Silencing constituents is not a ‘best practice’ to pursue


People who pay close attention to local government are worried and for good reason. Mayor Kim Learnard is taking over where former Mayor Vanessa Fleisch left off on silencing the constituents and driving loathsome agendas over the taxpayers’ objections.

The Citizen Editor Cal Beverly shined the light on the Learnard’s latest attempt to bulldoze opposing public speech. Unfortunately, Learnard views all the council’s attempts at gagging the taxpayers as “best practices” (you simply cannot make this stuff up). It makes you wonder if the mayor is using Machiavelli as her guide.

At the council meeting, Councilman Phil Prebor and Learnard made it absolutely clear that they do not want to hear what you have to say if they disagree with you. They believe quashing agenda items and stifling public comments at meetings is entirely acceptable.

The comparisons to “other cities” are a derisory attempt at justifying their behavior. We moved to Peachtree City because it exceeded the standards found in other cities. There is a reason we do not reside in the “other cities.”

Despicable Track Record

The decline of the city council indicates the decline of the city. The care of the constituents, and not their destruction, should be the first and only object of good government.

There is a definitive 10-year history with the last two city councils bidding to dissemble our prized municipal standards and collapsing our open government.

We have literally witnessed the mayor and council having a go at sabotaging our land plans and wanting to plaster the city with multi-story, multi-family complexes. Yes, they even wanted to build apartments in city parkland.

Peachtree City has had a strong tradition of allowing public participation in local government. However, the city council has attempted to strip it all away over the last decade.

Honestly, I cannot tell you if the city council turning on its constituents is due to fragile egos or narcissism. Whatever their psychological hang-up, the continued demolition of what we hold dear needs to stop.

Autocratic Mayor Learnard

Mayor Learnard has even clamped down on her council colleagues from speaking when they disagree with her. It’s important to note that Peachtree City has a “weak mayor” hybrid system, and she has no more authority than the rest of the council members.

Learnard’s anti-constituent posture is reprehensible. Her rudeness in council meetings is offensive.

Nevertheless, Learnard does feel comfortable using the city’s social media account to promote her personal Special Purpose Local Option Sale Tax (SPLOST) project which is certainly questionable legally.

Needing a majority that cares

Thank you to Councilman Clint Holland for defending the citizens’ right to request an agenda item for a council meeting. Holland is proving that he was worthy of your vote this past November.

Do not forget that two council seats will be open for election this coming November. Please pay attention as the value of our homes and our community depend upon the soundness of our local government.

[Brown is a former mayor of Peachtree City and served two terms on the Fayette County Board of Commissioners. You can read all his columns by clicking on his photo below.]


  1. The “kook” who put an item on the last agenda spoke about more than two thousand Peachtree City voters who had to go to two separate polls to vote on election day. Was that “weird” in your opinion? Looks more like a concerned citizen trying to fix an election problem and needs the Council to help.

  2. Steve Brown is an intelligent man. But he has decided to attack other politicians on a personal level, using highly questionable opinions versus facts.
    For example, we have a very good Mayor who is dedicated to seeing Peachtree City positively evolve, consistent with the values of residents. And she wants the input of residents.
    Steve apparently does not understand representative democracy versus direct democracy. In a Republic like the USA, we elect folks. They do their agendas.NOT every kook who wants to disrupt a meeting by sticking weird things on the city council agenda. Contact your Representative and they can insert agenda items.
    Steve simply moans and groans without providing detailed solutions to problems. Anyone can criticize.
    This Mayor did not originate the turn lane project. And it may or may not work.
    But exactly what does Brown advocate? As Mayor, he blocked an alternate route to hwy 54 south of town. He has never identified another option.
    Exactly what alternative routes does he advocate for? Which particular roads? How do we get local support? Funding?
    It’s easy to complain. And Steve is dedicated to taking the easiest method to get personal visibility. Rather than proposing solutions which benefit our citizens.

    • I agree with Jack fundamentally here, except for one point: adding agenda items and discussing them briefly does not represent a material disruption to the work of the city council. It might be inconveniencing, and sometimes not a good use of time, but overall the amount of time it takes up is minimal. For all the agenda items that are not worth talking about, there is another that is.