The Brookhaven Reporter reached out to all the candidates to learn a little more about them and ask them about their reasons for running. Here are the candidates running for mayor.

Larry Danese

Occupation: I operate two part-time small businesses.  One is for light sport aircraft repair.  The other is a patent application and holding venture.

Neighborhood:  Murphy Candler

Past positions held: DeKalb Soil and Water Conservation District

Why are you running for this post?

Having voted for the creation of Brookhaven, we now have the privilege of conforming the expectations to the revenue.  I want to help ensure that we do the best possible job of that for our residents.

Why should the voters choose you?

I have the experience, the business and educational background and the commitment to public service necessary to help make the city successful.  I understand the competition for resources that will naturally exist between the districts, the importance of individual district representatives having ownership of the city, and the need for openness and integrity in decisions that will foster acceptance of the actions the elected officials take.

What is the first thing the new city government of Brookhaven should do?

We have to give consideration to the recommendations and/or suggestions of the Governor’s Commission on Brookhaven, which is intended to help the elected officials with “first tasks.”  Operationally, early on we will want to identify and select a City Manager and Police Chief.  Financially, we want to ensure that the authorizations and procedures are in place to ensure that we start the flow of the financial resources needed for operations.  The “Citizen Task Forces” organized by BrookhavenYES may also be looking at issues that deserve early consideration.

Video Profile: This candidate has not filmed a video profile.  The Brookhaven Reporter has invited all candidates to participate. To make an appointment, call Associate Editor and Digital Content Manager Dan Whisenhunt at 404-917-2200, ext. 113 or email him at 

J. Max Davis

J. Max Davis

Occupation: Attorney

Neighborhood: Brittany in the Silver Lake area

Past offices held: none

Other community involvement:

Founding member of  Friends of  Murphey Candler Park,  Founding member of the Ashford Alliance Community Association, President of Brookhaven Yes, appointed by Governor Perdue to the  board of  the Post Secondary Education Council, Murphey Candler football coach, led grassroots efforts to bring responsible and positive development  at Town Brookhaven.

Why are you running for this post?

I am running for Mayor because Brookhaven residents deserve a city that is efficient, accountable, friendly and responsive. Now that we have incorporated, I am ready to help build exactly that. Achieving cityhood required many volunteers and am very proud to have been one of them. I look forward to continuing to get to know and understand the concerns of those who had differing opinions about cityhood. The whole experience shows just how much we all care about our community.  Listening to all points of view helps in understanding  the challenges of any issue, which is important in finding the best solutions.

Starting a city from scratch requires public servants who understand the importance of fiscal responsibility, and who also understand Brookhaven will have to be run vastly different from our county and even federal government. In the new cityhood model, fiscal irresponsibility is simply not an option. Foremost in my thoughts is the firm belief that we must be vigilant in all of our actions to ensure that the Brookhaven taxpayer is served by a city government that will make all of us proud.

Why should the voters choose you?

I believe I showed leadership in helping bring this city to fruition. As Mayor it will be extremely important to be leader for all residents in our new city.

Over the last year and a half I listened and learned from taxpayers, both for and against incorporation, about what they expect and hope for in government.  The short time frame in which the city must get up and running is going to require a Mayor that is well acquainted with the desires of the Brookhaven community as a whole.  A Mayor must have the character and temperament to lead and build consensus, and must believe and understand that fiscal responsibility is paramount. I am fiscally conservative and have a strong belief in the principle that government’s role should be to serve the taxpayer, not vice versa.

I operate a small business and I understand what it takes to meet a payroll.  I believe that our city should never spend more than it has and should operate in a transparent and efficient manner. I have lived in Brookhaven nearly my entire life. My past and present work for our community shows that my motivations for asking the citizens of Brookhaven to hire me to serve as their first Mayor are rooted in a desire to make our community better.  If the people of Brookhaven honor me by choosing me as their Mayor, I promise I will always listen, be ready and available for discussions and lead with the whole city in mind.

What is the first thing the new city government of Brookhaven should do?

From a practical standpoint, the first task is going to have to be adopting the city code and ordinances so that we do not have even one minute where we have a city without any law. The most important service that will need to be set up is a first-class police department. We need officers and leaders who understand the concept of community-based policing (where residents actually know the officers assigned to their neighborhood). Our police force will focus not merely on reacting to crime, but also on proactively preventing crime.

Once the police department is up and serving, we will focus on our other challenges. The time frame is short and there is a tremendous amount of work to be done.

I am very impressed and support the vision and goals of Brookhaven Overlay District which has been fostering the type of development we see on Dresden Drive. This is just one example of where citizen involvement has improved our community. I have been, and am continuing to request that volunteers for our existing task forces help identify and prioritize our needs and wants. We need these volunteers to help with transition challenges in areas such as parks, roads, and planning and zoning. For the implementation of these non-police services we will have in place an efficient, accountable, and rigorously transparent public-private bidding process which finds the best customer service for the lowest price to the taxpayer.

Video Profile:

Sandy Murray

Occupation: Small Business Owner

Neighborhood: Oglethorpe Estates

Past elective offices held: None.

Why are you running for this post?

I speak with people every day in our community about a brighter future for Brookhaven.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to be involved in various projects and organizations that have benefited our community, such as the Brookhaven Arts Alliance, Taste of Brookhaven, Brookhaven Arts Festival, and National Night Out at Blackburn Park.
I’ve also worked with the Ashford Alliance and Brookhaven Peachtree Community Associations to address planning and zoning issues and to make sure that our neighborhoods remain intact. The Brookhaven Overlay Livable Community Initiative continues to remain one of our top priorities for ensuring that Brookhaven remains strong for families and businesses. As the President of the Ashford Alliance, I have been fortunate to lead discussions on property tax assessments, police services, roads and drainage, and public transit in our area.

Why should the voters choose you?

I want to make Brookhaven the best it can be – a safe and friendly place to live and work.  We must build more sidewalks and bike paths in high traffic areas and cross walks for people to get to our parks and retail centers. We must make sure that Brookhaven resolves past differences and moves forward as one city. We must bring our community back together after a divisive election.
I will fight to improve our neighborhoods. Balancing the interests of all neighborhoods will be a crucial requirement of our next Mayor. I understand that government plays an important role in our lives, and it should be efficient and service-oriented.

I hope to gain your prayers, your support and your vote.

It would be my honor to represent you as the first Mayor of Brookhaven.

What is the first thing the new city government of Brookhaven should do?

The first task of the new city government in Brookhaven according to the charter is to swear in the elected officials and then enact the DeKalb County code as the law of the City of Brookhaven.  After that I would like us to start working on getting our city into the businesses we were founded for, including getting our planning and zoning department started up.  The other activities that were promised in the run-up to the primary July 31, need to be addressed in a thoughtful and careful manner to be sure we deliver the services our constituents expect.

Video Profile:

Thom Shepard

Occupation: Motion picture film technician.

Shepard did not respond to the Brookhaven Reporter’s questions. 

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of