Faced with stiff opposition from challenger Michelle Cooper Kelly, a senior manager who ensures environmental and safety compliance for Anheuser-Busch, King announced he will not defend the Ward 6 seat he has held since 2002.
As director of product strategy for Kaba Workforce Solutions, a technology security company, King said he would no longer be able to commit the amount of time necessary to meet the demands of being on the council.
“I am no longer able to manage the scheduling conflicts between the numerous City Council meetings and obligations to my company,” King said.
King is known for attacking every issue by focusing on the numbers, asking land developers and city staff detailed questions during every council meeting.
Former Marietta Mayor Bill Dunaway, who served the city for eight years alongside King, said King was the “absolute best” person on the City Council.
“The city is much, much better off for his service,” Dunaway said.
Dunaway said King did not always vote the way he wanted, but added that King always had a good reason. He praised King for not mixing personal feelings with the business of governing the city.
“(King) does not practice payback politics,” Dunaway said.
King nominated Kelly for the Citizens Advisory Committee for Marietta Parks, which she served on from 2009 to 2010.
“(King) should be applauded for his leadership role over such a long period of time,” Kelly said.
Kelly steps up
Although Kelly served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in 2012, and is active with nonprofits like United Way and the Georgia Clean Air Campaign, she said the City Council race is a nonpartisan election.
Ward 6 lies northeast of Interstate 75 from Canton Road to North Marietta Parkway, with an additional pocket of the city southeast off Delk Road and Powers Ferry Road.
Kelly, a Marietta native, serves as the senior resident environmental, health, safety and security manager at Anheuser-Busch. She manages a multi-million dollar budget and a three-member team. As senior department manager, Kelly's team ensures Anheuser-Busch complies with Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.
She says she embraces living in Ward 6, which has the advantage of being in the city limits while also bordering the east Cobb county line.
People in the district are more focused on county issues, so Kelly said she hopes to bridge the gap by showing residents what Marietta has to offer.
“I really believe Marietta can be the choice city of the South,” Kelly said. This means drawing in young families, senior citizens, and university students that are the “next generation of workers.”
Kelly said she was glad to hear conversations by the council about improving Franklin Road. Now her focus is to educate voters so they can decide if the redevelopment project should be funded.
The first priority of the City Council is to manage taxpayers’ dollars responsibly, not creating new fees to fix a problem, she said.
Kelly, who is the vice chair of the Marietta Housing Authority board, said her other dedication will be affordable housing.
Marietta doesn’t offer enough housing within the city for the working class, including teachers, police officers and health care professionals, Kelly said.
“Our city has a gap in affordable housing,” Kelly said.
Eubanks stands aside
On Wednesday, another local businessman pulled his application two days after qualifying.
On Monday morning James Eubanks, a board member on the Downtown Marietta Development Authority, submitted paperwork to run for Johnny Sinclair’s soon-to-be-vacated seat on the Marietta City Council for Ward 3.
By Tuesday evening, Eubanks, who is the vice president of Wharton Management Inc., which owns many downtown commercial buildings, posted on his campaign’s Facebook page that he was pulling out of the race. Cobb County Board of Elections confirmed Eubanks’ name had been withdrawn.
“I will not be able to carry on this race, but I am comforted knowing that Johnny Walker will lead the Ward for the next 4 years,” Eubanks posted on his Facebook site.
On the site, Eubanks shared with his supporters that the decision was based on his father, Gary Eubanks, passing away Tuesday after battling brain cancer for the past year and a half.
Johnny Walker, an agent with Harry Norman Realtors, also qualified early this week for the Ward 3 seat and said Eubanks contacted him directly about deciding not to run.
Walker said he was saddened to hear about the passing of Eubanks’ father, who was a “well-liked gentleman in the community.”
Although he will now be unopposed for the council seat, Walker said he will work hard to meet everyone in the ward before the election.
Opposition to Coleman
One qualifier Wednesday from Ward 5 questioned the moral compass of his representative, Councilman Anthony Coleman.
Doug Martin, 60, who served in the U.S. Marines, specifically pointed to an assault on fellow Councilwoman Annette Lewis for which Coleman plead guilty in 2011.
“He needs to start packing,” Martin said. “I am mad.”
Martin also criticized Coleman for missing out on the “greatest economic proposal in the city” when he was absent from the council meeting on June 12 when the Lemon Street School project was stripped from the redevelopment bond.
The Lemon Street high school was an African-American segregation high school in Ward 5 that lost out on $1.2 million in renovation funds.
“It boggles my mind for him not to show up,” Martin said.
Coleman, who has served for three terms on the council, said his record shows his commitment to redevelopment in the city and job creation, specifically with his sponsorship of the Marietta/Cobb Career Expo.
Coleman also highlights his support of Community Development Block Grants to build affordable housing and repair homes for low-income senior citizens.
“I am proud of everything I have accomplished, and I want to thank the voters for re-electing me,” Coleman said.
Martin, who is a former school janitor who ran for Marietta City School Board in 2009, said he supports Mayor Steve Tumlin and the redevelopment bond that will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Martin said he wants to spur the economic opportunity in his community, not turn his back on money.
“If any one deserves a piece of the economic pie, my kin does,” Martin said.
Martin owns the company Golden Standard that provides tools for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, such as helping with the distribution of Happy Cheeks, a toilet seat cleaner.