Meet the Candidates: David London

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David London Photo

David T. London is a retired Army officer, educator, and active servant of the community. He is a caring leader experienced in: 

  • running large organizations;
  • making sound and timely decisions;
  • growing strong children, families, and communities;
  • and inspiring hope and confidence in the organizations he leads.

He and his wife, Angela (a native of the Savannah), raised 3 children here in Richmond Hill for 15 years (1 a senior at RHHS, and 2 in college).

David is a 1992 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, retired active duty lieutenant colonel, and former Deputy Commander of the Savannah District US Army Corps of Engineers where he helped deliver more than $4 Billion in military and civil construction projects. 

For the last 7 years, David has been the Senior Army Instructor for the Robert W. Groves High School Army JROTC program in Garden City, GA. Throughout his Army and civilian career, he has been central to youth ministry, directed church choirs, led Sunday School, organized men’s ministry, and currently leads Communion preparation for thousands of people each week. David is the Secretary for Georgia‚Äôs JROTC advisory board and Treasurer for the Richmond Hill High School Band Boosters. 

#1 Name something specific in the last 12 months that you have personally done to make Richmond Hill a better place to live, work, and play?

  • Attended almost every City Council meeting and pre-meeting from February through today to stay informed of city deliberations and decisions, and to share that information with our residents
  • Attended a special public hearing of the city’s planning commission to ensure planned construction near the Y.M.C.A would not decrease property values in my neighborhood of Richmond Place
  • Chaperoned trips, helped plan activities, and managed all monies in support of the 200+ students of our High School Band (marching competitions, football games, fundraisers, concerts, the San Antonio TX Fiesta Flambeau Parade and more) as the Band Parent Booster’s Treasurer
  • Led scoring of multiple regional and state JROTC drill competitions, planned and executed cadet summer camp at Fort Stewart & Hunter Army Airfield, and organized instructor training in support of the 200+ Army JROTC cadets of Richmond Hill High School and surrounding high schools. I am the Area S3 (Training an Operations Officer) for the JROTC programs of Richmond Hill, Chatham County, Liberty County, and Ware County. I am also the State JROTC organization’s Secretary.
  • As the Communion Prep leader for my church, led the team to prepare communion for thousands of people each week
  • Helping to organize Richmond Hill’s Second Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade
  • Did my best to inform and inspire young people to pursue the career of their dreams by focusing on their future now.

#2 If money was no object and the decision was solely up to you, what’s the first thing you would do if elected?

  • Fix the flooding and drainage problems in Richmond Heights, Blueberry, Melrose, and Richmond Hill Community (a.k.a, “The Bottom)
  • In these communities, too many culverts and canals are falling apart or filled with dirt; the non-restrictive construction ordinances of decades ago allowed some houses to be built too close to the flood line; city pipes from Henry Ford’s day are still in place; and on one street, sewage backs up into the houses. Many of our neighbors that live there–people as much as 92 years old–feel neglected by our city because they have repeatedly voiced their concerns for years. I would have our professional and capable city staff partner with FEMA to develop and fund workable and permanent solutions to our flooding and drainage problems.
    • Note #1: This month, city council approved a culvert and driveway repair project in Richmond Heights.
    • Note #2: Our city staff has already started considering the feasibility of engaging FEMA to help us with our flooding and drainage problems. 

#3 What visions do you have for Richmond Hill and how soon do you think those could become a reality?

  • If we are going to grow (and with Savannah’s bustling economy, we will), My vision is Safe & Smart Growth that Keeps our Small Town Feel:
    • Safe and excellent schools
    • Ensure small businesses stay strong as new businesses open
    • Family friendly amenities in Boles Park, Sterling Creek Park, JF Gregory, and around the city.  
    • Proactively minimize road congestion  
    • Keep taxes down by VOTING YES on the Tax Allocation District
    • Commemorate our history

#4 What can be done within city council to influence or create more family-friendly amenities?

  • Fund city amenities projects in Boles Park, Sterling Creek Park, JF Gregory Park and around the city based on resident input and available funds
  • Partner with the Bryan County Development Authority to attract businesses that will build family friendly venues (it was the Bryan County Development Authority that helped bring Caesarstone to Richmond Hill)
  • Partner with the Board of Education and Bryan County to
    • Price and scope an Aquatic Center
    • Price and scope a Multipurpose Sports Complex (basketball, volleyball, etc.) that is right-sized to our population

#5 What are your thoughts on growth? Do you have any related plans or goals?

  • See question #3

#6 Do you feel the schools are overcrowded? How do you plan on working with the Board of Education to manage this?

  • Our schools are very crowded, and I feel that our Board of Education is working as fast as they legally can: 
    • My children were prepared to excel in college through our Bryan County Schools
    • Our high school and elementary schools are in design and construction. Funding laws mandate that school size is based on the current (not future) student population.  
    • Our school district seeks to hire and retain talented educators, staff, and administrators through highly competitive pay. To address bus driver shortages, our drivers are among the highest paid in the region 
  • On city council, I will ensure the city, county, and Board of Education coordinate planning of school safety, emergency services support, road construction, new neighborhood considerations, and co-use of athletic facilities.

#7 Do you feel that Richmond Hill should offer their own ambulance service? If no, why not? If yes, what can be done to help make this happen?

  • I do feel that the city should offer its own ambulance services. But it all depends on the cost.
  • Consider our recent fire department hiring actions. In order to keep our excellent ISO rating (the better the ISO rating, the lower your homeowner’s insurance), the city implemented a fire fee to hire more people for our understaffed fire department. Our ISO rating would have most likely worsened without those new hires. Using a fire fee instead of raising our property taxes ensured that the newly imposed taxpayer funds would only go to the fire department and not get redirected elsewhere in the city budget. That new fire fee caused a lot of concern and discussion among cost conscious city residents.
  • Back to the ambulance services: How much would a city ambulance service cost? How quickly do the existing ambulance services respond to Richmond HIll calls? What are the pro’s and con’s of continuing use of existing ambulance services? Are our residents willing to pay for ambulance services? These are some of the questions I would ask our city staff to answer before making a decision on establishing a city ambulance service. So let’s get those questions asked and answered so we can make an informed decision. 

#8 What are your thoughts on the fact that most of the schools in Bryan County don’t have a dedicated resource officer?

  • We need safe schools. I am a teacher in Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools. In Savannah-Chatham Schools, each school has a resource officer to protect the kids–our most precious resource. That was a Savannah-Chatham Board of Education decision and they fund that decision with taxpayer dollars.
  • In Bryan County, our schools have experienced bomb scares and threats of gun violence that were handled with the security resources on hand in partnership with local law enforcement. Looking at these experiences and the trend of rising gun violence in America, I instinctively want a resource officer at every school to protect our kids. That decision is for the Bryan County Board of Education, and they have much more information than I do on district and school security plans and rationale for assigning resource officers. I would need to have that information before recommending any changes to current policy.
  • Our district can (and probably does) employ additional school safety measures such as:
    • Incorporate “Crime Prevention through Environmental Design” standards into the design of our new high school to provide controlled access points and other safety measures
    • Link students to counselors when emotional situations call for it
    • Encourage the growth of our SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) club. This is an excellent program that has been especially helpful at Bryan County High School students. We should encourage growth of the Richmond Hill High School SADD club.

#9 What is your opinion on the Bryan County Commissioners recent LVAP funding decision?

  • I disagree with the Bryan County Commissioner’s decision to send 85% of Local Victim Assistance Program (LVAP) funds to organizations in Liberty County when we have a similar organization right here in Richmond Hill.
  • LVAP funds come from a portion of county traffic tickets and other county fines. The funds then go to organizations that help victims of violent crimes. At present, the only in-county provider is The Cottage of Richmond Hill. Sending 85% of LVAP funds to Liberty County organizations when we have one here in Richmond Hill just does not make sense to me. While I am encouraged that 15% of LVAP funds will start flowing to The Cottage in 2020, I sincerely wish someone would explain the funding rationale to me.

#10 If the public has questions during this campaign, what’s the best way to contact you?

After moving to Richmond Hill, GA in the fall of 2018, Matt wanted to become immediately involved in the community. Without hesitation, he created the Richmond Hill Community Facebook group which reached 2,700 members in just 5 months. After building this community, he decided they needed an honest, reliable news source to keep them informed. Thus, Richmond Hill 411 was born!

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