Athens Clarke County Commission Candidates Speak at Forum
Voting is July 31.
They get Athens, they love Five Points, they know how things work, they know about business and how to bring jobs to town. They believe our taxes are too high, that our government regulations are too burdensome for businesses, that we're not prepared for the economic tsunami waiting to engulf us from Oconee County.
It's hard to sell yourself to voters in teeney weeney sound bites. But that's how things went for candidates vying for seats on the Athens Clarke County Commission Monday night. Up for grabs are District 4's seat, since Alice Kinman isn't running for re-election, and Ed Robinson's District 6 seat.
The event was sponsored by the Athens Clarke County Federation of Neighborhoods. A moderator asked each of the candidates the same questions, which were submitted either on line or by those in attendance.
Attorney David Ellison and scientific illustrator Allison Wright, an eight-year veteran of the Clarke County School Board, are running in District 4. Ron Winders, a business executive, and Jerry Nesmith, a member of the ACC Planning Commission are facing off in District 6.
How to characterize each candidate?
Ellison spends a lot of time at the Clarke County Courthouse as a member of the hearings board, is happy Five Points is so pedestrian oriented, worries about the lack of parking in Five Points, thinks of Five Points as incredibly friendly, likes the tree canopy, wants Caterpillar suppliers to locate in Athens, believes ACC should work closer with the state delegation, plans to bring new businesses to town and admires Abraham Lincoln.
Wright says she is a creative problem solver who kept identifying herself to the audience, who thinks challenges bring opportunities, manages a small business, believes zero-based budgeting can save money for the local government, works as a team member, would need traffic studies and market research figures before deciding about the viability of a downtown Walmart, supports bike lanes for health, and who most admires Alice Kinman as an elected official.
Ron Winders has had business experience with Fortune 500 companies, supports and works for coastal conservation, believes Athens needs the proper services so businesses can get up and running, supports alternative transportation, believes the Economic Development Foundation can best recruit businesses, and most admires Ronald Reagan as an elected official because he listened to his own counsel.
Jerry Nesmith has been on the ACC Planning Commission for eight years, likes maps, helped protect Bishop Park, supports the land use plan wholeheartedly and wants it enforced, co-founded the Athens Farmers' Market, believes Athens is at a turning point, wants to waken the citizenry to the perils of Oconee's Epps Bridge Road development and strengthen Atlanta Highway commerce, describes his style as servant leadership, wants to expand the downtown grid and supports alternative transportation.
The pro-chicken contingent in the community may be saddened to learn that none of the candidates supports a county-wide ordinance allowing backyard chickens.
The election for the Athens Clarke County Commission is July 31.