The thing about Brown: He’s most often right

Who is Steve Brown, former Peachtree City mayor and current Post 4 candidate for county commissioner? Some people attempt to cast him as a villain, while others laud his stand on contentious issues, Let’s explore two of them.

If it’s easy to find stories about Steve Brown (which it is), it’s even easier to find newspaper articles by Steve. And while you may not agree with all his positions, even his greatest detractors would have to concede that he thoroughly researches his subjects, which is particularly refreshing in an era of politicians who don’t even read measures they vote for.

Two past projects seem to have generated the most debate: the extension of TDK Boulevard from Peachtree City to Coweta County, and the Peachtree City Development Authority’s operation of the Tennis Center.

Time has proven Brown right on both of his very public crusades for citizens he represented. If you are an average homeowner wanting to preserve our great quality of life, Brown has been one of your greatest defenders.

TDK Boulevard — On Feb 7, 2003, then-Mayor Steve Brown signed the TDK Boulevard Extension Agreement with the Fayette County Commission, agreeing to extend that road “to promote adequate and safe means of transportation” and committing the city to a $200,000 contribution.

While the city could regulate growth along the road within its limits, it had no control over the Coweta County length of the road that abutted the city. Developers quickly saw opportunities to heavily build along the Coweta portion of the road, and Coweta offered no zoning assurances to protect Peachtree City from adjacent overdevelopment.

As a result of those plans, Steve said in a March 2004 letter to the editor, “The creation of the TDK Extension is purely for developmental purposes, not traffic relief,” and in November he called the developer special interest claims of the extension being “a bypass which would reduce traffic on Highway 54” the “relief valve myth.” The Citizen reported the following month that Brown was “vehemently opposed” to moving forward with the TDK Extension.

The Newnan Times-Herald editorial board, in a December 2004 issue, compared Brown to Alabama Governor George Wallace standing in the doorway blocking integration while saying he was the “lone holdout in the new road talks.”

Former mayors of Peachtree City and the leadership of the Chamber of Commerce all lambasted Brown for taking a stand against the TDK Extension. By October of 2005, Brown’s predecessor, a very frustrated Bob Lenox, said that everyone from Congressman Lynn Westmoreland down to every local councilperson knew Brown “personally stonewalled this [TDK] project.”

Lenox continued, “It is not often in government that you can clearly find the culprit when things go wrong, but in this case every one of us who has worked for years to make TDK Boulevard a reality knows that Steve Brown stopped it.”

Harold Logsdon campaigned in favor of the TDK Extension and displaced Brown as mayor in 2004. Soon, however, after massive development plans were filed in Coweta, groups like the Peachtree City Civic Association joined in the movement to kill the expansion, and by June of 2007, the road project was officially dead and Fayette County returned the $200,000 to the city.

In the January 2008 PTC Update newsletter, Mayor Harold Logsdon, an enthusiastic supporter of the extension said, “Two years ago I campaigned on the need for TDK.” He continued, “Well, the situation changed with the proposed massive development on our border, so I changed my position. Completing TDK is not in the best interest of PTC and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”

Had Brown not had the courage to take a stand with everyone railing against him, we would have the TDK Extension, a massive development next to us, and traffic jams worse than any we can imagine. Steve Brown had taken a whole lot of heat, but it turns out that the lone holdout was right.

Tennis Center — The other issue that special interests target Brown for is the tennis center and development authority scandal. Like the TDK issue, Brown took a stand against what he thought was wrong and was not in the best interest of PTC: loose (and sometimes non-existent) accounting records, failure to record meeting minutes and borrowing funds without public votes.

Following Brown’s efforts, The Citizen editor Cal Beverly said in an in-depth November 2005 public blog that “Those community leaders ran the old DAPC out of their back pockets. They kept precious few records, despite being required to by state law. Several of them served on the board of directors of either a lending bank or a bidding contractor.”

Beverly condemned the DAPC’s performance saying, “If they had performed the same way on their day jobs, they would have been justifiably terminated.” He concluded, “There is no recorded vote on more than a million dollars in loans to the DAPC. There’s no paperwork financial trail to determine where that money went. How can any reasonable person praise this old board?”

Many of the people who defended the DAPC were mortified to learn that three of the DAPC members were on the board of directors of the bank issuing under-the-table high interest, short-term loans to the DAPC.

A September 2005 article appearing in The Citizen entitled, “Mayor slams DAPC board members’ bank ties,” DAPC member and bank board member Doug Warner admitted he should not have voted on the loans due to a conflict of interest. “If that’s evil, then I’m sorry. Take me to task for it,” Warner said.

The DAPC members resigned in shame. Steve Brown, the lone holdout, was proven right again.

I’d add one footnote. Being a senior leader on the people’s side of high profile issues distinguishes a public servant from a politician. That’s why I’m voting for Steve Brown for Fayette County commissioner, Post 4.

Robert Ross

Peachtree City, Ga.

NUK_1's picture
Joined: 12/17/2007
Are you Brown's #1 fan?

Or is it "johenry," who loves Steve Brown for the totally selfish reason that she was one of the beneficiaries of Brown's Community Day?

If Steve had the vast amount of wisdom and courage that you blather on and on and ON about, why did the voters see it exactly the opposite? Did you ever think that your perceptions are completely out of line with what the voters of PTC perceive, and Fayette for that matter?

We aren't talking about just losing to Logsdon, we are also talking about Matt Ramsey destroying him too. Glad you like Steve and I think he's a nice enough guy, but he's not going to win as he is really despised outside of PTC for many reasons, one of which is his love for district voting and his very vocal criticism of Fayette Co for not having it. Forget it, Game Over.

doright's picture
Joined: 07/14/2008

I will take my chances with Steve Brown. I can't take spinelessness in a commissioner chairman. If Steve does not listen to the people then he too will find he will be out of a job just like Jack.

Steve B - head the warning: You stop listening to the constituents of this county there will not be a second chance you will be OUT. This county deserves the very best and we don't have commissioners looking out for our best interest and being conservative with our money.

johenry's picture
Joined: 08/22/2006
Never heard Bob Lenox apologize

Lenox was just plain nasty to Steve Brown. Mr. Ross' letter says a lot about character. Steve Brown had the character to take the beating for the right cause. Bob Lenox showed no character for giving the beating and not apologizing when he's proven wrong.

ginga1414's picture
Joined: 09/01/2008

Some folks just can't stand to hear the truth. They just can't face the facts even when the facts are staring them in the face. Facts are facts. The problem is that too many of us have been sweeping those facts under the rug for too long. Steve Brown has been one of a very few to have the courage to stand up and say, "enough is enough." This "sweep it under the rug" mentality is what got this county and country in the shape we find ourselves in, today.

The reason people "sweep things under the rug" is because that is easier than dealing with the mess. Steve Brown could have kept his mouth shut and none of the rest of us would have been aware that Jack Smith had sold this county out to the ARC and MARTA. Dennis Chase, the West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition, and Steve Brown could have just kept quiet and let the developers and commissioners come in and destroy this county. I could be sitting on a beach somewhere right now. But, what am I doing? I'm sitting here continuing to fight for what is right and factual. That is what we have been doing everyday for the last two years. There are retired folks taking their retirement money and putting it into fighting for what is right and factual. Speaking of beaches, the sugary white sands of the Gulf are no longer sugary white because someone in this country didn't stand up for what is right and factual. There are thousands of courageous folks down there trying to make all of those wrongs right. There are folks down there trying to save wildlife under very dismal conditions. There are thousands of folks trying to clean up a mess that may never be made right ever again.

So, now that I have gotten one more sermon off my mind, I'll just step down from my soapbox and sweep some ignorant comments away.

CCB's picture
Joined: 08/27/2006
Bob Lenox caused those problems

Bob's buddies on the development authority were awful.

I wanted to see TDK but Bob lied so bad about it. They give people in the building profession a bad name.

Lenox will probably go down as leaving the worst legacy in Peachtree City's history.

Spear Road Guy
Spear Road Guy's picture
Joined: 07/21/2006
You're An Honest Guy CCB

Although I don't agree with you on TDK, I will admit you told the truth about the road. The thieves at the Peachtree National Bank were so bad they had to change the name of the bank!!!

Robert W. Morgan
Robert W. Morgan's picture
Joined: 10/26/2005
Yep, its offical - Bob Lenox is city's worst mayor ever

according to Steve Brown and his litle band of supporters - all of whom post things on here everyday. If Cal keeps giving free ink to Brown, Brown will take it and flog his favorite pony - evil developers behind every tree and DPAC's illegal activities (although the GBI said not so). Why does he think we care about 15 year old history? And these pathetic attempts to tag Jack Smith being on the board of a "developer's bank" and supporting MARTA in Fayette is just plain silly. None of this was a problem to anyone at all until Brown decided to run for office.

This guy has a tired old act attacking developers - and in his mind anyone who owns property, runs a business or has any friends who own property or happens to be in business is automatically a developer.

When is this election anyway? Need to get it over with and put Brown back in his box.

Doug's picture
Joined: 09/07/2006
The Bank of Georgia

There's no doubt the bank is a developer's bank. Jack Smith admitted to voting for the the buses and trains.

Your bad mouthing isn't going to help Jack Smith or Eric Maxwell. None of you can deal with the issues because you know the voters can't stand your positions.

CCB's picture
Joined: 08/27/2006
R.W. Morgan deal with the truth about Jack Smith

You guys really are in denial. Smith is on the board of directors of a developer bank, get over the denial.

I've never seen the GBI comments. Give us a reference so we can all have a look. Everything I ever read about the development authority stuff was just like how Cal Beverly described it in the letter. Scott Bradshaw, a friend, couldn't take what he was seeing on the development authority. His comments condemned most of the authority's junk.

JeffC's picture
Joined: 04/21/2006
15 year old history

We care about 15 year old history because Steve Brown has been right for those 15 years and history is the best predictor for the future. That's why you'd like to gloss over it.

" his mind anyone who owns property, runs a business or has any friends who own property or happens to be in business is automatically a developer."

Everybody who believes that malarkey should vote against Brown, the rest should vote for him. It's typical of the slurs that have been leveled against Brown since he got into politics.

The "tired old act" here is your again accusing Cal of giving Brown "free ink" when he has offered over and over and over to print anything your guys might send him. Can you point to one single piece, letter or editorial, from Brown's opponents that Cal has turned down? Ever? One piece? A letter or even a vent or anything? I'll bet that if one of your guys drove by the newspaper office and hollered out the window Cal would print it. What do you want him to do, dress in ash cloth and beg for a submission?

(And Cal, don't get me wrong. You're still a crusty ole right-wing conservative curmudgeon.)

ginga1414's picture
Joined: 09/01/2008
Highflyer, Me Too!

I will vote for Steve Brown and Allen McCarty. Why? Their only agenda; the citizens of Fayette County. Why? Their one and only special interest; the citizens of Fayette County. Why? Their number one priority; preserving Fayette County's lifestyle for future generations. Why? They won't be on anyone's Board except Fayette County. Why? Because they truly care about what happens to Fayette County and her citizens. Why? They aren't beholding to developer banks and developer money. Why? They are running their campaigns on a shoestring. Why? They have principles, are intelligent and strong minded enough to stand up to anyone who doesn't truly care about Fayette County and her citizens.

doright's picture
Joined: 07/14/2008
Steve Brown

I was glad to cast my vote for Steve Brown during early voting.


highflyer2's picture
Joined: 03/29/2007

With this man's qualifications, why isn't Mr. Brown running for Governor instead of a commissioner ? Just asking.

Have2Wonder's picture
Joined: 05/09/2010
Brown is Laughing Stock

He's not running for governor because on a statewide level he is laughed at by leaders. While he was mayor, I attended meetings of Atlanta leaders and when I introduced myself from the Peachtree City area, they would immediately ask me if PTC had gotten rid of "that mayor" yet. He made the area famous for all of the wrong reasons, much like clayton county leaders have done in recent years. It took me some time to key into the fact that even if you are sometimes right, it is not in the community's interest to elect a mudslinger who personally attacks the leaders who serve before, during and after his election. Yes, he pushed his way into a position or two to place on his resume, but even those groups quickly regretted it. I am just hoping the community doesn't forget the 5 years it has taken to rebuild the bridges he burned the first 12 months in office the last time around.

bladderq's picture
Joined: 12/02/2005
Vote for Steve

The world needs gadflys. He does seem to more right than wrong. AND the goats are needed to eat the kudzu that is taking over the DOT's new plantings between Mickey D's & the BP (Spill or no spill these are good people). He was right about that little item too. SEE "Lost Brown Purse"

bladderq's picture
Joined: 12/02/2005
Lost Brown Purse

A young lady has lost a brown purse, somewhere on the path between Southern Shores & the Little "Kroger" If found give to PTC Police.