PTC election choice: 2 different futures

Tue, 03/10/2009 - 3:53pm
By: Letters to the ...

Without question, Peachtree City is at a unique time in its history. We stand at build-out, recession (some experts now saying depression), and a City Council that has two different views of what the comprehensive plan and vision say and mean. To this we must add very different visions of what Peachtree City needs for the future.

The votes on abandoning parts of the Line Creek roadways, the special use permit to build big boxes and a super-size retail development and the recent light application at Line Creek Drive on Ga. Highway 54, all 3-2 votes, are prime examples, from this development alone, of those differences.

These votes were all to enable an over-sized big-box development that Peachtree City has made clear it did not want or need.

Now we have the issue of the Hyde annexation and rezoning request. Will that end in yet another 3-2 to approve? I hope not.

This needs to be put off until there is a clear understanding of need for Peachtree City, which will be years away, or maybe never.

We also have the issue of the rezoning of property in the industrial park to residential to build large two-story and expensive downsizing homes, which they are not, next to industry and about 90 feet from the Falcon Field runway buffer zone. A major mistake if allowed.

Clearly, we are at a fork in the road where each path constitutes a very different future for Peachtree City.

One path has Peachtree City keeping its village concept and vision. The other is the old “Build it and they will come” thinking that dominated such as Cobb and Gwinnett counties for decades, resulting in what many moved here to escape.

This election will set the path and mile-marker for our future journey as a city.

Do things change over time? Absolutely. For example, we cannot plan as if we are a commuter-driven community any longer. The stats and other data confirm that reality has been disappearing for the last decade.

What is happening to the economy also is a demonstration that things change.

Does it mean we cannot come out of this unique time better than what we were? Absolutely not. We have so much untapped potential to make Peachtree City even more attractive as a place to live than it has ever been before.

The key element we must change is our focus. It must be on good jobs that pay enough for people to live here.

We need to stay focused on what attracted so many of us to come here over time, that being low crime, sense of neighborhood, good schools and the cart path system.

Our goal must be to keep and grow our vision in a new way, using a new economic engine, with growth by redeveloping what we have to be better than what it replaces, not annexing in new property to build on, while leaving the old to become blight.

Future annexation must be only for compelling need or something too good to pass up, not annexation for growth’s sake.

So ... this election is when the voters of Peachtree City will choose the future of Peachtree City via whom you elect.

If you agree with me, then I ask for your vote in my bid to be mayor. I also would ask that you consider helping defray the costs of running for mayor, since historically it has proven to be an expensive venture for most.

I will be buying signs, handouts and maybe campaign buttons. I will not be spending money on mailers and telephone campaign calls, which I dislike getting myself.

Special interest groups have historically poured thousands of dollars into their candidates for mayor. I am only asking for $5, $10, $20, or whatever one feels comfortable with donating.

Who will be running against me I do not know. All I know is there is a group looking to fund someone.

If so inclined, you can send such contributions to:

Elect Don Haddix Mayor

7 Dover Trail

Peachtree City, GA. 30269

Your help and vote will be greatly appreciated.

Please remember that all council post seats are critical to where the next council will take Peachtree City. So please consider everyone carefully and then vote on Nov. 3. It is your city and you will be choosing its future.

If you have questions on any topic, please contact me via the information listed below.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Don Haddix, mayoral candidate

[Haddix currently serves as councilman in Post 1.]

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Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 6:34am.

You mean you are so unpopular a group has funding in place to oppose you and they don't even have a candidate? Huh?

Isn't that a little backwards. Shouldn't someone explain their reasons for running and their platform first? That way the people contributing to a campaign know what they are contributing to. Right?

If this group really exists they must have an ABH mentality - Anybody But Haddix. Haven't seen that since Brown (well maybe Obama). By the way, why isn't he coming forward as a candidate? Or is that what the newspaper columns are all about - Cal giving free space to his favorite candidate.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 8:59am.

A small group, yes. Mainly some developers and developer related that make their money building.

As for candidate first, you know very well special interest groups will try to recruit candidates if one does not step forward on their own.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

borntorun's picture
Submitted by borntorun on Fri, 03/13/2009 - 8:19pm.

" over-sized big-box development that Peachtree City has made clear it did not want..."

Really Don? PTC didn't want it? Then pray tell why the parking lots are slammed full at WalMart every time I go out there. Seems to me the citizens of PTC do appreciate having WalMart and Target available as a shopping option especially in these economic times.

Surely you don't mean the 5 or 6 bloggers under about 30 aliases who whine about it represent the vast majority of PTC!

Your constant stating that WalMart was not wanted is almost as irritating and full of malarkey as Steve Brown's constant "illegal loans" reference with the Tennis Center. If they were illegal, then why didn't the FBI pursue charges??

BTW...have you ever shopped at WalMart or Target?

Submitted by Spyglass on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 9:58am.

"Surely you don't mean the 5 or 6 bloggers under about 30 aliases who whine about it represent the vast majority of PTC!"

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 6:25am.

Those cars at WalMart are Coweta County people who come over here to shoplift since they know we don't prosecute them. Nobody from PTC wants WalMart and no one from PTC ever shops there. Target is different - good place.

Good point about Brown and the illegal loans. He does need to shut up - all 5 of him.

borntorun's picture
Submitted by borntorun on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 11:43am.

Morgan, see article in today's Times may prefer Target but looks like you are in the minority.

Haddix should also take note. Bad times like these, it appears that most people like WalMart! Yes, even in The Bubble aka PTC!

Wal-Mart vs. Target: During the Recession, It's No Contest
By Sean Gregory
Saturday, Mar. 14, 2009

When times are tough and consumers are "trading down" to buy more inexpensive goods, you'd think that a discount retailer like Target would flourish. After all, it's the place you go for quality clothes at affordable prices — cheap-chic designer Isaac Mizrahi offers a line — low-cost home accessories, and perhaps a grocery item or two.

Alas, therein lies Target's problem. Things are so bad, even cheap clothes are a luxury now. Why pull a new shirt off the store rack, when you can just snatch one out of the closet for free? Food, however, is not discretionary. Everyone has to eat, and more consumers want to dine at home to shave expenses. And there's a certain merchandising mammoth fulfilling that crucial grocer's role for consumers much better than Target.

While Wal-Mart, the largest company in the world, has always dwarfed rival Target in size ($406 billion in annual revenues vs. Target's $65 billion), until recently Target had been decisively winning the growth game. From 2003 though 2007, Target's annual same-stores sales growth averaged 4.6%, while Wal-Mart's clocked in at 2.9%. Over the same period, Target's annual profit growth averaged 16%, while Wal-Mart lagged behind at 10.3%. "Target was frying Wal-Mart's brains out," says Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, a national retail investment banking and consulting firm.

At the onset of the recession, however, Target and Wal-Mart saw their fortunes flip. Target's same-store sales have fallen for eight straight months; Wal-Mart's have risen for 22 straight months. Target's 2008 same-store sales fell 2.6%, while Wal-Mart's rose 3.3%. Most recently, Target's February sales dropped 4.1%, while Wal-Mart enjoyed a 5.1% jump.

More importantly, in 2008 Target's profits dropped a stunning 22.3%, to $2.2 billion. That figure includes a 40.7% earnings collapse in the fourth quarter. Wal-Mart's 2008 bottom line rose 5.9%, to $13.5 billion. Now, Target is getting trounced.

Davidowitz notes that a "double whammy" is driving Target down. First, the retailer's product mix is not ideal in this economy. According to Davidowitz, Target devotes some 40% of its shelf space to home and apparel items, which are struggling, while setting aside less than 20% for consumables like food, health items and beauty care. Wal-Mart sets aside 45% of its space for consumables. "Wal-Mart sells what you need to have," says Davidowitz, "as opposed to what you want to have." Not only does Wal-Mart sell more of the grocery items that you need—the company is the world's largest food retailer—it sells them at better prices. Britt Beemer, founder of America's Research Group, says that customers have fled Target because they think of the company as an apparel retailer, and they believe that the groceries they do sell are overpriced.

The second whammy on Target's performance is its credit business. Target is one of the last major retailers to own a part of its credit card portfolio. When consumers are drowning in mortgage and other credit card debt, they often ignore retail card obligations. Rising defaults and delinquencies have dragged earnings. Credit card profits dropped 80.5%, to $155 million, in 2008, and the company incurred a $135 million pre-tax loss on its credit segment in the fourth quarter. "The company did great with its credit business when the economy was up, but now that the it's down, carrying your own credit is devastating," says Davidowitz. At least Target can be grateful it made one smart move: in May, the company sold 47% of its receivables to JPMorgan Chase for $3.6 billion. Without that move, the devastation would be much worse.

So how is Target responding to the malaise? The credit distress is hard to control, though the company has promised to tighten lending standards and increase collections. On the product side, the company knows it must offer more essentials. "We continue to invest in our food offering in recognition of its importance in driving greater frequency, increasing guest loyalty, and making Target a preferred shopping destination," company CEO Gregg Steinhafel said on Target's fourth quarter earnings call. For example, last year the company opened its first distribution center for perishable goods like fruits, vegetables, and meats, in Lake City, Fla. Target is slated to open another distribution center this year, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. "That's a major step," says Davidowitz. "Controlling your own distribution can improve food freshness on the shelves, and it allows you to hold onto more of the margins."

Steinhafel also said that Target would sell perishables in most new and remodeled general merchandise stores; the retailer plans to open 75 new locations this year. The company already sells meat and produce in its 245 "SuperTarget" locations (Target has some 1,700 total stores nationwide). Target has already enhanced its food investment in two general merchandise stores in the Minneapolis area. Davidowitz, for one, is impressed. "When I checked the perishables, they are very fresh, very well presented, very appetizing, and people
were buying them," he says.

Despite these efforts, Target's transformation won't guarantee success. It's hard for a retailer to shake its reputation as a clothing outlet, while at the same time quickly master the management of perishable grocery items. "You can't just flip the switch and change the store over night," says David Heupel, a senior equity portfolio manager at Thirvent Financial in Minneapolis. Plus, if Target drops grocery prices below Wal-Mart's levels, the big boy will quickly respond. "There's no reason to put a stick in the bear's eye," says Ed Weller, a retail analyst at ThinkEquity Partners.

What's Wal-Mart isn't just some massive outlet that peddles cheap wares; it has focused on food for a long time, and is really hitting a stride during the recession. "Wal-Mart works hard to build a strategy around groceries," says Beemer, the founder of America's Research Group. "They look at groceries as a way to get people in the store for the first time. Target sees it as an add-on sale." In a research note, entitled "It's Wal-Mart's Time & Investors' Opportunity," Deutsche Bank analyst Bill Dreher Jr. wrote: "Bottom line, Wal-Mart is executing flawlessly."

Can Target reach Wal-Mart's level of excellence? It may have to rethink its mission. Issac Mizrahi is nice. But now shoppers want to see meat and potatoes.

borntorun's picture
Submitted by borntorun on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 10:53am.

That's another one of those urban legends, Morgan, that the majority of the shoppers at WalMart are Coweta County folks and you know it. Granted, Coweta County citizens shop there (nothing wrong with that- rather them spend their money in PTC than Coweta) but like yesterday when I was there, the vast majority of tags are Fayette.

The fact is that regardless of what Don Haddix or the half a dozen or so who blog under more aliases than Carter has pills, most folks in PTC appreciate not having to drive 10 to 20 miles to buy necessities.

I noticed Haddix hasn't responded to my question as to whether or not he shops at either big box Walmart or big box Target. I suspect that is because he does. Typical politician, run on an issue (anti big box) but doesnt put his money where his political stance is.

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 11:55am.

Other then Dollar and his slew of ID's, who else is blogging under multiple names?

I yam what I yam....Popeye

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 11:53am.

I didn't respond because you have made so many erroneous assumptions and appear to be staunchly pro development regardless of impact.

It seems you didn't live here when Walmart and Target came in or you would have known how large the resistance, legal and otherwise, was.

The Big Box Ordinance was put in place to stop such construction. In 2006, under Logsdon, the Special Use Permit was added to allow such construction.

In example, 54 W was not, contrary to the claims of a few people, supported by Panterra nor by all in Cardiff Park. Email and other communications with Council and me, individually, on the SUP, was a few for and hundreds against. GDOT has said they have received a large volume of contacts asking the permit be denied.

Moved here in 1987 when PTC had 13,600 residents and all knew we had to travel for beyond basic shopping. All were quite content to do so since that held crime down and created a sense of neighborhood we valued.

There was not nor has ever been a popular movement to bring in what so many, even to this day, moved here to escape.

I, and others, have heard far too many times, in the last few years, that PTC is loosing its uniqueness and what made it appealing. Loosing due to Big Boxes, Big Shopping Centers and larger, taller and more dense constructions. Wilkesmoor, the Delta Building and Lexington are the most frequently cited examples of going the wrong direction.

You want to copy Coweta but live here? Why? Why not just want to move to Newnan if it is so much better?

Because it is more pleasant to live here? The lower crime rates? Why?

Why do you think PTC began long after Fayetteville, in example, and has done so much better?

We have received many recognitions as being a great place to live. Why us, not Coweta or Fayetteville?

There are reasons. Maybe living here so long allows some of us to see it far more clearly, since we have seen what was and what has happened when some of these things get added to our city.

Not saying go back in time. But sure saying don't become what many moved here to escape. You cannot keep the PTC uniqueness while adding all those things, since they carry inherent issues with them, as a lot of cities have found out and are now trying to escape.

So, I am firm and fact backed on my statements.

By the way, some of us have been noting the tags in the Walmart, Home Depot and Target parking lots. Vast majority being PTC is an overstatement.

Relative to being in within PTC versus out of county, the number is pretty low.

Finally, please do some actually economic research on the impact of Walmart and such on municipal and local income. Big Boxes hurt, smaller stores help.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

borntorun's picture
Submitted by borntorun on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 1:50pm.

Actually, Don, it would be you who has the wrong assumptions.

1. "It seems you didn't live here when Walmart and Target came in or you would have known how large the resistance, legal and otherwise, was."

Wrong...I moved here in 1980 when the only place to grocery shop was Hudson's, Partners II was about the only place to eat, and Hwy 74 was a two lane road through downtown Tyrone. Yes, like any issue, there were people both for and against the big boxes but I don't recall mass marches on City Hall against it.

2. "Moved here in 1987 when PTC had 13,600 residents and all knew we had to travel for beyond basic shopping. All were quite content to do so since that held crime down and created a sense of neighborhood we valued."

1987? So it seems that I was here long before you were, Don. And it would be erroneous to say that "all were quite content" to travel to other communities for basic shopping. Maybe the folks you hung around with didn't mind paying extra for gas to drive to Fayetteville or Newnan to shop but I heard lots of people say they wished we had more shopping options here in town.

And what statistics are you relying on that shows WalMart or Target has caused an increase in crime?? Most of the crime I see reported in the paper is DUI, teen age stuff, family violence, drugs or traffic related. Hard to blame WalMart for that!

As for a sense of neighborhood, I still feel that in the subdivision where I live. If you don't in yours, perhaps you should move. A sense of neighborhood is derived from the folks living in the same area as you...not a WalMart down the street for crying out loud!

In a free market system, the consumer will support or not support a business with its hard earned dollars. Seems to me that if the majority of folks didnt like WalMart being here, they would not support it which isn't the case.

3. "You want to copy Coweta but live here? Why? Why not just want to move to Newnan if it is so much better?"

Huh? Don't know where that came from...never said I wanted to copy Coweta.

4. "By the way, some of us have been noting the tags in the Walmart, Home Depot and Target parking lots. Vast majority being PTC is an overstatement. Relative to being in within PTC versus out of county, the number is pretty low."

Your last sentence is so jumbled I have no idea what you are trying to say...are you saying the number of Fayette county tags at Walmart are in the majority but not as high as I say or are you saying the majority of the tags are out of county?

So, Don, answer the question.

Have you ever shopped at the Peachtree City WalMart or Peachtree City Target?

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 2:22pm.

To say you lived here during the Walmart beginnings and not remember the city wide outcry against it or support for the lawsuit to stop it is telling.

I don't know other 'old timers' that agree with your positions.

From your free market statements it is obvious you are pro developer and an Old Growth Model supporter. I am a Smart Growth supporter.

Growth models determine how growth will occur while free market, which isn't truly free, determines how they function once built. Free market is not a growth model anywhere in the US, else there would be no zoning laws.

And you did avoid all my fact statements, since they do not fit your goals. You didn't explain why what Coweta is doing is so good but you want to live here instead. Or why PTC has succeeded so well over neighbors with our Vision and Village Concept that I support and defend.

Our top crime areas are the Big Box areas. Check with the Police Department if you wish to dispute that.

As for general research on Big Boxes and Shopping Centers, go the the link in my sig line. There is data there that also deals with the attraction of crime.

I live in a great HOA, one of the most desired and fastest selling in PTC. We have extremely long term residents. Not an expensive neighborhood, comparatively speaking. But a well designed and maintained one that has a lot of good people living in it.

I am trying to defend what made PTC great and will continue to do so.

So, with all due respect, it is pointless for us to keep discussing issues. We are polar opposites, in many ways, and not going to see eye to eye.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

borntorun's picture
Submitted by borntorun on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 2:29pm.

Do you shop at the Peachtree City Walmart and/or the Peachtree City Target?

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Thu, 03/19/2009 - 11:59am.

Getting a straight answer out of Haddix is like pulling teeth! He will only give it to you if he feels that the answer will benefit him in some way. Been there, done that!

matt.barnes's picture
Submitted by matt.barnes on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 2:41pm.

I thing I hate most about Walmart is that everybody hates Walmart but everybody still shops there. Including me. I hate that place and I still go there at least twice a month. South Park did a great job explaining this.

borntorun's picture
Submitted by borntorun on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 4:41pm.

I'm no fan of WalMart and much to Haddix's contention, I do know what a WalMart does to a small community when it comes to town. That story has been well documented in numerous tv and newspaper articles.

I'm like everyone else these days....trying to make a buck stretch and when I can save $25.00 or more on a $100 grocery shopping trip at WalMart, well, I know where I'm going.

But there is a difference between you and me who are private citizens going to WalMart and a politician like Haddix who rails against WalMart just to get elected but is financially supporting the very thing he rails against.

Note he still hasn't answered the question.

matt.barnes's picture
Submitted by matt.barnes on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 4:44pm.

Death, taxes, and everyone shops at Walmart.

I hate that f****ing place.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 2:08pm.

Could it be that you are practicing up for taking a "census" job by counting tags in parking lots? By the way, how do you characterize those specialty tags that do not designate county-as hanging chads.

My question contains the same pertenence as yours about where someone shops, so how about becoming a bit more focused. Your developer "skirt" is beginning to show.

borntorun's picture
Submitted by borntorun on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 2:33pm.

No thanks for the census gig but thanks for thinking about me. I have a good job and am happy (and thankful these days!) to be working where I do.

As for a developer skirt, not even close...I nor any one in my family has any ties to developers, real estate, etc.

You are dead wrong about the pertinence as to where one shops. People will support or not support something they believe in with their hard earned dollars. And it is certainly relevant when a candidate such as Haddix who is basing just about his whole campaign on anti big box supports those big boxes by shopping there don't you think? Can't have it both ways, Mike!

Submitted by Spyglass on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 9:59am.

But lately, they gone SKY HIGH on the Royal Oak...what gives?

Submitted by mysteryman on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 8:34pm.

Brazil is using charcoal to fire its pig iron kilns, to produce steel to sell to us, now that almost all of our mills have closed or been bought out by foriegn companies and closed, moving production overseas hence shortage. Expect to see the price of everything at Wally World go up as China tightens it grip on world trade, and credit hence it owns 2/3 of our national debt. Next time you are there check out all the empty shelves, a sign of the times be prepared my brother...PEACE

borntorun's picture
Submitted by borntorun on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 10:56am.

Why it's simple and demand, Spyglass!

All of those Coweta County shoppers that Haddix and Morgan refer to are buying up all the Royal Oak! Smiling

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