Tag Archives: Doug DeRito

Person of the Week: David Belle Isle

The Perspicacious Conservative is starting a new feature! A Person Of the Week that did something that deserves a Wow!, thus the PC POW WOW! I can’t think of a better person to begin the feature with than Mayor-Elect David Belle Isle!

David sprung out of the gates in February at his kick-off party and never stopped running. Knocking on doors (I believe he covered ~2,500), speaking to community groups, debates, making phone calls, attending Meet & Greet’s hosted by generous members of the community, and everything else, David never stopped.

Running for public office isn’t easy. It takes dedication, time and sacrifice. David’s family and circle of friends are second to none. Candice is one of the best wives I’ve ever seen. That woman ran the office, the campaign and the household. I know her journey through this campaign was anything but easy but her positive attitude kept us all going when things would hit the fan.

It seemed in the final 96 hours of the race, opponents made last ditch efforts -fueled by panic- to try to destroy David. It didn’t work. David and his campaign kept the faith and powered through and it paid off. The best man for the job was elected!

I’ve never seen someone have such a wonderful following of volunteers. Like I said in ‘Why Belle Isle is the Best Choice’, everywhere David goes, he has support. From the initial kick-off party at the Old Blinde Dog, to the people standing at the polls to call in results to Smoke Jack (and the plethora of events in between) people showed with their shirts, their smiles and their support. As the person who coordinated these people over the course of the campaign, I couldn’t be more grateful.

It has been a true blessing to work for David during his campaign over the last eleven months. It’s been inspiring to take part in a campaign that ALWAYS took the high road and never slung mud. David’s family is a joy to work with and I am thrilled, elated and so-darn-happy that he will soon be the Mayor of Alpharetta, Georgia!! I can’t wait to see his wonderful journey as Mayor begin!

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Why Belle Isle is the BEST Choice

I met David Belle Isle during the District 56 Senate race. I was working for another candidate but was so very impressed. So impressed by his debate skills, his ability to connect with voters, his knowledge on the issues and his true desire to serve the people that I was actually disappointed to be working for another candidate.

I reached out to David when word spread that he was going to be running for another office. I really wanted to be a part of his campaign as I admired how he was the only candidate not to ‘sling mud’ during the Senate race. When I learned that he would be running for Mayor of Alpharetta, without hesitation, I knew he was the best man for the job. After serving 2 terms on the Alpharetta City Council, living in Alpharetta, operating a business in Alpharetta and raising his family in Alpharetta, David knows the issues.

David wants to keep Alpharetta great. In creating a vibrant Downtown with Retail Shops, Restaurants and Galleries, bringing jobs to Alpharetta and improving traffic through light synchronization, David will KEEP Alpharetta a desirable place to live. David has the leadership skills to make these plans a reality. In addition, he is honest and genuine in his desire to serve the people. Over the course of this campaign, David has taken a beating by his opponents, many of which are baseless lies. Even still, David has taken the high road and only used the records and platforms of his opponents to argue. David is a candidate of moral value.

Everyone is tired of the same ‘ol same ‘ol. If you vote for Jim Paine, that is what you are going to get. Jim has been on the Alpharetta City Council for FIFTEEN YEARS! During the debates over the last 6 weeks, I’ve heard Councilman Paine repeatedly tout his record of establishing and maintaining recreation areas in Alpharetta. That’s great and all, but aside from that, Jim simply parrots initiatives by others. During the Alpharetta HS debate, he began every answer with ‘As Doug said…’. I also have to question whether he is simply looking for something to fill his time since he is retired. It’s true that Jim has several endorsements, but no one is doubting that Jim is a nice guy. And a nice guy that’s been around for 15 years is bound to build relationships. Clearly that’s what he’s been doing because he hasn’t been building a record of achievements.

If you want someone to bully you around, you should vote for Doug DeRito. Doug DeRito has a reputation for pounding Alpharetta citizens. Recall how he behaved towards me at the Alpharetta High School Debate  He’s been at the center of TWO ethics scandals in the past 5 years– both of which have been raised by citizens who felt he was abusing his privileges as a public servant. Doug DeRito is also a liar. Doug claims on his website that he is a ‘Founding Member’ of the Alpharetta Public Safety Foundation. Why don’t you try calling any of the Executive Board Members of the APSF to confirm that. Mr. DeRito claims to support the Tea Party but voted to accept Federal Stimulus funds for the City. He wrote in an Alpharetta-Patch Article that he was planning to pay back the money from the ACVB ticket scandal but a month after his statement, the AJC reported he (and Mr. Paine) had still not refunded the money (Here is the WSBtv video) . We also know that Mr. DeRito is buddy-buddy with Senator Albers… if the two are anything alike, we can gather that it’s a whole bunch of HOPE but an end result of NOPE.
I believe that volunteers are a true indicator of who a candidate really is. Have you been to an event where David’s campaign was present? He dominates. People like David. People like his platforms, his plans, his record. They want to see him elected. I don’t live in Alpharetta so I can’t vote for David. But I wouldn’t walk neighborhoods knocking on doors, make phone calls, attend events, wear his campaign shirt 10 days in a row (these final days are killin’ me-don’t worry, it’s been washed), and print, fold, seal and stamp thousands of mailouts if I didn’t truly believe David was the best man for the job.

I encourage you to vote this Tuesday November 8th for David Belle Isle as the next Mayor of Alpharetta.


Visit the Belle Isle Campaign website at www.votebelleisle.com for more information.

Public Servant on a Power Trip: Councilman Attempts to Bully Constituent

The thing I love most about politicians is if you hand them a microphone and ask them for a statement, in a matter of seconds, they will probably make themselves look worse than any posed question could. Last night, just this happened.

Alpharetta High School hosted a debate for the Alpharetta Mayoral candidates. With the election in less than two weeks, it’s no doubt that tensions are running high. Candidates look exhausted and stressed. But all of these things are normal with an election.

What is not normal?….Watch this video. This is the closing statement from Candidate Doug DeRito.

It’s true that Candidate Belle Isle had to leave early to attend another event. Mr. DeRito harped on this in almost every response of the evening – in between making unsubstantiated digs at his former Co-Councilmember- so much so that it took away from his responses to the questions asked. It’s distracting when he says things like “…and our missing candidate who’s not here no longer”.

And how about the moment at which he points to me in the front row and says, “And I know you’re filming this, so you can tell him I said that”. I’m sorry Councilman DeRito, do you have an issue with the First Amendment? Or are you worried you may have said something inappropriate throughout the evening? And why are you calling out a young girl, sitting alone in the front row with a video camera? The press attended the debate, as did a number of constituents, all whom brought cameras and video. Was that REALLY necessary or were you just on a power trip, looking for someone to take your campaign trail frustrations out on?

I also think it’s shameful that Mr. DeRito stated he has abilities that he could “bless the City with” if he is elected, followed by “I’ve done it for 1o years”. Really, sir? You believe you have been BLESSING the City of Alpharetta for the 10 years? Well bless your heart. THANK YOU!

You can also see Doug DeRito flip-flop on the ACVB ticket scandal with these three videos:
Video 1 is the DeRito response, Video 2 is Paine’s response with DeRito interjecting and Video 3 is the moderator questioning DeRito’s lack of consistency. Maybe this is why he called me out during his closing…cause his flip-flop was documented?

1.

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Why the Amana Academy Has the Right to Expand

**This blog is written a little different. Based on a memo written for a graduate school class, the memo is apolitical and analyzes the Amana Academy controversy from an administrative standpoint.

The Alpharetta City Council is currently faced with a decision on whether Amana Academy, a Fulton County Charter school in Alpharetta, should be granted a zoning permit to expand in the Windward Business Center.  The proposed building is not technically zoned for a school, but could easily accommodate the desired expansion.  A great deal of opposition exists with the expansion of the school, mainly by influential members of the community adjacent to the Windward Business Center. City officials, however, risk legal, political and managerial implications based on the way they vote.

Amana Academy is a Fulton County Charter School established in 2004 that operates in Alpharetta, Georgia. Founded by a group of parents wanting more out of public school for their children, Amana Academy uses Outward Bound learning programs and encourages stewardship. The Academy also requires every student learn Arabic in order to “enhance cognitive skills, broaden students’ perspectives and bridge cultural gaps” (Amana 1). Although Amana Academy is the only public school to teach Arabic in the state of Georgia, a similar program at Mimosa Elementary Charter in Roswell requires students to learn Japanese.  The program at Mimosa is also part of the Fulton County school system but has received no opposition.

Operating out of a building in downtown Alpharetta, the Amana Academy is restricted in the number of students that are allowed to enroll. In an effort to expand, the Academy scouted a larger property in the Windward Business Center Association (WBCA) on the corner of Windward Parkway and Edison Drive. Having been vacant for four years, the property would allow the Academy to accommodate 721 students, the maximum allowed by their charter contract.  In terms of property use, Amana would add green space by adding a playground, garden and recreational field (Pepalis 1).

The building that Amana Academy is requesting use of is zoned as “Office-Institution, research and development, office-professional, light industrial and hotel conference center zoning categories” (Windward Master Plan 1). In May 2011, the Windward Business Center Association Board of Directors approved a variance for use of the building and land.  The Board does not have authority to deny the variance per the Windward Master Plan. Upon receipt of approval by the WBCA Board, Amana Academy moved forward with its’ rezoning request to the City of Alpharetta Planning Commission so the property could be used for a school.  The Planning Commission deadlocked on a vote, 3-3, and passed the vote to the City Council without a recommendation.

Prior to the Planning Commission meeting, members of the Windward Homeowners Association (WHA), the residential community that is adjacent to the Business Center, were unaware of the proposed expansion. Many homeowners attended the Planning Commission meeting and were angry to learn that Amana Academy was requesting expansion where the roadways were already heavily congested.  Upon learning of the potential expansion of Amana, the WHA coordinated a meeting with Amana Academy to gather more information and possibly come to a consensus. The two parties did not come to an accord and Amana moved ahead with its agenda for the August 22, 2011 City Council meeting.

In the interim, publicity surrounding the issue continued to increase in both amount and intensity. Flyers were circulated throughout Windward by unknown sources. Some were informative, others were derogatory in nature calling those affiliated with Amana Academy “camel jockeys” and “ragheads” and insisted that Amana was a “terrorist training camp” (Shan 1).

On August 18th, Amana Academy requested and was granted a deferral from the City Council meeting claiming they needed additional time to review traffic studies, consider other potential locations, as requested by the Planning Commission and continue negotiations with the Windward homeowners (Pepalis 1).

The City of Alpharetta has three options in this dilemma The Alpharetta City Council has the option to deny the request for a rezoning permit.  Recall in the Windward Master Plan that the current zoning specifications of the property permitted office-institution and research and development. Both specifications could easily be argued by Amana Academy. Therefore, the Alpharetta City Council, per the Windward Master Plan, could allow the school to occupy the building. The City Council would reinforce the verbiage “office institution” or “research and development” and allow the expansion.  This option, however, would leave room for appeal by the constituents since the wording is not explicit.

The Council also has the option to grant the rezoning permit and allow the expansion of Amana Academy in the Windward Business Center.  This option would protect Amana Academy by making the decision final with the wording being precise.

Both cases of approval could lead to some managerial implications.

Finally, the Council has the choice to deny Amana Academy a rezoning permit based on the premise that it will create a transportation issue for the residents in the surrounding areas.  This option leaves opens the door for many legal and political implications.

Legal Implications: The Alpharetta City Council risks a plethora of legal implications should they deny Amana Academy the right to expand within the Windward Business Center Association. The fact that members of the Windward Homeowners Association have expressed concern over Amana Academy beyond traffic and tax base concerns, the supposed opposition to the teachings of Arabic and the possible Islamic foundations, leaves the City in a precarious situation. Despite the justification based on traffic and the possible tax base loss, Amana Academy could file a lawsuit on the basis of discrimination.  In turn, the City will not be able to offer proof that the decision was made solely on economic and transportation bases. Although the City of Alpharetta denied the expansion of a Mosque on legal grounds, it would certainly justify probing from higher institutions if the City denied the permit.

Political Implications:  There are strong political implications for city council members who vote to either allow the school expansion under the current zoning specifications or who grant a rezoning permit to Amana Academy.  With the high level of political activeness in the Windward Homeowners Association and Windward voters making up 1/3 of the voting bloc in Alpharetta, members of the city council risk being replaced come election time.

There also may be political implications should the city council members continue to push the rezoning hearing back until after the 2011 election. Amana Academy was the petitioner for a deferral, however, rescheduling of the issue is now the responsibility of the Council.  Those members of council who have opposition in the November election could scathe by without having to confront the issue, therefore buying themselves more time.  Constituents may not think this is the most ethical sequence of addressing the issue, and members of the council could again face scrutiny.

Managerial Implications: Members of the Windward Homeowners Association argue that if Amana Academy takes over this new building in WBCA, the taxes will go to Fulton County and not Alpharetta.  While this could be detrimental for members of the Council come election time, the amount of tax dollars lost is minimal, as it is only one parcel of land and a relatively small building. Should the city deny Amana Academy use of the property, Amana could leave Alpharetta and operate in Roswell, Mountain Park, Johns Creek, or anywhere else inside the limits of Fulton County.  The City has an obligation to promote business that will produce revenue.  A nonprofit school that sends taxes to the county could be seen as a betrayal by the City. Constituents want to see their city flourish. 

Recommendation: The Alpharetta City Council should grant Amana Academy the zoning permit
based on the compliance of Amana with all other restrictions. Bob Pepalis made an interesting point in his article for the Alpharetta Patch, “If the Fulton County School System was buying the property it wouldn’t even come before the city’s Planning Commission…And City Council wouldn’t get the chance to make a zoning decision” (Pepalis 2). School systems are generally immune to zoning laws, but because Amana Academy is a charter, some restrictions apply.

Some members of the community have expressed sympathy for members of the city council due to the intense emotion and publicity surrounding this issue.  Unfortunately, politicians are not entitled to sympathy.  Members of the Alpharetta City Council were elected to serve the people by upholding the values of government granted by the Constitution.  While it may seem that serving the people means “playing by their rules”, it more importantly requires that core freedoms are protected. Those freedoms include freedom of speech, which is why Amana Academy should legally be granted the zoning permit.