published Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

David Pennington retains Dalton mayor post

Dalton Mayor David Pennington, right, smiles with Naomi Swanson, left, and City Councilman David Lowrey, center, following news of his win Tuesday.
Dalton Mayor David Pennington, right, smiles with Naomi Swanson, left, and City Councilman David Lowrey, center, following news of his win Tuesday.
Photo by Tim Barber.

DALTON MAYOR

David Pennington: 1,999 votes

Joel Goldberg: 1,275 votes

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DALTON, Ga. — Voters gave Mayor David Pennington a strong victory over political newcomer Joel Goldberg in city elections Tuesday, with 61 percent supporting the mayor.

"This is a resounding endorsement of the work of the mayor and City Council," Pennington said after seeing the results. "This isn't just about the mayor, but the work that all of us have done."

Nearly 23 percent of registered voters countywide voted in the elections, with 1,999 votes going for Pennington. Goldberg received 1,275 votes, about 39 percent.

During his first term, Pennington, 59, cut city taxes more than 20 percent and cut the city budget significantly. He also has pushed to refurbish the city's historical areas and build green spaces in an attempt to attract young professionals.

But he alienated some voters by speaking out against the city schools administration and frequently admitted to being politically incorrect and blunt.

Goldberg, an accountant and consultant, described himself as a "consensus guy" who would work with county officials and the Dalton-Whitfield Chamber of Commerce to bring more jobs to the area.

Goldberg, 41, could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

Dozens of Pennington supporters crowded into the Pentz Street Station coffee shop, cheering as the totals came in. The coffee shop is where Pennington frequently stops in the morning to discuss city events and politics.

"Pentz Street Station is still where local politics happens," he told the crowd after jumping on a bench in the coffee shop to give a short victory speech.

Before addressing his supporters, Pennington praised Goldberg for running, saying the city needs more young people with families to be willing to devote their time to public service.

"He helped Dalton by running," Pennington said.

Pennington said his next four years will be focused on rehabilitating city areas such as the Crown Mill district and continuing tax cuts.

Next year, the city and county will renegotiate their sales-tax agreement. Pennington plans to try to get a larger percentage of the 1-cent tax for the city.

Pennington said he will await a recommendation from the charter commission studying a merger of Dalton and Whitfield county before he decides whether to supports a merger. The commission will need to make a recommendation on that issue early next year.

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

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