Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Wellman: Brown hasn't earned position of mayor

As I write this letter I am watching "Saving Private Ryan" for the hundredth time and just finished 11 weeks of following the men of Easy Company fight their way across Europe. I find myself in a reflective mood of my own circumstances and my brief combat experience 10 years ago. You see, for the last two weeks I had carefully crafted a scathing letter about the political circumstances of Peachtree City and the completely ridiculous behavior of Councilman Dan Tennant and his twin Steve Brown. I put it aside to talk about leadership.

Sadly, last week I was crafting a statement for the police trying to defend myself because an elected official of my town tried to have me arrested for criticizing him. I had foolishly written him using some advanced English writing techniques beyond his mind's ability to interpret. Fortunately, the exceptional police force we have understood my meaning and I don't have to hire a lawyer today.

I was saddened to leave the mayor's race and abandon all of my dedicated supporters. Yet I am proud to be back in uniform for my nation. I am proud to be doing a tiny part in the defense of our nation in this time of incredible uncertainty in our country's history. I am thankful to the citizens of our amazing town who have been so supportive of my family and me during this craziness and have seen through the smokescreen Mr. Tennant tried to create for his own failings.

We have a run off election in two weeks. The man who has tried to convince the police I am dangerous is urging us to vote for his good friend and supporter Steve Brown. The man who has called the police or been the subject of eight police reports since July of last year wants you to take his word of honor of what a great guy Steve Brown is for mayor.

I kind of thought so too until I started going to Council Meetings last February. I discovered that Steve Brown the letter writer was not the man I thought he was. What I started discovering was that he is a master of innuendo and implied corruption. As I attended the same meetings I found him writing letters that contained outright lies and twisted truths. From e-mails and comments I believe he is now bent on revenge on everyone who has crossed him in the last two years from the City Attorney to the city staff and those citizens who dared stand up to him. Now he is sprinkling offers of commission and board appointments to former candidates who will endorse him and his buddies.

Steve Brown and Dan Tennant aren't leaders. Read their literature. It is full of "I helped create" and "I sparked the debate" and "I participated."

Our nation is at war. The economy is ducking towards recession. Several local companies are laying off employees. Many of our citizens are quietly flying off to distant lands to fight and possibly die for their country.

I don't know about you but lately I have not stayed up worrying about annexation. I haven't lost a lot of sleep about how I had to wait a whole 10 minutes at [the intersection of Ga. highways] 54-74 and it made me late for "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." No, I have worried about whether my civilian company will even be around when I roll off of active duty. I am wondering how we are going to pay the bills since my wife had to take a year leave from Delta. I am wondering if I will be here for Christmas. I am wondering how many of my friends are going to come home from Afghanistan.

Folks, we need leaders now. I don't want some guy who has spent three years writing letters complaining. I don't want some guy who has taken classes on leadership. I don't want some guy whose claims to fame include "fleeing over development in five counties" and being the "victim" of a slander lawsuit. I don't want some guy who has the audacity to compare himself to Jefferson and Adams because he writes letters to the editor. I am positive that Thomas Jefferson never wrote a nasty letter claiming to have had a meeting with a government official who was actually on vacation that day.

I believe we need someone who understands leadership. Gary Rower is a graduate of the Air Force Academy. He was an officer and leader for several years in the military. He is a captain in a major airline. He has the credentials I want while my nation is at war. He won't lose his head in a crisis. He won't smear people because they don't agree with him. He won't waste my tax dollars on lawsuits to show some developer he is a tough guy.

I have actually heard people tell me they voted for Steve because he has complained for so long and they think he should see how hard it is to be mayor. Sounds good when you are talking about a PTO or maybe a Boy Scout Pack. This is a city of 32,000 people with a multimillion dollar budget and over a hundred employees. I don't want a guy who has read books on management leading my city right now.

I urge my fellow citizens to reject the negative chorus of PTC. I urge you to look hard at what Mr. Brown has written and what Mr. Tennant has done in office. You can find all of their letters at The Citizen's website. Don't be fooled by their supporters' glowing letters of support or some glitzy website. Look at the truth and vote for real leadership in two weeks.

As for Mr. Tennant and his pathetic attempts at ruining me, his day is coming. I have discovered the Georgia Open Records Law and let me tell you, it is fascinating what you can find at the police station, City Hall, the Atlanta Police and the Fayette Courthouse that doesn't match up with the public persona of "Our Man Dan." Too bad our papers don't do that kind of research. I am positive that if the things I have found were on Bob Lenox you would have read all about it by now.

At the end of "Private Ryan" CPT Miller tells Ryan, "Earn this." He urges him to earn the incredible gift that his men's deaths gave him. As you go to vote, ask yourself: Has Steve Brown really "earned" the mantle of leadership? Has three years of complaining really made him the right man for today? You will know in your heart that it has not. Vote for leadership now. For my part, I am endorsing Gary Rower for mayor.

Fred Wellman

Peachtree City

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