"It was a house based on service - not only things for your resume, but being the first there when somebody died. I get teased a lot about going to the funeral home, but it's just the way I was trained, and I'm proud that I got that from them," said Tumlin, a tax attorney who has served as chairman of the Marietta Board of Education, chairman of the Cobb Legislative Delegation, a state representative, and vice chairman on the Marietta Board of Lights and Water.
If elected, Tumlin wants to help bring a divided, bickering City Council back together, while making government more transparent. His supporters are as diverse as former Gov. Roy Barnes and state Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs).
Leadership: Tumlin identifies with Bob Flournoy, who was mayor in the 1980s.
"I would like to see the mayor be more chairman of the board than CEO, and I think that's what Bob was. That you set good policy, the staff carries it out, and if they don't, you're the vehicle between the community and the city manager and his team to get the job done. Bob was short and sweet."
Parks Bond: Tumlin intends to vote for the $25 million parks bond referendum. On the topic of parks, he'd like the public to consider swapping Burruss and Wildwood parks on South Cobb Drive in exchange for the county's Fair Oaks Park near Powder Springs Street. Burruss and Wildwood are out of the way for many Mariettans and have been known for illicit sexual activity. Fair Oaks Park is bordered by the city and could be better utilized, he said.
Transportation: Tumlin plans to use his contacts in the Legislature to help deal with traffic flowing through Marietta from west Cobb and Paulding County.
"Anytime that one more inch might help us get something in Marietta, I would like to be able to negotiate with them."
Tumlin supports using speed bumps, stop signs and other measures to prevent cut-through traffic in neighborhoods. As for widening Whitlock Avenue, "I don't think I'm open to widening Whitlock from Kirkpatrick east. I mean, the Square, Whitlock, there's just too much history," he said.
Future of the City: Tumlin believes the city needs a much stronger code of ethics to control Councilman Philip Goldstein, who some say uses his influence to further the interests of his family, which owns a large amount of downtown property.
"If you have that perception, that one person has a conflict of interest, it weighs on the whole city. It weighs on the credibility of the whole City Council."
As for future redevelopment, Tumlin said the infrastructure is already in the ground.
"We've got nine or 10 projects that all they need is a break in the economy."
Just because the economy is down at the moment is no excuse to sell the city short, he said. Tumlin does not support adding more apartments, and he thinks the City Council's recent approval of an extended stay motel on Franklin Road was a mistake - calling it a future "scar of this economic down turn."
Why he's the best candidate: Tumlin has the advantage of drawing on his considerable experience in public service, he said. Also, he's encouraged by his younger supporters in the 25 to 40 age range.
"They want a strong school system. They want a strong infrastructure, and they want to raise their families here. They're excited about Marietta's future, and it's easy to gravitate toward them. I would say it will be far from the same old, same old. My ideas will be fresh because that's who I'll be listening to," he said.