Vote for Newt, Atlanta sewer tax 

Strange bedfellows make better city, country

Most of you, we'd hazard to guess, aren't planning to visit the polls on March 6, which political fanatics refer to as Super Tuesday. You, unlike the most hardcore of voters, are probably not fixated on the election, which helps determine each political party's nominees for November's presidential election.

But there are two reasons why you should leave a little early for work or swing by the polls before heading home. First, you must help select which GOP contender should face President Obama. "But wait," you say as you slip on your Obama 2012 polar fleece, "I'm not a registered Republican." You don't have to be! The Peach State's election laws allow voters to cast a ballot in any primary election they'd like, Republican or Democrat, with the only stipulation that you can't vote for a different party's candidate if a runoff takes place. Considering that Obama is unopposed on the Georgia ballot, that won't be an option.

Your vote should go to Newt Gingrich, the former Georgia congressman turned U.S. House Speaker who's lugging around more baggage than Prince Akeem Joffer of Zamunda.

Sure, it's unlikely Gingrich will win. (And why would he want to? Since leaving office he's amassed a personal fortune by consulting, speaking, and writing history books.) But that's not the point. Compared to Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, Gingrich has no way of unseating Obama. And while we're all for robust public debate between two political parties, we're in no mood to see Romney — or, even worse, Santorum — in the White House. Plus, Gingrich hasn't had a win in a while. Give the one-time Georgia boy one last thrill. Exercise your civic duty and help set the stage for November.

More important, while you're there, pull the lever for a measure that will help you and your friends save some cash by spending cash. Since 2004, one penny of Atlanta's sales tax has gone toward paying the $4 billion tab to overhaul Atlanta's severely antiquated sewer system. This wasn't some greenie initiative, however — it was ordered by a federal judge after constant sewer overflows. The 1-cent sales tax would generate an estimated $100 million each year to pay off bonds issued to fund the construction, which recently reached the halfway mark. Even better, though, is that by paying the sales tax rather than tacking the cost onto our water bills or property taxes, we off-load some of the burden on the workers and tourists who, in addition to tearing up our roads without paying for them, use our water system every day.

And if the measure doesn't pass? Mayor Kasim Reed says Atlantans' already outrageous water bills — some of the highest in the nation — will increase by an estimated 20 percent to pay off the debt. There's no other way around it.

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