Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My July 31st Voting Guide, Part 2: County and judicial races

The county and local races can get very contentious. Just a standard disclaimer here, I don't know any of the candidates personally, and I don't have any connection to any campaigns. All that I have to say is based on wading through news accounts, campaign web sites, and other easily available information. I'm judging the candidates based on what they have to say about themselves, and what others have to say about them.


See also Part 1, on PSC Races, Part 3, on Issues questions, and Part 4, where I get back to the U.S. House Race.


Here's a "letter to the editor" in the local paper that I found rather helpful, and it fit with what I could tell of the candidates from other sources: http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/06-12-2012/important-know-whom-you-are-voting-vote


For Sheriff
BARRY BABB
WAYNE HANNAH (Incumbent)
http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/06-24-2012/incumbent-sheriff-hannah-contender-babb-face-forum
Here's what I've picked up on: Babb used to work in the Sheriff's office under Hannah. Ran against him in 2012, lost, got demoted. There has been chatter about whether or not the demotion was political retribution, but Hannah says it wasn't, and Babb isn't challenging him on that. Babb is now working for Atlanta Police, but he's running for this office again. Both seem to have very different leadership styles. I can't say either one sounds like a horrible choice (though I can tell some folks in the county would say otherwise, on either side), but I think I lean towards giving Babb a go at it.

For Tax Commissioner
LEE ANN BARTLETT
GEORGE WINGO (Incumbent)
Wingo does his job, and no one seems to be complaining. I haven't heard of any great scandals out of the Tax Commissioner's office. Nothing particularly bad about Bartlett either, that I can see. As contentious and outrageous as Fayette County and Peachtree City politics can get, this race seems like a quiet one.

For County Commissioner Post 1
ROBERT HORGAN (Incumbent)
CHARLES W. ODDO
I lean toward Oddo on this one. Horgan seems to be part of a "power bloc" on the County Commission that votes to keep citizen discussion from coming to the table. Also, Oddo opposes the T-SPLOST, and he supports closing the construction of the West Fayetteville Bypass until an assessment can be performed which is free of political wealth connections.

For County Commissioner Post 2
DAVID BARLOW
SHEILA S. HUDDLESTON
JACK SMITH
This is an interesting race. Barlow has made his place in the county scene by starting the practice (at his own expense) of recording county commission meetings for public viewing on youtube. One of the wonderful scenes he has recorded is Jack Smith shouting at constituents. Barlow is big on openness in government, and balanced budgeting. He also opposes T-SPLOST. All good signs.
Huddleston seems like a nice enough lady, but I can't find anything to tell me how she really feels about county issues. Too bad.

For County Commissioner Post 3
LEE HEARN (Incumbent)
RANDY C. OGNIO
SUSAN STOPFORD
This seems to be a lot like the Post 2 race. Ognio is the "openness" guy, favoring solid budgeting and opposing T-SPLOST. Hearn also seems to be in that power bloc with Horgan. And Stopford is... just another nice person running for office.

For County Board of Education Post 1
SCOTT HOLLOWELL
BARRY MARCHMAN
Scott Hollowell seems to be a nice guy, with some good community involvement, but not much to say about what he wants to accomplish, aside from bringing "new experience and new perspectives" to the school board.
Marchman, on the other hand, has a lot to say about bringing fiscal responsibility to school system operations. One quote I like: "I believe that the board should have a policy of zero based budgeting.  You do not automatically get 5% more every year and then call it a cut when you get only 2% more.  Every year, you start with zero - not last year's allocation." Hear hear. Also, he favors allowing students from other counties come to our schools if they (or their home counties) can pay some sort of tuition. That sounds like a good idea to me. (I might also be a little biased, he teaches finance at Georgia Tech and has a degree in Electrical Engineering! My kind of background!)

For County Board of Education Post 2
MARY KAY BACALLAO
GARY W. GRIFFIN
I can't seem to find out much about either of these candidates... except that Griffin has a link on his Facebook page to something called "Framework for 21st Century Learning". My wife the Kumon instructor has heard of this Framework, and she says it's all a bunch of touchy-feely garbage. The "framework's" own web site describes it as a "holistic view" of teaching and learning, which sounds to me like all fluff and no actual teaching.

For Judge of State Court of Fayette County
CARLA MCMILLIAN (Incumbent)
STEPHEN D. OTT
Neither seems like a particularly bad choice, but McMillian's talking about the respect for the Constitution that I want to hear from a judge.

For Judge of Magistrate Court Post 1
CATHERINE SANDERSON
JASON B. THOMPSON
The only item of interest I see is an article from Sanderson in The Citizen, about a potential conflict of interest if Thompson is elected. Seems Thompson's wife is a prosecutor for misdemeanor crimes. Thompson thinks it won't be an issue, his wife is in State court, not Magistrate.
Other than that, the only thing I see is that Sanderson has an endorsement from Evander Holyfield on her web site, and Thompson would like to look at the idea of filing for small claims online. Make your own choice here.

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