Kennesaw Patch to Host Political Debate on Oct. 24

Candidates will square off at Ben Robertson Community Center on Monday, Oct. 24.

Kennesaw Patch is proud to announce that it is partnering with the PTSA to sponsor a political debate as the Nov. 8 Kennesaw general election approaches.

Community members are invited to attend the debate at on Monday, Oct. 24, from 7-9 p.m. will serve as moderator of the event.

Candidates this year will vie for the positions of mayor and City Council Posts 1 and 2.

Incumbent Mayor Mark Mathews, who has served since 2008, is running against former mayor Leonard Church, who served during the previous two terms before losing to Mathews.

Councilman Tim Killingsworth of Post 2 faces Kennesaw business owner while Councilwoman Cris Eaton-Welsh of Post 1 faces challenger Kim Gollahon.

Check back in with Patch over the following weeks for candidate profiles, Q&As and in-depth election coverage. Also, be sure to let us know which local issues matter to you. You can submit your questions to the candidates in our comments section below.

Tim Killingsworth October 06, 2011 at 07:30 PM
I am looking forward to discussing what is in Kennesaw's future. It should be a great evening. Thank you Kennesaw Patch for putting this together.
Joe Bozeman October 07, 2011 at 03:18 AM
Kurt What candidates are you referring to? A comment like yours is very vague. Why don't you state names? I see nothing here about who will be there and who won't Joe Bozeman
Joe Bozeman October 07, 2011 at 09:11 AM
Mark, I look forward to the debate. Although I am not a resident of the City of Kennesaw, my family has a deep intrest in the city. If anyone wants to know where support is, all they have to do is stand in front of the City Hall and look in the backyard of 2259 Lewis Street. One thing is for sure, I ain't rideing the fence.
Cris Eaton Welsh October 07, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Kurt, I know when it was originally planned the Patch went to every candidate. It was my understanding that everyone agreed and welcomed the opportunity except for one candidate who was a "strong maybe". At this point I believe Mr Church and Ms Gollahon have backed out. Mr Dickens, Mr Killingsworth, Myself and Mayor Mathews will be attending. I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet with those in our community who want to discuss issues. I am hopeful that Mr Church and Ms Gollahon will change their minds, if not, then it never hurts to talk to more people. I appreciate the Patch for hosting the event.
Sean Delowe October 07, 2011 at 08:06 PM
Looks like Mark Mathews has endorsed Tom and Cris as being the good candidates? This guy has enough problems with his bankruptcy and support of giving 800 million dollars of our tax money through the TSPLOST without playing the backyard of another race. If I were running, It would be a cold day in He## belfore, I wanted his endosement. It did not work out so well for his friend Bill. Per Cris, Welsh are you for real? You and your buddy Mathews with Ed has a long well known history of not playing by the rules. I find it difficult to believe Mr. Setzler really understands what he is getting himself into. Once a promising Congressional type of leader will be fighting for his political life in the next election cycle. The voters will not forget. Plus how do you really know the Patch went ot every candidate? No, they went ot every incumbent - not challenger (get your facts straight at the very least)
Cris Eaton Welsh October 07, 2011 at 08:17 PM
Sean, yes I am for real! I spoke directly with the coordinators and they spoke personally to each candidate. Looking forward to seeing you there.
Gaetana Pipia October 07, 2011 at 10:09 PM
Just to clarify–all candidates were personally invited to this forum. We named all the candidates running in the election in the above announcement, but we did not specifically name who would be participating in the debate. I apologize for any confusion this has caused. I'll clarify here–initially, all but one candidate had confirmed their participation. But as of now, Mark Mathews, Cris Eaton-Welsh, Tim Killingsworth and Jimmy Dickens are definitely on board for the debate. We hope the remaining candidates join us in this community forum, but we understand that it is up to individual choice whether they participate or not. However, we invite the Kennesaw community to attend for the opportunity to get to know the candidates in an open and engaging forum.
Joe Bozeman October 08, 2011 at 04:45 AM
Wow, sounds like the old saying, 'What if we had a war and nobody came".
Bruce Smith October 10, 2011 at 05:40 AM
It sounded like a good idea to start with but now it sounds like a bust. Maybe we can just talk to the candidates. The current folks seem to be doing fine. I want to ask the challengers why they want to get elected. I think Leonard just misses being in office but the other two, why? I tried to google them and did some research, nothing on Kim but I did find some interesting things on Jimmy. Had some run ins with the law it looks like.
KK October 10, 2011 at 03:01 PM
My question seems to have touched a nerve or two, but that's ok. Thank you for clarifying who has accepted, Gaetana. It is unfortunate that Mayor Mathews had to make the "the good candidates will be there" type of statement, it has an arrogant tone. since you're engaging, Mayor Mathews, why did you throw your buddy Bill Borden under the bus to the MDJ? You don't really expect us to believe you didn't know about his unregistered vehicles and businesses, did you?
Debra Williams October 11, 2011 at 01:36 PM
Sean: Where have you seen an endorsement by Mayor Mathews? Signs being placed together doesn't constitute an endorsement, that is a statement by the person owning the property as to whom they feel is the best leadership. Ones personal bankruptcy doesn't mean they aren't good leaders - look at the effect of the economy on many of our friends and family. If we believe what you say then all those who lost their jobs, lost their homes, having to accept the kindness of strangers are losers! REALLY. Are you aware that some things that happen to us happen due to circumstances beyond our control? Mayor Mathews is still researching and questioning the TSPOLST, please do not cast judgment on issues you've read and not discussed with him. Regarding his endorsement for Mr. Borden, Mr. Church also endorsed him until the MDJ began reporting on his business and auto status, then Mr. Church pulled out quietly (convenient). We've all had family and friends that has done things to embarrass us, but is our friendship so shallow that we cast them aside. Mr. Borden has apologized, let's let it go. If not, we can discuss the John Dowdy issue that took place under Mr. Church's leadership and friendship that cost the city millions in a settlement. You make the statement "Mathews and Ed has a long well known history of not playing by the rules", don't be so vague - easily said with no substance behind it. Point a finger, give an example.
Debra Williams October 11, 2011 at 01:49 PM
If candidates running for an office refuse to sit down to a debate yet they use the media to tout their accusations toward their opponents - it's a HUGE sign of a lack of substance in their accusations. If we are to make an informed decision we must hear from ALL the candidates themselves. How can you ask for our vote when you refuse to let us hear you speak specifically on issues. It's easy to talk in generalities however, eventually you have to peel back the layers and show your substance. To debate, you face THE PEOPLE and are held accountable for what you say and promise, to be afraid to face the people you want to serve means you want us to have blind faith - Mr. Church and Mrs. Gohallon, I have blind faith in God, not people!
E M GREEN October 12, 2011 at 01:33 PM
The Blighted Space at the corner of Kennesaw Due West Rd & Cobb Parkway needs a push for good development that produces an increase in the tax base & an increase in job opportunities, therefore, what would you do to encourage this type of development as left untouched by the current Kennesaw Administration?
Cris Eaton Welsh October 12, 2011 at 01:56 PM
EM.. may I address that one? You can thank Mr Church for the Giant Hole. Mr Church used a "legal loophole" to have the entire property taken off the tax roles by utilizing something called a PILOT bond. This allowed the property to be taken off the tax roles and circumvent the County and the School Board. It has taken 4 years to work at unwinding the mess that was left behind. There are now 5 banks involved and it isn't over yet. As the liason to the Economic Development department currently I can tell you that it has been a long and arduous process to fix the mess and I am proud to report that the front pin corner has TWO new developments breaking ground before the end of the year (over $4 million in new development with new jobs being created and tax revenue). Unlike the original plan of Mr Church these WILL be on the tax roles. The property has been zoned to a plan so the construction will be consistant with the existing building. The biggest problem with the PILOT bond was the damage it did for Kennesaw with the County Commissioners and the School Board. When I asked Mr Church about the problems it caused he responded that they had no right to be upset, what he supported was legal. There is a big difference between legal and "right".
KK October 13, 2011 at 06:52 PM
Cris, i just saw this post in my email. Am I correct in assuming you oppose PILOT programs? If so, we are aligned on that issue. However, Church hasn't been in office for 4 years, and I see no appreciable improvement in the City's relationship with the County Commission/School Bd. In fact, it looks to me like Kennesaw area residents enjoy being confrontational with those two entities. I'm glad to see that you see a difference between what is right and what is legal. What is your opinion of conflicts of interest? What do you think should happen to elected officials who put themselves in such situations?
Cris Eaton Welsh October 13, 2011 at 07:18 PM
I am not opposed to PILOT bonds, I am opposed to being underhanded and sneaky and doing business in such a way that you undermine trust and confidence. Conflicts of interest is an extremely broad topic. I could address if you have a specific question. I have personally noted improved relationships with our Cobb Delegation, county commissioners and personally reached out to our schoolboard member. I have reached out to the other candidates and had conversations with two of them, one did not care to meet with me. I entered two years ago on the premise of helping repair bridges that had long ago been burned and encouraging people to get involved. I feel I have been able to begin that process. I appreciate that you haven't seen the two projects on Kennesaw due west come out of the ground. It was only recently that the legal was cleaned up to allow the two developments to proceed. They are the 22,000 sq ft gun club and metro bank. They are currently in plan review. The remainder of the property is still tied up in legal. I am really looking toward to meeting you Kurt.
KK October 14, 2011 at 12:11 AM
Thank you for taking time to respond. The depth and breadth of the question regarding conflicts of interests is not at issue. The question is your position on conflict of interests.
Cris Eaton Welsh October 14, 2011 at 01:10 AM
It's too broad of a subject for me to assess what you are asking me to address.
KK October 14, 2011 at 03:02 PM
Hi Cris, What do you define as a conflict of interests?
David Chastain October 18, 2011 at 03:27 AM
Most events called debates today are merely information forums. I don't live in Kennesaw, but I will be there because the city affects the unincorporated area around it.
Gaetana Pipia October 20, 2011 at 07:30 PM
Only four more days. Who plans to attend? And what questions do you have for the candidates?
Vanessa October 20, 2011 at 07:32 PM
I will be there!
Gaetana Pipia October 20, 2011 at 07:40 PM
Great, see you there Vanessa! It will be nice to meet you in person. Be sure to introduce yourself. Are there any particular issues you'd like to see addressed?
Joe Bozeman October 21, 2011 at 05:41 AM
I will be there. I think it's a shame that all the candidates won't . Joe Bozeman
Sarah Harvill October 21, 2011 at 12:49 PM
I think the current leaders have done a phenominal job with our city. In what ways do the new candidates think they can do better?
KK October 22, 2011 at 07:40 PM
Hi Cris, Here we are, more than a week later, and you haven't answered my question, which is very direct, about conflicts of interest. Please tell me how you define a conflict of interest. See you Monday night!
Cris Eaton Welsh October 22, 2011 at 08:28 PM
Kurt, looking forward to meeting you.
Tonto October 22, 2011 at 09:13 PM
donate - www.buildtheborderfence.com
E M GREEN October 23, 2011 at 05:33 AM
Great to hear some progress has been made and look forward to seeing the increase in our tax base, jobs, and ground breaking developments. Our community needs more than skate parks and new trails in & around Kennesaw. Thanks for Responding Cris!
Joe Bozeman October 23, 2011 at 12:41 PM
I have seen many comments and concerns about the development of the downtown Kennesaw area. A patch blogger named Bill Harris has refereed to the downtown area as "A wasteland and a Chicago slum," He has also implied that I am a supporter of the Klan because I defend the rights of an individual who runs a business in Kennesaw. Mr Harris has also suggested that the city seize downtown property by way of eminent domain. I happen to know there is a plan for the development of the downtown area. I would appreciate each candidate going over their views about the downtown area. Here is a little known story about a upscale restaurant that wanted to open in downtown. A professional chef and his wife approached my family about renting one of our properties for a franchise called "Does Eat Place". Google it up. The demographics were done and it looked like a perfect match for Kennesaw. Everyone was excited and things were moving fast. But, after code enforcement and the fire department got involved, the couple decided there would be too much expense and red tape. To quote the man who wanted to start the business, " All I wanted to do was cook steaks". Kennesaw officials were very supportive and excited about this steak house, it was Cobb County that scared these people off. Please Google up "Does Eat Place" and see if you think this would have been and asset to the downtown area, Joe Bozeman


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