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District 'courtesy' ingrained in commission

I read, with great interest, your opinion in last Sunday's paper ("Time to end 'courtesy' on commission," Editorial, April 22). Of course the reason for my great interest is I can truly say "been there, done that."

When I sat on the Board of Commissioners from 2001 to 2004, I did exactly what you asked for in your op-ed piece.

And I quote, "Commissioners should vote with their constituents' best interest at heart, considering the good of the entire county but especially the good of the voters in their districts."

I don't think I could have stated my term any better. I did not merely review my zoning cases, I studied them all. And being one of the few, if only, commissioners who never missed a public hearing during my four-year term, again I note, "been there, did that."

For the record, I did not break district courtesy first. That came from fellow commissioners in an executive session vote on property within my first 30 minutes, my first day on the job.

I, in fact, voted with the district commissioner who had responsibility for the property, obviously we were both outvoted by the balance of the board. And so the story began.

I write this to say how interesting I find your opinion now that a legislator is recommending board expansion, because while I was in office I took quite a bit of heat for my votes from this newspaper.

As a matter of fact I still have some scars on my back, and not all from this paper; there certainly were many people who threw everything at me for my diligence.

My theory was a simple one: If it was my money, how would I like it spent, and if the rezoning was in my backyard, what is the best use.

So I write to say thank you for your opinion in last Sunday's paper. I never really thought myself a maverick for my voting record, but rather what I am, a conservative Republican who believes in taking responsibility for her actions.

I might add that while I did get support from many people, both in my district and outside, it is still worth noting that support from the county paper would have been nice as well.

Marcia L. Neaton was District 1 commissioner from 2001 to 2004. Have any thoughts about this column? Share them with us at letters@gwinnettdailypost.com. Letters should be no more than 200 words and are subject to approval by the publisher. Letters may be edited for style and space requirements. Please sign your name and provide an address and a daytime telephone number. Address letters for publication to: Letters to the Editor, Gwinnett Daily Post, P.O. Box 603, Lawrenceville, GA 30046-0603. The fax number is 770-339-8081.