Any Lawyer who can force Athens to comply with law?
Posted in the Athens Forum
#1 Jun 29, 2014
The following letter was sent to a local lawyer. While he may not have received it, he very likely did but did not reply.
Are there any lawyers in Athens, Georgia, or, for that matter, in the whole state, who have any reasonable ways of compelling Athens to comply with its own law and constitution? Or, is Athens Clarke County basically an outlaw government doing as it pleases?
Time flies. My memory of the last time we talked was over a discussion of observing and reporting activities in the local courts and that must have been over six years ago. You are now a practicing lawyer with a number of years experience. I hope you are doing well.
I have dealt with many local lawyers over the years. Some are now even deceased. The late Phil Duderwicz, Gary Pledger, Ken Packer, Mike Coleman, Bobby Gibson, Harry Gordon, Susanne Burton, Bill Bushnell, and others. Most of the work was routine stuff, contracts, landlord tenant, etc. since we own rental property. We did sue the city once and lost.
Here is your statement on Civil Litigation issues you might accept:
“Other civil matters include business disputes, consumer protection, debt collection, landlord-tenant issues, and other issues which affect individual's rights and responsibilities.”
As I am sure you know, in Georgia it is very difficult (meaning expensive) to compel local governments to do something they do not voluntarily wish to do. I have been told the basic reason for this is because local government derives their powers directly from the Georgia
Constitution rather than from statutes.
Here is the issue which concerns me: The so called “Unified Government of Athens Clarke County” was formed about 22 years ago. One of the unfulfilled promises then was that all services throughout the jurisdiction would be made equal. And even if such a promise was not explicitly made, it would appear that the equal protection clause of both the Georgia and Federal Constitutions would demand this anyway.
As you know, there are many government services which today are not equally provided despite the government having had some 22 years to accomplish that. A few examples are unequal sewer service, unequal water service, although good strides have been made in this direction, unequal garbage and trash collection, unequal bus service , etc. Other examples could be provided.
Our family owns property in several districts of this county. Our property taxes to this county are about $12,000 per year. Our only son graduated from high school here about 34 years ago but we are forced to pay and pay and pay for the education and other costs of others. If we were to refuse to pay our property would be confiscated from us with the full military force and power of government.
We own property on Old Commerce Rd. just off U. S. Hwy. 441 N. There is no nor has there ever been any bus service out 441 from the By Pass. Every property owner and every citizen who lives out that road is and has been injured by this unfair and apparently illegal action by our government here. Of course many other areas also do not receive fair and equal bus service either. This then is the issue: Is there any relatively simple way to compel the local government to provide the equal bus service out 441 for those property owners out there who are now and have been for so many years, forced to pay the costs of that service provided for others, but not provided for them? In other words, is there any authority in the State of Georgia, which could be used to compel the city to provide bus service or else shut down the entire bus system?
It is my understanding that the only available avenue is to put up one’s personal funds and sue in local likely prejudiced courts, where the outcome is highly predictable in the favor of government, with success only remotely available at higher levels after squandering many thousands of dollars, but with the caveat that if government loses
#2 Jun 29, 2014
Continued from above:
at any level, they have almost unlimited funds to continue appealing with public money (including ours) and finally beat us down?
Are there no other avenues here? Is there no U.S. Attorney which would bring a class action lawsuit against the local government in this regard on these issues? Or, what about the Attorney General of Georgia? Does he have no responsibility to see that local government treats all taxpayers equally and fairly? Obviously this is a very exasperating situation as I am sure you are aware. And of course the lack of bus service is only one issue of many others.
Any other suggestions which might reach success without depleting our limited retirement funds? It would almost appear that local government in Georgia operates outside of any legal restraints no?
Best wishes and kind regards,
Winfield J. Abbe
150 Raintree Ct.
Athens, GA 30607
Please written replys only.
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