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Posted by on September 7, 2012.

Brookhaven cityhood in-depth: the District 1 candidates

The Brookhaven Reporter reached out to all the candidates to learn a little more about them and ask them about their reasons for running. Here are the candidates running for District 1.

Rebecca Chase Williams

Occupation: Journalist, small business owner, retired ABC News national correspondent

Neighborhood: Byrnwyck

Community involvement: Board member of Citizens for North DeKalb; District 1 appointee for the DeKalb Zoning Board of Appeals (2011 to present); president of the Byrnwyck Community Association (1997-2006); on the association board (1997 to present); Ashford Alliance Community Association Co-Chair Zoning Committee (2007-2010); St. Martin’s Episcopal School Board of Trustees (1994-2002); St. Pius X High School Advisory Board (2004); past volunteer with Marist School, Murphey Candler Girls Softball Association, All Saints Catholic Church, Catholic Charities, and Girl Scouts.

Why are you running for this post?

We only have one chance to launch the city of Brookhaven and I want to make sure we get it right. The voters in the community have put their trust in a new model of governance. I want to make sure we deliver on the promise of efficient, fiscally responsible government that is transparent and accountable to all residents.

Why should the voters choose you?

My 27 years as a DeKalb County resident and taxpayer and my reporting on the creation of Sandy Springs and Dunwoody, as well as my involvement and reporting on the feasibility of the city of Brookhaven have given me a front row seat and depth of knowledge on the issues we will face. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I believe my research and many years of community involvement give me a better understanding of the issues than anyone else.

What do you think should be the first task of the new government in Brookhaven?

We establish public trust in a city government that operates efficiently and transparently. The first priority is ensuring public safety because the other services are secondary if you don’t feel safe. Once we’ve established that, we will move forward creating parks we can be proud of, decent roads and zoning that protects our quality of life.

Video Profile:

 

Alan M. Cole

Occupation: Semi-retired. Real estate management and consulting; owner of Old But Solid Inc.

Neighborhood:  Murphey Candler Park area

Past elective offices:  President of Oak Forest Hills Homeowners Association

Other community involvement: founding member of the Ashford Alliance Neighborhood Association; team member in negotiations with Georgia Power Co. regarding the design and installation of the substation located at the intersection of Ashford Dunwoody Road, Perimeter Summit and Oak Forest Drive; worked with Perimeter CID to establish the new entrance to Oak Forest Hills; regular participant in neighborhood fundraisers; participated in the Brookhaven Yes campaign.

Why are you running for this post?  

The city of Brookhaven will have a very narrow window to get the new city up and running.  I have the ability to devote the time necessary for this process during days, nights and weekends as well as holidays.

Previously I established and ran three businesses in Georgia.  By utilizing my business expertise, I can help form a solid foundation for the city of Brookhaven to get up and running quickly.

Why should the voters choose you?  

I am not a career politician. My involvement has been grass-roots efforts.  To the table I bring experience in construction, contract negotiations, roads/bridges and personnel.  This would certainly be an asset.

What should be the first task of the new city government?

Setting up a police department will be the most demanding task to face the new city.  I am familiar with the issue and have others with far more expertise to consult with.

Video Profile: This candidate has not filmed a video profile.  The Brookhaven Reporter has invited all candidates to participate. To make an appointment, call Associate Editor and Digital Content Manager Dan Whisenhunt at 404-917-2200, ext. 113 or email him at danwhisenhunt@reporternewspapers.net

 

Michelle Conlon

Did not respond to requests for information.

 

Kevin D. Fitzpatrick Jr.

Occupation: Attorney specializing in aviation and employment law

Neighborhood: Gainsborough

Community involvement: Member of the Oglethorpe University board of trustees; member of the Parish Council for Our Lady of the Assumption Church; coach with the Murphey Candler Girls Softball Association; president of the Saint Thomas More Society; coach of the mock trial team at Marist School. Worked for traffic calming measures in Gainsborough and lobbied the DeKalb County Commission to secure a change in an ordinance that was preventing the OLA Church from achieving a Special Land Use Permit needed to build its new church.

Why are you running for this post?

I am running for this post because I think that Brookhaven’s neighborhoods and citizens will be significantly affected by the actions of the first City Council for decades. It is important that we learn from the experiences of our neighboring cities; that we maintain a superior level of public safety; that we are transparent and responsive; and that we advocate against neighborhood-destructive ideas like the widening of I-285 and an increase in the size of aircraft flying in and out of PDK.

Why should the voters choose you?

My experience at Oglethorpe has included membership on the board’s executive committee and audit committee. Oglethorpe’s annual budget is roughly equivalent to the size of Brookhaven’s expected budget. I have been privileged to work with many talented board members. Working together, the board has helped steer that institution to a solid financial footing, that is reflected by Oglethorpe’s clean audits and the ambitious building projects that are currently underway.

I was educated in Brookhaven, having graduated from Oglethorpe in the 1970′s. I have lived in Brookhaven for the past 27 years. My service at Oglethorpe and at OLA church, my expertise in aviation and employment law, and my two decades experience as a labor negotiator have given me extensive experience in institutional government that makes me uniquely suited to serve on the Brookhaven City Council.

What should be the first task of the new city government?

The new council will not have the luxury of performing its initial tasks one at a time. We will have to do many things simultaneously, such as securing office space; hiring a city manager; negotiating with DeKalb to secure ownership of our parks and creating police department.

Video Profile:

 

Kevin Meaders

Occupation: Financial planner/business owner

Neighborhood: Wescott subdivision

Past elective offices held: Republican delegate to county, district, and state GOP conventions, 2012

Other community involvement: DeKalb County Republican Party; Oglethorpe University President’s Advisory Council; Fur-Kids Animal Shelter; Georgia Masonic Children’s Home; Magellan Lunch n’ Learn educational series.

Why are you running for this post?

I moved back to Brookhaven in 2002 to be closer to the business I opened here in 2000, Magellan Planning Group. I have deep roots in this area as I graduated from Oglethorpe University in 1993. My father also went to Oglethorpe and graduated from Cross Keys High. My wife and I plan to have children in the next few years and of course, we will raise them right here in Brookhaven, District 1.

I have hundreds of clients in this area that I have become very close to, and consider my extended family. I owe it to all of them to donate my energy and expertise to make Brookhaven the best it can be and that starts with sound planning. The habits and culture that we build and inspire now will carry over potentially for generations. We all want Brookhaven’s bonds to have an AAA rating. I can help get us there.

Why should the voters choose you?

As a Certified Financial Planner™ with over 18 years of financial and estate planning experience, and as an attorney extensively trained in civil law, I believe I will bring unique and highly needed expertise in financial matters. Even more importantly, I have known from my days at Oglethorpe that taxes (of whatever kind) are like brakes on an economy. Taxes will kill an economy.

I know many will be excited to build lots of great improvements and a fancy granite city hall with state-of-the-art traffic lights and street lamps and sidewalks, etc. I want these things for Brookhaven too, but we must always remember that they can only be paid for with your tax dollars. Whether you own a home or a business here — or both, like me — you hopefully will agree that taxes, government regulation, and bureaucratic waste is not the key to success.

I make a promise that I will never vote to raise taxes unless absolutely necessary, and that I will continually seek ways to in fact lower your taxes whenever possible.

What do you think should be the first task of the new city government in Brookhaven?

The first task should be to research an honest estimate of our actual revenue and our expected expenditures so that we can build a budget that works within our means and reward the citizens of Brookhaven with an immediate millage rate reduction. We should also actively engage local businesses and entrepreneurial groups such as the Brookhaven Community Connection to gauge how we could help support local business. Only free market economics will raise our mutual standard of living—for ourselves and our children.

Video Profile:

 

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