I’m so proud and honored to present The Peachtree City Moms 2021 Election Guide including a stellar list of Candidates, each very passionate about our great City. After many requests from our readers, this guide was created to help us all get to know each of the Candidates running for Mayor and City Council this year. In order to interview each Candidate in a fair and unbiased setting, I polled our audience to determine which questions were most important to our Moms. The TOP 6 questions, from the poll, were sent to each Candidate. Here are their responses! I am very thankful for the participation of ALL the candidates and to be able present this very comprehensive Election Guide. I hope you find it to be a great resource before heading to the polls on November 2nd, 2021.
Thank you to our Sponsors, Honda of Newnan and Peachtree City Golf Cars!
Where are you from and tell us a little bit about yourself?
My husband and I relocated our family to Peachtree City in 1999 because we were tired of traffic congestion and overcrowded schools in our North Fulton neighborhood. We are a family that enjoys sports, natural areas and greenspaces, and Peachtree City offered a host of exciting outdoor recreation options. We raised our children through Huddleston Elementary, Booth MS, and McIntosh HS, and have enjoyed just about every recreation program in the city, from t-ball to cheerleading, softball to lacrosse. I am a distance runner who appreciates safe, clean, well- maintained paths; my husband is a member of the Peachtree City Tennis Center. 22 years in, we still love our Peachtree City amenities including parks, a quality library, concerts at The Fred, Line Creek Nature Center, locally owned restaurants, and a golf cart ride to any of them.
I served on City Council from 2010-2017. As an eight-year Council member, I worked to restore Lake Peachtree; establish a balanced, sustainable municipal budget; and launch a countywide collaboration focused on establishing a College and Career Academy partnership among business, government and educational leaders, to channel trained and ready graduates into local jobs. I am running for Mayor because I am committed to preserving our Peachtree City quality of life. I want my grandchildren to love Peachtree City as much as I do. My bio, qualifications, and platform are detailed at www.kimlearnardformayor.com.
Tell us about your career and why you feel you are most qualified for Mayor?
My background is very technical – I have an Electrical Engineering degree. I worked in Manufacturing for 25 years, first with General Motors installing robotic systems, then as a small- business owner, operating a technical documentation company of my own while my children were small. I ultimately returned to school and earned a Master’s Degree in Adult Education in 2007, then served as VP of Institutional Advancement at West Georgia Technical College until I semi-retired in 2018. I am now the Director of Friends of LINC, the non-profit that supports the new LINC multi-use path system in Newnan.
My collaboration skills are sharp, and I enjoy surrounding myself with people who are smarter
than I am so I can tap into their technical expertise. I strive to bring the right people to the table, to share goals and strategize a plan to meet the challenges at hand. I have decades-long, positive relationships with business, government, education, and non-profit leaders throughout both Fayette and Coweta counties. I am the best qualified candidate, and the only mom running for Mayor.
What are your thoughts on the 54/74 traffic issue and how can it be resolved?
It’s important to understand that while Peachtree City is mostly built-out, Coweta County to our immediate west is growing by leaps and bounds. The increase in traffic in Peachtree City’s west corridor over the recent years is due in large part to Coweta drivers who (in the mornings) actually wish to reach all points north and east of Peachtree City. I have already met with Coweta County District 4 Commissioner John Reidelbach, and we agree on the nature and the severity of the problem. We also agree that we can and we must work together to solve it. We envision construction of a northside bypass (Fisher/Minix/Dogwood Trail) that will help usher Coweta drivers to their intended destinations, without congesting the heart of our city. Subsequent to my meetings with the Coweta Commissioner, I researched the most recent Fayette County Comprehensive Transportation Plan (document dated November of 2019) and discovered that a northside bypass is exactly what was recommended. I have now met with the Mayor of Tyrone, the Fayette County Commissioner for District 3 Edge Gibbons, and our County Administrator Steve Rapson, and laid the groundwork for this solution. Unfortunately, none of the current City leadership has taken this on and we have lost years of opportunity. I will start the collaboration to relieve our traffic congestion problems on Day 1.
What are your opinions on multi-level housing vs. reinstating the moratorium?
Apartments: I became very concerned following the current City Council’s pursuit of an ARC Livable Centers Initiative study in the fall of 2020, resulting in a list of Peachtree City locations that “could” accommodate apartments. So I did a study of my own: The total number of apartment units in Peachtree City is 1,761, or 14% of the total number of households. The national average is 15%. My conclusion is that Peachtree City already has a reasonable number of apartments and we do not need to build more.
Moratorium: Peachtree City historically maintained a moratorium on those seeking a rezoning for the purpose of building multi-family housing. Over the years, City Councils would reinstate the moratorium each year as a perfunctory measure (I voted to reinstate the moratorium each of the eight years I served on Council), and when a Council actually wanted to consider multi- family, as in the case of Somerby or Hearthside, they would vote to lift the moratorium so they could proceed. Ultimately, the reason for having the moratorium at all got lost, as City Council has the authority to reject a rezoning request anyway. Add to that the fact that imposing a restriction disallowing people from seeking a rezoning of their own property could court a lawsuit, as each of us is entitled to seek best use of our own property and, accordingly, is afforded and entitled to a process, even if that process ultimately results in a Council “No” vote.
As Mayor, I will not build additional apartments; Peachtree City does not have a housing problem that isn’t reflective of current housing issues on a national scale.
What kind of change do you see for PTC? And what would you keep the same?
In addition to traffic flow solutions, my imperative for Peachtree City is threefold: 1) Redevelop the Huddleston Road corridor 2) Protect our greenspaces, and 3) Restore our outdoor recreation facilities. Peachtree City is ready for a forward-thinking, exciting redesign of Huddleston Road. We need a walkable, golf cart accessible, placemaking corridor focused on brew pubs, restaurants, boutique retail and outdoor gathering. With this project, Peachtree City has the opportunity to create night life, support small businesses, and attract a younger crowd, essential factors in the viability of our community.
I also plan to redevelop the former Kmart location in Braelinn Village, to a Krog Street Market type of upscale dining mall. I have a relationship with the Owner/Developer from my years on City Council and we have discussed this project at length. A Krog Street Market type of location will increase commerce and nightlife at Braelinn Village; it will also serve the growing work-from- home population who need a location to grab a coffee and conduct a small meeting in a public space.
We have seen an increase in clearing, cutting, dumping, and other forms of damage to greenspace citywide, all prohibited by ordinance. Greenspace is the hallmark of our city and it belongs to all of us. When I am Mayor, I will fiercely protect it. Part of the reason I am running for Mayor is because in 2020, City Council voted to sell the last pristine, beautiful little tract of greenspace on my street. That cannot be allowed.
In the last three years, Peachtree City recreation facilities have been sorely neglected. For starters, I will restore Riley Fields, eliminate fees at the splash pad, and remove credit card scanners now installed at tennis courts and ball fields citywide. I will return our recreational facilities to world class.
How will you support the Police Department?
Peachtree City is fortunate to have a Chief of Police, Chief Janet Moon, who listens and responds to feedback from the community. Peachtree City crime rates are 45% lower than the national average, and our violent crime rates are 87% lower than the national average. I support fully funding our police force. We have a current challenge in hiring that affects not only PD but also our Library, Recreation, and other departments; this is part of an unfortunate national employment trend.
As Mayor I will work with PD to improve public safety on the paths. We need an increased focus on enforcement to reduce speeding, passing, underage driving, and alcohol use on our paths, all with full support of Mayor and Council and with full knowledge of our renewed effort by the public.
Where are you from and tell us a little bit about yourself? My name is Terry Ernst. I was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa. I am married to my wife Joan for 45 years now and we have lived in Peachtree City for 31 years. We have raised our son here and we have 3 wonderful Grandchildren who live here as well.
Where are you from and tell us a little bit about yourself? I went to San Jose State University, CA on an Air Force ROTC academic scholarship. I have advanced degrees in Computer Systems and Program Management. On active duty I started doing Star Wars basic research and experiments for President Reagan at the Air Force Geophysics Laboratory in Massachusetts. I concluded my military career at the Pentagon managing Space Shuttle Mission #39, STS Discovery, a Star Wars project and becoming the program manager of a $1B Star Wars satellite program. I earned several awards including an Air Force Commendation Medal, two Air Force Meritorious Service Medals and a Defense Meritorious Service Medal. My next career was in the automotive industry at General Motors in Michigan for nine years. While there I was a candidate for Dean of Engineering at Baker College. Panasonic here in Peachtree City recognized my potential and hired me in 2003 to head up their General Motors product line for radios and rear seat entertainment. In 2008 I became a Recreation Commissioner here in Peachtree City and then became a City Councilmember, Post #1 in 2010. I voluntarily left the councilmember post having accomplished what I set out to do, i.e., help our city get out of the financial hole it was in from the depression that hit the country a year earlier.
Tell us about your career and why you feel you are most qualified for Mayor? Understanding the citizens’ needs is a vital component of being mayor. I consider myself a great listener and have always had a desire to want to help. My background includes pretty much all facets of experience including obtaining an education that allowed me to do those things I wanted to do. Being experienced in project management, financials and budgeting, risk assessment, computer systems, contracting and most importantly personnel management is clearly an advantage for me. Whether it be policing, fire department operations, public works projects like road and cart path maintenance, protecting our village concept and of course needed traffic flow improvements, I have been there as a former city council member and know what it takes to work together to get things done. Watch this short video introducing Eric Imker to the citizens.
What are your thoughts on the 54/74 traffic issue and how can it be resolved? First and foremost, the best we can do now is improve the situation. It can’t be solved without a bypass solution. That is clearly long term from now. A bypass solution needs to become serious now as it has been ignored for the last couple decades. I’ll reply with my position; as it was 8 years ago when I was on council and as stated on my website today. 8 years ago, the rest of council was unwilling to improve traffic flow. When they, (two of the other candidates for mayor right now) voted to add yet another traffic light on 54 west. I was the only one who voted NO knowing another traffic light would only make matters worse. First, you have to understand the problem. It’s not the N-S 74 traffic. Yes, it backs up but it’s mostly because of the 54 problem. So the $9M (now estimates are approaching $12M when/if done) of doing the “crossover lane change” snafu on 74 will be a total 100% waste. It will not solve the problems of the backups on 54 where the real problem is. I pity the city having to go through 2 years of construction at the busiest intersection of the city when the real problem is the E-W flow on 54. When one of those FIVE traffic lights west of 54/74 turns red, everything STOPS. You wind up with the mile long backups, and 15 light cycle waits, down to Lake Peachtree. I see it. You see it. How come the city council doesn’t see it?
We start (keeping it simple) by getting GDOT to turn off left turns at the Avenue/Market Place traffic light during rush hours or whenever the modeling says it’s causing long backups on 54 east of the 74/54 intersection. The Avenue and the road from Smokey Bones is private and should not drive traffic light cycle times to the detriment of those that use GA54 and GA74; especially during rush hour. That reminds me, about modeling. I asked GDOT to show me the modeling for their “crossover lane change” concept and they had NONE! How do you spend millions and millions of dollars and not have modeled it? It’s not that hard. They didn’t do a model because they know it won’t improve a darn thing. It will make work for engineers and road crews so they are all for it of course. Back to restricting left turns. Clearly, the light at the Avenue, when it turns red, causes nothing but turmoil during rush hour. If you disagree, stop reading now and write off Imker as a candidate. Consider all the traffic that wants to go west on 54 at the 74/54 intersection during rush hour. Traffic south bound on 74 will turn right onto 54 whenever there’s the slightest room to squeeze another car in. During rush hour that encourages “blocking the box.” We can and will put up a “No Turn on Red” there. Then, there’s the traffic on 54 from the east wanting to go straight through west bound. They can’t move because either the box is blocked or there’s no room on the other side of the light because everything is backed up because a light ahead has turned Red. Keep those lights Green and guess what? Traffic moves. Then, you have northbound traffic on 74 turning west onto 54. Now, moving on down 54 westbound. The light at Huddleston, being a city street, all we can do is reduce the green time for left turners from Huddleston and Best Buy onto 54. We will keep 54 traffic moving by keeping straight through traffic green as long as possible.Then, the light at Walmart and Planter…same thing as Huddleston. And the light at the Overlook…just like the Avenue, it’s only used for private commercial business. Keep it 100% green during rush hour for traffic on 54. Addressing MacDuff’s light should be done after the rest is implemented to see if any change in light timing is needed.
Now, the extra solution that is needed is a turnabout between the Coweta County Line and Wynnmeade. Just like every other direction from the 54/74 intersection, you have turnabouts to go the other direction. Consider south 74. Coming out of Arby’s or the Post Office. Guess what? You turn RIGHT, go down a bit and use the turnabout. Consider north 74. Same thing. Consider east 54, same thing. They all have turnabouts. There needs to be a turnabout between the Coweta County line and Wynnmeade Rd. This gives those few caught without a way to turn left a way to turn around and go the way they wanted. Just like the other three directions from 54/74. We also need to extend the left turn lane east on 54 turning left (south) onto 74. There is another entrance equal distance on 74 as there is on 54 to go into the Commerce Drive area. Make people use it. That’s why it’s there. Have you ever noticed the cluster when someone is coming out of Commerce Drive wanting to turn left on 54? Total insanity. That insane choice is removed, forcing more sane driving by going around. The tradeoff for keeping traffic moving on 54 far outweighs the need of the few that want to turn left out of Commerce Drive. These steps will not be that hard for GDOT to implement. We need a unified council going to the county commissioners and then with a unified statement from the city and county going to GDOT so we can implement improvements in traffic flow. The final statement for now, everything is 100% reversible if it all goes to heck. It won’t fail because you and I know keeping traffic moving and stopping the left turns is the key.
What are your opinions on multi-level housing vs. reinstating the moratorium? Not only NO, but heck NO to more multi-level housing! Yes, to reinstating the moratorium. Bluntly, if you want to live on top of others, Atlanta is just up the road a little way. What we’re talking about with this question is Protecting Our Village Concept. Here are some of my positions. – No to rezoning Industrial to more Residential. – No to changing Drake Field, City Hall and the Tennis Center to low rent dense pack apartments and commercial. (I.e. That ridiculous “LCI” initiative last year council put in front of the citizens.) – Yes to more greenspace – Yes to village center enhancements – Yes to promoting more indoor and outdoor recreation – Yes to controlled growth and reduced congestion – Yes to rewarding our Police and Fire Department workers with raises making them the best paid – Yes to ensuring our roads and cart paths are maintained properly. – Yes to ensuring larger lots the further you are away from village centers. – Yes to ensuring all areas of the city are assessable by golf carts. – Yes to enforcing cart path rules.
What kind of change do you see for PTC? And what would you keep the same? My response is similar to the answer to question above. Additionally, I will be 100% transparent with our citizen’s tax money. We can easily implement a 0.5 property tax mill rate reduction with the funds in reserves and the future expected income which is always lowballed by at least $2M each year. The new tax rate can easily be implemented for 10 years and our reserves will still be well over 35%.New industry has stopped coming to Peachtree City because they see how easily our previous city council has raised the property tax rate each of the last 3 years. It’s still over 6 mills. When you have our sister AAA credit rated cities like Alpharetta and Roswell with 4.7 and 4.9 mills. I don’t blame industry for avoiding Peachtree City. Isn’t it interesting during this election year, our ever observant city council decided not to raise taxes like they did the last three years. They must think our citizens are unaware. Our tax rate should be about 5.5 mills accounting for our maintenance requirements for 100 of golf cart paths the other cities do not have.
How will you support the Police Department? My vote is yes to rewarding our Police and Fire Department workers with raises making them the best paid…Yes to considering adding headcount to Police for cart path patrolling…Yes to considering adding headcount to Police to Criminal Investigative Division (CID)…Yes to listening to the police and fire department personnel who walk/ride the “beat” to hear and understand their needs. And then actually address them…Yes to supporting our police department at the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) recertification. I did. I noticed no other candidates bothered. Chief Moon personally thanked me…And finally, yes to ensuring our headcount at Fire/EMS department properly has minimum 2 people per equipment item (fire engines and ambulances). www.ericimker4ptc.com
Where are you from and tell us a little bit about yourself? Born in Laporte, Indiana and grew up on a farm near Knox, Indiana. We have lived in Peachtree City for 34 years, been married 49 years and raised a son here.
Tell us about your career and why you feel you are most qualified for Mayor? I have had more and varied experience in areas relating to government than any of my opponents. Worked in Naval Intelligence with a top-secret, crypto and codeword clearance covering Vietnam, China and Russia. So I saw parts of our government very few have ever seen and thus am a very conservative independent. I’ve been a supervisor in a steel mill and a business owner. Been landscape chairman, board member and president in two HOA’s. Been a Boy Scout leader and the founder of a 4H program. Worked with engineers to help design portions of the initial stormwater program. Further, been a Councilman, Mayor, Board of Health member and state arbitrator. My ordinances helped stop businesses from building up against streets and highways and defeat Great Wolf. Ordinances that require berms, trees, landscaping and setbacks to separate homes from nonresidential use. Worked with our development authority until three councilmembers dissolved it thus stopping economic development in our fair city. My plan ended the push for the TDK extension.
What are your thoughts on the 54/74 traffic issue and how can it be resolved? That is a long-standing issue for which my opponents have no solution. Redesigning the 74/54 intersection does nothing about the traffic issues on the 74 and 54 corridors. Building a bypass is not going to happen and who would pay for it?. It requires the agreement of Tyrone and Coweta, who have already clearly said no. And after eight years saying they’re going to do more studies is fruitless. My answer will work if we can get GDOT on board. Convert the 54 median strip to 5TH lane and change the signals to a reversible lane set up. Use three or four lanes to go east in the morning and three or four lanes to go West in the afternoon rush-hour. Make the right only turn lane into a left and right turn by adding a turn signal. This doubles the traffic lanes for rush-hour without interfering with side-street access and egress. For Atlanta bound traffic from Coweta add ramps from Fischer Road to 85 near the fire station. GDOT already owns the property and no connecting Road is required.
What are your opinions on multi-level housing vs. reinstating the moratorium? I am in favor. Condominiums are not affected since they are a different housing classification. We have enough apartments already. Apartments, cluster homes and single-family homes are a different kind of living, they do not mix well.
What kind of change do you see for PTC? And what would you keep the same? Technology will bring about change, but the village concept can absorb those changes. The proposed changes to Huddleston are unneeded and unwanted. They are not village concept and they will do nothing but add traffic woes to 54. We need jobs, not more residential and retail.
How will you support the Police Department? As always, supporting new equipment and personnel when needed and representing them when certifications and other opportunities are presented. As well supporting retention efforts and needs. www.donhaddix.com
I’ve been in the insurance claims industry for many years now and have enjoyed growing my experience from the low man on a team of outside salespeople to becoming a leader who is trained and certified in management coaching and emotional intelligence. Today, I work for a company based in Burbank, California where I am a leader on our sales team, provide coaching to my peers and client-centric consulting to Fortune 50 companies across this nation. My boss is excited for me to add “Peachtree City Mayor” to my email signature. My journey hasn’t always been linear, but I can confidently say that the education, experience, skills, and qualifications that I’ve gained over my career has excellently prepared me to be the courageous leader this city needs for a time like this.
I also believe Peachtree City needs to also do everything within their power to mitigate traffic as it exists today including;
None of these options is going to fix our traffic woes but all of them in conjunction can work together to reduce the headache and stress that we all experience as a community.
What are your opinions on multi-level housing vs. reinstating the moratorium? My parents divorced when I was two years old. My mom wanted to continue raising my brother and me in Peachtree City, so we moved to Gables Court off Steven’s Entry. We lived there for several years before she could afford to purchase a condominium in Cobblestone Creek in the Pinegate neighborhood. I grew up in Peachtree City’s multi-family housing and I’m unwilling to belittle the hard work my mother put in to give us a great, safe childhood just to make other people happy. The multi-family options that existed then weren’t filled with bad people or “transients”, and neither are they now. Almost all our apartments have months long waiting list and an average 1-bedroom apartment rents for close to $1500/month, which is likely more than many homeowners are paying for their mortgages. In addition, our condominium housing availability is also at an all-time low while also having some of the highest prices ever seen.
The most interesting part of this entire conversation centers around a different issue entirely; the city literally doesn’t have the open acreage to even build the kind of large footprint apartments that are consistently demonized by some of our past city leaders. We’re facing an even bigger issue as a city; we have an ever-growing portion of our most expensive homes no longer generating full school taxes because the owners are over the age of 65 and are taking the Senior Tax Abatement. I’ve met with thousands of residents since I announced my intention to run for mayor and our low housing availability consistently comes up, especially with our seniors. Those seniors have continually expressed how they no longer want the responsibility of a 4,000 square foot home with a full acre lot but they also don’t want to leave the city, they call home. It is in the best interest of the city to figure out a way to keep those passionate residents local while also backfilling those square foot, high price point homes with new families who will pay the full school board taxes. The only way to accomplish both is by allowing the construction of homes that meet not only the needs of those seniors.
This is just one example of why unilaterally shutting down the construction of multi-family housing doesn’t make sense for the overall strength and wellbeing of Peachtree City.
What kind of change do you see for PTC? And what would you keep the same? Peachtree City has some of the greatest foundations to build upon. It was one of the earliest and best planned cities in America. In fact, many modern planned cities look to our magical little bubble for inspiration on how to best build out an accessible community with plenty of amenities for those who live there. We’ve seen plenty of unmanaged growth over the last twenty years and the last thing we need to do is lean into that. As an example, we don’t need to redevelop Huddleston Road further increasing the total number cars in and round the 54/74 intersection.
What we do need to do is simple; go back to the plan and get back to the basics that made Peachtree City such an attractive home in the first place. We need to revitalize our village center concept by updating our municipal code to allow for Arts and Entertainment districts overlaid on the existing village footprints.
This simple and business friendly code change has been proven to work in cities all over the country that don’t even have the same kind of foundations to work with that Peachtree City has. This would allow for beautiful mood lighting and live music both before and after 10pm. It would also allow for adults to have walking alcoholic drinks while they are within the village centers. All these updates would strengthen the village concept and return them to their original identity of being community gathering places where people come, gather, play and stay.
City Council Post 3
Where are you from and tell us a little bit about yourself? My wife Kim and our 3 boys moved to Peachtree City in 1997 from Ft. Lauderdale FL where I served as our Home Owners Assn president for 6 years, while working in the air cargo industry. Kim has taught at Rising Starr Middle school for over 15 years and our sons were Huddleston “Hounds”, JC Booth “Warriors” and Macintosh “Chiefs”. We celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary on July 3rd and I also serve as a lector and Eucharist minister at my HOLY TRINITY CHURCH.
Tell us about your career and why you feel you are most qualified for City Council seat Post 3? I started my own business (GLOBAL AIRLIFT SERVICES INC) in 1998 and we’ve been located in PTC for over 10 years and I remain its president. In my 40 plus years in the air cargo industry I have managed many multi-million dollars budgets and staff. I have been honored to serve as your council member for the past 4 years. If you like the way our beautiful city looks please give me another term to make it even better.
What are your thoughts on the 54/74 traffic issue and how can it be resolved? As your councilman and the representative from Peachtree City on the FAYETTE COUNTY TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE I’m very familiar with this issue. In the fall of 2022 GDOT (Ga. Dept of Transportation) will begin construction at this intersection of DLTs (displaced left turn lanes) with the $10 million in highway funds (Federal & State) obtained by our Mayor Fleisch. These will be located on the north & south sides of GA74 and will help alleviate some of this congestion. A comprehensive plan for a north & south BYPASS of this intersection for the 36,000 vehicles that pass through it every morning & evening is the only real solution… as GA-54 is the singular main east-west thoroughfare on the south side of Atlanta.
What are your opinions on multi-level housing vs. reinstating the moratorium? The “moratorium” is unconstitutional and would not stand up in any court. It is the task of every PTC Council to be ever vigilant against ANY rezoning requests from developers that include apartments. I don’t believe the good people of Peachtree City want any more apartment buildings and neither do I…during my term NO new apartments were approved.
What kind of change do you see for PTC? And what would you keep the same? Our village concept is a good one and should remain our “guiding light”. We wanted a place where our whole community could gather so we created DRAKE FIELD and the Pavilion where all the villages could come together and listen to music, watch a film or just admire the vistas along our Lake Peachtree. Change is inevitable and now we’re seeing our children coming back to PTC to raise their children. It is imperative that we maintain the quality of our recreational facilities, adapt with new venues (splash, skate parks & pickleball courts) and continue to keep our city looking great!
How will you support the Police Department? All our first responders deserve the most modern equipment to keep us (and them) safe and to secure our property. We have replaced over 60 police vehicles and numerous fire/EMT trucks during my tenure and we have included pay raises for our personnel to retain the best trained and qualified workers. Our citizens demand we provide high quality services from all our departments. I promise to continue to work to keep our most desirable city the special place we’re proud to call home. Visit www.madden4ptc.com.
Where are you from and tell us a little bit about yourself? I was born and raised in Canada. I graduated from Wilfred Laurier University (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) and briefly worked in Human Resources and sales before becoming a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines. Joe and I have been married for 27 years and have two children . Our girls went to Peeples , Rising Starr & Starr’s Mill. They are now just finishing up college and starting their careers . We have lived in Fayette County since June 2001, moving to PTC April 2019.
City Council Post 4
Dr. Phil Crane
Tell us about your career and why you feel you are most qualified for City Council Post 4? My wife Gillian and I are Chiropractors at our office in West Park Walk. As Chiropractors, we work with and serve the community every day. The majority of my patients live in Peachtree City. During my workdays, most conversations turn to various issues in and around town giving me additional insight into what is important to them. It was late last year that I discussed running for council with Gillian and we decided that I would run. Since then, I have spent my time learning not just the current issues but researching backstories to gain a broader understanding. I see areas where there is a generational sameness of thinking. That has worked well in the past, but as the world and technology advance, it is time to begin a generational change. I think change works best when the agent of change possesses a balance between enthusiasm and respect. I’m most qualified for Post 4 because I represent what PTC seeks: a young local business owner who is dedicated to preserving Peachtree City for his future and family.
What are your thoughts on the 54/74 traffic issue and how can it be resolved? I’m not positive there is a true resolution for 54/74. In a recent GDOT study, 60% of the traffic is transient. This same study showed how little the TDK extension would help. TDK would reduce the traffic at 54/74 by 11% during peak hours WITHOUT the development of the ~3000 acres in east Coweta County. It would also destroy crosstown and Oak Grove Elementary with the traffic. Feasible solutions, in addition to the current DLT project, to be considered are a northern reliever route and a grade separation. A northern reliever route would go through Senoia Road or McDuff into Fischer/Minix road. I haven’t found a GDOT study on either of those routes yet, but I am still looking. A grade separation making 54/74 have no traffic lights has been studied and I’m waiting for that study to be sent to me. The price tag for the grade separation is significantly higher than the current DLT project. Other smaller changes would be restricting the entrances into the commercial areas just west of 54/74 to be Right-in Right-Out only. Again, if this has been studied by GDOT, I haven’t been able to get my hands on the study yet.
What are your opinions on multi-level housing vs. reinstating the moratorium? In general, I’m against more multi-family housing being built in the town. Townhouses are possible, but only for owner-occupied, not rentals. The moratorium is more complicated. It will only prevent the rezoning of the property to allow for multi-family housing. The moratorium does not prevent the construction of multi-family housing on land that is already zoned for it. Many people don’t realize that there are still pieces of property in PTC that have the old, original General Commercial zoning that allows for multi-family housing. With no need for a zoning request, council would be powerless to stop apartments from being built. I am in favor of temporarily reinstating the moratorium while looking at updating the ordinances to help deter more of this unwanted development.
What kind of change do you see for PTC? And what would you keep the same? Peachtree City has always been somewhat of a bedroom community. We have attractive amenities like the Path System and abundant recreation facilities. I think these are aspects that have drawn many of us to town. We need to keep the Path System safe. One of the many fond memories I have from high school is the freedom of being able to drive through town on a golf cart at 15. This is only possible if our Path System remains as safe as possible. Low crime is a must for Peachtree City. I want families moving into town to be able to have the same experience my family and I had 15 years ago. One change that I will explore is the possibility of getting true Fiber Internet to the town. The type of speed that Fiber provides will allow many work-from-home employees to settle in Peachtree City. I believe the introduction of true Fiber Internet could be transformative to allowing the high-earning jobs every community desires while minimizing traffic impact.
How will you support the Police Department? I believe in funding the police, not defunding the police. Currently, our police department is down 8 full-time positions. The number of applications PTCPD receives per year has been declining over the last half-decade. This decline coupled with the current political climate has made hiring quality officers difficult. At the last council meeting, August 19th, there was a presentation with ideas on how to help hiring. Financial incentives help, but the surrounding Towns/counties facing the same issues will eventually erode the effectiveness of these incentives. The overall national trend for police applications is down 60%. We are fortunate to have such a strong leader in Chief Moon. We will not be able to solve our policing challenges through funding alone. I am aware of the crucial role that policing and low crime rates play in our community. In order to change the current downward trends, there needs to be a mindset shift on a national level. We can start that shift in Peachtree City by creating programs that further integrate the officers into our town. If we can show potential applicants that they will be both well respected and well-compensated when working in this town, then I think we’ll have better luck attracting quality officers. www.voteforcrane.com
Where are you from and tell us a little bit about yourself? I was born in Dekalb County and grew up in Lithonia. After graduating from high school, I joined the Georgia Army National Guard and served 6 years. I started working for AT&T in Atlanta when I was just 18, eventually attending Georgia State University and graduating from the University of Maryland after moving to Washington, D.C. My family and I moved to Peachtree City in 2006, where we immediately fell in love with the unique driving concepts and culture of our community. I jumped into the high-paced field of youth sports, leaning on my experience from when my kids were extremely young. Over time, I worked my way up to my current position as League Coordinator of PTC’s Youth Basketball Association; through careful work and consistent quality, we’ve reached well over 1000 players each year.
Tell us about your career and why you feel you are most qualified for City Council Post 4? I worked for AT&T for 30 years in various Operations, Sales and Marketing positions in Atlanta, Washington, DC, New York and New Jersey. While in our nation’s capital, I was responsible for the entire Department of Defense and everything it encompasses, so I’m deeply familiar with the process of bidding, negotiating, and winning government contracts. A few other roles that prepared me to be the next Post 4 City Councilman include hosting Fortune 100 CEOs at major sporting events like the US Open, PGA Championship and Pebble Beach Tournaments. My final job before retiring from AT&T was as a National Account Manager for a brutally demanding $125M account. I take a strictly pragmatic approach to problem solving. I’m a staunch believer that common sense and logic are the best approach to any issue and they ought to cut out any bias.
What are your thoughts on the 54/74 traffic issue and how can it be resolved? First of all, the unfortunate truth is there is no easy fix. Action can and should be taken to improve this issue, but for years the problem has been neglected. I’m still familiarizing myself with the small details of the Department of Transportation’s multi-year proposal, but I’ve determined that it could potentially alleviate some congestion. However, settling for the DOT plan only would be a terrible mistake. The sole remaining solution is one that many previous candidates and council members have been either too hesitant to pursue, too fearful to fail, or too timid to even try. While I’m willing to hear out any alternative proposals, the first step toward ending the traffic is to initiate negotiations with Coweta and Fayette Counties as well as the Cities of Newnan and Fayetteville. I know how to play hardball with government actors and the reward will be the betterment of our Peachtree City.
What are your opinions on multi-level housing vs. reinstating the moratorium? My beliefs in regard to multi-level housing are simple. I am committed to maintaining the family oriented Peachtree City that my wife, Adrienne, and I love and raised our children in because Joel Cowan had a grand vision — one that can evolve over time without sacrificing any of the charm that you can see if you just look out a window. I oppose building additional multi-level housing in the foreseeable future.
What kind of change do you see for PTC? And what would you keep the same? When I moved to Peachtree City almost two decades ago, one of the factors that made the Bubble so attractive was the seemingly endless greenspace, community centers, and recreational opportunities. We can always improve our parks and roads and golf cart paths, and for every dollar spent on infrastructure we will see up to $1.50 in economic activity throughout our community and beyond. We must invest in our community, not leave it neglected. Through that one investment, we can simultaneously boost our own city’s economic strength as well as ensure the magic of our community does not fade.
How will you support the Police Department? Some of my best friends in Peachtree City are police officers. I know firsthand the integrity and courage it takes to serve one’s community in a blue uniform. I have great respect for the Peachtree City Police and Fire Departments. Increasingly over the past few years, surrounding municipalities have increased benefits for police officers, drawing in skilled candidates to their city and away from ours. Despite fear of being too bold, I must admit: I do not agree with the policy of maintaining the status quo, surrendering opportunities for countless fine candidates to serve in our own police force. We have already lost innumerable talented individuals to other cities, and I cannot bear to settle for anything other than the best in our officers. If we, the citizens of Peachtree City, want the best for our city, our community, and our children, we cannot refuse to carry that enthusiasm to our First Responders. They’re the people who protect and serve, and they ought to be compensated as such. We need to remember that, and ensure our Police and Fire Department have all the funding and support from the City Council they require. www.livseyforptc.com