District 2 city council candidate Russell Mitchell said the rating given to him by the Brookhaven-Peachtree Community Alliance (BPCA) "is misleading, and I find it unfortunate the news this morning implies I don’t support the overlay district when in fact I do."
In a statement sent to Patch early Monday afternoon, Mitchell said another District 2 candidate, Jim Eyre, "sits on the board for this organization so I think it’s a conflict of interest for them to rate candidates in the district."
The organization announced on Monday morning its ratings for Brookhaven's municipal candidates based on their past support of the organization.
While most candidates received two or three stars, Mitchell was the only candidate listed by the BPCA as receiving one star. The organization did not list any candidates who received no ratings at all.
"I understand and fully support the initiatives of the organization but felt it is not in my best interest to respond directly," Mitchell told Patch. "Rather, my focus has been speaking to voters and hearing their concerns."
Mitchell also forwarded to Patch an email he sent to the BPCA in regard to a candidate-training session that it was offering, a session that he declined to attend.
"I was made aware of the training at 9pm the day before the session was to occur," Mitchell told Patch. "I find it hard to believe my opponent was made aware of the event with the same short notice. Jim’s involvement with the BPCA organization leads me to believe there was some collusion to exclude me from the original invitation to the training and now single me out as a non-supporter of the Brookhaven overlay district."
Here is the text of the email that Mitchell sent to BPCA:
"I apologize for not being able to attend the event this past Sunday. Unfortunately, I was not able to accommodate with such short notice. I appreciate your inquiry, but my focus right now is on the campaign. I fully support the overlay district and its vision for the area. I look forward to working with you after the election as Councilman for District 2."
“Neighbors keep asking us which candidates are supporting the Brookhaven Livable Communities Initiative overlay and we felt there was no other way to provide all of our supporters with a sense of confidence in the candidates they are considering,” said board member Jack Honderd. “This process has had a measurable impact on the candidates and raised awareness about the overlay and the organization.”
Candidates were awarded one, two or three stars based on their level of support for the BPCA and support for the organization's goals:
- Three stars: Larry Danese, J. Max Davis and Sandy Murray
District One -
- Three stars: Kevin Meaders and Rebecca Chase Williams
- No other candidates received stars in this race.
District Two -
- Three stars: Jim Eyre and Larry Hurst
- One star: Russell Mitchell
District Three -
- Three stars - Deborah Anthony, Hope Bawcom, Bates Mattison, Bridget O'Donnell, Julia Russo and Erik Steavens
- Two stars: Kevin Quirk
- District Four -
- Three stars: Joe Gebbia and Kerry Witt