BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – After a long fought battle to defend her residency and continue to run for Blue Ridge City Council Post One, Jane Whaley received news that her appeal filed with the Supreme Court of Georgia has been denied.
In a hearing held Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, Whaley, along with lawyer Frank Moore, defended her residency within the city of Blue Ridge. Ultimately, Election Supervisor Barbie Gerald decided Whaley did not meet qualifications to run for City Council.
In an official letter, Gerald states:
As noted previously, Section 2.10(b) of the City Charter requires that in order for a person to be eligible to serve as a Councilmember upon the City Council of the City of Blue Ridge, the person must have been a resident of the City for 12 months immediately preceding the election of the Councilmember. Under Mrs. Whaley’s own testimony, she did not reside within the city for 12 month period, and therefore does not meet this qualification requirement to be a candidate of the Post One seat upon the Blue Ridge City Council in the 2017 General Election to be held on Nov. 7, 2017.
Whaley appealed Gerald’s decision on Oct. 13. Judge Richard Winegarden resided over the four-hour hearing.
Winegarden upheld the decision made by Gerald regarding Whaley’s candidacy. He found “that the determining of the Election Superintendent should be affirmed.”
Moore, Whaley’s attorney, filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Georgia and asked for a stay of the election.
The Supreme Court of Georgia sent notification today that all Justices concurred and a discretionary review along with the stay of the election is denied.
Addressing the decision, Moore stated, “Needless to say, we are very disappointed.”
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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!
Hi, my name is Jane Whaley. I’m running for the Blue Ridge City Council Post 1. I have been a resident and store owner in the City of Blue Ridge for over 25 years. My mission is to give the people of Blue Ridge their voice again. If elected, I will focus on spending the city’s dollars wisely. I will prioritize spending, focusing first on our infrastructure. Without the proper plumbing under the city we will continue to have problems such as flooding in the downtown streets, stores and residences.
It’s been evident that there are members of the current City Council that do not listen to what their constituents (the city residents and shop owners) have to say. I will help to change that by LISTENING to the people of Blue Ridge making sure their voices are heard when it comes to the matters of moving our city into the future. We must have a solid plan that works for our city and moves it toward the bright future it can have.
I hope you’ll join me in my effort by giving me your vote. We must be preparing for the future, while embracing our past and uniting Blue Ridge again. Thank you.
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.
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.
BLUE RIDGE, GA – After an all day hearing regarding the residential status of Post One Candidate Jane Whaley, a decision has been made by Election Superintendent Barbie Gerald.
It has been decided that Jane Whaley does not meet certain criteria to continue her bid for City Council.
In official letter stating the decision it says in part:
As noted previously, Section 2.10(b) of the City Charter requires that in order for a person to be eligible to serve as a Councilmember upon the City Council of the City of Blue Ridge, the person must have been a resident of the City for 12 months immediately preceding the election of the Councilmember. Under Mrs. Whaley’s own testimony, she did not reside within the city for 12 month period, and therefore does not meet this qualification requirement to be a candidate of the Post One seat upon the Blue Ridge City Council in the 2017 General Election to be held on November 7, 2017.
Follow FetchYourNews at FetchYourNews.com for the latest on this developing story.
BLUE RIDGE, GA – Candidates for Blue Ridge’s City Council and Mayoral race faced off on Thursday, September 28, 2017, giving residents an opportunity to hear exactly where their candidates stood on many important issues.
The candidates followed a regulated format. Each candidate was given two minutes for an opening statement and another two minutes for a closing. Predetermined questions from popular issues in the city were randomly asked of the candidates.
Every candidate accounted for their top priorities for the city, if they were to be elected. Almost every candidate responded their top priorities would be to focus on infrastructure and parking downtown.
Jane Whaley, Candidate for Post One, came to the stage unopposed. Harold Herndon had previously announced he would be unable to attend the event.
A few of the candidates brought up priorities that were not a common theme. Whaley stated she had another priority along with infrastructure and parking, to “protect the residential zones, and make sure they stay residential.”
Post Two candidates, incumbent Rhonda Thomas and challenger Angelina Powell agreed on the common issues. They both felt that infrastructure and parking were matters to be addressed. Powell stated, “We are growing. We’re not going back.”
They were asked about their stance on package sales being allowed in the City of Blue Ridge. Powell was not opposed to this idea, but seemed unwilling to take a solid stance.
Thomas noted that in order for this to happen, registered voters of our county would have to start a petition and get a significant number to sign in favor. She referred to to success of package stores in Ellijay and that visitors will stop there before coming to Blue Ridge saying, “We’re losing a lot of money.”
Saying she would not go out and actively support it, Thomas promised to listen to what was being asked of her as a councilmember.
Post Three candidates, incumbent Angie Arp and challenger Kenneth Gaddis focused heavily on infrastructure and recreational areas. Both candidates would like to see improvements to our city pool.
Gaddis wants to see the pool revamped to be a more welcoming place for families to enjoy. Arp agreed with Gaddis, and said that she had playground designs that she “had brought to the council several times.” Arp also would like to see a city indoor pool.
Gaddis focused on the infrastructure of the city as being a top priority. He stated, “I’m a little upset right now because we’re paving roads where the water lines haven’t been replaced yet.”
Candidate for Post Four, Robbie Cornelius went to the stage unopposed. Mike Jacobs, also seeking a seat for Post Four chose not to take the stage. Cornelius spoke of a different reason than other candidates for wanting to improve parking downtown.
While many candidates focus on parking being an issue for businesses and for tourists, Cornelius would like to see it improved for the residents. She stated, “most don’t go downtown because they can never find parking.”
This statement brought to light an issue for locals that had previously not been addressed.
Nathan Fitts, candidate for Post Five, also came to the stage unopposed. His opponent, David Stuart, had opted not to participate. Fitts addressed his broken leg as he made his way to the podium on crutches. “When I announced that I was running, they said break a leg. I didn’t know they meant literally.”
Fitts was asked his opinion on the legal fees that have been spent by the city in recent years, replying with,”It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
He acknowledged that there is a need for legal representation and to be able to receive counsel from someone with expertise, but also noted that “paying attorney fees because people don’t get along is unacceptable.”
The Mayoral candidates were the last of the evening. Incumbent Donna Whitener and Challenger Brendan Doyle agreed on many of the issues that had been discussed previously.
Both candidates gave praise to our city police department and agreed that infrastructure needed to be a priority.
Whitener and Doyle were asked if they believe there should be regular meetings between the County Commissioners, City Council of Blue Ridge, as well as Councils from other cities within our county.
Neither candidate was opposed to this idea. Whitener stated that she felt it would be beneficial and that she thought “we have a great working relation now.”
Doyle agreed with Whitener and thought the regular meetings would add unity to Fannin County. He stated that, “we should be there to support through thick and thin.”
One of the issues that separated these two candidates was the topic of term limits. When asked if they would be in favor of term limits on our local officials, Doyle supported the idea.
Whitener opposed this idea stating that the amount of information to learn is too much for a short time period and would not allow an official to be effective in their post if term limits were implemented. She stated that, “Government is a different beast.”
Elections for City Council and Mayor will be held on November 7, 2017. Each candidate urges residents to get out and vote.
BLUE RIDGE, GA – As the Blue Ridge City elections moved into full swing, questions arose about the eligibility of candidates running for office. On Monday, September 25, 2017, council member candidate Jane Whaley faced a hearing to determine the legitimacy of her bid for City Council Post One.
Whaley, a long time business owner in downtown Blue Ridge and active participant at Blue Ridge City Council meetings, decided this was the year to run for council, but questions arose as to Whaley’s permanent residence which led to an investigation and ultimately a hearing to decide the matter.
The hearing was scheduled for 10:00 A.M. on Monday morning, and supporters of Whaley filled City Hall to be present for her hearing. The hearing was to be held in a front room of the City Hall building with little room for supporters to be in attendance.
However, Whaley’s attorney, Frank Moore, asked that the hearing be moved to a larger area, but City Attorney David Syfan declined.
Moore replied, “As I understand it, the Hearing Officer here is Ms. Gerald.” He went on, “I believe that Ms. Gerald should be making these decisions. Now, if you are going to counsel her on that, I don’t know that I can stop that, but I think she should be the one that answers the question.”
After receiving counsel from Syfan, Gerald decided not to move the meeting. It was discovered that Syfan had anticipated the supporters and arranged ahead of time with Assistant Poll Manager Rebecca Harkins to conduct a lottery for the remaining six seats in the room.
Feeling that this was a biased move against Whaley and noting that it was a public hearing, Moore told supporters to come into the room. One by one supporters filled the room carrying their own chair and seeming unfazed by Syfan’s objection to that many people being in the room.
The argument for the legitimacy of Whaley’s residence depends on the interpretation of the law. Syfan cited that in order to be a resident a person must occupy the home in which they are claiming. Moore argued that Georgia law says that residency is subjective, and it is the intent to live in a home that qualifies the person as a resident.
The City presented their evidence first. Numerous documents were submitted that showed a previous address of Whaley, including a driver’s license with an address that is in Fannin County but outside city limits.
Among the documents was a complaint filed to the Poll Manager from a citizen regarding concerns of Whaley’s residence. Moore motioned for this document to be dismissed.
He noted that nowhere in the note did it mention Whaley by name, nor was it signed. Poll Manager Gerald also confirmed the the complaint had been filed after September 8, which was the final day to file such notices.
After conferring with Syfan about the legalities of the complaint, Gerald decided to keep the note in evidence to have a complete file, but it would not be referenced in her final decision.
Syfan called two witnesses to support evidence of his case. The first witness called was Jane Whaley. Syfan presented numerous documents associated with Whaley that displayed an address outside of city limits.
He asked Whaley about the amount of time she spent at the apartment located on East Main Street. Whaley answered that while she has never slept there, she is there on a daily basis and has hosted get togethers as well as just having friends over for visits.
Whaley explained the home her and her husband own at the lake is not geared for someone who is getting older. She claimed that the apartment downtown was meant to be their retirement home and was built as such with wider door ways and level access.
Whaley stated that the only obstacle that had prevented her and her husband from moving into the home was a halt to construction until a variance could be obtained.
The second witness saw City Street Supervisor Mark Clemmons come to the table for testimony. Clemmons had been to the property to conduct an inspection while in the early stages of construction.
He acknowledged that he had known that there was intent for an apartment to be built on site, but said, “I didn’t know who was going to live there.”
Whaley’s attorney Frank Moore presented evidence in Whaley’s defense. He, too, presented numerous documents showing the East Main Street property as her current address instead of property owned by Whaley outside of city limits.
Many affidavits were read on Jane Whaley’s behalf. Some of these came from friends, others from designers and contractors, all concurred that Whaley had planned on making the apartment her residence. Many of the affidavits confirmed that these were in fact Whaley’s plans for the property for at least two years.
Moore also pointed out that both Jane Whaley and her husband Bill Whaley are registered voters in the city as of 2015. He stated, “To me that should end the inquiry.”
Syfan closed his case stating that Whaley had failed to physically reside at the apartment located on East Main Street. He commended Whaley on her honesty and said, “She would make a great councilmember in 2021.”
Moore revisited that the proof of residency is in intent. In closing he cited an example of a person about to move into a home, but their home burning down. He stated that that is essentially what happened with the Whaley’s when construction was forced to a halt.
Both Syfan and Moore urged Poll Manager Barbie Gerald to reach a decision before adjourning, but Gerald declined stating that she would like time to closely review all of the evidence.
Moore made one final motion before adjourning, asking that Syfan not discuss or give legal advice to Gerald without his presence before the decision was made. Moore felt that this would be a conflict of interest and feared that it would create bias against Whaley.
Syfan declined stating that his job as City Attorney is to advise any city employee. In a brief heated exchange over that matter, Syfan stated to Moore, “I will advocate whether your are there or not.”
Gerald agreed with Moore on the matter, and stated that she would not seek counsel from Syfan until a decision was made.
BLUE RIDGE, GA – After much anticipation the candidates for Blue Ridge City Government are finally announced. This week marked the qualifying period for City Council and Mayor of Blue Ridge. FetchYourNews has a full list of qualifying city candidates and the positions they are seeking to fill.
Follow FetchYourNews for the latest information and updates concerning City of Blue Ridge Election 2017.