Three Flowery Branch candidates vying for election June 18 talked about growth, roads and infrastructure in some detail.
But they skimmed over the elephant in the room — and not the one featured on the banner of the South Hall Republican Club, which gave candidates a platform at its meeting Monday night to share their campaign ideas.
“After the meeting, if it’s not raining too hard, I’ll be outside to answer any questions you might have, including questions about LLDM,” Ed Asbridge said. “I said that word, didn’t I?”
“Everybody’s really emotionally charged about LLDM,” said Chip McCallum. “That’s fine — I’m glad they are. That’s great to show passion for your community. Those are great things. Now, we’ve got to make sure we express them the right way, and that’s another story.”
When: Early voting 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays May 28-June 14, election June 18
More info: 770-967-6371
“We don’t need to rush any type of growth, especially large developments that may have a negative financial impact,” said Missy Brooks. “You know what large developments I’m probably referring to.”
La Luz Del Mundo, a Mexico-based church proposing to build a 272-acre multi-use development proposal off Hog Mountain Road in Flowery Branch, has been a hot topic in Flowery Branch for months.
The buzz heated up last week when national news outlets reported that LLDM’s leader had been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, production of child pornography, forcible rape of a minor and other felonies.
"This is very unfortunate, however, we stand by the international leader of the church, Naason Joaquin, as we know that he is a clean and good man," Jack Freeman, a spokesman and local leader of La Luz, told The Times on Wednesday, June 5.
Growth was still on the minds of the candidates as they moved on to other topics at the June 10 meeting, as well as saying why they believed they should be elected to fill the Post 2 seat vacated in December by Mary Jones, who died May 2.
“I would really like to see our roads improved to support the inevitable growth,” said Brooks, owner of Brooks Electrical Solutions. “We really need to address the crumbling asphalt, the culvert and drainage issues.”
“We’re going to grow, like it or not,” she added, “so we need to be strategic and make sure we maintain quality control and plan accordingly.”
McCallum, commercial director with TenCate Geosynthetics, said he’s been working in the construction/infrastructure business for more than 30 years and that could be an advantage serving on the City Council.
“I’ve got … ideas I can bring to the city and to you on how to do things better, how to make things last, stretching your tax dollars and bring value to the products.”
Asbridge, retired from J.C. Penney management, said, “I think Flowery Branch is at a very important crossroads in its history. What kind of city do we want? Do we want to let growth get out of control and allow the traffic to keep us in our homes?”
He also noted the council’s recent vote to reject an apartment complex off Hog Mountain and Spout Springs roads. “I was the only one there who spoke against it.”
The winner of the race will serve out Jones’ term, which ends Dec. 31. Qualifying is set for Aug. 19-21 for the seat’s four-year term beginning Jan. 1, with that election taking place Nov. 5.