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  A measles-like outbreak
Posted by: Don Haddix - 04-24-2019, 01:47 PM - Forum: Issues - No Replies

The Jolt
Jim Galloway

A measles-like outbreak of First Amendment contagions appears to be contained. 
The Peachtree City council on Thursday unanimously rejected an ordinance to allow city officials and employees – at city’s expense -- to sue citizens who defame them and their work.
That ordinance would have included work in any medium, whether Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, on the airwaves or in a newspaper. 
Fox 5 News reports that Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and the council took up the issue Thursday night after listening to the concerns of about 25 constituents. From the report: 

Quote:The mayor said the resolution was mostly meant to legally protect employees and volunteers like members of commissions or even volunteer firefighters. But in the end, the council voted unanimously to kill the resolution.
“I think it’s the right outcome I work for the citizens, the intent was very pure but it wasn’t written correctly I’ve been told and so the citizens have spoken and we move on,” said Mayor Fleisch.
Opponents of the proposed ordinance had some backup from the Georgia chapter of the ACLU, which sent a friendly reminder that “city resolutions cannot unilaterally rewrite the U.S. Constitution or otherwise change” the freedom to criticize public officials.
The measure considered by the Fayette County city followed a bill introduced state Rep. Andy Welch, a Republican from nearby Henry County, that would establish a state panel to discipline wayward journalists. At the same time, Welch also said he would resign his seat in the Legislature, a situation that Gov. Brian Kemp labeled “bizarre.”

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  Peachtree City Council shoots down 'defamation resolution'
Posted by: Don Haddix - 04-24-2019, 01:44 PM - Forum: Issues - No Replies

Peachtree City Council shoots down 'defamation resolution'
2 minutes

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - The so-called “defamation resolution” which would have allowed representatives of the city of Peachtree City to sue people who defamed them has been shot down.
One man, like others at a meeting on Thursday, sounded off about the resolution.
“If you agree with this you’re a fool and you don’t need to be sitting up there,” he said.
He was part of the crowd at Peachtree City council headquarters.
People lined up to push back against the resolution. It reads in part, “The city of Peachtree City shall fund legal action on the part of any elected official, appointed official, or employee who has been defamed in a public media outlet.”
“You get to decide whether you’ve been defamed or not and you want to use our money taxpayer money to sue us, we might impoverish us,” said another Peachtree City resident.
Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and the Peachtree City Council took up the issue after listening to the concerns of about 25 constituents. The mayor said the resolution was mostly meant to legally protect employees and volunteers like members of commissions or even volunteer firefighters. But in the end, the council voted unanimously to kill the resolution.
“I think it’s the right outcome I work for the citizens, the intent was very pure but it wasn’t written correctly I’ve been told and so the citizens have spoken and we move on,” said Mayor Fleisch.
She said her hopes were that the people who criticize the policies, employees, and volunteers with Peachtree City do it fairly without spreading lies.

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  Proposal to sue critics in Peachtree City
Posted by: Don Haddix - 04-24-2019, 01:39 PM - Forum: Issues - No Replies


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  Peachtree City Rankings
Posted by: Don Haddix - 04-24-2019, 01:32 PM - Forum: Issues - No Replies

In 2008 we ranked in the top 10 Nationally.

A flag given to Peachtree CIty was in the City Hall lobby.

In 2019 here is our ranking.

Peachtree City Rankings
Niche rankings are based on rigorous analysis of data and reviews. Read more about how we calculate our rankings.

  • National
    • [/url]Best Suburbs to Live in America
      616 of 6,805

    • Best Suburbs to Buy a House in America
      736 of 6,802

    • Best Places to Retire in America
      817 of 12,611

    • Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in America
      858 of 6,804

    • Suburbs with the Best Public Schools in America
      1,278 of 6,801

    • Best Places to Raise a Family in America
      1,429 of 18,589

    • Best Places to Buy a House in America
      1,513 of 18,532

    • Places with the Best Public Schools in America
      1,533 of 12,625

    • Best Places to Live in America
      1,633 of 18,597

    • Best Suburbs for Young Professionals in America
      1,724 of 6,804

    • Most Diverse Suburbs in America
      2,652 of 6,805

    • Best Places for Young Professionals in America
      5,551 of 18,592

    • Most Diverse Places to Live in America
      7,897 of 18,597

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  A dangerous resolution in the service of self-important egos - The CitizeN
Posted by: Don Haddix - 04-24-2019, 01:24 PM - Forum: Issues - No Replies

[Image: editorial-opinion2-696x344.jpg]
[Image: Cal_Beverly_mug_2.jpg]Cal Beverly
After 49 years of reporting on local governments,  here’s how I see it.
The “sue your critics” resolution in the news this week — introduced but not yet adopted as official policy in Peachtree City — is on the City Council agenda Thursday night. [See correction below.]
It’s the most dangerous local resolution I have ever seen — dangerous to democratic representative government and to the very citizens it is targeting.
The resolution — at the public urgings of at least the elected Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and the unelected City Manager Jon Rorie — would allow a thin-skinned elected council member or a self-important city official to turn the money, power and legal apparatus of a local government like a loaded gun into the faces of ordinary citizens and haul them at great expense into Fayette Superior Court and sue them for “defamation.”
Both Fleisch and Rorie are on TV stations’ video proclaiming that such a big gun is needed to … to … to do what? To stop citizens from saying bad things about them. How? By threatening and then suing the very citizens these elected and hired officials are supposed to be serving.
Are Fleisch and Rorie unable to avail themselves of the very same legal recourses available to every ordinary citizen. No, each of these aggrieved public officials has every right to hire lawyers with their own money and go after their defamers in that same superior court just like every other citizen.
But here’s the defining difference: Fleisch and Rorie and whoever else at City Hall supports this resolution can’t seem to stand the heat in the kitchen. We ordinary citizens — if defamed — would either let the insults roll off our backs — like grownups — or pony up our private money to hire a lawyer and sue the ones who offended us, with our own money at risk.
But Fleisch and Rorie and the supporters of this loaded municipal cannon aimed at the very citizens who pay their salaries must think themselves to be very special indeed, much more special than you and me. So special and elite that the taxpayers should pay for them to hire big-bore lawyers and turn them loose on the very people who will be paying the bills. Fleisch and Rorie and their supporters should not be bothered to be like the rest of us mere citizens and pay for their own legal forays seeking retribution for words said against them.
That alone would be worthy of sending them to the time-out corner. But here’s the big danger.
Who among us ordinary citizens can afford to defend ourselves against even a misguided thrust of revenge from an official backed by the power and pocketbook of a municipal government?
Suppose three of the five council members took great offense at a political sign you placed in your yard. Suppose they accused you of defaming them. Suppose they bring suit against you for defamation. And suppose your homeowner’s insurance policy covered you for a nominal amount, but you would first have to pay a $10,000 deductible. And the city has nearly unlimited ability to pay its lawyer to hound you into bankruptcy.
Would you meekly take your sign down rather than face bankruptcy? And would you ever raise even a meek criticism against those three again? Would you ever criticize them on social media again? Would you ever publicly oppose them with their cannon pointed at you?
Sure, you could cast a secret ballot against them the next time two of the three came up for reelection. But would you dare to publicly campaign against them?
That’s the point that the aggrieved officials cannot seem to understand: This city-funded lawsuit threat is tailor-made to facilitate abuse of power and position. It is turning the power of the government against its own citizens. It will chill even modest exercises of free speech. Who can afford to be dragged into court over what you said, not even for what you did?
Do you trust this bunch not to abuse their power?
They’ve abused it already with this proposed resolution. The taxpayer-paid officials who conceived this unprecedented resolution took our tax money and used their city-paid time to try to weaponize the city’s legal resources against us taxpayers. We citizens deserve a refund.
The taxpayer-fleecing resolution is not for the benefit of the citizens of this city. It is a rule against political speech that serves only for the benefit of those in power who are supposed to be serving us. It is the most self-serving resolution that can be imagined. It exists to give them even more power over us that none of the rest of us can ever have access to.
Remember — all of us have access to the same legal system to seek redress if we are defamed. All of us, including the ones with hurt feelings at City Hall. But only this bunch — in all of the state of Georgia — will have access to the city treasury to come after us.
Our own money turned against us. Nothing like this exists anywhere else in this entire state. Only in Peachtree City. Because some of our Peachtree City public officials — elected, appointed and hired — seem to think themselves to be more special, more deserving of special treatment, than the citizens they are sworn to serve.
If this misbegotten sop to super-inflated egos is approved Thursday night, whoever votes for it will have declared war on the citizens of this city. Our city officials will have declared themselves to be better and more deserving of special privileges than the people who elected them and who pay them.
If this passes, who can trust such self-absorbed, self-important, self-inflating egos to do what’s best for the citizens if they are so fixated on salving their own hurt feelings and seeking revenge on their critics — at taxpayers’ expense? That’s bad news for the city’s future and certainly bad for its reputation.
The citizens of Peachtree City deserve better than this self-serving resolution. It should be voted down 5-to-0 with special instructions for those with too-tender feelings to either get over themselves or find another line of work more protective of their vulnerabilities.
The City Council meets at City Hall at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Doors open at 6. See you there.
CORRECTION and CLARIFICATION — The word “ordinance” is replaced in all occurrences in this article and replaced by the word “resolution.” What’s the difference?
“An ordinance passed in pursuance of express legislative authority is a law and has the same effect as a local law,” according to uslegal.com.
A resolution, on the other hand, “is an expression of opinion or mind or policy concerning some particular item of business coming within the legislative body’s official cognizance,” according to uslegal.com. Adopting a resolution sets new city policy.
In the resolution before the council, a majority vote would revise the city’s current policy of insurance protection for its employees, commissions and council members that defends them from outside lawsuits, a defensive posture.
The proposed resolution would expand the current insurance indemnity coverage  and change one aspect to an offensive posture.
The new city policy would allow city officials who believe a person or firm has defamed them to bring a defamation lawsuit against a person or group making the statements with the city footing the upfront legal costs, including attorney’s fees. The indemnifying policy would repay the city — minus a likely deductible — for any legal costs not recovered from the defendant.

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  How free speakers killed a plan to quell free speech
Posted by: Don Haddix - 04-24-2019, 01:13 PM - Forum: Issues - No Replies


Torpy at Large: How free speakers killed a plan to quell free speech
[/url]By Atlanta Track Club
7-8 minutes

As bad ideas go, this one was a Peach.
Last week, Peachtree City council members considered a resolution to reach into taxpayers’ pockets so they could sue those same bothersome taxpayers.
The effort first surfaced in The Citizen, the local Fayette County newspaper that often gets crosswise with that august board and was, in fact, once sued by a former city attorney.
“Say bad stuff about Peachtree City officials and get sued — by the city government itself?” read the headline.
The legislation would have allowed city employees and elected officials to sue residents who subject them to “unwarranted public defamation” (as opposed to warranted defamation). But the key here was the city would pick up the legal tab.
The source of this is not quite certain. City Manager Jon Rorie told The Citizen that unhappy locals were abusing the system to utter untruths against officials in ethics complaints. But the resolution could be used to go after defamers on any media, whether it be in newspapers, TV or social media.
“It’s a brave, new world,” Rorie told the paper. “It’s not about people criticizing. It’s about being defamed.”
Word got out and Thursday night brought a standing-room-only crowd of unhappy taxpayers to Peachtree City’s City Hall. Walking in, I overheard an undertone of anger. One lady spoke to another, “I don’t know anyone who supports this.” The man behind me muttered, “Like Harry Truman said, if you can’t stand the heat …”
I must say, it was inspiring to see Peachtree City people drop their TV remotes and motor their golf carts down to the government complex to utter truth to power.
The five City Council members gazed out at the crowd like they were contemplating a firing squad. Mayor Vanessa Fleisch gave a rambling discourse, apparently explaining how the resolution came to be. She talked about how some hypothetical volunteer firemen or city advisory board members might do their job but then get slandered or libeled.
For a moment I thought the crowd had eaten some bad chili and were experiencing communal heartburn. But, no, they were groaning at Fleisch’s explanation.
Then it was time for public discourse. First up was Sean Young, a fellow from the American Civil Liberties Union.
The crowd, largely conservative, started to grumble and boo as though a wrestling heel had just climbed into the ring.
“What this resolution does,” Young told the mayor, “is intimidate ordinary citizens from criticizing …”
The rest of his statement was drowned out by loud cheers from the now-appreciative crowd. I thought they’d carry him off on their shoulders like he was Rudy in that football movie.
The mayor asked who else wanted to speak. At least 25 arms shot into the air. At 2 minutes per speech, the clerk set the clock for an hour of public harangue, lecture and elocution.
Among the early speakers was 12-year-old Olivia Cleveland, whose civics class lessons are still fresh in her mind.
“By putting yourself in a public position, you’re opening up yourself to people’s opinions and thoughts, whether you want to hear them or not,” she said.
Daniel Stewart, a 25-year resident wearing a veterans baseball cap, told the city manager — and the City Council as a whole — “to suck it up and listen.”
“When you propose something outrageous, be prepared for outrage,” he said.
Stewart labeled the measure an “Orwellian-style power grab” and urged the council to “abandon this before it becomes more toxic than it is.”
David Richardson said he was “dismayed and embarrassed” that the city he has called home for 30 years is now being ridiculed in the Atlanta media “for doing something as ill-conceived as this.”
Nathan Watts, who cannot speak, had a woman in the crowd read his statement: “I have cancer, that means I have nothing to lose,” Watts’ designate read aloud, choking up. “If you want something posted, send it to me.”
And so it went.
I can’t get into everything uttered, so I circled some words in my notes: Fools. Fascism! Beyond comprehension. Nonsense. Monumentally bad idea. Stunning. Bizarre. Snowflakes.
Resident Steve Brown reminded the council that the former city attorney sued him for libel in 2000 after Brown wrote two letters to the editor in The Citizen. Brown’s letters pointed out that the attorney’s financial involvement with a local bank, whose investors included some big local developers, might be a conflict of interest.
Brown said he spent almost $10,000 defending himself before the lawsuit was dropped.
“I was going to bankrupt my family to point out corruption,” said Brown, who a year later ran for mayor and won.
That lawsuit was also aimed at Cal Beverly, who has run The Citizen for decades. The suit was filed by the former city attorney personally, not by the city, but the lawyer had his own firm pushing the litigation.
“It sure felt like the city was suing us,” said Beverly, adding, “That’s a danger of the government coming after you. They don’t have to prevail. They can cause you to spend all kinds of money. And they have unlimited resources.”
After an hour of public comment, council members were quick to unbuckle themselves from this stinker.
Councilman Mike King said the plan was a bad idea, adding, “Tonight we learned a big lesson.”
Councilman Terry Ernst choked up, saying, “All you have is your integrity. I don’t care to have my integrity challenged.”
No one, however, would own up to who cooked up the idea.
After the meeting, residents had cooled off and walked up to exchange pleasantries with council members. The crowd drifted away and the council went back into executive session.
[url=https://www.ajc.com/news/local/torpy-large-how-free-speakers-killed-plan-quell-free-speech/s4mmEpa8FjOTP1w7HGOF7M/?fbclid=IwAR3giMrRb3g3RdK4nW85cXaBDjbMjDCvV--sAsSoJrZBew-7g4PkWaqWNpo]According to The Citizen, the council “voted to pay for and mount a joint legal defense with the Peachtree City Water and Sewer Authority against a city resident who had accused them of conducting an illegal meeting.”
The resident filed a suit against the city and the council wants the judge to make the resident pay its legal costs.

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  Why I am back
Posted by: Don Haddix - 04-24-2019, 12:59 PM - Forum: Purpose and General Information - No Replies

After the last election my wife and I talked it over and we decided to just enjoy retirement. To avoid the antics of the Council because all they did was upset us.

But they've gone too far. Attacking the village concept, wanting to create a downtown next door to our home, taking over WASA, creating havoc on 54, lack of transparency, wanting to dictate pink color on our home, wanting to be able to sue citizens, Great Wolf and more.

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