Dufresne’s personal attack fails on issues
John Dufresne’s letter in the paper on June 2 was very distressing, not because of the unsubstantiated allegations, but because he would even write it and The Citizen publish it. Mr. Dufresne’s letter is a personal attack on someone he has personal dislike for and fails to address any of the serious issues facing the county at this time.
For those new to the city, let me give you a little history. In 2001, Steve Brown, after years as a “gadfly” addressing issues of importance in Peachtree City, was encouraged by people concerned about the developer-centric government to run for mayor.
He accepted the challenge and was opposed by a gentleman named Gary Rower, the chosen representative of the political establishment. Mr. Rower was supported by an shadowy group called DirectPAC. Mr. Dufresne was Gary Rower’s campaign manager.
To make a long campaign short, Steve Brown defeated Mr. Rower. To Mr. Rower’s credit, he accepted defeat and little has been heard from him since. DirectPAC and Mr. Dufresne were not so magnanimous. Before he even took office, members of DirectPAC began a letter-writing campaign in The Citizen attacking the mayor-elect for every affront they could imagine. This continued for the four years of Mayor Brown’s tenure.
Mr. Dufresne seemed to take the defeat of his candidate the hardest. He began to attend every city council meeting with a video camera, taping every minute of every meeting hoping to catch the mayor in some kind of misstatement that could be used against him.
He also had a campaign style button made saying “B.U.M. (Brown Unfit Mayor)” which he wore to council meetings. Mr. Dufresne was obsessed with driving Mayor Brown from office. Mayor Brown carried on with the city’s business. I never once heard him make a derogatory comment about Mr. Dufresne.
Mr. Dufresne and others from DirectPAC filed numerous ethics charges against Mayor Brown. Only one was sustained. As I recall the press coverage of the incident, Mayor Brown did ask his executive assistant to pick up his children in violation of city rules when he was detained on city business. The assistant complied voluntarily and Brown reimbursed the city for her time. This was an ethics violation, but one could hardly argue that it was serious.
Mr. Dufresne’s letter is full of allegations and personal attacks which are totally unsubstantiated, or for which Brown was cleared. Worst is the claim that the former mayor abandoned his children in a city conference room. How could Mr. Dufresne know this? He is not a city employee who could have witnessed this “event.” If this were true, why was Child Protective Services not called to take custody of the children?
There are serious issues facing the county that need to be addressed. Anyone who disagrees with the candidates on the issues should stick to those issues and leave the personal attacks and animosity out of the campaign.
Disclosure: I am not related to Steve Brown. I have known Steve Brown and his opponent, Jack Smith, for years and do not have a personal disagreement with either.