Election could help Lovejoy over rough patch

The Lovejoy City Council has recently experienced a rough patch, but it’s looking at improvements and progress for the city’s future.

Post 1 is the only seat up for election on Nov. 8, where there are opposing candidates. The other council seats have candidates running with no opposition.

Bobby Cartwright is the mayor pro tem –– or iterim mayor –– in the city, and the councilman for Post 4. He took on the interim badge on Oct. 13, when then-mayor Joe Murphy resigned abruptly and vowed not seek any political office in the future. Murphy was facing a possible indictment by the Clayton County District Attorney, in connection with alleged voting irregularities.

Cartwright is to serve the rest of Murphy’s current term, which ends Dec. 31. The former mayor’s name will be on the ballot, which has already been printed, according to reports, but votes for him will not count.

Cartwright said he will run for mayor in a special election next year, which could be held as early as March. “The state of Georgia sets special election dates, and then the council will decide which date to hold the election in Lovejoy,” he said.

He said ,if he wins that mayoral special election, the Post 4 seat will be vacant and another special election will have to be held.

Post 1 is currently served by Councilman Tommy Green, III. Green said he is running to continue the progress being made in Lovejoy, and to ensure that its citizens have a vocal advocate for their interests.

Green’s opponent, LaToshia Gray, could not be reached to participate in this article, after several attempts to contact her. To learn more about Gray, visit her web site at http://sites.google.com/site/voteforlatoshia.

When Green campaigned for the Post 1 seat in 2007, he said, he concentrated on three areas: smart growth, safer streets, and youth and senior activities.

Since assuming the position of councilman in 2008, he has been a part of making positive changes in the city, he said. The changes include the growth of Lovejoy’s municipal and private industry, the initiation of Green Park for youths, the purchase of a senior facility, and Lovejoy’s now-fully-staffed police force.

The city’s biggest challenge, he added, is to continue the progress it had experienced before the national economy deteriorated. Green said Lovejoy and other cities are struggling just to maintain the level of services citizens expect. “In times like these, non-essential programs, that our citizens really want, could be sacrificed, in exchange for just keeping the lights on,” he said.

Aggressive marketing and branding of the city as a destination for families and businesses, is important, said Green. It is equally important, he said, that Lovejoy brings the right kinds of businesses to the area, businesses that add value, instead of creating problems.

“We must also work hard to restore the citizens’ trust in government, since the recent resignation of our mayor [Joe Murphy],” he said. To that end, he said, he would like to create community forums and committees that will allow more citizen input into decisions that will affect the city’s future.

Green, 42, said he hails from the District of Columbia area, and moved to Lovejoy for employment. He said his wife, Deborah, began working for Clayton County Public Schools. “I have been married for 13 years to my college sweetheart, Debbie,” he said. “We have one son, Dorian, who is 12.”

He said he works for the National Education Association, and is a South Carolina affiliate as a director of leadership development and member advocacy. He has knowledge and training in economic policy issues through his work with the Regional Academy of Economic Development and the National Education Association, he said.

He is a graduate of Leadership Clayton, a program led by the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce. “My experience as a Georgia Public Education lobbyist and as a Education Policy Fellow enable me to understand government at the state and local levels, and the policies that influence decisions,” he said.

Rebekah Holland Wright, councilwoman for Post 3, who is unopposed, said citizen participation in the city is important. “We encourage our citizens to attend the monthly council meetings and to inform us of any issue that needs to be addressed,” she said.

Marci Fluellyn, councilwoman for Post 2, could not be reached for participation in this article.