Councilwoman Caola: Public notice and transparency on handling cart path safety

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Under the direction of then-Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and the previous City Council, the mayor initiated a study centered on cart path safety.

As a private citizen, I agreed with the findings and suggested solutions offered by the Path Safety Committee. Later, I decided to enter the municipal election as a candidate running on a platform of not allowing the city to reverse course by building apartment and condominium complexes and negatively impacting school zones, traffic flow, and the character of our community. I also ran on improving cart path safety and protecting everyone from our children to our seniors.

Unfortunately, some of the safety issues cited to the previous City Council were in the vicinity of my house and subdivision. The solutions near my house were not implemented until the current City Council on which I serve took office. Additionally, my husband had safety concerns related to a portion of cart path abutting our property and he voiced his concerns to city officials beginning May 2021, later realizing this placed me in an awkward position since I now hold a Council seat.

Some residents spoke at our recent public meeting and expressed their concerns with the cart safety issues of consequence near my home and my being in an official decision-making capacity.

For the record, I want to publicly acknowledge that I will no longer engage in any city government planning or decisions related to any section of cart path abutting my personal property, gladly deferring to my Council colleagues and staff as I abstain.

Gretchen Caola, Post 3, City Council

Peachtree City, Ga.

20 COMMENTS

  1. If you had not already been caught we might believe. The public records request said enough, you coordinated and abused your office on t b r speedbumps surrounding your property. We need to get you out for good. The behavior at whitewater that your family got away with wont be tolerated here. Recall at mininum and if we could get an ethics investigation and prosecution of you then I might be satisfied. The fact that every neighbor has a save the paths sign in your neighborhood should say something. Move now far away. You and your family are not welcome

  2. I went by Gretchen’s home today and the notorious golf cart path beside her home. It is a comical situation at the end of the subdivision where Gretchen lives. Several homes around her home, and of course her home, have big “Save Our Paths” signs in the yard. There is certainly no safety issue with her personal golf cart path beside her home. To package it as such is simply embarrassing.

  3. Hometown600 has made the most measured comment on here. I appreciate the comment.

    I understand everyone’s concern and their right to express it. It does seem overly excited in general. There either is or isn’t a legal foundation that will guide the outcome.

    I hope all of us would support the lawful property rights of our neighbor over our own comfort. Unless we do none of us are safe from the mob. And if we discover a problem we would engage in public discussion and work the legislative remedies available.

    What a crock to call Hometown600 Woke for this comment! What a complete misuse of this slur. To accuse a rational person for a rational comment of being woke rather than defend the substance of the commenter’s error and their corrective is lady name calling.

    • Ignoring the facts of what has already happened here, and defending Gretchen by saying we need to take a “collective breath ” and let this thing sort out is pretty woke. Gretchen has clearly already committed an ethics violation by using her influence to personally manage the speed bumps on the cart path beside her home.

      • drdr,

        So far I have read a lot of opinions. Not sure how many of them are actually facts. But you and your ilk go ahead and run on down to the store to buy some rope. Obviously your mind is made up.

        I’m not ready to subscribe to the court of public opinion. The city will sort this out legally.

        • U have more confidence in the city sorting it out than me. I live very close to a golf cart path myself. I doubt I could get a city worker to come out to my house in order to point out where I would speed bumps installed.

          • Agreed, and I also doubt that I could get the city to allow me to oversee speedbump location. However please take note that my initial comments were posted on July 15 and the comments you are referencing were posted by Gaguy on July 18. Again I have no way of knowing whether those are facts or misinformation.I have been told that some people that post online misrepresent information, not that this could have happened in this case. 😉

  4. It is mind boggling that Gretchen can stay in office with all the evidence of what she has done. Her letter here just makes it worse. She either has absolutely no self awareness or thinks her constituents are stupid, or both.

  5. Now, the Peachtree City Council has gone so far as to post a popup on the City’s website telling citizens that they are “misinformed” about what happened. The stench of corruption intensifies. Did Councilwoman Caola direct City staff to post that message too?

  6. Wow that’s rich. She’s only agreeing to abstain from future speed bump issues because she has already pressed PTC staff to place the bumps next to and behind her house. A recent FOIA request pulled the following exchange between Gretchen and PTC staff on April 21:

    Gretchen: “Good morning Justin John told me you would be in touch about the location preference I have for the speed bumps behind/beside my place Just let me know when you want to meet up w me No rush Thanks Gretchen”
    Justin: “You got time this morning?”
    Gretchen: “Yup. Home until 11:30.”

    A replica of Gretchen’s post can be found on Facebook at “Think Beyond the Bubble (Peachtree City GA area).” How is this not an ethics violation, and why isn’t the PTC attorney doing anything about it? There is another post from May 9 where Gretchen asks (staff?) about the gap on the speed bumps — “Do we have to leave such a large gap. Can’t there be no gap? This doesn’t slow bikers or skateboarders.” There is also a video circulating where Gretchen and her husband are telling people to stay off the 40 year old golf cart path next to their home ostensibly because they own it. I feel sorry for their neighbors and anyone legally using those paths.

    Under Georgia law, any one of the following is grounds for a recall election: (1) an act of malfeasance or misconduct while in office, (2) violation of the oath of office, (3) failure to perform duties prescribed by law, or (4) willfully misusing, converting, or misappropriating, without authority, public property or public funds entrusted to or associated with the elective office to which the official has been elected or appointed.

    Hopefully her days are numbered and that she spares PTC citizens the cost of a recall election. Otherwise, her next few years are going to be a long bumpy ride. And good luck in the next election if she survives a recall.

  7. Hi Gretchen – you need to sit down with the town attorney and have them brief you on appropriate conduct for Council Members. In record time you’ve created a compliance & ethics issue, and likely lost the trust of many of your constituents. This is all just very self serving behavior, and its concerning that you were exerting influence over city employees when you clearly shouldn’t have. I shudder to think that this may have even hurt a few people by purposely not wanting space left for skateboards, etc.

    Focus on the people you need to be serving and earning their trust back. This should have never happened in the first place.

  8. Agreed. This all happening immediately after she’s elected – REEKS of something nefarious going on. This process of the Caola’s trying to close down a city-owned path that is adjacent to their property needs to stop immediately. If Ms. Caola is truly interested in serving the citizens and not serving her own self-interests, then this highly questionable act her husband is pulling needs to end – now.

  9. Ms Caola

    I supported you and your platform for Council, as did most of Waterwood Bend if you can judge by the campaign signs in the area.

    I disagree with your characterization of the residents who spoke at Tuesday’s Council meeting as being there solely over safety on the two cart paths that run alongside your property. I’m sure they want people to be safe there, but no one believes either of those paths is less safe than any other path in the city. (Unless one considers how close the garage and shop you built are to the side path. Code issue?) In fact, the short segment beside your property that runs between Edgewater Way and the lakeside path now has TWO speed humps – – likely more humps per foot of path than any other section in PTC.

    You dodged the main issue. You / your husband are trying to shut down this side path. After 40+ years of its existence for the community, you declared the path is now yours and have attempted to prevent its use. That is why so many residents spoke out, and why there are “Save Our Paths” signs posted throughout the area.

    I was hopeful when I saw the headline of your letter to the editor that you would put to rest your claim to the path along the side of your house. You didn’t, so you should follow today’s letter with one that makes clear you will keep that path open so current and future residents might continue to use it.

    Your constituents look to you for community-minded leadership. How can you serve as our trusted representative, while at the same time you seek to shut down, for your own benefit, this path that we rely on?

    It’s not possible. You must choose one.