2011
10.31

Ward 4 Candidates Melvin Bridges, Chris Davis,
Daniel DeBoard, Donnie McGaha, and Kevin Robinson:

UNDERGROUND: What is your full name, and what name do you generally go by?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: Christopher Scott Davis….Chris

    DEBOARD: Daniel DeBoard is what I go by, Joe Daniel DeBoard is my full name.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Kevin Lee Robinson

UNDERGROUND: What is your age?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: 36

    DEBOARD: 40, I’ll be 41 on Oct. 28

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: 51

    Public records say Donnie McGaha is 60-64 years old. Melvin Bridges is 77.

UNDERGROUND: What is your address? (We will only publish the street, not your house number.)

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: [redacted] Windy Trail in WindWood Subdivision

    DEBOARD: [redacted] W Main St. , LaFayette, GA

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: [redacted] Ridgecrest Dr.

    Melvin Bridges lives on Fortune Street in the heart of Linwood. McGaha owns the farm with goats and sheepdogs on Probasco Street.

UNDERGROUND: How can voters contact you or stay in touch with your campaign? (Please include info like e-mail, phone, Facebook, Twitter, etc. if applicable.)

UNDERGROUND: How long have you lived in LaFayette, and (if applicable) where else have you lived?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: 36 years , Moved to the county for a few years but moved back about three years ago. Have lived on Pleager parkway and Pledger St.

    DEBOARD: 40 years, all my life.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: 21 years in LaFayette and 5 years in the Macon area, 25 years in Mountain View, CA

    Eight years ago Bridges (then a councilman) told the newspaper he was a 46-year resident of LaFayette. Public tax records show the McGaha family has owned their property since at least the mid-1970′s.

UNDERGROUND: What’s the best thing about living in this community?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: Good schools for my son to attend and my family lives in Lafayette, Our city has alot of good caring people .

    DEBOARD: The Friendly People.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: I love the small town feel with more than 2 traffic lights.

UNDERGROUND: Starting as early as you want, what kind of education do you have?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: Graduated for LHS in 1993, attended on year at Dalton State and later went to Real Estate School. After 3 years of being an agent I went to Broker school and became a Licensed Real Estate Broker/Manager.

    DEBOARD: Graduated LaFayete High in 1989. In 2008 I Attained a Level III Engineering Certification In Fire Protection Engineering Technology Automatic Sprinkler System Layout from the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: HS diploma and never completed AS degree in Admin of Justice.

UNDERGROUND: What is your current occupation?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: I am currently a co-owner of RE/Max RealEstate Center with offices in East Ridge and Ft. O and my personal office in Lafayette in the old Forrest Cate Ford building. I have been a Realtor for 12 years.

    DEBOARD: I work for ASA Fire Protection in Cartersville, GA where I am the Certificate of Competency Holder and Designer License Holder for the Fire Sprinkler Devision.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Network Analyst with CompuCom.com and I freelance computer consulting through my business www.robinsonbytes.com

    In 2007 McGaha was described in media as “a buyer-planner for Bluebird Corp.” Obviously that job is done, but we don’t know what (if anything) he’s doing now. Considering his age he’s probably retired. Bridges is retired and pastor at Gospel Light Church in Linwood, where he’s served for over 50 years.

UNDERGROUND: What previous jobs have you held?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: My previous jobs were during and after high school I worked at Food Lion in Lafayette for 5 years where I worked my way from “bag boy” to grocery manager then to Asst. Manager. I left there to manage the Depot market on Chattanooga Street, for Freddy Caheely for a while and then decided to get into real estate.

    DEBOARD: I was previously the Design Department Manager and Project Manager for American Fire Sprinkler for eight years. Before that I was a Design Department Manager and Project Manager for International Fire Protection for two years.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: 6yrs of Restaurant management with sales of 1.5 million and 45 people.

UNDERGROUND: Do aspects of your education or job experiences make you a better potential city council member? If so please explain.

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: I believe they do, I have always been involved in some type of management and have seen good times and bad. I have been able to be part of helping in making some tough decisions and also good decisions when it comes to the budgets and operations of these companys and including my own.

    DEBOARD: I think this city can and needs to do a better job on spending money, especially on the construction project side of things. I have served as the Project Manager for Fire Sprinkler Protection in many Multi-Million Dollar Construction Projects throughout the South, Power Plants, Hospitals Sporting Venues, Automobile Manufacturing Plants, Hotels and Casinos.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Yes. I understand what it takes to run a business, how to increase sales and keep cost down, dealing with personnel and P&L issues and setting budgets.

    All five candidates have strong backgrounds in business and management. Davis and Robinson both own companies, DeBoard is a supervisor, and McGaha did purchasing and planning for BlueBird. Bridges has managed a church, was Linwood mayor for four years, served on the LaFayette council for twelve years after Linwood was dissolved, and was Linwood fire chief for decades. All have sufficient experience in managing people and departments to be qualified for the council.

    DeBoard and McGaha have backgrounds in manufacturing, DeBoard also knows construction. Davis knows real estate and Robinson is familiar with technology needs. Bridges knows what it takes to run a city or a fire department, but most of his knowledge is based on how things were done twenty or thirty years ago.

UNDERGROUND: [Bridges Only] You previously served several terms on the LaFayette City Council, losing an election to Eric Tallent who you now hope to replace. During your time on the council, what did you accomplish, and was there anything else you wanted to accomplish there but couldn’t do?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: [Bridges Only] You also served as mayor and fire chief for the City of Linwood, but in the late 80′s began campaigning to have the city dissolved, which it eventually was. Do you still feel Linwood is better off absorbed into LaFayette, and has LaFayette treated Linwood residents fairly compared to the rest of the city’s population?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: [All except Bridges] Do you have any previous political experience? If so please explain.

    DAVIS: no

    DEBOARD: none

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: No.

     

UNDERGROUND: What will be your first priority once you’re elected to the council?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: Get the people more involved in our city’s growth and decisions being made.

    DEBOARD: [no response]

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Thank God and the citizens for the privilege to serve my great city, and just like a new job get up to speed ASAP!

UNDERGROUND: Is there a criteria you will use when deciding to vote for or against motions made by the council? (An example would be “Is it moral?/constitutional?/Do we need it?/Can we afford it?” etc..)

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: Yes most definitely, I am good at asking questions, like Why? and will this benefit city and of course can we afford it. I have been involved in several boards of chambers, large real estate companies, real estate boards, and I know how to read a budget and ask questions if I don’t understand something,

    DEBOARD: [no response]

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Those are good guidelines but for sure can we afford it? Need it? Need it right now?

UNDERGROUND: Looking over the field of candidates for the other wards, who do you hope to see elected to serve along with you on the council? Are there any candidates who you don’t think you’d be able to work with?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: There are some great candidates. I can get along with anyone as long as they don’t think I will just be a yes man and don’t get mad cause I ask question.

    DEBOARD: I could get along with any of them.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: I can work with ANYONE, hope they can work with me.

UNDERGROUND: Do you expect to get along with the remaining councilmen (Swanson and Andy Arnold) and Mayor Florence? Do you think they’ve done an adequate job in leading the city?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: Again see the about answer but have they done an adequate job. Well there are several things I would have not voted for and several things I would have brought to there attention.

    DEBOARD: I could get along with those guys too.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: I can get along with ANYONE and hope they can get along with me.

    Several of the candidates from Wards 3 and 4 have hinted at more dissatisfaction with current leaders than they want to admit here, in order to avoid heated conflict with those people once they take office. It would be nice to see more openness about their feelings towards the current council and mayor, but we feel like they won’t cave in to FiSDOP demands quite as easily as previous councilors have. The Underground absolutely won’t endorse anyone that doesn’t have enough backbone to stand up for what’s right.

UNDERGROUND: Andy Arnold and Wayne Swanson have been on the council for ten and twelve years, respectively. Neal Florence will begin his 22nd year [actually 21st] in the mayor’s office next January. Do you agree that the city should implement term limits for all its elected leaders, or does LaFayette benefit from having experienced leadership?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: I do agree we should have limits. Yes experience helps but 10 to 20 years is a little to much. Dosen’t give much for new ideas and lets them get comfortable.

    DEBOARD: [no response]

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: I believe there should be a term limits but am concerned what would happen if no one ran for that ward.

    Almost every candidate has said they will consider term limits, but several (including Robinson) have expressed concern about nobody running for seats vacated due to therm limits. This year’s race, however, shows that a lot of folks are willing to run for city offices when they don’t have to face an incumbent; Wards 2, 3, and 4 are all currently empty – and have 3, 4, and 5 candidates fighting over them, respectively. The city’s At-Large ward is being retained by incumbent councilor Wayne Swanson and he has no opposition.

    Not going against an entrenched incumbent encourages people to get involved and also take away power from people like mayor Florence who amass so many connections over the years that they only lose their positions when they choose to leave them or die. A compromise might be to make term limits only apply consecutively so residents who held certain positions before (like Judy Meeks and Melvin Bridges in this year’s race) can always try again after a four-year break.

UNDERGROUND: Currently the city’s councilors must live within the ward they represent, but any resident of the city can vote for candidates for any ward. Does that system provide adequate representation for all the city’s residents, and if not would you consider changing that aspect of the city charter?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: I would really like to look into why it is done this way, make some sense but also could be looked at as unfair if not voted at the same time.

    DEBOARD: [no response]

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: That is something I will be looking into, what would the cost be to change it and I would like to see what other city’s are doing and why.

UNDERGROUND: Have you been following the situation with outgoing City Manager Johnnie Arnold? Do you think Arnold has done his job well, and do you feel the council properly responded to his recent behavior?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: Don’t really know enough about this situation to have an opinion. Been kept under the table it seems. I just know what you reported and the TV so if he did get caught drinking on the job then he should have been fired and for the job he has done it is obvious there are problem there and alot needs to be looked at with the new city council and city manager.

    DEBOARD: I agree with what the council did 100%.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: I think the council responded appropriately.

UNDERGROUND: Are there any changes you would make to the City Manager’s authority and duties? Would you consider splitting aspects of the City Manager job (like handling human resources and payroll) into a separate paid position?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: I would want to look at all positions and even compare how other citys handle the positions to make sure we are doing everything we can to take care of the employees and the people of the city we represent.

    DEBOARD: [no response]

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: I would have to look into it.

UNDERGROUND: Are you familiar with the Richie White situation at LaFayette Solid Waste? Has the City Council handled that issue correctly, and what (if anything) should be done to prevent similar incidents of fraud and theft from city employees?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: Not familiar but same goes for the above statement

    DEBOARD: [no response]

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: On future situations the GBI should be called or have an independent audit.

UNDERGROUND: What is the biggest overall problem citizens in LaFayette currently face, and what (if anything) can city government do or change to help them with it?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: I would say jobs and paying their bills, we can do everything in our power to prevent jobs from leaving us and also to help work with the county to bring jobs in. Keep expenses down and not have to raise taxes, utility rates or do anything to add additional expenses to the people of our city.

    DEBOARD: [no response]

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Employment. Make sure we are business friendly to future and present business.

    In 2007 Bridges said he would “continue to help provide more jobs for the city and to address the city’s deteriorating water and sewer lines.” McGaha, in the same forum, said the city needs job “diversity” with more manufacturers, more positions to choose from. The way to have that (according to him) is to better “pitch” the city to businesses. Of course Eric Tallent, who beat both men that year and became the Ward 4 councilor, said something similar and promised “a new direction for the city” but delivered nothing but the same old thing once elected.

    We need jobs desperately. We need middle-class working people with education and training that will make the area appealing to potential employers. We need amenities and infrastructure that will make the city livable and desirable for businesses and families alike. But just simply wishing for them doesn’t cut it. There’s no magic “jobs” switch a leader can flip to make all this happen. We need candidates who will make hard decisions, say “no” to things we don’t need and fight to get the ones we do, people who have passion and a new vision for the city – and only then will we get the things we need to change direction.

UNDERGROUND: How has the City of LaFayette done in regards to maintaining or improving its infrastructure, including streets, sidewalks, sewers, and utilities? Will you make any changes to the Public Works Department?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: Sidewalks look good on the square, but the ones done on side streets need work. Roads need work all over, would definely look and road work department and study for improvements.

    DEBOARD: We all know more work needs to be done on our infrastructure, streets etc. We just need to get our priorities in the right direction .

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: We need to make sure our roads are in better shape. Need to look at our water infrastructure needs.

UNDERGROUND: If voters approve it, the 2013 SPLOST cycle will fall inside your term. What projects will be your priority when the city gets its share of that multi-million-dollar funding source?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: I would make roads and ditches the first priority, without good roads people won’t live here and jobs won’t relocate here. It makes the city look bad with pot holes filled with gravel all over our town.

    DEBOARD: [no response]

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Again, roads and water/sewer needs and save some for a rainy day.

UNDERGROUND: If you had been on the council during the last four years, would you have approved any or all of these projects, and why?

UNDERGROUND: $1.4 million for a new clubhouse for the LaFayette golf course?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: Only if there was grant money to fund and I could see a return on investment. A construction contract with a deadline for completion and a dollar amount. With the builder being responsible for and overages on the bid he placed.

    DAVIS: Being in the real estate for 12 years I under stand contracts. There should never be a company hired by the city without a contract with deadline and dollar amount.

    DEBOARD: no

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Not that much.

UNDERGROUND: $900,000 for four new softball fields at Lowell Green Rec?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: [no response]

    DEBOARD: Yes

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Not at that location or cost.

UNDERGROUND: $500,000 (city share of $4 million project) for the LaFayette library?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: [no response]

    DEBOARD: Yes

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Yes but need to look at the long term plan.

UNDERGROUND: $500,000 (and counting) for a new terminal at Barwick Airport?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: [no response]

    DEBOARD: no

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Should have been done at a later date.

UNDERGROUND: Several of those projects cost more than expected because the city didn’t build anything into the construction contracts calling for them to be finished by a certain date or completed under a certain budget. Will contracts approved during your time on the council include fines for cost or time overages, and would you consider adding bonuses to contracts that reward early completion with bonus payments?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: yes , All projects no matter the cost will allways have contracts or they will not get my vote and I will voice my opinion if voted otherwise,

    DEBOARD: Yes, that’s how construction works in the real world.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Yes, more thought into the contracts.

UNDERGROUND: How has the city done in regards to funding the recreation department (outside of the golf course, which is budgeted separately) and do you feel LaFayette Parks and Recreation is doing a good job of providing activities and facilities for all of the city’s residents?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: The Rec. Department is doing a good job. I have family and friends that have kids play ball and it seems to go really well. Seems crowded so a study about growth maybe should be done.Probably should have been studied before building three softball field for just a small percentage of girls. That money could have went to all children that need places to play.

    DEBOARD: Yes, there could be more done.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Funding needs to be looked at but I think they do a great job.

UNDERGROUND: How well does the city manage its utility departments? Currently the city’s electric rates go up during summer months – would you consider averaging prices year-round to avoid charging people more during peak usage times?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: I would be for looking into reforms of our billing and meter reading departments. I am not saying changes would be made but at least we would know if the way we are doing things are the best for the people.

    DEBOARD: The averaging prices would be best.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Yes, I would also like to look into a way to pay your bill online.

UNDERGROUND: Are you satisfied with the city’s current system of meter readers (for water/gas/electric) and the current system of billing? Will you consider introducing reforms to the utilities’ meter and billing departments?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: [no response]

    DEBOARD: I‘m satisfied.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Yes, look into some online bill pay.

UNDERGROUND: Health insurance for city employees is currently managed through self-insurance. Are you familiar with this form of insurance and do you feel it is appropriate for a city the size of LaFayette?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: not familiar

    DEBOARD: Yes

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: From what I can see I think it looks like a good plan.

UNDERGROUND: How well does LaFayette Public Safety carry out its duties, and are there any reforms needed in that department? Do you feel that Tommy Freeman has been a good choice to lead the city’s combined fire and police agency?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: Don’t know enough about Public Safety and Tommy Freemens role but am open and would love to hear from the workers in all aresas of fire and police to get their opinions.

    DEBOARD: I‘m satisfied.

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: I think he has done a great job, considering what he walked into.

UNDERGROUND: Does the LaFayette City government have enough transparency? Once elected to the council, will you make any changes to make city government more accessible and open to the public?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: I feel it does not. There needs to be more of the people getting involved and coming to the meeting. Open discussion during the meeting with the people or another meeting held for discussion. We have alot of great people in the town with ideas and successful business leaders that never get a chance to voice the ideas and that would give them that chance.

    DEBOARD: Yes

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Yes I will.

    Transparency isn’t the same as input. Transparency is visibility and openness, letting the world see how the sausage is made by posting everything online, not just summary meeting notes. Videos of council meetings, budgets and charts given to citizens – better announcements for upcoming meetings and events. Those things give people confidence because they can see we have nothing to hide. Right now everyone is suspicious of everything because even the innocent stuff is done behind closed doors or in a secretive manner.

UNDERGROUND: Do the current council, mayor, and City Manager get enough input from the citizens before making decisions? If not, what changes should be made to raise the level of input? Do you feel that the City Council meets often enough?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: See above answer

    DEBOARD: [no response]

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: I would like to have other meetings in the month with citizens for their input.

UNDERGROUND: Will you seek an increased role for technology, particularly Internet technology, in reaching out to citizens (both to keep them informed and to get feedback from them) during your time on the council?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: Absolutly in the day in time we have to increase technology and get a people friendly website.

    DEBOARD: Yes

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Yes!! Using social media.

UNDERGROUND: As a member of the City Council, what will you do to strengthen existing businesses within the city and attract new businesses in? Are there any aspects of the current city government structure that discourage businesses from moving to LaFayette?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: I am courious to see what road blocks are in place to keep buisness out of the city and helpremove them. Example. Looking at codes and taxes etc..

    DEBOARD: [no response]

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: Make sure the code dept is customer friendly. I will talked with local/state/fed contacts to obtain more business to our area. #1 priority.

    Just asking the nice businesses to move here isn’t sufficient. We have to simplify and streamline codes, not just the rules but the way they’re applied, the way licensing and permits are obtained, everything that poses an obstacle to a business or individual should be made as simple, straightforward, and affordable as possible. LaFayette should have a reputation as the cheapest place in Georgia for businesses to be, otherwise we can’t offset disadvantages like not having an interstate and not having the best educated workforce in the region.

UNDERGROUND: Homes are for sale all over town, and property values continue to fall. What steps will you take as a councilor to help improve property values inside city limits?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: [no response]

    DEBOARD: [no response]

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: New jobs in this area will be a large part to that fix.

    New jobs are the key, but that’s not the only key. As Dell Montgomery said in the Ward 2 Q&A, people don’t want to live in a garbage dump. Some parts of town look like bombed-out Iraq, burned or abandoned buildings aren’t removed or stabilized promptly (if at all), and garbage too big for the plastic bins isn’t picked up consistently. A house on a clean, maintained street with a sidewalk out front, solid police and fire service, with low utility rates and a park nearby is a house with more value than one without those things. Adding any, or all, of that will do as much to increase home values as a new employer.

UNDERGROUND: Please summarize in a single paragraph why LaFayette voters should pick you over one of your opponents in the upcoming election:

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: As a Realtor my number one stance is to protect home ownership and property right, The Realtors fight constantly in Washington and Atlanta to protect the peoples homes and rights. As for LaFayette , its not all our fault for the falling house prices and the economy. We still have to make the best out of what we have. Our roads should be kept up along with all of our infrastructure including water and sewer.We should do the best to keep crime down in our city. Also keeping Taxes and utilities low,weather we restructure or cut wasted cost.

    DEBOARD: [no response]

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: I will give you straight up leadership. I will bring honor to my seat and my city and with some sweat and hard work make this town a great place to live.

UNDERGROUND: Is there anything else LaFayette voters should know about you? Family, faith, philosophy, inspirations, etc.?

    BRIDGES: [no response]

    DAVIS: I am a christian guuy with a 3 year old son Avery and wife Dana.I decided to get involved while attending a city council meeting and realizing that the People dont really get an opinion or have time for discussion during the meeting. I want to get involved to help the people of my city have a voice for the place we all call home.I hope the voters want a down to earth guy with family morals and that just wants what is best for everyone and not just one group. I am not a politicion,dont pretend to know all the answers but I promise I will do the best Job possible for the people in the term im elected and will work to find the right answers. Thanks and Please Remenber Elect Chris Davis “For the People” Ward 4 Nov 8th 2011.

    DEBOARD: [no response]

    MCGAHA: [no response]

    ROBINSON: I love this town so much I was able to get my mom and brother move from Calif and they both love it.

That completes the Underground 2011 City Council Q&A’s. We had hoped to go end on a high note, but honestly all the responses were disappointingly simple. Many of the answers were adequate, but none of them really added any new ideas to the mix as we had hoped.

Bridges is a veteran of the LaFayette council, he spent 12 years on that esteemed panel and oversaw much of the city’s decline. He was also mayor of Linwood, a failed town he says was solvent until he left office. He’s experienced, but his experience isn’t necessarily positive – a vote for Bridges is a vote for the past, and a vote that shows outsiders LaFayette is never going to move ahead of where it is now. Melvin is a nice guy, nice old grandpa type, but he’s not what we need to fix what’s wrong in LaFayette. And honestly his campaign doesn’t seem to be getting off the ground, he can’t win this election – just siphon votes from the ones who can.

Daniel DeBoard answered our questions, but he skipped 13 of the forty. He has business experience and knows construction better than other candidates, however his campaign has been an afterthought. There are no DeBoard campaign signs, he hasn’t attended candidate forums, and his responses here were brief. The others who replied provided more detail, and DeBoard also said he would have voted Yes for spending $900,000 on four softball fields at Lowell Green rec. center. He seems to be a nice guy, and has knowledge that could be helpful for the city, but he doesn’t seem to be the best of the five candidates and he’s not making much of an impact on the Ward 4 race.

Donnie McGaha, Kevin Robinson, and Chris Davis are really the three candidates to beat in Ward 4. All have widespread support, have backgrounds that would add wisdom to the council’s decision-making process, and seem to have the right motivations. It would be helpful if McGaha had responded so we would be able to better evaluate him, because the Underground can’t endorse someone we don’t know much about.

That leaves Robinson and Davis. Based on their responses and backgrounds, either would be a decent councilor for the ward. However, Davis skipped several of the most important questions, five in all, and we’re not sure if that means he couldn’t provide a reply or didn’t want to give one our readers would oppose. Robinson is the only candidate, of the seven we’ve heard back from, who answered every single question asked – and all his answers were good, if a bit light.

In light of his complete response, acceptable answers, business experience, broad support, and need for people to rally around a single candidate, the Underground endorses Kevin Robinson as Lafayette Ward 4 City Councilman. Davis would be fine, we don’t know any reason not to vote for McGaha – but in this race Robinson feels like the best man for the job.

Elections are now one week away, Tuesday November 8th at City Hall. Early voting is still being conducted at the Walker County Elections Office in the Courthouse through the end of this week.

THE RULES:

On October 3rd, after candidate qualification ended, the Underground e-mailed all 12 LaFayette City Council candidates in competitive races a series of questions. Candidates were asked to respond to the questions via e-mail by October 18th, and were instructed not to share their answers with each other before we made them public. Every candidate was given the same set of questions except where noted below.

Not every candidate responded, but seven of the 12 did. Candidates who did not respond have [no response] after their name for each question asked, and candidates who responded but chose to skip certain questions are marked [no response]. Responses received after this point will not be accepted for a full post, but candidates are welcome to add to their responses, answer questions, or respond to our opinions in the comment section below.

Answers are copied directly from e-mail without corrections or changes except for redaction of addresses. Redactions or any editorial clarifications of questions or answers are made in [brackets]. Our thoughts are in italics beneath the responses.

Previous responses: Ward 3 Q&A, Ward 2 Q&A

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  1. wondering if anyone out there remembers my brother who was killed in an auto accident in the early 70s his name was Bobby Spear i have a 25 year old named after my brother i miss him so much

  2. I think Chris Davis would be the best candidate!!!!!! He has my vote!!!!!!