November 8, 2013

UPDATE: Commissioner Kathy Hoard Won't Run Next Year; Diane Bell Will


After 18 years in office—three terms on the Athens City Council and three on the Athens-Clarke County Commission—Kathy Hoard has decided not to seek re-election next year.

"It has been a tremendous honor to serve our community in this manner, but I am looking forward to other engaged individuals stepping forward expressing interest in the post I currently hold," Hoard said via email.

And lo and behold, look what popped up in the ol' in box this morning from a representative of Diane Bell.

Diane's over 15 years serving on the SPLOST Committees has given her a unique insight into our community. She is currently chair of the 2011 Oversight Committee and has served on the Project/Selection and Site Selection Committees. 

She has been a part of the Five Points Business Association for over 25 years and is serving her fourth year as President. She has owned and operated A Flair/with Hair for over 24 years in Five Points.

Diane has three children and five grandchildren and has lived in Athens since 1963. She feels she can contribute back to a community that has given so much to her and her family.  

She has several issues that she would like to address and make a difference in a place that has so much to offer.

Bell will be a strong candidate, but don't expect her to be a shoo-in. Lots of people in Five Points are probably thinking over running as we speak.

Back to Hoard. Known for her biting wit disguised by Southern sweetness, she has taken a particular interest in pet-related, water and historic preservation issues over the years, for example heading up a committee that created an overlay district along South Milledge Avenue and, more recently, revamping the process for designating a historic district. She led another committee that crafted water conservation rules during the horrific drought five or six years ago.

UPDATE: Hoard offered some additional thoughts in an email Friday afternoon:

I would like to announce that I will not be seeking re-election in 2014 to the ACC Seventh District Commission seat, which I currently hold.

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve for six years as a member of the Athens City Council and, upon completion of my current term, twelve years as an ACC Commissioner.

However, I believe there is a benefit in interjecting fresh faces with new ideas and different experiences into the process of government  I know there will be very qualified individuals step forward to enthusiastically seek this post.

I appreciate the opportunities to serve this position has provided, especially the role as chairman of our community’s Water Conservation Committee, which afforded me the opportunity to work with private citizens; neighborhood associations, UGA and industry leaders; along with government staff members, to ensure that Athens’ water supply would be adequate during the time of the most severe drought our community has experienced. I also enjoyed chairing the Committee to Protect Milledge Avenue, which ultimately led to its designation as a local historic district and a zoning overlay, affording the 34 Greek organizations, offices, commercial enterprises and private homes along this historic street to expand and/or redevelop in a manner that will enhance this important corridor while protecting the residential character of adjacent single-family neighborhoods. It has been an honor to work with neighborhood associations and garden clubs on projects to enhance our community. Additionally, I have appreciated the chance to work with the University of Georgia, especially in the role of government representative to the Neighborhood Relations Roundtable, which provided the opportunity to meet with representatives of UGA and neighborhood associations adjacent to campus to work on issues affecting both entities and on proactive projects together. I have also enjoyed working with the Chamber of Commerce under the leadership of its President Doc Eldridge.

My intent is to be an active, engaged public servant until the completion of my term at the end of 2014. I will continue to welcome communications from Seventh District citizens, as well as all residents of Athens-Clarke County, during the remainder of my time in office.

Another commissioner, George Maxwell, said Tuesday he is also stepping down. Doug Lowry and Kelly Girtz are running for re-election, while Jared Bailey is leaning toward doing so.