PTC Council behaving badly — all 5 of them

Scott Bradshaw's picture

This writer’s last opinion column was critical of the Peachtree City mayor and four city council members for their June 16 assault on the city’s recreation program. It was noted that their shameful action was the straw that broke the camel’s back and the column called for all five incumbents to resign from office because they had lost credibility with the public.

Today’s column identifies five of the many “straws” that led to the conclusion that these self-centered politicians should step aside and permit the citizens to elect adults to take charge of the city. They have harmed Peachtree City during the first 19 months of their regime as follows:

• The council gleefully voted to amend the city ordinance to allow cell towers on city-owned open space parcels such as Blue Smoke Park (OS-P zoning). Cell towers are huge revenue producers and this writer is concerned that the City Council has a tower lease revenue producing plan that will be revealed after the next election. The new ordinance is already in place and new open space zoned towers may be visible from nearby residential neighborhoods within two years!

• The second “straw” relates to the federally subsidized low income apartments that will be built on Newgate Road. NorSouth Corporation, the developer, sued the city in both federal and state court alleging age and racial discrimination after their rezoning petition was denied. The City Council chose to fold and give NorSouth everything it wanted rather than protect the Kedron community by fighting in court.

The council further spit in the face of citizens by formally passing a resolution in support of NorSouth’s application for tax credits. These credits will significantly boost the developer’s bottom line.

The city has since agreed to sell land to NorSouth to help make the project bigger and more suitable for the developer’s needs. The action of the City Council makes one wonder what is the advantage of acquiescing to NorSouth’s demands.

• The third “straw” that broke the camel’s back relates to the city’s industrial park. Our mayor and city council naively petitioned the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to designate the city’s industrial park as an economically challenged area in a well-meaning effort to increase the amount of tax credits for new jobs created by industry.

The action actually discouraged economic development. Experienced economic developers and commercial real estate agents are aware that corporate executives exploring relocation won’t consider or visit a site in economically challenged areas unless they are looking for third -world-country labor costs. It is likely that Peachtree City has been eliminated from numerous site searches by top quality corporations because the industrial park is documented in state records as economically challenged.

• The fourth “straw” is council’s decision to disband the fire department’s dive team to save $18,000 despite knowing it is responsible for rescues on two large lakes and numerous ponds in the city. It could cost more to bring a dive team from another jurisdiction into Peachtree City if there is a need to recover a body from one of the lakes.

Council voted at the same meeting to proceed with a bubble to cover the outdoor swimming pool at the Kedron Field House eventually costing almost one-half million dollars in borrowed money. Is there something wrong with their priorities?

• The fifth and most serious “straw” was created when council quietly convinced the local legislative delegation to introduce and pass state legislation allowing creation of a public facilities authority in Peachtree City. After passage of the bill, council quickly established the new authority and appointed themselves to five of the six authority positions.

The “talking points” explanation is that the authority is needed to give council the ability to refinance existing bonds and levy new bonds to save the city’s infrastructure while reducing debt service obligations. Their numbers amount to voodoo economics and the new authority is a scam comparable to a Charles Ponzi scheme!

Since the late 1990s, Peachtree City has financed facilities and other capital projects through the Georgia Municipal Association’s (GMA) Brick and Mortar Program. This cooperative arrangement insures that Peachtree City and other participating cities get favorable rates and pay less in fees when bonds are used to borrow money. The GMA has rules, regulations and limits on the amount of debt service specifically for the protection of taxpayers. Peachtree City staff was advised in 2009 that the capacity for Brick and Mortar loans to Peachtree City was running out.

The facilities authority was created by this council to resolve that issue. According to the proposed budget, the authority will now be irresponsibly used to buy things such as replacement police vehicles, which should be paid from the annual operating budget.

The scam is that the City Council will use long-term bonded indebtedness to finance operating budget expenditures, making more operating money available for pet projects. They are mortgaging the taxpayers’ future for short-term gratification.

Finally, it appears that Council persons Imker, Fleisch and Learnard are picking a fight with the mayor and Councilman Sturbaum. The confrontations will be a blood bath, but the Imker team will win because three votes prevail when the opposition has only two votes.

It is the prediction of this writer that once the triumvirate gains dominance, the winning predators will viciously turn on each other. Their ambition simply will not allow them to be team players and act in the best interest of those who they are paid to represent.

An anonymous citizen submitted a vent published in a recent edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The vent is relevant to our situation in Peachtree City.

“We have met the enemy and he is us. We are the ones who keep electing these people to office and then look the other way when they prove to be incompetent, unethical or both. We need to start holding them and ourselves accountable!”

Enough said!

[Scott Bradshaw, a resident of Peachtree City, is a real estate broker and residential real estate developer. He may be contacted at rand5474@bellsouth.net.]

cogitoergofay
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Well done, Mr. Bradshaw

Thank you for the effort and the backbone to write these good columns. Keep them up !

Citizen_Steve
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Ernest T. Bradshaw

Nice column, Ernest T. Bradshaw. With all of the actions that council addresses, it is really easy to criticize individual actions after the fact. But what benefit is it to simply throw stones?

Given that politicians and government are inherently self-serving, beyond that I've found this council to have worked in good faith. While I'm not thrilled with all of their actions, it's been several years since we've had a council with as much propensity to protect the quality of life we have in PTC. It's a difficult job and I thank them for their efforts.

bad_ptc
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Mr. Bradshaw & “Haddix syndrome”

Item 1: Cell towers:
Mr. Bradshaw, where were you when all the discussions were happening on this subject. I attended several of these ‘cell tower’ meetings sponsored by concerned citizens as well as at PTC city council meetings. I personally don’t have a problem because as you said; “Cell towers are huge revenue producers”.

What you failed to learn, because of your absence, is that an actual ‘tower’ will not be required in many instances because of new more compact “DAS” or Distributed Antenna Systems. Google it.

Item 2: 8A Housing Units
We can collectively thank Mayor Haddix and Mayor Haddix alone for this one. His inappropriate and ill timed comments while in the presence of NorSouth’s attorney left PTC in an untenable position.

Item 3: Industrial area, economically challenged area
It would appear that some wouldn’t agree with you.

Google, “Deal announces OneGeorgia job creation and investment grants”.

“The OneGeorgia Authority was created with one-third of the state’s tobacco settlement to assist Georgia’s most economically challenged areas. The OneGeorgia Authority is expected to receive approximately $1.6 billion over the 25-year term of the settlement. From the Authority’s inception to date, OneGeorgia has given 525 awards, totaling $306.7 million, leveraged against total project investment of $7.3 billion. This is a return on investment of 24 to 1 and impacts 139 economically depressed counties. More than 54,000 jobs have been retained and created.”

Additionally, it would appear that Prudential Georgia Realty; Commercial & Investment Services Division also disagrees with you.

You can Google, “economically challenged area, Georgia” and read the full articles yourself.

Item 4: Disband the fire department’s dive team
You wrote, “… save $18,000 despite knowing it is responsible for rescues on two large lakes and numerous ponds in the city. It could cost more to bring a dive team from another jurisdiction into Peachtree City if there is a need to recover a body from one of the lakes.”

I would suggest you read the Citizen article, “PTC to donate dive team equipment”, dated July 31, 2011.

“A major factor in the decision was the budget, as the dive team needed a projected $59,000 in funding over the next two years. Among those costs was an estimated $41,000 for communications equipment used for underwater and land-based personnel.”

“In such situations the city will have to summon a dive team from a neighboring jurisdiction, which will cost time but most likely not money.”

It would appear that Mr. Bradshaw has the dreaded “Haddix syndrome”.

Definition of ‘Haddix syndrome’; The overwhelming, often debilitating, urge or desire to express one’s own opinion as fact.

NUK_1
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bad_ptc: excellent rebuttal

Bradshaw is a little off-base in some of his "facts" in this latest column and you did a nice job of pointing out the difference between his "facts" and what are truly opinions, and not very informed opinions on his part.

It did remind me a lot of a Haddix screed, though with a higher level of literacy.

roundabout
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Bradshaw's Blog---Piling on!

First, these people on council and the Mayor were elected democratically.
They are all going to resign as requested about as soon as does Barney Frank and that Ryan fellow!

Much of these complaints about the council are similar or duplicates of what has already been said. I see no violation of the law in any of them.
Actually, PTC nor Fayette County want any housing for old folks or minorities!
They also don't want in the ARC, but act as if they do to pound on the Mayor! I frankly don't care how "crude" some think he is. I don't think he knows how to be devious as are some in PTC.

Why on earth do we need a "dive team?" They are for finding bodies--not saving lives! Is it to placate the fire department by adding people who won't be divers but firemen! (devious). (Like the 6-8 cops we have hired for the paths, with bikes).

I've heard the term Voodo economics before it seems to me. Just means it is not understandable.

Is Mr. Bradshaw saying that where the city has always borrowed is the only honest place to further borrow, or is it due to control being in the conservative voter's hands instead of the authority! (devious).
Say so, if that is the meaning.

Heck we might even build a teenager social club here if we had authority money! Might get to like kids!

These "predators," as said above were elected. Love it or lump it, but I know who I will not vote for next time---got a Nixon enemies list!

roundabout
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There are many meanings to devious...

.......one of them being roundabout!

Like: when a TEA says he doesn't want anything from the federal government he either means no regulations with it or not including what he wants!

ptcrightnow
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Roundabout

Please run for city council. The city needs you especially since you are actually dumber than the mayor.

You would make mayor look good...well he'd be probably half-dumb (like half-drunk) and you could become mayor's new sidekick if Doug doesn't run again. These bloggers would most likely pick on you more than the mayor so in a sense you would make the city look better. PTC would look better with a completely dumb council member and a half-dumb mayor.

Please run.

roundabout
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ptcrightnow: name-calling

Seems all you can comment upon is to call everyone dumb or dumber, completely dumb and half-dumb.

Apparently you know NOTHING about any of the accusations!

Gotta be a TEA!

ptcrightnow
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Roundadumb

you forget dumbiest!

take your meds

L.Sussberg
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Peachtree City Council-Behaving Badly

Dear Mr. Bradshaw
I very much agree with your premise regarding the PTC City Council, but unfortunsately I do not agree with the statement regarding all 5.

It is clearly the mayor, who might suffer from from Dunns-Kruger Effect.
see post...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect who is the disruptive one on council. As the council's leader he needs to foster a sense of cooperation, teamwork and concensus. Instead he picks fights and thrives on disagreement and conflict. Clearly he has no management experience.

Regarding a few of your issues identified here.
1-The NorSouth development is not a federally funded low income housing project....it is anything but. It is an age restricted (over 55) community that uses low interest loans from the State of Georgia. NorSouth raises its funds from pension plans, and with the advantageous low interest loans they receive from the State not the Fed, they can build these units and offer low rents. The demographics of the people who live there are primilarly women, over 55, who pay rent using a combination of social security, pension funds or other funds. Again, it is not Section 8 housing, and no Federal money. City Council did not do their homework on this project as did Planning Commission which is why the city was sued. Planning approved it knowing exactly what it was and how nice the properties are and council did not. The mayor biased the entire process with his "bold" statements at the very first workshop meeting when he should have kept his mouth shut...that is why I resigned from Planning Commission a few months later...The mayor stuck his nose inaccurately in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hence the lawsuit. The land sale was needed to make the property flow properly and the low interest loans from the State of Georgia are also required so that great rents are avaliable.

2-Regarding the cell towers, that issue was also reviewed by Planning and I am not sure your information is totally accurate. In the end, Planning decided to open up the process to include both city and private land so that towers could be located in the proper locations that serve the citizens best and not to be forced into the parks. Sites were being reviewed to cover everyone's concerns and opening the process up to allow towers on private lands with strong wording on how far away they needed to be from building, etc...was a win/win for the citizens.

As to your other points...I can not speak but I wanted to clarify the cell tower issue and NorSouth from a planning perspective as a past member of planning.

I have also provided my viewpoint on who really is behaving badly with a theory why.

Thank you and best of luck...I enjoyed reading your editorial.

PTC Observer
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Dunning–Kruger effect - Larry

You're dead on....

We'll see how the cell tower issue works out for our public parks, I'll be waiting.

Robert W. Morgan
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Me too, Larry. Me too.

But what I would enjoy even more is Mr. Bradshaw running for council or mayor. How about it?

The dopey Norsouth thing that Haddix did would not have ever been attempted by any other mayor - not even Steve Brown.

L.Sussberg
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RWM

I agree...

We need passionate people, independent thinkers who are concerned with the city not fighting, playing politics and the other associated garbage othis mayor has brought to the table.

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