Forsyth Political Environment: 1960 to Today


Understand the political environment.

With the development of Lake Lanier in 1957, and Georgia 400 in 1971, the rapid growth of Atlanta GMA led to the suburban development of Forsyth County (FC).  From 1960 to 2010, the county grew from 12,170 to 170,000 citizens while the city grew from 1,561 to 5,470 citizens.  Up through 2013, a small Political Power Group which include the Mayor of Cumming, most of the BoC  Members, Jack Murphy, and other Legislators in conjunction with local rapid development growth interests.  This Power Group has controlled and benefitted from the growth in Forsyth County.

The Forsyth BoC understandably supported the Power Group's rapid growth orientation as family / friendships / similar interests warranted.  From around 2000-2005, Homeowners started protesting against the rapid growth and the increase of density, number of homes per acre.  From 2007-09, the homeowners had a 3-2 majority on the BoC for the first time.  However, this was a brief window of opportunity as the Power Group with Hamilton and Murphy quietly inserted district voting as the law.  Today there is a 3-2 majority whose voting record follows the Power Group's rapid growth plan.

The question asked by many homeowners:

If we are 90% of the voters, why does the Power Group runs things?  - - - such as spending $100 million on a safety complex that would have cost 40 to 50% less if done more frugally elsewhere?

Simple AnswerPower Group campaign contributions to Rapid Growth BoC and Legislature candidates.

The contributions, often at the maximum level, give the Rapid Growth candidates 5 to 20 times the campaign funding of Homeowner candidates. 

Also, with only a 15 to 20 percent turnout, those who profit by Rapid Growth are able to maintain their advantage by working hard to turn out friends, family, and employees.

A Watershed Period:  2013-14

2013-14 was / is a watershed period - rapid building activity on the high density "pipe farms" of 2007-12, new 2013 high density zonings (and continuing into 2014), and a BOC started an extravagant $100 million expenditure on a public safety complex in "downtown" Cumming.  All this while homeowners seek relief from overcrowded schools and gridlocked roads!

This led to a coalition of HOA and Homeowner groups into a single voice to convey our wishes to the BoC Members: "please follow the Land Use Map and shift back to the 1 and 1/2 acre lots for balanced growth".  And please remember "that in 2013, 95% of residential zonings were high density".

These HOA groups have in excess of 14,000 current homeowner supporters who are expressing their concerns over key issues to the BoC via emails.  With a goal for least 25,000 Homeowner members, our BoC could have at least 4 Homeowner Commissioners, instead of the current 2.

There appears to be a little shift by some Members towards the HOA views - but more is needed!

2014 Elections & Candidates - and looking for one more!

The Board of Commissioners is the natural focus for all voters.  In 2014, Todd Levent of District 3 is running for re-election and is a proven Homeowners Commissioner.  The rapid growth clique has put up a high density developer to run against Todd as they did in 2012 against Jim Boff.  Please give Todd your support.

Pete Amos is also running and with his 2 – 1 vote count in 2010, he will likely be re-elected.  Pete is originally from Forsyth, a member of one of the large landowning families in Forsyth and has recused himself on various dealings for county land purchases, city agreements, etc.  Homeowners will increase our efforts to show all voters how Amos’ family and business interests with the City & County stretch the conflict of interest potential well beyond what a reputable county would allow a person to be a county commissioner.

State Legislators can truly help or hurt their county's homeowners!  We have two legislators aligned with the Power Group that:  1. supported district voting where three commissioners can rezone property in your district, 2. went with the Mayor and 2 PS Commissioners regards the City's water allocation versus supporting the County's official visit and request, 3. have remained silent on the sales tax refund & SPLOST where the city receives 12% versus the state guideline based on population (City  =3%), and 4. have watched Forsyth County spend local funds on state road intersections with little state funding such as Route 9, Post Road, Bethelview north of Castleberry, ect.   Note: with the primary in May, the two Power Group legislators (Murphy & Hamilton) handed out pittance amounts of State road funding on 2/6/2014. Where were these two over the past several years when Forsyth received nothing from them other than District Voting!

Michael Williams is running as a Homeowner candidate for State Senate district 27 against Jack Murphy.  Michael is supported by the Homeowner's Coalition and HOA's across the County.  With Homeowners being 90% of the voters, all we need is turnout!

Sheri Smallwood Gilligan is running as a Homeowner candidate for State House district 24 against Mark Hamilton.  Sheri was born and educated in Forsyth and UGA.  She is a person of high integrity and comprehensive knowledge of County and State inter-relationships.  The Homeowners Coalition is supporting her as she knows how our legislators can provide us a proportional level of control over our enviroment.

A carefull review of active HOA organizations in District 24 and 27 indicates there are sufficient Homeowner voters to elect Sheri Gilligan and Michael Williams as our new State Representative and State Senator.  We all need our homeowner neighbors to TURN OUT on May 20, 2014 to help us gain back more control over our County and toss out some of the old Political Power group.

Please send this to your neighbors - - - - These 3 Homeowner Candidates need all our votes this May 20th.

 We apologize for being long winded but believe - - - informed citizens = responsive government

For the Committee Tony DeMaria & Lee Cohn