Brian will be making policy statements available on this page. Click on any issue to see a more indepth statement. If you have an issue you would like Brian to address, please contact him from the Contact Me page.
I've been getting a few questions regarding my position on the proposed new tree ordinance which came before me on the Planning Commission. I completely agree that the current ordinance is unworkable. It was subject to interpretation on a case-by-case basis which I believe is the wrong way to govern. Our laws need to be easily understood and applied uniformly. My problem with the original proposal by the County Planning Department was that is was confusing, overly burdensome on both the citizen (having to interpret the complex language of the rule, then self determine the tree type and size, then apply for permission to remove the tree if it met the criteria, and finally pay for a certified arborist in hopes of staying in compliance with the law), and it was burdensome on the county staff in verifying that all this was done.
At the end of the day, I believed that the proposed ordinance was counterproductive to it's stated objective: to encourage a diversity of tree types in Beaufort County. I personally know of several instances where residents have cut down desirable treetypes before their maturity, simply because they might become problematic in the distant future. For instance, the homeowner who cuts down a small dogwood before it meets the criteria for a specimen tree because 10 years in the future it might touch his house. In my opinion, we all lose that ten years of the growth of that tree. If the owner had the option of waiting till the tree became a problem, the tree would have been spared. The proposed ordinance also discouraged experimentation with tree varieties. In other words, a magnolia might work in a particular spot....let's plant one and see.
So, I proposed a bare minimum ordinance, that protects the largest and most majestic of our old growth specimens...the live oak. I understood my motion would have the effect of sending the Planning Department back to the drawing board, which has occurred, and I hope a better proposal is forthcoming. I think this is the kind of leadership my constituents want. Please email me your thoughts.
Joe M. writes:
Have you ever participated in any other persons campaign? If so: How has it affected your campaign? How do you think your experience from past campaigns will benefit you on County Council?
Thanks, Joe. That's an important set of questions. Yes, I have been active in several other campaigns over the years. My level of involvement ranged from just donating money to going door-to-door to Co-Treasurer of a large campaign. Frankly, I've been involved, to one degree or another, in too many campaigns to detail them here. My belief is that the entire political system benefits from active opposition and competing ideas. Winston Churchill said "The truth of any matter is usually found equidistant between two opposing views." My goal, for each campaign, was to try to help define one of those sides. I think I consistently supported the more conservative of Republican Candidates in primary fights, and always the Republican in general election campaigns.
I was on the winning side most of the time, but don't feel that's important. The competition of a campaign is not only intended to reveal the values, qualifications and characteristics of a candidate, but to allow the candidate to discover the values and ideas of the constituency. It's my belief that some of the characteristics of a successful public servant are the ability to listen to opposing views, the judgment to recognize right answers, and the humility to implement someone else's idea if it's the right thing to do. Harry Truman said, "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit."
Once vetted by this campaign process, the newly elected official deserves our support and advice as he or she learns the true nature of the job, the personalities and positions of other related officials, and gains the working knowledge that only comes from the inside. I've made a reputation in political circles as the type of person who will make bridges between opposing parties. So, I maintain a good relationship with everyone who is now on the County Council, and the Beaufort County Delegation. I think it's important to find common ground, that point equidistant from extremes, so the business of government can proceed. All too often, especially in Beaufort County, opposing candidates carry on bitter feuds that last decades. I don't think that's good for the system, and if I win this campaign, I will be sure to do my part to build a bridge to both my competitors, barring any acts of personal slander or last minute character assassination.
I hope this answers your question. If you have any other questions, please contact me at your earliest convenience.
My SCETV Appearance
As Vice Chairman of the Beaufort County Planning Commission, I was asked to appear at a town hall type forum "Smart Growth" on SCETV. There were an awful lot of talkative people, so I don't think I got much airtime, but I ended the show by saying that Smart Growth is not No Growth. Smart Growth is sustainable growth, which is development that is appropriate to it's place, considering: natural ecology, in place infrastructure like roads and schools, surrounding culture including typical or desirable use, architecture, and history, that the increase of expense by the community is affordable, and that the development uses the best technology to minimize negative impacts. If a development isn't acceptable using those standards, we don't have to accept it in our community. We need our representatives to have courage to say "No" to bad development that doesn't fit the standards we set. We want our citizens to have the courage to elect reasonable people, who can weigh these decisions carefully.
We need some development in order to spread out the increasing tax burden. The cost of providing services will almost always go up year-to-year. And we want our citizens who have lived in the District to be able to afford the taxes on their homes, and for the people who work in Beaufort to be able to afford a house here.
Pat Conners writes:
Brian, Good job. Well done. I note you did not list your Republican activities or offices held? Was that on purpose?
Thanks for taking the time to visit the website. It is a daily work in progress and I appreciate , so much, your request that I list my additional volunteer endeavors in the Republican Party. I guess I am a little modest and I also assumed those voting in the Republican Primary knew of my activity in the Beaufort Republican Party. I have always believed that one should work hard for organizations they join. I am not the kind of person to join and do nothing. It is this philosophy that has led me to run for this office. I came to Beaufort in 1986, (Bootcamp at Parris Island in 1978 doesn't count, I guess). This community has been wonderful to me, and I have been active and involved in many politial and service organizations. Again thank you for your input and I will take your suggestion and add some of my republican activities to my resume.
Dawn G. writes:
Hey Brian, I suggest you add your platform and views on your website. Thank you, Dawn
Thanks, Dawn. The website is a work in progress, and of course, I don't have all the answers. I would appreciate any questions or issues that you find of particular interest. I've found that most people just want a representative, someone who they can call (and get a hold of) who will help them get their potholes fixed. Their questions mostly concern my ability to work within a board to represent their interest in the bigger picture of county operations (development, budget, taxes, etc.).
As you know, I can be reached. My phone number is in the book, and I read all my emails. I feel very comfortable and have lots of experience working on boards (ZBOA and Planning Commission in the public sector, and many civic group boards).
My core values will dictate how I respond to each new problem. I'm a conservative person: I am frugal with other people's money, and will always think twice before getting into someone else's business. But, the common good demands we collect taxes to pay for needed services, and that the county restrict development to meet certain goals. I believe there are some goals that are of extreme importance here in Northern Beaufort County:
1) The quality of our water, and other environmental indicators, cannot be degraded to any significant extent. We have work to do protecting saltwater marshes and freshwater wetlands. Since those areas significantly impact everyone in the county (and really the whole region) we need to keep a sharp eye on real effects of development on our environment.
2) The AICUZ around the Marine Corps Air Station is very important to the ability of the Air Station to continue to perform its mission. The Air Station provides a lot of jobs and benefits to Beaufort, and we can't afford to jeopardize this significant source of revenue.
3) When we encourage development, it should be development that includes moderately priced homes that are affordable to working families, so that we don't lose our valuable middle class.
I will continue my efforts to lead the way in these areas, as I've done on the City's Zoning Board of Appeals and the County's Planning Commission, and other organizations I've belonged to. My record is consistent and long-term. I'm not just making up a position for some political reason, or complaining about something. I have demonstrated a commitment and an ability to work for these issues. If you agree with me that these are important issues, I'd appreciate your vote in the Republican Primary on June 10th.