Around five weeks ago, in my first campaign letter to the editor, I wrote, “Remember, the incumbent’s supporters will throw out lots of personal attacks, but it will not matter. The facts are against them.” Well, that statement certainly rang true last week.
Letter writer John Dufresne let go with a torrent of accusations that made most people cringe.
Mr. Dufresne is a member of the developer-run political action committee called Direct PAC. It was Mr. Dufresne, working for the Harold Logsdon campaign at the time, who filed a frivolous set of ethics charges against me and spread the word around that I committed unethical acts.
The state Ethics Commission staff said there was absolutely no merit to the charges and dismissed the case immediately with the commission chairman apologizing to me. The official state complaint form reads, “Person Bringing Complaint: Direct P.A.C.” with Mr. Dufresne signing. In case you want to check for yourself, the state Ethics Commission case number is 2005-0102.
The punch that hit the lowest below the belt was Mr. Dufresne tossing out an unsupported accusation that I “abandoned” and “neglected” my children. It is really too bad that someone can flippantly throw out such a claim about a person in the midst of a campaign cycle in an effort to try to discredit a candidate.
The incumbents Jack Smith and Eric Maxwell are consistently being confronted with facts about the issues that affect the people of Fayette County the most. Because they cannot come up with logical answers on issues such as why are we building the West Fayetteville Bypass (road to nowhere), Commissioner Smith’s vote in favor of mass transit buses in our county, why the county commissioners tried to convince us to vote for a pork-laden SPLOST tax increase in 2009 and Commissioner Smith’s ethical dilemma of being on the board of a developer-friendly bank while also being in control of county land use and zoning decisions, other tactics are employed.
When competing on the issues is ruled out, the campaign shifts towards attempts of public humiliation of the opponent.
I do not know incumbent Commissioner Smith’s children, but I bet they are wonderful kids. Like all our children in Fayette County, I hope the commissioner’s children have a magnificent life and prosper in every way. And the commissioner can rest assured that if anyone makes such atrocious claims about him and his children that I publicly promise to condemn the accuser’s actions in the name of maintaining a dignified election campaign process.
Many people have gone to my campaign website, www.sb4faycom.com, and enjoyed the in-depth coverage on the key issues, providing both sides of the argument as well as video clips of the candidate viewpoints.
Candidate Allen McCarty and I are running a strong issues-oriented campaign, providing facts and references. We are listening to what the local citizens have to say, addressing their concerns. We are simply not going to stoop to name-calling and false accusations.
On Memorial Day, it was brought to my attention that a column I had written a while back regarding the Fayette County Board of Education (FCBOE) not supporting the Science Olympiad programs in our schools had unfairly linked two former J.C. Booth Science Olympians — Lt. Dan Berschinski and his brother Rob Berschinski — to my criticism of the FCBOE.
I had intended to use the brothers as past examples of excellence connected to the Science Olympiad program (J.C. Booth dedicated their season to Lt. Berschinski this year). But after re-reading the column, I saw that there was merit to claims the reader could conclude the brothers were also critical of the FCBOE, which was not my intention.
I sent an email apologizing to the Berschinski family and I own up to the error publicly via this letter.
Many of you will be vacationing this summer. However, I ask that you think about donating blood during the times you are home. Our blood banks always run very low during the summer, but major trauma cases and surgeries continue at their normal pace.
American Red Cross Blood Drives are held on the first Friday of each month at the Gathering Place in Peachtree City from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome or call 1-800-GIVE LIFE to make your reservation. Also, there will be a Life South Blood drive at the Fayette County Justice Center on June 11 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Call Dianne Benton to schedule an appointment at 770-716-4999 (ext. 2105).
The blood that you donate could literally be the precious few ounces that keep someone alive this summer. Please put one of these blood drives on your schedule.
As always, I would greatly appreciate your vote for common-sense conservatism in the name of honest, hard-working and considerate government. Early voting begins June 7 at the county Election Office. Advanced voting at Peachtree City and Tyrone libraries begins July 12. All polling locations are open on July 20, Election Day.
candidate for county commissioner Post 4, at large
Peachtree City, Ga.