2017 ELECTION SPECIAL

PUBLISHER’S NOTE – As a service to its readers, The GRIP once again contacted candidates running for local office and requested their participation in a question and answer forum.

The questions were sent in a group email to ensure no candidate had an unfair advantage in the length of time they had to respond.

Candidates were informed of this forum’s guidelines:

Due to print space limitations, candidates’ responses will be limited to 500 words. Candidates will determine how to allocate that limit among the questions asked. In addition to the 500 words allotted for responses to the questions to follow, candidates will also be allowed a 100-word introduction and a 100-word closing statement. They may use the opening and closing statements for the purpose of their choosing. If a candidate exceeds the 500-word limit on responses to questions, I will end their printed responses at the conclusion of the sentence immediately preceding the 500th word. If a candidate exceeds the 100-word limit on the opening and/or closing statements, I will end their printed responses at the conclusion of the sentence immediately preceding the 100th word. The balance of any responses that exceed the word limitation will be posted in their entirety on The GRIP’s website. Readers will be informed if any candidate’s print responses are incomplete and instructed to reference the website for the full text. I am requesting that each candidate also submit a headshot for inclusion in this election special. To avoid ANY possibility of bias in the editorial process, The GRIP WILL NOT edit candidates’ responses in any way. Responses will be printed VERBATIM as they are received, so please edit your work accordingly.The deadline for responding to these questions will be 10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29. Responses received after this time WILL NOT be included.

Three of seven local Board of Commissioners candidates chose to participate in this year’s candidate forum.

DISTRICT 1 CANDIDATE BILL LEMONS

INTRODUCTION

I am a native of Atlanta, GA. I have spent a great deal of my childhood frequenting the Griffin area visiting relatives and have fond memories of Spalding County. As a teenager, I attended East Atlanta High School and upon graduation in 1973, I enrolled at Dekalb Community College with a major in Criminal Justice.

I have over 25 years’ experience in law enforcement. I understand the challenges community’s face as it relates to issues of safety, gang-activity, and the responsibilities of public service.

I have an extensive track record in areas of civic engagement and community outreach within my former communities including starting a Neighborhood Watch program, serving as director of the Mark Trail Recreation Center, and as an acting campaign volunteer for Rockdale County’s historic  2011 “Slate of 8” Democratic Caucus.

In 2015, I graduated from the City of Griffin’s Citizen Government Academy as well as the City of Griffin’s Citizens Police Academy.

Q: Despite the recent changes to the city of Griffin’s yard waste ordinance, including assurances that residents will receive refunds if they report they are not receiving scheduled pick-ups, numerous people continue to complain that yard waste is collecting for extended periods of time, and that their yards are being damaged as a result.

What is your position on the city continuing to provide this service?

A: If elected, what steps would you take to ensure residents do not continue to pay for a service they are not consistently receiving?

Sanitation pickup is a necessity in every community. If elected, I intend to find the funds within the sanitation budget to enlist a private contractor to be paid from Sanitations annual budget to resolve these issues.

Q: It appears likely there will be an upcoming increase in the city of Griffin’s electricity rate. Would you support this recommendation by City Manager Kenny Smith? If not, how would you propose the city mitigate the operational deficit?

A: No, I would not support the recommendation. If operational costs are exceeding Griffin Electric’s budget, I would reevaluate the budget and make cuts within that department to accommodate the shortfall and NOT have it passed on to the customer. We pay enough already.

Q: Crime continues to concern residents, particularly property crime. How would you address resident’s concerns?

A: As a resident of Griffin, when deciding to run for office, one of my first goals is to establish mini-police precincts in high crime at-risk communities. Another priority if elected is to establish an 11pm curfew enforcement law for minors under age 16. I also plan to assist with the development of Inmate Mentorship & Workforce Readiness Programs for former inmates.

 Q: A frequent complaint regards panhandling, which the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled is protected speech. What steps would you support to address this issue?

A: To address the issue of panhandling in Griffin, I will designate certain open areas or zones for panhandlers, where false claims cannot be made against them and where citizens can feel safe in those areas.

Q: What do you perceive to be the greatest challenge facing the city of Griffin and how would you work to address that issue?

A: I truly believe that many of our citizens of District 1 don’t feel as if their concerns are being heard and addressed. During the course of this campaign, I’ve heard numerous stories from our citizens relating to property tax increases, and issues with Griffin Power. I have also taken surveys from citizens in reference to these issues. While talking with potential voters it has become clear that there is a lack of representation in District 1.

My goal is to encourage community engagement between local officials and citizens. One way I intend to do this is by hosting monthly citizen town hall meetings at different venues throughout the district. This way I am accessible to people who may not be able to attend regular commission meetings.

CLOSING STATEMENT

I believe it is time for new leadership. As a resident, of District 1 City of Griffin, the communities concerns are my concerns.

DISTRICT 3 CANDIDATE RICHARD H. “DICK” BROOKS

INTRODUCTION

Richard H. “Dick” Brooks

Personal:

  • attended Fourth Ward, Spalding Junior High, graduated Griffin High
  • played football at GHS, University of Tennessee, & Troy State University (business and marketing degree)
  • recently retired (45 years) Senior Vice-President Griffin’s First National Bank
  • married 45 years to former Cathy Langford (3 children & 5 grandchildren)
  • member Griffin First United Methodist Church

Community:

  • civic clubs (Griffin Jaycees, Griffin Rotary Club)
  • local Boards (United Way, Griffin Area Concert Association, Habitat for Humanity, BSA Flint River Council, Wellstar Board of Directors, Spalding Resources Inc.)
  • co-chaired recent successful ESPLOST
  • former president Chamber of Commerce and a “General Griffin”

Q: Despite the recent changes to the city of Griffin’s yard waste ordinance, including assurances that residents will receive refunds if they report they are not receiving scheduled pick-ups, numerous people continue to complain that yard waste is collecting for

extended periods of time, and that their yards are being damaged as a result. What is your position on the city continuing to provide this service? If elected, what steps would you take to ensure residents do not continue to pay for a service they are not consistently receiving?

A: Griffin is fortunate to have yard waste pick up. Many communities leave that to the property owner which can be very costly and inconvenient. We must understand that in an extraordinary event such as the recent storms in the area, clean-up shifts to handle the emergency situation first and the scheduled pickups may be affected. Hopefully after the emergency is addressed, the regular pick-ups will return on schedule. If a homeowner can document their complaint and any damages, then they should go through the proper channels with that city department to address any refund they might be due.

Q: It appears likely there will be an upcoming increase in the city of Griffin’s electricity rate. Would you support this recommendation by City Manager Kenny Smith? If not, how would you propose the city mitigate the operational deficit?

A: I understand that much discussion and research has been done concerning this matter and I would support the recommendation of our City Manager if he deems this necessary.

Q: Crime continues to concern residents, particularly property crime. How would you address resident’s concerns?

A: I would like more visible patrols in our residential areas day and night.

Q: A frequent complaint regards panhandling, which the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled is protected speech. What steps would you support to address this issue?

A: If a person has a sign asking for money, you can give make a personal choice to respond or simply ignore it. If someone is aggressively approaching people in a public area to the point of making them uncomfortable, the property owner should ask them to leave and offer directions to Salvation Army, Food Pantry, Soup Kitchen or numerous other organizations in our community that offer assistance to those truly in need.

Q: What do you perceive to be the greatest challenge facing the city of Griffin and how would you work to address that issue?

A: I would like to continue work on downtown revitalization and the corridors into the downtown area. We need to promote more convenient parking, encourage businesses to locate downtown, and continue to improve the overall appearance.

CLOSING

I hope to see Griffin prosper and grow with the following goals:

  • Responsible use of tax payers’ dollars
  • Collaboration of city, county, and school system
  • Continued improvement on the “gateways” into Griffin
  • Bring more businesses downtown and improve parking
  • Maintain a clean and attractive Griffin that preserves our history
  • Support our educational assets (UGA Griffin, Southern Crescent, College and Career Academy, and nearby Gordon College)
  • Support our local law enforcement

We want people to live, work, and play in our community – our home. I appreciate your support for City Commissioner District 3.

Thank you, Dick Brooks

 

DISTRICT 6 CANDIDATE RODNEY MCCORD

INTRODUCTION

I am Rodney McCord a lifelong Griffin resident. I have served on the Board of City Commissioners for 20 years. I have made it my duty to not only represent the 6th District but the entire City of Griffin. I am married to Dr. MeQuanta L. McCord and we are the parents of two outstanding  sons Jordan(12) and Jalen(9).

Q: Despite the recent changes to the city of Griffin’s yard waste ordinance, including assurances that residents will receive refunds if they report they are not receiving scheduled pick-ups, numerous people continue to complain that yard waste is collecting for extended periods of time, and that their yards are being damaged as a result.

What is your position on the city continuing to provide this service?

A: After tropical storm Irma, the City was inundated with tons of yard waste and debris.  It has taken a while to get it all picked up but we are now back on schedule.

I am in favor of continuing the yard waste service.  The majority of people that I have spoken to support the idea.

In the event that residents are not being served, they should contact any commissioner or the city manager for resolve.

Q: It appears likely there will be an upcoming increase in the city of Griffin’s electricity rate. Would you support this recommendation by City Manager Kenny Smith? If not, how would you propose the city mitigate the operational deficit?

A: I support the recommendation from the City Manager. These increases are necessary to maintain a functioning infrastructure.

Q: Crime continues to concern residents, particularly property crime. How would you address resident’s concerns?

A: We must all become more vigilant when it comes to crime.  I am a firm believer that reporting offenders will lead to a reduction in crime.

Q: A frequent complaint regards panhandling, which the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled is protected speech. What steps would you support to address this issue?

A:  We must, as a community, find ways to help those in need. I don’t believe that people who are panhandling want to be panhandlers.  Our city has several organizations willing to help those in need.  We need to do a better job of directing those who are panhandling to the proper charitable organizations.

Q: What do you perceive to be the greatest challenge facing the city of Griffin and how would you work to address that issue?

A:  Substandard Housing…this has been at the top of the list for many years. And for years, the Board has directed the City Manager to continue tackling this problem. We have made great strides to clean up communities by demolishing substandard structures.

CLOSING

If re-elected I plan to continue working hard for this community.  My service to my community stretches far beyond an elected office.

#fortheloveofgriffin

TSPLOST REFERENDUM

Special Purpose Local Option 1% Sales Tax (Vote for One)

Shall a special one percent sales and use tax be imposed in the special district consisting of Spalding County for a period of time not to exceed 20 calendar quarters and for the raising of an estimated amount of $42,000,000 for transportation purposes? If imposition of the tax is approved by the voters in the special district consisting of Spalding County, such vote shall also constitute approval of the issuance of general obligation debt of Spalding County in the principal amount of not to exceed $8,000,000 for the purposes described above and the costs of issuance of such debt. If imposition of the tax is approved by the voters in the special district consisting of Spalding County and also by the voters in the City of Griffin, such vote shall also constitute approval of the issuance of general obligation debt of the City of Griffin in the principal amount of not to exceed $6,000,000 for the purposes described above and the costs of issuance of such debt.

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. John E Noel says:

    Spalding county has Disabled Veterans, Pregnant Women and very Senior citizens having to take their garbage to a centralized place for disposal. This is the 21st century. Other more concerned counties have provided pick up at the residence. Bad oversight Spalding county. Lets get another pickle ball court instead.

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