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Johns Creek council races filled with qualified candidates


Post 4 and Post 6 candidates



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Robert Gray (click for larger version)

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Eric Fragoso (click for larger version)

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Misra Arun

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Nancy Reinecke

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Lea Taylor

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Esther Weathers

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Steve Broadbent

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Tom Mazzuckelli
March 12, 2014
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. The May 20 special election to fill the two vacant Johns Creek City Council seats will not lack for candidates.

The following is an introduction to the Post 4 and Post 6 candidates. Post 4 candidate Thomas Radford was out of town. His introduction will appear in a later issue.

ARUN MISRA Post 4

Age: 62

Occupation: Retired college professor and businessman

Family: Wife Jay, 3 children and 6 grandchildren

Education: Doctorate in microbiology and genetic engineering

Civic organizations: Rotary Club of Johns Creek, Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce, Indian Business Association, Atlanta Botanical Gardens

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GET IN THIS RACE?

After retiring from a 20-plus-year career as a research scientist and university professor in biology and a second career of 25 years in real estate, investment and insurance, I retired in 2013. I had worked for the establishment of Johns Creek, and support a Milton County.

A 15-year resident at Ammersee, I have watched professionals leave the city to work in offices in Gwinnett to pay lower rent and save on taxes while numerous tracts of land of commercial value are languishing in the city.

I feel the need to give back to the community using my skills, experience and knowledge to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Johns Creek. I want to see that the city grows further and attracts quality people and businesses into its limits.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP ISSUE OR ISSUES FOR THE CITY?

There are minority issues in Johns Creek. Some of us still continue to wish that Johns Creek remained homogenous, had people of only our kind and did not travel in buses.

We paid lip service to the phrase, "World as a Global Village," but wished that did not happen in Johns Creek.

Johns Creek is a city that is experiencing diversity and globalization. It is a city where there is little involvement of minorities and those born in other lands in our civic and community affairs.

First, it is the duty of those minorities to be involved in civic life in the city. But they should be encouraged and welcomed to do so.

Second, large parts of the city lack community parkland or green space. The residents have to drive to Alpharetta, Norcross and Duluth for these amenities.

A Riverwalk Greenway accessible at multiple locations is a great recommendation, but little work has been done. The city is blessed with having the Chattahoochee. It can be used to promote healthy lifestyle with clean air, water and the trail systems within walking distance for residents.

IF ELECTED, WHAT IS AT THE TOP OF YOUR AGENDA?

Involvement of minority citizens and business to further the growth of the city. Develop and construct the structures at empty, vacant spaces, with the exception of impervious to catch rain for underground reservoirs.

Create more walking trails and park spaces for residents for a healthier life style, including bike paths. More senior centers with sports and exercise facilities, including yoga and meditation.

ERIC FRAGOSO Post 4

Age: 33

Occupation: Business consultant

Family: Wife Sara, son (4) and two daughters (2 and 7 months)

Education: M.A. Public Administration, University of Georgia

B.A. History, Asbury University

Public service/community involvement:

Vice chairman of the Johns Creek Board of Zoning Appeals; homeowner board member; elder at Perimeter Church

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GET IN THIS RACE?

Johns Creek is a vibrant city, full of outstanding schools, safe neighborhoods and citizens committed to making our home the premier city in Georgia, and it would be my privilege to serve our great city.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP ISSUE OR ISSUES FOR THE CITY?

I am committed to enhancing our green spaces for building community, incentivizing businesses to open their doors here and allocating financial resources responsibly.

IF ELECTED, WHAT ISSUE IS AT THE TOP OF YOUR AGENDA?

As a father of three, I want to be an advocate for families and children, particularly those with special needs. I want to ensure that Johns Creek is the best place in Georgia to raise a family.

ROBERT GRAY Post 4

Age: 50

Occupation: President Commercial Services, NTT Data

Family: Married 25 years with four children

Public service/community service: Georgia Tech, ATDC Mentor Program, 2014 present; North Point Church men's ministry; Swift School trustee and board trustee; Governor's Johns Creek transition committee; YMCA Adventure Guides Program.

WHY DID YOU GET INTO THIS RACE?

I had the privilege of working with Robert Home and the other founders of the city in the effort to create Johns Creek. We worked to create the city because we were overtaxed and underserved.

Now that Johns Creek has its footing, it is time to take the next step — creating a sense of identity, community and continuing to improve our quality of life while reducing the tax burden on the city's diverse residents. This point in our city's development requires a unique combination of historical perspective, global experience and commitment to service from the council. I am uniquely positioned to work with the mayor and City Council to guide the city.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP ISSUE OR ISSUES FOR THE CITY?

Public safety. Johns Creek was recently ranked as the second safest city in Georgia. This is an amazing feat, particularly given the amount of traffic that flows through our city daily. We must continue to invest in our police force, ensuring they have access to the latest training and are able to respond quickly when needed.

Traffic and roads. The main corridors through the city are gridlocked at least twice daily during the week and intermittently on the weekends. My goal is to develop policies to help us better manage the traffic flow. This includes investing in technology to improve our light synchronization and strengthening use of traffic impact studies in our zoning approval process.

City identity. Johns Creek has been described as a series of neighborhoods joined together by roads. Unlike our neighbors in Alpharetta, Roswell and elsewhere, Johns Creek does not have a city center. This is the time to transition from neighborhoods to a true community that is comprehensive and engages all citizens. It is now time to create a city center.

IF ELECTED, WHAT ISSUE IS AT THE TOP OF YOUR AGENDA?

We live in a competitive world. People have choices, whether for employment, living or entertainment. To maintain its premier residential status, we must lay out a vision of the city for the future shared by our community.

I believe this vision must call for high quality jobs that attract our youth; improved traffic flow; enhanced residential environments that allow extended families to choose to live within the city; and more diverse recreational and entertainment options that appeal to residents.

STEVE BROADBENT Post 6

Age: 60

Occupation: Executive benefits consultant

Family: Married 23 years to Mary, daughters Kate and Grace

Education:

B.S. in Nuclear Engineering, University of Virginia

MBA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

M.A. in Public Policy, George Washington University

Public service/community involvement:

Director, Johns Creek Foundation; former chairman, Johns Creek Planning Commission; director, Development Authority of Fulton County; member, Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce; member, Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce.

Military service (if applicable): Commander (retired), U.S. Navy

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GET IN THIS RACE?

I have lived in Johns Creek for 15 years, have raised my children in Johns Creek and run my small business here. Johns Creek is my life. I owe so much to this city and cannot think of a greater honor or pleasure than to serve its people.

No one is more capable of taking on the complex problems facing this city than me. Since my days in college as a nuclear engineering student, I have been taught how to tackle the most difficult problems. This knowledge, along with leadership skills honed in the United States Navy and in business, makes me uniquely qualified to lead Johns Creek in the important issues facing the city.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP ISSUE OR ISSUES FOR THE CITY?

The protection of Johns Creek's police force, firefighters and other first responders who put their very lives on the line will be my top budget priority. Johns Creek was recently named as one of America's safest cities and I will work hard to ensure the safety of our residents never changes. I will also aggressively pursue an economic development plan to increase our tax base beyond Johns Creek homeowners while, at the same time, maintaining the residential character that makes the city of Johns Creek so unique.

IF ELECTED, WHAT ISSUE IS AT THE TOP OF YOUR AGENDA?

When elected, I will work to maintain a small, fiscally responsible government and will not support any new taxes or increases in existing taxes.

While Johns Creek is a great place to live, traffic in our city generates more complaints than any other issue. We must continue to invest in our roads and in intelligent traffic signaling systems.

Every successful and vibrant city requires green space for recreation. I will work to enhance our common green spaces and build additional sidewalks and bike paths.

Finally, I will seek complete transparency in city government operations and will support tough ethics regulations for all elected and appointed officials.

ESTHER WEATHERS Post 6

Age: 29

Occupation: Fundraising consultant and mother

Family: Husband Seth and one son.

Education: Attended Brenau University and the University of Georgia

Public service/community service: Gwinnett/North Fulton Junior League and chair-elect of the Georgia State Public Affairs Committee; Canine Pet Rescue; attended National Republican Convention as a voting delegate; youngest member of the Electoral College from Georgia in 2008.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GET IN THIS RACE?

After moving to the city of Johns Creek as a newlywed, I continue to love this city more each day. After the birth of our first child, I knew Johns Creek was the city in which we would raise our family and send our son to school.

My husband's grandparents made Johns Creek their home long before it was a city we now look forward to carrying on that family legacy. I am passionate about keeping this a community that we are proud to call home and will work to maintain our highly ranked public schools, low level of crime and a strong business environment. As someone who will raise a family here, I am a fully vested stakeholder in the community and will provide the energy and passion to ensure our city stays on the right path.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP ISSUE OR ISSUES FOR THE CITY?

I'm proud of everything our city has accomplished in such a short period of time. There is still more we can do to attract new businesses to our city along with young professionals and families needed to maintain them.

I would like to see a town center, similar to the historic small towns that my husband and I were raised in. This would be supported by local business owners and would give us a physical identity and attract the right people and businesses to our community.

Currently, we lose a lot of potential tax dollars to nearby Roswell and Alpharetta who each have bustling downtown areas. As a conservative, I believe these goals must be accomplished through private individuals rather than government investments.

IF ELECTED, WHAT ISSUE IS AT THE TOP OF YOUR AGENDA?

Ensuring taxes are not raised and our city government is more transparent. We are elected to serve the citizens of this great city and they have a right to know what's happening in City Hall.

I also understand that each dollar spent by the city of Johns Creek comes from local taxpayers and should be managed conservatively. For this reason, I am opposed to any increase in taxes and commit to the citizens of Johns Creek to never vote for a tax increase.

LEA TAYLOR - Post 6

Age: 47

Occupation: Social media coordinator for Gaddis Partners Realty; preschool teacher at Mount Pisgah Christian School.

Family: Husband Rick; 2 children

Education: B.A. in Commercial Art at American College for the Applied Arts; studied for advanced degree in education at Kennesaw State University.

Public service/community involvement: Board of Directors Johns Creek Arts Center, secretary; Zoning Committee liaison for Johns Creek Community Association; JCCA 2008 Margaret Krueger Volunteer of the Year; Friends of Ocee Library Board; secretary Johns Creek Beautification Board; Johns Creek Board of Zoning Appeals Post A; volunteer at Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GET IN THIS RACE?

This is an exciting time for the city of Johns Creek. We have established our goals as a

city, set boundaries regarding our intentions for continued development and have a clear direction for our future. The people that served and continue to serve on City Council have worked hard to lay a foundation for our city based on what the majority of residents desire.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP ISSUE OR ISSUES FOR THE CITY?

I see the same top issue as most Johns Creek residents stewardship. Finding the balance between encouraging business growth to offset homeowner tax increases and keeping the residential component of our city vibrant.

IF ELECTED, WHAT ISSUE IS AT THE TOP OF YOUR AGENDA?

If elected, the issue at the top of my agenda will be continued adherence to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan. There was a tremendous amount of citizen and business owner time, thought and energy that went into formulating the Comprehensive Land Use Plan. I believe it is the best tool we can use to find the balance between commercial and residential interests in Johns Creek.

REINECKE Post 6

Age: 62, resident of Johns Creek for 28 years

Occupation: Dietitian/nutritionist/teacher

Family: Husband Royce of 37 years and two daughters

Education: M.S., Medical Science, Emory University

B.S., Food Science and Nutrition, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Public Service: Fulton County poll manager for eight years; substitute teacher for Johns Creek middle and high schools for seven years; community advocate and organizer of the Buice Road Homeowners Coalition; roadside litter pickup; PTA member and school volunteer (reading, Project Self-Esteem, environmental classes, Odyssey of the Mind, Academic Bowl team coach); Doublegate Garden Club master gardener advisor.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GET IN THIS RACE?

I am running for City Council to work for a great city with low taxes, thriving businesses, repaved streets, free-flowing traffic and wonderful parks. I support sound zoning decisions that respect the citizens of Johns Creek and don't worsen our traffic and safety issues.

Many people who came to know me from my campaign last fall encouraged me to run again, because they see me as a person who shares many of their views, and who is willing and able to put in much time and effort as part of the City Council team, and to engage with the community to work for the benefit of Johns Creek.

I have been active in the community and our city government for many years, making me knowledgeable of city policies, procedures and personnel. My knowledge and experience as a community advocate and educator will provide a needed addition on City Council to help explain the issues in the city and encourage citizen participation. My unique skills will be very helpful in creating a conversation that the mayor has requested about what we would like our city to be and how we can get there.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP ISSUES FOR THE CITY?

Top issues for the city include filling empty storefronts, addressing our traffic problems, repaving subdivision streets, meeting the demand on our parks and updating the city charter and ethics ordinance to reflect lessons learned over the past seven years.

To fill the empty storefronts, we need to review our sign ordinance and ensure we do not overburden businesses with taxes and fees. To address our traffic problems, we need to revisit the Transportation Plan and ensure that zoning decisions do not add to the problem. Fulton County was deficient in road and other infrastructure maintenance when the city was formed and although we have caught up on main road repairs, we still need to address subdivision street repaving. To do this, we need a sustainable, comprehensive infrastructure maintenance plan. We were also deficient in park space when the city was formed and there is a lot of pressure on existing parks to meet demand. We need to act on a park and green space plan before the land is all consumed.

IF ELECTED, WHAT ISSUE IS AT THE TOP OF YOUR AGENDA?

The issue at the top of my agenda is delving into the city budget, because it ultimately affects our ability to address the issues facing the city, and the city budget will be issued soon after the election.

Also, the additional $1.9 million in local option sales tax revenues will have a tremendous impact on the budget. Because I am for low taxes and fiscal responsibility, I want to ensure that money is being spent effectively and in line with community priorities.

TOM MAZZUCKELLI Post 6

Age: 56

Occupation: General dentist, Thomas J. Mazzuckelli, Ph.D, DMD, PC; adjunct faculty member, Georgia Regents University

Family: Wife Katie (Tyler and Company), twins Anna (Furman University) and Alec (Duke University)

Education: B.A., Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill. 1979; Ph.D, Duke University, N.C. 1983; D.M.D., Medical College of Georgia, 1995.

Public Service: President Haynes Landing Homeowners Association; member Emile T. Fisher Board for Dental Education in Georgia; member Northern District Georgia Dental Association.



WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GET IN THIS RACE?

It is up to the mayor and City Council to manage this growth effectively. I am encouraged by the results of the latest election. The taxpaying citizens of Johns Creek effectively voted to put a stop to the infighting and needless use of funds for investigations by electing positive forces to foster rational government. I am seeking election to this post to be a part of this management team.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP ISSUES FOR THE CITY?

As a 25-plus year resident of Johns Creek, I have witnessed spectacular growth in our region. And as Johns Creek matures, more growth is inevitable. As I drive from the west on I-20, the metro Atlanta area presents an impressive skyline. As we manage for the future, Johns Creek needs to grow vertically so that it becomes the next significant piece of the metro area profile. High quality vertical growth will attract significant new businesses to Johns Creek, which will, in turn, attract and create jobs for young people, provide revenue for necessary improvements in our infrastructure while maintaining or

enhancing our property values.

IF ELECTED, WHAT ISSUE IS AT THE TOP OF YOUR AGENDA?

Johns Creek has the components for successful growth. Our city staff is small and effective. As a businessman, I appreciate the efficiency in which my varied requests for zoning, licensing and signage are handled. Our police and fire services are second to none and are constantly improving. I appreciate their help and support. And I enjoy our wonderful parks, especially Newtown and Park Place, and the positive impact that these facilities have had on my family's lives.

JC 03-13-14

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