Thanks for voting, Peachtree City, but we’re not done yet: Thoughts on the runoffs


Congratulations, Peachtree City, on having record voter turnout in a non-Presidential year! I’m so pleased our citizens made their voices heard. Now that we have a runoff in two races, I’d like to give my thoughts on the candidates.

Ms. Learnard and Mr. Imker are going head-to-head to become mayor. I’d like to encourage those that voted for Mr. Ferrante and Mr. Ernst to come back and vote for Ms. Learnard.

Mr. Ferrante’s supporters will find her to be more receptive to ideas about new ways of doing things and revitalizing the city, and she will be thoughtful and insightful when discussing. She will be a change agent who considers the needs of all citizens and the costs vs benefits of any proposal.

Mr. Ernst’s supporters will find Ms. Learnard to be someone who will continue the quiet competence of the current council and who will be part of building consensus decisions that both move the city forward while protecting our interests.

As I have expressed before, Mr. Imker is running on a platform of very small tax cut, but he has never explained what services will be cut or how he’ll gain consensus to do it. Peachtree City public safety and other staff recently received a well-deserved pay increase that would never happen or be less under an Imker administration in my opinion.

Mr. Prebor and Mr. King have two years left on council, and will continue, if they can, their wise policy of millage rate stabilization and maintaining current reserves while the other candidates have been ambiguous on cutting taxes.

Ms. Caola is interested in enhancing cart path safety, and this will be a cost as her plan is ordinance enforcement likely requiring more public safety presence.

Regardless of who wins the Post 4 runoff, I believe both Mr. Crane and Mr. Destadio will see a need to balance taxes with costly future infrastructure projects while maintaining our rainy day money.

In short, I don’t believe Mr. Imker can deliver a tax cut, and I don’t think he really wants to get along with other council members. Ms. Learnard has highlighted her community peer relationships in Fayette, Coweta, and beyond in her campaign, but Mr. Imker doesn’t mention anything about them on his campaign site.

For the Post 4 runoff, I would like to encourage supporters of Mr. Bryant and Mr. Livsey to vote for Mr. Destadio.

I believe Mr. Bryant’s appeal is his competency in financial management and being able to bring people together to solve problems, and Mr. Livsey’s appeal is much of the same; doing whatever it took during his career with AT&T to meet customer needs including the federal government and managing the Rec Basketball League in PTC.

You will find these competencies in Mr. Destadio more than Mr. Crane. Even though I appreciate his desire to serve the public, Mr. Crane is simply too inexperienced to be an asset on council, and I’d like to encourage him to do what other folks interested in being on council have done in the past: serve on a commission, become more engaged in civic life, and then run for council. Mr. Crane works with Promise Place, and I think that is a good start.

By way of comparison, Mr. Destadio has been on the planning commission for a decade and brings his direct experience of civil engineering work and leading people as a colonel in the Air Force. Additionally, Mr. Destadio volunteers at retirement facility Ashley Glen Senior Living, is an usher and Eucharistic Minister at his church, is a member of the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion Post 50 helping and supporting a men’s group, church members, and programs that take care of children, the homeless, and veterans, respectively.

Due to his many connections in the community, he will be able to hear from constituents informally and ask about issues in the city and share with mayor and council.

As a side note, since Ms. Caola won the election outright, Mr. Madden will no longer be on council, and even though I was supporting him, it is clear that “the people have spoken.” I look forward to Ms. Caola being a fresh set of eyes looking at city issues and working with her peers on council.

Finally, I’d like to thank Mayor Fleisch, Councilman Ernst, and Councilman Madden for their service.

Early voting begins Saturday, November 20 and runoff election day is Tuesday, November 30. Please vote!

Paul Schultz

Peachtree City, Ga.


  1. I’m on the fence and will probably just sit this one out. I have no confidence either Imker or Learnard will be able to make any tangible change in town after 8 years of business as usual from both of them. I’d lean Learnard if she would drop developing Huddleston more, but I think that ship has sailed. The weird part in all of it is how they’ve been buddied up through this whole process, and the scuzzy behavior we saw by both as the election progressed to a vote.

    I guess I’m just trying to reconcile if saving $6 on taxes is worth it or not.

  2. I certainly take umbrage with the Belleringer comments on Mr. Destadio!
    In the post 4 open candidate meeting where all 4 candidates were asked questions in the beautiful Drake Field on October 24th, Mr. Destadio stood out from the other candidates on his discussion of high-density dwellings in PTC. In fact, he said he supports the building on residential land, not rezoned industrial land, of luxury townhome, not high rise apartments for our city. I agreed with him that luxury townhomes fit the personality and culture of Peachtree City perfectly.
    Comments made by Mr. Destadio in the past will certainly need to be taken in the context of the time and situation, but times have significantly changed and we need the strong experience and leadership of Mr. Destadio on the city council to guide it through the coming years of expansion in PTC. His leadership wherever he goes and whatever organization he belongs to, it exactly what Peachtree City needs now. In many respects, he is the calm voice of reason and the steady hand on the wheel in a cacophony of hyperventilating people.
    I certainly appreciate Dr. Crane’s ambition to help Peachtree City, but now is not his time, nor does he have the experience or leadership to maneuver through the politics of Peachtree City expansion like Mr. Destadio does.
    Experience counts, leadership counts, and staying true to the family oriented culture of Peachtree City really make the difference on how a city grows and matures. Let’s all vote for Mr. Destadio so we will all have a future we can be proud of.

  3. A well written comment. However, I cannot support Learnard who has a long standing leftist lean. She refused to comment on her personal politics arguing this was a non partisan race. However, a person’s worldview is the basis from which they govern and make decisions. We have seen clearly how destructive leftist leanings are in the past ten months. I have no doubt she loves PTC. It’s her vision of a bright future that scares me. Imker has proven himself to be informed, committed to our village concept and a conservative budget hawk – unlike the huge tax increase that Ms. Learnard drove when she was on council.

      • Of course they are. They’ve got to demonize someone. It’s not enough to just say, “Hey, I don’t care for this person – I’d rather have this one and that’s who I’m voting for.” This business of having to make up wild stories filled with half-truths and lies is what they do to feel better about the choices they’ve made.

        As if, who we vote for is going to sway someone else. Not likely.

    • Kim is the bourgeoisie of PTC. Nice lake house and retired with nothing to do. The proletariat, working class, of PTC has been fooled to support some millionaire.

      This doesn’t mean we support nick either. The working class will unite under the American dream that has raised this county from nothing to the leader of the free world.

  4. Paul, your argument as a knowledgeable source on the Post 4 candidates is undercut by the fact that you don’t even know how to properly address Dr. Crane. Not Mr. Crane, Dr. Crane.

    Furthermore, if you’re voting for Mr. Destadio, you must be in favor of high-density development. Mr. Destadio has a voting record that goes back over a decade with multiple votes on the Planning Commission in favor of multi-family housing. For just one example, please refer to The Citizen article dated August 27, 2018, entitled Townhomes Approved for MacDuff Parkway in PTC. Mr. Destadio was one of four who voted to approve.

    More recently, Mr. Destadio gives a ringing endorsement to multi-family development during the October 21, 2019 hearing on the Petrol Point development. In the minutes said, “He (Destadio) thought the city could use a good multi-family site somewhere, and he (Destadio) had commented several times that the east (sic) side of SR54 would be a prime spot.”

    Additionally, you must be in favor of rezoning industrial to residential which is another favorable vote by Mr. Destadio. At the Planning Commission meeting on June 25 of 2018, Mr. Destadio voted to rezone 66 acres of Industrial land on MacDuff to residential.

    A curious voter has plenty of research available to see how Mr. Destadio would perform on council. Instead, you choose to try to tear down Dr. Crane. It’s a typical insider tactic to not run on a voting record but rather run away from it as Mr. Destadio attempts to do.

  5. Paul, I am one of the majority that voted for Ms. Caola and I look forward to her fresh interest directed at cart path safety and nuisance/noise abatement. Why do you feel the need to provide thinly veiled guidance to her? She will be just fine I’m sure.

    • Hi! This is Paul- no thinly veiled guidance! She won, and I truly wish her well! The point I made was twofold: 1. I’m not going to be “sour grapes” on anyone. I’m getting behind the candidate, and 2. Ms. Caola really will be a fresh set of eyes (unlike her incumbent rival) so can break up any group think and bring forth issues the citizens really care about, namely cart path safety.