Political notebook: Opening locked door for councilman keys uproar

A Snellville police policy to unlock doors for people who have locked their keys in their cars was changed Friday, after a former councilman complained another former councilman got the favor earlier this year.

A police officer reportedly drove outside the city limits in February to unlock the doors of then-councilman Bruce Garraway's vehicle.

Garraway is running for mayor in the upcoming November election.

Former councilman Joe Anderson wrote a complaint letter to acting city manager Jim Brooks last week. In it, he also talked about concerns over Councilman Robert Jenkins, who was eating with Garraway at a restaurant outside the city during the locked-key episode.

"By diverting an officer out of the city limits these two city councilmen potentially put the public's safety in jeopardy for their personal gain," Anderson wrote in an e-mail.

Brooks said Friday that he and the police chief have changed city policy to allow for the unlocking of vehicles only in cases of emergency, such as when a child is inside.

"The officers want to do what they can to help people," Brooks said. "But when it becomes an issue to someone, it's necessary you review the policy."

Garraway did not immediately return a phone call left on his cell phone Friday evening.

Meet the candidates

The opportunities to meet leaders from Duluth abound this week.

On Tuesday, the Duluth Civitan Club is hosting a meet-and-greet for the two people seeking the mayor's post.

At a luncheon at Kurt's Restaurant, retired school principal Nancy Harris and semi-retired businessman Jim Johnson will court votes.

The next day, Johnson has scheduled a program to introduce residents to a redevelopment proposal on November ballots. The referendum revolves around a tax-allocation district, which funded Atlanta's Atlantic Station.

At the 7 p.m. event, a consultant will present a survey and analysis of the referendum, which failed in a countywide vote last year.

Next week, current Mayor Shirley Lasseter will host a festival to introduce herself as a candidate for the county commission's District 1 seat. That will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 25 at Kurt's Restaurant.

"I am so excited about this festival. It's free, and everyone is welcome," Lasseter said. "This will give me a chance to meet constituents from District 1 in a family environment.

"We are running this campaign for the families of Gwinnett County, and we wanted to hold a fall festival where their children could be safe and have fun."

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.