0

Candidate questions conflict in Sugar Hill debate

In Sugar Hill, candidates are even debating the debate.

Last week, mayoral candidate Ron Johnson sent a letter to the Sugar Hill Business Alliance's Bridget Jorgensen alleging conflicts of interest surrounding the alliance's planned Oct. 25 debate.

"All I want is a fair debate and it does not appear that you or the SHBA have offered that yet," he wrote.

Johnson said he may not participate in the debate because a council candidate is donating money to fund the debate, and he said others have an unfair advantage.

Jorgensen was unavailable for comment Friday, but Nick Thompson, the candidate in question, called Johnson's charges "silly."

Thompson, already on the council with Johnson, said he's been a member of the business alliance since it was formed earlier this year. He said he supports the idea of a debate and pledged $1,000 to cover the expenses.

"Citizens shouldn't vote on T-shirts or bumper stickers. They should get to know their candidates," he said.

Johnson said the alliance members have been discussing the debate on a Web site since May, giving Thompson and other members an unfair advantage on studying up for the debate.

But Thompson said he didn't know the debate's format or the questions. He said all of the candidates have known that a debate was in the works and he would accept any format introduced.

Questions, he said, were going to come from citizens at the city's Fall Festival, scheduled for Oct. 22.

"I think this thing needs to be fair," said Rosanna Teta, who is running for Council Post 5.

Thompson is running for re-election in Post 4.

Stumping

Still a year before the gubernatorial election, Gov. Sonny Perdue is working to get out the vote.

Gwinnett Republican Party Chairman Gregory Howard said the governor was scheduled to speak at the county party's monthly breakfast in Lawrenceville on Saturday.

"He's getting out to the grassroots now," Howard said. "He's really making an effort."

The event on Saturday was expected to be the first time a sitting Republican governor ever attended a county GOP breakfast. After all, Howard said with a laugh, it's the first time since Reconstruction the state has had a Republican governor.

Howard said he hopes to have the governor out to Gwinnett again before the 2006 election.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com .