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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lockwood's New Governing Coalition

publication date: Feb 14, 2009

author/source: The Beacon

Milton’s Mayor Joe Lockwood is startng to see results in his city after more than two years.It took him a full two years, a revolving door of city managers, a painful and embarrassing airing of his council’s ineptitude in the press and a Las Vegas style roll of the electoral dice, but Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood has finally cobbled together a solid working majority of council members in his recently minted city. We’ll call it the force of five. And the mayor deserves much of the credit for its assemblage.

His city is now making cogent and levelheaded progress towards solving its challenges – whether it be coming into compliance with Fulton County’s prior sewer enablement agreements or providing legitimate developers with a fair hearing in their zoning applications. His decision to shut the revolving door on city managers by permanently putting public safety chief Chris Lagerbloom in charge was astute and timely. Milton government needs stability – and sanity. Lockwood has deftly navigated his way to both. Given the cast of characters on his city council – past and present – this was no short order. The City of Milton may finally be poised for proficiency as a result.

Lockwood’s council coadunation includes members Bill Lusk, Karen Thurman, Tina D’Aversa and Burt Hewitt. This leaves more radical council members Julie Zahner-Bailey and Alan Tart isolated and standing alone on the fringes. The key shifts since the 2007 election have been D’Aversa and Hewitt. Both backed Zahner-Bailey in her successful re-election bid and in fact Hewitt may have been elected on the sole strength of Zahner-Bailey’s support for him.

Their evolvement to Lockwood’s governing center – and gradual estrangement with Zahner-Bailey’s uncompromising and wholly business antagonistic positions – may be linked to the fact that both have either owned or managed businesses. They get it.

This development is no doubt frustrating Zahner-Bailey to no end. Once the key cog in any Milton policy debate, she is now relegated to minority status, bordering on irrelevancy. At a recent Milton council meeting she questioned one city staff member a full 90 consecutive minutes about obscure minutia in the wording of a city zoning ordinance recommendation. In the end she changed a few words that had no impact on the intent of the ordinance, things like “shall” instead of “will.” We can only speculate, but antics like this smacks of the actions of someone desperate for a seat at a table she no longer heads.

Either way, Lockwood, through an adroit combination of patience and persistence has now forged a ruling government coalition in Milton that is attempting to make decisions in a much more thoughtful, deliberate and logical way. He’s even got his one time political nemesis, powerful Ga. House Majority Whip and Milton resident Jan Jones on his side. That is saying something.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't bet on JJ being on your side. When she is patting your back, she's looking for a soft spot to put the knife.

Anonymous said...

Why are you posting this crap on here?

Tim Enloe said...

All:

Anything Milton, Ga related is posted in our news section. It can be a topic you agree with or disagree with. By posting all related news stories here, our focus is to save time for each of our readers instead of having to hop from one news source to another.

Keep safe -

Tim Enloe
Magnolia Media, LLC
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness people are finally coming to their senses and realizing that Zayner-Bailey is a self absorbed nut job.

Anonymous said...

Now there's the understatement of the century.

Anonymous said...

I'm neither pro- nor anti- JZB, but I do have a couple of observations on this article:

-Don't JZB and her husband own and operate a business? The article suggests otherwise.

-Doesn't this article seem like a bogus profile of the Mayor that's really just an excuse to berate JZB? Half the article is devoted to the author's disagreement with her positions.

-Wasn't the Beacon supposed to be "subscription only" in the near future? I thought I would've stopped getting it by now. Let's speed up that process.

Anonymous said...

Tim-

Great point, but really, you're lowering your own standards by publishing filth from the Beacon.

They continue to publish irresponsible, degrading, and negative articles.

Our community is better served the less that each person reads their paper.

-Travis Allen

Anonymous said...

There are some of us that like to read the differing opinions, ideas or thoughts published in the Beacon.

Anonymous said...

To the previous commenter - I definitely support your right to seek out a variety of opinions regarding politics in Milton. I think there is a problem, however, when opinion is published as hard news as it is here. This article is in no way objective; the author is simply mimicking the style of Fox News, O'Reilly, etc.

...and it's not even a good impersonation!

Anonymous said...

Beacon and Obama are outstanding, keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Thank God we have a council that works well together finally. All past problems were because of Julie. She should have never been on city council. This city has gone through way too much. Some people just cannot work with others.

Anonymous said...

What did the residents say--- overwhelmingly--- in surveys? Too bad the "coalition of 5" either didn't read them or read and ignored them. Where's our representation in this newly-formed majority?

Anonymous said...

The Cheshire Cat grin on the mayor's face says it all.

Anonymous said...

Julie and Alan actually get it. They represent residents, not the special interests of the other 5 council members.

Anonymous said...

What are the "special interests" of the other 5? Resonable leadership and balanced viewpoints for our city so that it is sucessful?

To the poster about the survey's, did the group of 5 not get the one's about screwing over people, taking what has been promised to them previously, wasting taxpayer's money by rambling on and on to hear one's self speak because you dont have a life? I didn't get one like that either.

It is obvious why Tart and Julie are like they are, each an activist mentality and no real world business/personal experience.
And the above poster must be the same. Bet you have not accomplished anything on your own?

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows Julie is really in the septic tank cleaning business. How's that for special interests.

Anonymous said...

The Bailey's have a landscaping business.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that is how they make their living?

Anonymous said...

How do you think they make their living?

Anonymous said...

If Joe Lockwood thinks he is fooling anyone, he is mistaken. Thurmon and Lusk were his worst enemies a year ago. All of a sudden they are part of a solid coilition. What a liar you turned out to be Joe!

Anonymous said...

I agree Joe Lockwood is not representing the majority of citizens in Milton. He is not living up to what he represented when he campaigned against O'brien and Mohrig. He is letting Lynn Riley and Fulton County dictate our sewer policy without so much as a fight, rescinds zoning he doesn't agree with, and turns his back on Tart and JZB just because they won't follow his lead. He says he will talk to anyone about their concerns, but will only listen if your saying what he wants to hear.

MiltonMan said...

Congratulations Joe and all of us Milton residents for finally finding a reasonable approach to governing our new city. Governing takes much more than just saying no and bullying all others to maintaining the status quo and the viewpoint of one. Joe has the appropriate skill set that allows him to manage conflicting viewpoints and build a consensus to move our city forward beyond many of these same issues that have handcuffed our city since incorporation. Hopefully, our City Council can maintain this coalition and our city can start governing in a proactive manner.

Anonymous said...

MiltonMan,

The city council members represent the people NOT Joe Lockwood. A coalition voting to please the mayor is not ethical nor is it in the best interest of our community.

Anonymous said...

The "coalition" is representing the people, not the Mayor. You are missing the point. If the majority of the council are voting for the best interest of all of Milton, and the Mayor is right in the middle, what is wrong with that.
Keep in mind that it is no suprise that Tart and Bailey will always be on the extreme edge, which is fine, but a city cannot be sucessful in that way of thinking.

Anonymous said...

In what way is it "extreme" to stick to one's stated positions and to push for limited, tasteful commercial development in the city?

I think given the lifestyle and viewpoints of the average Milton citizen, the more "extreme" point of view is to encourage unfettered growth, sewer extension, and strip mall sprawl.

Anonymous said...

I would think/hope that the Mayor and council memhers have better things to occupy their time than to use this blog to air and defend their views. What we want is what's best for Milton not what's best for the Mayor and council.

Anonymous said...

The one questioning "extreme" must either not know Julie, or be under her spell?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that was me. I didn't say I was a Julie fan, in fact I find her grating. I just don't think she's extreme at all. Extreme is Bob Barr and Michael Moore.

Anonymous said...

Lets just say if they were together, they would talk about Julie!

Anonymous said...

Hey, negative commenters: How well do YOU know Julie? I suspect not at all based on your extremist comments. Why not join some of her efforts like MGG or Rivers Alive? The best way to get to know someone is to drop the assumptions, roll up your sleeves and join in. Take a walk in her shoes -- she'll welcome you.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that "you" dont really "know" Julie, but are only under her spell?

MiltonMan said...

Sorry I created a stir here. I have nothing negative to say about anyone and I am grateful to all of our citizen representatives and voluteers who all work hard for our City. The skill set required to effectively govern can be different from the skill set required to be an effective community organizer. Joe has shown that he has the skill set to comppromise, find consensus and move the agenda forward to solve new issues. There is not one person on the Council that is supportive of unfettered growth and all them have been adamant in their philosophy of keeping Milton rural in nature and honoring the one home to one acre minimum requirement. The council's recent movement forward on many issues is not about growth vs. no growth, but about finding the best solution to each situation and moving forward. After two difficult years, Joe and council seem to have found an approach that is working.

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