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Renovate this!


Kristin’s article “Tools can’t fix renovation drama” in the Nov. 5-11 paper was spot on. I was estimated by the contractor I hired that he should be done with the work on my house in three weeks (which I estimated an extra week) but SURELY he would have been done by Labor Day, the first week of September... ha!

My husband and I were involved DAILY - calling to find out why no one had shown up, providing lists of what still hadn’t been done, keeping an eye out daily to guide the subcontractors on what needed to be done because the general contractor we hired hadn’t shown up yet, or had “gone to Home Depot” for something he’d forgotten... for hours... or for the rest of the day, and we were on top of what was going on with the City’s permitting process.

DESPITE that, it was nearly Halloween that we finally paid our balance on a final walkthrough, where we got $500 knocked off because they had ruined our existing floors which they felt was our word against theirs, and if we had cared about the floors we should have told them before they started — ridiculous!

Needless to say, we’ve nearly lost our sanity from this one-month-turned-three-month project where we questioned why we hired a general contractor with as much time and work as we had to put into managing it.

I’d like to think I’ve learned something from this and that next time it has got to be better. But I really don’t know if the resident homeowner can find someone who will actually come out for an estimate, then actually provide a quote, and then agree to a detailed contract with very specific terms of how to conduct work in your house. You MUST have shining recommendations, and if you don’t have the money for the best — save it up, DO NOT SETTLE FOR LESS. Here are some lessons learned:

• Make sure the contract has EVERY detail of what you expect the work to include — even if it’s on a plan.

• Do not let contractors convince you that it’s not worth getting a permit. They say it will delay the work, but it was a minimal delay if any on my project. Instead it guaranteed that the contractors would do work up to the code and the City will send impartial experts out to verify that the work was done right — it was for my protection!

• Do not give a lot of money up front, ony enough for supplies (we were able to get down to 25 percent I think). You always need to withhold enough along the way so that if the contractor walks off, you have enough to hire someone else to finish the job.

• Withhold some small amount until after the last punch list and inspection is complete... and honestly, I don’t know if we withheld enough. I think it was the promise of remodeling our kitchen next that kept our contractor coming back near the end.

• Detail what has to be done to keep your house protected.

• Don’t let them get away with showing up when they choose to. Set up a schedule.

Gelcys Nielsen

A vote for the Jims


Thank goodness for another chance on December 2nd! Another chance to choose Jim Martin and Jim Powell, Democratic candidates for Senate and Public Commission. Georgia’s 50% rule allows for a run-off election since a clear majority was not reached on November 4th.

Once again voters have a chance to exercise their democratic right to select candidates to fill those two positions. Both Martin and Powell offer to Georgians service for the majority of the people. They are not beholden to corporate interests like their Republican opponents, Saxby Chambliss and Lauren McDonald.

Saxby “Shameless” Chambliss has launched an attack campaign falsely accusing Jim Martin of having pushed through the largest tax increase ever in Georgia. You’d expect such tactics from Saxby if you think back to his outrageous lies spread about Max Cleland in the 2002 election, lies labeling Max as: “unpatriotic and soft on terrorism” and even subtly associating him with Osama bin Laden by juxtaposing their pictures together in a campaign ad.

Imagine: Chickenhawk Saxby who got out of the military on a “trick knee” (a la movie war hero Frank Sinatra deferred from WWII with a “gimp elbow”) baselessly attacking triple amputee veteran Max Cleland as unpatriotic. John McCain even called Saxby Shameless’ lying “reprehensible.” It’s amazing that McCain himself would now become so reprehensible that he’s out campaigning for Chambliss this election. However, considering the world of “politricks,” it’s not really that amazing.

Not only did Chambliss lie his way into office in defaming Cleland but also according to whistleblowers, he even had that election rigged by having a Diebold device added to computers around Atlanta. Once again corporate media has failed to follow up reporting on election fraud just as fraud in Ohio was ig- nored by the media in the 2004 Presidential election. It seems election fraud is not newsworthy anymore, at least, not in the corporate news media.

Now it comes out that Saxby has been covering for Imperial Sugar’s owners. He has tried to turn blame of negligence on sugar plant’s Vice President who was a whistleblower on the plant’s safety problems. Further, he has tried to discourage and intimidate families from suing over deaths and injuries resulting from the plant catastrophe.

Corporate ties, something especially typical of Republicans fawning after large campaign donations. What Martin and Powell stand for is supporting the middle class by following suit with Obama’s plan to raise taxes on those making over $250,000 while giving those making less tax relief.

Basically, Martin and Powell are standing up for the middle/working class while their opponents are bent on serving the wealthy elite who fill their cam-paign coffers. We have the opportunity to elect men who will represent the majority of people. I hope this time around enough people see through lies and smears spewed out by Republicans and realize Martin and Powell will serve Georgia very well.

Remember the date: December 2nd.

William H. Strong

Failing the whales


Regarding Summer Teal Simpson’s oh, so sad (subject matter, not article which was pertinent and well done) article, “The Navy and the Whale”, I would like to add the following:

That sonar stuff the Navy uses? It’s destroying the very fabric of the ocean.

The sonar system used by whales and porpoises to communicate is being disrupted, so we’re losing that, which is a great loss. The Navy needs to STOP USING SONAR!

The Roberts court is a disgrace.

Suki deJong

Flag out of mothballs


Regarding your recent column “O’er the ramparts we watched:”

On the day Bush invaded Iraq, my wife and I mothballed the nylon American flag we bought just after 9/11.

We’ve now unpacked that flag and even thought of flying it on Nov. 5th; but we’re going to wait until January 20th to unfurl it once more. It’s been a long time coming; but we are hopeful that a new day is about to dawn on America.

Thanks for giving us a voice.

Stephen Byrd

Sarah Palin: the Paris Hilton of politics


Sarah Palin is an afront to the intelligence of the American voters. The recent press frenzy has labeled her, “one of the folks.”

Our past eight years has shown us where “one of the boys you can enjoy a beer with” has led us.

Discarding all the qualities you would think her gender might offer...compassion, kindness, respect and understanding...she particularly has no knowledge to be a national leader.

The best she can do is to “walk through open doors.” She is telling us any opportunity to gain political power (senator, vice president or the ultimate goal, president she would seize upon).

She has played upon every aspect that our present leader in power has advocated. Motherhood, religion, gender, bribery, good ole boy philosophy.

Her present record as governor has little to show except deceit, nepotism, and out right personal gain. Let’s retire her to show business or appoint her as an Alaskan look-out for Russian invaders!

Sol Mitchell