4 More Variances for NW Corner of Birmingham Crossroads? Will Paul Moore Recuse Himself?

Yet again, the owner of the NW Corner of Birmingham Crossroads, Curtis Mills, is requesting variances from City Council. This is his 3rd time before council requesting variances. In his first two appearances, Mr. Mills was granted 12 variances. I advocated against granting any of these variances and I am advocating against the granting of the 4 variances that Mr. Mills is currently seeking from Council. (Tonight is the first presentation. The actual vote will occur at the next City Council meeting.) If granted, Mr. Mills will have secured 16 variances from Council, which I believe might be an ignominious record high for variances in Milton. In my opinion, the key problem is use intensity. Mr. Mills is seeking higher intensity use than his property can support under existing zoning. Accordingly, he is seeking variances (mostly related to parking) to key provisions of the Birmingham Crossroads overlay. If the variances are granted, the look-and-feel of the NW corner will deviate significantly from the other 3 corners of Birmingham Crossroads; I believe it will look much less attractive. I believe that no one in Milton should be above the law. Mr. Mills needs to be held to the same standards that other developers at the Crossroads have had to follow.

It is important to note that since 2018, at Birmingham Crossroads, Council has approved 28 variances in 4 separate hearings for 3 different properties. I strongly believe that not a single one of these variances was justified. Every variance should have been denied. The time in NOW to say NO to the promiscuous granting of variances in Milton.

Yet again, Paul Moore and ethics figures prominently in this issue. Given Mr. Moore’s previous entanglement with the development of the NW corner, good ethics would suggest that Mr. Moore recuse himself from deliberations and the vote on the variances.

Below is a letter that I sent to Council, the City Attorney, and the City Manager explaining 1) why Paul Moore should recuse himself and 2) why council should deny the variances being sought.


Mayor, City Council, City Manager and City Attorney: 

I am writing about the request for 4 variances for the Crossroads NW corner.  In summary, 

  • Paul Moore has conflicts of interest that require recusal from the discussion. 
  • All 4 variances should be denied by council. 

Moore Recusal 

Council Member Moore should recuse himself from discussion of variances at the NW corner.  I believe Mr. Moore has obvious conflicts of interest.  Minimally, Mr. Moore has perceived conflicts.  And it is essential (to good governance) that elected officials avoid even the appearance of impropriety.  This is especially true for Mr. Moore, who has recently been convicted (unanimously by a panel of 3 attorneys) of 3 ethics violations, which was upheld on appeal.  Mr. Moore also recently, as a member of the “Election Feasibility Committee,” participated in designing elections in which he will presumably run in 2023.  It is important to note that this election feasibility committee met half a dozen times in secret, without keeping any records of the proceedings.  The questionable ethics involved in the committee’s functioning put further pressure on both Mr. Moore and the City to demonstrate Milton is a city that hews to the highest ethical standards. 

I remind council that the current configuration of the crossroads would not have occurred without Paul Moore’s intervention.  It was Mr. Moore that took Mr. Mills to one of the last Matilda’s concerts in Alpharetta, introduced Mills to the operators, and suggested the move to the Crossroads.  This is not hearsay.  Mr. Moore explained his central role in the Matilda’s move over dinner and drinks at my home in Milton in early 2018.  In addition to me and Mr. Moore, 4 others were present and heard Mr. Moore’s story.  Others in Milton were similarly regaled by Mr. Moore with the same story.  At the time, Mr. Moore indicated he would recuse himself from the matter but did not.  Rather, as chairman of the Planning Commission, Mr. Moore presided over a hearing on Matilda’s where the PC approved recommendations that exceeded even what the applicant was seeking.  Mr. Moore drove the PC’s discussion.  Never once did Moore reveal his conflict of interest in this matter.  And later (in a debate during the 2019 election), Mr. Moore would deny his role in the relocation of Matilda’s stating he was merely a customer, not unlike he is a customer of Carl Black or Publix.

However, my understanding is that in the wake of Mr. Mills being granted a “festival” special use permit and 9 variances (and 3 more variances later in 2018), Mr. Moore was given the stage at 1+ Matilda’s concerts for campaigning.  See the following photo sent to me by a concerned citizen.

Mr. Moore and Mr. Mills have long enjoyed a relationship that might be interpreted by some (I am one of them) that might influence Moore to advocate for special treatment that might militate against the interests of the community.  I strongly believe Mr. Moore cannot and will not be objective in this matter.  I’ll let you draw your own conclusions . . . 

If Mr. Moore does not voluntarily recuse himself, I believe the City Manager, City Attorney, and City Council have an obligation to discuss this issue and articulate a clear position on the ethics of Mr. Moore’s participation in tonight’s discussion and vote about the NW corner.  And I warn council that ignoring this issue or allowing Mr. Moore to participate might result in further ethics complaints and all that entails in terms of legal costs, bad publicity, diversion from important priorities, wasted resources, etc. 

Variance Denial 

I recommend denial of all variances being requested.   

Most current council members were not involved in the decision (June 2018) to allow Mr. Mills to bastardize a festival use permit with 9 variances.  I doubt any of these newer council members understand the background involved in this matter.  And an understanding of this background is necessary to making decisions tonight that will benefit the citizens and the community. 

I remind Council that Mr. Mills has already been granted 12 variances for his property.  He was initially granted 9 variances used to bastardize Milton’s festival use permit to locate a concert venue at the Crossroads.  He later built a (second) parking lot under the power lines that was neither authorized by Georgia Power (which owns the easement and must approve such uses) nor the City.  This required Mr. Mills to seek 3 more variances, which were granted without a word of scolding from Council.   

Now, Mr. Mills is seeking 4 more variances for a total of 16 variances for his Crossroads property.  I remind Council that Milton has a very stringent variance ordinance that requires variances satisfy the criteria of each of 4 tests.  The applicant must demonstrate hardship, as defined in the context of zoning.  No reasonable case for hardship can be made.

Let me get to the crux of the matter.  Mr. Mills was granted some variances for the purpose of parking for Matilda’s.  A parking lot is not a permitted AG1 use, but an exception was made for Matilda’s.  Mr. Mills has mostly used this Matilda’s parking for his restaurant.  To date, despite protests from citizens, the City has turned a blind eye to Mr. Mills re-purposing Matilda’s parking for his restaurant.  Now, Mr. Mills wants to increase the commercial capacity of his commercially-zoned property, which is his right.  However, it seems he wants to shift some/most of the parking from the commercially zoned property to the Matilda’s parking lot.  Furthermore, he seeks to construct the parking in a design that does not follow the master plan/overlay for the Crossroads and therefore violates the look-and-feel that was approved for the Crossroads and which developers of the other 3 corners were forced to follow.  It is fine for Mr. Mills to seek to commercialize his property and to maximize the return on his investment in his property.  However, he needs to do so within the constraints imposed by the Birmingham Crossroads overlay.  If parking is insufficient, then Mr. Mills needs to reduce the property’s intensity of use such that parking is adequate (and follows the Crossroads overlay) for the intensity of use within the commercial boundaries of the property and does not spill onto AG1 land.  The City has been generous—overly generous, in my opinion—in granting Mr. Mills variances.  Furthermore, to my knowledge, Mr. Mills has not provided the City anything of value in exchange for granted variances, which have enhanced the value of his property.  Such “horse-trading” of variances for concessions is standard practice in other locales, but not in Milton. 

In closing, it is important to note that both Mr. Mills and Mr. Moore were members of the Birmingham-Hopewell Alliance, which was instrumental in negotiating the current master plan for Birmingham Crossroads.  At the time, neither Moore nor Mills had any interest—financial or otherwise—in the NW corner.  However, both Moore and Mills now have personal/financial interests in the NW corner.  This has resulted in their advocacy of variances that fundamentally undermine the master plan/overlay that both Moore and Mills helped to develop and promote.  I trust the irony of this advocacy is not lost on you or, more importantly, the community. 

Advocating for Good Governance, 

Tim Becker 

Memorial Day Provides Opportunity to Consider Protection of Fundamental Liberties by Local Government

For me as a veteran, Memorial Day takes on special significance.  I served nearly 8 years (1983-1990) as a nuclear submarine officer in the US Navy.  I am ever thankful for the honor and privilege of serving our great nation and giving back to a country that has given so much to me.  Memorial Day presents an opportunity for citizens to honor the memory of soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  Unlike Veterans Day, which honors all veterans, Memorial Day venerates only those veterans that died while actively serving our nation—the vast majority of whom died in battle or from battle-incurred wounds.

So what exactly did these military men and women die protecting?  Answer: our fallen veterans died protecting our central liberties such as the right to free speech, (equal) voting rights, and even the right for private individuals/entities to enter into contracts (without excessive regulation).  These fundamental freedoms are foundational to the success of our great nation; they enable and catalyze the social and economic dynamism that is essential to our nation’s so many triumphs in science, business, medicine, etc.  Unfortunately, these fundamental freedoms are always under assault.  And these threats to liberty are not only external but also internal and even local.  Right here in Milton, some council members and their partisan proxies have fought hard to undermine Miltonites’ basic rights. In my advocacy on behalf of citizens, I have experienced firsthand their attempts—mostly unsuccessful—to limit my freedom of speech and protest or otherwise marginalize me.  I have paid a heavy price for my advocacy, including significant expenditures on attorneys.

The internal threats to our liberty come from both the extreme left and the extreme right, which employ similar undemocratic and unethical tactics to advance their agendas.  When I first got involved in city politics in 2015, a handful of far-left activists had gained a foothold in Milton’s city government.  Under the guise of (faux) environmentalism, these activists and their agents on city council (including Rick Mohrig) were promoting cluster housing in areas of Milton zoned AG-1 (which requires houses be built on 1+ acres).  A strong citizens’ movement (that I helped to lead) successfully fended off these existential threats to Milton’s rural heritage and identity.

Unlike 2015, the current local threat to our liberties comes from the far right and is being led by Council Members Paul Moore and Rick Mohrig, with assistance from partisan activists like Lisa Cauley (who was a member of Milton’s so-called “Election Feasibility” Committee).  For more than a year, Moore and Mohrig have run amuck in our city government, trampling on the rights of citizens (they have pledged to serve) and disregarding their oath (of office) to uphold the rule of law.  Moore and Mohrig have intervened in petty HOA matters; they have threatened the First Amendment rights of protest and free speech through bullying and expensive litigation; and they have most recently succeeded in making voting more difficult for certain citizen in Milton (those living in District 3).  Such flagrant and callous affronts to basic political rights dishonor and disrespect the many hundreds of thousands of veterans that have sacrificed their lives for sacred American principles.

This Memorial Day, I urge citizens to take a few minutes to reflect on the principles that our military men and women sacrificed their lives to uphold.  I urge citizens to find ways to engage in local government to ensure these foundational principles are upheld and celebrated.  I urge citizens to resist efforts by local politicians (and their proxies) to undermine citizens’ fundamental rights to speak, to protest, to vote, and to pursue their own idea of happiness (without excessive government meddling).

Remembering and Honoring Our Many Military Members On Eternal Duty,


Stacey Abrams Targets Milton . . . Thank You Paul Moore and Rick Mohrig

On May 12th Stacey Abram’s Fair Fight and other progressive activist groups sent a letter to Milton’s City Council, protesting the city’s rejection of a third election-day polling location in Milton’s District 3, which is Milton’s most populous district–encompassing the Windward/Deerfield/Highway 9 area.  Districts 1 and 2 were allocated day-of polling locations, but not District 3.  I am attaching Fair Fight’s letter at the bottom of this blog post.

Yes, Ms. Abrams is targeting Milton.  And I want to be very clear that Council Members Moore and Mohrig (and political activists Lisa Cauley and Mark Amick) are responsible for unnecessarily placing a ginormous political target on Milton’s back.  These 4 Miltonites (along with 2 city staff) composed Milton’s Election Feasibility Committee that 1) recommended that Milton run its own municipal elections and 2) provided a high-level municipal election design.  They are now insisting that Milton blindly implement every element of their design—no matter how nonsensical or unfair.

Two elements of this design were 1) early day voting locations (only one at Milton City Hall) and 2) two election day voting locations.  Milton is divided into 3 districts.  However, only 2 election day polling places were designated (this is down from 8 under Fulton County):  one in District 1 (Milton City Hall) and one in District 2 (the old Milton Country Club).  No polling location was designated in District 3.  Odd, right?  The reason should be intuitively obvious to even the most casual observer.  Nevertheless, let me explain . . .

District 3 has the highest concentration of Democrat voters.  Denying District 3 a polling location is “too coincidental to be a coincidence” (to quote Yogi Berra).  Interestingly, District 3 is actually the most logical location for both early and election day voting polling stations.  Traffic in Milton tends to move from north and west to south and east, as Miltonites commute to work, drop off children at school, travel to shopping/eating/etc.  This means many voters have ample reason to pass through District 3 on any given day; the same cannot be said of Milton’s 2 other districts.  In fact, I suspect many District 3 residents have never ventured to Crabapple or Birmingham Crossroads. 

Furthermore, 30% of Milton’s early votes historically have been cast at the Alpharetta Library.  Given the proximity of District 3 to the Alpharetta Library, it can be convincingly argued that many/most of these votes come from District 3.  So not only have District 3 voters been denied a convenient polling location on election day, they (along with non-Crabapple area voters) have also been denied a convenient early-voting location in Alpharetta.  Thus District 3 voters have been twice disadvantaged by Milton’s election design.  (Note:  10% of early votes have historically been cast outside Milton and Alpharetta, which will no longer be a voting option for Miltonites.)

And let’s be honest.  District 3 is comprised of less expensive housing, including all of Milton’s apartment complexes.  District 3 is where Miltonites of more modest means live . . . Milton’s police officers, fire fighters, teachers, restaurant/retail workers, tradespeople, etc.  You will also find there more families where both spouses work or that are headed by a single parent . . . families with limited time and resources.  In short, these are the voters for whom we need to make voting easiest, but for whom Milton is making voting most difficultAnd that is WRONG.  Only basic common sense need be applied to understand that Milton’s current election scheme was designed to dampen voting in District 3.  Interestingly, both District 3 Council Members—Rick Mohrig and Jan Jacobus—support the current scheme . . . as does Andrea Verhoff, who was voted into office by a coalition of Democrats and more sober and level-headed Republicans.

Furthermore, Mohrig et al’s assertion that 2 locations are needed to minimize costs doesn’t hold water.  If costs are a driver, then I would suggest replacing the District 2 polling location (the former Milton Country Club), which is furthest from Milton’s population centers, with a District 3 polling location.  Given traffic patterns in Milton, a District 3 location would also best serve as Milton’s early voting location.  If we care about costs, don’t we want to get the most bang for our buck (votes per $ spent on the election) . . . the maximum number of (legitimate) votes for our election budget?  Again, this seems to be plain common sense, except to Moore, Mohrig, Cauley, and Amick.  The current election scheme only makes sense in the context of partisan politics.

Some far-right political partisans are trying to shift the blame (away from Moore and Mohrig) to Mayor Jamison for Ms. Abrams letter to council.  And at last Monday night’s council meeting, these partisans unleashed their hounds.  The Mayor was called “woke” and “Marxist.”  However, a reaction to Milton’s election design from the left was inevitable, so this orchestrated attack on the mayor was mostly political posturing/positioning.  The truth is that Mayor Jamison foresaw the coming storm and did his best to remove the target from Milton’s back, but to no avail.  Although a registered Republican and political conservative, Jamison understands that partisanship, particularly in the design of elections, is unprincipled and, more importantly, a distraction from accomplishment of Milton’s highest priorities (like over-development) which are decidedly non-partisan.  Milton is best served by non-partisanship.

I am not a fan of Ms. Abrams.  Our country is not well-served by an “open borders” approach to voting.  The integrity of elections is important.  Ballot harvesting is a troubling issue that should be addressed.  Sensible voter identification laws are the norm in western democracies.  On the other hand, our country needs to minimize obvious hurdles to voting.  Ms. Abrams took the wrong approach in her letter.  Unfortunately, Ms. Abrams played the race card, which was wrong, unnecessary, and ultimately counter-productive.  If her purpose was to persuade, she failed.  Such reflexive and ill-conceived appeals based on race only serve to rile the hard-right and tamp down rational debate.  Cause should not be confused with effect.  The intent (i.e., the cause) in Milton’s election design was to diminish the Democrat vote, not to explicitly suppress black/brown voters.  However, given that a disproportionate number of black/brown voters reside in District 3 and are Democrats, the net effect of Milton’s election design will make voting more difficult for most black and brown voters in Milton and therefore the current election scheme is discriminatory.

The Milton Herald has done a great job covering the evolving story of local elections in Milton and North Fulton.  Following is a link to the Milton Herald‘s webpage on municipal elections.

Milton Herald: Municipal Elections Web Page

A sentient reader might be asking how we got to this sorry state of affairs?  And you hopefully are asking the obvious question:  Why are council members designing elections in which they will be running?  (Both Moore and Mohrig are up for re-election in 2023).  Unethical, huh?  Well these questions are topics for my next blog post.  Suffice to say that Milton’s design of its elections is a story of dishonesty, incompetence, and vitriolic partisanship.  It is a story that should convince citizens to flock to the ballot box to turn Moore and Mohrig out of office. 

Advocating for Free and Fair Elections,


Note:  My blog is non-partisan and will remain so.  Partisanship does not translate well at the local level in Milton.  Milton is best served by non-partisanship in spirit and in deed. The infection of local politics with partisan plague will only serve to harm Milton and tear the community asunder.

Disgraced Council Member Moore Loses Appeal . . . Ethics Charges Stick

On May 18th, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thomas Cox denied Council Member Paul Moore’s appeal of his conviction on 3 ethics violations.  In a stinging rebuke to Mr. Moore, Judge Cox approved Tony Palazzo’s motion to dismiss.  Attached to this blog post is the Fulton County Superior Court’s order.  Assuming no more appeals are allowed, Mr. Moore will enjoy the ignominious honor of being the first City Council Member in Milton ever convicted of ethics charges.  (Several past council members have eventually beaten ethics charges leveled against them.)

By way of background, on August 30, 2022, Council Member Moore was found guilty of 3 ethics charges in a unanimous decision by a panel of 3 attorneys touted by the city as being experts in due process.  On November 16, 2022, Mr. Moore appealed his conviction by suing Tony Palazzo, who filed the original ethics charges against Mr. Moore.  Mr. Moore also named the City of Milton and the Milton ethics panel as defendants.  At this time, the City filed a response that supported the ruling of its ethics panel (but the City has since claimed it is just “bystander” and will “abide” by the decision of Superior Court—whatever that means).  Both Mr. Palazzo and Moore submitted written pleadings to the court.  Mr. Moore dismissed the attorney that originally handled his case before the ethics panel, and Moore then hired a high-powered attorney that specializes in ethics cases . . . but to no avail.

On May 11th, Judge Cox heard oral arguments from attorneys for Tony Palazzo and for Paul Moore.  I was the only member of the public in attendance at the Superior Court hearing.  (I have also read all the documents in this case since it began in May 2022.)  Mr. Palazzo’s attorney gave a masterful defense of his client, citing 2 directly relevant Georgia cases that strongly supported Palazzo’s position.  Conversely, Moore’s attorney presented no case law supporting Moore’s position, but instead disputed (unconvincingly) Pallazo’s interpretation of his two cited cases. 

In fairness to Mr. Moore, the appeal dismissal was based on procedural grounds:  1) the untimeliness of Moore’s appeal and 2) the court’s interpretation of the meaning of “quasi-judicial.”  The court’s decision was not based on the merits of the case.  However, based on my experience as a law clerk (while in college), I suspect the judge may have looked beyond the procedural questions and peeked at the merits of the case and determined he would likely rule against Paul Moore anyway.

It is interesting to note that in both his pleadings and oral arguments (and in contrast to Mr. Palazzo), Mr. Moore begged for the sympathy of the court, citing litigation costs and damage to his political and professional reputation, which were purely self-inflicted wounds.  Ironically, Mr. Moore’s whining and groveling before the court only served to highlight the feebleness of his legal case.  Mr. Moore’s charges of bullying are unconvincing and even laughable.  Rather, Mr. Palazzo has been the clear underdog in this David-vs-Goliath battle.  Mr. Palazzo has boldly and unwaveringly stood up to Mr. Moore, who was strongly backed by a supine city government that shamefully and inexplicably refused to defend its own ethic process and panel or punish Mr. Moore.  (Note that the City did not even send a representative to observe the Superior Court proceedings so that it might at least glean some learnings from this sad saga.)  Mr. Palazzo has spent copious sums of money to secure justice for himself and more importantly to uphold high ethical standards in Milton’s city government.  Mr. Palazzo should be commended for his efforts on behalf of citizens and for exposing misdeeds by Mr. Moore, the city manager, and City Council.

So what is the next chapter in this ethics scandal?  The Superior Court ruling advised Mr. Palazzo that he has 30 days to sue for his legal costs and fees.  Mr. Palazzo certainly deserves cost recovery.   Paying Mr. Palazzo’s costs would seem condign and fair punishment of Mr. Moore given that City Council refused to impose any punishment on Mr. Moore in the wake of his conviction . . . which likely emboldened Mr. Moore to sue Mr. Palazzo.

My understanding is that Mr. Moore still has some limited options to appeal the Superior Court ruling but that it is unlikely his case would ascend to an appellate court.  We’ll see . . .

Assuming Mr. Moore finally abandons his quixotic quest to overturn his ethics conviction, I predict Mr. Moore will resort to destructive partisan politics in a desperate attempt to salvage his tattered political career from the wreckage of his shameful ethics scandal.  My sources tell me that Mr. Moore’s does intend to run for re-election in the fall.  If so, Moore will need to shift attention away from his ethics conviction and toward some make-believe enemy that only he can slay.  It is my firm conviction that Mr Moore will create a repugnant bogeyman that he will heroically defeat.  And that bogeyman seems to be Stacey Abrams, the radical left, woke-ism, etc. 

On Monday night, Miltonites witnessed the first inklings of this potential strategy when a handful of partisans surfaced that have been advocating that Milton run its own elections.  These partisans mercilessly attacked Mayor Jamison (by name) for having the audacity to suggest that election fairness would be best served by providing an election-day polling location in each of Milton’s 3 City Council districts.  Milton’s current election plan provides only 2 polling locations (down from 8 when Fulton County ran Milton’s elections):  one in District 1 and one in District 2.  District 3, Milton’s most densely populated area, was inexplicably not allotted a polling location.  Coincidentally (or not), District 3 has the highest concentration of Democrat voters in Milton; also, many District 3 voters previously early-voted in Alpharetta but will no longer have that option when Milton runs its elections.  Mayor Jamison was pilloried for his modest and sensible proposal to provide equal voting access/rights for District 3 voters.  He was attacked as “woke,” “Marxist,” etc.  Such accusations are laughably ridiculous but are an omen of Milton’s future 2023 political battles.  Following is a link to a just published article in the Milton Herald that describes the Monday attack on the Mayor over elections in Milton:

Miton Herald: Partisans Attack Proposal for District 3 Polling Location

Historically, politics and elections in Milton thankfully have been mostly non-partisan.  A descent into raw partisanship—not unlike what we witness in national politics—will be hurtful to Milton.  It will shift the political discussion away from important issues, like reckless development, and toward partisan fringe-left and fringe-right issues that have no relevance to local governance.  Furthermore, partisanship will only serve to further embarrass the City of Milton, which has already suffered much embarrassment over the past year because of Paul Moore’s antics.  Right now, Paul Moore is drowning politically.  Moore is looking for a lifeline, and I don’t think he cares if he pulls down the City as the electoral depths claim his political soul.

My next blog post will be about Milton’s foray into running its own elections.  It is a shocking and embarrassing tale of dishonesty, partisanship, and incompetence.  It is Exhibit A in the case for regime change in Milton.  Stay tuned . . .

Advocating for Free and Fair Elections . . . and Ethics in Politics,


Note:  My blog is non-partisan and will remain so.  Partisanship does not translate well at the local level in Milton.  Milton is best served by non-partisanship in spirit and in deed.  The infection of local politics with partisan plague will only serve to harm Milton and tear the community asunder.

Pettiness Runs Amuck at City Council with Mohrig and Moore Leading the Charge . . . But Increasingly Isolated

Pettiness and personal agendas continue to distract Milton’s government from important issues facing the City.  Last night’s city council working session was an excellent case in point.  Once again, a White Columns HOA issue headlined City Council’s agenda.  The underlying and trivial issue was whether PTVs (personal transportation vehicles) will be permitted on the streets of White Columns subdivision.  And I want to be clear, I don’t care one way or the other.  It is an issue for the residents of White Columns alone to decide, NOT Council.  White Columns has a board that it has elected and that it recently re-elected that makes these decisions.  The City has many dozens of higher priorities.

Tonight, the hook was set by Council Members Rick Mohrig and Jan Jacobus (both from District 3, which has not had a competitive race since 2009).  Mohrig has increasingly taken on the role of Mr. Moore’s patsy and chief defender on Council.  I understand that Mohrig and Jacobus were the 2 council members responsible for the inclusion of this HOA item on the agenda.  (I believe transparency demands that sponsorship of all council agenda items be revealed, but that is a topic for another day.  Suffice to say that the drafting of council agendas is an intentionally murky affair.)  However, there is some cause for cautious optimism.  Unlike in the past, fellow council members did not take the bait.  In fact, three council members smartly uttered not a peep.  And Mr. Jacobus quickly abandoned Mr. Mohrig to his repetitive and transparently illogical arguments.  There was no support for Mr. Mohrig’s plea for a text amendment.  Mr. Mohrig blathered on for most of 18 minutes, with only brief comments from staff and the mayor.  Finally, the City Attorney mercifully ended Mr. Mohrig’s droning monologue by stating he would investigate the matter and report back to council.  (I would urge citizens to view Mr. Mohrig’s rambling arguments and ask yourself whether he is worthy of representing your interests for a third term.)  Only Mr. Mohrig seemed not to realize that this issue is likely dead.  Unfortunately, assuaging Mr. Mohrig will likely cost the city significant coin for the services of the City Attorney ($275 per hour) to investigate . . . more of your tax dollars wasted.  Thanks, Rick!  It is interesting to note that Mr. Mohrig frequently casts himself as a protector of your tax dollars, but his stances on the two most recent White Columns matters have cost Milton over $14K in legal costs.  Chalk it up to spending OPM . . . other people’s money.

I think all of Council—even Mr. Mohrig—understood that this latest White Columns HOA issue is just one more battle in a long-running and increasingly bitter struggle in White Columns . . . and most council members have little appetite to further wade into the White Columns quagmire.  I hope most council members are also realizing that with their indulgence of Council Member Paul Moore (e.g., not punishing him for his ethical violations; originally taking up the WC speed sign issue; his appointment as Mayor ProTem), Council is reaping what it has sown.  I am a bit sympathetic as I (and many other citizens) have been similarly duped by Mr. Moore and Laura Bentley.  I was once closely allied with both Moore and Bentley.  Moore and I served on Ms. Bentley’s campaign committee, which always met at my home.  And often I did their bidding . . . or as Laura stated I “did the heavy lifting.”  However, the battles we fought involved existential threats to the city . . . not nonsense.  We were fighting zoning laws, community septic systems, rezonings, sewer extensions, and gratuitous granting of variances.  We were fighting and defeating developers seeking to bend and break zoning rules to increase housing density in Milton beyond what was permitted. Large purposes infused our advocacy. We cared about principle and process . . . at least I did.

I had high hopes that on council Bentley and Moore (I would have supported Moore back then) would secure our victories and build upon them, but alas this was not to be.  Instead, the City has embarrassingly and incomprehensibly descended in a morass of pettiness that it seems incapable of escaping.  Leadership is lacking. Council seems more like a clubby, PR-focused mutual admiration society than a serious governing body upholding the rule of law and citizens prerogatives. The City is going backwards.  This City government’s predilection for the trivial means citizens’ priorities are being largely ignored.  The White Columns PTV issue would not even rank in my top 100 issues facing the City (nor would the City’s changes to the ordinance for cost/data-sharing agreements with HOAs for speed calming devices or even the City running its own elections—a topic for another day).

One interesting element of the evening was Mr. Moore’s withdrawal from the discussion based on his lawyer’s advice and “pending litigation” (i.e., his appeal of conviction on 3 ethics charges).  When Mayor Jamison stated that Mr. Moore was “recusing” himself, Mr. Moore corrected the mayor and stated that he was merely withdrawing from participation, not recusing himself—a distinction without much difference.  Apparently, Mr. Moore still believes it is appropriate for a council member to insert himself into his own HOA’s issues.  Conversely, I believe that the political high road requires an elected official to stay out of his/her HOA’s issues. I hope the candidate that runs against Moore captures the video clip of Mr. Moore’s recusal.  I suspect the vast majority of Milton’s citizens do not want the City micromanaging HOAs and do not want council members getting mixed up in their own HOA’s issues.  Over the past year, Mr. Moore’s increasingly shameful antics seem to have increasingly alienated him from his neighbors, Milton’s citizens, and his fellow council members.  Mr. Moore is becoming politically radioactive.  He should be easy to topple in the next election.  Always amusing, Mr. Moore seems ever intent to lead with his glass chin.  Lead away Mr. Moore!

Advocating For Good Governance,


Postscript: Does any reasonable White Columns resident, including Council Member Moore, believe that the public airing of petty squabbles in White Columns is good for home values or golf club membership? Are prospective home buyers more or less likely to buy in White Columns because of these disputes getting airplay at Council? Surely, it must be dawning on all but the densest White Columns residents–whatever side they support–that Paul Moore has become a serious liability for the subdivision. And Miltonites that live outside White Columns need to be asking the same question about whether intrusion by the City into HOA issues is good or bad for the City’s image and associated impacts on their home values, business vitality, etc? The ceaseless middle school drama in White Columns needs to end. And I believe a first step in ending the dysfunction is to unceremoniously turn Paul Moore out of office.

Milton Herald Article . . . Time to Man Up Mr. Moore

The lead story in last week’s Milton Herald again addressed the never-ending and increasingly shameful Paul Moore ethics scandal.  Following is a link to the Milton Herald article:


Kudos to the Milton Herald for making citizens aware of this important controversy.  This story has critical implications for good governance in Milton.  The Milton Herald raises some important points that need further explaination and should make citizens question the fundamental integrity of Milton’s city administration and city council.  Following are my observations:

  • Palazzo raises an essential point that was also recently broached by the President Emeritus of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation (read my previous blog post).  The specter of being sued, having to hire an attorney, and spending tens of thousands of dollars will virtually guarantee that no citizen will ever again file a legitimate ethics complaint in Milton against a Council member.  I have been making this very point since 2016.  I have published blog posts and spoken before Council to plead for a more citizen-centric (and less politician-centric) ethics process in Milton.  Unfortunately, my pleas have fallen on deaf ears . . . and predictably, Milton finds itself facing a serious ethics scandal.  Lack of an effective and efficient ethics process means that citizens have been deprived of an important tool for holding local government accountable.  It also means that politicians are more interested in protecting their privilege and power than in protecting citizens from political misdeeds and misbehavior.  Even if Palazzo wins—and I am confident he will—the example of this case will certainly deter the vast majority of citizens from filing legitimate ethics complaints or otherwise challenging/criticizing their local government.
  • Mayor Jamison is losing his credibility with citizens and expending—and I believe wasting—vast political capital to bolster Paul Moore.  Jamison claims this is a civil matter in which City cannot or should not take a position.  He is parroting the City Attorney who asserts that the City is just a “bystander.”  This is nonsense and is belied by the City’s initial response to Mr. Moore’s lawsuit.  On behalf of the panel, the City filed a pleading in which it requested that the case be dismissed, relief sought by Mr. Moore be denied, and all costs incurred by the City be paid by Mr. Moore.  (The City should demand full compensation of its legal fees from Mr. Moore and sue him for these monies should he refuse.  Citizens should insist on this.)  Furthermore, I would contend that the City is obligated to vigorously defend its ethics process and its ethics panel.  Instead, the City has shied away from its initial pleading and reversed course—now asserting its role is merely one of onlooker and file clerk.  Recall also that it was Jamison who 1) made the motion that Moore not be punished for his ethics violations and 2) recently nominated Moore to be Mayor Pro Tempore (i.e., his number two on Council). 
  • Note that the City has already spent over $14,000 of your tax dollars on this ethics matter in payments to the City Attorney’s law firm.  Nearly half of these fees (about $7000) were incurred since City Council refused to impose punishment on Mr. Moore, which I believe emboldened Mr. Moore to file the current suit . . . resulting in more of your tax dollars being wasted by the City.  (By the way, these costs do not include the costs to pay the 3 attorneys that sat on the ethics panel.  I have submitted an Open Records Request to determine these costs.  And of course, the City has incurred significant costs associated with staff time spent on this ethics fiasco.)  There is irony in the fact that the original issue at the heart of this case was consideration of $7000 that the City would contribute toward the purchase and installation of traffic calming devices . . . an issue so perfunctory that it had always been handled as a consent agenda item by Council . . . that is, until the White Columns HOA request . . . the same White Columns where City Manager Krokoff and Council Member Moore reside.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.  As Yogi Berra once said:  That is too coincidental to be a coincidence.
  • Moore’s contention that Mr. Palazzo’ initial contact with him for advice, direction, assistance, etc. “belies Mr. Palazzo’s later contention that Councilman Moore should have recused himself” is a laughable non-sequitur.  Citizens routinely reach out to Council Members to get advice and direction.  It is nonsense to argue that such interactions somehow provide future protection against legitimate ethics complaints.  However, such pathetic arguments only serve to highlight the flimsiness of Mr. Moore’s defenses.  This includes Mr. Moore’s recent assertions that he is a victim who has refused to “lay down.”  Anyone who has followed this sad saga from its inception understands that Mr. Palazzo is the underdog in this David-vs.-Goliath struggle.  However, against all odds, Mr. Palazzo turned the tables on Mr. Moore.  Nobody is asking Mr. Moore to LAY DOWN.  Rather, Mr. Moore needs to MAN UP, admit to his misdeeds, and take his lumps.  Integrity, fairness, accountability, and good governance demand it.  What say yea, Mr. Moore?

Advocating For Ethics in Government,


President Emeritus of Georgia First Amendment Foundation Finds Paul Moore’s Lawsuit “Frightening”

In the past few days, both WSB and the Milton Herald have covered the Paul Moore ethics saga.  This disgraceful scandal is enveloping the City and exposing a City Council and a City administration that consistently demonstrates that it cares more about protecting one of their own than about ethics and citizens.  Over the past year, Milton’s city government has had many opportunities to reign in Mr. Moore, but instead has acted to encourage and support Mr. Moore, thereby perpetuating the ethics scandal and its damage to the community.  Furthermore, the city’s strategy of ignoring the scandal and wishing it away have failed miserably.  And increasingly the dysfunction at City Hall is alarming advocates of good governance, such as the President Emeritus of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, a non-partisan organization founded in 1994 to promote government transparency and free speech rights in Georgia.  (Read more about this below.)

I am posting both the WSB video and a link to the WSB story.


The comments of Richard Griffiths of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation are troublingly enlightening.  Mr. Griffith rightly contends that a citizen filing a complaint should not find himself the target of legal action, correctly stating “a legitimate complaint to the ethics commission was upheld and now that citizen is facing legal repercussions that are scary and potentially expensive and that’s not right.”  Mr. Griffiths further stated “It’s very chilling.  It’s frightening.”  And it seems that Mr. Palazzo, who filed the ethics complaint, has already spent $30K on this matter . . . and he is likely to spend much more before all is said and done. I believe Mr. Palazzo should sue Mr. Moore and/or the City for these expenses.

The comments in the WSB story by City Attorney Ken Jarrard are also troubling.  Mr. Jarrard has spoken out of both sides of his mouth on this matter.  In its legal response to Mr. Moore’s lawsuit, the City argued for dismissal of the lawsuit:

However, lately Mr. Jarrard has changed his tune and stated that the City is merely “a bystander.”  And in the WSB story, Mr. Jarrard states that the city will “honor and respect any decision of the court.”  This is a nonsense answer.  The City has no choice; the matter is out of its hands.  Is Mr. Jarrard implying that the city has considered actions that would dishonor and disrespect the decision of the court? 

The question that Mr. Jarrard should be answering is: Why isn’t the City of Milton honoring and respecting its own ethics process and its own ethics panel?  Why is the City choosing to be a bystander?  And who is involved in the decisions about the city’s response in this matter?  Is City Manager Krokoff involved?  Remember that Mr. Krokoff himself is “conflicted” in this matter as he lives in White Columns.  Furthermore, it was Mr. Krokoff who advised Mr. Moore that he did not have a conflict in the White Columns traffic calming issue.  Not only is Mr. Krokoff conflicted, but it is not his job to advise Council on conflict of interest . . . a fact that troubled the Milton ethics panel.  So it strikes me that the City’s tepid and contradictory responses certainly protect Mr. Krokoff, who seems to have instituted a city government information blackout concerning the ethics scandal . . . again self-serving.  If Mr. Krokoff is involved in crafting the City’s response to Mr. Moore’s lawsuit, I believe such involvement is unethical . . . and perhaps an ethics complaint should be filed against Mr. Krokoff.

I am quite sure that City Manager Krokoff and City Attorney Jarrard are not acting alone in this matter.  Who from Council is involved?  Mayor Peyton Jamison?  Is Paul Moore involved?  It would not surprise me.  Is former Council Member Laura Bentley, Mr. Moore’s chief apologist, lobbying the City?  Will the City be transparent and explain its stance?  Or is the City going to hide behind the veil of attorney-client privilege?  Citizens deserve transparency about how and why the City has chosen not to support and defend its own ethics process and panelPerhaps Mr. Palazzo should sue the City to determine the truth in this matter.  Mr. Palazzo has been consistently treated unfairly by the City of Milton.  He deserves answers and justice.

Although hard to find, there is a silver lining in this matter.  Through its actions, City Council has put a huge political target on its back.  2023 elections are just around the corner.  Not only is Paul Moore up for re-election, two of his biggest backers on Council, Carol Cookerly and Rick Mohrig, are also up for re-election.  Ethics will be the dominant issue of the election.  Any decent challengers (i.e., ANY FUNCTIONING ADULT) will have little difficulty unseating these three council members.  And the Milton Coalition blog will certainly keep the ethics issue front-and-center during the 2023 election.

(I will also post the latest Milton Herald article on the scandal when it becomes available.)

Advocating For Ethical Government,


WSB Paul Moore Ethics Scandal Story

Paul Moore Ethics Scandal Continues to Plague the City of Milton . . . Death Knell for Free Speech and Ethics in Milton?

Today, despite the City of Milton’s efforts to contain the crisis, the Paul Moore Ethic Scandal has once again reared its ugly head. The AJC published an article about Mr. Moore’s current lawsuit to reverse the findings of Milton’s ethics panel. Following is a link to the article. I am also attaching a PDF of the article.


Ethics is foundational to good government. Since 2016, to no avail, I have been warning Milton’s City government that Milton’s ethics policies and practices do not foster ethical behavior, but instead perversely incentivize misconduct by government officials. Milton’s ethics ordinance is the most citizen-unfriendly ethics ordinance in North Fulton County. I have spoken at council about ethics and published two blog posts that explained how Milton’s ethics ordinance fosters misconduct and dissuades legitimate ethics complaints from being brought forward. A few times, I have also notified the City Manager of clear ethical breaches that he chose to ignore.

So it is no surprise that with the Paul Moore ethics scandal, Milton is reaping what it has sown. The damage to the City is real and mounting. The damage is not just bad publicity, but also mounting legal costs (your tax dollars) for the City and a huge diversion of time and resources from important issues facing the City. The blame falls squarely on Mr. Moore, City Manager Krokoff, and City Council.

There are a few interesting aspects to the AJC article.

First, Paul Moore is now playing the victim. He claims that the his ethics conviction is doing him personal and professional “damage.” And this is perhaps true. However, this damage to Mr Moore is entirely self-inflicted. Paul Moore clearly had an inkling that he was treading on ethical thin ice when he waded into his HOA’s speeding issue. His doubts about the ethics of his participation prompted Mr. Moore to seek advice before the first White Columns hearing at City Council. Unfortunately, Mr. Moore sought advice from someone–the City Manager–who lacks expertise about conflict of interest and who himself is conflicted and admitted (at the White Columns hearing on traffic calming devices) that he might be “conflicted.” Furthermore, Paul Moore made the decision to drag his employer into this ethics matter by referencing his company in his court pleading, so that if a reader now searches on the names of Paul Moore’s employer and “Paul Moore,” the ethics case appears in the search results. (I have read Mr. Moore’s most recent affidavit in this matter and have to question his professional judgment in discussing sensitive company issues in his affidavit.) I believe Mr. Moore’s desperate appeal for sympathy is indicative of the weakness of his legal arguments in this matter.

If there is a victim here, it is Mr. Palazzo, president of the White Columns HOA. I am sure Mr. Palazzo never in his worst nightmares imagined that a routine matter of traffic calming devices (TCD), supported by 64% of White Columns residents, would be handled by the City in such a manner. In fact, this was a perfunctory matter that should have followed precedent and been consigned to a consent agenda, with no discussion or debate at Council. Rather, the TCD matter was moved to the regular agenda, but even so should have been handled as a routine matter . . . the only issue that should have been considered was the HOA’s cost and data sharing agreement with the City. Instead, indulged by his fellow council members, Mr. Moore derailed the May 2, 2022 City Council hearing and pursued a personal agenda against his HOA board that resulted in his motion (approved by Council) to erect further hurdles to approval of a routine data/cost-sharing agreement . . . hurdles that were easily cleared by the White Columns HOA board. Mr. Palazzo was clearly blindsided by Mr. Moore’s unmerciful and bullying beat-down at council. So it is ironic and hypocritical that Mr. Moore is now claiming to be the victim. The current ethics debacle is actually a David-vs.-Goliath struggle. Council and the city administration have clearly and consistently lined up behind Mr. Moore. Mr. Moore is on the inside, with all the advantages that provides. Conversely, Mr. Palazzo is on the outside looking in and is decidedly disadvantaged. Despite the City administration and City Council’s transparent efforts to defeat Mr. Palazzo (including turning its back on its own ethics panel) so far Mr. Palazzo has prevailed in his quest for justice and fairness. David is once again beating Goliath. This should cheer the hearts of average hard-working, tax-paying citizens to see politicians getting their deserved comeuppance.

A second interesting element of this sad saga is the City’s position on Mr. Moore’s lawsuit. Mr. Jarrard, the City Attorney, is quoted as stating “We are just bystanders.” However, this is not true. In its pleading to Superior Court, the City actually states (on behalf of itself and the ethics panel) that City and the panel “pray” for dismissal of Mr. Moore’s lawsuit and recovery of City’s associated legal fees. Following is a screenshot of the City’s response to Mr. Moore’s lawsuit:

Granted the City’s response is incredibly LAME, so for all intents and purposes, the City is a “bystander.” However, the City is a bystander by choice. Through its bland pleading, the City has turned its back on its own ethics process and its own ethics panel . . . and by extension, turned its back on ethics, good governance, and citizens. Milton’s ethics panel deserves a much stronger defense from the city.

In closing, below is a copy-and-paste of the byline from the AJC article. It is the perfect byline in that it captures the biggest danger that lurks in this ethics scandal. If Paul Moore prevails in his lawsuit to overturn the ethics panel’s decision of guilt, ethics as a guiding principle of good governance in Milton is DEAD. Citizens can expect the Wild West when it comes to misconduct in Milton’s government. Mr. Palazzo is an extreme rarity in Milton . . . a citizen with the means (he is spending tens of thousands of dollars), the courage, and tenacity to expose and challenge self-dealing and favors for friends & family that has become all too prevalent in Milton. If Mr. Palazzo loses in his quest for justice, Miltonites will be the true losers. Citizens will be (even more) afraid to speak against elected officials. Our fundamental right to free speech will be further attenuated. AJC byline:

(Don’t forget, I provide additional information at my Bits and Pieces page that is not emailed to my subscribers: https://wordpress.com/page/miltoncoalition.blog/3531)

Advocating for High Ethical Standards in Milton’s Government,


Note: I am not including the name of Mr. Moore’s employer as naming his employer does not comport with my rules of engagement. Furthermore, I will not (at this time) discuss sensitive issues about Mr. Moore’s company that Mr. Moore incomprehensibly and recklessly raises in his pleadings. Mr. Moore is doing enough damage to himself with his pleadings; he needs no further help from anyone else. Mr. Moore is his own worst enemy. He never learned the lesson that when you find yourself in a hole, you should stopping digging. Mr. Moore is on a path to seal his fate through his pleadings. I believe Mr. Moore will be soundly defeated in Superior Court; the ethics case seems open-and-shut to me. If Mr. Moore had been smart, once the ethics charges were levied against him, he would have sought accommodation with Mr. Palazzo. He did not seek rapprochement, but rather has consistently doubled down on a losing and increasingly incoherent and desperate strategy. Although Mr. Moore blames many people, including me, for his demise, Mr. Moore has only himself to blame.

I am interested in hearing from Mr. Moore on this matter. I am open to providing him an opportunity to plead his case at this forum, but I suspect Mr. Moore will not take me up on my offer.

City to Craft Plan For Greenspace . . . Just More Kicking the Can Down the Road?

On February 21st (Wednesday) City Council will consider a plan to craft a comprehensive strategy for Milton’s 400+ acres of greenspace.  When I read about this, all manner of alarm bells began sounding and warning lights began blinking. 

To begin this post, I am going to make a prediction:

The 89-acre property at the corner of Bethany Road and Providence Road will never be opened to the public or else will be given the lowest priority (i.e., it will be many years before it is opened to the public).

I hope I am wrong in making this prediction or perhaps through my warnings, I can influence City Council’s decision-making in favor of Milton’s citizens . . . but don’t hold your breath.

So that brings us to the question of why I am particularly skeptical/suspicious about this specific property?  What is underlying my prediction?  Answer:  The property at Bethany and Providence borders Council Member Carol Cookerly’s estate.  I find it odd that this property has not been already opened to the public.  I say this because it was purchased over 3 ½ years ago for $5.79M.  It is the most expensive greenspace property purchased by the City (representing nearly 30% of the greenspace monies that have been spent).  (The land is mostly swamp or steeply sloped . . . as with other purchased properties, it is my firm belief that the City overpaid for this property.)  Since its purchase, nothing seems to have been done to ready the property for public use.  This strikes me as odd given the close proximity of the property to the more heavily populated areas of Milton; it is ideally situated between the Highway 9/Windward Parkway area and Crabapple.  And given that the parcel borders Ms. Cookerly’s property, I would have thought the City would be keen to expedite public access to demonstrate no favoritism is being shown to Ms. Cookerly. 

I urge Milton’s citizens to deeply engage in this green space planning process.  Frankly, given my extensive past experience with the City, I am skeptical about the motives behind this new plan.  Often in Milton, process is cynically used to avoid/delay decision-making or to provide cover for decisions that do not reflect citizen sentiment.  Just because citizens are given opportunities for input does not mean that such input is actually used or even considered.  Frankly, I am not sure why more citizen input is even needed.  Myriad surveys, focus groups, etc. have already been conducted over many years . . . the City should know what citizens want, which is why I think this plan is just more delay and obfuscation by the City . . . just more kicking the can down the road.

At tomorrow night’s City Council meeting, I hope that Council will go on record and firmly establish some aggressive and definitive principles for staff to follow:

  1. ALL greenspace land will be expeditiously opened to the public.  Every square inch.
  2. All currently non-public greenspace properties will be simultaneously (rather than sequentially) made ready for public use.
  3. To expedite access, properties will be improved to a minimal standard—e.g., basic trails cut and gravel parking laid down—with the goal of additional improvement over time.
  4. All properties should be made available to the public within a reasonable time period (e.g., 18 months). Enough with the foot-dragging.
  5. Top priority will be given to providing public access to the property at Bethany and Providence.

My hope is that Council Member Cookerly take the lead in tomorrow’s discussion and propose adoption of the above principles.  Furthermore, it would be reassuring to citizens if Ms. Cookerly were to go on record supporting expeditiously providing public access to the property at Bethany and Providence.

Advocating For Expeditious Public Access to Greenspace in Milton,


Milton City Government Shows Contempt for Its Ethics Panel: Prioritizing Politics Over Principle and the People

Following is an update on the Paul Moore Ethics Scandal in Milton.  There is so much wrongdoing here on the part of so many people in Milton’s city government, it is a bit overwhelming to process and difficult to know where to start.  Fortunately, I have invested a lot of time and effort in my (perhaps quixotic) quest to foster principles of good governance in Milton, such as transparency, accountability, honest, rigor, and fairness.  My knowledge and experience allow me to make sense of Milton city government for citizens—to the extent it makes sense, which it sometimes does not . . . at least not to honest and rational citizens.  There is much that occurs in city government that is just plain nonsense or worse . . . it only makes sense to dishonest and self-serving politicians (and their lackeys), who regrettably abound in Milton.

Continuing Information Blackout.  Unfortunately, the City continues its information blackout about Council Member Paul Moore’s ethics scandal.  The City has provided the bare minimum of information to citizens—only what is legally required (e.g., legal notices of ethics hearings at the rear of the Milton Herald and hearing dates/times listed at the city calendar).  The city has posted nothing at Facebook or sent any informative emails to citizens.  The proceedings have not been publicized in any way.  Citizens were not provided an opportunity to watch a live stream of the proceedings.  And no videos of the proceedings were recorded and provided for viewing by citizens.  No documents have been made available to citizens.  And since Mr. Moore’s conviction on 3 ethics violations, the City of Milton has provided no information to citizens, not even notification of the conclusions and recommendations of the ethics panel.  In his recent State of the City address, Mayor Jamison uttered not a single word about ethics.  The City’s consistent lack of communication with citizens about a serious ethics issue constitutes an egregious (but sadly typical) lack of transparency.  It raises serious questions about basic integrity in our city government. The City is deciding what is important for citizens to know, instead of providing citizens with information and letting them decide what is important.  To deny citizens important information is to fundamentally undermine democracy and good governance; it is the opposite of the citizen-centric government (that Mayor Jamison touted in his recent State of the City address).  The City’s current slanted, PR-driven communications border on Orwellian.  Right now, my blog is the only source of objective information in Milton about the Paul Moore ethics scandal and more generally the state of governance and politics in Milton.

Moore’s Ethics Conviction Appeal.  Given this information black-out, I suppose nearly all citizens would be surprised to learn that the ethics case against Paul Moore is still active.  Paul Moore has filed a suit that names as defendants:  Tony Pallazo (the ethics complainant), the City of Milton, and the ethics panel.  This means the City will waste even more time and money on this ethics fiasco and will continue to be distracted from more pressing matters.  It did not have to be this way . . . keep reading.

Moore’s Ethics Conviction.  Make no mistake about it, this ethics scandal and the damage it has done to the city are self-inflicted woundsFor years, the City has turned a blind eye to ethical misconduct. And with the current ethics scandal, City Council and the city administration have made a bad situation much worse through their actions (and sometimes inactions).  Recall that on August 30, 2022, Paul Moore was found guilty of not one . . . not two . . . (drumroll) . . . but three ethics charges concerning installation of traffic calming devices (TCDs) in White Columns.  He was found guilty by a panel of three attorneys randomly selected from a pool of attorneys vetted by the City, who the City (at the start of the ethics hearing) rightfully asserted are experts in due process.  The ethics panel’s conclusions and recommendations follow:

City Council’s Back-Stabs Ethics Panel and Refuses to Uphold Ethics in Milton.  So did City Council follow the ethics panel’s recommendation to give Paul Moore “a written censure or reprimand” and publicly announce this action at a regular City Council meeting?  Did City Council honor and respect its own ethics process and support its own ethics panel?  Did council take advantage of a golden opportunity to declare to citizens its commitment to the highest ethical standards?  The answer to all of these questions is an emphatic NO.

Rather Milton City Council rejected the recommendations of the ethics panel, shirking its responsibility to impose punishment.  No punishment was imposed.  Council stated that with the ethics panel’s finding of guilt in this matter, Mr. Moore (in Mayor Jamison’s words) had been “sufficiently sanctioned.”  Inexplicably, Council showed disrespect for its own ethics panel, for the city’s own ethics ordinance, and for ethics generally . . . sending a clear message to citizens that ethics do not matter in Milton. 

Council cannot overturn the panel’s finding of guilt.  If they could, I believe Council would have overturned Moore’s guilty conviction.  Nevertheless, with their failure to impose punishment, council tacitly signaled their disagreement with the panel’s decision.  I remind citizens that no member of council is a lawyer.  The ethics panel’s decision was well reasoned and the recommended punishment was light, considering the number and nature of Mr. Moore’s ethics violations. The case was the epitome of an open-and-shut case.

Council is standing with Paul Moore against the ethics panel, against high ethical standards, and ultimately against citizens.  And if you have any doubt about this, continue reading the blog to learn about further actions recently taken by council to undermine the ethics panel, to assist Paul Moore in his lawsuit, and aid Mr. Moore’s likely future bid for re-election.

My next blog post will recount other city government actions since Mr. Moore’s conviction and place them in the context of city politics.  Buckle up and grab your barf bag . . . it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

(For local government junkies, I provide additional commentary and analysis at the Bits and Pieces page at the Blog.  Some of these shorter segments are expanded and later published as full blog posts that are disseminated to subscribers.  Following is the link to the Bits and Pieces page: https://wordpress.com/page/miltoncoalition.blog/3531 My most recent post is about Mayor Jamison’s recent State of the City speech . . . very disappointing.)

Advocating For Good Governance,


Postscript:  I want to be clear that with my blog posts, I am exercising my right to political free speech.  I invest much time in research and analysis.  I strive to be truthful and base my expressed opinions on facts.  Of course, if a reader finds a factual error, I will make appropriate corrections.  On rare occasions (less than half a dozen), readers have contacted me about factual errors that I did correct.  Of course, my opinions are my opinions, and they may differ from yours.  And I am open to publishing opposing opinions that are well-written, logical, and factual.  And of course, if you are so inclined, you can start your own blog.  Milton would benefit from competing blogs that debate the important issues facing the city . . . but I warn you that a well-done blog requires a lot of work.