What in your background makes you qualified for this position?
Succinctly, my childhood prepared me for this position, my first career in special events prepared me for the this position, my second and current career as a lawyer prepared me for this position, and my community involvement prepared me for this position.
- Being right off I-85, Braselton is an interstate community, and my childhood included living in a Metro Atlanta interstate community. My qualification for Mayor begins with 20 years of growing up near I-20 and Panola Road, going to church near I-20 & Wesley Chapel, and going to our family’s funeral home near I-20 and Candler Road. My grandfather — Horis A. Ward — served as a DeKalb County Commissioner from 1970-1976. I played soccer and watched movies near I-285 and Memorial Drive or Northlake Mall. I visited with friends that lived near I-85 and Jimmy Carter or Pleasant Hill. Our family moved from Decatur to Lithonia to Snellville to Braselton, and we want our permanent home to remain Braselton. Because I’m very familiar with Metro Atlanta interstate communities being transformed during growth, I am qualified to help with Braselton’s growth. With properly planned growth, our community can always have bright future!
- In my first career — special events (Super Bowls, Olympics, Presidential Inaugural, G8 Summit, Goodwill Games), I managed many employees, operated within budgets, and learned the personality traits required for working on a team. This experience applies to Braselton’s mayor because the mayor’s vote (1 of 5) assists with budgeting, setting policy for employees, and working with the four other town council members as a team. Note: Some Braselton voters are learning that Braselton employs a “weak” mayor, who primarily serves as the facilitator for all five members of the town council. Braselton does not employ a “strong” mayor to serve as a CEO with executive power or veto power. Instead, the mayor and town council as a team employ a town manager to operate the town.
- While I was at Georgia State for Law School (1998-2001), the dean, Janice Griffith, asked me to help her write articles on Smart Growth governance, so I researched municipal governance for two years as a Graduate Research Assistant. As a second job during Law School, I audited meetings for a conservative lobbyist at the Georgia General Assembly, so I literally watched legislation on the front line. As an attorney for 20+ years, I help business clients with contract matters, employment matters, and difficult customers threatening litigation. I also help clients think long-term about estate planning. And, I am involved in litigation. This professional experience will assist our town in drafting better Ordinances, drafting an improved development code and comprehensive plan, and preparing for litigation from proposals that may not be well suited for our town. Yes, I’m the guy that actually reads Ordinances, such as: 31-113 on Litter and 33-105 on Nuisance (and OCGA 41-2-10) when looking at whether a Braselton business is “unfit for its current commercial, industrial, or business use if… conditions exist… which are dangerous or injurious to the health, safety, or morals of the… occupants of neighborhood dwellings… or of other residents of such county or municipality… [such dangerous or injurious conditions include:] Defects therein increasing the hazards of fire, accidents, or other calamities… Dilapidation… Disrepair… Uncleanliness." I’m the guy that reads Braselton’s Comprehensive Plans from 2003 to present (see ElectKurt.org/comp-plans). I’m the guy that reads Braselton’s Development Code - just ask leaders in Clearwater Plantation, Del Webb Chateau Elan, Reunion, Gates of Braselton, Chateau Elan, Riverstone Park, Mulberry Park, Falls or Braselton, Broadmoor, Siena on the River, Baker’s Farm, Liberty Estates or The Vineyard.
- For about five years, I’ve been helping leaders in Braselton’s neighborhoods understand Braselton’s Development Code, and how the BDC applies to growth near your neighborhood. I have literally answered hundreds of phone calls on this, and I often spend 20-40 hours per month on these questions - pro bono. I listen and listen and listen to Braselton residents. In some instances, the growth is good. In others, it’s inevitable. And, in some circumstances, the proposed growth merits opposition. At this point, my friends and I feel like we’ve seen a bit of all three. Now, I’m stepping forward to ask for you vote, so I can be part of the decision as your Mayor - not just the lawyer advising your neighborhood leaders.
How do you think Braselton’s growth should be managed in the coming years?
As an interstate community, a prime location for many amenities, and the possibility to always be a premier destination, growth in Braselton is inevitable. I advocate Planned Growth (ElectKurt.org/planned-growth). I believe direction determines destination. I believe in listening first, setting a plan, following the plan as much as possible, and having zoning laws that help our plan get followed and sustained when challenged.
Developers will bring any number of opportunities to Braselton, but we must be patient and focused to work with developers that follow our plan. If we just build whatever others want, we have no brand for Braselton, no brand for who we are, and no brand for what our community should become.
What are the top three issues facing Braselton in the next 10 years? If elected, how would you address these issues?
There are definitely more than three issues facing Braselton.
The main thing should always be the main thing: What is the vision for Braselton? I address this in detail with an online video (ElectKurt.org/q-a-with-kurt), and I believe Braselton can always be an attractive — a premier — destination and domicile. If elected, I plan to ask Braselton residents to come before the town council and openly discuss our vision and any amendments needed to our ordinances, comp. plan and zoning laws.
Second, the issue with the greatest need at the moment is congestion. Can you peacefully, safely and timely access your home or business? If elected, I will ask the town council to consider a resolution for better enforcement of Braselton’s litter laws and nuisance laws, especially in certain areas where a business affects the trash flowing into a neighborhood or the safety of access to a neighborhood. I will also ask the town council to consider modifications to the Highway 211 Overlay, including efforts that will reduce future development that creates greater congestion on Hwy. 211 in its current state as a two-lane road.
A third issue is how Braselton will adjust to the growth cast upon Braselton by it’s own doings and by other municipalities. How will the already zoned 2,000+ rental residences along Friendship Road affect Braselton (see ElectKurt.org/why-not-hardy)? How will Braselton’s Police Department best manage the 30,000+ people traveling to and through Braselton every day? If elected, I will ask Braselton’s Town Council to conduct a comprehensive study of all zoning in Braselton and around the borders of Braselton. Let’s quantify the actual zoning decisions already made for how many housing units, rental units, and commercial units are bringing people to and through Braselton and plan accordingly with the advice of professionals in each area.
Please provide a brief biography of yourself.
- DeKalb County (native)
- Lithonia High School (Class of 1990)
- Baylor University (Class of 1994)
- Transportation Specialist (1995-1998)
- Georgia State Univ., College of Law (1998-2001): Law Review, Legislation Editor & Mock Trial, National Finalist
- Attorney for General Counsel, Estate Planning, and Litigation (2001-present)
- Volunteer leadership: Chick-fil-A Bowl (Fanfest Chairman); Mock Trial Coach (Paideia High School, Dunwoody High School, GSU College of Law); Head Triathlon Coach (East Atlanta Kids Club); Head Triathlon Coach (Eagle Ranch); Sports Coach (Jackson Co. Soccer, Buford Basketball, Buford Football); NorthPoint Church / Buckhead Church / Gwinnett Church Leadership: Small Group leader, Parking Team leader; Greeting Team leader, Gallery Team leader; Thrive Marital Counseling leader, Starting Point leader, Leadership Development Group leader.