Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's a Three Way Race In the First District

Things just got more interesting in the county commission first district race. David Osborne has been certified as an official Independent Candidate after successfully collecting the needed 5% of registered voters in the first district by petition. David Osborne's candidacy was supported by 1430 signatures of people living in the district.

To my knowledge, David Osborne is the first Independent candidate for Chatham County Commissioner to ever qualify through petition. This is a milestone as the two party system essentially tries to shut out everything but Democrats and Republicans. Not any longer.

Could this be a turning point? Are people just fed up with national partisan wrangling? Perhaps as we have seen here in Chatham County, when the opposite happens and Democrats support Republicans, and Republicans support Democrats - people won't buy THE TEAM approach to government. Is this race the tipping point where 'The Team" concept will not work?

Turning point or tipping point? When elected officials band together to protect themselves, they are effectively trying to suppress all competition in an attempt to avoid having to explain their records. It's a power play designed to protect their positions and continue the policies that benefit the fewest people. Wait and watch the Chatham County 09 and 010 budgets which will be  flat, and 5-4 votes will raise everyone's property taxes.

It is said that politics is a messy process a lot like watching sausage being made but here in this years county commission elections we have the opposite - no harm no foul, everything is ideal because we all "get along" mantra. " 

So there you have it, two extremes of the political spectrum. At the state and national level it's partisan in fighting which gets so bitter that none or precious little of the people's work  gets done (I point you to last year's legislative session), and on the end of the scale at the local level we hear, "we don't ever disagree because everything is purrrfect so re-elect us." 

Somehow, someway, we have managed to find ourselves somewhere in between the Roman Coliseum and Camelot. What's a gladiator or Knight to do? Will the people give thumbs down, or thumbs up? If locally we believe in mythic allegories, perhaps the King Auther story will resonate. Who knows, though a three way race in the First District between a Democrat, Republican and an Independent....... promises to be interesting.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Post Primary Thoughts: hi jinks, hypocrisy and higher taxes

The July 15th primary has come and gone and I am pleased to be the Republican candidate for Chatham County Chairman as that allows me an opportunity to carry forward my ideas about better public policy for our county.

I am most grateful to have the support of sensible Republicans who believe in lower taxes, more efficient government and better public safety. Who did not support me was the far right and special interest characters of the Chatham County Republican Party. I'm sure come November they will be voting for Pete anyway. In the short course they supported James Dewberry in an attempt to punish me for speaking out for sensible and improved public policy: impact fees on new construction, changing CAT buses from big to smaller and from diesel to smarter fuels, and working with the City of Savannah to support curbside recycling in the county.

Instead of picking apart reasonable and now very common policies (now routine in other communities and counties across the state of Georgia), they should have paid  attention to my long standing position that Chatham County property taxes are too high, not uniform between like kind classes and unfair to most property owners. Plus, they might want to think what is in store for the Chatham County budgets in 09, 010, 011? The tax digest will be flat or down (inflation included) and they won't have a fifth vote to stop a tax increase. Or do they enjoy being a minority on the commission so Pete will be the deciding vote to increase taxes?

Some of them also went a little nutty because back in January I made a comment to Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News that I was considering voting for Barack Obama. Many of the same CCRP individuals are the ones who sent me the emails over and over again about how Obama is a Muslim, won't salute the flag and is otherwise an evil person. Please.

They are also unnerved because some of the people who I met and worked with last year in the city recycling petition campaign, have decided to enter the races of sitting republicans commissioners. To them I say, this is America and those who want to be candidates have just as much right as anyone else to run. I did not "put them in the race." They saw the need to improve public policy at the county level and made up their minds to offer their own ideas. Sorry that some in CCRP feel I don't meet the CCRP country club standards, get over it.

Too and also, may I remind everyone that in January it was this commission that stood up together in Johnson Square, Kicklighter, Gellatly, Stone and Farrell (all Republicans) and announced that they would be running as a team, a conglomerate of Democrats and Republicans pledging their unwavering support for one another in this year's 2008 election.

It takes a lot of nerve to complain about another person who wishes to enter the election process after you have stood toe to toe and shoulder to shoulder in an obvious attempt to stifle any opposition and avoid any discussion of your record in this year's election cycle.

So perhaps we have cleared the air a little bit on the recent primary race, I hope so. The back story is what it is, convolution and frustration indeed, perhaps better discussion and better public policy will emerge in part because of it, not despite it.

PS: My advice to CCRP? Next election - recruit a Republican candidate for chairman that you approve of. (Kicklighter and Gellatly each have over 8 years service on the commission so why didn't CCRP encourage either of them to move up?)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dewberry Ducks Out on Candidate Forum

Two weeks ago my opponent, James Dewberry, agreed to a candidate forum on July 8, on Whitemarsh Island at the Frank Murray Community Center. Now he has backed out. Worse, he states in a blog posting on that he never accepted the invitation to this event. 

According to the president of the Sierra Club Coastal Group, Steve Willis, Dewberry agreed to attend and participate as a candidate during a phone call over two weeks ago that Willis made to Dewberry inviting him to the event. 

I received a call from Willis also inviting me to participate at the event and I was told by Willis that Dewberry agreed to be there as a candidate. I accepted and I will be there on July 8 to answers questions and discuss my own environmental public policy ideas.

I don't know who is advising James Dewberry. More often than not, he has a strange view on the issues so I think he marches to his own drummer. For example, he calls Starbucks, "Starboogers." Or, if you disagree with James Dewberry, he calls you a "dumb - dumb". His two favorite words which he uses freely to counter anyone who disagrees with him are, "idiot" and "fool." He routinely insults people with his weird choice of words. During the city elections last Fall, he said nothing about saving the city's resource recovery facility (the incinerator) and did not oppose curbside recycling. Now that he is running for Chairman of the County Commission, he believes burning our trash and recyclables is better than recycling.

In light of Dewberry's routine flip flops and bizarre nature, it does not surprise me that he folds and backs out of a commitment. There is much to be discussed in this election and voters need to know about the candidates and where they stand on important public policy issues. As a Republican candidate for Chairman of the County Commission, I welcome questions from all community groups including the Sierra Club. 

With regard to better environmental policy for Chatham County I support:

• Curbside recycling for unincorporated Chatham County residents

• Phasing the CAT bus fleet from diesel to natural gas

• Developing local policy to encourage more fuel efficient vehicles in both the           county fleet and within the public sector

• An ordinance to require a minimum level of project L.E.E.D.'s certification in the   design and construction of all new hotels and all county building projects