Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ken Wright, Dunwoody's First Mayor

This November voters in Dunwoody will held to the polls to vote for a mayoral candidate and for three council positions.  Those of us considering a run for office need to make a final decision by September 2nd, but now’s the time to start thinking about it.  One needs to understand Dunwoody’s council puts in lots of hours a month, and for little pay.  One does not get into local politics for the money.  So why would someone want to run for city council?  

I’d venture to say some people want to continue further than a city council but need a place to start.  Those seeking state or federal office first need to get their feet wet on the local level. And then you have those wanting to steer city policy and planning in a certain direction.  These folks have no intention of running for office beyond the local level, but do want to maintain (or change) the direction of a city in regards to future development, taxes, and programs.

Mayor Ken Wright is giving up the big comfy chair at city hall.   He will not seek reelection this November.  See the news at TheCrier web site.  Mayor Wright has done an excellent job as mayor.  You may not agree with his every vote, but it’s hard to find someone more dedicated to Dunwoody.  Don’t be surprised to see a building named or at least a shiny plaque placed prominently at a city hall (or maybe I’ll plant a tomato plant in his owner at the community garden) honoring Mayor Wright at the 25-year anniversary of Dunwoody in the year 2033. 

Aside from the Monday meetings and work sessions, our mayor is invited (which means he needs to show up) to many other functions.  I wouldn’t call it a full-time gig, but being mayor requires much more of your time compared to being a council member.  Who can we expect to run for mayor?  I’m sure the wheel are turning around Dunwoody as you read this.  Can we expect to see one or two council members throw their names in the hat?  It’s possible a person or two not currently on council could enter the race as well, but that person needs name recognition and have a network of supporters standing by.  

What about the three council positions up for election in November?  First, don’t look for anyone to run against Councilman John Heneghan.  Heneghan easily won his first election based on his popularity as a blogger and by being a very-involved resident looking out for his city.  John’s voting record on council is solid and he’s well respected by his constituents.  

Councilman Danny Ross, residing in District 2, has not yet announced if he will run for council a second term.  I suspect Mr. Ross will not run for office, but will stay very involved with the Dunwoody Preservation Trust.  Mr. Ross, like the mayor, has put in hundreds and hundreds of hours around the city the past few years.  He’s very involved with Lemonade Days, and even if he does not run for council, expect to see him on a couple of committees.  At this time I have no idea of potential candidates in District 2, but I’m sure someone will step up this summer and announce his/her intentions.

Councilman Wittenstein is also up for re-election in November.  Of all the political districts in Dunwoody (we have three, each running vertically north to south) District 1 will be the most interesting this fall.  There are a few people dipping their toes in the political waters already, all of whom have name recognition and some grass-roots supporters ready to roll. 

Those of you reading this thinking you’d like to be on Dunwoody’s city council, keep in mind it takes thick skin and lots of hours (and some money) to run a campaign.  And if you win, clear your calendar for meetings every other Monday until the year 2016.