favor when they are being profiled and placed in prison for the little minor misdemeanors that they’re doing. They are fired up because of the fact of the verdict that took place and they are tired of the racial profiling that is taking place in our young society with our young people.”
• Clayton County Library Board member Pamela Lake invited commissioners to attend an open house where the public will get to meet new library system director Rosalind Lett. The meet-and-greet will be held Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the headquarters branch, 865 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro.
“She is a fabulous, knowledgeable woman,” Lake said. “She has some great plans for our library and we are so excited to have such a person as Mrs. Lett, so please come and welcome her.”
• Chris Gallagher praised Commissioner Shana Rooks and Clayton County police officers and sheriff’s deputies for addressing crime in his River’s Edge-area neighborhood. He said Rooks has stayed involved in the community and knows what’s going on. He also said police and sheriff’s deputies deserved thanks for patrolling the area to keep it safe.
“I know you’re short-staffed and this takes up a lot of manpower, but you’re trying to help us however you can and I just want to let you know how much we appreciate you caring about us,” said Gallagher.
• Joseph Ector urged commissioners to take police Chief Greg Porter off unpaid administrative leave. He told the commission he and his wife are starting a petition to convince county leaders to let Porter come back to work.
“I understand the reasoning, but I as a citizen of Clayton County would like to see Chief Porter in his position during this investigation if possible,” Ector said.