In the 2 years before the election of 2017, a number of victories for good governance were achieved in Milton. These victories put power in the hands of citizens, who exercised that power in the 2017 election, electing Laura Bentley and Peyton Jamison to Council. Mayor Lockwood swung to the side of Bentley and Jamison, capitalizing on their popularity to win a third term in office.
The central theme of the election (and one of Ms. Bentley’s three campaign promises) was shifting power back to citizens. The hope of the election was that the new leadership on Council would build upon the citizen victories in 2016 and 2017 to enact a citizens’ agenda, particularly reform of Milton land-use processes and policies. Unfortunately, nothing has really been done to shift power back to citizens. And zoning hearings are run in exactly the same way as before the election . . . heavily favoring developers. General public comment has been limited to 10 minutes; the charter commission (one of the few checks on City Council) was eliminated. Ms. Bentley voted for both measures. Ms. Bentley also opposed periodic, video-taped town hall meetings, stating she would hold her own personal town hall meetings; she only a held a single such meeting with citizens (in the wake of my inquiries about this issue).
In fact, the City has gone backwards. Over the last 4+ years, we have seen less transparency, cronyism, and increasing politicization of city staff, who should be staying above the political fray, but increasingly are at the center of it. It seems one group of Special Interests replaced another group of Special Interests. Governance is Milton continues to be a friends and family plan, with citizens watching from the periphery. It is all very depressing. The most engaged citizens (the ones that waved campaign signs, hosted meet-and-greets, etc.) have become disaffected and disillusioned . . . and are disengaging. This does not bode well for our city. However, a remnant of concerned citizens continue to fight on. And if your are reading this, it is probably because you care about our City. And if you care, following are some actions you can take.
1. Sign my petition. Join the 1900+ citizens that have already signed this petition for good governance and smart land use. Click on the following link: Milton Coalition Petition
2. Write to the City Manager and City Council to express your support for good governance. Following are their e-mail addresses:
City Manager: email@example.com
Mayor and City Council Members: firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com
3. Attend a City Council meeting and speak. You will need to complete a speaker card, which is easy to do, and submit it to the City Clerk. City council meetings are held at the new city hall in Crabapple. The address is 2006 Heritage Walk, Milton, GA 30004. For directions, click this link: Directions to City Hall. The city maintains a calendar with all the key meeting dates and times: City Calendar. If you click on a meeting, additional links are provided to the meeting agenda, packet, streaming video, and other useful meeting information.
4. Enlist your family and friends to also engage. Send them links to this blog and to the Milton Coalition petition.
5. Post the Milton Coalition blog and petitions to your social media.
6. Click on the Follow button at the blog home page to have blog postings delivered to your e-mail inbox. Never miss a post!
7. Vote for good governance in future elections. Your vote matters!
Advocating For Citizens,