Thursday, February 27, 2020

It's Not A Good Trend...

...when it has already peaked. This city has a knack for latching on to declining trends. Front forward, park in back? There's an ordinance for that and it gave us the rather awkwardly situated Chase Bank. Wide sidewalks getting a lot of buzz? We'll give that a try. Once. Avalon-like faux "town centres" (as it is called in Annapolis)? We're trying to push that thru posthaste. Developer with a micro-brewery in mind shopping for locations? City staff is all ears. When they're not hating on residents they're shopping Dunwoody Village around to anyone they can find.

And why microbreweries when brewpubs are already allowed? Because clearly that wasn't enough to get a brewery in daVille, and city hall is an alcoholic government. And, since the profits are in the liquids, from a business viability point of view brewpubs will lead the decline. 

The Craft Brewery decline started in 2017, continued thru 2018 and after 2019 is undeniable. Unless you are Dunwoody city staff claiming "microbreweries and breweries have seen a sharp rise in popularity throughout metropolitan Atlanta." Given the trend of craft breweries to address the declining beer market (it IS over-saturated) with hard seltzers it seems much more plausible that someone at city hall has a link to a vested interest that would benefit from this change.

Staff has demonstrated no interest in anything that serves the needs of residents. So who do they serve?

Monday, February 24, 2020

Now We Know...

...why the city did nothing about a multiple dwelling unit (mini-apartment complex) operating in a building zoned single family residential.

Sign Of Things To Come
That's because the new yahoos at city hall expect to expand apartments in Dunwoody Village, not push them out.

So with the new regime we will no longer have a Carbon Copy Canton Street, a Partay Pavillion or Coral Reefer Cover Bands blasting beach music for folks shaggin' in the streets. No sir. Out with the old and in with the new. The current trend is "Avalon" which they'd like to clone in daVille. Avalon is neither unique nor original (ever been to Huntersville?) but these cookie-cutter trend-du-jours are making huge profits for developers. And their friends in government and associated metastatic "authorities."

And they are "inspired" by small town centers scattered throughout  the country. Go find an old city square in Georgia that has a bunch of fifty-plus year old eight story buildings, let alone any with six or seven floors of apartments. But we, at least the royal "we" at city hall, love "inspired" - small town inspired development; chef inspired restaurants. Why? Honestly you really should ask them because we all know that trends come and trends go with a half-life of hardly five years. Perhaps city hall is helping developers transform their business model from transactional to recurring. After all, why build something that lasts a hundred years or more when you can build to the current trend and come back after a few years and do it all again. At enormous profit and with a new bunch of cronies at city hall.

Remember, none of the folks involved in this are committed to Dunwoody for the long haul. Hell, some of these folks don't even live in Dunwoody. Many that do will be headed out of town after they cash out. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

CVI Working For The County

The DeKalb delegation is holding an info session to review, with the public, the implications of a CVI study on the impact (negative) of new cities on the county. This focuses on finances and if you believe that a government with more money is a better government then you might want to scoot on over here, but if you're not not sure then the report may be of interest. Though largely reading like the script for Captain Obvious, the real meat is what is missing. Isn't that always the case when government is involved? What you're NOT being told is often the most important part (think: Village Developers' Plan).

So what is missing in these City vs County CVI dust-ups? The public school system. That's what is missing. No one has the courage to whisper about the serious damage done to public schools by these new cities. The process is straightforward, clearly destructive and inevitable. A new city will be a weak city, at least from the point of view of local control. What many folks, even in this smarting city, don't realize is we have a "weak mayor" form of government. In fact, we have weak council as well. The fact is Dunwoody is run by a city manager and a bunch of bureaucrats with council and mayor provided with rubber stamps to approve what is put before them. And it gets worse.

A new city means a new development authority. Ostensibly appointed but one that will be driven by the developers, will get input exclusively from developers and in no way beholding to the residents of Dunwoody. Unless one of the developers happens to live here--want to be how many that might be? They are more likely to live in Country Club of the South where no one is going to drop a trendy clutter-development in their backyard.

It is this Developers' Authority that does the damage to the schools. First, they will push for "re-vitalization" re-development that will include a residential component, one they will downplay but one that will overload the schools while lining their pockets. And because they don't want to talk about residential they are not likely to coordinate their plans with the school system. Once they've slashed an open wound they rub in the salt. The Developers' Authority have some financial machinations to remove the property from the tax rolls, not just dodging city taxes (remember it is the city's Developers' Authority) but from all taxes. So they overload the schools with apartment kids (yes, these WILL BE rentals) and they make sure the school system's funding is undercut so they cannot remediate the damage even if they wanted.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Where Will The Good Ones Go?

And what will we do when they're gone?

You may be wondering why they are leaving. Well, it is because they, the really good ones, are being driven away. Soon we'll see the best doctors, lawyer, engineers and other professionals will no longer be the best we could have. Instead many of those that would be best will be displaced, sacrificed to the gods of diversity.

The epicenter of this of impending disaster lies at the intersection of two fault lines: STEM and diversity. It plays out within the education industry, at schools, colleges and universities across the country. And the tool of choice is grade inflation, long viewed with disdain it has become the best, the easiest way to guarantee desired demographic profiles in programs where the preferred among us are under-represented.

Brand management and other foundational practices in the business of education prevent merely expanding programs to allow the inferior a seat beside their betters. Instead, the betters must go, vacating slots to be filled by the less capable. But where do the betters go? If we are not there already we will soon be at a place where the best and brightest must flee the United States. Shortly, the impact of systemic suppression of excellence will be felt and we will no longer be cultivating the best minds in the world. They won't leave the United States because they will not be here in the first place. And we will have abandoned first place forever.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Lies And Damn Liars

They say that nothing lies like a statistic. Well, actually...the most profound liars are to be found among government bureaucrats. The AJC dutifully reports that the Brookhaven Bozos have bowed up at the prospect of 5G for the people with the mayor PO-ed that the FCC told him "how much our dirt is worth" with the city manager walking that back with the claim it "is more about the prospect of multiple ugly poles in a single block of a residential neighborhood."

Wow.

When a city bureaucrat, a hired gun in this case, claims "it isn't about the money" you can bet your life that is exactly what it is about. And so it is. This is all because the FCC has set an upper limit on taxation and federal law says that lokel yokels cannot charge a higher toll for folks to use their own property. Though you'd never know it if you lend your ear to these fools, local governments do not actually own these poles, what sits on them or the dirt they stand on. How can you tell? Because if they did own it, these services would cost ten times what they do and most of the time it wouldn't even work. The truth is they simply do not own it. They just tax it. And guess who really pays those taxes. Not the utility companies, they just pass the cost along. To you. That's right. These governments are pissed they cannot gouge you for services they know you are going to demand.

And the funny part? For cities like Brookhaven (and Dunwoody) the vast majority of these infrastructure investments were made well before they came in and stole it from the prior bunch of parasites.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Another DCSD "Surprise"

Here's a shocker: a DCSD IT project has gone pear shaped. IT projects for government, especially government schools, are notorious minefields of graft and incompetence. After all, computer technology is one of the few things you can do right out of prison. Sometimes just before.

Not trusting that their selected IT firm would overcharge and blow up the schedule they insisted on NOT using that firm's management methodology, instead relying upon their own. What could possibly go wrong? Apparently pretty much everything.

Keep in mind that after pouring eSPLOST money down this and other rat holes, these same incompetents are asking you to approve a General Obligation bond. Sadly, having approved so many eSPLOSTs it is difficult to believe you won't approve this as well. 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Bring The Mountain...

...To Austin.

So the Tiger Moms and Dragon Dads at DES are still fuming at their own impotence when it comes to inflicting upon a neighboring school, AES, that which they feel is being inflicted upon them: apartment kids. Evil, wicked, often darker apartment kids.

In desperation they fired up the bat-signal and it is City Hall to the rescue. If you cannot send DES apartment kids to Austin they'll bring apartments to the Village and all those new apartment kids to Austin. Take that you snooty, uptight AES parents! And if you think your representative at Council is there to help you better think again-she is in on it.

You're screwed and if you voted for this [mis]representation then you pretty much got what you deserve. And if you're like some other folks in Dunwoody you really don't care that someone else gets screwed in the process. You may even enjoy the notion.

Monday, February 3, 2020

On Review With Direction Uncertain

So says "Captain Obvious" (AKA Moody's Investor Service) regarding the financial train wreck that is DeKalb County Schools. After all this is an organization yet to adopt 20th century accounting practices (like accrual) and it IS the 21st century. On the upside this may be just what it takes to 86 the notion of a general obligation bond since DeKalb simply cannot comply and Moody's will drop the hammer. And the credit rating.

Though some will feign shock it should come as no surprise to anyone as those who've been "reviewing the situation" know all too well this system is foundering with direction towards most certain collapse. For decades DCSD has been a cesspool of incompetence and corruption with the only remaining question not why it still exists but why anyone makes any child swim in it.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Flames But Not Fired

DeKalb County Schools are taking a back seat when it comes to addressing the medical issues of a Redan student set on fire by a DeKalb teacher in a Dekalb chemistry class on a Dekalb school campus. Basically they've told the student's family that the system will pay nothing until the family's insurance is exhausted and then only for life-preserving procedures. All the surgeries required as a result of the absolutely idiotic actions of a DeKalb teacher acting on behalf of the DeKalb system are all on the family. They won't even get a property tax abatement.

This is just one more oddity in a very odd story and it is not just the school system covering its own ass. Giggle Redan student burned and look at all the mainstream media coverage of this event. Notice anything missing from  journalism's Sacred Quadrangle of Who-What-When-Where? You got it. The teacher's name is notably absent. Seems a bit odd coming from outlets proclaiming themselves as "investigative" and purveyors of "real news."

The first mention of the teacher by name, Bridgette Blowe, will likely be in The Champion, a local, second tier outlet. Nonetheless, their coverage is far better than major outlets making those look as if they are somehow obfuscating key details. Then it gets really interesting from both a personnel and procedural point of view.

Who is Bridgette Blowe? Well her LinkedIn profile lists her as a chemistry graduate from Georgia Southern with a Master of Public Health from Walden University acquired while a teacher in DeKalb Schools (2007-2013) at which point she left DeKalb for a series of short term jobs (9, 11 & 20 months) returning to DeKalb in Fall 2016. During her break from DeKalb her certification in Science Education expired in January 2014. And yet, there she was and there she is with her page at Redan showing a two-prep, three class load for Fall of 2019. Presumably she is still employed but not setting the classroom world on fire.

The Champion article which mentioned her name was covering the release of the DCSD Incident Report and not just the incident itself and that report is quite revealing. Apparently the Superintendent (Dr. Green) recommended Blowe's dismissal but this was over-ridden by the principal at Redan. Just what is the relationship between that principal, Janice Boger and Blowe? Well there is the obvious workplace boss-subordinate, but is that not the relationship between Green and Bloger? What can possibly justify retaining a part-time teacher whose demonstrated actions (acquiring a Master of Public Health) indicate perhaps less-than-full dedication to the classroom? What the hell is going on here?

Then there is the "demonstration" itself. Ostensibly this demonstrates vapor pressure differences between alcohol and water with the secondary demonstration of linen/paper absorption of water more so than the alcohol. Hence the alcohol burns off the bill and the water, absorbed in the bill prevents it from burning-a Jackson Flambé. Critical knowledge for any high school student, right? This demonstration is well described on the inter-web beginning with a strict warning that caution must be taken lest things go horribly wrong. Isopropyl alcohol is explicitly called out as a necessary ingredient, not ethanol. Who knew there could be a difference? One would hope an "educator" with a chemistry degree might. Should Georgia Southern be asking for their degree back? And why the ethanol? As the story goes it was because Blowe tried and failed with the standard procedure and the kiddies couldn't see the flames. But isn't that what the salt is for-to make the flames visible?

So what can we learn from this demonstration? Lots. Chain of command in DCSD is non-existent and routinely over-ridden. Domain competence and knowledge is not part of the teaching paradigm. Entertainment is more important than learning, perhaps more important than anything. Most importantly there is no responsibility at the head of the class, in the leadership at the school or at The Palace.

We're screwed and we're paying for that demonstration. We're just not paying the injured student.

Monday, January 27, 2020

You Were Misinformed...

Once again, with another sky-is-falling school redistricting, we are confronted with the assaults and insults of otherwise intelligent folk who claim "they moved here for the schools." No. Really. That is exactly what they are saying. Well, except for a few malcontents who think their kids should be moved to the new Austin primarily because, well, it IS new. Others are just PO-ed that their kids remain in a school with trailers and they somehow posit that it is sane and reasonable that a brand spanking new school, designed to be higher capacity than the others, should start, right out of the gate with trailers. They seem to adore the idiocy of celebrating poor planning. But it all goes back to the insanity, the absolute ignorance surrounding the idea that someone moved to this little corner of what is certainly the worst school district in the metro area for the schools!

If that's why you came here, to Dunwoody, then you're a bit like Rick in Casablanca.