“I must say, you look like —. Dude you are 47 yrs old. Get rid of the hat backwards and long hair,” Martinez wrote in one email.
Martinez ended the Thursday interaction with a “thank you” after Peoples spoke, followed by silence from councilmembers. After the meeting, the mayor told an AJC reporter he would have preferred a one-on-one meeting with Peoples to discuss his issue.
“He’s got every right to express — I disagree with most of them, if not all of them — but he’s got his opinion, I’ve got mine,” Martinez said. “And if he’s got any issues, he can come to my office and we’ll talk about it like adults.”
“I don’t even know the man,” Martinez added, though he did not deny the email exchanges when asked.
“We’ve had some good dialogues back and forth on email, but I’ve always said to come see me at my office,” Martinez said. “... Emails can get misconstrued and they can be confusing.”
Peoples, a vocal opponent to the city’s former redevelopment plan, said he’s unsure what prompted the emails. He said he wanted his public speech to serve as a way to bury the hatchet and he plans to move on.
Peoples told the AJC that Martinez met his teen daughter at a football game and asked for a photo with her. Martinez later began an August email to Peoples at 12:36 a.m. with “Great meeting your daughter.”
Peoples said the situation made him and his daughter uncomfortable and came off as creepy. He told Martinez as much in an email reply.
“You’re insulted by email, someone has thin skin,” Martinez wrote back. “I’ve been to many schools & taken pictures with many students of all ages. This (is) the first (time) the student thinks I’m creepy.”
The August and September emails also included references to Peoples’ wife and her business. Martinez told Peoples he’d consider running for mayor in Enterprise, Alabama, a town in which the resident has ties.
Martinez, who took office in 2018, will conclude his term this year and will not seek reelection. He plans to run next year for the Georgia House District 114 seat. Lee “Skip” Baliles is the only candidate who qualified for mayor in this year’s election.
Terry Parsons, who’s running for a seat on City Council, also spoke Thursday in regard to an email in which Martinez said Parsons sketched downtown redevelopment plans with a coloring book and crayons.
“What I did tonight for you, I brought you some crayons and a coloring book with a bunny rabbit on it,” Parsons told Martinez, holding the items up. “Let’s see what you can do with these that don’t cost the taxpayers any money.”