For a video of the forum, click here
Brookhaven candidates gathered at Oglethorpe University Tuesday to make their cases to voters about why they should be elected to office.
Taking part in the discussion hosted by the Brookhaven Reporter were mayoral candidates Dale Boone and John Ernst; District 1 Councilwoman Linley Jones, who was appointed to the post in June; and District 3 Councilman Bates Mattison, who is running unopposed. Reporter Newspapers Managing Editor Joe Earle moderated.
The election is Nov. 3.
More than 50 gathered to listen to the candidates discuss topics ranging from ways to alleviate traffic to whether or not Brookhaven should have independent schools. The candidates also addressed past public scandals, including the communications director resigning for comments some interpreted as racist
and the city attorney resigning amidst accusations he misled the public about sexual harassment allegations against former mayor J. Max Davis.
“These problems are in the past. We do need to recognize them and not do them again,” Ernst said.
Jones acknowledged such past issues were “heartbreaking.”
“In my experience with the council, every person is committed to transparency, committed to ethics,” she said. “Going forward this city is going to be in good hands and we are on a positive course we need to stay on.”
Mattison said more mistakes will be made in the future, but the council has learned from its past mistakes.
We’ve made positive changes. We’re a government for the people and as long as [what we discuss] is not harming the citizens of the city, it will be public,” he said.
Boone made a plea for more citizen involvement to help keep city government honest.
“We’re having such a problem satisfying everyone’s needs. Nobody is coming to city council meetings. We need you to be part of this,” he said.
There were a few fireworks at the forum. A woman asked each candidate if he or she had ever been arrested and if the attorneys — Ernst and Jones — had ever been disciplined by the State Bar of Georgia.
Ernst and Jones answered no to each question; Mattison also said he’d never been arrested.
Boone said he felt the question was a “plant” asked specifically to target him. He said he was arrested 15 years ago, but did not say for what other than it involved a family member.
“This made me the person I am today,” he said. “I’ve got nothing to hide. I am very remorseful [of] my past … but I can’t be crucified for something I did 15 years ago.”