Only a few candidates for Clayton County

By Ed Brock

Scott Fountain paused briefly from sharpening his pocketknife to talk about the upcoming municipal elections.

"My problems are with Clayton County," said Fountain, a five-year resident of Jonesboro. "I like the way Jonesboro is run already."

And then he resumed his sharpening.

Qualifying for municipal elections to be held Nov. 4 ended by 4:30 p.m. Friday and there are only a few candidates for mayoral and city council positions in most of the county's cities. Jonesboro has the most number of new candidates for city council with four running in the open election.

In Morrow nobody stepped up to challenge incumbent Mayor Jim Millirons or incumbent council members Tom LaPorte and Charles Sorrow.

In Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day, who has held the office for eight years, will be running against Jonesboro City Councilman Luther Maddox. Willie Oswalt, Lake City mayor for more than two decades, is being challenged by Jim Defee while 38-year-old Phaedra Graham and 67-year-old Sherri Jefferson will go up against 69-year-old incumbent Mayor Mary Lee in the Riverdale race.

Day said she is dedicated to maintaining the same level of service in the city.

"Our first commitment is to the citizens and their desires for the future of the city," Day said.

Maddox also said he wants to continue the progress the city has made in the four years that he has been on the council.

"I want to maintain the small-town flavor of life in Jonesboro," Maddox said.

Maddox has given up his council seat to run for mayor and council member Ed Adair will not seek reelection. Remaining incumbent Cliff "Rip" Sewell will vie against 39-year-old Tammy Cole, 60-year-old Carl Ayers, 59-year-old Donna Meadows, 55-year-old Linda Wenz and 50-year-old Claude "Buddy" Sealey in the open election for city council.

In Lake City, Oswalt said there's a lot going on in the city with the Gateway Village development and the issue of noise from Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport. His advantage is experience.

"I'd rather have a third-year quarterback than a first-year quarterback," Oswalt said. "You can't beat experience."

Defee wants to restore affordable garbage pickup in the city, bring back quality businesses and improve the police department. He will have a "policy of inclusiveness."

"The mayor must be close to the citizens, open to hear their ideas and respect their grievances," Defee said in a statement. "My open door policy will include regular town hall meetings and newsletters."

Running against incumbent council members Dwight Ginn and Bobby Williams will be 41-year-old Kenneth Betz Jr. and 59-year-old Raymond Johnson.

Riverdale has a lot of "good things going," Lee said.

"We want to continue on with the good services we're providing now," said Lee who has been mayor since 1990.

Graham is running on a platform of change.

"I want to serve the people of Riverdale. I will be the type of leader who is compassionate, competent and cooperative," Graham said. "More over, I want the people of Riverdale to know that I will be accessible to them and eager to listen to their concerns."

Jefferson has a Web site, www.jeffersonmayor.info, listing her positions.

"It is with great pleasure and Godly humbleness that I request to be your mayor, the mayor of the city of Riverdale," Jefferson says on her site. "I come before you to continue via this seat to be a blessing to the citizens of the city of Riverdale."

Running unopposed for Ward 2 on the Riverdale City Council is 41-year-old Michelle "Mickie" Bruce. The incumbent for that seat, Ann Dunivin, is not running. Kenny Russin, 48, will challenge incumbent Robby Strain for Ward 4.

Lovejoy Mayor Joe Murphy and council members Arlie Aukerman, Peggy Johnson and Barbara Spruill have no opposition but Richard Simmons will challenge incumbent Bobby Cartwright for Post 4.

Forest Park Mayor Chuck Hall's seat is not up in this election but incumbent council members Corine Deyton, Donald Judson and Wes Lord will run again. Deyton will face David Holcome Sr., Judson will face John Buckholts and Lord will face David Lockhart.