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58 Comments

  1. 1

    Jennifer

    Thank you to the Brookhaven Post for asking the questions and to the candidates for answering them. Some years you can look at the bigger picture and make your decision for your vote and some years you have to look at your local issues. Brookhaven is at a tipping point, do we become a very urbanized area with major developments separating the reduced neighborhoods or do we fight to preserve the things that brough us to Brookhaven with everything we have. If you are of the opinion that we fight to preserve Brookhaven by ensuring that development that will happen is within the scope and character of your neighborhood you have an obvious choice in Catherine Benard. If you want to look at a bigger picture then one of the others is probably your candidate. I am in the fight to the end and Catherine has my vote!

  2. 2

    Jason

    Honestly, the LAST thing I want is the state legislature getting involved with our local zoning and land use issues. And I certainly don’t want a state legislator who thinks that is an appropriate thing for the state to be doing.

    I hope the ZBA and city council will do their jobs, and if not, qualified and concerned citizens run for or are appointed to those positions.

    But please, keep the state legislature out of MY neighborhood’s decisions.

  3. 3

    Jennifer

    Exactly, so do you want a candidate that is for creating more decisions regarding zoning, land use and transportation in the legislature to ensure a committee position for themselves or one that thinks that the people of the city should have the say in what is going on?

  4. 4

    Joshua

    I do realize the general election is over 6 months away, and the current focus in HD 80 is the Republican Primary; however, outside of the Pastor Protection Act, and possibly policy related to MARTA expansion/transportation – It is not very clear on how any of these 3 candidates would vote differently than Bennett on most of the key votes in the most recent session. Catherine Bernard has proven she will vote what she believes is an “correct” position, while it appears Hanson clearly will just follow suit with the GOP. HD 80 should just stick with Bennett! If it aint broke……..

  5. 5

    RAJ

    Don’t get to vote for Catherine, but am a supporter and Brookhaven and District 80 are the envy of DeKalb. Catherine is experienced in the District, studies the issues, and would be a fair minded Representative.

  6. 6

    James

    Dont really understand your comment here as all three candidates make it very clear (Alan Cole is less clear but thats because he chose not to provide a lot of detail), that they believe in the local process and citizen involvement in the best manner to decide local development.

  7. 7

    James

    There are plenty of key issues, including local legislation issues, that all three of these Republicans will be better on than Taylor. Rep. Bennett openly opposes education reform and school choice in a district that badly needs it. I have no idea where he stands on getting rid of the DeKalb CEO position, but it is DeKalb’s Democratic house delegation that has blocked it. If he doesnt support it, we know there’s at least one, maybe even all three in this primary that will support it.

    If anything, the fact we have 3 Republicans opposed to RFRA but that could be for this other issues shows we have better options than our current state Rep.

  8. 8

    Anne

    Garst needs a client – Alan Cole
    Establishment needs someone electable – Megan Hansen
    House District 80 needs a representative – Catherine Bernard

  9. 9

    Eric Robert

    I don’t understand what this quote by Catherine means? “But there is so much more to be done (do we really want MARTA to be the landlord for Brookhaven’s city center?),” She also put it in her NextDoor Fundraiser post yesterday. Does it mean she is questioning putting city hall there and having MARTA retain ownership in the land or is she questioning putting development there and having MARTA retain ownership. I hope she’s not questioning MARTA retaining ownership since there are many positive aspects to that and few negatives. I mean its not like MARTA is the operating developing or operating the businesses and collecting rent from the tenants. We are talking long term land leases just like what the development authority does, though unlike the development authority there it is transparent and obvious where the revenues go. If she’s concerned about city hall going there then ok Brookhaven can rent a building somewhere else.

  10. 10

    Dave

    The words Chamblee and Sandy Springs are included in one response from one of the three candidates responses and it as a throw away line.

    As to substance, Ms. Bernard advises she would support “zero public funding for abortion or contraception, but all contraception should be available over-the-counter. And let’s fight for a culture that respects and protects everyone’s lives, and that doesn’t prevent women from getting the health care they and their doctors believe that they need, while also not forcing others to subsidize decisions that they consider deeply immoral.”

    First, the Feds and Georgia give no money for abortion. Second, Ms. Bernard, a lawyer should read up on that pesky preemption thing in the Constitution, given the ACA. Third, just why isn’t she opposed to the death penalty? I for one find it to be deeply immoral. Ah, she thinks only certain people are entitled to determine immorality.

  11. 11

    Disgusted in Ashford Park

    Go Catherine. Suggest voters “follow the money” in this election. Big donations from the Developer/Builder/Clear cutter associations and other out of city special interests to Meagan Hanson. Catherine’s the real deal and believe she is the right choice.

  12. 12

    Mitt

    Actually, Taylor Bennett co sponsored the legislation with Scott Holcolmb to get rid of the CEO position. Both Democrats

  13. 13

    Flubber

    Catherine Bernard is just another clueless Republican. It’s clear she doesn’t care about anything but Brookhaven.

  14. 14

    Disgusted in Ashford Park

    The only “Special Interests” that Catherine supports are her constituents. The way it should be..

  15. 15

    Saul

    You are going g to love the clueless Meagan.

  16. 16

    Patrick

    Is that why there is a ethics question about her?

  17. 17

    Disgusted in Ashford Park

    Are you referring to the Attention grabbing Frivolous one ? Please provide details.

  18. 18

    Eddie E.

    That was hilarious!
    Ask them ten more questions and see if it was just a fluke or if there is real comedy talent here!

  19. 19

    Eddie E.

    So why not stick with a known and effective Representative?

  20. 20

    Disgusted in Ashford Park

    OK Eddie. Who is the dude candidate ? Where did he come from ?

  21. 21

    Eddie E.

    Clarify?

  22. 22

    Disgusted in Ashford Park

    I was trying questions 2 and 3 of ten. Obviously I have failed. One you have to explain you know it went no where – not your fault. I will prep better next time.

  23. 23

    Eddie E.

    Well, the obvious answers for all three are there:
    2-Nothing.
    3-Nothing.
    Unless being a willing supplicant to a failed ideology that starving government (see state education budget 2003-2016 for more details) somehow improves governance than I see nothing other than nothing.
    But the appearances on the guy from the dunwoody whiner’s teevee show are hilarious as well.

  24. 24

    Saul

    Patrick, let me know when you are ready for me to pour you another Tom Taylor.

  25. 25

    Saul

    Was having some mega chips and black eye pea chili with the gang at this local bar and we was discussing the HD 80 candidates. Here is what thoughts was scribbled on a bar napkin.

    Meagan

    Dick’s show? You have only been on the Dick’s show a handful of times. It was clear your presence was for career appearance, definitely not for the substance of your knowledge or participation.

    Conservative? I don’t think you can call yourself a conservative if you were a major participant in creating Brookhaven and Mitt Romney is not a conservative.

    Listening? Your ears are about as clogged as Mike Jacobs are.

    Development? By creating more government you have unwittingly encouraged development in our area faster than it would normally occur.

    Party line? Yes, you have pay back.

    Legislature? You are a part of the machine.

    Alan

    Community involvement? As a republican I sure wish you had done more to clean up DeKalb instead of creating more government. Conservatives don’t create government, they clean it up.

    Party line? Your neighborhood.

    Legislature? You are a part of the machine.

    The general assessment was that the same old thought process we have seen from the politicians in the area is due for a welcomed change and cannot happen soon enough. We also agreed that both Meagan and Alan probably like their Tom Taylor neat out of a hip or purse flask.

  26. 26

    Eric Robert

    Alan’s the only candidate running to just represent the 80th district (which does not include a sizeable portion of Brookhaven). The rest are pursuing a career. Not saying they won’t all try to zealously represent the interests of the 80th district, just that two also have a motivation Alan doesn’t.

  27. 27

    Saul

    Eric, I can see from your confusion about the area covered by HD 80 and its relationship that you may have already started your weekend early by pouring yourself a Tom Taylor. This should help you as the map is interactive, use your cursor. Alan thinks Brookhaven consists of D1 only.

    Many think of Catherine as very sharp and the ‘unpolitician’, the ideal to have in political office at any level.

    http://statisticalatlas.com/state-lower-legislative-district/Georgia/District-80/Overview

  28. 28

    Eddie E.

    Her talents thusfar seem best suited to community organizer.

  29. 29

    Disgusted in Ashford Park

    Interesting Eddie. Our country spends more per capita on education than any other country per several sources. Others put it in the top 5. Utah spends very little per capita yet has some of the highest benchmarks for education success. Go Figure. I guess the solution is to just throw more money at the problem right ? Even a more bloated bureaucracy, more corruption and inefficiencies can then be funded.

  30. 30

    Saul

    Eddie, that would be what your President will be doing again in about not be months.

  31. 31

    Eddie E.

    That is truly interesting, especially when the State has robbed 8 billion from the Education Budget since 2003.
    What does your empty comparison prove?

  32. 32

    Saul

    Sorry, should read nine months, Eddie.

  33. 33

    Eddie E.

    Until President Clinton nominates him to the Supreme Court.

  34. 34

    Saul

    Ms. Clinton just might be behind bars and if our next President is a Socialist, it will be President Sanders. Government education is finally paying off.

    BTW, Eddie, I bet I can piss farther than you can.

  35. 35

    Saul

    Eric, you ready for me to pour you another Tom Taylor? Neat? Here, just take my flask. Let me have it back when you empty it.

  36. 36

    Eddie E.

    That depends on how much ‘prep’ I am allowed!

  37. 37

    Flubber

    Apple, meet Orange.

  38. 38

    Flubber

    That will happen ^^^

  39. 39

    Flubber

    Saul, show me a link to any indictment…it’s going to hard giving that there is no criminal activity going on. Simply put, there’s “no there there”.

  40. 40

    Saul

    Flubber that was TIC. Everyone knows this administration will have no charges for her, she is hands off. Her assistants are another story. They will pay for her crimes.

  41. 41

    RDA

    Meagan Hanson brags that she was on The Georgia Gang calling out corruption.
    This is a JOKE!
    Dick Williams is the very embodiment of Corruption.
    He represents ALL the Special Interests and invents whatever necessary to DESTROY any HONEST Candidate that will NOT cater to the Voting Desires of the Establishment (He caters to BOTH Parties – to ensure they have CONTROL over what information The People hear and therefore how they VOTE).
    .
    Then, she brags about helping institute Public-Private Partnerships – which she must be aware are Totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL – there’s NO PLACE, anywhere in the Federal Constitution that would allow for this.
    (Most unfortunately, many State Constitutions now allow this type of UNCONSTITUTIONAL actions – due to the never-ending efforts of Demagogues – that PROFIT Immensly from DECEIVING the Voteers).
    It puts Government in Business – directly against FREE Private Enterprise – and therefore, picks WINNERS & LOSERS.
    If she saved $400M on I-285 etc it’s because the whole system is CORRUPT and simply does NOT Make Sense.
    If there was TRUE Competitiveness and UNBIASED selection of contractors, ALL Highway costs would be dramatically less (in fact, ALL Govt contracted costs would be less).
    .
    She says she will not be beholden to party over principle. Sounds good – but, difficult to believe when you consider that nearly everything she does is arranged, chaperoned, paid for and advised by the Establishment Operatives that cater to ALL Special Interests wherever they may come from – their whole agenda is Party over The People.
    .
    On our legislature doing its job: she said nothing about the FACT that it is TOTALLY driven by Political Power, which comes from Donations for Special Interest and the ability to Totally CONTROL the Votes of all its members. Over 75% of our Republican Electeds vote more than 50% of the time for Democrat, Big Government, Big Business, Socialist issues – if they fall below 90% they are TRAITORS to the People of Georgia – and she is FULLY AWARe of this.
    .
    Meagan, your statement that “we should focus our efforts on keeping guns out of the wrong hands” worries ME.
    Just how in the World would you do that without TRAMPLING on the Rights of Law Abiding Citizens?
    .
    Concerning Alan Cole:
    Being an Army Captain is not knowing the Constitution or the Law.
    Obviously, he is a Gov. Deal SYCOPHANT because his reply to most of the questions was “I Support Gov. Deal’s Decision”.
    How much has Deal ACTUALLY done for the people?
    Well, he gave HUNDREDS of MILLIONS$$ of Tax Breaks to Businesses, which means We The People will have to pay MORE TAXES to make up for the short-fall.
    Why not reduce REGULATIONS, which have made it nearly impossible for most businesses here to be PROFITABLE?
    How do you think Gov. Deal rose to the TOP of the incredible pile of CORRUPT Officials we have in the General Assemblv?
    .
    Catherine Bernard has proven she is Responsible.

  42. 42

    RDA

    Joshua. The PRIMARIES are the only thing that COUNTS! Primaries are the ONLY chance you have to Vote for YOUR Candidate.
    Regular Elections only give you the opportunity to “Rubber-Stamp” one of candidates that OTHERS chose “For YOU”.
    .
    In most cases (it has been running about 95% lately) they will be Biggest Thief from either Party – the ones THEY CONTROL – that have Pledged to the Party to “Vote ONLY as Directed” – in return for a guarantee to Political POWER and the Wealth that comes with it – FOREVER.

  43. 43

    RDA

    Mitt. This has been around for a long time. The General Assembly has chosen, over & over – year after year, to IGNORE any chance to REDUCE corruption.

  44. 44

    RDA

    Anne. I wonder if anybody will understand your introspective comment.

  45. 45

    RDA

    All the above.
    Its all about POWER. Would MARTA be totally apart from ALL Politics – ALWAYS?
    MARTA is totally run by Politics – from the get-go.
    Remember what they say in Texas. A rattlesnake is a rattlenake – it will bite you, regardless if you are good or bad or whatever – because it is a rattlesnake.

  46. 46

    RDA

    Bernard said it clearly – she is not in favor of publica funding – not one cent of anyone’s TAXES should go for ANYTHING ever related to abortion.
    If you don’t think some of your TAXES are going toward Abortion – you aren’t looking very hard.
    .
    Surely you KNOW that the ACA is one of the most UNCONSTITUTIONAL, and Expensive, Laws EVER passed by Congress.
    That ‘PESKY’ preemption clause you mention covers REAL Law – not UNCONSTITUTIONAL ones.
    .
    If you know much about the Founders and their Values and what they Believed, you would KNOW that they were adamantly against any laws or even actions by the Federal Gov on anything that was not specifically empowered by the Constitution.
    And, they all, without exception, said that if an Unconstitutional Law was passed it was NOT a Law at all – and should NOT be honored.
    .
    Be careful of Flubber. He represent the Establishment – all those who make MONEY by catering to Special Interests and deceiving the people.
    He is FULLY AWARE that Catherine Bernard is NOT clueless – but, in fact, VERY Informed – and that if elected she will be a MAJOR thorn in the side of all those that cater to corruption.

  47. 47

    RDA

    She used campaign funds to get a ‘make-over” for her Campaign Photo. One of Garst’s LOSERS filed a complaint – that’s what they DO – anything to cast shadows or doubts. It makes NO difference to them if it is True or NOT.

  48. 48

    RDA

    They wouln’t post this the 1st time! I’ll try again.
    Meagan Hanson brags that she was on The Georgia Gang calling out corruption.
    This is a JOKE!
    Dick Williams is the very embodiment of Corruption.
    He represents ALL the Special Interests and invents whatever necessary to DESTROY any HONEST Candidate that will NOT cater to the Voting Desires of the Establishment (He caters to BOTH Parties – to ensure they have CONTROL over what The People hear & how they VOTE).
    .
    Then, she brags about helping institute Public-Private Partnerships – which she must be aware are Totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL – there’s NO PLACE in the Federal Constitution that would allow for this.
    (Unfortunately, many State Constitutions now allow this type of UNCONSTITUTIONAL actions – due to the never-ending efforts of Demagogues – that PROFIT Immensly from DECEIVING the Voters).
    It puts Government in Business – against FREE Private Enterprise – and therefore, picks WINNERS & LOSERS.
    If she saved $400M on I-285 etc it’s because the whole system is CORRUPT and simply does NOT Make Sense.
    If there was TRUE Competitiveness and UNBIASED selection of contractors, ALL Highway costs would be dramatically less (in fact, ALL Govt contracted costs would be less).
    .
    She says she’ll not be beholden to party over principle. Sounds good – but, difficult to believe when you consider that nearly everything she does is Arranged, Chaperoned, Paid-for and Advised by the Establishment Operatives that cater to ALL Special Interests wherever they may come from – their whole agenda is Party over The People.
    .
    On our legislature doing its job: she said nothing about the FACT that it is TOTALLY driven by Political Power, which comes from Donations for Special Interests and the ability to Totally CONTROL the Votes of all its members. There was no mention of the FACT that over 75% of our Republican Electeds vote more than 50% of the time for Democrat, Big Govt, Big Business, Socialist issues. If they fall below 90% they are TRAITORS to the People of Georgia – and she is FULLY AWARE of this.
    .
    Her statement that “we should focus our efforts on keeping guns out of the wrong hands” worries ME.
    Just how in the World would she do that without TRAMPLING on the Rights of Law Abiding Citizens?
    .
    Concerning Alan Cole:
    Being an Army Captain is not knowing the Constitution or the Law.
    Obviously, he is a Gov. Deal SYCOPHANT because his reply to most of the questions was “I Support Gov. Deal’s Decision”.
    How much has Deal ACTUALLY done for the people?
    Well, he gave HUNDREDS of MILLIONS$$ of Tax Breaks to Businesses, which means We The People will have to pay MORE TAXES to make up for the short-fall.
    Why not reduce REGULATIONS, which have made it nearly impossible for most businesses here to be PROFITABLE?
    How do you think Gov. Deal rose to the TOP of the incredible pile of CORRUPT Officials we have in the General Assembly?
    .
    Catherine Bernard has proven she is Responsible.

  49. 49

    The Brookhaven Post

    This did post the fist time. Now it is here twice.

  50. 50

    Dave

    Okay then.

  51. 51

    Eddie E.

    What a truly ridiculous assertion!
    I, for one, don’t want another second of state legislative time and with it Taxpayer Funds used in attempting to ‘overturn’ Roe vs. Wade at the State Level when it is clearly SETTLED FEDERAL LAW!!

    And referencing the ‘founders’ what about abortion was illegal at the time the United States was founded?

  52. 52

    Eddie E.

    Excellent points, more reason to :

    Re-Elect TAYLOR BENNETT

  53. 53

    Steve

    apparently no one wanted to put one of the candidates signs on their property so the volunteers put them all over the right of ways…

  54. 54

    PoolEnvy

    I hope Hanson is fined for blanketing the public right of way with her garbage.

  55. 55

    Loren

    In the lead-up to last year’s HD 80 run-off, I took J. Max Davis to task for an offensive attack he made in his campaign. And now I find myself compelled to do the same to Meagan Myers Hanson.

    If you’re on the same mailing lists I am, you’ve been swamped with negative mailers in the past few weeks. Some of the accusations have been logically specious, as with Alan Cole repeatedly stating that Hanson’s law firm donated $2,000 to Roy Barnes, when that donation took place years before Hanson was even hired at that firm. Some have been implicitly hypocritical, such as Hanson accusing Bernard of not supporting the Republican in last year’s HD 80 special election, when Hanson failed to even vote in that special election or its run-off. And still others have been predictably generic, like Hanson and Cole each accusing their opponents of being insufficiently Republican.

    But in one instance, one of our candidates went considerably further, and made an allegation that borders on the defamatory.

    It appeared in a negative mailer from Hanson’s campaign wholly dedicated to attacking Catherine Bernard; the only place Hanson’s name appears on the entire mailer is in the return address. The mailer tosses around such rote campaign smears as “reckless” and “corrupt,” but its most outrageous allegation, the one that drove me to speak up, is “Catherine Bernard is under investigation for funneling over $8,000 in campaign donations into her personal accounts.”

    While it is true that a complaint was filed with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission regarding the reporting of campaign reimbursements made to Bernard in 2014, Hanson’s phrasing here veers dangerously close to accusing Bernard of criminal activity. As a lawyer herself, Hanson is well aware that it is libel per se to falsely claim another person has committed a crime of moral turpitude, and that would likely include falsely accusing a person of engaging in fraud and money laundering for personal gain.

    First of all, Bernard is not “under investigation.” There is no such investigation currently pending by the Commission. The complaint was filed just two and half weeks before the primary, and state law requires that the Commission “shall not initiate an investigation on any complaint filed within thirty (30) days of an election in which the subject of the complaint is a participant or candidate in said election.” This provision helps to prevent the Commission from being used for political purposes in the final days before an election, as the mailer attempts to do. Thus, as the Commission can’t decide to initiate an investigation until after the election, the only thing that has happened as of now is that a citizen merely filed a complaint.

  56. 56

    Loren

    What of the ‘funneling’ accusation? In short, the complaint says that in her first run in 2014, Bernard reported making personal reimbursements for aggregated campaign expenses, but failed to itemize the nature or end-recipient of those reimbursed expenses. Under Georgia’s Campaign Finance Act, personal reimbursements are perfectly legal, and are reported along with regular expenditures. Admittedly, Bernard’s original report lacked the full detail that the Act requires, but there has been no reason to believe that this was an illicit act as opposed to a reporting error, and Bernard posted an itemized breakdown of her reimbursements online before Hanson’s mailer even appeared in district mailboxes. Yet Hanson has yet to retract her accusation of fraud, or even to address the new information.

    Now, Hanson might contend that her precise phrasing does not specifically accuse Bernard of committing a crime; just that certain money transfers are under investigation. But while such a lawyerly reading might be enough to avoid the legal standard of defamation (or might not; again, there is no investigation), the average constituent receiving the mailer is unlikely to parse the words that closely. Instead, the lay reader is more likely to walk away with the completely false impression that Bernard is currently facing embezzlement charges, which is precisely the negative image the mailer tries to paint.

    I’m not a strict advocate of Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment; I will gladly take a fellow Republican to task when it’s merited (as I have done, and will continue to do, with Donald Trump on a regular basis). And some negative attacks, while frivolous or insubstantial, are sadly par for the course in political campaigns. But suggesting to voters at the eleventh hour that one’s opponent has engaged in actual crimes, without solid facts to substantiate such a claim, is precisely the kind of dirty campaigning that make voters distrust political figures. And it’s the sort of ugly, misleading rhetoric and underhanded conduct I don’t like to see in my elected representatives.

    —–
    *Given this particular line of attack, I asked both Cole and Hanson whether they intend to support and vote for Donald Trump as the Republican Presidential nominee in November. I posed the question to Hanson as a comment on a Facebook post she made about Cole on her public campaign page. Hanson’s response came within a half-hour: she deleted my comment and blocked me from commenting again on her page. Hanson also did not reply to my follow-up email inquiring into her reasons for deleting and blocking me.

    Cole responded to an e-mail, stating that he will vote for the Republican nominee in November.

  57. 57

    Katie

    Loren – I don’t agree with you on much, but this is spot on.

  58. 58

    bldvl89

    The last HD80 frontrunner to resort to slinging mud didn’t do very well. In this district, that smacks of total desperation to a voting pool that’s better educated than most.

    But as a registered Dem, I almost have to root for the batsh*t crazy, scorched-earth right winger who has no ability to reach across the political spectrum at any level, just so my November choice is really easy. Not that it won’t be, but irrespective of party affiliation, I have considerable respect for Catherine, her background, and her ethics – as well as her ability to bring together a much wider base of support from moderates than Hanson ever will.

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