The Kohl’s discussion: A lot of spin and lies

Tue, 10/09/2007 - 3:58pm
By: Letters to the ...

This has been quite a month for discussing the value of telling truth. One of the most celebrated female athletes in world, Marion Jones, confessed seven years after the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games that she used performance-enhancing drugs. She formerly lied to federal agents about using the drugs and participating in a check-fraud scheme.

The real losers are the women who legally came in first and lost all of the notoriety and financial rewards because of Ms. Jones’ misdeeds.

Locally, we have Paul Henss who served as a prison guard and attack dog handler at the Dachau and Buchenwald Nazi Concentration Camps. Instead of offering an apology or asking forgiveness for being part of a program that slaughtered people on the basis of their race, religion, national origin or political opinion, he denied knowing about the mass exterminations which were widely touted among the SS.

U.S. Sen. Larry Craig from Idaho pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in connection to lewd conduct in a men’s restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Months after the situation occurred, Sen. Craig said he erred in pleading guilty.

Lies are often the easiest route for many people because of the pain and embarrassment often associated with truth-telling. Lies can be serious enough to be illegal such as fraud, financial misrepresentation, negligence or false advertising. The actions of the former Development Authority which cost the taxpayers about $3 million in lost taxes and $1.5 million in additional taxes to cover things up caused a tremendous amount of lying.

Once the truth finally emerged about the Development Authority, there was absolutely no remorse from the authority members or their attorneys. However, some of the unsuspecting tennis members who bought into the authority’s false claims did apologize to me when they found out the taxpayers were, in fact, going to be saddled with the burden.

There are actually people who are professional “spin doctors” specializing in deflecting the lies of their clients and distorting what is false to make it appear true. The TDK Extension was a perfect example of spin. Several large developers associated with the project had greased the political wheels with campaign contributions and the lies began rolling about TDK being a traffic reliever road.

The countywide transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) has also turned out to be a huge fraud. The SPLOST is probably the single largest source of dishonest government financial activity in Fayette County history.

Local political action committees undertook a large campaign designed to promote a lack of understanding, create disbelief of the critics and insinuate fair planning when there was none. Unfortunately, a 51 percent voter majority bought into the propaganda.

Early this year, I had a local homeowners association president explain to me that a city council member told her there was no such thing as a “big box ordinance.” I replied it is ordinance number 875 in the city’s code of ordinances which was passed by the Lenox administration, my administration and the Logsdon administration.

Founding Father John Adams said it best, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

The whole Kohl’s discussion is a journey around the truth. At the Aug. 23 Comprehensive Plan meeting a local citizen asked City Planner David Rast if retail big boxes were part of the city’s comprehensive plan and Mr. Rast honestly replied they were not (The Citizen 8-31-07), so why does the mayor and certain council members continue with the charade of acting like they are following our planned community standards with the Kohl’s?

The comprehensive plan and our ordinances, the factual standard, says our position is “no.” However, some are trying to convince the public that creating a power center (three or more big box retailers in the same area) and creating a super-regional draw, debilitating traffic and harming our true traditional village retail centers is a good idea.

Mayor Logsdon promised the citizens in writing he would develop according to our planning standards and ensure those standards were met. Since all his essays are in print and on the Internet and we know how our ordinances and comprehensive plan reads, it is safe to say his assurances were not genuine.

Candidates Doug Sturbaum, Mike King and Don Haddix have publicly stated their opposition to new big box retail stores and sewer expansion.

Mike Harman conveniently left out any discussion of big boxes in his recent letter to the editor.

Thomas O’Toole is a very nice guy, but he has failed to be very specific on anything.

Dar Thompson is a conundrum. He was very open during the last election with denouncing Mayor Logsdon’s political promises as nothing more than a hoax. Then in a baffling move, Thompson publicly backed Logsdon in the runoff election. He came off as too willing to please the special interests. The special interests do not care about our quality of life.

Councilman Harman’s letter did include the overly broad statement, “I want to work to maintain the quality of life that we all moved here to enjoy.” Is following our comprehensive plan and ordinances part of maintaining our quality of life? He refused to say.

Harman also forgot to say that his leadership in Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) tried to purposefully circumvent a signed governmental agreement which stated the city government had to approve all sewage capacity extended beyond our borders. Harman and WASA insisted they did not need the city’s approval to sell 2 million gallons per day of sewage capacity to Coweta County.

Past media reports show we had to force WASA to back down. I do not think Harman’s desire to accelerate reckless development on our border really helps us maintain our quality of life.

Prediction: The Kohl’s vote will be postponed until after the November election so it will not be a negative for Councilman Harman. Meanwhile, he will keep his lips sealed about the issue.

I can assure you the local spin doctors will be out in full force trying to convince you to vote for someone without the facts. Do your research because we have a lot at stake at this point in time.

Steve Brown

Peachtree City, Ga.

[Brown served as Peachtree City mayor from 2001 to 2005.]

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Submitted by mike tore on Thu, 10/11/2007 - 8:06am.

Steve Brown: Godfather? Steve Brown wishes he were still the Mayor. He is not Mayor anymore and not running for Council so the next best thing is to identifiy and speak with the weaker minded candidates he can pump and manipulate in order get his special interest items through any future council voting. Look for "talking points" from King, Haddix, and Sturbaum that are similar in their appeal and hence undoubtedly come from Steve Brown. These gentlemen have not been involved in any citizen group, previous City volunteer position, or even consistently attended Council and planning commission meetings until just very recently. I'd rather see that short lady who is anti-development, a very long term resident of PTC, whom shows up at just about every possible meeting, listens intently, and then makes her views known running for Council instead of these guys. I know she is informed. It makes sense that they are scrambling to get up to speed on all of the issues on the table and Steve Brown is in a unique position to serve as the Godfather and "advise" them. The other candidates have a record of either building a successful business from the ground up, working in a City commission, or volunteering to work in a civic organization. Their actions speak louder than their words and it only makes sense they think for themselves. In all cases, it's interesting to note they are quiet, probably because they are collecting information and facts to make informed decisions. The Brown candidates immediately hit the ground running blabbing in the paper and blogs with one finger in the wind. One thing is for sure and that is that the Godfather can't stand to be out of power so he is hedging his bets.

Submitted by Doug Sturbaum on Thu, 10/11/2007 - 11:52am.


I appreciate your opinion on the "Godfather" issue, but your facts and assertions are not correct. Mr. Brown, being the former mayor is a vocal, active citizen in many local arenas. Whether a person is "for" or "against" an issue does not make them "his candidates" nor make them "weaker minded". None of the candidates are Mr. Brown's candidates. There are many other vocal citizens out there that attend the forums, council meetings and other functions. Many local individuals share the same position on issues as I have found out via emails, the press and personal conversations. That does not put them in any one person's "camp". Some of us have done civic work in other parts of the state, through civic or corporate volunteering or just personal preference items, as I am sure the other candidates do also. All the candidates are listening to the issues and formulating their own opinions. People have their own opinion and positions, including you. Please feel free to contact me at your earliest option if you wish to discuss further.

Doug Sturbaum
Post 2 Candidate, PTC City Council

Submitted by MIKEK on Thu, 10/11/2007 - 10:52am.

I'm certainly pleased to see you took the time to attend Tuesday evening's forum, and obviously you have made your choice. I feel compelled to respond to your assertion that I, and others, are Mr Brown's candidates.
As yet, I have not met the man nor have I had any communication whatsoever with him. The advice I have received thus far, is from friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens with whom I've met since announcing my candidacy. In fact, during the last election I strongly supported our current mayor.
I do listen to the citizens of our fair city as well as read what is in print and take my positions accordingly. Other than my God and my wife, all others are given equal footing. Honesty, a strong work ethic, and independent spirit are traits that I hold and cherish.
Your assertion is without merit. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience.
Michael L "Mike" King
Candidate for City Council Post 2

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Wed, 10/10/2007 - 7:33pm.

Steve Brown was not at the forum last night, but certainly the letter-writer was. Rothley was taking notes, so thanks for your letter.

That being said, you are correct about the following - whoever you are:
Kohl's needs to go away
John Adams is correct - facts are stubborn things
Harman is a developer's tool - don't need him on council

And my thoughts, which are always correct:
O'Toole is a breath of fresh air. He will get my vote.
Dar is the man! He will also get my vote. The dingy people opposing him are - well, dingy and boring.

Please go out and vote in november - all 10 of you. It could make a difference.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Wed, 10/10/2007 - 11:39am.

At the Rotary Forum Mike Harmon tried to escape the WASA issues.

He limited his comments to the Tyrone issue and said they only asked to be allowed to discuss the issue.

Further, he said he was opposed to such extensions, as a Council Member, and asked they withdraw the discussion.

He did not mention anything about his past realities with WASA, which Steve Brown elaborates on, or that Tyrone backed away from the request, first. He only tried to play a semantical game to get out from under the issue.

As he did with Kohl's. Here he said:
1. He does not want or like Big Boxes. Now please note he never said he would vote against it.
2. It was illegal to deny a developer the right to build on his property. it was his property right. Which is a false statement.

That sets up plausible deniability. As in after the election he can vote for selling the street and vote for Kohl's because while he personally does not like or want a Big Box, he has no legal right to vote against a Big Box.

Mike Harman used his professional salesman skills well at the Forum. He spun and played semantical games on many statements to give an impression of meaning something he never said. I firmly believe he is the now third member of a block along with Harold Logsdon and Steve Boone.

Yes, Tom O'Toole is a nice guy. But a bit overoptimistic on what an individual can do on his own on Council.

He didn't need a moratorium because he knew exactly what need to be done and how to do it. He was just going to do it. He is going to fix the golf cart path issues, general security and such, in PTC while giving a no new tax pledge. He is going to do it all, himself.

Where have we heard that one before and how did it turn out?

I would love to cut taxes. But I am not going to make such a pledge after sticking my wet finger in the air. I need to know I can do it, since I hate to make a promise I do not know I can keep.

Tom O'Toole says Green a lot. On his site he states he will reduce the PTC carbon footprint, fossil fuel usage and use of pesticides.

He says he opposes sewer tie-ins out of city. But on his site he qualifies that by saying he will take into account the environmental impact of such a denial.

Both want to redevelop older parts of PTC. Mike Harmon even spoke of 30 acre older developments.

What does redevelopment mean? Higher density?

Really, replacing or upgrading what is there isn't redevelopment. That is renovation or replacement.

Don Haddix
Candidate for PTC Council, Post 1

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