Paulding Chamber shutting out dissenting voices over airport deal?

Paulding County

In the wake of persisting questions and skepticism regarding the Paulding County Chamber of Commerce and plans to commercialize the Paulding Northwest Airport, onlookers are now decrying apparent efforts by the deal’s backers to shut out dissenting voices.

A November 15th letter from current Chamber head Don Barbour blasts his incoming replacement, Paul Callahan, and calls on him to step aside from his imminent leadership role.

Specifically, the letter devotes considerable space to rebuke Callahan for opposing the airport deal.

“The concern is that if you are personally opposed to the airport expansion and the Chamber strongly supports the airport expansion, how will you be able to effectively lead this organization?” it reads in part. “You will simply not be able to.”

Callahan pushed back with a written response of his own, shredding the arguments against his ability to serve and directly accosting Barbour for not even being a taxpaying citizen of Paulding County, saying he felt “the right to have an opinion or to be in opposition of something” was a fundamental right.

“As I said in the Executive Committee meeting, I am not against future development of the airport,” the response reads. “However, with that being said, I am completely against commercial flights.”

The deal’s rollout has been marked with a considerable degree of criticism regarding the transparency of the entire process.

Originally brokered in secret over a year ago, it was made public just months ago and given a remarkably rushed timetable. Both Delta Airlines and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed have joined Paulding County residents in expressing their opposition to both process and deal.

-Dome Confidential

December 8, 2013
November 20, 2013