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Candidates for Brentwood Commissioner, 2013

Six candidates are vying for three seats on the Brentwood Commission. Election day is Tuesday, May 7, with early voting running from April 17 to May 2. Brentwood city commissioners serve four-year terms. Edited versions of these profiles are scheduled to be published in the April 18 printed edition of the Williamson Herald.

 Jay Galbreath

Age: 38

Family: Wife, Candi; Children Sarah Beth (12), Haley – (11), Carter (9), Hope (7), Zak (3)

Occupation: CPA, CFO, Saint Thomas Affiliates

Campaign Contributions*: $2,020

Campaign Loans*: $4,500

Community Service: Alive Hospice Board; Brentwood Baptist Stewardship Chair; Coaching various youth sports activities

 

Why did you decide to seek this office? I was born and raised in Brentwood and love the only city that I have ever called home. While I have been a pretty engaged resident over the years, taking particular interest to numerous issues, the most recent rezoning issues with Tapestry and Streets of Brentwood inspired me to take an active role in the community and seek to be a Brentwood City Commissioner.

 

What is the main message of your campaign? I want to be a city commissioner that represents the residents of Brentwood by listening to their opinion and advocate on their behalf. We need to manage growth so that our infrastructure of schools, roads, and services continue to provide the residents with an unmatched quality of life and local businesses with a vibrant and growing community.

 

What special qualifications do you have? As a Brentwood native who has come back to raise his family like so many others, I truly love Brentwood and want to give back and serve. As a CPA and CFO, I pride myself in acting with integrity and I have a common sense approach to problem solving. And while most commissioners wait until their children are grown, I think it is important for young families to be represented on the commission and my family is completely supportive to the time commitment.

 

Name three issues in this race and tell us what plans you have to have a positive impact on those issues?

Future of C-4/Town Center – I want to focus on the original intent of the C-4 Town Center and the revitalization of the original Town Center District. I believe that expansion of the C-4 overlay and the lifting of the density limitations was a mistake that inhibits the ultimate revitalization of Town Center and the C-4 expansion should be repealed.

Growth Management / Traffic – While the 2020 plan update is overdue and planned for next year, prior surveys consistently rank Growth Management and Traffic as very high priorities. With a limited amount of remaining property to be developed in Brentwood, we need to continue to update our road infrastructure to accommodate the future traffic needs.

Openness and Transparency – During the recent rezoning efforts of the Tapestry and Streets of Brentwood, I was frustrated with the process and would like to see some changes to increase its transparency. I believe the commissioners should engage in more open public debate and open two-way communication with the residents at public meetings. We also need to create a means for the city to communicate directly and inform the residents about future issues before the commission.

 Mark Gorman

Age: 45

Family: Wife Marci; Children Luke (20), Gage (17) and Kendall (16)

Occupation: Healthcare Executive – Vice President of National Sales – HCA IntermedHx

Campaign Contributions*: $17,750

Campaign Loans*: None

Community Service: Brentwood Planning Commission, Excel, Brentwood Blaze and former President of Civitan Fall Baseball, former Cub Scout leader, PTO organizations, current president of neighborhood homeowners association, and regularly attend Holy Family Catholic Church.

 

Why did you decide to seek this office? Today, we face rezoning issues, and high density development, including 393 rental apartment units at Tapestry in Brentwood, and an additional 350+ apartments that were proposed on Franklin Road in Brentwood that can deplete our city’s services, further impact Brentwood school students, increase traffic and spoil many of the benefits of living in Brentwood. My 8 years of service on the Brentwood Planning Commission, and accomplishments in the private sector, have given me the tested experience our City needs in a City Commissioner to stand up for what is good and positively unique about our hometown. I do not support high density rental apartments in Brentwood and am the only candidate in the race that has voted against these developments at every opportunity.

I am honored that a group of Brentwood residential homeowners, from subdivisions around the City that I had supported over the years as a Planning Commissioner, asked me to run for the office of City Commissioner. They felt their residential voices were not being heard by some of the incumbent City Commissioners that are up for election. I am ready to work hard for Brentwood, by being responsive and addressing your concerns, and am truly honored by the encouragement I have received toward being elected City Commissioner.

 

What is the main message of your campaign?

The biggest issue we face is wisely, managing growth in our city, without overrunning our infrastructure, services and schools.  The decisions we make today impact the future of Brentwood.  I will strategically make decisions based on input from citizens, careful consideration of the impact on Brentwood and an understanding of the facts and options to wisely manage growth without harming our city.

Having lived in Brentwood for many years, I appreciate our outstanding schools, neighborhoods, parks, low crime rate, historic sites, and desirable surroundings. Brentwood is a rarity, it is a special place and that is the reason many of us made the decision to move here. The families and socioeconomic conditions that exist here are rare and make Brentwood one of the most attractive communities nationwide in which to live.

 

What special qualifications do you have?

Having represented the concerns of residential homeowners for 8 years on the Brentwood Planning Commission, residents have told me they feel I am more in tune with the issues that Brentwood citizens face relative to projects like the flagpole property, the post office that was proposed at Wilson Pike, the development that was proposed at Edmondson and Concord Road, the proposed development at Dolphin Club, among other proposed rezonings that really were not compatible with the adjoining residential setting. In addition, I have successfully served in a variety of industries from well-established organizations to start-up companies, I understand the need to have Brentwood City Commissioners that are able to negotiate as a representative of the City, make wise financial decisions, present information in a professional manner and build consensus to achieve beneficial decisions for all parties involved.

 

Name three issues in this race and tell us what plans you have to have a positive impact on those issues?

Provide balanced, responsible leadership on the city commission by engaging the community and listening to the needs of brentwood homeowners and businesses. There is currently a disconnect between the will of the community and the decisions of some of the City Commissioners up for election.  The individuals I have spoken with all say we need new leadership that reflects the Brentwood that we moved to and what we want for our future. I look forward to providing balanced, responsible leadership.

Wisely manage growth because our strong tax base and normal growth pattern enables us to keep taxes low and continue to be positively Brentwood, without high density rental apartments and hyper development. I will provide excellent representation on the City Commission, ask the tough questions, and alleviate the current necessity for residents to shoulder the full weight of adverse development decisions that impact our City.

Protect property values by serving as a vocal advocate for families, schools, and seniors on the Brentwood City Commission to be sure that city decisions result in manageable population growth, alleviate traffic, avoid unnecessary rezoning of students, prevent encroachment, and support adequate safety and services which will continue to improve and positively impact property values. 

 Rhea Little

Age: 51

Family: Wife Marie, two daughters

Occupation: Owner, Rhea Little Tire & Auto Repair

Advisory Board

Campaign Contributions*: $9,090

Campaign Loans*: None

Community Service: Brentwood City Commission, Vice Mayor of Brentwood, Brentwood Planning Commission, Brentwood Emergency Communication Board, WCCVB Board, Brentwood Chamber of Commerce Board, Brentwood Rotary Board, Taught children and youth at church, YMCA We Build People campaigns, Brentwood Rotary Board, Brentwood Rotary Foundation Trustee, Brentwood Environmental

 

Why did you decide to seek this office? My love and passion for Brentwood and Brentwood’s citizens has always given me a desire to serve the City and citizens, whether as a businessman, through community service organizations, church or as a Commissioner. While serving these last four years as a Commissioner and having seen the many ways my contributions to the governance of our city has helped to strengthen Brentwood and enhanced Brentwood as a whole. This has led me to seek another term as a Brentwood City Commissioner and to carry out my duty with heritage, integrity and service.

 

What is the main message of your campaign? To passionately seek to serve Brentwood in everything that we do as a City to be what is best for all of Brentwood! To do this with citizen input, diligent study, to look at every project and decision with an eye to keep Brentwood strong now and for many years to come. To best protect one acre density and keep schools strong and to serve all families and individuals is to keep Brentwood financially strong and make wise decisions that benefit all of Brentwood.

 

What special qualifications do you have? Through my having the knowledge and understanding of Brentwood’s past and a deep passion to keep Brentwood strong in the future. By serving the community through my business every day for years gives me a special perspective on the needs of Brentwood citizens. My Education in Williamson County schools, Belmont, also, my children in Williamson County schools. Serving and leading in church, Chamber of Commerce, Brentwood Rotary, City Commission, Vice Mayor of Brentwood and many service opportunities shows my faithfulness to seek the best for Brentwood.

 

Name three issues in this race and tell us what plans you have to have a positive impact on those issues?

Financial strength – Brentwood is financially strong and must remain that way so we make decisions from a position of strength, so we keep the tax burden low on families, empty nesters and those who worked hard all their life and now their largest expense is their property tax bill.

Traffic mitigation – At every opportunity we must seek ways to reduce traffic during peak hours. My first term has seen many long needed projects coming to fruition.

Green space – Our aesthetic natural beauty is such that we must prudently strive to acquire green space when opportunity arises.

 Jason Richardson

Age: 40

Family: Wife and two sons, 9 and 19

Occupation: Senior Infrastructure Engineer

Campaign Contributions*: None

Campaign Loans*: None

Community Service: I have coached youth sports for 20 years (more if you count the soccer clinics I helped out with in High school). In the past year, I have coached soccer, basketball and am currently coaching 9 year old flag football. I volunteer at the Concord Road Church of Christ, helping out wherever possible. I work with the youth group there, teaching the high school class.

 

Why did you decide to seek this office? I have lived in Brentwood since 1990, have gone to school here, taught school here, been coached here and coached here. I go to church here, right on Concord Road.  My wife and sons and I have spent more time in the parks here in Brentwood than sometimes I care to admit. I have watched our city grow and when the elections came up this year I decided it was time for me to continue to give back to the community in a more public manner. It is as simple as that. I want to help shape Brentwood's future and make certain that we continue making the right decisions for our city.

 

What is the main message of your campaign? I want to make sure Brentwood stays the relaxed, safe, comfortable place we love. That doesn't mean we have to stay in the 1960's, it mea ns we have to learn from the mistakes of other cities and grow appropriately. I've seen what happens when you grow the wrong way.

 

What special qualifications do you have? I've spent years developing my strengths in College, Teaching High school, coaching High school and youth sports, and most importantly working my way through the corporate world, making decisions and designing architecture that help to assure that those clients whom I serve have everything they need to be efficient and more. I learn quickly, I study voraciously, and I have the ability to listen and act. Most importantly, I've learned that sometimes the right thing to do for a company (or city) is not necessarily the most popular thing to do. I'm fine with not being popular.

 

Name three issues in this race and tell us what plans you have to have a positive impact on those issues?

C-4 rezoning to remove residential as it stands currently. I believe that this will have a huge impact on downtown Brentwood in the near term. Commissioner Smithson is hosting a forum for looking at the C-4 as it currently stands and revising it. I encourage all who have a say to attend and make your voices heard, or email your comments. I do not think that train will stop until a consensus is reached and I believe it will have far reaching impact.

Traffic is an up and coming issue that Brentwood is and will be facing. The last forum introduced a question from a Brentwood resident suggesting that every development have a mandatory traffic study tied to it that was independent of the developer. I think that's a great idea. Working with Metro and TDOT to improve integration among our networks and widen our roads will prove valuable and I think we have a City Manager committed to making that happen. We also have Smith park and how it will be created and maintained.

The option to buy the 80 acres (which I am told are the flattest, best acres for multi-purpose fields) is up for a decision by the end of this year. I have a feeling that the Green Space group will get their $300,000 pledge by then. I'm hoping to see the land, but having another Crockett Park in Brentwood would be a HUGE success for the Commission.

 Regina Smithson

Age: 69

Family: Husband, John; three married children, 11 grandchildren

Occupation: City commissioner; partner, Smithson & Associates co-owner, Silver Plum, Inc., Handbags

Campaign Contributions*: $1,975

Campaign Loans*: $4,000

Community Service: Did not respond.

 

Why did you decide to seek this office? I am running to help preserve what I have been a part of building for the past 22 years. I feel that so many of the reasons people have stayed in Brentwood, moved to Brentwood or moved back to Brentwood is because of the desirable and wonderful city that has come to be under my leadership along with other leaders who have had the same vision. I want to continue to have a fiscally responsible government without raising property taxes. Residents want responsible leaders who spend their tax dollars on amenities that serve the entire community, such as police and fire, parks and bike trails, library and schools. I want to help maintain our one-acre density. I believe experience and knowledge are valuable assets I bring to the city commission. I have NO hidden agendas and answer only to you – the residents of Brentwood.

 

What is the main message of your campaign? The main message of my campaign is to maintain our residential community – one acre density - while working to develop the town center and other commercial properties in a way that is desirable to Brentwood. Continue to maintain our AAA credit rating with no property tax increase. Continue to support our schools – keeping them #1. Continue to preserve green space. Continue to support our Police and Fire Departments.

 

What special qualifications do you have?

I have always been able to work with people and feel that having worked with the residents of Brentwood for 22 years helping solve situations that are important to them would be important in the next four years. Brentwood has a new City Manager, Kirk Bednar and new Assistant City Manager, Jay Evans who will both do a wonderful job. I believe my knowledge and history of the city as well as my experience in working with city, county and state officials will be of benefit to them and also will benefit the citizens of Brentwood.

While serving on the city commission for 22 years I have served as Mayor, Vice Mayor, presently serving on the Park Board, represented the Planning Commission 3 terms, the Historic Commission, Environmental Board, Sister City Board, and Historic Tour of Homes. I have volunteered at Brentwood High, Brentwood Middle and Scales Elementary. I have partnered with my husband in building a successful business with Smithson & Associates and am the co-owner of Silver Plum, Inc. Handbags.

 

Name three issues in this race and tell us what plans you have to have a positive impact on those issues?

All three of these issues go hand-in-hand. 1) Maintain our one-acre density. I have always maintained our one-acre density and will continue to do so.

 

2) The goal of the Town Center should be just that – a TOWN CENTER not a metropolitan center. NO HIGH DENSITY. The first issue would be the C-4 Zoning Ordinance – this ordinance HAS to be revisited. I have initiated a joint City Commission/Planning Commission workshop that will be held at City Hall on April 18 at 6 pm to begin the dialogue to address needed changes in this zoning classification. I am encouraging the public to submit their input for the commissioners to use in the workshop. I will advocate to REMOVE the area of C-4 that is contiguous with residential. The residential component needs to be REMOVED from the C-4. Allow NO MORE DENSITY than would be allowed with its current zoning. NO PROPOSED REZONINGS FOR C-4 should considered until the ordinance is revised and comprehensive traffic studies are done that would include Old Hickory Boulevard/Franklin Road exchange.

 

3) Traffic. Continue to work on ways to help ease our traffic. There are 20,000 people who come to Brentwood five days a week to work. Our city is unique being bordered by three cities with traffic coming from all directions. With our main thoroughfares (Franklin Rd/Concord Rd/Wilson Pike & Moores Lane) falling under the jurisdiction of the State of Tennessee we are limited in what we can do. The city has maintained a great relationship with the state and will continue to do so. We are participating in the MPO traffic study of the Old Hickory/Franklin Road corridor. This data will allow us to improve synchronization of networks with Franklin & Metro that will benefit traffic in the area.

 Paul Webb

Age: 60

Family: Wife, Pat; three sons and a daughter-in-law

Occupation: Business administrator at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Nashville

Community Service: I have served as a church elder, soccer and baseball coach, Big Buddies, Cub Scout Cubmaster, Civitan board, Morning Rotary president, Leadership Brentwood, chair of Brentwood Library Board, Lipscomb PTO president, Brentwood High Athletic Boosters, County Fair volunteer, Friends of the Brentwood Library, Park Board and Planning Commission. I am a U.S. Air Force veteran.

Campaign Contributions*: $2,135

Campaign Loans*:  $1,000

Why did you decide to seek this office? I am seeking re-election to the city commission because I enjoy public service. I have a history of  being a volunteer and serving the public since childhood. I enjoy the interaction with citizens on the issues before the city. My experience in business and government is useful when working on items coming before the city commission. Brentwood is a very special city and I hope to continue working with the residents so that Brentwood will always be a wonderful place to live, work and play.
 

What is the main message of your campaign? I have always said that I would listen to citizens and I would work for them. I have done that during my time in office. Our city is better because residents know they are being heard and have an influence on the decisions made by their government. I enjoy my role working for and representing the city I deeply care about.

 

What special qualifications do you have? I have been a city commissioner for eight years, four as vice-mayor and two as mayor of Brentwood. As an accountant/CPA, I have worked in business, non-profits and government, and I have a solid foundation on how local government works. I have been a community volunteer all of my adult life which helps me listen and understand the concerns and suggestions from the citizens. I enjoy my work as a commissioner and my work giving back to our community.

 

Name three issues in this race and tell us what plans you have to have a positive impact on those issues. Residential density is one issue. I believe strongly that Brentwood is a very special residential community due to our one-acre residential zoning requirements. This makes us a very green and beautiful city. Brentwood is not a place for high density, multi-family housing.

Traffic congestion is an issue we work on constantly to efficiently move citizens and employees in, out and through the city each day. I will continue to work with state and other officials to get road projects started and completed in Brentwood. As the Brentwood representative on the Metropolitan Planning Commission, I fully support our plan to join with Nashville on a traffic study along Old Hickory Boulevard to find ways to move traffic through that area more quickly. We have made upgrades to the Brentwood traffic signal software and equipment to help move traffic better at busy intersections. I also want to see McEwen Drive completed from Franklin to Smyrna as an alternative for motorists coming from east of Brentwood in order to help relieve congestion along Concord Road at peak times

Brentwood is a wonderful city to live, work and play. Our residents, volunteers, city staff and elected officials have worked to maintain Brentwood as a desirable community. The stability of Brentwood’s home values is a testament to the diligence and hard work of the elected officials and city staff. Businesses find that even though Brentwood has strict rules, they are applied fairly.

 

*Financial information is current through March 31, 2013. Source: Williamson County Election Commission.

Posted on: 4/16/2013

 
 

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