Hill, Jenkins spar in Rockdale candidate forum

CONYERS -- Though it's early for fireworks for the 2012 political season, Brian Jenkins, Democratic candidate for Rockdale County chairman, lit the first match during last week's candidate forum by calling out Republican Jason Hill.

Jenkins was admonished by moderator Ed Tracey during the forum at the South Rockdale Civic Association for not following rules agreed to by the participating candidates. In his first comments, Jenkins questioned Hill's voting record when he held the Post 1 seat on the county Board of Commissioners. Jenkins said Hill voted to raise taxes in his last year in office in 2008.

"Jason said 'I have a record.' Well Jason, you're absolutely right, you do have a record. Before you left office you voted to raise taxes by $2 million. I mean, that's a fact," Jenkins said.

Tracey interrupted Jenkins. "These rules were set up because we negotiated them with you," he said. Tracey explained the event was a forum and not a debate. Jenkins' statement required a direct response from another candidate and that was not allowed.

Hill responded a few minutes later during his turn to speak.

"For the record, when I left office and the four years I was in office every one of you one had the same exact number on your home property tax bill and that was zero," Hill said. "We talk about tax burden in managing that. Because of the HOST tax, no one paid maintenance and operation tax to Rockdale County if you owned a home in Rockdale County."

The forum held on Oct. 18 included Republicans Hill and Ed Conway, candidates for county chairman, and Tom Harrison, candidate for the Post 1 BOC seat. Democrats participating were incumbent Post 1 Commissioner Oz Nesbitt and Jenkins, candidate for chairman.

The candidates each responded to topics they agreed to and those from the SRCA. Each also told the audience what their leadership style would be if elected in 2012:

Conway: "My management style throughout my career has been to bring people together and take diverse opinions and listen to both sides. As your county commission chairman I'll be a listener more than a talker, and you won't get somebody besides me if you want to talk to me. Within 24 hours, if it's humanly possible, I'll be back in touch with you."

Jenkins: "My style is simple. My mother told me 'I have no interest in hearing about a complaint. Just get it done. Period. It isn't about excuses, it's about getting it done.' I'm not running for CEO. The taxpayers of Rockdale County are the CEOs. I'm running for chairman. If my department heads can't get it done, then we will have to put someone in there who can because you pay for that. That's what you pay for."

Hill: "This is an election about somebody who can transcend the differences that we have in this community whether you've young or old or whether you've been here a year or been here for 40 years. There are more things that we want that are alike than there are we like and are different at the end of the day. Everybody wants a great community to live in and what that is going to take is leadership that can surround themselves with people that are not going to let partisan politics play in how we manage our government."

Nesbitt: "It's going to take the right kind of leadership that understands the spirit of welcome and having that and displaying that spirit of welcome to every resident who lives and resides in Rockdale County. It's also about understanding and embracing the changes that this is going through and has gone through over the past four years. Whether we want to accept it or not, it is a new Rockdale County. It is not the same place you remember from 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and some of that may be bittersweet depending on how you look at it. It is about leadership and having the right leadership in place to bring people collectively together...."

Harrison: "One thing we've had too much of and one thing we've not had enough of in the last three years (is) that we've had too much politics and have not had enough community. There is a way to get both of those corrected, and I think with the proper direction and proper guidance and proper leadership that can be obtained."


beaudica 4 years, 1 month ago

i am a registered dem. who has lived in rd county for 14 years. i know jason hill's record. he is who i will vote for next nov. richard oden and oz nesbitt have been a blight to our community.

jenkins was out of line not following the rules.

jason hill has experience, is not in it for the money, and has a good record; and i keep up with what goes on around this county and conyers.

janice van ness is also an experienced fiscally responsible commissioner who worked with hill in the past.


SarahTodd 4 years, 1 month ago

Actually, you are not a registered Dem. Georgia is an open state that does not require party registration. Good try though...


Freedom1 4 years, 1 month ago

And what has Nesbitt done to bring the county together? He and Oden have played to racial issues, deepened a divide, and are complete hypocrits. I like Mr. Jenkins, but since I wasn't there, and don't know the circumstances, I'm not holding anything against him. It's too early to be making any decisions.


heresyafacts 4 years, 1 month ago

Apparently, the "spirit of welcome" Nesbitt offers is to welcome criminals and transient residents into our county. Neither he nor Oden have worked hard to improve our police force nor have they taken a firm public stand against the uptick in criminal activity in Rockdale. Instead, all I hear is, "this is a new Rockdale County". Apparently, the new Rockdale means I might get carjacked at a local restaurant on 138 or have my car or house broken into or get mugged on West Avenue -- while Oden and Nesbitt spend the greater part of their time on black rodeos and Unity rallies, planning dog parks, and filming videos telling me how tasty Rockdale water is, what wonderful things the DeKalb black businessmen's organization does, and how we should all be so grateful for the bottomless pit that is the NSP -- none of which does anything to solve real issues in this county. Because of these two, Rockdale has been sued for reverse discrimination in its hiring and has wasted money in hiring individuals who did not have the right credentials or experience for their positions. (What did we get for that $70K+ year of "community affairs and innovative programming," anyway?) These two have been the most devisive people in the history of Rockdale, and they have caused more problems without solving a single one. Sadly, I voted for Oden, and was I ever suckered, esp considering he has publicly stated that he does not represent me because I am not one of the 51%. I will NOT be voting for Oden or Nesbitt in this next election, and I don't know a single person who will. Those two need to take Haynes and carpetbag over to another county -- this one's been ruined enough.


Sundance 4 years, 1 month ago

Sounds good Jason. Keep it up.


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