Alpharetta’s 2011 mayor’s race is starting to take shape with three seasoned candidates maneuvering into position. I’m pretty new to city politics so I’m having to bring myself up to speed quickly. I’ve spent time searching the internet tubes and scouring the archives at the Revue and News. Here’s what I’ve learned about the three gentlemen vying for your votes this year.
An Alpharetta resident since 1971, Jim Paine (no relation to Tyler Perry’s House of Payne) has deep roots. But a recent archeological discovery revealed that he was actually among the original founders of Alpharetta in 1858. Indeed Mr. Paine has very deep roots. He’s also seems to be a super nice guy who runs clean campaigns. The voters like this as they have elected him to the City Council dozens of times. Even Alpharetta’s term limit rules don’t stop this public servant. He’s the Energizer Bunny of Alpharetta politics.
It’s likely Paine will receive the endorsement of Alpharetta’s older establishment players including current mayor Arthur Letchas. And there are rumors that stone tablets exist with endorsements from Moses himself.
The 2010 census found 57,000 people living in Alpharetta. If that’s true then Doug DeRito has something in common with 56,998 of them. That’s right, DeRito is a relo. He moved here from New Jersey where he was also a city councilman. He didn’t waste any time upon arriving in Alpharetta and quickly got himself elected to this city’s council. This caused a slight breach of etiquette. Seems that he completely bypassed a prerequisite of service; years of miserable and thankless service on his neighborhood’s HOA board. Derito’s more than made up for the misstep by becoming one of Alpharetta’s favorite councilmen, gaining a reputation for being a bit of a policy wonk.
DeRito made news last year when he was accused of an ethics violation. It was a bizarre triangle involving Alpharetta High School, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and Prospect Park’s original developer. The story got legs when a reporter at WSB-TV ran with it. In the end DeRito was cleared of wrong doing. The case got filed under “no good deed goes unpunished” and “slow news day at WSB.”
Recent analysis of DeRito’s past victories reveal his true electoral ace in the hole. Seems that voters make a positive connection between his name and a certain nacho-cheese flavored snack chip. Can he leverage this coincidence into another win? Crunch all you want, we’ll make more.
David Belle Isle, JD
Now would be a great time to satirize attorneys, but that would be too easy. David Belle Isle is a young and charismatic gentleman with a name that easily rolls off the tongue. “Belle Isle” sounds almost like an exclusive enclave of the Windward Community. What’s not to like?
Belle Isle holds the distinction of being the first mayoral candidate to announce, declaring himself a candidate sometime in the early Cretaceous Period. He took a short break last year to campaign for the strangely more interesting position of state Senator, receiving the bronze metal in a three way race. With only three candidates so far for mayor, he stands a great chance of at least making the podium this time as well.
Why won’t sharks attack lawyers? Professional courtesy. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
So there you have it! Alpharetta voters will have a difficult task separating this field. For the last several years these three gentlemen have voted together on most of the significant issues before the city. If they’re not voting together it’s because someone’s probably recused himself from the vote. It’ll be fun watching these guys duke it out. I’m going to recuse myself from the vote and watch from the sidelines. Pass the chips, please.