What issues do you feel should be on the first agenda for the “new” 2018 Blue Ridge City Council? BKP has a few suggestions for them. Hear what his suggestions are and send us any that you feel should be on there as well. Also, you do not want to miss BKP’s “wolf watch” update!
BLUE RIDGE, GA – Judge Winegarden denied the first appeal on behalf of Jane Whaley and the decision to disqualify her as candidate for Blue Ridge City Council Post One.
On Friday, October, 13, 2017, an appeal hearing was held at the Fannin County Courthouse. The case was heard by Judge Richard Winegarden due to the recusal of the Superior Court Judges who serve in the Appalachian Judicial Circuit which includes Fannin County Superior Court.
City Council Post One Candidate Jane Whaley was found ineligible to run after a hearing questioning her residence was held on Monday, September 25, 2017.
Election Superintendent Barbie Gerald was tasked with this initial decision, and decided to disqualify Whaley based on evidence presented. Gerald stated in a letter explaining the decision, “Under Mrs. Whaley’s own testimony, she did not reside within the city for the 12 month period.”
Whaley publicly stated shortly after the decision, “I believe I am a legitimate candidate, and I am going to appeal this decision.”
Whaley’s attorney Frank Moore filed an appeal on the decision to disqualify Whaley reciting that Georgia is a domicile state, and under that definition intent to dwell qualifies as residency.
The hearing on October 13, began at 5:00 P.M. and lasted until 9:00 P.M. Judge Winegarden heard arguments from both sides, Moore representing on Whaley’s behalf and City Attorney David Syfan representing the decision made by Gerald.
After hearing the evidence presented, Winegarden denied the appeal. He found “that the determining of the Election Superintendent should be affirmed.”
Moore requested a stay on Winegarden’s decision at that time. This would allow Whaley’s name to continue to be on November 7, 2017, election ballots, and give time for the Georgia Supreme Court to hear the case.
Winegarden did not grant this request, but Moore is hopeful that the Georgia Supreme Court will issue a stay if granted a hearing on the appeal.
Moore is preparing a request for an appeal of the decision to the Georgia Supreme Court. He expects to have this request entered by Tuesday or Wednesday, October 17th / 18th.
Campaign signs supporting the candidacy of Jane Whaley have recently been removed from the City of Blue Ridge. Moore also sent a request that these signs be put back up while Whaley continues her appeal process.
How important is it to know how our candidates live their lives outside of politics?
Paraphrased from GMFTO on FYNTV:
Would you want a City Council Member that was a high roller?
Would you vote for a candidate that REGULARLY gambled hundreds of thousands of dollars?
I don’t know yet, but I understand it is possible that a candidate is a casino regular, maybe not just a regular, but possibly a high roller?
The source can’t be revealed, and it isn’t 100% verified, but this is a source that would KNOW!
BKP reacts to the latest breaking news on the selectivity of the investigations regarding residency requirements in Blue Ridge. To read our official report on this breaking story click here.
There is a letter to Barbie Gerald from Frank Moore, who represents Cindy Trimble. The letter suggests that Mr. C David Stuart may not be qualified to run for BR City Council, his place of residence is not the commercial body shop he owns. Also mentioned in the letter, N Brendan Doyle, owner of The Boro Pub. Doyle stated under oath that his residence is 150 W Main St., which is the Boro Pub.
Moore attached pictures of the properties and tax records of the zoning. There is only a certain amount of time to challenge it. However, recent precedent suggests Barbie Gerald must investigate.
Obviously there was some picking and choosing going on. Who talked these people into running? Maybe it was Johnny Searcy or Angie Arp? After all, Angie Arp does own the land surrounding The Boro. She was seen on multiple occasions going in and out of The Boro. Maybe she was the one who convinced him to run?
It seems to me that one candidate stood out. One candidate that didn’t fit the mold that Angie Arp, Barbie Gerald, and others wanted.
But there is a proof, for a fact, that people were ordered to sit outside Jane Whaley’s apartment to take pictures all day. To see if there are lights on at night. To see if there are people in and out during the day.
A judge will be the one to decide whether or not Jane Whaley can run for office. Yet, there are still many questions to ask of Ms. Gerald.
Why wasn’t the residence of Brendan Doyle investigated?
Why wasn’t the residence of David Stuart investigated?
Who put pressure on Barbie Gerald to investigate Jane Whaley?
Only time will tell…
BLUE RIDGE, GA – A recent decision by Election Superintendent Barbie Gerald resulted in the disqualification of City Council Post One Candidate Jane Whaley. Now two other candidates, David Stuart and Brendan Doyle, are being challenged as to the legitimacy of their residency.
Whaley, along with several of her supporters, attended an all day hearing on September 25, 2017 to argue her residential status.
City Attorney David Syfan argued that Whaley’s lack of physical presence at her apartment on East Main Street was case enough to dismiss her from the election.
Whaley’s attorney Frank Moore stated that her intent to move in was enough to claim residence, and that she had only been prevented from the physical move by circumstances beyond her control.
Gerald ultimately came to the decision that Whaley did not meet the qualifications to continue to run for City Council Post One. In a letter sent to Whaley, Gerald stated, “since I have determined that Mrs. Whaley is not qualified, in my position as Election Superintendent, I shall withhold Mrs. Whaley’s name as a candidate upon the ballot, or strike her name from the ballot if the ballots have been printed.”
It went on, “If there is insufficient time to strike her name or reprint the ballots, I will post a prominent notice at the City polling place advising voters that Mrs. Whaley is disqualified as a candidate and all votes cast for her shall be void and shall not be counted.”
In response, Whaley stated, “I believe I am a legitimate candidate, and I am going to appeal this decision.”
Frank Moore sent a letter late last week asking for a stay of Gerald’s decision. He stated that Whaley’s name should be included on the ballot until a decision has been reached in her appeal.
The letter states that Whaley “will be permanently and irreparably harmed if the Court does not grant a stay of the Determination because she will be unable, prior to the printing of the ballots and the conducting of the election to challenge successfully the erroneous Determination.”
Moore also sent a formal letter, with regards to a complaint filed by another city resident, to Election Superintendent Barbie Gerald requesting the investigation of residency for two additional candidates in the Blue Ridge City Council Election.
The letter brings into question the residency of City Council Post Five Candidate David Stuart. Stuart listed his address as a property that is currently zoned C-2. Properties that are commercially zoned C-2, can only have residential units above the first floor.
It also brings into question the residency of Candidate for Blue Ridge City Mayor Brendan Doyle. The complaint against Doyle states that an urban dwelling living space within the Central Business District must average 1,000 square feet in area per building.
The letter states that both of these candidates fail to meet these standards.
It asks for an investigation and if the claims are proven to be correct asks for the removal of both candidates from the ballot for the 2017 Election for City Council.
Dear Mr. Harbison,I am offended, shocked, and stunned – but not surprised – at the continuing lack of objectivity and fairness of the News Observer. I have been a subscriber for more than a decade and a reader for multiple decades. You are objective and fair with SPORTS reporting, but your paper clearly has a bias – if not agenda – in your POLITICAL reporting. Your front page article in the October 4th edition regarding my wife Jane’s candidacy for City Council treated each allegation and argument of Ms. Barbie Gerald and Mr. Syfan as gospel truth, and made my wife look evasive and untruthful. Everyone who knows her, knows full well that Jane DOES NOT LIE OR EXAGGERATE, nor did she when signing her qualification affidavit UNDER OATH stating that she was a resident of the City of Blue Ridge qualified to run for a seat on the City Council. That, sir, is TRUE, and the Superior Court will so rule.What you didn’t report was the bombshell evidence at the “hearing” that Mr. Syfan represented Angie Arp personally. Yes, to deprive Jane of her constitutional right to run for public office, Mr. Syfan ginned up a challenge to Jane’s residency and held a so-called “hearing.” What was clear as a bell (and your reporter knows it because he was there) was that Ms. Gerald was unqualified to be an Election Superintendent thereby allowing her to be exactly what they wanted her to be – a mere pawn and shill for Mr. Syfan and his block of City Council members who have had a choke hold on the City Council for the past 4-8 years. The resulting dysfunction (to put it charitably) of that controlled council has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds from the City and put them into the pockets of none other than Mr. Syfan. Indeed, he profits from mayhem, confusion, and dissent! And this election chicanery is just the latest example because it, too, will end up costing the City as it continues to pay for the bad and self-interested advice of a hopelessly conflicted counselor – Mr. Syfan.Also newsworthy, but ignored by your paper, was that the delayed occupancy of our home at Sycamore Crossing was DUE TO “THE CITY” which forced us to stop work on our apartment on the second floor over Sycamore Crossing thereby delaying our expected April 2016 move-in. By the way, Sycamore Crossing is now recognized as the “meeting place” and landmark property in the City of Blue Ridge – and all because of a person who Mr. Syfan and Angie Arp have thrown off the ballot. Not qualified to run? Garbage!Look also at page A7 “CANDIDATES SPEAK—” where you carry photos of eight (8) candidates that chose to attend, participate, speak and answer questions at the only public community forum for the city council election. Notably, HOWEVER, there were nine (9) candidates there – the ninth being JANE WHALEY who garnered loud applause for her candor, honesty and commitment to Blue Ridge – while her opponent didn’t even do the only thing he has done for the City in his eight (8) years on the council – show up. Where was your fairness and objectivity on page 7. Jane will be ordered back onto the ballot, and she will run and win a seat on the City Council. That is when you will start to truly see a Better Blue Ridge!Sincerely,Bill Whaley M.D.
The Blue Ridge City Council extravaganza took a funny turn this weekend with a misspelled sign going up on behalf of Angelena Powell. Also, the REAL STORY behind why Jane Whaley was halted from running for city council. (Time Code Listed in Description)
- ANGELENA POWELL SIGN 0:00 – Her sign was misspelled “Councel” instead of “Council.” It was the talk of social media this weekend. Arp, Powell, Doyle is reminiscent of Schizophrenic Jeopardy on MadTV.
- JANE WHALEY 12:00 – Sources tell BKP: Angelena Powell does not live in the city limits either. There were several people in the community who did not want Jane Whaley to move in by a certain date. “We need to stop every candidate in their tracks.” Suddenly, it was “discovered” the back porch did not meet the proper code, it stuck out a couple feet too far. Therefore, she was unable to move in. Nothing was said about the violation until much later. A stop work order was issued later on. The zoning board disqualified the residence. They were then ordered to build a wall to chew up more time. It was a gameplan to disqualify Whaley
- BKP’s Opinion: They shut her down knowing she might run for city council. They blocked the construction of her apartment to keep her from running. There is an organized effort going on, from the City Council down to the Zoning Commission. “The City has to realize that the pipes going through here is going to pile up crap. You can’t keep building until you fix the pipes.” Stop work order was put in place.
Spoiling for a fight. The heated argument between the two city council members Angie Arp and Rhonda Thomas was well on its way before the meeting ever started. Arp obviously took issue with comments Thomas made the previous week concerning City Attorney David Syfan. Arp responded to Thomas’ comments through several early morning e-mails (e-mail text posted below). It reached a boiling point at last nights Blue Ridge City Council Meeting.
At the Blue Ridge City Council meeting on March 14th Councilwoman Angie Arp and Rhonda Thomas get into a heated argument. Arp addressed the council about recent comments concerning legal fees for the city of Blue Ridge. After showing her support for City Attorney David Syfan, Councilwoman Rhonda Thomas, took a different position than Arp’s concerning the legal costs. This resulted in a verbal fight between the two council members. It escalated to a point where council member Rodney Kendall yelled the point of order several times. Arp offered to Thomas to take it outside.
Sent: Sunday, March 12, 2017 3:24 AM
To: Donna Whitener; Rhonda Thomas
Subject: Re: Ada Street v. Blue Ridge – Ct. of Appeals Order Dismissing Appeal – IMPORTANT
My Dear Friends Donna and Rhonda,
How has your deceitful attacks and lies against me worked out for you so far? You LOST! Has it not hit either of you yet, that you have LOST every time you’ve gone against me and the council for that matter. Does it not get old always being on the losing side? Have either of you considered, you may just need to come to the realization that you are not going to ever win against me, no matter how dirty and deceitful you play. How long will you keep trying, it’s been almost four years now and your still getting your tail kicked. Where is the shame in that or better yet where is the pride in that. I like a challenge, but if I couldn’t do better than you’ve done, I believe I would wave the flag, pull may tail between my legs and go home.
I do have another question though, do you not find it odd that despite all your calculating, deceitful planning, orchestrated attempts and lying, you still have not been able to win at anything. Your attacks against me hasn’t effected me at all, except maybe gained me more favor, for being known as someone that don’t play the political game and certainly known as someone that don’t take no sh– from anyone or don’t care who you are or whether you like me or not.
Where is your elite group of supporters, none of you have been able to defeat me and now you’re all laying low, planning for one last attempt. Rhonda, as you have referred to confidently, a “new council” has it ever crossed your mind that you may not be part of the “new council”. Unless your luck changes and you can do something you haven’t been able to do in almost four years. If so, there may be a “new council”, if not, you lose again.
And Rhonda, I guess you’re eating crow right about now, I thought it was funny when an employee reminded me of the day you was in city hall, and so boldly and proudly quoted”Steve is going to win this lawsuit”. Now what do you have to say? Are you still going to strut into city hall, all confident and cocky, as if you’re somebody important? Rhonda Who? I’m curious, did you celebrate at the Black Sheep last night?
Joking aside, I really do hate that you both have cost the tax payers to date, $103,601 on this lawsuit, but one positive thing that may have came out of the lawsuit, is maybe at least it exposed the character of both of you, the trial certainly exposed that you were both not creditable witnesses, which is a polite way to say you’re not trustworthy. Even though you already had the reputation of having a “silver tongue”, and everyone knows about half of what comes out of your mouth, isn’t true, what the courts proved is different, because it involves tax payers money. Both of you went in to court for the sole purpose of lying to help your friend and you did it at the tax payers expense. Do you know how many people may have read the court transcript, and do you have any idea of what one could conclude after reading it?
And as for GMA, who knows what this has cost them. An attorney that has worked for GMA for 35 years said they have never seen elected officials testify for anyone that sued the city, ( the plaintiff) And he’s been around a long time and seen a lot. That says a lot about both of you and I’m sure you both have a really good reputation with GMA now. Donna, it doesn’t matter that you got on a board, due to the fact that no one else wanted to be on it, you will get courtesy, but you have no respect. Just a bug in your ear, for when you mingle at the next Mayor Conference, you have no idea what people really think of you. Just imagine if everyone is like you, untrustworthy, you’ll never know. I heard the rumor was you didn’t compare to the past mayors Blue Ridge has had. I can probably believe that some people may think that, I’ve even had people that actually supported you tell me that. Good grief I supported you and was saying that after about two years too.
Donna, I had hoped you had turned a new leaf, I heard someone at city hall say you said the most important thing in your life was your salvation, you told me that to. But all it takes is for someone to listen to you talk. Half of what you say still is not true, has it just become a bad habit? I have often wondered how you would answer God if he ask you where you lived when you served as mayor of Blue Ridge, what are you going to tell him? Are you going to say Lord, my home (domicile) is at Orvin Lance Drive, a two bedroom, one bath apartment above Town and County Furniture, where I live with 9 other people, but you’ve blessed me an investment property in Staurolite, so I stay there some too!
Its a good day and its good news, I’m just having a little fun with the facts , I was told I needed to get another hobby, other than increasing my portfolio, so maybe I have and maybe its’s beating both of you at your own game. I’ve actually done pretty good so far, don’t you think.
I’ve practically begged and pleaded with both of you, to put the personal aside, forgive and forget and try to get along, but you both seem to have no interest in that and both continue to wage war against me, you just continue to force me to do what I do best, and that’s WIN!
I still would love nothing more than to call a truce, but if you dont want to, I’ll continue to beat you at your own game.
Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 1:16 AM
To: Rodney Kendall; Bruce Pack; Harold Herndon; Rhonda Thomas; Donna Whitener
Cc: Sally Smith; Roy Parsons
Subject: City Attorney Attack
After speaking with several of you individually today about the attack on the city attorney made by Rhonda, I think this should go on the agenda to discuss and clarify at the meeting. We all have information from David that we could use to get the record straight as well. David has done a good job for the city and has represented the council well in a lawsuit that could have been over in a fraction of the time and a fraction of the cost, if it had not been for both Donna and Rhonda’s involvement, starting with an illegal veto.
The council made their decision and it should have been final, and that’s the root of the problem. They want their way as they had it in their first term, neither of them have any respect for the council, the authority of the council, the city attorney, the citizens of Blue Ridge or the tax payers money. There willingness to betray the city and the tax payers in an attempt to help their friends, speaks volumes. Quite frankly the attack on David and the untruthful statements made by Rhonda, frustrate me more than anything she has done toward me. I can handle anything she dishes out at me, but when she starts attacking others, it is disturbing.
We have 9 months to go in this term, lets make sure that this type of thing does not happen again, the majority of the council has all authority. We do not have to allow Donna, Rhonda or anyone tohinder the decisions of the council. We have a lot of things to accomplish in a short amount of time. Please support me in putting a stop to any further hindrances and tactics by either Donna or Rhonda. They have both caused turmoil, strife, and unproductiveness within the city, not to mention the shame brought upon the city for their actions. They have both failed to keep their oath to the people that elected them.
Lets remember the tactics they have attempted in order to defy the council and the tactics the will try in the council meetings in an attempt to promote themselves as the election grows closer. Our meetings are for the majority of the council to make decisions, lets remember our role and adhere to our policy. They will both try to use the meetings as a political chess piece, it will be up to us to keep these meetings in order and run by the policy.
It takes a motion and a second to discuss and if the discussion is not what we want to hear it takes a motion and a second for the council to vote to end discussion.
Let me know if any of you want this on the agenda.
The county and Blue Ridge battled it out again in court last Tuesday for their portion of the Local Option Sales Tax (L.O.S.T.) (more…)
The Blue Ridge City Council passed a resolution last week to approve and designate the location of the Sunset Mountain Water Tank. (more…)
After months of debate, L.O.S.T (Local Option Sales Tax) negotiations between the City of Blue Ridge and Fannin County are set to go to court next month. (more…)
The city of Blue Ridge held a special called meeting on January 22, 2013. The agenda of this meeting included a reading of the Hazard Mitigation Plan Ordinance, appointing a member to the Planning Commission Board and consider a rezoning request.
Blue Ridge firmly rejected the county’s percentage offer in L.O.S.T. negotiations this week. (more…)