By David Schick
Paul Martin didn’t see the hidden closing costs when he purchased the property where the old Omni Club sits. A quick survey of the ends of his property would reveal an illegal tire dump close to Briarcliff creek. What he soon realized is that the cost of disposing tires properly is exorbitant and often falls on the property owner.
Scrap tire disposal isn’t just an Athens-Clarke County problem.
In the early 1990s, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources created a Scrap Tire Program designed to clean up and recycle about 12 million tires that were housed in illegal stockpiles around Georgia. The landfilling of whole-sized tires has been banned since Dec. 31, 1994.
Athens, apart from being recognized as a college town, is known for being a culturally diverse place with a progressive society. The downtown Athens area even has a reputation for having a bar or club for every social “scene.”
But what about the Lesbian, Gay, bi-sexual, and transgender community, commonly known as the LGBT community? Athens has a large and active LGBT community, but has no official place to gather outside of the LGBT Resource Center on the UGA campus.
Athens-Clarke County and the University of Georgia both show support for the LGBT community, but there seems to be some sort of disconnect between the community and the two institutions. Athens-Clarke County offers full domestic partnership benefits for city and county workers, however the University of Georgia does not. The university has an official LGBT resource center, whereas Athens-Clarke County lacks any official center for members of the LGBT community and has not had an official “gay-friendly” establishment in 5 years. Read the rest of this entry »
When an incompliant man began pounding on the glass windows outside the Smoker’s Den on College Avenue last week, employees didn’t bother calling the authorities.
Instead, manager Tonya Thorne walked next door and the situation was handled in less than two minutes.
The Smoker’s Den shares walls with the downtown police substation, a building whose presence alone has brought security back to downtown.
By Emily Curl
While located in opposite sides of the globe, Athens-Clarke County and the City of Greater Geelong in Victoria, Australia have much more in common than one would suspect.
In hopes to improve downtown development and bring additional business to Athens, officials are researching and discussing new ways to help Athens’ businesses develop and succeed.
On February 8th, officials from the two cities met to discuss mutual interests in opportunities for economic development and signed a “Memorandum of Understanding to acknowledge the strategic relationship between the two cities,” as stated on the Athens-Clarke County website. Read the rest of this entry »
By Kyle MacArthur Wingfield
A little sign is catching big attention.
Ryan Myers, owner of Amici Cafe, said for years his restaurant used a sandwich board to market deals to the public.
“We have an A-frame sign we’ve been using for three years to advertise daily specials,” Myers said. “It generates money for not only us but the city in tax dollars. Whatever we put on this sign, it sells. The sidewalks create business for everybody.”
The sign did not become an issue until recently, according to Myers. A code enforcement officer would “come around once a year and tell us not to do it,” Myers said, “and that’s all you’d hear from them. We’d put the sign out, the code enforcer would come by, we’d take it in for a week, then put it out again. It became a battle, and we kept getting warnings.”
The warnings are the result of a sign ordinance passed by the Athens-Clarke County Commission in 2005 due to safety concern and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, Sarah Anne Perry wrote in Flagpole. The ordinance came to fruition due to a visually impaired man who was tripping over signs in the sidewalk and had threatened to sue, according to Perry.
The ACC government established that it is “unlawful for any person to direct, order, or instigate placing of signs in the public right-of-way,” according to Section 7-4-9 of the ACC Code of Ordinances.
A business usually receives two code violation warnings before consequences escalate, according to Mike Spagna, Community Protection Administrator for Athens-Clarke County. If the violation does not improve after the initial warnings, said Spagna, business owners are then brought before a judge.
Myers’ restaurant continued receiving warnings until his business was issued a citation to appear in court. “I get that,” he said. “You can only write so many warnings.” But Myers is determined to seek change in the county’s sign ordinance.
“I feel petty, getting wound up about it because it’s such a silly thing,” Myers said. “But it is such a silly thing. It’s a very grey area […] the code needs to be revised and revisited.”
Local business owners side with Myers. A recent survey conducted by the Athens Downtown Development Authority asked businesses for their thoughts on sidewalk sandwich boards. The ADDA received responses from 16 local businesses saying sidewalk signs have a positive impact on business.
Myers said sidewalk signs add to the Athens experience. “A lot of times, we’d put something funny on it that would make people look at it,” Myers said. The signs “give character to downtown; some people are funny with them. It allows you to see something.”
Athens business owners told the ADDA survey that sandwich boards are “creative and tasteful” and “add a charm downtown area.” Even owners who do not advertise with signs felt strongly that other businesses should be allowed to use them, so long as they are “reasonably sized and do not block pedestrian traffic.”
Amici’s sign sat flush against the building, according to Myers. “In no way does anybody have to change their pathway to get around it,” he said. “What they do have to change their path for is the railing, our café area.”
So Myers looked for ways around the ordinance. “We asked if we could move the sign into the doorway,” he said, “but that was still in the way.” Myers also questioned the code enforcer about removing a table and placing the sandwich board inside the railing of Amici’s dining area. “But they said no,” he said. “There was no way around it.”
A walk down Clayton Street Wednesday afternoon revealed multiple businesses with similar signs. The sandwich boards were placed in doorways, walkways, and inside the railings of restaurants and shops.
Athens local Ross Thomas, a junior at the University of Georgia, walked past a portable sign entering an Athens venue Tuesday. Thomas became heated when informed of the city’s sign ordinances.
“I think the city should spend time fixing broken and uneven sidewalks instead of fining honest businesses,” Thomas said. “A sign is a more visible obstacle than uneven cracks and curbs and presents a less physical danger.”
Amici’s sandwich board is currently in storage. “Part of me wanted to keep putting it out and just take the fines,” Myers said, “but I’m not sure what would happen if the sign were out again when we’ve already been ordered to court.”
Myers is awaiting the verdict of the court before placing the sandwich board on the sidewalk again. “The battle is being fought,” Myers said. “I don’t want to add fuel to the fire. I’ve been pretty vocal about my thoughts on it.”
By Brittney Cain
With the University of Georgia’s growth and number of conventions being held in Athens, the downtown area is becoming a site of construction and further expansion for hotels to accommodate the increase of people.
The Holiday Inn on West Broad Street has submitted a permit application on the building for a renovation and expansion.
Modifications to the parking lot and driveway are included in the proposed work.
The hotel industry in Athens, according to Hannah Smith, director of marketing and communications at the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), is growing to meet the needs of increasing number of meetings and conventions.
In 2003, there were a total of 14 hotels in the Athens-Clarke County area, according to the U.S. Census. The most recent census data revealed that in 2011 the total number of hotels jumped to 22 in the area.
And the Convention and Visitors Bureau reported there are 10 hotels within one mile of the Classic Center.
Brands typically do better in the downtown area, said Mike Waldrip, President of the Athens Area Hotel Association (AAHA).
Because occupancies and rates are driven by this brand loyalty, past experience, service and location, he said hotels in the downtown district have to create originality to set themselves apart from others nearby.
According to Foundry Park & Inn‘s website, they “could have built 300 ordinary hotel rooms, but chose instead to create a warm, welcoming Inn that feels like a home away from home.”
In addition to hotels’ vision of creating a new experience for customers, Hotel Indigo’s website said they “offer a unique experience that reflects the culture of its neighborhood.”
Hotel Indigo instilled “green features” for guests such as natural light and views and thermal controls powered by energy-efficient systems in each room. In 2011, Hotel Indigo was nominated for North America’s Leading Green Hotel.
Other hotels try to set themselves apart by providing meeting and convention rooms for business or football “game-day” additions for fans.
Waldrip noted that expansion and renovation of the hotels in the downtown area is based purely on demand.
“City-wide occupancy is above 55 percent but hotels operate on such slim margins that for most hotels this number needs to be above 60%,” Waldrip said. “When occupancies reach around 65percent expansion may be warranted.”
Construction costs, Waldrip said, range from $70,000 to $100,000 to build a mid-level hotel room. And in the last 10 years, the market has added about 475 rooms.
“A new Hyatt Place is planned for construction later in 2014,” Smith said. “[It] will be the first connecting hotel to the Classic Center.”
And, Smith said, the Holiday Inn is not the only hotel attempting to upgrade its facilities. Foundry Park Inn & Spa is preparing a massive renovation this summer.
With the culture of the University and the tradition of football games, it is not surprising that hotels are more occupied during the fall semester.
Georgia Gameday Center is specifically designed to create a “home away from home experience that is perfect for a UGA football weekend,” with all 133 units tailored to any UGA fan with a sea of red and black furniture.
Meetings and conventions are also frequently held in the downtown Athens area. Smith estimated that each meeting attendee spends on average over $219 per day.
“Tourism brings in $246 million per year to Athens-Clarke County and supports 2,450 local jobs,” Smith said. “Due to tourism spending and tax collections, each Athens-Clarke County household saves almost $400 per year in taxes.”
Hotels pay an additional 7% hotel and motel tax, which funds the Convention and Visitors Bureau and parts of the Classic Center.
“It is likely that over the next two or three years there will be some expansion of the number of rooms available downtown,” Waldrip noted. “This will be driven by the University’s growth and the expansion of the Classic Center.”
The road to legalization of medicinal marijuana is a bumpy road. At one point, it seemed like the possibility of legalization was going to happen. Senator Allen Peake was pushing hard for House bill 885 which would have legalized the use of cannabis for the treatment of cancer and glaucoma. House Bill 885 did not pass because the General Assembly did not have the chance to deliberate the bill. Another bill, Senate bill 397, which would have reformed medical treatment for autistic children in Georgia was a last minute addition to HB-885 and this attachment did not fair well for both bills.
Georgia HB 885, titled Haleigh’s Hope Act was passed in the Senate 54-0 only to later have it shot down on the floor of the General Assembly. A few people though, were skeptical of this bill without some changes.
The director of Georgia C.A.R.E Project saw this coming.
“We supported HB-885 with the hope that the committee (House Health & Human Services) would identify the issues and modify the bill’, said Bell. “Without this reform the bill is dead!”
According to James Bell, a component of House Bill 885 would have given smugglers immunity from prosecution to anyone who smuggles cannabis extracts into Georgia. He claims the proposal encourages swindlers and patients to violate federal laws that could land someone in federal prison for minimum of ten years to life.
“HB-885 sets up yet another black market and jeopardizes the freedom of those seeking legal medicine’, Bell said. “We need to legalize cultivation of cannabis in Georgia. We need legislation that removes cannabis from the criminal elements.”
James Bell, a lobbyist for marijuana law reform, resentfully supported HB-885 but now will turn his attention to the 2015 legislative session and will begin to work on a new bill that allows for “legal cultivation, dispensing and doctors recommendations for cannabis use.”
Medicinal marijuana reform has gained some muscle in the past few years. Some of that muscle has came from Dr. Sanjay Gupta, an important advocate for medicinal marijuana and an influential individual being a CNN correspondent who has taken numerous trips to hospitals and laboratories hoping to understand the science behind marijuana.
“It is about emerging science that not only shows and proves what marijuana can do for the body but provides better insights into the mechanisms of marijuana in the brain, “ said Gupta. “This scientific journey is about a growing number of patients who want the cannabis plant as a genuine medicine, not to get high.”
Dr. Gupta went onto release a sequel to “Weed” entitled “Weed 2: Cannabis Madness.” In the sequel, Dr. Gupta looks at United States federal laws that contemplate marijuana as a drug with no medicinal value and provides voices from scientists who say the federal laws are wrong.
In other words it is the “politics of pot – the politicians vs. the patients.”
So who are these politicians that some are pro medicinal marijuana and others who are against medicinal marijuana.
Nathan Deal, Governor of Georgia expressed his interest in legalizing medicinal marijuana after HB-885 did not follow through.
“I will be talking with all of our state agencies who have any kind of involvement in dealing with that issue to see if there is something we can do to make this treatment possible, “ Said Deal.
Marijuana has been called the “gateway drug” and one of the many reasons why it is still illegal is because of the THC level in the plant. The THC in marijuana is what gives you the “high” but in marijuana there is cannabidiol.
Cannabidiol “is a non-psychoactive component of marijuana that possesses a wide range of therapeutic benefits.”
Some of the few benefits of CBD (cannabidiol) are that CBD can offset the carcinogens found in metastasis of cancer. CBD is also an anti-psychotic medicine that can treat schizophrenia as well as other brain related concerns.
So why is medicinal marijuana still ILLEGAL?
One of the reasons why it remains illegal in Georgia can be unfortunately thanked to Senator Renee Unterman who attatched Senate Bill 397 to House Bill 885 which would have “reformed medical treatment for autistic children in Georgia.”
“She had an agenda important to her, but it needed to stand alone. She didn’t need to hijack another bill to push her piece of legislation”, said Rep. Allen Peake, the main sponsor of HB 885.
Therefore adding SB 397 to HB 885 it predicted failure.
This failure puts a speed bump on the road of legalization to medicinal marijuana and it affects everyone from patients to politicians because of how important a reform like this is in present American society.
“These parents don’t understand how the General Assembly works but this building is nothing but politics”, Unterman said in an interview with WSBTV.
Now it seems like the year 2013-2014 the legislative session failed to pass two important bills for autism and medical marijuana reform.
Nonetheless, if each bill stood alone then we might now be in an era where medical marijuana is legalized.
The road to legalization of medical marijuana started on a high note, and then ran into some problems; but the road continues and might just end in a high note.
State Senator Curt Thompson has filed State Bill-432 (Controlled Substance Therapeutic Relief Act), which will address many of the issues such as the quality of how medicinal marijuana will be served, the safe and legal access to cannabis oil.
(Regarding the State Senators busy schedule, he did not have the time to sit down with me to talk about his act)
His controlled substance therapeutic relief act will do the speaking for him.
The C.S.T.R act will ensure patients a safe way of receiving cannabidiol – this substance will help patients. People who comply with this act will not put the State of Georgia or their patients in violation of federal law.
For patients, SB-432 will allow two ounces of marijuana for use. If the qualifying patients registry identification card states that the qualifying patient is authorized to cultivate marijuana, then eight marijuana plants contained in an enclosed and locked facility will be provided. However, if the patient is moving living locations then the marijuana plants will not have to be in an enclosed and locked facility for travel.
Locally, the people of Athens and its GOP heard some good news about legalization of medicinal marijuana from Governor Nathan Deal.
Governor Deal has been in constant communication with the state pharmaceutical board, composite medical board, and the state medical school as well as the Georgia Regents University in Augusta all about testing on volunteers with cannabinoid oil.
Governor Deal will be looking over this reform very carefully in legalization of medicinal marijuana.
“This is not something we want to open the floodgates on,” Deal said. “It has to be done in a very controlled manner.”
If the trails were successful, the General Assembly could take up medical marijuana again.
State Bill 432 will do what House Bill 885 couldn’t do – pass. So lets hope for the best for the patients who are suffering from cancer, glaucoma, and other diseases that can be cured by medicinal marijuana.
Athens-Clarke County might be replacing its current fleet of garbage trucks with new fully automatic trucks for $1.9 million.
The Solid Waste Department estimates that the overall savings for purchasing the new trucks, primarily in personnel costs and workers compensation claims, will add up to $500,000 per year. That amount suggests the city could recoup its losses in four years.
One of the key differences between these trucks and the ones currently used by Solid Waste will be that the new vehicles will be identical as opposed to the current ones, which have a range of ages.
The reason that is cost effective is that it is far easier to only need one brand of car to be fixed. Since the parts can be purchased in bulk, which can, but not always, reduce costs, and maintenance is much easier when there is only model that needs to be repaired.
In addition, since these will be new trucks they will not need to be repaired as frequently as the older models.
The primary reason for the savings is that the fully automated trucks will require fewer people to man them. Jim Corley, the director of solid waste for the Athens-Clarke government, said personnel cuts would likely be achieved through attrition.
“We currently have six vacancies and typically have a turnover of 8-12 per year,” Corley said. “We will use temp labor to fill in until the conversion is made. Also I think we can shuffle around the employees to other posts in the government so layoffs will not be needed.”
Although Corley thinks the commission will approve of the new trucks, he acknowledged that one of the biggest obstacles would still be the cost.
“The trucks will cost double that of the standard versions,” Corley said, “and in addition the commission will have to decide if it is worth it to wait for the economic benefits.”
However, there are other benefits to getting the new trucks. Two of the bigger ones are that they will be faster and more efficient so they will save some money that way.
Currently, the garbage trucks patrolling Athens are semi-automatic, which means the collector on the truck has to move the can to the back so the garbage can be dumped in. The newer trucks will use a claw to tip the can directly into the back.
However, in order for the claw apparatus to work, the garbage cans have to be placed at the correct spot in the curb or the claw will not be able to collect the trash, the New Haven (Conn.) Register reported when that city made a similar conversion. The Register also noted that due to the automation, uniform trash bins would have to be provided for the garbage trucks.
Since this is different it will be necessary to educate the people of Athens that the system has changed. If the plan is approved, Corley said, citizens will be informed ahead of time through such means as mailers, water bill inserts, door hanger tags and a notice on the government web site.
Although the policy for garbage pickup would change, residents such as the disabled or the elderly would not need to worry about having to adapt, as the current policy allowing them to place their garbage at a more convenient location, such as their backyard, would remain the same.
Another obstacle that has been in Solid Waste’s way for a long time has been getting funds. Corley has noted that his staff has shrunk over the years and previous proposals, such as around-the-clock garbage pickup and garbage corrals, have been shot down, although part of the later was because they might offend the eyes.
Despite that, Corley said he is optimistic that the cost savings offered by the new plan will make it attractive to commissioners, who he said have offered positive feedback.
The proposal is going to come to a vote in June, said Corley, and will be implemented late this year or early next year.
By Eli Watkins
For seven years now, a member of Congress hailing from Athens, Rep. Paul Broun, M.D. of the 10th District, has received a mixture of scorn and praise for his colorful statements and conservative voting pattern. Broun is running for retiring U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss’ seat, which leaves the race for the 10th District wide open.
The people of the 10th will vote to replace Broun this year, whether he successfully ascends to the Senate or his career goes the way of the wooly mammoth.
Seven of the eight candidates qualified for the ballot are Republicans. The overwhelming partisan imbalance reflects the fact that the 10th district leans heavily republican. According to the Cook Political Report, this district’s voters went for the 2012 Republican nominee for president, Governor Mitt Romney, by a margin of 26 percentage points. In 2012, Broun won the general election unopposed, despite 4,000 write-in votes for deceased English biologist Charles Darwin. Barring any unforeseen circumstances involving their eventual nominee, the Republican voters in the 10th district will likely decide the election.
As it stands now, the district spans many rural locations in the eastern side of the state. It stretches from Barrow and Walton counties in the northwest to Johnson and Jefferson in the southeast. Major cities include Athens, Milledgeville, Monroe, and Winder.
The general election is on November 4, but in a district this conservative, it seems the more important date to pay attention to is the primary on May 20.
Some of these candidates differ on rhetoric, but their policy stances and mutual distaste for President Obama show they agree on broad political principles. Their backgrounds involve military service, business experience, grassroots involvement, and one count of involvement in the legislature. Please see the list below for details on each candidate.
- Mike Collins is a business owner from Jackson, Georgia. He is the son of former Rep. Mac Collins, who defeated Rep. Broun in a (1992) primary. According to his website, this Collins has spent much of his life in the private sector, serving on the Boards of Georgia’s Associated Credit Union and Motor Trucking Association and as president of his county’s Chamber of Commerce, as well as running his own trucking company. His campaign is focusing on this private sector experience. Brandon Phillips, a consultant for the campaign, said, “He’s the only one with real business experience.” On the issues, Collins is a conservative candidate in general agreement with his opponents. He is against tax increases, same sex marriage, and the availability of abortions. He supports Fairtax, robust military spending, and gun rights. According to the FEC, Collins’ disclosures show $324,606 in total contributions.
- Gary Gerrard is a former Army officer and an Athens native as well as a practicing attorney and former adjunct law professor for a few universities including the University of Georgia. He supports a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and advocates the creation of a budget reconciliation commission to increase action on budget cuts in the style of a mechanism Congress employed to close military bases. He wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and abolish the Department of Education. When asked what distinguishes him from his opponents, Gerrard said, “There is at least one person in the race, maybe more, that has an originalist intent of the constitution that I believe is naive.” According to the FEC, Gerrard’s disclosures show $114,835 in contributions.
- Jody Hice is a radio host and minister living in Walton County. His religious background and his political activism are intertwined. In a forum hosted by the Newton Conservative Liberty Alliance and the Covington News, Hice summed up his appeal when he said, “I’m a Christian. I’m a constitutionalist. I’m a conservative.” Hice is proud over his fight with the American Civil Liberties Union over a Barrow County courthouse’s display of the Ten Commandments. In 2008, he joined 30 other pastors in protesting an IRS code by telling his congregation to vote for Senator John McCain. Perhaps the most overtly pro-Broun candidate, Hice takes some of the most absolutist conservative positions. He makes a number of pledges on his website, including a promise not to raise the debt ceiling, a policy many economists describe as more or less the economic equivalent of seppuku. According to the FEC, Hice’s disclosures show $255,567 in total contributions.
- Donna Sheldon has the dual distinction of being the only woman and prior office holder in the race. She served in the Georgia House of Representatives, where she eventually became Chair of the House Majority Caucus. She helped craft a bill on the House Transportation Committee that led to the T-SPLOST referendum in 2012. Her work in the legislature earned her praise from several right-leaning organizations. American Conservative Union gave her a 100 percent rating. The Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life organization, endorsed her in this race for her firm history of support for pro-life initiatives. According to the FEC, Hice’s disclosures show $384,056 in total contributions.
- Stephen Simpson is a retired military officer from Milledgeville. No stranger to running in this district, Simpson lost to Broun in the 2012 primary, but is now bolstered in the crowded field with the support of former Governor Sonny Perdue. Simpson is also a former member of the intelligence community. When he brought up this point at the NCLA and Covington News forum, he said wryly, “When I worked for the NSA, we didn’t overreach.” He often references Obama administration controversies like the attack in Benghazi, Libya and discriminatory IRS practices, popular topics in the republican base. He also focuses, like his opponents, on budget cuts and employment. According to the FEC, Hice’s disclosures show $185,630 in total contributions.
- Brian Slowinski is a self-described non-establishment conservative tea party republican candidate, and to the observer, it appears he is right. Whether it is his trademark of repeating his name three times or his homemade announcement video on YouTube, people can see Slowinski really was correct when he said, “I’m not part of the professional political class.” Slowinski holds Rep. Broun in high esteem, and it seems he would vote similarly to the tea party favorite. His issue positions for the most part are similar to the rest of the candidates. However, Slowinski also has an anti-establishment and libertarian bent. He supports firing Speaker John Boehner and auditing the Federal Reserve. Hice’s campaign has no funds listed by the FEC for 2013.
- S. Mitchell Swann is a Marine Colonel from Athens. He has experience in foreign policy. According to his website, Swann worked on U.S. policy for the Middle East when he was a staff officer with U.S. Central Command. Given his background, it is no surprise that Swann focuses on international issues more than the other candidates do. Demonstrating his perspective in this regard, he said, “We are the last nation of consequence in Western Civilization.” However, he does share many of the domestic concerns as his opponents. He supports budget cuts and a flat tax. One area he may differ from his opponents on is immigration. Swan has a plan to offer undocumented immigrants windows of opportunities to pay fees and ultimately gain citizenship. The FEC did not have anything from Swann’s campaign because he had not entered the race until after the last disclosure deadline.
Voters will decide which Republican candidate of those seven listed above to put on the general election ballot. On the other side of the aisle stands Ken Dious, the sole Democrat in the race. He is a civil rights lawyer, and according to his website, “was the first African-American student at University of Georgia to integrate the football team and wear a Bulldog uniform.” This means that if Dious were to win the election, Georgia’s congressional delegation would have another member of the civil rights movement.
When it comes to policy, Dious’ positions span the portion of the U.S. political spectrum unoccupied by his opponents. According to his website, Dious believes the state of Georgia should promote its “attractive tax code,” but also said he supports a “national healthcare plan.” He served as an Obama delegate in the 2008 Democratic National Convention, which may put him at odds with the vast majority of this district’s anti-Obama voters.
According to the FEC, Dious’ disclosures show $11,395 in contributions. To democratic activists, this campaign seems like a good chance for Dious–or any other Democrats looking for footholds in the area–to build up support as the state’s demographics change. Still, Dious is hopeful about his chances.
“I think my chance in this race is good,” said Dious, “but we’re trying to get my message out.”
Unless one of the Republican candidates walks away with the May primary, the two highest polling candidates will go on to compete in a runoff in June. Then the winner of that contest will face the hurdle that is the November general election. So far, the qualifying process narrowed the 700,000 or so people in the 10th district to eight possible candidates. Now it is up to the voters to make that last jump down to one representative.