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Consensus Needs To Be Built Across New City Of Brookhaven

J. Max Davis, Brookhaven mayoral candidate, answers Five Questions From Patch.


1. In this day and age of intense scrutiny, and especially considering the recent, hotly contested debate and vote over Brookhaven municipalization, why are you running for mayor?

Davis: I am running to be Brookhaven’s first Mayor because I know we can significantly improve our community if we utilize our charter in the best and most efficient way possible.

As a small businessman I understand what it means to make a payroll and how controlling costs is fundamental to a successful enterprise. The charter specifically allows our city to control costs through the local outsourcing of many city services. The Governor’s Commission on Brookhaven is in the process of setting up this open bidding system and it will be implemented and run by the City Manager. Competitive bidding has worked with great success in places like Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.

Over the past 12 months I have been engaged in due diligence by studying the mechanics and the process of open and transparent competitive bidding. I have been meeting with city staff in other municipalities and with dozens of individuals and companies who may potentially bid to compete with one another for the opportunity to provide our taxpayers with the highest customer service at the lowest possible price.

For the last year my opponent, Ms. Murray, has been engaged in actively opposing the competitive bidding process. Her efforts were directed at keeping the sometimes corrupt and largely inefficient system which DeKalb County utilizes in place. She has even taken to criticizing and denigrating citizens and companies who support my campaign and the competitive bidding process. Citizens and businesses alike know that I support this newer and much more efficient way of service delivery. These folks support candidates who believe in allowing the opportunity to openly compete for service delivery to helm Brookhaven’s first administration.

2. What do you think separates your candidacy from the other contenders?

Davis: I am the only candidate for Mayor who, from start to finish, believed in and worked for this wonderful opportunity we now have. Sandy Murray was a paid consultant and a vocal activist for anti-city groups and believes DeKalb County should be in charge of every aspect of our local government. Mr. Danese initially supported city hood but then turned against the charter when improved city council maps were drawn. These lines were adjusted after input from Brookhaven citizens living in what are now districts 2 and 3.

In contrast to the other candidates, my energy and passion is completely focused on realizing the potential our new city offers. I ask the voters to allow me the chance to show them how together we can improve our daily lives. We can do this through community-based policing, more sidewalks and crosswalks along our busier roads to connect neighborhoods to neighborhoods, and neighborhoods to world class parks. These few exciting things are just a hint of what we can really do with citizen-directed local control.

3. With a newly incorporated municipality, is one responsibility (i.e., police, zoning, etc.) more pressing than some of the others?

Davis: Of course our first task will be to adopt a city code at Midnight Dec. 17th, but we need to get fast at work continuing the ground work started with Brookhaven Yes and now being conducted by the Governor’s Commission. Finding a top tier City Manager is paramount. He/she will direct the day to day operations of the city, including selecting our first Police Chief and managing and forming the open bid process. These duties will be subject to approval by the City Council.

For the past year and a half I have been studying other local police departments and meeting with city managers and staff about departmental organization, technology advances, personnel, and equipment purchasing. They have generously shared the lessons they have learned and some of the mistakes to avoid. The body of knowledge they have shared with me will benefit our city in having a mayor at the helm who has been living and breathing city startup for the past 2 years.

4. Moving forward, what do you envision Brookhaven's relationship with DeKalb County to be?

Davis: Dekalb County is where I was born and raised and I love it here. I want a better relationship built upon mutual cooperation. I will work to improve the relationship the county has with the citizens of Brookhaven.

Despite my differences with the CEO on our right to self determination, I have good relationships with Commissioners, Boyer, Rader, and Gannon. I have met with some of them post incorporation and they are eager to help make our city work. We are all still residents of this county. My experience as a courtroom attorney helps me understand that putting past differences aside is crucial to successful business. I see no challenges that can’t be addressed in a professional, courteous manner that will only benefit both the city and the county.

5. Candidates make promises when running for public office all the time. Can you make just one promise that, with absolute certainty, you will keep?

Davis: As Mayor, I will listen to all voices and thoughtfully consider all ideas offered by our citizens. I will constantly strive to build consensus across Brookhaven as we build our city and improve our community. Part of this commitment means I will be accessible to our residents who can always call me on my cell phone at 404-386-5629.

Lisa R. November 05, 2012 at 01:57 PM
J. Max has my vote. He is heads and shoulders above the rest of the field. This q&a only helps show it.
FreddieK November 05, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Hey J. Max; How much does it cost me to be one of the consensus builders? Do I put the money in an envelope and do I need an additional envelope for Mike Jacobs? (or do you just split it up?) Its so ironic; the topic of the article should be changed to "How Do We Undo What Some of Us Tried So Hard To Do?" During a very nasty campaign to create a city, you and your camp played as mean a game as possible, created "facts", belittling any non-believers, arrogantly attacking people who didn't want their lives to change. Now, only as your goal of becoming Mayor seems likely, you want to be a benevolent guy? While accepting money from vendors! You are exactly the type of leadership that we were supposed to be getting away from by creating a city. I feel sick.
Stormy Petrel November 05, 2012 at 02:45 PM
The Mayor of Brookhaven has only one real job, that person ought to be the emissary of Brookhaven to the World, be it commerce, political, local, state, or even international. One candidate cannot undo her own anti-City record, thus how could she be a believable City advocate? Mr. Danese is a nice guy and there ought to be a place for him in Brookhaven decsion-making. I don't get a feeling of passion, nor excitement from the guy, he would not convince me to re-locate or keep my business in Brookhaven. I suppost J. Max Davis, a person who has worked on the incorporation concept from the get-go, who has the demeanor and desire to bring people together. Add to that, J. Max Davis has a proven track record of integrity, lifelong understanding of political process (father was a well-liked and effective State Representative), and most importantly he speaks as a good Mayor should, with strength and a willingness to hear all sides, always taking the high road. Wednesday will be a bright new day in Brookhaven, with Mayor Davis at the helm. And no, I am not a paid political spokesperson.
FreddieK November 05, 2012 at 03:00 PM
You drank the Kool-Aid! Integrity? Really? Conversely to the criticism of Ms. Murray - how could anyone question the sincerity of a person who was anti-city, then, changed her position and marches forward? It's like Ronald Reagan becoming a Republican! It shows an open mindset.
Brookhaven Quid Pro Quo November 05, 2012 at 03:19 PM
On Consensus - NOW it seems to be a popular "buzz" word. http://brookhaven.patch.com/blog_posts/consensus-request-was-ignored-by-those-who-wanted-to-run-the-city-of-brookhaven
Eddie E. November 05, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Now there is a hoot 'be the emissary to the world'!! Are the folks in 'district 1' so self-importantly deluded that they think the world cares about this start-up designer city?
Lisa R. November 05, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I am voting for J. Max Davis because he deals with negative attacks and hysteria by responding with class and professionalism. It is refreshing to watch how he remains calm and reasonable in the face of unbalanced and unreasonable.
HamBurger November 05, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Yes, Mr. J. Max Davis’s hatred for DeKalb County is so great that when he was with C$ND he chose not to respond to the referenced letter. And, now this new city thinks he will be the liaison between this new city and DeKalb County? Hell, he doesn’t even have a good relationship with most of the C$ND or Brookhaven Yes folks. Makes you wonder while some of them elected not to run for office! I am voting for J. Max Davis and Rebecca Chase Williams because living among the overlords I have little choice. Brace yourselves folks, his term as mayor is surely to be a very bumpy one! Special hamburger and a Cheerwwine?
HamBurger November 05, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Ms. Lisa, “It is refreshing to watch how he remains calm and reasonable in the face of unbalanced and unreasonable.” An old country doctor once told me that an intervention sometimes affects people like that. Please pass the yellow mustard!
Lisa R. November 05, 2012 at 04:16 PM
It is funny how negative people get all twisted up when they are mad. First it is J.Max and "all" his Brookhaven Yes and C4Nd buddies want to control the city and then "most" of them don't like him. I have a neighbor a few doors down who volunteered for Brookhaven Yes and she, like me, thinks he will be a great Mayor. It is just silly to claim that his supporters and fellow board members don't like him.
Stormy Petrel November 05, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Oglethorpe, Eddie, is has a thirty-plus year history of attracting students from Japan, the Middle East, Europe, all over. So yeah, that is a valid point.
William November 05, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Dear Anonymous Commenters- I was a board member on the Citizens For North DeKalb group. The group responded to Ms. Gannon. Your story, like many of your anonymous claims on this website, isn't backed up by the facts. In this case, Kathie Gannon herself repudiates your claim that her letter was 'ignored' or not responded to. Read her Sept 2011 newsletter where she talks about meeting with members from C4ND in response to the letter. http://www.kathiegannon.com/archives.html "I have asked the citizen group to broaden the scope of their study .... When I recently met with members of the citizen group, they rejected my request." As an aside, my favorite part of the letter is when she feigned ignorance about not knowing any specifics that needed to be fixed related to parks...she must not have read the "Items to Support Brookhaven Opponents" memo prepared by her staff member Davis Fox prior to drafting it. (LOL) Let me quote that memo for you guys... http://brookhavenfacts.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/dekalb-county-no-city-brookhaven-playbook.pdf "Murphey Candler shoreline erosion is horrible. We’re in violation of State regs. Problem has existed for years. Engineering has requested a permit form DNR. Start the work now. The CEO would get major points if he toured the shoreline and park with the neighborhood." Anyway, feel free to go back to your regularly scheduled anonymous arguing. I just wanted to correct the record.
Prissy Mae Millendorf, Brookhaven Socialite November 05, 2012 at 05:12 PM
My goodness an Ardvard & a FreddieK commenting at once what a special treat. We know what you boys have been doing lately. The majority vote prevailed this past July. Disparage all you want because that's the only thing you will ever have to offer! We do take considered note that our large District 1 population won't be welcomed at certain places of biz who disparage our fine citizenry. And yet it's not a loss for better can be found.
Prissy Mae Millendorf, Brookhaven Socialite November 05, 2012 at 05:26 PM
My dear Lisa R. You are very astute in your observations! I cast my vote last Monday & proudly did so. Looking forward to our city!
Deborah Dunn November 05, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I will cast my vote for J. Max tomorrow. Comparing the 3 candidates (yes 3) at the debates and through the mailings and the articles gave me a clear choice for Mayor. I would at least to thank all 3 of them for providing me with clear differences which is hard in a municipal election. J. Max Davis has the passion and energy for the city, Sandy Murray had passion and energy against the creation of the city, and Larry Danese has no passion and not much energy.
Stan November 05, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I was a Board member and I like and support J Max Davis for Mayor of Brookhaven.
Brookhaven Quid Pro Quo November 05, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Dear Bill Hightower, Really? Here is the Text (Screen Capture posted to this story above) from that warm September day when the birds were chirping and the sun was shining on your little shoulder. Here is my favorite part: "I have asked the citizen group to broaden the scope of their study to better understand the impact of the proposed city and to identify the problems they want to solve with a new city. It would be best for the consultant group conducting the city feasibility study to examine the issues I have raised. When I recently met with members of the citizen group, they rejected my request."
FreddieK November 05, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I wasn't a Board member & I don't.
Eddie E. November 06, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Corruption is works much better if 'local control' is involved.
Justin Turner November 09, 2012 at 04:18 PM
As an outsider that was affected by J.Maxx's style of consensus building... I will gladly chime in here with respect to his track record as I see it. When the first map was drawn by J.Maxx/Jacobs/C4ND.... many from my surrounding neighborhoods indicated that we'd be intersted in joining Brookhaven, if they were going to include the commerical properties bordering us (Particularly the "Cherry Picked" Century Center plaza that is below and to the east of my neighborhood). C4ND relented regarding the century center property, but only after we brought a lot of opposition to bear in the public forum (not good example of consensus building). J.Maxx/Jacobs then DICTATED that my neighborhood attempt annexation with Chamblee in order for the boundary map to be re-drawn to exclude the hotly constested commercial properties adjacent to the West/Northwest of our neighborhoods. Furthermore, my neighbor and I were labeled as adversarial by Jacobs and subsequently EXCLUDED from meetings between C4ND Reps/Chamblee and reps and reps from my neihborhood and DECA neighborhoods.. with respect to the Jacobs/C4ND mandate that our neighborhoods agree to attempt annexation into Chamblee. This type of self-serving, exclusionary behavior does not paint a positive picture of J.Maxx from my perspective. In short, based on my my experience... I believe that J.Maxx HAS NOT IN ANY WAY SHOWN THAT HE IS OPEN TO, OR HAD POSITIVE EXPERIENCE WITH CONSENSUS BUILDING.

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