There was something off about the candidates’ forum held in Dunwoody on Oct. 6.
The organizers of the event at Dunwoody United Methodist Church blocked off two hours but it was an early night for everyone. The forum wrapped up in just over one hour, even though there were seven politicians sharing a stage. The candidates obtained their questions in advance, and several read their answers off cards.
The audience sat quietly in the auditorium as the rain drummed on the roof. There was little spontaneity. No one clapped. No one cheered. No one booed.
The candidates answered questions with clockwork precision. On the off chance a candidate overshot the allotted 2 minutes, the moderator strummed a guitar to silence him.
Two incumbents took the stage: Doug Thompson, in Post 3 and Denis Shortal, in Post 1. They shared the stage, and many awkward looks, with three “Clean Sweep” candidates: Jim Riticher, Post 2, Henly Shelton, Post 1, and Sam Eads, Post 3. Heyward Wescott, a member of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, is running for Post 2 and was described as a political insider by his Clean Sweep opponent, Riticher.
Clean Sweep candidates are running to join the council and oppose Mayor Mike Davis, who is not on the Nov. 5 ballot. They contend that Shortal and Thompson have backed Davis, notably on the Project Renaissance development. They also have a beef with the way council members treated Post 2 Councilwoman Adrian Bonser.
Over the last two years she’s been the subject of ethics investigations that accused her of leaking information out of closed-door Executive Sessions about Project Renaissance. Bonser, who is not running this year, was seated near the front row and nodded as the Clean Sweep candidates defended her questioning of Davis’ policies.
In the middle of all this sat William Mercier, a Post 2 candidate unaligned with either side of the argument. He tried to rise above it all, taking middle of the road stances, and the Clean Sweep candidates mostly spoke past him to the candidates they accuse of ruining Dunwoody.