By Collin Kelley

Partisan politics were on the agenda at the April 10 Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting as Republican candidates made stump speeches and controversial conservative lobbyist group Americans for Prosperity made a presentation on its tax reform plan for Georgia.

There were heated questions aimed at Joel Foster, the communications coordinator for Americans for Prosperity Georgia, and for BCN president Tom Tidwell on why such partisan politics were being discussed at a non-political organization meeting.

Tidwell said that the issue of corporate and industry taxation was an important one, especially as Georgia tries to draw more industry to the state.

Americans for Prosperity is credited with helping lead the takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and was founded with the finances of the Koch Brothers, who have spent millions of dollars in support of conservative political campaigns around the country.

Outgoing Dist. 54 House Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Atlanta), who is running for the 11th District Congressional seat, tried to smooth over the partisan aspect of the evening by recommending that the BCN invite a conservative economist and someone from the more liberal Georgia Budget and Policy Institute to speak at a future meeting so both sides of the tax debate would be fairly addressed.

Lindsey also gave an “exit speech” on his accomplishments as a Georgia House representative, including co-sponsoring the bill that created the city of Sandy Springs in 2005.

Alexander Palacios (R-Atlanta), who is running for the District 3 Fulton County Commission seat, also made his stump speech after missing the April meeting when contenders Lee Morris, Cory Ruth and Bernie Tokarz made their appeals. Palacios is a newcomer to politics and owns Salsa Havana restaurant.

At the May 8 BCN meeting, the Republican candidates for State House Dist. 54 being vacated by Lindsey, will speak. The GOP candidates include John McCloskey, Beth Beskin, Loretta Lepore and Angelic Moore. Democratic candidate Bob Gibeling said he planned to reach out to the BCN about speaking at the meeting as well.