POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Bucky Johnson replaces Beard on ARC board

Camie Young

Camie Young

For the first time in more than a decade, Gwinnett's cities will have a new representative on the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Buford City Commission Chairman Phillip Beard resigned his seat recently, allowing Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson to serve on the board.

"I enjoyed my time at the ARC," said Beard, who joined the body when metro Atlanta's air quality woes placed the board in the spotlight, as it had the responsibility of putting together an environmentally sound transportation plan before the federal government would allow road building to continue.

Although he was slowed a little by a recent hip replacement, Beard said his resignation from the Atlanta board does not mean he will step back from city politics.

"My city job just gets busier," he said, pointing out that he plays a major role with the city government and school system. "I'll be here as long as I can get up and down and the people elect me."

Johnson, who retired in 2001 as director of bands at Georgia Tech and currently produces the Southern Star Music Festival, currently serves as president of the Gwinnett Municipal Association.

According to a press release, he will serve on ARC's Aging Services Committee.

Airport rally planned

A Gwinnett politician is planning a "non-political" rally this week.

The event, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, is a protest of plans to privatize and expand the Briscoe Field airport.

"A group of elected officials, concerned citizens, neighborhood activists and downtown Lawrenceville businesses have joined together to organize this rally to publicize the air and noise pollution, the blighted neighborhoods, the loss of property values and the reduction in the quality of life that a commercialized airport would surely bring," said John Heard, a former state representative who is seeking the District 4 commission seat in the upcoming GOP primary.

"Lawrenceville is a great place to live, and I want to keep it that way -- good schools, low crime, attractive neighborhoods and a business- friendly community," he said. "I want to build on those things and make them better. The airport proposal is wrong-minded and a serious threat to our quality of life. I am not willing to sacrifice the Lawrenceville community so a few people can make a buck."

The event is expected to include speakers and give people an opportunity to sign petitions opposing the expansion, which county officials are studying.

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.