We Deserve Better

There are millions of honorable men and women who will never run for political office because they refuse to subject themselves and their families to the ugly world of politics. Our nation suffers as a result.

And if a candidate dares to take on the political establishment the attacks can become outrageous. It happened to Sarah Palin, it happened to South Carolina’s Governor Niki Haley and it is happening to me.

Within days of announcing my candidacy for Alpharetta City Council there were vicious lies about my positions on a local blog. You can read about those attacks here.

And the lies haven’t stopped. Last night at a campaign event a woman asked me about my position on Amana Academy. I explained that I have consistently fought to protect Windward’s master plan over the years and told her that I made my opposition to the school rezoning clear to Alpharetta City Councilmembers before I ever decided to run for political office.

I also mentioned to the woman that my political opponents had spread false rumors about my position on the issue. As I handed the woman a campaign sign for her yard she replied, “It’s funny you should say that because someone called me the other day and told me that Cheryl Oakes’ opponent supported Amana Academy.”

So let me set the record straight. I have spent more than a decade helping the people of Alpharetta fight to protect their schools, property values and quality of life. Before I decided to run for council I personally distributed hundreds of flyers on behalf of people opposed to the school relocation because I wanted my neighbors to know the legitimate, objective reasons it would be bad for our community. Any insinuation that I support the Amana Academy rezoning is a bald faced lie.

In fact, my opponent, Cheryl Oakes, is the candidate who opened the door for changes to the Windward master plan by voting to approve seven high rise condominium buildings one block from the Amana site in 2008. She supported that project over the objections of hundreds of nearby families and when it is built there will be more than 12,000 cars added to one of the most congested intersections in Alpharetta.

Those are the facts.

The tactics of deception are disappointing but not surprising. I fully expected people to lie and deceive in this campaign because they have done it in the past and will continue to do so as long as it keeps them in power.

The episode reminds me of the old saying, “In democracy you get the government you deserve”. In the context of Alpharetta politics I hope that isn’t true.

We deserve better.

This is not your typical campaign website

This website would be more accurately described as a blog. It was created in 2008 and named GA Jim. It was intended as a whimsical way for a busy, forty-something real estate agent with a wife and two kids to reach out to like-minded people in those few precious snippets of time between little league games, listing presentations, homeowners organizations and zoning meetings.

Over time GA Jim evolved into an issue oriented political blog focused primarily on events affecting the families of Alpharetta, the people of Georgia and our great nation, the United States of America. GA Jim became a place where people busy raising their families could turn to keep up with the news affecting their children’s school or find out why Douglas Road was closed down. GA Jim became a place where people who never read the public notices in the newspaper could turn to find out how a zoning issue might affect them.

Sometimes I tried to be funny, sometimes I tried to be provocative and more often than not I probably failed to do either. Over the years I have easily spent thousands of hours writing and researching the columns on GA Jim and I have never gotten a penny in return. It has been a labor of love that over time managed to develop a dedicated following among the people who care about such things.

So last week when I decided to run for City Council I was faced with a dilemma. What would I do with GA Jim? It was fine for me to write irreverent, biting or sarcastic blog posts about local issues when I was just another guy with opinions. But as someone seeking to represent the people of Alpharetta that would no longer be appropriate. So what would I do?

A normal politician would never start a blog like GA Jim in the first place and if it did exist they would be sure to delete it before running for office. It contains heartfelt opinions, stances and positions that will undoubtably be attacked by my political opponents. The typical politician would erase GA Jim with the click of a button and eliminate hundreds of posts containing their thoughts over the last two years. With the blog erased they could take any position that would help them get elected without fear of contradiction. That’s what any normal politician would do.

But I am not a normal politician. Until 4:15 last Wednesday afternoon I was just another husband, father and conservative voter frustrated by the political world around me. The decision to run for City Council didn’t change any of that. It simply added the word candidate to the description.

I am now a candidate for Alpharetta City Council post 4. By qualifying to run for City Council I made a commitment to the people of Alpharetta. I want to represent them and if they allow me that honor I will treat the issues with the seriousness they deserve and conduct myself at all times in a manner befitting their trust. Becoming a candidate will not change who I am but it does change how this blog can best serve the people of Alpharetta.

GA Jim is now my campaign website. This is not your typical campaign website because I am not your typical politician.

Please vote for Jim Gilvin on November 8th.

Yes it is true. I have crossed over to the dark side.

Former City Clerk Sue Rainwater wishes me luck

Today I registered as a candidate for the Alpharetta City Council post 4 seat. After complaining about politics and politicians for most of my adult life I finally decided that it was time to put up or shut up.

And as any of my regular readers know, shutting up was never really an option.

Looking ahead to the next two months of campaigning I expect it will be exciting, daunting, frustrating and sometimes even rewarding. I don’t know how much of the campaign I will be able to share on these pages but fear not… the GA Jim blog will survive.