A proposal to build apartments in Snellville has created a level of controversy that is rarely encountered, yet not unprecedented when such proposals involve a substantial change a city’s land use plan. As the controversy rolls along, it seems to gather almost everyone in its path, so it wasn’t surprising that State Senate candidate P.K. Martin was drawn into the fray. Mr. Martin’s opinion was publicly solicited through a number of posts on social media, most notably on Facebook.
Public requests for comment, especially those which rise to the level of demands, create a platform from which a candidate could easily grandstand, pontificate and otherwise draw attention to himself. Predictably, Mr. Martin did nothing of the sort. He simply stated his opinion and noted he did not want to insert himself in the debate as doing so would be in conflict with the principle of local government control.
Mr. Martin’s comments are in dramatic contrast to those of a previous candidate who is advocating a boycott of Snellville businesses that do not publicly oppose the apartment proposals. Such a boycott serves only to hurt people who are tangentially involved in the controversy, if at all. On the other hand, it does bring a spotlight to the person making the proposal.
In light of the boycott proposition, Mr. Martin’s response is particularly refreshing, considerate and on target. Ultimately, the decision to approve or deny the rezoning applications will be made by the City Council. As such the appropriate response from any county, state or federal elected official is to voice a personal opinion if asked, make himself or herself available to any constituents who want to discuss an issue, and respect the rights and duty of the local governing body charged with making the final decision.
That is precisely what Mr. Martin has done, and his actions provide great insight into the manner in which he will serve his constituents as a state senator. That opinion is admittedly biased. However, as evidenced by Mr. Martin’s actions, it’s also entirely accurate.