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Candidate's Airport Opinions Raise Questions About Their Ethics

Briscoe Field has politics heating up as each candidate debates for your vote. If you did not attend the last debate read the glove sparring events that took place!

The Flying Machine was the site of local politics at its best as three candidates told the politically active attendees how to cast their votes. Each commented on why he is the best person to lead Gwinnett into the “AIRPORT ERA.”  Dacula political newcomer and business leader Mike Korom, former Snellville Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer and incumbent Mike Beaudreau addressed the sizable, informed crowd. 

But, before the main event, Rep. Rob Woodall was there giving his town hall meeting pitch. It was the first time I had heard him speak. I clearly understand the saying ”Politicians are all full of hot air” after just 40 minutes of listening to his comments that could have been taken from any dinner party’s conservation of educated voters. I was stunned by his comment, ”Even if we have to deal with another four years of Obama, we can handle it!”  His comment was not what a southern Republican wants to hear out of the mouth of her representative. 

However his comment, ”As soon as the citizens realize they can vote themselves benefits, our country, our republic, is over,” was indeed confirmation of my belief that we now at that point in our country's history.  Once 50 percent of our fellow citizens -- who pay no taxes -- gain control, they will only vote for the candidate who will offer them benefits. The republic fails because it can’t prevail with more takers than givers. Thankfully Woodall was not the main event as we were half asleep with his comments. He looks good. He sounds polished to the general public. He means well.  Is that all it takes now days to get elected? 

Setting the scene were the republican trio running for the District 3 county commission seat.  District 3 is made up of Auburn, Dacula, Lilburn, Lawrenceville, Grayson, Snellville and Stone Mountain as well as other parts of Gwinnett County.  The upcoming election has heated up due in part to the airport issue confronting voters. 

There are three candidates now battling for the seat. First is Mike Korom, an experienced community leader with years of business success on his resume.  He comes into the arena the same way Beaudreau did, as a HOA leader concerned with changes that will affect his community. After investigating and studying the airport issue Korom states he is against the current airport plan. 

Secondly is the former mayor of Snellville, Jerry Oberholtzer, an experienced political leader who has a joking nature as well as his mayoral years that gives him plenty of creditability for the job of commissioner. He has directed Snellville's growth and been reelected by his voters.  Mayor Jerry has stood both for and then against the airport in the public arena.  

Finally, is Commissioner Mike Beaudreau, our reelected commissioner who runs on his conservative record. He has held firm to his expansion of the airport commitment even though the airport expansion is not a popular stand with many in his district.  So we have one for the expansion, one against expansion, and one flip-flopping.  

Years ago when first meeting ”Baby Mikey,” I was not impressed with his personality, appearance, or his command of the issues.  Yet after Thursday night, I can see why many support Beaudreau.  He has evolved into a solid politician over his past eight years.  He is polished. He is striking in his dark suit, red shirt, and perfect tie.  He answers each question with insight and force.  He may not be your candidate but you can’t deny that he looks like a politician, talks like a politician, and handles himself like a politician. Even in the very “Beaudreau hostile room" he held up his conservative voting record as reason to put him back in office.  He continued to attempt to remove his “arrogant title” with calm and complete answers while many in the place spoke out of turn against him.  This man has been in the cooker before and has no regrets and makes no bones about his past decisions.  Gotta like a man who sticks to his word even if the public is not seeing it his way. 

So there we have it, one for the expansion, one against the expansion and one flip-flopping depending on his audience.  Ah, the smell of politics was as thick as Joy’s white gravy smothering the delicious country fried chicken.  Each candidate professionally answered the polite questions with barely a rise in their gentlemen voices.  Both Oberholtzer and Beaudreau were scoring points over the political newcomer Korom, as their years of political experience, in front of the public, was evident.  This was until Korom unleashed his savvy political ability.  Of course you don’t get to the top of the chart, as Korom's resume attested to, without knowing your competitor's shortcomings and capitalizing on them.  

Enter Korom. Korom, having done his homework, stood up and addressed Mayor Oberholtzer. Reading from an AJC news article in which Mayor Oberholtzer stated that the potential privatization and commercialization of Briscoe Field was a good step for Gwinnett’s future, Korom sent the mayor searching for the correct response to his flip-flopping on the airport issue.  Oberholtzer had just minutes earlier told the audience that the airport was a NO for him!  Chalk one up for the political newcomer!

As he tried to recover from the savvy newcomer’s political hit, Commissioner Mike Beaudreau began swinging at the bobbing Mayor about his rezoning record.  Beaudreau brought up many instances that he felt were questionable.  Mayor Oberholtzer then began to swing back at Commissioner Beaudreau for his less than truthful actions he felt needed to be raised for the voting public.  The gloves were off!  Today in our controlled, contrite, politically correct debates the candidates rarely stray from their talking points.  The voting public is tired of politics as usual.  We were now seeing each candidate fighting for his name and for your vote. 

With the election still months away, it is important that the voters get to know each candidate.  This is real life drama, not people eating slugs on a tropical island. This is real life that will affect Gwinnett’s future, not a bachelor who is awestruck by a skinny dipping doofus that will have no effect on your future. This is real politics, with real people, wanting your real vote. They will be debating again in June at the Stars and Strikes on Dacula.  Come out for dinner.  Listen to their visions of our Gwinnett. Decide whom will get your vote.  My vote is still up for grabs.  I see good in each candidate at this time.  Beaudreau is holding the seat. Oberholtzer is  experienced.  Korom is ready.  Make 2012 the year you become a good citizen instead of a TV Laz!   

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Cynthia Montgomery March 11, 2012 at 05:59 AM
R. I did try to get that to play & could not. I admit I have not been on top of the airport issue (attending meetings, reading reports, background search as to whom it will profit if it goes through) but have heard NOTHING but complaints from everyone I speak to about it. Brisco Field is not that big now 7 it is land locked by a city & major highways. I guess across the train tracks, over Hwy 8, & into King's Hill is the plan. Poor Plan if you ask me.There is CHEAP LAND UP I-85. GO north young man! If "they" want an airport, go buy some cheap land in the wide open land up I-85 & build an airport! It is too late to put one on this side of town! I heard all about 8-23-11 & I think that was supposed to happen so this could happen, THE SLEEPING GIANT HAS BEEN AWAKENED! It doesn't take a lawyer to be a city councilman. It takes someone willing to put in the time necessary to study issues. It takes listening to your voters. It takes salesmanship to make things happen. It takes devotion to your commitment to listen & lead. When you stop listening - you stop leading! MB may look the part & speak the part but, I am not sold that he can lead without the support of the voters. The issue of 8-23-11has MB in a place where he has lost credit with his pubic. We need a clean break & a new leader is what I keep hearing. I would like to see what the next debate brings before I commit. Until then the words, "Sometimes you gotta bow up and take one for the team," seems to fit well here.
David Day March 16, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I'm glad that I do not rely on the Patch for any sort of actual news. I will make no comment on the actual news involved in this story. However, I will take issue with such a poorly written account of a local political meeting. This article contains many typos and is almost incomprehensible. A reader would have no clue what actually happened by reading this article. They would however get a very good sense of poor writing that has a heavy dose of the writer's own personal opinion and political leanings. The Patch needs to send the writer to take a few journalism classes and help her realize that not everyone in Gwinnett is interested in her opinion or is a Republican southern woman. Some of us actually want to understand what happened at the meeting and what the issues are.
Kristi Reed March 16, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Hi David - This section of the site is called "Local Voices." It is a section where Dacula residents can post blogs about issues of interest to them. These bloggers are not employed by Patch and do not represent Patch. Patch does however provide the platform for local residents to share their opinions and interact with other readers. This piece is not meant to be a news account and is labeled as opinion. I appreciate the fact that Cynthia has a strong interest in politics and took the time to share her views. I encourage you to ask her any questions you may have and enjoy the exchange with other Patch readers.
Louise Holcombe March 18, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Mr. Akridge, Have you ever had to think about whether your home was going to be snatched out from under you by a crooked politician? I'm sure you haven't! We have and it's pathetic how cruel some people can be to those who would have to sacrifice their homes for the convenience of Mike Beaudreau and his airport expansion cronies!
Cynthia Montgomery March 18, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Mr DD, Come now, shame on you. You must be new to the BLOG era. We all give each other that occasional miss SPPELLEDD word in favor of our quick ability to speak our minds. The PATCH allows the pulse of the community to be shared in real time. Yet, there always seems to be that, holier than thou, I B smart, U B Stupid, mean spirited blogger that comes along feeling the need to BLAST the people that have a spine to comment. We recognized YOU right away. Don't like the opinions, can't give a valid rebuttal, just criticize the writers. We are adults & we all have our own opinions. We all recognize the rights of the other's opinion."WE PLAY NICE" as the ladies of Hamilton Mill say about FB. Don't SAHRE my opinion, no problem, give your own. If this is not a venue that appeals to your nice side, go back to reading the nearly dead Sunday paper! It must just kill you to know that for over a week citizens have commented & brought up topics about the debate that YOU DID NOT EVEN ATTEND! I was there. I wrote what I saw & heard. If you don't vote, you have no right to gripe. Ditto on the Debate! Angry White Men! How dare a woman give her opinion! I enjoyed every spring morning that I ran to the J building on the beautiful UGA campus & earned Dean's List honors & my ABJ. Guess what? The sign of a good writer is that others feel compelled to take time & write back. YOU COMMENTED! At UGA we learned; 1 response = 100 readers. Comments Mr BB or just more gripes? IS your man the Mayor?

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