An open and honest debate

Last night the Alpharetta High School debate team hosted a candidate’s forum. In my remarks to the crowd I pointed out that open, honest debate is what elections are supposed to be about. I emphasized the word “supposed” because the political discourse in this city has become anything but an open and honest debate.

Almost two months ago I declared my candidacy for Alpharetta City Council post 4 because I knew my opponent’s track record and could not bear the thought of her running unopposed. At the time I knew it would be difficult to win a race against an entrenched, establishment candidate but I felt the people of Alpharetta deserved to have another option and regardless of the outcome I looked forward to an open and honest debate about the future of our city.

For the last two months I have done everything in my power to keep this campaign focused on the future of Alpharetta. Scandals and allegations have surrounded my opponent from nearly day one yet I have refused to get caught up in mudslinging. Instead I have devoted all of my time and energy to getting out my message: growth we can live with, leadership on traffic issues and low taxes.

But an open and honest debate takes two people and today’s Alpharetta Revue is a perfect example of what I have been up against.

Page 24 of the October 27, 2011 edition of the Alpharetta Revue contains a candidate profile that my opponent submitted for publication. In Mrs. Oakes’ profile she claims, “Then we must clean up some problems created before I arrived. For example, Prospect Park and Windward Mill were both voted on by council before I arrived”.

That statement is blatantly false. Mrs. Oakes did vote for the Windward Mill development which added seven condominium towers to one of the most congested intersections in Alpharetta. I know that because I was there and it is a matter of public record. But you don’t have to take my word for it, just turn to page 5 of the same paper.

On page 5 there is an article explaining how Mrs. Oakes publicly denied voting for Windward Mill during a debate. Then when the reporter confronted her with the truth, Mrs. Oakes quickly changed her story and responded, “I think it was the right thing at the right location.”

So on page twenty four Mrs. Oakes claims that she did not vote for a high density mixed use project and asks voters to re-elect her so she can clean up the mess left by her predecessor. But on page five Mrs. Oakes admits the truth and defends her vote for the project by saying it was the right thing to do.

It is simply impossible to conduct an open and honest debate with that kind of politician.

Alpharetta is at a critical crossroads of our future. These are challenging times and we can’t afford four more years of false claims with abrupt position switches.

We need leadership. For more than a decade I provided that leadership in protecting the quality of life that makes Alpharetta special. I have the track record to prove it.

So I ask you to please vote for Jim Gilvin, Alpharetta City Council Post 4.

Jim Gilvin profile in the Alpharetta Revue

In case you missed my candidate profile in the Alpharetta Revue:

In November of 2007, none of the candidates for Alpharetta City Council ran on a platform of unbridled urban development for our city. Yet looking back, we see that is exactly what we got.

Shortly after that election, the City Council approved a 47-acre high-density project with a 15-story condo tower at exit 11 on Ga. 400. Then, they approved a new zoning initiative which will bring thousands more condos and/or apartments to the Milton High School district. Recently, the council approved a third mega project, The Peridot, on Haynes Bridge Road, and they are advancing a revised comprehensive land use plan that will add thousands more apartments and/or condos.

These unprecedented zoning changes will make traffic in Alpharetta absolutely unbearable. The children of Alpharetta will be forced to endure an endless cycle of disruptive school redistricting. The struggling downtown community, the new owners of Prospect Park and the vacant properties that now dot the landscape in Alpharetta will be faced with even more competition for scarce shoppers, dollars and residents.

The people of Alpharetta realize that some growth is desirable and inevitable. They also realize that there is a limit to how much growth our community can sustain without destroying the quality of life we now enjoy.

That is why I am running for the Alpharetta City Council Post 4 seat.

The voters of Alpharetta can now choose between two very distinct visions of their future. Voters can choose to elect the incumbent with a record of supporting unbridled growth regardless of the consequences, or they can choose to vote for my proven track record of promoting growth that Alpharettans can live with.

Alpharettans deserve a City Council representative that will work tirelessly to promote and defend their vision of Alpharetta’s future. I am that person.

You can read the whole thing at

Communication or Acquiescence?

This morning I saw an editorial by our local newspaper publisher which criticizes Republicans for being partisan and uses the quote from Cool Hand Luke: “What we have here is a failure to communicate”. You can see the editorial here:

This is my response:

Dear Mr. Appen,


I find it instructive that you use the famous quote, “What we have here is a failure to communicate”, in your editorial.


The quote originally comes from the classic movie Cool Hand Luke and is spoken by the brutal and sadistic warden Boss Godfrey. After beating the title character with a blackjack Boss utters the famous line. In context the quote clearly means that “communication” will occur when Cool Hand Luke succumbs to the will of the warden and there will be no further discussion. To see the quote used as an invitation for dialogue is humorous.


The scene reminds me of the “bipartisan” meeting President Obama held with Republicans to win their support for his stimulus bill. When Republicans proposed changes to the bill, President Obama reportedly responded with, “I won”. Our president had the opportunity to incorporate conservative ideas into his stimulus package and thereby earn the votes of people that disagreed with him but instead he summarily dismissed them.


Let me be clear. I am not saying that President Obama is a sadistic warden. I didn’t choose the quote, you did. I am saying that actions speak louder than words. If President Obama’s actions are the type of “bipartisanship” you endorse then I respectfully disagree.


All politicians have a duty to put politics aside and do what is best for the country. They also have a responsibility to defend the principles which have served our nation well for more than 200 years.


Acquiescence is not bipartisanship.