2017 Voter Guide: Fayette County

1:48 p.m Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 Atlanta News
For the AJC
Eligible students in Fayette County can register to vote at their high schools in April. AJC file photo

We asked candidates running in next month’s city, school and municipal elections to explain why you should vote for them. In addition to asking them questions about their experience and their stand on prominent issues, we asked some candidates to tell us which television character with whom they most identify. See where candidates stand on important issues, and who has a lot in common with Batman. 

Fayetteville

Name: Scott Stacy (i)

Name: Rich Hoffman

Age: 73

Residence: Downtown Fayetteville

Profession: Self-employed, owner Hoffman Tire Pros

Rich Hoffman

What experience will help you in office? If elected I will bring to bear experience and relationships gained over 40 years as a successful businessman living and working in the heart of our city. As a resident you can count on me to uphold and defend the zoning ordinances and city services that preserve the essence of what makes Fayetteville home to all.

What issue got you into this race? The need for smart growth with the addition of Pinewood Studios Fayetteville and Fayette county is experiencing growth like the 80s and 90s.

Which current television character do you identify most with? Leroy Jethro Gibbs (“NCIS”) because he always gets it right.

Name: Brett Nolan

Age: 34

Residence: Weatherly

Profession: Chief operating officer

Brett Nolan

What experience will help you in office? I'm the COO of a successful Fayetteville business, a Woodward Academy alumnus, and an Eagle Scout. My business experience demonstrates that I can manage a staff of 20 plus, navigate budgets in the millions of dollars, and successfully negotiate with the multinational corporations whose products I sell. My status as an Eagle Scout further highlights that I value leadership and integrity and seek to constantly improve and challenge myself to be the best leader I can be.

What issue got you into this race? The Comprehensive Plan. Fayetteville's citizens have valid concerns about growth, and we need another voice on the council that isn’t going to rubber stamp every development that finds it way onto the agenda. I have a lot of respect for our current council, but with Councilman Williams not seeking re-election it's time for a younger voice to be added to the mix. It’s time for a new generation of leadership for Fayetteville.

Which current television character do you identify most with? I don’t watch a lot of television. I try to catch the news at least once a day, and if I’m lucky I’ll get to watch “Wheel of Fortune” and/or “Jeopardy.” I’m also a huge SEC football fan – I don’t care who’s playing who, if it’s SEC football I’m in!

Name: Gha-is Bashir Paige

Age: 57

Residence: Oakview Trace

Profession: Transportation Security Administration officer

Gha-is Bashir Paige

What experience will help you in office? I have a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in organizational studies from Temple University. I was enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard for seven years. I was a supervisor and manager in the public transit industry. My duties were knowing about federal and state grant funding requirements, interacting with local government officials, presenting information to city council, reviewing/approving expenses, fiscal managing, submitting monthly reports and planning/overseeing the completion of local government capital projects.

What issue got you into this race? I want Fayetteville to continue its path of being a great place to live by helping govern the city with excellence, and respond to the needs of its citizens with emphasis on innovation, collaboration and community development. It is my firm belief that attention to the needs of a community must be addressed; and to also be aware of emerging developments in technology, demographics, economics, politics, arts, and other aspects of life.

Which current television character do you identify most with? There is not a current TV character I identify with. However, there is a “Star Trek: TV character that is currently aired as reruns; Jean-Luc Picard played by Patrick Stewart. He has great command presence, respects diversity, supports different points of views, ask his staff for their input and values shared visions.

Name: Paul Oddo (i)

Age: 66

Residence: Beauregard Blvd.

Profession: Certified public accountant

Paul Oddo

What experience will help you in office? I have been in business as a CPA for over 40 years. This experience enables me to analyze problems and recommend solutions in a businesslike manner. In this connection, I am active in the Chamber of Commerce and professional organizations, like the Georgia Society of CPAs. Further, as a councilman, I have a good working relationship with city staff and have worked with them for many years, some as many as 12 years. This experience helps me negotiate the peculiarities of city rules and regulations.

What issue got you into this race? The original reason was over 18 years ago when, at that time, I ran for mayor. I ran to ensure that the city developed an open mind and to create an atmosphere conducive to retaining and attracting new business. That is still my focus, but to it I have added the necessity of attracting young families to our community. This as well as continuing to provide superior public safety and overall quality of life, both economic and social, for the citizens of Fayetteville, is why I am seeking re-election.

Which current television character do you identify most with? But for news, I do not watch much current TV so I cannot answer this question.

Website: only my company website is open at this time: www.oddocpas.com

Peachtree City

Name: Vanessa Fleisch (i)

Age: 56

Residence: Kedron

Profession: Realtor

Vanessa Fleisch

What experience will help you in office? My experience as mayor for the past four years has been invaluable. Being able to serve the citizens of Peachtree City over the past eight years is the basis for my running again. We have too many projects left to do that will help the city in the future. The SPLOST projects are just getting started and it is important that we carry them out per the wishes of our citizens.

What issue got you into this race? When I first ran for council, my concern was for the declining infrastructure and its effect on home values.

Which current television character do you identify most with? Due to going to many meetings both during the day and in the evening I have not had time to identify with any current television character.

Name: Eric Imker

Age: 62

Residence: Ashford Park

Profession: Retired

Eric Imker

What experience will help you in office? I am a former city council member who chose not to run a few years ago but now see issues that need a different approach. Millions upon millions of dollars has been wasted or irrationally spent. I was known for being the pragmatic budget person on council. Traffic issues have gotten worse and we've been irresponsibly changing our last best industrial zoned areas into residential. This poor decision making needs to be reined in.

What issue got you into this race? The budget, the budget, the budget. Also, the horrible traffic problems that current council has made worse. Also, our current city council was unable to lower our taxes after obtaining the largest tax revenue initiative in the history of the city - SPLOST, earlier this year. We can lower our stormwater bills, our sewer bills but our council doesn't seem to know how. They talk like politicians and we pay the price.

Which current television character do you identify most with? Sorry, I will not play games with the important role of being mayor.

Name: Dar Thompson

Age: 55

Residence: The Peninsula

Profession: CEO- managing member - fitness centers, real estate investments, and oil and energy

Dar Thompson

What experience will help you in office? I am a man of thoughtful action. When I opened my first gym in Peachtree City it was in rented space. Now more than a decade later, I have two multimillion-dollar facilities with 12,000 members. I believe in planning and finding the right people to give advice, contribute ideas, and then execute our strategy. I pride myself on knowing what I don't know but finding really smart people who know.

If you look at my clubs you will find long-term employees who have a vested interest in our success because it is one team. ...[edited for length]

What issue got you into this race? Peachtree City is a planned community that no longer has a plan. My family and I are highly invested in Peachtree City. My wife is a third grade teacher at Peachtree Elementary and I have two daughters, a 6-year-old and 10-year-old, that are involved in our school system and recreation. As the schools go, the city goes, as the city goes, the schools go. My family is here and my businesses are here. We have become reactive to everything that happens around us instead of being proactive. We have to address traffic (which is not being done)...[edited for length]

Which current television character do you identify most with? No one on TV

Name: Harold Logsdon

Age: 72

Residence: Morallion Hills

Profession: Retired from BellSouth

Harold Logsdon

What experience will help you in office? Served one term as mayor of Peachtree City and 30 years of management experience in the public and private sector

What issue got you into this race? Sustaining the quality of life for our city with a focus on redevelopment

Which current television character do you identify most with? None

Name: Kevin Madden

Age: 67

Residence: Mcintosh Corner

Profession: Air cargo sales-general sales agency

Kevin Madden

What experience will help you in office? My experience as a husband, father of three, Peachtree City coach, Kiwanis president and active member in my Holy Trinity Church community. Further, as a businessman with over 40 years managing multimillion-dollar budgets, facilities and staff, I will bring my experience, knowledge and skills to work with our mayor and council to continue to improve our quality of life and keep Peachtree City the vibrant place we love to call home.

What issue got you into this race? I've been an active member of our community for over 20 years and too often in the past I have seen our local government crippled by animosity and rancor. We finally have a council that respects each other’s opinions and knows how to compromise. Good government is not an accident. The important issues facing us require a sober, compassionate council and I know I can be a positive addition to our beloved city's government.

Which current television character do you identify most with? There have been times in my life where I could identify with Tom Kirkman ("Designated Survivor"). My dad died when I was 13 and my single mom taught her five sons to be self-sufficient, independent thinkers and this has helped me make important decisions in the worst of circumstances.

Name: Sarah Toussaint

Age: 22

Residence: The Marks

Profession: Student

Sarah Toussaint

What experience will help you in office? Working in the quick service restaurant industry, I learned how to work well with others and the value of listening. Volunteering at Georgia Aquarium has improved my problem solving skills. Being a math major has shown me the importance of watching numbers carefully. Being the youngest child gave me lots of experience holding my own.

What issue got you into this race? The need for diversity on our council. While the experience of our current council members is beneficial to our city, I have learned that combining different experiences and viewpoints often leads to better solutions and growth.

Which current television character do you identify most with? Jamie Reagan from “Blue Bloods.” He chose his job because of the need in his community. He is hardworking and realizes the importance of family. He follows the rules, but finds innovative ways to accomplish what is needed.

Name: Terry L. Ernst (i)

Age: 66

Residence: Pinegate subdivision

Profession: Retired Army first sergeant and retired police commander

Terry L. Ernst

What experience will help you in office? My experience as a City Council member for the past four years as well as the experience and expertise of the city staff, my fellow council members and ideas from citizens in the community.

What issue got you into this race? This will be my second term. I originally ran because I felt we had a city council that was quite disfunctional as a team.

Which current television character do you identify most with? Jethro Gibbs of “NCIS”

Tyrone

Name: Ken Matthews (i)

Age: 53

Residence: Dublin Downs

Profession: Disabled veteran/retired

Ken Matthews

What experience will help you in office? Knowledge of current and past experiences with a decade serving the community.

What issue got you into this race? Citizens desire for me to be re-elected as well as my desire to continue serving as councilman and community volunteer. Would like to see Tyrone progress into the future while keeping characteristics of a smaller town.

Which current television character do you identify most with? No particular character as I don't watch much Television.

Name: Eric T. Woods, Sr.

Age: 51

Residence: Rivercrest

Profession: Retired Army intelligence officer

Eric T. Woods, Sr.

What experience will help you in office? My experience preparing me for this office includes 26 years serving my country in a variety of positions including cattalion command, chief of staff, and senior planner for numerous humanitarian and military operations. I also possess a master’s degree in human resources. Becoming a doctoral candidate in the same field is also in progress.

What issue got you into this race? The issues include non- people-oriented governance, lackadaisical procedures, and deficient economic and social progress. Examples include a lack of transparency, the inability of the local government to allow its citizens to make online utility payments, and their desire to continue to fight the Civil War!

Which current television character do you identify most with? I identify with members of the Justice League because I am always willing to fight for the rights of others.

Name: Gloria Furr (i)

Special Election

“Shall a special one percent sales and use tax for educational purposes continue to be imposed, levied and collected in Fayette County for educational purposes for a period not to exceed twenty (20) calendar quarters and for the purpose of raising not more than $145,000,000 of net proceeds by said tax, which shall go to the Fayette County School District (the “School District”) for the purpose of (i) adding to, renovating, repairing, improving, and equipping existing school buildings and School District facilities, including but not limited to, paving, drainage systems, fencing, playground equipment, flooring, painting, HVAC, electrical wiring, lighting, plumbing, suspended ceiling systems, roofing, and physical education/athletic facilities; (ii) acquiring miscellaneous new equipment, fixtures and furnishings for the School District, including technology equipment and software, safety and security equipment; and (iii) acquiring textbooks and instructional materials, including digital content and curriculum software, and instructional equipment, including but not limited to computing devices, audio/visual equipment, interactive classroom equipment; (iv) acquiring, constructing and equipping new school buildings and School District facilities; (v) paying a portion of the principal and interest due on the Fayette County School District General Obligation Refunding Bond, Series 2013, the maximum of amount of total debt service to be paid shall not exceed $10,000,000; (vi) acquiring school buses and transportation and maintenance equipment; (vii) paying expenses incident thereto; and if continuation of the tax is approved by the voters, such vote shall also constitute approval of the issuance of general obligation debt of the School District in the principal amount of $25,000,000 for the purposes described in items (i) through (iv) and (vi) through (vii) and for the purpose of payment of a portion of the interest on such debt, the maximum amount of sales and use tax proceeds to be spent on projects (i) through (vii) shall not exceed $145,000,000?”

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