Monday, July 16, 2018

A Greener Shade Of Beige

The City is well on the way to gutting the Dunwoody Village Overlay as part of their indefensible but unstoppable kowtowing to business and developers. The brazenness of the developer's open threat to bring in undesirables if they don't get what they want is clear indication that City Hall has their back and that they have your number. That is if you happen to be one of those simultaneously fond of the Williamsburg requirement and appalled by its imminent demise.

But what the shiplap is this Williamsburg thing and what does it mean? Of course it is symbolism but what does it mean?

Leading the list is homogeneity, the only "homo" some will tolerate. It is not limited to the uber-HOA, all houses look the same. When you see a community of ticky-tacky all in a row you kinda know what is inside and Williamsburg, even with the beige, screams lily white. And that screams Dunwoody--Olde School.

Then there is superficiality. It is bricks and beige and slate-look roofs but little substance. It is as if someone played architectural spin-the-bottle and this is what we got. At least it isn't shiplap.

Perhaps it is a flag, or a pennant for what would have been a visiting team. One that seems to have decided to stay but insisted on the literal and figuration reminder of home. White flight may have been the Dunwoody zygote but that grew by attracting that "special demographic" from locales far from ITP. Where "Williamsburg" actually means something.

What was once bucolic farmland was overrun by urban sprawl, development guided only by greed and a population fueled by local white flight and opportunistic northern invaders. If tradition trumps all why was there such a battle over urban henhouses? Should we have farmhouse styling with barn wood, white siding and tin roofs? Or should we recognize that Williamsburg, like the farms beforehand has had its day?

What should be remembered is that which is constant. Politicians are beholden to business, turning blind eyes when expedient, writing custom laws when necessary and taking liberties with the power and prestige of their positions. They will gut this city like a sturgeon to get anything they can serve up to their business buddies as caviar. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Yankee Go Home

And take your faux Williamsburg "style" with you.

Or so say the powers that be in Dunwoody. And if case you have any doubts those powers are called "developers" and the developers at hand are Crim and Associates. And the Brothers Crim have no qualms about making an open threat suggesting that if they don't get what they want, the way they want it then they'll gather tenants that would be "not what you want." The property has been a problem child in the Village Overlay with the DHA getting really pissy when it went from a gas station to a car wash with the kind of backlash that later resurfaced around the Parkway. Now the property is leveled awaiting SLUPs, Waivers and Overlay changes so the Brothers can build what they want which is definitely NOT Williamsburg style.

And guess what is going to happen? It should come as no surprise that City Staff are preparing proposals to gut the Village Overlay and the Council is chomping at the bit to do the Brothers' bidding. Why no surprise? Because outside of one property owner who fell for the "you remodel you must widen the sidewalk" requirement in the Overlay District the City has shown no diligence in enforcing any of the Overlay requirements. Hell, they've not even shown much in the way of interest regarding their own rules but if any Friends and Family business owner, City resident or not, needs custom, just-for-me ordinances, well then "drinks are on the house!"

Monday, July 9, 2018

Signs Of The Times

Sure. Sure. It IS still a crosswalk even without the sign. 

No Sign At Dunwoody Road

But you simply have to pause and ponder: What the hell does this city do with our money?

No Sign At Stroll The Knoll

And the cops might do something but between gratuitous meals and violating Constitutional rights they are kinda busy down at Perimeter City. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

What Constitution?

Rules have never been this City's forte. Not making them. Not enforcing them. And sure as hell not following them. This didn't start well with hiring-in-haste resulting in clearly suboptimal selections one of which we still suffer. And if one believes what is leaking from former members of the pre-city police task force, the city fathers didn't follow task force recommendations. Of course we'll never really know because their report was not made publicly available and isn't subject to open records laws. Perfectly legal, but somehow unnerving, serving as a poignant warning of things to come.

And they have arrived.

Yes we have had the aggressive persecution on DWB non-laws. We've seen the bungled daycare murder investigation and the no-progress-ever Abbott family murders. Quick-draw police involved shootings. Non-enforcement of almost any quality-of-life laws. So it comes as no surprise that a judge has recently observed that the Dunwoody PD ignored the U.S. Constitution violating the Fourth Amendment rights of residents of the City apparently because it was too difficult to enforce the law using legal means.

This is a clear failure of leadership. In the department. In the City. And on Council. Changes need to be made. Forthwith. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

DeKalb Wins!

With the new taxes on the books DeKalb's tax reduction and Dunwoody's most recent in a never-ending series of tax hikes are in unflattering juxtaposition.  The unavoidable conclusion is that our taxes would be lower than they are now had a new city not been thrust upon us. And the natives are increasingly restless with more voices raised in a chorus of "this is not what we were promised when they asked for our vote."

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Problem With Higher Ed

Actually it is a problem with how folks, who pose as reasonably intelligent, view higher ed. Christopher Quinn of the AJC hits the nail on head with this pearl of wisdom:
There are many reasons people quit [college]. Personal and family problems interfere, an immediate need for money pushed back long-term goals, the fear of debt and lack of hope that the degree will pay off in more income discourages others. 
Notice anything missing? That's right. There is no mention whatsoever that some folk may not be capable of college-level work. But how could that happen? Why would any college or university offer entry to anyone who could not be reasonably expected to perform to a level required to complete the program?

Money. And if that is not enough, then there is political correctness around race and diversity. At then end of the day that really just boils down to money.

Academia has inflated quite the bubble. There are too many colleges and universities with far too many subscribing to a "grow or die" business model, driving towards tuition-driven models with little or no concern for anything resembling academic integrity. Or any other form of integrity for that matter. And as much as some like to make political hay from the HOPE program, injecting more government money is like putting out a tire fire with kerosene.

As long as colleges and universities have no skin in the game, and currently they are paid just as much to create academic failure as success, this problem will continue to grow. We could require that all public college and universities drop all remediation programs, forcing them to use tools, readily available, to ensure that those admitted earn a mortar board without the institution becoming a tax fueled diploma mill. While this will have immediate impact on their revenue, even that is not enough. The next step is ensure that academic institutions carry some financial risk associated with the "it's an investment" myth of higher ed. Such a restorative revolution could happen, just not in today's political climate and entitlement society.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Permit THIS

The local chapter of our intrusive permission society headquartered at City Hall demands permits to replace your shingles requiring the installation of a silly drip rail. Why? Because they can. But if this City were for the public good, if it were to improve and preserve the community there is something to do.

If you want to intrude on resident's property rights, and you do, why not require owners control invasive, non-native plant species? Particularly those that are destructive. Think kudzu and english ivy. Sound like too much? Really?

We have a tree ordinance restricting what you can do with "your" trees. We banned chickens until the Girls Scouts wagged a finger at Council. Really--that's the kind of leadership this City offers. So why can we not protect those same trees from a slow death by ivy as we do from the faster death by chainsaw? Do we need to call out the Boy Scouts?

And there are real, public health and safety risks. Ivy provides a safe haven for snakes and is breeding ground for mosquitoes. If you're Mister Mister that is great for business, but if you really care the least little bit about public safety and have ever heard of Lime Disease then Dunwoody's current [non]policy is like encouraging folks to stack old tires in their yard to bolster the vermin population.

Maybe the Smart City hasn't figured out an effective way to monetize public safety. Or maybe it is too much work. Or maybe, just maybe, they really don't care. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Unapologies Unacceptable

The constant tax increases inflicted by the City of Dunwoody have apparently reached the point where public excuses are warranted. With the podium being the same Blue Bag Rag where the state-imposed notice of tax hike was published.

The mayor felt compelled to drag out the old "we didn't raise the tax rate" excuse, doubling down with the observation that the taxes are only going up because your house is worth more. As if to suggest you've got more so it is OK if he takes more.

The editor's yin to the mayor's yang is the classic shell game: look at your bill, it is the school taxes that are enormous. True enough. But does irresponsibility from one government excuse irresponsibility from another? As if to say: Dunwoody--we suck no more than the others.  Is it logical or reasonable to stack rank by dollar amount and ONLY look at the item atop the list? Is that what Smart People in a Smart City do?

You may have noticed how this city spinelessly bends over backwards to offer developers significant tax abatements while offering homeowners but self-serving excuses. No one is asking for zero-based budgeting. Yet. But with responsibility, for services, for stewardship of this community, comes accountability--more that what is currently afforded at the ballot box. The fact is that our taxes are going up and the people elected by this City are pretty happy about that.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Somebody Is In Trouble

Not sure if is will become a court suit or just a righteous hashtag bashing, but someone at the AJC is about to be in really hot water. Recently they adulterated a NY Times article offering up this salacious tidbit.

Acts Of Tender Sex?

Let's zoom in on that.

Bringing Heavenly Rewards Down To Earth

The AJC seems to be convinced that reading the paper should be a non-stop Word Jumble but maybe they are about feel the wrath of the hashtag "ScrewYouToo" movement.

Cannot happen soon enough.

Thursday, June 14, 2018