Snellville councilman decries political tactics

SNELLVILLE -- Councilman Tom Witts took the opportunity at Monday's city council meeting to set the record straight on what he called "an underhanded attempt to intimidate me." According to Witts, anonymous letters were mailed to an undetermined number of Snellville residents in which financial documents pertaining to Witts and his wife Carol were copied and financial wrongdoing insinuated.

Witts denied any financial wrongdoing and brought documents with him to Monday's meeting outlining the circumstances under which he and his wife financed their successful restoration business over past years. The councilman stopped short of naming the person whom he believes to be responsible for the "anonymous, spineless act," saying that none of his supporters nor Barbara Bender's, nor any of the incoming council members would have any reason to launch a personal attack against him and his family. He further alleged that the anonymous mailing was done in direct response to his recent vow to expose any lies and wrongdoing by elected officials.

At the end of Monday's meeting, Witts turned over all the anonymous letters he had collected to Snellville police chief Roy Whitehead. "I will vigilantly pursue all criminal and civil avenues available" in order to identify and prosecute the person or persons who mailed the anonymous letters.

During the "public comment" portion of Monday's meeting, former councilwoman Kelly Kautz addressed Witts personally, agreeing with his remarks and stating that she is not responsible for the anonymous mailing. She then called on her supporters and all Snellville residents to stick to the issues and not resort to personal attacks.

Kautz and Bender both recently resigned their council seats in order to run for the office of mayor in Snellville.

Amanda Riley honored; September recognized as Childhood Cancer Awareness month in Snellville

Councilman Mike Sabbagh read and presented a proclamation Monday, proclaiming September to be Childhood Cancer Awareness month in Snellville. The official document also named Monday, Sept. 12, 2011 "Amanda Riley" day in Snellville.

Riley was an accomplished Brookwood High School athlete who succumbed to cancer following a 405-day battle with the disease on April 9, 2010. Just 16 years old, Amanda left her mark on her school, her city and beyond with strength and courage in the face of an overwhelming disease.

Barbara Riley, Amanda's mother, accepted the proclamation Monday and stated that the Amanda Riley Foundation was formed "to bring smiles to children battling cancer." Citing startling statistics (of every $100 donation to Relay for Life, only $.70 goes to childhood cancer research), Riley thanked Snellville officials for shedding light on the dire need for research, new medications and a cure. For more information about the Amanda Riley Foundation, visit www.amandarileyfoundation.org.

South Gwinnett principal honored

South Gwinnett High School principal Clay Hunter was also honored at Monday's city council meeting, having recently been named an "Outstanding Principal" in Gwinnett County Public Schools.