The Vanessa Fleisch and Kim Learnard administrations ushered in the era of political debate of local governance based on political philosophy. Theirs is leaning socialist.
In an effort that would have made Sen. Bernie Sanders smile with glee, Mayor Learnard gave a fascinating State of the City address (https://thecitizen.com/2024/01/15/mayor-learnards-message-to-residents-she-will-push-for-annexation-and-affordable-housing/) and government planner Stephanie Wagner offered written back-up for Learnard in the form of a letter to the editor (https://thecitizen.com/2024/01/17/its-important-to-talk-about-affordable-housing/).
Many of us aware of local politics often laugh whenever Learnard claims she is a “conservative” in an attempt to quell the natives, knowing most have no idea what she does in office like raising your taxes continuously by not rolling back the millage rate when your home value increases while at the same time the city amassed a whopping 56.5 percent reserve fund.
Learnard declared 2023 a year of collaboration and success even though her supported candidates have lost in the last two elections, leaving her with four council colleagues who ran on platforms opposite the Plan for PTC and Learnard ideology.
Not to be deterred, Learnard said change is coming just like Fleisch before her. As you will recall, the Fleisch administration tried to upend the land planning and urbanize Peachtree City. Likewise, Learnard, using some votes from holdovers Mike King and Phil Prebor (now off the council), altered our land plans to accommodate that urbanization.
We are waiting for the revised 2024 city council to reverse those changes to our land planning made by the previous council.
Learnard used that patented fear tactic of saying the City of Fayetteville is rushing to our borders like the Mongols, bringing death and disaster. It’s just her way of fooling the citizens into allowing her to team up with the real estate developers, annex land, and create the destruction herself.
The city council in Fayetteville is facing an uprising from its citizens on reckless high-density growth.
The mayor pointed to the traffic heading through the intersection of State Routes 74 and 54. This is the same intersection glitch she is intentionally not moving to resolve, deciding instead to go with a “budget-constrained” displaced left turn project that has no impact on the grinding east-west traffic she noted.
Learnard is salivating over Huddleston Road with sewer capacity on the way. Yes, she wants to build that area up in a massive way and stick another dagger in the already poor traffic congestion problem on State Route 54 West.
Planner Wagner came in to back up Learnard on her affordable housing goals. This is where the ideology revolves around the annexations, Huddleston Road, and possible in-fill projects.
Learnard and Wagner are in the “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” mode, saying that everyone deserves to live in Peachtree City, even if they do not have the means to buy or rent here. Heaven forbid that someone has to live in Coweta, Fulton, or Spalding counties.
The government must force low-cost housing options into the community, according to Learnard and Wagner. It makes you wonder why they decided to move to Peachtree City and not somewhere else that met their utopian demands.
Of course, like socialist Sen. Sanders who has multiple estates and millions in the bank, Learnard never once increased the city’s low-income senior citizen homestead exemption to assist our elderly with remaining in their homes. Hypocrisy in government surprises no one.
Hopefully, Learnard and Wagner will sell their homes to low-income families at a greatly reduced price. That would set an excellent example.
Naturally, Learnard explained that her government should be your only source of information. She increased budgetary expenses for a city videographer, graphic designer, and web content. Her taxpayer-funded propaganda program “Mondays with the Mayor” is a steady stream of one-sided commentary. Both Learnard and Wagner believe any other source is conspiracy material.
It is time for the new council members to walk their talk and put a stop to the nonsense.
[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.]