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Political notebook: Reese endorses McConnell in Suwanee race

A year after he had his own election battle in the city, state Rep. Bobby Reese has cast his support to Suwanee mayoral candidate Tom McConnell and council candidate Rick Welsch.

Reese, whose district includes Suwanee and Sugar Hill, said he faced problems in last year's race against former commission chairman Wayne Hill similar to the ones McConnell has complained about: unfairness in enforcing sign laws and a strong opposition from the city's establishment.

In Tuesday's election, McConnell faces Dave Williams, a former councilman supported by current Mayor Nick Masino, and Welsch is up against long-time incumbent Jimmy Burnette.

"The newcomers to the Suwanee races have voiced concern of the spending habits of the current mayor and council and the uncontrolled high density zonings that have contributed heavily to the traffic woos in and through Suwanee," Reese wrote in an e-mail. "Citizens in Suwanee have continually complained to me that most city projects go well over budget and no answers or excuses are given to the citizens."

In addition to a threat of a lawsuit concerning the removal of signs, McConnell filed an ethics complaint against Masino over harsh words spoken in front of voters.

An investigative committee threw out the complaint last week as well as another complaint heard Wednesday involving Masino's support of Williams during the city's Suwanee Day festivities.

Lawrenceville complaint

Late last week, a Lawrenceville resident complained that City Council candidate Mark Burson did not resign from the city's Zoning Board of Appeals when he placed his name in the hat for public office.

But City Attorney Tony Powell said both city and state law provide for an automatic withdrawal when a candidate qualifies for office.

He says city staff should have informed Burson of the law when he attended a recent board meeting, but officials do not believe striking his votes will change the outcome of any decision.

"It would have been irrelevant if everyone was in agreement," Powell said, adding, "It's a staff issue. It's not something the commissioners would know."

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.