By: The Staff of Georgia weekly Post
Pat Fox, writer. Cartoons by Rui Zilhao.
Photos by Ben Austin, David Deng and Tony Delmichi.
▲ CATS, a performance in Dunwoody High School. an act off Broadway. Six performers. One woman and five men. Poor production. Absent Director. Rated TWO STARS by the Critics! Leading actors are Denis Shortal, Mike Davis and Terry Nall. Supporting actors are Steve Chipka and Chris Grivakis.
A first performance by Becky Springer.
While the presidential race begins to warm up, the qualifying period for municipal elections is over.
Local races are now set, and candidates are pressing flesh to come out on top in the Nov. 3 election. More than one runoff is expected.
Meanwhile, on the national scene, Donald Trump continues to steal the show. The real estate tycoon leads in all the GOP polls as the field narrows. Already, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have fallen by the wayside.
Other mainliners in the GOP race are elbowing their way for a chair to the right of center on most issues, from immigration to the repeal of ObamaCare. Names like, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have harmonized on a chord of conservatism aimed at capturing the base of the GOP. Cruz remains the darling in Georgia, however, and continues to draw some attention nationally.
Yet, the only candidates outside of Trump who have generated any kind of serious pulse among Republican voters are former HP executive Carly Fiorina and educator Ben Carson.
While much smaller in size, the Democrat field of candidates for the White House is even broader in its political array of ideas. Front runner Hillary Clinton has stated her support for environmental issues, from cap-and-trade to promoting alternate energy sources. She is also an advocate of minimum wage assurances for workers and has repeatedly voiced concerns with big business running unbridled.
Of the 13 declared candidates in the Democrat race, only three register any sort of poll numbers. Clinton leads most polls, but Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has made strong headway in the past month. Sanders, an avowed socialist, advocates a restructuring of the tax code by which the wealthiest Americans would pay more in taxes, and he wants to eliminate big money in politics.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee are the other frontline contenders in the Democrat race. Former Virgina Sen. Jim Webb, who has mustered only 1 percent in the polls, is considering pulling out in favor of a bid as an independent candidate.
▲ Commissioner Nancy Jester. She is known as the Photo OPS Queen. Many say "she is sucking all the air in the room." Others say "She didn't stop campaigning for office. Someone has to tell her, the campaign is over!"
Closer to home, Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson faces a challenge within his own party. Stone Mountain minister Derrick Grayson is running on a platform of conservative values and getting government out of the way of individual progress.
But Isakson may have more to worry about than Grayson. The state’s senior senator announced in June that he suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, a progressive nerve disorder. Although the senator says the affliction has not interfered with his work on behalf of Georgia – and he has doctors’ statements attesting to his fitness – political pundits have suggested Isakson, 70, could be vulnerable for the first time in his 11-year career in the Senate.
Nevertheless, it will take a strong effort to unseat Isakson, who is known for accumulating a campaign war chest sizeable enough to ward off rivals. In the first three months of 2015, Isakson raised $1.6 million, giving him $3.75 million total so far for his re-election bid.
Equally daunting will be a challenge to Georgia’s incumbent 6th District Congressional Rep. Tom Price, who has trounced what little opposition has surfaced since his election to the House in 2004. Price’s name has come up in recent discussions among Congressional leadership positions in the wake of the John Boehner resignation.
In 2014, the Roswell Republican easily defeated Democrat Robert Montigel by a 2-1 margin, outspending his poorly funded opponent by nearly $900,000.
The Georgia Weekly Post has confirmed that attorney Charles Kuck is considering a run. The candidate has a war chest to match Price, an exemplary record and a formidable organization.
Kuck heads a list of three people rumored to be considering a run against Price.
▲ Attorney Charles Kuck is considering a run. According to sources, Kuck has a war chest to match Price, an exemplary record and a formidable organization. Kuck heads a list of three names, including a woman are rumored to be considering a run against Price. Publicly, Kuck still denies his intentions.
Through his long political career spanning over two decades, the only election Price ever lost was in 2012 when he fell short in a bid to become chair of the Republican Conference, the No. 4 post in the U.S. House, losing to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington. Political insiders blamed Price’s rallying of ultra-conservative elements within the House as the reason the established leadership denied him the post.
Even if no major opposition surfaces against Isakson and Price, there’s still plenty of turmoil at the local levels of government.
Price’s wife, Elizabeth, resigned her seat on the Roswell City Council this spring to make a successful bid for Georgia’s District 48 House seat vacated with the death of Harry Geisinger in May. Mrs. Price defeated Republican challenger Dave McCleary and Democrat Jimmy Johnson in a special election held in July.
Also at the state level, the race for the 40th District Senate seat has become more interesting with the recent news that businessman and political newcomer Paul Maner will challenge long-time incumbent Fran Millar in the Republican Primary.
Maner and political operatives are in the process of reaching out to GOP leaders and noted political personalities, such as former Dunwoody mayoral candidate Bob Dallas. Maner has already assembled a team, which includes people from outside the district.
Insiders say Paul Maner is “determined with a take-no-prisoners attitude,” unlimited resources and has won favor from some key conservative legislators.
▲ Insiders say Paul Maner is “determined with a take-no-prisoners attitude,” unlimited resources and has won favor from some key conservative legislators.
The race took an unexpected turn recently when Millar was named as a witness in a civil case involving an altercation at the DeKalb County GOP headquarters in late July. While speaking before a party gathering, Millar protested when a photographer approached him, putting his arm out to ward off the camera. The incident sparked a confrontation between the reporter and another attendant. That case remains active.
Maner, who was also in attendance at the GOP meeting, criticized Millar for behaving unprofessionally and ignited the entire incident with his behavior.
▲ Former Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston. for U.S. Senate?
Former Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston has expressed his interest to friends in running for the Senate if Isakson ultimately changes his mind about running for re-election. Kingston made a bid in 2014 to fill the Senate seat vacated by Saxby Chambliss, but he was defeated in the primary by ultimate victor David Perdue.
Georgia House District 79 Rep. Tom Taylor may also be facing a challenge on the horizon for next year’s election. Tom Taylor and Fran Millar were both associated with appointments to the Dunwoody Charter Commission which has come under fire for allowing a change in the structure of how the property tax rate cap is set. TomTaylor also led a failed effort last year to push the Legislature into allowing Dunwoody to form its own school district.
▲Tom Taylor and Fran Millar were both associated with appointments to the Dunwoody Charter Commission which has come under fire for allowing a change in the structure of how the property tax rate cap is set. TomTaylor also led a failed effort last year to push the Legislature into allowing Dunwoody to form its own school district.
In DeKalb County, District 1 Commissioner Nancy Jester has wasted no time diving into the campaign for the seat she won when Elaine Boyer was forced to resign amid corruption charges last year. According to some observers, Jester, a former member of the DeKalb County school board, has been placing herself at the forefront of local issues and grabbing the spotlight from other commissioners. Her abbreviated term expires at the end of 2016 unless she’s successful in a re-election bid.
Meanwhile, Max Davis’ resignation as Mayor of Brookhaven has left a void in the city that has seen more than its share of political turmoil, from repeated resignations of PR managers to accusations of a cover-up involving alleged sexual misconduct by the former mayor.
▲ Williams, who many thought would seek to hold on to the mayorship, surprised everyone by announcing in mid-October that she would not run, although her name may remain on the ballot.
Soon after Davis’ resignation, the City Council appointed District 1 Councilwoman Rebecca Chase-Williams to complete the term, which expires at the end of the year. The new mayor is the wife of publisher Dick Williams, and the two own the Dunwoody Crier newspaper, which circulates through much of north DeKalb County.
Williams, who many thought would seek to hold on to the mayorship, surprised everyone by announcing in mid-October that she would not run, although her name may remain on the ballot.
Former DeKalb County Ethics Board Chairman John Ernst and Dale Boone are the remaining candidates in the race for Brookhaven mayor.
Here’s a look at the other incumbents up for reelection in Brookhaven:
District 1 – Linley Jones, a local attorney, was nominated for the post by Williams and took over in June. Jones served as a board member for BrookhavenYES, helping mount the successful campaign for incorporation.
District 3 – Bates Mattison is a charter member of the Council, first elected in 2012. Mattison was raised in Atlanta and has lived in the Brookhaven Fields neighborhood for 17 years. He works as a founding partner of Cosmetic & Laser Specialists.
The other council members who are not up for reelection are:
District 2 – John Park, a South Korea native, was elected in 2014. He grew up in Decatur and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Emory University. He began a technology consulting career at IBM, then, after the September 11 attacks, he began work on bioterrorism preparation at the CDC.
District 4 –Joe Gebbia was elected to the Council in 2012 and was reelected unopposed the following year. A New York native, Gebbia operates Health Matters, Inc., an online natural goods wholesale business. He previously worked for several Fortune 500 companies, including Proctor & Gamble, Mobil and SOHIO.
▲ Mr. and Mrs. John Park of the City of Brookhaven. Attending community BASH for the Champions hosted by Helen Ho, the out going founding Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice. The political PAC is known to support Asian Americans running for office and voter registration.
▲ Mayor Mike Davis spending time at The Veranda of The Meng House. The city has weathered several storms under Davis, who is in his first term as mayor. Not long after taking office, Davis launched an investigation into information leaks from City Council executive sessions. The probe, which ultimately cost the city more than $50,000, fractured the leadership and led to the resignation of City Attorney Brian Anderson and City Councilwoman Adrian Bonser to forfeit a bid for re-election.
The heat is already on in Dunwoody, where incumbent Mayor Mike Davis faces three challengers. Long-time City Councilman Dennis Shortal, a retired Marine Brigadier General, is running on a position of more open and positive government.
▲ Pam Tallmadge at The Veranda of The Meng House, interviewed by Georgia Weekly Post in the videotaped interview, expressed her opposition to Mike and of her support of Becky Springer who is challenging Terry Nall.
Chris Grivakis, senior account executive at Textron Financial, and Steve Chipka, a local businessman and former executive at BellSouth, are also challenging Davis for the mayor’s seat.
▲ Community leader Becky Springer has declared her candidacy for Terry Nall’s seat. Springer has not received any endorsements from the other women on the council.
The city of Dunwoody has weathered several storms under Davis, who is in his first term as mayor. Not long after taking office, Davis launched an investigation into information leaks from City Council executive sessions. The probe, which ultimately cost the city more than $50,000, fractured the leadership and led to the resignation of City Attorney Brian Anderson and City Councilwoman Adrian Bonser to forfeit a bid for re-election.
Anderson has gone on to become the GOP chairman for DeKalb County.
▲ As Denny Shortal resigns his Post 1 seat to run for mayor, community volunteer and Dunwoody Homeowners Association member Pam Tallmadge has stepped forward to vie for the post.
Pam Tallmadge is chair of the Education and Workforce Development Committee for the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce, treasurer of the Dunwoody High School Community Association Board and a volunteer grant writer for Stage Door Players. Tallmadge, told Georgia Weekly Post, is supporting Dennis Shortal in his race to replace Mike Davis.
Another race up for contention is the District 1, At Large Post 4 seat currently held by Terry Nall, who is planning to run again. Nall came to the Council four years ago and has spearheaded efforts to explore ways for the city to fund its own fire department. Local community leader Becky Springer has declared her candidacy for Nall’s seat. Springer has not received any endorsements from the other women on the council.
Current council members Lynn Deutsch and John Heneghan are unopposed in the race to retain their seats.
▲Jay Lin, a native of Taiwan, moved to Georgia 26 years ago. A fiscal conservative, Lin operates Pacific Ventures, a home remodeling business with his wife, Mimi.
In Johns Creek, four of the city’s six City Council seats will be on the ballot this November. There will also be a special election on the same ballot to fill two seats which were vacated earlier this year.
One of the key issues facing the young city is its drive to form a central district as a commercial hub while preserving the residential nature of the area. Johns Creek has one of the lowest commercial tax bases in Metro Atlanta, and the city has been strapped for cash since its founding.
The city has also weathered a political storm in recent years when the past City Council initiated an ethics investigation against the mayor for allegedly overstepping his authority. None of the council members have seats currently, while Mayor Mike Bodker serves his third term.
Council Post 2 – This seat, formerly held by Brad Raffensperger, and Post 5, formerly held by Kelly Stewart, will each be on the ballot for shortened terms. Raffensperger defeated Stewart earlier this year in a race for Georgia’s District 50 House seat.
The special election for Raffensperger’s Post 2 seat, now vacant, covers a two-month term from November through December.
Because of the expense with filing fees, it is doubtful anyone will run for the position. However, the new four-year term for the same seat will also be decided as a separate question on the Nov. 3 ballot.
So far, two candidates have filed declarations of intent to run for the seat.
▲ Nazeera Dawood. A physician who serves as an adviser on preventive medicine for Fulton County, joined the race for Post Five.. Johns Creek is one of the top rich five outside the City of Atlanta. Over 27% are Asian Americans.
Jay Lin, a native of Taiwan, moved to Georgia 26 years ago. A fiscal conservative, Lin operates Pacific Ventures, a home remodeling business with his wife, Mimi.
Chris Coughlin is also campaigning for the Post 2 seat. A Georgia native, Coughlin is a senior research scientist and is married with one child and another expected this year.
Post 5 -- The special election for the Post 5 seat will be to complete Stewart’s term through 2017. That seat is also currently vacant. So far, only one person, Nazeera Dawood, a physician who serves as an adviser on preventive medicine for Fulton County, joined the race for Post 5.
Council Posts 4 and 6 are also on the ballot for new four-year terms.
Post 4 -- is currently held by Bob Gray, who won the seat in 2014. Gray is a businessman and technology consultant and, in 2006, worked with the Governor’s Commission on Johns Creek to help form the city. He is on the board of directors and is an investor in Ammacore, a local networking solutions start-up. He is also a mentor to technology company entrepreneurs with Georgia Tech’s ATDC Mentor Program.
Post 6 -- is currently held by Steve Broadbent, also first elected in 2014. Broadbent, a former deputy director of the U.S. Treasury Department, is managing director of Fulcrum Partner’s Atlanta office. He spent 22 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a commander. He has been a member of the Development Authority of Fulton County since 2013. Tom Mazzuckelli, a local physician is also running for the seat.
The two council members not up for reelection are:
Post 1 -- Leonard Zaprowski, who was first elected in 2013. A life-long resident, Zaprowski is a former member of the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals and the Local School Advisory Council for Fulton County Schools. He worked for the Environmental Protection Agency for three years prior to becoming a licensed chiropractor in 1996.
Zaprowski was Clinic Director of Georgia Back Pain and Rehab (1996-1999), and founded two private practices - Health Source Chiropractic and Rehab, and Chiropractic Health Center of Alpharetta, where he currently practices.
Post 3 Councilmember Cori Davenport, also in her first term, is founder of Trinity Athletics. She lives in the Johns Creek home she purchased with her husband, John, 16 years ago. They have four children. She has served on the PTA boards for Medlock Bridge Elementary and Autrey Mill Middle School and has held numerous leadership positions on her homeowner’s association board.
Mayor Mike Bodker, who has held the seat since the city formed in 2006, is not up for re-election until 2017. He survived a rigorous challenge in 2013 from former Councilwoman Bev Miller who had been part of an effort to have the mayor investigated for misconduct. Bodker is in his third term.
The first of the crop of new Metro Atlanta cities, Sandy Springs is divided into six districts. True to its nature of saving money, the city does not have staggered elections for its mayor or city council, opting instead to hold one election for all seats every four years.
The city is in the early stages of creating a City Center, which will include a city hall and event center. And, while the city continues to lead North Fulton in business acquisitions, it has yet to overcome the challenges of accommodating traffic on its limited streets.
Here is a rundown of the city’s elected officials:
Mayor – Following in the footsteps of founding Mayor Eva Galambos, Rusty Paul is interested in continuing the legacy of growth. As the economic recession subsides, the city has gained more steam as a commercial capital of North Fulton County. While Paul says he is thrilled by the growth, the city has its work cut out in terms of keeping up with infrastructure. First, and foremost, he says, Sandy Springs is a place for people to live. Paul served on the City Council from 2005-09. Prior to that, he served one term in the Georgia Senate. He also served as deputy assistant secretary and assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1990-93.
District 1 – John Paulson, a registered professional engineer, is now in his second term. He is the city’s only public official who faced no opposition in 2013. He served on the committee which supervised the bid process for the city’s general government services, ultimately saving the city nearly $7 million dollars a year when compared to the original contracts.
District 2 – Ken Dishman is in his first term on the City Council. He defeated two-term incumbent Dianne Fries in 2013, garnering 63 percent of the vote. Dishman is vice president of strategic accounts for Duetto, a company specializing in revenue strategies for the hotel industry. A 12 year resident, Dishman is a member of Leadership Sandy Springs and a former board member of Sandy Springs Youth Sports, including two years as president.
District 3 – Graham McDonald is an attorney and co-founder of the Sandy Springs law firm, O’Daniel McDonald, LLC, which focuses on business litigation. He is also in his first term, having received 77 percent of the vote against challenger Barbara Malone. McDonald is on the board of trustees for Leadership Sandy Springs and on the board of directors of the Sandy Springs Bar Association. Mr. McDonald has also served as president and vice president of his homeowners association, vice chairman of the Sandy Springs Economic Development Advisory Committee and the treasurer of the Sandy Springs Bar Association.
District 4 – Gabriel Sterling was first elected in a special election in 2011 and won reelection in 2013 with 65 percent of the vote. Sterling was one of the members of the Committee for Sandy Springs and served as co-chairman of the Sandy Springs Referendum Committee. Once the referendum to create the city passed, Sterling served as chairman of the Sandy Springs Fire/EMS Transition Task Force and as one of the five negotiators representing Sandy Springs in the transition with Fulton County, along with Mayor Eva Galambos. He is president of SSH, Inc., a public relations and political consulting firm.
District 5 – Tibby DeJulio is the longest serving member of the City Council, coming on board at the city’s founding in 2005. In 2013, he was reelected with 75 percent of the vote. He has served as mayor pro tem for 10 years. A certified financial planner, DeJulio is first vice president of a national investment firm. Along with founding mother Eva Galambos, he spent 20 years helping create the city, having served as vice chair for the Committee for Sandy Springs, president of Citizens for Sandy Springs and as the chairman of the city’s transition Financial Task Force.
District 6 – Andy Bauman is in his first term on the City Council, winning election in a runoff with 66 percent of the vote in 2013. Bauman, an attorney, established the popular Sandy Springs Farmers Market, which is currently managed by Heritage Sandy Springs. Councilman Bauman completed both undergraduate studies and law degree at Emory University. Aside from community service, he said he ran for office to ensure planned and smart growth, particularly in the City Center project, remains on track.
While Buckhead, itself, is not incorporated, the North Atlanta area is represented by four members of the Atlanta City Council. Members of the council are elected to four-year terms and are not up for re-election until 2017.
The current Buckhead-area representatives on the City Council are:
District 6 -- Alex Wan has been on the Council since 2010 and picked up a small portion of Buckhead during the recent redistricting process. He represents Brookwood Hills at the southern end of Buckhead. Wan grew up in Atlanta and lives in Morningside. He holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the Georgia Tech and an MBA from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has worked in real estate and architecture and currently serves as director of development for Emory University Libraries.
District 7 -- Howard Shook lives in Ridgedale Park and has served on the Council since 2001. A Dayton, OH, native, Shook has lived in Atlanta for close to 25 years. One of his major campaigns while on the Council has been to add more parkland to the district which has long been deficient in greenspace. He serves on several Buckhead boards, including the Buckhead Community Improvement District.
District 8 -- Yolanda Adrean joined the Council in 2009. She grew up working on a family farm in upstate New York and has become a major proponent of environmental and quality-of-life issues. She championed a drive to remove the Department of Watershed Management from the heart of Chastain Park, freeing many acres for recreational use. She has also granted micro grants for neighborhood parks and playgrounds. She lives in Mt. Paran-Northside.
District 9 -- Felicia Moore is the longest-serving Buckhead representative on the Council, first elected in 1997. A native of Indianapolis, Moore represents the western portion of Buckhead. She has made a name for herself as a tireless enemy of government waste and has alienated more than one mayor by launching probes into spending. She works in real estate and public relations.