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Who Won? Who Lost? Patch Analyzes Brookhaven's First-Ever Elections

Patch was first to project a winner in the mayor's runoff on Tuesday night. Here's our analysis of what else happened in Brookhaven's election season.


The elections are over and the new city of Brookhaven has its first mayor and city council in place, waiting to be sworn in.

Here's our take on the winners and losers from Brookhaven's first political experience, with a few caveats along the way:

Winners

Mike Jacobs. Newly elected Brookhaven mayor J. Max Davis was supported and endorsed by Jacobs, the Republican state representative who authored Brookhaven cityhood's bill. Jacobs also endorsed Rebecca Chase Williams and Joe Gebbia, both of whom scored big victories in Districts 1 and 4, respectively. Brookhaven became a city through Jacobs' legislative leadership and it elected leaders who he supported. Hard to argue with the man's influence.

Jim Eyre. He became Brookhaven's first elected official in history on Nov. 6. He has already gone on record as saying he can work with every city council member and Davis, even though he endorsed Davis' opponent in the runoff. Eyre opposed cityhood during the municipalization vote, and his candidate didn't win on Tuesday night. But Patch doesn't get the sense that Eyre's influence is going to wane, at least in District 2. Eyre's term ends next year, but as long as he continues his excellent record of staying in touch with his community, his political future is secure.

J. Max Davis. He was the chairman of BrookhavenYES, and one of the most vocal and visible leaders of the pro-cityhood movement. He came in first in the general election, and almost won the mayor's contest outright on Nov. 6. Then he faced a hard-campaigning Sandy Murray in Tuesday's runoff and won with a resounding 66 percent of the vote, carrying 11 of 12 Brookhaven precincts.

  • But ... Now the real work begins, and he has to prove the Brookhaven will be better managed under a city leadership than it was under DeKalb County.

BrookhavenYES’ political influence. Bates Mattison won the District 3 contest with the support of Jeff Kellar, former vice chair of BrookhavenYES. Rebecca Chase Williams, another cityhood proponent, handily won the District 1 runoff. And while Mattison's margin of victory was the evening's smallest, his term isn't up until 2015, giving him plenty of time to build up a supportive constituency.

  • But ... Another of BrookhavenYES' leading figures, Russell Mitchell, didn't fare so well in the electoral process, losing to cityhood opponent Jim Eyre on Nov. 6 in that evening's only decisive election.

Joe Gebbia. He earned the biggest margin of victory in any of the city's elections so far, trouncing Karen Lord by capturing 81 percent of the vote.

  • But ... He's only in office for one year, as his term expires in 2013. If Kerry Witt wants to build on his respectable Nov. 6 showing, Gebbia could face another challenge before he even gets out of the electoral gate.

Losers

Sandy Murray and NO CITY’s political influence. Murray was endorsed by District 2 city councilman Jim Eyre almost immediately after the Nov. 6 election, and she campaigned heavily throughout those communities. A visible opponent of cityhood in the first place, Murray had to be counting on garnering sympathetic votes in District 2, whose communities were also heavily against municiplization. It didn't work. And we're pretty sure those "J. Max Davis is a tax cheat" claims she made over the runoff's final weekend didn't help much, either.

Start Brookhaven Right. Not sure whatever happened to an organization that was behind one of the most notable attacks we saw during the election. The weekend before Nov. 6, the organization sent out mailers claiming that Jim Eyre said "Brookhaven is a cancer," right here on Patch. Former BrookhavenYES member Shannon Cameron was listed as chairperson of the organization. Maybe it went into hiding ...

Karen Lord. See Joe Gebbia, above.

"E Pluribus Unum" December 05, 2012 at 12:43 PM
What has to happen over the next 2-3 years to list "the citizens" are the real "winners" of this city formation? It's time to focus on citizens, increased services, quality of life, and not political personalities and egos.
HDM December 05, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Just another example of corruption and incompetence from the DeKalb Democrat bureaucracy
Kay Spencer December 05, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Well done, Tim.
HamBurger December 05, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Mr. Seth, your characterization of how DeKalb County assesses business and occupational taxes is in error. Cobb County business licenses are structured similar to DeKalb, but costs vary on the business and whether the business is in unincorporated Cobb or one of its cities. If you are in the city limits of Brookhaven you will be under city jurisdiction. I would love to say that Brookhaven would have a lower fee structure for business licenses, but do think that is realistic? Government does not produce anything. Government provides services dependent on fees from its citizens and businesses. And, with a tax cap in place it is more likely that business related fees will be a way of keeping citizens happy. Up until the point where the fees start intruding on the citizens. Or, the city must raise the tax cap. Celebrate with a special hamburger?
Eddie E. December 05, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Seth, You might want to look at how it is done next door in Chamblee. Gross Receipts plus a basis fee is the standard. Let's see how short property tax revenues fall from original predictions. That will suggest just how much business owners will be expected to make up the slack.
Chris December 06, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Business owners already win. The homestead credit never applies to them yet they now get a lower rate as if they did. The new 3+ mils is much lower than unincorporated pays. This saves them on real and personal property assessments. So even if Brookhaven adopts the same business license rates, businesses will save.
HamBurger December 06, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Mr. Chris, would it be too much for you to give us an example of what you are speaking of? What is their unincorporated millage rate vs. the Brookhaven millage rate? And, where did you get this millage rate from? Run us through the math if you would. Please pass the yellow mustard!
Brookhaven Maven December 06, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Don't know about the rest of you posters, but I don't expect much from this crew. It will be very interesting to see whether they are as dysfunctional as the Dunwoody City Council or the DeKalb Board of Commissioners. I can't wait to go to the first few council meetings and see what kinds of personality conflicts arise!
TomMiller1 December 06, 2012 at 04:05 AM
More Winners and Losers: Losers: Those like the campaign manager /hit man for Sandy Murray. Imagine you - kind reader- are willing to devote 100-1200 hours to an endeavor. You will get paid $16K, maybe $12K. What do you encounter? Your family gets to see you dragged through a cesspool of lies and defamation. This rinky dink little town - you are called corrupt, deemed the author of pay to play (WTH?), said to be a tax cheat or a 'serial tax avoider," and worse. For this shitty little job. So you go to church, the market, all the way some douche bag gets to say this stuff. The losers? Us - citizens. No discussion of issues, or why a national search for a top cop is good. Or why 3 parks in the town are in Grade F shape, and how you'd fix it. Or how meth is used in 1 park openly. Or what the budget looks like. Losers? the "endorsers" some nobody like Larry Danese who carried nil of the vote- Larry, no one voted for you Round 1, you think who you endorse matter? Carter? you couldnt name 4 restaurants in brookhaven
TomMiller1 December 06, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Losers? Any candidate who didn't buy: How to run for office http://www.amazon.com/How-Run-Local-Office-Step-By-Step/dp/0966830407 Fitzpatrick's campaign was a joke. This guy is a lawyer? In Alabama in the 80s the one truism for a lawyer running for office- the vote is the closing argument and verdict. He was invisible. Losers: Anyone who ventured on here to try to start a halfway decent set of comments. Shouted down - or worse- by a cabal of flunkies, pot shot experts, drive by flamers and thread hijackers. You guys killed the discussion. I know of 2 candidates who signed up under pseudonyms and quit when they saw the silliness on here. Shame- it could have helped. Winners? each resident shedding the shackles of dekalb. if nothing - and i mean NOTHING- is done better except parks, we win. 11 parks - and 1 of them had a mean tyrant running it - Blackburn sees more than 25,000 people at it year round. With a swing set that has been for some reason cut in half. and left that way. Brookhaven park is a dumping ground for illegal truckloads of wood chips. Cops? Not a winner or a loser yet. Winners? those who will attend meetings to be stakeholders in this town - b/c there will be LOTS of mistakes
Eddie E. December 06, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Chris, Since there is a pointless millage 'cap' in place, when there is not enough revenue from homeowners and businesses combined to meet the bills, who will be leaned upon for the difference? There is no requirement for a referendum to increase business fees.

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