By John Fredericks / Beacon Media
Incumbent Milton Councilwoman Tina D’Arversa has made a legislative living by playing in the uncommitted center of Milton’s often-charged political sandbox.
She has managed to deftly straddle the middle, while enjoying the support of both of Milton’s political factions –those who support Councilman Julie Zahner-Bailey’s limited development agenda and those who prefer Mayor Joe Lockwood’s controlled community growth policies.
D’Aversa, who is being challenged by Crooked Creek Homeowner Association CFO Joe Longoria in November, said she has the endorsements of both Lockwood and Zahner-Bailey. “Mayor Lockwood has endorsed my re-election, as have Council members Julie Zahner-Bailey and Alan Tart", said D’Aversa.
Lockwood said he is committed to re-electing his incumbent team, which includes Lusk and Thurman, as well as D’Aversa. “We have made tremendous progress in the last year,” Lockwood said. “I believe that we need continuity and purposeful leadership to keep moving Milton in a positive direction. Our council is working well together and I am committed to keeping our current legislative team intact through this election cycle.”
Zahner-Bailey, who is supporting Thurman challenger Bernard Wolff, did not return phone calls.
D’AVERSA TAKES A STAND
When pressed to give a definitive commitment to which policy agenda she will ultimately support if re-elected – Zahner-Bailey’s or Lockwood’s – D’Aversa finally made the jump to one camp, in no uncertain terms. “I stand tall with Joe Lockwood,” she said. But D’Aversa stopped short of endorsing Thurman, Lockwood’s candidate, over Wolff, who was recruited by Zahner-Bailey.
D’Aversa said she is confident of victory. “I will continue to work hard in this campaign and I am committed to serving all of Milton,” D’Aversa said. “I am knocking on doors, meeting with folks, listening to their concerns and getting my message out,” she added.
Regarding her opponent Longoria, D’Aversa said she has attempted to contact him – to no avail. “All I know about him is that his name is on the ballot,” D’Aversa said. “Nothing more.”
LONGORIA FOR CROOKED CREEK??
One Longoria supporter, Gordon Hunter, who ran for city council unsuccessfully against Zahner-Bailey in 2006, said that his candidate would bring a unique combination of talent and skills to the Milton council. “Joe is a financial executive and an entrepreneur, as well as being a Crooked Creek homeowner for many years. He would bring a fresh perspective to our government.”
But for the third week in a row, Longoria did not return phone calls and could not be reached for comment.
One longtime Milton political observer said Longoria’s strategy was simple: Get 900 votes out of the Crooked Creek subdivision – Milton’s largest – and if 1,750 Milton voters show up in November, Longoria wins. “It’s a no-brainer for him,” the observer said.
But another longtime Milton resident and political activist, who supports Lockwood, said there was danger inherent for the community if that scenario plays out. “What’s next?” the activist asked, “A White Columns candidate in 2011? We need council members who represent all of Milton, not subdivision fiefdoms. A Longoria victory will set a dangerous geographical precedent that is divisive at its core. It has the potential to pit geographical myopic entities against each other for years to come, with chilling consequences.”