Monday, April 21, 2014

Brand Dilution

In the local city stampede one of the most powerful brands is that of the Carl Vinson Institute. While there are alternatives a CVI study is all but required to get the citihood boulder rolling down the hill. One political use of the study is as a measure of support--there must be enough sincere interest from the City Crusaders to pony up around $30,000. Once the study is successfully completed it becomes a stick to beat back any naysayers with a few simple words : "the CVI study says that the City of St. Somewhere will be financially viable." 

And generally that works. 

However the recent crusades ran into a spot of bother with overlapping land grabs. Since the CVI study is basically a back of the envelope balance between a proposed city's revenue and service costs with the former largely supported by business taxes and fees and the latter associated with residential areas the actual map of a proposed city is critical. It was the competing city maps showing Northlake (and its associated revenue) on the books of more than one proposal that not only made it clear that residents cannot afford their own city but that there are not enough businesses to pilfer to pay for all the cities on the docket. While the issue of multiple claimants on the Northlake revenue was never resolved one thing did happen rather late in the game--maps were redrawn! To be very, very clear redrawing a proposed city map after the CVI study is complete makes that study worthless. 

To propose that a CVI study based on a map that is no longer valid is still somehow valid is not only logical nonsense it calls into question the validity of these feasibility studies. For CVI to allow these studies to be bandied about after map changes dilutes their brand and undermines their credibility. CVI should make it clear that map changes invalidate previous studies based on different maps. 

These changes also undermine the process. 

Changes make it clear that City Crusaders are either ignorant or lying when they claim significant, majority support for their plans--were that the case changes to the map would not occur. Furthermore these changes make a joke of the process put in place to protect citizens and the legislature should make a simple change to restore integrity: whenever a map change is made any previous study must be re-done or updated before the march to citihood continues. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Young Lectures Wiesenthal

After honing his schtick in standup venues here in Atlanta, former Ambassador and Mayor FROM Atlanta, Andrew Young is taking his "Forgive Before Forever" tour international. He recently completed a one-day engagement at the Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem where he lectured Center leaders on God's role in delivering justice in this world, chastising them for "relentless prosecution of Nazi war criminals" noting that they were either "all dead or very near the end of their lives" with the implication that this somehow absolves them of their heinous crimes. He spoke fervently on behalf of those whose time here on this earth is short saying "they will face the judgment of their maker very shortly and the time for justice in this world has passed."

His attempts to characterize this as some noble form of mercy was not well received with one attendee remarking "the Jewish people empathize with the plight of African slaves in America and persecution African Americans have endured but we suspect that they have neither forgiven nor absolved those who held their ancestors in slavery nor those who persecuted them and to suggest that we should forgive perpetrators of the Holocaust is baffling." Another audience member noted the former Ambassador's ignorance of Jewish history observing "he seems to think 'Set My People Free' was written by Dr. King and is about the Civil Rights movement in America." This elicited observations from her partner, "perhaps Young can learn something from us regarding enduring slavery and persecution. We dedicate ourselves first to God and then to knowledge and education. Perhaps he should go home and apply these principles to set HIS people free. Instead he seems to fighting to keep his own people ignorant."

Musical Chairs

A tri-state corruption investigation has resulted in a Federal indictment that cites a yet-to-be named DeKalb County Commissioner as someone who has solicited bribes.  The case will be prosecuted this summer in South Carolina at which point the individual will be named in public testimony.

Until then the band plays on but when the Feds lift the needle it will be interesting to see who's seated in the audience and who's standing in the docket.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Big Bother And The Holding Company

Eee-Laine won't you P-Card my Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Audis--I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from your friends,
So Eee-Laine won't you P-Card my Mercedes Benz?

Eee-Laine won't you P-Card a 4K TV?
None of your staffers have gotten back to me.
I wait for delivery each day until three,
So Eee-Laine won't you P-Card my 4K TV?

Eee-Laine won't you P-Card our night on the town?
We're countin' on Eee-Laine to help us party down.
Prove that you love us and buy the next round.
Eee-Laine won't P-Card our night on the town?


Eee-Laine won't you P-Card our Mercedes Benz?
Our friends all drive Audis--we must make amends.
Worked hard all our lifetimes, no help from your friends,
So Eee-Laine won't you P-Card our Mercedes Benz?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Legislative SNAFU

No not the Gun Bill, this is more know where we have more "control."

Apparently a significant number of sitting County Commissioners really, really thought it went without saying that they were in elected office to piss away taxpayer money whenever and however they feel like it.

Observationally that seems undeniable.

When asked by the AJC quite a few stated they were totally unaware that administrative rules and restrictions regarding P-Card use applied to them. Upon learning that fairly well respected legal beagles concluded that these rules do indeed apply it has been determined that the first legislative order of business will be to clarify and codify these politicians' exemption from any rules, regulations or oversight.

However since this will be a legal document document they will approve and sign off on they've kinda screwed the pooch on that as well. Turns out they all approved and signed off on a commitment to abide by the same rules that apply to the "little people" when they got the card in the first place. Clearly they neither read nor understood that so why would this be different?

That's because this document ensures they can piss away our money unsupervised, unfettered and unaccountable just like they always have.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hop Scotch

For a City like Dunwoody the Manager's position is a stepping stone, a way stay on a trajectory towards bigger (budgets) and better (seats on boards). We are not likely to change this so we need to accept it and act accordingly.

When a position is transient, as this one is, the larger organization needs to understand that in the first half of a given tenure the person holding the position is very likely to align their actions with the best interests of the organization. Toward the second half these ambitious individuals will begin to act in what they perceive as the best interests of their next position which will open a gap between what is best for the job at hand and what is best for the aspirant to get another job.

This behaviour is not unusual but it is another reason why structural changes must be made in our compensation system. No one who has been paying attention to the goings on at City Hall should be surprised that our City Manager is moving on to another city and a seat on Chatcomm's board but they might want to reflect on some of the statements made about, and handling of, the CAD-to-CAD epic fail in which Chatcomm played a significant role. We were seeing second half behaviour and getting second string performance.

Let's not make that mistake again.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Love It Or Leave It

In the never ending debate over citihood we have finally reached the inevitable rhetorical deadlock: Love It or Leave It. In comments to the AJC point-counterpoint we find this nugget:
"And frankly for those who would see Dunwoody lose its cityhood, you are welcome to move to an unincorporated areas[sic] of DeKalb."
Like many of the City Crusaders this glosses over a foundational truth in this matter: many of those unhappy with current City operations and actions already moved to unincorporated DeKalb County in a nice little area known as DUNWOODY!

Or at least it was nice. Now, not so much to oh so many.

Crusaders might argue that change is inevitable (it is) and suggest that no matter what the form of government Dunwoody is not what it was 35 years ago (it isn't) and if that pastoral community enjoying the benign neglect of a distant government is what you want (some do) then it is indeed time to move somewhere that looks like Dunwoody of yore. On the other side of the ledger one might argue that those who want to live beside the Beltline or Silver Comet Trail should move to the Beltline or along the Silver Comet. Or that those who want to see the world spin around a bicycle hub should move to an existing cycle-centric city. Or if organized sports are your thing find a town with six baseball diamonds and move there. If you came to avoid traffic, you're part of the problem. Like successful city schools? Move to Decatur.

At the end of the day the "Love It or Leave It" rhetoric rings hollow. No one, not even Jill Chambers, suggested the City Crusaders should leave unincorporated North DeKalb for an existing city but instead called for moderation, vetting and debate. Instead we plunged headlong into citihood with a mid-summer vote engineered to carry the day on the backs of a minority of registered voters. Even in the weakest HOA such a dramatic change (on the order of changing the Articles of Incorporation) would require a super majority of all eligible (e.g., registered voters) homeowners. Rather than address the issues and define the details upfront we've kicked the can down the road. We seem to be out of road.

Those advocating that you love the new (and changing) Dunwoody or leave it have a point: the good ole days are gone and they are not coming back. If you've been here for more than ten years and you want to continue to live in the kind of community you got when you came here then you really need to move.

Don't look back, just mourn the loss and move on.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Street Renamed Martin Luther King Boulevard

As you may remember our soon-to-be-former City Manager and his Staff determined late last year that in order for Dunwoody to be counted as a major league southern city it would be necessary to rename a local street after civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You may also remember this decision was not taken lightly nor received well, at least in some quarters.

While there have been months of secret meetings to identify the proper street and every rumour (City Hall probably calls it a trial balloon) has been bashed in pubs, coffee shops and papers, those at City Hall who know what is best for us have rendered a decision. This august body was drawn from members of the Perimeter Center Improvement District, the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce, City Council, the Visitors and Convention Bureau and local PTA groups. It was decided to hold the deliberations in secret based solely on the presumption these discussions would be contentious. Or that's just the way this City rolls. And how could we in The Other Dunwoody take issue with anonymity?

Regardless, there were leaks. No surprises there, except reliable sources indicate Bonser was not engaged in these discussions. In any event the street of the Great Gas Station Leak of oh-twelve was never under consideration. At least not serious consideration.

Dunwoody Village Parkway was a popular suggestion at the outset especially given it had at one time a "boulevard" configuration. This was defeated by those still upset that the median and trees have been ripped up for pedestrians and bikers. Logic could not prevail and it was never made clear why they cared what it is called given they so much detest how it has already been changed. But not even a jarhead wants to die on that beach.

Some consideration was given to Winters Chapel, but that was quickly batted down. While it hews true to Chris Rock's observation about MLK anything and nearby violence there was concern this would appear offensive. The real reason is more likely that Winters Chapel is a "border street" perceived by many as only partly in Dunwoody if in Dunwoody at all.

Dunwoody Club was suggested, but near the country club it suffers the same border street limitation and many feared golfers would no longer be able to find the club. After all, how could there possibly be a country club on Martin Luther King Boulevard? As for the other section of Dunwoody club there was sufficient concern that no one would be able to find the street at all so it too was taken off the list.

The suggestion to rename Dunwoody Road was met with astonishment. Most in attendance didn't even know there was a Dunwoody Road and when shown on a map they remarked "where the hell is that"?

Someone suggested some place in Hidden Branches until someone (correctly) observed "that's just mean".

It was decided, and unanimously approved, to change Nandina to MLK Boulevard. Not a person in attendance could identify who "Nandina" ever was though several concluded "whoever it was they must have been black".

This momentous move forward for Dunwoody did not go unnoticed by the King Center in downtown Atlanta and they sent a representative to the ceremony where the name change was announced.

MLK Selection Committee Receives Award
While initially mistaken for someone else when the mistake was resolved he was embraced with all the warmth and charm the South has to offer and stated "I am very glad to [still] be here to toast your good work". He left shortly afterwards explaining he had a pressing engagement across town but there is no doubt that this resounding endorsement makes our founding fathers proud.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Elaine's Restaurant Reviews

Paying homage to Angie Hicks and following in the footsteps of Dale Cardwell DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer is rumoured to be opening a new chapter in her life--as a restaurant reviewer.

What started as a hobby, a mere pastime, has blossomed in recent years expanded by her strong commitment to constituent services demanded in her role as a public servant. Of necessity this called for frequent, nearly daily contact with professionals in the food service industry and offered exposure to a wide variety of cuisines that further cultivated her interest in the culinary arts. A majority of her exposure was restricted to offerings in the local area so it wasn't until service called her to areas outside the State of Georgia that she realized how developed, how refined, how well attuned to the modern sensibilities her palate had become. What had been so obvious to others was now undeniable--by languishing in a county office she has been denying the culinary community the benefits of her true talents.

If the rumours are true and her avocation is to become her new vocation we wish Ms. Boyer all the best in her new career.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Can You Tell The Difference?

Been away so long I hardly knew the place
Gee it's good to be back home

Leave it till tomorrow to unpack my case
Honey disconnect the phone
I'm back in the U.S.S.R.

You don't know how lucky you are boy

Back in the U.S.

Back in the U.S.

Back in the U.S.S.R.