Anti-Learnard letters display false outrage, high drama

I would like to begin by saying that I agree with Neil Sullivan’s opinion that we please spend education dollars on educating our children and not on lawyers. Point well taken. Now to the business at hand.

As an avid reader of local news, I am disgusted by the four recent letters to the editor from Dienhart, Gainy, Richter and Benson, all claiming that council member Kim Learnard is somehow on the attack.

Were any of these four men present in the City Council meeting in April to hear what Councilwoman Learnard actually said? Economic development is important to our community, and some of us want the facts on what is really going on.

In the weeks that followed however, these four have created a flurry of negativity, all claiming that Learnard is the one being negative. They have demonstrated false outrage and high drama in an effort to relegate outrageous and dramatic behavior to her. Insults have abounded and yet they accuse her of being the one to hurl the insults. Now here is the irony in all this.

It is my understanding that the Fayette County Development Authority (FCDA) is set up by Georgia Law to be autonomous, not part of the County Commission and is responsible for getting new businesses here. Issuing real estate tax abatement bonds as incentive is common practice.

[The county] should be embarrassed to admit that [it] was uninformed about the recent bonds issued by the FCDA for the largest industrial expansion in Fayette history, that being the Pinewood Studios.

George Dienhart, of all people should know the difference from the FCDA, established by Georgia Law as an autonomous agency and the ad hoc committee that was DAPC.

Finally, Mr. Dienhart as you say you don’t want to see anymore tabloid government, then you and your pals should simply stop writing these ridiculous letters to the editor. Peachtree City citizens deserve better.

Donna Groover
Peachtree City, Ga.

mudcat's picture
Joined: 10/26/2005
Ah Groover, I remember you well, from my raft trip

Hubby was obsessed with a raft trip thru the Grand Canyon and so we went. It involved camping out in tents and sleeping on the ground and getting wet in the rain - all small problems compared to the majesty of the trip and the setting. Some of the most wonderful scenery, meals, cocktail hours and after dinner campfires with new friends that I have ever experienced. Do this trip if you can, but don't wait until retirement. Do it when you are under 60.

Where I met Ms. Groover before was after all the fun when it was time to go to the bathroom a few yards away from the crowd. They had an old metal ammunition container from some war set out there and when you sat upon it to do your business, it created grooves on your bottom - hence the name, Groover.

ginga1414's picture
Joined: 09/01/2008
Ms. Groover, I have to disagree

Ms. Learnard is the one who "created a flurry of negativity" with her "insanity" comments. Ms. Learnard saw an opportunity to bash Steve Brown and promote Harold Logsdon.

Mr. Brown and Mr. Rapson were well aware of the possibility of "real estate tax abatement bonds" and all incentives, for that matter, which encourage businesses to move here. They were expecting the abatement and that is exactly why they asked about the tax break for Pinewood.

Mr. Forshee and the other FCDA members knew that Brown and Rapson wanted the information for budget purposes. How could they not know that?

Where does Ms. Learnard stand with cooperation and collaboration? We all know that the FCDA is "an autonomous agency," but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't work with the County Administrator and the BOC by providing information for the further good of the county.

Of course Dienhart, Gainy, Richter and Benson are going to set the records straight. If Ms. Learnard had not wanted to create "negativity" and "high drama," she should have never made those kinds of statements.

NUK_1's picture
Joined: 12/17/2007
ginga: Here's the problem

Steve Brown wanted the FCDA to have anything reviewed by the FC attorney " to make sure it was in the best interest of FC."

The FC attorney has nothing at all to do with tax abatements and his/her opinion means all of nothing. So, if you're the FCDA, why do you subject yourself to review by an entity that you don't report to or an attorney whose opinion means absolutely nothing? Just for fun or something?

Husband and Fat...
Husband and Father of 2's picture
Joined: 07/23/2012
Question Nuk Laloosh?

Tax abatement for businesses of this size are normal. Check

From what we have all read, the twenty-year abatement is 10 years longer then normal practices.

Everyone understands the FC DA was under no obligation to discuss the terms while in negotiations.

The FC DA is however funded by the county and reports should be issued on a monthly basis at minimum.

Commission was wrong in not attending the weekly or monthly FC DA meetings

Do we know if the FCDA has tied pinewood to any guarantees on jobs created or sales tax receipts? How many permanent jobs are being created? Has pinewood provided any guarantees that people will be hired if they go to these schools better soon to be popping up? With technology changing so quickly how can Pinewood guarantee that studios will even be needed in 10 years? I'm not an attorney but if Pinewood signed contracts in LLC name is the parent company on the hook for any costs should this venture not be profitable? How long will it take Fayette County or Fayetteville to break even for all the additional costs that they will incur?

It appears perfectly clear that the FCDA purposely withheld information that could have assisted the county in their budget. It also appears that the former FCDA president used this development to pad his resume and trot off to greener pastures.

Do you think if you or I would still have a job if we gave one of our clients such big discounts without any guarantees of future profits?

Husband and Fat...
Husband and Father of 2's picture
Joined: 07/23/2012
Ms. Groover

Imagine you won the lottery and you and your husband decide to invest the winnings with plans to live off the interest. Then without any discussion, your husband goes out with a buddy and loses most of the principal at the casino. You not only lost the principal, but also the interest that was going to allow you to retire early. To make matters worse, he doesn't tell you about his weekend in Vegas until he and his new girlfriend find a new place to live in Augusta.

Switch this with the FCDA and you got the same picture.

What motivation did Ms. Learnard have to go on this attack? Her lack of professionalism is evident and she lost many peoples future support.

What is truth
What is truth's picture
Joined: 07/22/2012
Ms. Groover

In the corporate world Mrs. Learnard constructive criticism would have resulted in request for her resignation!

johenry's picture
Joined: 08/22/2006
Well the Democrats have weighed in now!!!

Of course Dienhart, Gainy, Richter and Benson were all wrong!!! Silly us!!!

Ms. Learnard was just offering constructive criticism when she started mouthing off in the newspaper about the Board of Commissioners. Her support for Harold Logsdon has nothing to do with her belligerent behavior.

Shame on Dienhart, Gainy, Richter and Benson ... keep the truth to yourself next time how about it!!!

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