Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fan Rag Evicted

Rumor has it that a publishing misstep on the part of the Dunwoody Fan Magazine may result in their eviction from the City of Dunwoody. This all stems from a recent insert to the rag, a glossy covered Dunwoody "guidebook", probably intended to grace the lobbies of hotels and businesses in the area. But for one small problem: the table of contents sports two blatant mistakes: "Featuress" and "Dunwoodt".  For avid readers of the Dunwoody Fan Magazine, "Feature" is a rather stout word, capable of standing in plurality with a single "s", and "Dunwoody" actually ends with a "y", not a "t" and not even a five point star, though the satanic allusion to a pentagram resonates.

In the absence of the recently unveiled "We're so smart. You're so not." branding campaign, this otherwise rather ordinary and all too common Fan Rag Faux Pas would pass unnoticed. But not now. Not with the entire world focusing attention on the "Genius City" of Dunwoody, breathlessly waiting for our city leaders to reveal the Grand Unification Theory. This will not pass without world notice and certainly has not eluded the folks at Smart City Hall.

A spokesman for the Bloated Yet Expanding City Attorney's Office, who cannot be named because he doesn't exist, explained the City's position:

"The City of Dunwoody finds this to be an unconscionable act of stupidity. It is wanton. It is reckless. And [pause for effect] it is unacceptable."

"This is a Smart City. In fact, THE Smart City. We all know it. We all say it. Yes, we've set the bar high, but we feel this is necessary to uphold the new tradition we've created. This blunder is incompatible with that tradition and we, as a City, must take direct and immediate action. We have therefore taken steps to ensure this offender moves out of Dunwoody."

When it was suggested this was but two words out of thousands and perhaps this was a bit of an over-reaction, the apparition continued:

"Look. Most of the content was obtained from other sources. All the Fan Mag had to do was pull it together, slap on a Table of Contents, Copy Edit and PROOF READ, and get the things printed. You ask professional journalists to do this because they are supposed to be competent, but now we know. This is a Smart City, always has been, but to keep it Smart we sometimes must ensure that those not able or willing to meet our standards find a place more suited to their kind. We're going to help them get started on that search."

Another commenter questioned the possible impact this could have on the Fan Rag's status as the City's Official Organ.

"Organ, Schmorgan. It's all on the table. Can you imagine the liability if a business or citizen posts a legal notice, but these goofballs drop it on the floor? Who's going to take the hit for that? There is not a court in this land where incompetence is a viable defense. So yes, now that there is competition we will examine all options."

So there you have it, dear readers, the latest gossip in the Smartest City. Stay tuned as the drama unfolds. Will the Fan Rag pull up and leave, or will they enjoy a forced exit? And will Dunwoody stand by its wavering, flaccid excuse for an Organ or will we man-up and embrace the new, virile option? Only time will tell.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

MLK in Dunwoody

The game is afoot and Dunwoody has responded by incorporating yet another "non-profit" in an attempt to snag the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. As some may know, the GMHF has fallen on hard times and being the opportunists we are, Dunwoody is ready to pounce. The bid is in. It is stacked with two résumés for each and every member of the newly minted non-profit--a tactic clearly intended to demonstrate their incredible abilities to make a profit, yet it nonetheless makes a compelling case for relocating the irreplaceable GMHF assets from an AAM certified facility in Macon to the stock room behind an expansive gift shop in Perimeter Mall.

But they've run into a wee little problem. The tale that follows was recounted to The Other Dunwoody by a meeting attendee who cannot be named because they are not authorized to speak on behalf of the "no-pro". As it turns out, only one person is allowed to speak for the no-pro, and he speaks too much.

The meeting, held recently at an undisclosed location, was dominated by The Grand Poohbah, designated speaker, and the Purveyor of Bloated Non-Profit Salaries, also serving as Treasurer, who enjoyed the ill fate of reporting the bad news to Pooh.

"Pooh, I just got off the phone with the head of GMHF and they have a problem with the Dunwoody relo."

"Look, Purv, I thought I had this locked down. This isn't more whining about their precious artifacts being stored in...what did they call it...yeah, a "smash and grab" shopping center? Or is it that AAM certification crap again?"

"Well, those two are still on the table. Sort of."

"What do you mean 'sort of'?"

"It's like this Pooh: it seems, outside of Dunwoody proper, and you know what I mean by proper, there are lots of African Americans in Georgia. It should come as no surprise that this is reflected in the demographics of both the inductees and attendees of the GMHF."

"So? Just because Dunwoody is in Georgia, doesn't mean there's Georgians in Dunwoody. It's always been that way. Plus, this is the 'Town in Beige' not 'Somewhere Under a Rainbow'.  And we didn't paint the Farmhouse WHITE because the paint was cheaper!"

"Yeah, Pooh. I know...I know. But it's different now. Things have changed since you moved here. Now we want something from The Other Georgia and well, they want something from us. They won't even consider our bid without it."

"OK Purv. What the hell is it? Do they want more money under the table? Is this just another shakedown? Haven't  we paid them enough already?"

Purv, in a voice tinged with fear, whispered his response. "Dammit Pooh. I told you about that kinda talk. You keep it up, folks are gonna find out and you'll have us all in trouble. And NO, that's not what it is. It's even worse."

"What could be worse?"

"I'll tell you what. Turns out they've looked over every map of Dunwoody and come to find out, we don't have a street named after Martin Luther King. Not a one. Nowhere. And they'll not have the GMHF in a city without one."

"Alright Purv! I've had enough of your practical jokes and you've wasted enough of all our time. Especially mine! And who else was in on this prank? I want names. NOW!"

"Look Pooh, this is no joke. And they're not negotiating on this. There is no wiggle room. None whatsoever. Fer crissakes they're even ON Martin Luther King Boulevard in Macon. This is serious. We've gotta find a street to rename and push it through Council ASAP or Athens is gonna win with that silly 'we're the most musical city in Georgia' bullshit. And Athens has a Martin Luther King Parkway."

"OK. Fine. Let's pick a street. How about Jett Ferry? Get it? Jett?"

"Yeah, Pooh, I get it. And even if you weren't trying to be funny, you know what kind of people live on Jett Ferry. Can you see them sending out Christmas cards with an MLK return address? How about Ashford-Dunwoody? That's where it will be located and it's a silly name anyway." 

"Negatory, Purv. I've got plans for renaming that road." Nods of approval all around the room. "How about over by Winter's Chapel? Those folks won't complain, half of 'em don't even speak English. Or Tilly Mill? You gonna tell me there's folks wantin' to rename it 'Golda Lox Lane' or something?"

Purv ended the uncomfortable silence, responding in a firm, controlled voice. "Pooh, this is serious and if you can't be, then it's you who's wasting time. We gotta come up with a street and it can't be so obvious we shoved it in a corner. Get with the program."

Pooh, not acknowledging the prior offense and with more than a little anger in his voice retorted: "Don't talk to me like that Purv. I'll have your ass if you do. So what street would you pick since you're so smart? You think you're gonna rename Mount Vernon or Chamblee Dunwoody, or even Dunwoody Road?"

"Dunwoody Road is out. You can't even begin to imagine the hell we'd catch from that asshole blogger on that one." As Purv pours over an expensive GIS map of Dunwoody, he stops, looks up and says, "I've got it. This is perfect."

"Ok, so what is it?"

"Nandina!"

"Nandina? Where, or what, the hell is Nandina?"

"Nandina. It's that short piece of pavement between Mount Vernon and Chamblee Dunwoody that all those assholes use as a cut-through."

"You mean the jerks who expect the whole world to stop so they can make a left turn?"

"Those are they.  This is perfect. It's in lovely downtown Dunwoody. Folks on both major roads will see the signs and know how inclusive we are. It's close enough to the Farmhouse to be a place of honor, but independent enough that it will not evoke antebellum images."

"Purv, stop with the gibberish and speak English." Pooh leans over the map and smiles. "Ya know what? You're absolutely right, Nandina is perfect. With a name like that it can't be related to a founding father. Sounds Mexican so no Dunwoodians will object...can you imagine the uproar if we renamed a cul de sac called 'Brickleberry Lane'?"

"You can NOT name a dead end street after Martin Luther King!"

"Right. With Nandina we only have to change two signs. Not as good as one, but still not bad. And think of the money we save, when...er...if we change it back. You're a genius! But there's only one other thing."

"What's that."

"Everybody has to know it was my idea."

"WHAT!!???" It's MY idea."

"Look, Purv, you signed an IPR agreement. All ideas belong to me. That's just the way it is."

Purv, obviously annoyed, said "Fine. We're still not done Mister Idea Man. What are you gonna call it: Boulevard, Street, Road, or Lane? Or maybe you think it would be a good idea to call it 'Alley'?"

"You're about to cross a line you don't wanna cross there Purv. Anyway, I don't need to make that choice. Though I'm sure they'd rubber-stamp the idea, it's nice to throw the Council a bone every now and then. This is one of those times. Let them pick, then they're committed to it too. Now, unknot yer shorts and get the ball rollin'. We need an official Memo From The Staff signed by 5K. We need it inside the hour, so get moving. When you get that done, get those biddies over at 'Lemonade Days' started on the renaming ceremony. I'll be busy writing my speech."

There you have it Dear Readers. Martin Luther King Jr. is coming to Dunwoody and we have the Georgia Music Hall of Fame to thank for it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ending Welfare...

...one handout at a time.

What could welfare possibly have to do with Dunwoody? Well, quite a lot actually. Seems that many folks in our fair city have been and continue to be recipients of one of the most ill conceived government assistance programs on the books: The Mortgage Interest Deduction. The collapse of an artificially inflated real estate bubble gives this nation a clearer vision of routinely ignored bad real estate practices and policy, and offers an opportunity for action. And there will never be a better time to eliminate this disastrous tax loophole.

This particular corporate welfare has never made fiscal sense, but few things originating in the greed of narrow interests ever do. And let's be clear: that the money is laundered thru individual tax accounts does not change the fact that it is the legal firms, banks and real estate agencies that receive these benefits. This policy has artificially inflated home prices, supported an archaic, but highly profitable business model and made quite a few otherwise worthless people rich. Any buyer who has attended a closing is painfully aware of the fact that many people, none of whom contribute a tangible thing to the process, leave significantly wealthier, whilst the buyer leaves with debt and the risk associated with the underlying asset. Some seem to think the bank shares this risk, but they slept thru the brief discussion of Private Mortgage Insurance. Fact is the process of transferring a home from a seller to a buyer is extremely, and intentionally inefficient. It is simply wrong for this waste to be subsidized by our tax dollars.

It is also bad civic policy. The big reason buyers are attracted to ill-fated real estate ventures is a pervasive American desire to "screw the feds". Apparently mass delusion has taken hold and a majority of Americans think it is far better to pay a banker a dollar so they can avoid sending a quarter to Washington, than to take a hard look at what they can really afford and live within their means. As dim an opinion as you may have of the Federal Government, can anyone, outside of friends and family, really claim that bankers are a greater asset to society? Or is it the lawyers who really need this largess and the bankers are just a necessary evil?

At its very heart a real estate sale is a private transaction between a buyer and a seller. If either, or both, wish to engage third parties, inspectors, lawyers, or brokers, at their own expense, that is their choice.  For our government to get involved, with the end result of simply enriching these hangers-on, is a practice that can and should stop. Now.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

TSA Compensation

No one with a brain really believes those new photo-realistic full body scanners and the hands-on junk-checks are there to improve our safety or even if that were the intent that this is in any way effective. In fact, it is much more than that--and also somewhat less.

The truth was uncovered by a service technician who spent a day repairing an airport security scanner. TSA agents have developed an uncanny means of determining who, and to what extent, members of the traveling public are "compensating". The following conversation between two TSA agents, while totally fictitious, was overheard by this technician at a nearby airport. Judge for yourself.

"Lookee here, dat small enough for a Bimmer?"

"Nah, that's definitely a 'Vette."

"What you say? Why you sure?"

"Look at dat shirt, man, half way open and the only thang he got hangin' dat disco bling. 'Vette. All the way 'Vette."

"Man, dat's cheatin'. You s'posed to be lookin' at the dude's junk, not da wrapper. You got dat one, but dis next one, lordamercy! He makes 'em happy. Whatcha think? Pickup truck?"

"Hell, yes. And he PUSHED it here. From Macon. Now look a' dis. TI-nee! Gotta be either a Bimmer...7 series, or a Benz. A big Benz. S-class."

"Nah, Johnson ain't got no hoodie. Betcha dat's a Jag."

"Well I'm gonna find out." The Traveler has moved down the line, but the TSA agent approaches, "Excuse me sir, but we just found some BMW keys and were wondering if they might be yours..."

The Traveler, with an air of indignation and an appropriately sized British accent replied, "Certainly not! I drive only Aston Martin."

Upon returning the other Agent asks, "I was right, it's a Jag ain't it?"

"Nope. His Majesty ONLY drives as-TON mar-TIN!"

"You can call me James..."

"...or you can call me Bond..."

Both: "...but ya doesn't have to call me Mister Johnson!"

Laughter all around.

Now we know: it isn't about safety, it isn't just a game of "peek-a-boo" and it sure as hell isn't about our Fourth Amendment rights. No, it's a competitive sport. And the TSA may not be able to find a terrorist, but with one look at Little Willy Winky, they know your "compensation". So if the next time you fly you see the TSA agent squinting, you just tell him the heater in your dump truck is busted.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Alison's Restaurant

Anyone visiting the Shops of Dunwoody will surely notice one business set apart from the others--Alison's Restaurant. In a shopping center littered with neon "Open" signs--even our local haberdasher has one--Alison's is notably absent. Why? Glad you asked.

Seems the "Smart People" on our "Smart City" Council have deemed neon signs offensive to their sensibilities and henceforth there shall be no new neon signs even though by the looks of it the previous policy must have required neon signs. And with their unwavering "fidelity to all things past" still intact, existing neon signs are "grandfathered" so only new businesses are at a competitive disadvantage.

If you're one of those who agree with their position regarding ticky-tacky neon you probably view this is an unfortunate consequence of an effort to upgrade the classiness of the area. Until you dig further.

As Ms. Alison herself observed in a recent encounter she could "stand out front in a chicken suit waving a placard" but she cannot have the same "Open" sign as her neighbors. Because that would be tacky. And should she embark on the chicken waving tactic she should be forewarned that she cannot use any balloons, as that is tres ta-KAY. Unless of course you happen to be her landlord, in which case you could stand outside the now closed Mudcatz in a clown outfit with balloons by the bunch. Because...that's not tacky?

Normally this is where a TOD post ends, with an entreaty to patronize Alison's as an act of courage, to join with other patriotic Dunwoodians in defiance of the draconian dictators running our oppressive government. And indeed you should, but as it happens that is not the only reason. It turns out Alison's is an excellent addition to our local dining options.

Obviously Alison's is new, not just to our community but inside as well. They have completely refurbished the interior retaining only the basic layout of the previous establishment. The cuisine is Mediterranean-Italian, the menu extensive, the prices on the moderate side and the food on the plate excellent. The atmosphere immediately impresses as upscale with linens, stainless and china. The fresh decor uses muted tones with faux stucco to subtly hint at the mediterranean cuisine, but not clumsily done as is all too common. The lighting and music are consistent with the romance of "An Affair to Remember"--sconces with a mid-century look and a playlist including Billie Holliday, Sinatra and straight ahead jazz. The main dining room is spacious, a good mix of booths and tables, and unlike another local option these booths are well suited to persons of, shall we say, a "certain gravitas". The main dining room is augmented by an outside patio to the front and opens to a narrow area at back with the bar on one side and seating against the opposite wall.

The bar is full service and the wine list offers a good selection, and while it is no challenge to D'Vine's, no restaurant should even attempt to be. The food, at least in one visit (consider this a critical amuse bouche rather than a multi-visit full-toque review), was well above average and a bargain for the price. The menu may not be as experimental or trendy as others, but few can match Alison's execution.

Their calamari is of the "onion ring" variety which would not be remarkable except that it was properly fried which based on other local offerings is not as easy as one would imagine. But what really takes this appetizer to the next level is the marinara sauce which is far better than offered anywhere else in Dunwoody. Then there is the crab cake: lump white meat, sweet and succulent and unburdened by any unnecessary ingredients. A generous portion is elegantly served surrounded by a butter sauce streaked with hot sauce, allowing the diner to dial in just right amount of heat to complement the buttery sweetness of the crab.

The Steak Alambre features marinated skirt steak that is flavorful, but not dominant. The onions are perfectly caramelized, and the bell pepper is cooked al dente, something that seems to elude even the most seasoned cooks. The Lobster Ravioli, a signature dish, was properly portioned and as with all other dishes excellently prepared. This dish boasts a vodka cream sauce and as good as the lobster is, this sauce was to die for. That in one meal, the kitchen can knock three sauces right out of the park, tells you that someone at Alison's really knows what they're doing.

The topper was an ample pair of sensuous Buttery Nipples that tantalize the tongue and sate the most ardent of cravings. There is truly no better way to round out the night.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Next Great Brand

Dunwoody's "New and Improved!" brand simply will not work. The copy-cat scandal will not go away and is likely to expand as folks begin to notice the relationship between Sky Designs and Norcross and connect the dots between Dunwoody staff and former Norcross staff. Even if there is no formal investigation, we can hope for open records requests around how the work was bid and the results vetted.

If we're lucky, we'll also get some much needed turnover at city hall and afterwards, should it still be considered a good idea, we can expect a new brand--an original brand.

Just in case, it would be good to start early, first by looking at why the plagiarized brand works so well for its rightful owners.

Plano, TX has a problem with the sound of its name: "PLAIN-oh". Hard to miss the "PLAIN" part. Plain does not conjure images of "extraordinary", "novel", "unique" or "progressive". So how does "Plano/Smart People/Smart Place" address this? First we have repetition, "SMART" people, "SMART" place reiterates the core message--"sounds" plain, but is really "smart". The consonance, "Plano"..."People"..."Place", ties all three parts together.

For Plano, this works. For Dunwoody, not so much. Outside of a screaming need for people to think we're smarter than we so obviously are, there is nothing about a "smart people, smart place" ripoff that supports Dunwoody's ambitions. But we could take a page out of Plano's playbook.

Plano used its brand to overcome a unfortunate consequence of its name, a slightly negative connotation of the very sound of it. Dunwoody has ripened its own opportunity to do the same.

Since the days of "Dunwoody Housewife Jokes", our community has not been held in high esteem. We've been laughed at for being arrogant and elitist, for being unoriginal in our homes--Dunwoody's Beige and Brick Four Four and a Door are renowned--and for the Stepford-like lives lived therein. At their best our battles with the county seem to reflect a NIMBY mindset but always carry racial overtones of lily white suburbanites bristling at a new, largely black power structure. The large number of Yankees in Dunwoody does little to counter this view, serving mostly as proof that "liberalism flourishes where it is not challenged." These transplants are viewed as even more racist than their white Southern counterparts and their current affection for "all things that shall not be forgotten" does little to help.

Dunwoody has a hard-earned reputation as a place best avoided by anyone smart or progressive and certainly by anyone of color. We are known as a place for white folks to raise white kids. While many in Dunwoody embrace that vision apparently that is not enough for others. Hence, the reputation repairing "brand".

Ironically, this brand already exists, though followers of this blog, all three of you, will be surprised to read of it here. This is a branding that speaks to the future. That speaks to being progressive, to honoring tradition without blind adulation. That speaks to citizens pulling together to create a new, better future for themselves and their children.

And what is this brand?
Dunwoody Yes!
"Yes" is a positive assertion of action, a much needed antidote to the negative image permeating our past and clouding our future. The exclamation speaks to energy, a vibrancy that counters the impression of a staid group of bow-tie wearing George Will wannabes and blue-haired ladies in Buicks. And it starts, as it should, with that which is being branded. Unlike "Ole 5K's" obvious rationalization of the puke green on his logo, the yellow of Dunwoody Yes! and the Dunwoody street sign toppers is vibrant. And consistent--linking the tradition of the farmhouse sign-toppers with the forward looking, outward facing brand.

So there you have it dear readers. We've come full circle and found that if we must purloin someone's brand, then let it be our own. How smart is that?

Friday, November 5, 2010

It Doesn't Matter, Part Deux

If you're interested in proper redistricting of the Dunwoody cluster, or redistributing attendance to remove trailers from some schools while filling classes in others, or even dodging the the imminent loss of accreditation, then it doesn't matter who wins the upcoming runoff.

But a compelling argument has been advanced to embrace change for the sake of change. Since changing the name/face does no harm--a basic premise of bloated bureaucracy--there is no downside. But it sends a new message to those political cowards who capitulate for fear of losing re-election--you're going to lose anyway! After cycling a few do-nothings through the process someone might figure out they might as well try something if they only have one bite at the apple. And it adds a special pas de deux to the nepotism tango. Can we ignore a swelling population district employees who are relatives and near relatives of board members past and present?

So try something new for a change--vote for change. At least then you're voting for something.

Monday, November 1, 2010

BOE: It Doesn't Matter

As you head out to the polls tomorrow, probably in hopes of ending the horrific negative ad campaigns punishing our airwaves, consider this: no matter who you vote for or who wins the election to become Dunwoody's representative on the DeKalb Board of Education, it won't change a thing. Heresy you say? Well there are a couple of irrefutable reasons why this is true.

First, our public schools, DCSS in particulary, have become a bloated, self-righteous and self-serving bureaucracy that cannot be changed by the entire board let alone one individual. Administrators, Board Members and other insiders have turned the system into an urban job works program rife with nepotism run for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. Given that Board Members already play this game, one more, one way or the other, won't make a difference. 

Closer to home, the Dunwoody cluster has long been at the mercy of the Vanderlyn School Mafia. Until someone tells this selfish group to shut up and grow up they will continue with their whisper-campaign of fear while publicly hiding behind the chimera of "property value erosion". The tragedy of the "Fourth-Fifth Academy", ironically at only four fifths capacity, exists because DCSS lacked the courage to point out that the VanderKinder won't come home with cooties because they sit in a class with apartment kids. Furthermore the VSM's isolationist doctrine will ultimately harm property values rather than preserve them. Yet no candidate has the courage to advance a proposal to put these folks in their place.

So if you think it makes a difference who wins, by all means vote your conscience. But don't drink the Kool-aid. It's goes straight to your hips.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dumb and Dumber

Two things have the blogo-sphere all a-twitter of late:
  • Some fools at City Hall floating the idea of bringing the Georgia Music Hall of Fame to Dunwoody; and
  • The rather childish, but quite expensive branding effort and associated "Logo".
They speak to the same underlying issue that permeates this City: lack of character. What do these things say about our city officials, our elected leaders and the community that elected them? Not much, and none of it good.

The motivation behind relocating the Music Hall of Fame is much like that of the Richard Gere character in Pretty Woman: to sell off the juicy bits and bleed cash out of what is left. Truly a noble act.

And the "branding"? Tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars wasted on a copy-cat logo which at first glance says "Dunwoody-Village Without An Idiot" but really says "Dunwoody-You're So Dumb We Have To Tell You How Smart We Are". Arrogant, condescending and by any objective measure, untrue. But 100% unadulterated Dunwoody.

If we had a legitimate Fourth Estate perhaps we would be reading about the linkages between folks in City Hall and companies involved in developing a music venue or maybe we would find that someone's relative runs an ad agency that is in dire need of help and is, well, getting help. Perhaps not, but without investigative reporting we will never know. All we really know is something smells and we're footing the bill.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cry No More...

...or let the tears be tears of joy.

Until recently, the view provided by the Fourth Estate into all things Dunwoody has been narrow and proscriptive as if we were allowed to look at someone else's painting and then only through a narrow, tinted lense. The Dunwoody Fan Magazine had neither the chops, nor the inclination to serve the citizens or businesses of Dunwoody. It doggedly served the purpose of promoting the Farmhouser--Dunwoody Yes! machine that ramrodded Dunwoody into cityhood and was rewarded by being anointed the "Official Organ" of Dunwoody but did little to fulfill the role of the free press in a democratic society.

Living in Dunwoody does not have to mean ignoring, or worse yet, fearing everything outside Dunwoody. And there is more to Dunwoody than a navel-gazing "I, Me, Mine" government or the rather small group of vocal and intellectually incestuous Cro Magnon's who can somehow worship an iconic farmhouse whilst denying the more agnostic their homegrown eggs. It may surprise some to learn that Dunwoody was not dropped by god, whoever she may be, as a neo-Eden in an otherwise desolate landscape. In fact, Dunwoody is surrounded by our substantially more well-to-do Sandy Springs, the progressive and hip Brookhaven and the chic and savvy Buckhead.

And that part of the Fourth Estate that has so well served our neighbors has embraced Dunwoody.

The Reporter Newspapers have come to town bringing with them a modern look both in print and on the web, a fresh perspective, and exposure to goings on in and adjacent to our community. This paper is well produced, with professional layout, excellent use of color throughout, and provides relevant content from, shall we say, "more contemporary" sources. Contrast this with the Dunwoody Fan Magazine which resembles a farmer's almanac (is there a farmhouse tie-in here?) that caters to the folks who aren't convinced Celestine Sibley has passed. The Fan rag publishes a column by Don Farmer (can we get away from that word?), whilst The Dunwoody Reporter published a piece by Rick Callihan, a local blogger who actually lives in Dunwoody and though he has reportedly been seen at the community garden that is a garden, not a farm. Perhaps the Sibley Fan Club is confused, having missed the fact that Don and Chris moved to Florida some years back, and that the dashing gent on Channel 2 News that strongly resembles Don is actually his son, not the product of Demi Moore's plastic surgeon.

The Dunwoody Reporter brings us much more than an updated look. It offers a perspective not only on Dunwoody, but on the surrounding communities of which we should increasingly become a part. The expanded vista comes in the form of improved coverage in articles and columns, and also in broader, more extensive advertising. Subscription-free papers live and die on advertising, but some do it better than others.

Because the Reporter Newspapers serve neighboring communities and thereby the businesses in those communities, they are better positioned to serve our community as well. In the past only word of mouth or the web would have led someone in Dunwoody to venture to Brookhaven to dine at Au Rendezvous or Sandy Srpings for Canton Cooks. Surely there are many in Dunwoody who would want to know there is an excellent new gun club and range offering training classes right on Roswell Road near Pitt. Now we have ready access to information about nearby products and services.

This goes both ways--expanded exposure in neighboring communities can only help Dunwoody's businesses. Could Mudcatz survive on Dunwoody alone? Perhaps, but they don't look "closed for renovations". Does anyone really believe there are no Banks and Shane fans left in Sandy Springs they could have tapped into? After all, Banks and Shane did operate a nightclub/restaurant in Sandy Springs for years. Surely being able to reach a broader range of potential customers in a high quality publication will help local businesses survive these hard times and thrive in better times.

After the war (the last we declared and won), it was said that "it's hard to keep 'em on the farm once they've seen Paree". Well, we've been held down on this farm for far too long and Paree is looking mighty fine.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Other Dunwoody Humbled

There is a new satirist in town, and she is good! In fact she is so good, her current work not only got past the Thought Censors at the Dunwoody Fan Magazine, she scored the lead-off letter.

And the vehicle for this satirical masterpiece?

Chik-fil-a!

This is the only tell that this is a satirical piece (all satire must have a tell). As we all know Chik-fil-a is run by Truett Cathy, who, if Dunwoody were in the business of handing out keys to the city, would surely warrant the first. Telling Mr. Cathy he cannot open a Chik-fil-a is like telling Bill Grant he cannot build million dollar clutter homes on Chamblee Dunwoody.

But the selection of a chicken joint was simply brilliant. It reminds us of the recent Chicken Fiasco from the Dunwoody Home Owners Association City Council and it strikes terror into the hearts of all loyal Dunwoodians by evoking images of the kind of people who eat fried chicken. Not even tax hikes are more frightening than the prospect of those people visiting, or worse yet, staying in Dunwoody.

But this author is a master of subtlety, foregoing any mention of watermelon smoothies or Cadillac-only drive through lanes. And with Chik-fil-a there would be no discussion of chicken bones littering the street--this author is a fencer, striking with the point, not the edge.

So it should be of no surprise that she followed with a fluid transition to the slippery slope argument, long a favorite of those whose sole focus is impeding progress. The mere suggestion that a Chik-fil-a would be gateway drug to trashing the zoning of the adjacent, and long time empty, retail property surely had the same bobble-heads who opposed Goodwill (now in Sandy Springs and John's Creek) nodding in agreement.

But the icing on the cake, tapping into a consistent whine emanating from NE Dunwoody, was traffic. Just imagine what was going through those NIMBY minds. Images of ungracefully aging Cadillacs sporting chrome spinners cruising our cobble-stone like streets flocking to and fleeing from yet another Atlanta Chik-fil-a. Could this be the only thing worse than day-hops at the community college? Indeed it could.

So once again dear reader, there's a new satirist in town and she's damn good. Check it out for yourself.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rural Assault Continues

In recent weeks the "Wendell Douglas" crowd has ramped up their terrorist attacks against suburban sensibilities. Rebounding from a stinging loss during the "Chicken Coup" they have regrouped and are now engaging in a Land-Sea-Air Assault: backyard aqua-culture, suburban "over-farming" and apiaries.

Yes indeed, right here in DeKalb County, of which, to date, Dunwoody is still a part, we have folks raising catfish and talipia in backyards. Lord knows you're one leak away from a smelly mess, and those bird-eating waterfowl leave little bombs on neighbors' cars as they flee with their bounty.

Yet another eco-terrorist has radicalized the suburban garden by eliminating his lawn in favor of vegetables. Say it isn't so! Can there be any greater insult to a "Yard of the Month" obsessed community? But DeKalb County, in a rare display of support for anything Dunwoody, has put a stop to this vegan anarchist, levying fines for this gent's clearly illegal operation and his arrogant disregard for the rule of law. Protection from the illegal fish farm cannot be far behind.

Farther afield, we have a self-indulgent beekeeper who has virtually destroyed his neighbor's quality of life. They are no longer even able to enjoy an adult beverage by their pool! Again, that county's Code Enforcers came to the community's rescue, forcing out the bees by cleverly branding them "livestock".City Council take note.

While many would like to avoid the necessary controversy surrounding a potential replay of the "Chicken Wars", Dunwoodians cannot be complacent. These looming quality of life endangerments will have greater impact on our daily lives than any road resurfacing, sidewalk or traffic calming problems. We must act and act now! As a first step towards ensuring the integrity of our neighborhoods the City must show citizens that they mean business--the bees at the Dunwoody Nature Center must go! Then and only then can we take swift legislative action to ensure our community does not suffer from an invasion of fish, vegetables and bees.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Valuing Schools

If you, like many in Dunwoody, believe that good schools drive property values up then you should be quite concerned about living in DeKalb, and particularly in Dunwoody. Recent SAT scores show that Dunwoody High not only did not lead the county, but scored fifth place behind Chamblee, Lakeside, DeKalb School of Arts and Druid Hills.

But it gets worse. Four of the top five Cobb County high schools scored above the best in DeKalb, and Cobb's fifth ranking high school would be listed in third place were it in DeKalb. And Cobb is not alone in besting Dunwoody High and DeKalb.

Were someone looking to buy a suburban home in this depressed market and that parental bromide of "wanting the best schools for their kids" is really true, then a better option is had by looking only a little further to the west or east. Given this reality, perhaps it is time for Dunwoody to transform itself from a suburb "dedicated to the worship of children" to a modern urban oasis for young and old alike.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Raising" a Ruckus

To quote the source of all things factual, wikipedia, regarding some key Dunwoody stats:
"The median income for a household in the CDP was $82,838, and the median income for a family was $100,796. Males had a median income of $70,460 versus $42,813 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $62,523"
Where CDP refers to Dunwoody as a "Census Designated Place". And what a place it is.

The Other Dunwoody poses a challenge to neophyte watchdogs and gadflies alike: examine the payroll at city hall and compare to readily available statistics to determine whether or not city employees' pay is in line with the citizenry they are Liege Lord over. You'll be looking to see if High Lord of the Manor, recent recipient of a raise, is paid above the median for a resident of similar gender, an entire household, etc. For extra credit determine how many standard deviations off these medians that salary falls.

But don't stop at one salary point. This game can go on and on. There is the Enforcer, and his minions (don't count the donuts or free breakfast with select council members) and whilst it is easy pickings, there is Consigliare, whose bankroll was enormously inflated in the previous budget with nary a peep from the public sheep herd.

If time permits, work on aggregate numbers. As a whole, how does city payroll stack up against the taxpayers that subsidize it? Isn't it nice that the little people can pay so the folk at City Hall can live so large?

And lest you think this is a limited time offer, or a one time effort, a new census is forthcoming and rest assured the council will issue raises next year and extend departmental budgets, so before you know it you will be playing the 2011 version of "Where's My Money?"

This could go into syndication.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Warren "5K" Scores His $5K

It appears our city manager has managed to make last year's bonus permanent with the recent announcement of City raises. All the while taxpayers in the private sector are being told "you're lucky to have a job". The irony is the raise is justified by the manager's "success at saving money" which directly translates into "not providing City services." Perhaps there may come a day when we wish someone would pay him not to do his job.

So, two years and millions of dollars later, we're not any safer, our roads are not any better, we have another taxing entity, and we have more intrusion into our private lives. To make up for this we get to hand out raises to folks who made this happen. Oh, lest we forget, we've got those lovely beige "farmhouse" signs letting anyone who cares know they are about to trespass on Dunwoody.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cockroaches Infest Our Schools

Did you ever have one of those roommates whose tolerance for mess, if not downright filth, far exceeded your own? The kind of roomy who never takes out the garbage, who piles dirty dishes in the sink without even a rinse? Someone rarely burdened with the need for soap?

If you did, did you also enjoy that life-altering event that so often is part of the total package? You know the one: when you get up in the middle of the night for a glass of water, go to the kitchen, turn on the lights, only to see what must be hundreds of cockroaches, of every size, ability and socio-ethnic background, scatter to the four walls?

You have?

Good.

Now to answer the inevitable question: "what does this have to do with our schools---are you saying the cafeteria is infested?" No, dear reader, this is not about cafeteria food nor will it explain why the cornbread is so often crunchy.

This is about educators, parents, and testing. The recent testing scandals which threatened to expose the public school sham has nearly blown over and as bad as it may appear to the casual observer, the real problem has been adeptly obfuscated.

So let's explore this analogy.

Consider that the tests which public school apologists and propagandists have demonized are the light. And it is a diffuse but bright light, casting no shadow and leaving no dark corner.

And the cockroaches, well, those are our self-congratulatory educators. They are the teachers, principals, administrators, board members and "colleges of education" manufacturing the aforementioned, who feast on each morsel of denial cast off by parents who cannot, or more often simply will not, do what is right. It is these parents who are the filthy roommates creating a rich habitat for vermin.

These are also the roommates that will declare you a neat-freak, a neurotic who needs to lighten up. They may even blame the light, for without it there is no visible problem. Some will even go as far as to justify the roaches, claiming they fill a vital role in our ecosystem.

And the roaches are doing what roaches do, getting fat dining on what should not even be there and making more roaches.

And what are we, the responsible roommate, to do? For far too long we've avoided the inevitable confrontation with the roommate. We've left the light off, or worse, simply gone after what we want, ignoring the mess until it becomes unbearable, then doing only a hasty, superficial cleanup. But now we are way over these roommates, the mess has gotten far too large to ignore and the vermin are a clear and present danger. It is time to act. We must call the exterminator, clean up the mess and show those filthy roommates the door.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Going Our Way

Dunwoody is home to a new crowd of whiners. These folks, once ardent supporters of cityhood, now see things are not "going their way". They have stopped touting "local control" and are increasingly mumbling "out of control". Their new rally cry is "Not What We Bargained For!"

Those in The Other Dunwoody who were dragged, by these very fools, into this mess with eyes wide open are probably wondering, then as now, "what were they thinking?" Well, they weren't. And many still aren't.

They voted for a referendum while the powers-that-now-be withheld "task force" documents from the public. Once the referendum passed, these whiners elected a cadre of entitled refugees from a homeowners association, long frustrated that their only power lay in the law suit and gave these busy bodies the power to tax, the authority to write law and an armed force to ensure ordinary citizens knew and stayed in their place. They stood by as city positions were filled by those with connections rather than those with qualifications--after all, they felt they had connections as well. They all but cheered when the city did an end-around to effectively deny some their constitutional rights. They gave no notice to the city arbitrarily raising occupation taxes--without warning or explanation. Surely they could have acted when the council engaged in foolish antics around the issues of garbage, chickens and signs. Or become a bit alarmed that while our roads fall further into decay, the council is voting itself gold-plated benefits (not a raise, mind you) or heading off on junkets retreats. They did not.

One would have thought this dung heap they themselves piled up in city hall would be noxious to even their numbed nostrils. That this stench would be a clue, a sign that something was amiss. Not so.

But now a straw has broken the backs of even these sturdy camels. Someone is suggesting their cars are not pleasing to the eye--that limits must be placed on public display of their "automotive yard art". Yes dear readers, constitutional rights be damned, chickens are for frying and who cares whose friend is draining the city coffers, but you better not touch them cars! Dunwoody surely has more folks who are compensating than any other place on the planet.

But this is not the time to jeer and laugh at these poor unfortunates who are just now joining ranks with The Other Dunwoody. Instead it is time to embrace them, to soften the blow as they come to realize what many already know: "that in the real world, where we live, most of the time things don't go your way."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Keystone Cops

This weekend's Dunwoody Drama centered around an alleged domestic dispute wherein the heavy hand of the law called in paramilitary forces from neighboring jurisdictions. After much posturing for the TV crews establishing film footage sure to  be used in the upcoming justification for our very own SWAT team, the wily perp escaped.

That's right. Under the supervision of our much ballyhooed police both they and the SWAT-for-hire forgot to watch the back. Now bear in mind, were public safety a priority, our City would encourage all non-ground floor apartment dwellers to obtain a fire escape ladder, many of which can be had for well under $100.00. Obviously there is a difference between "fire" and "under fire" but the ladder serves equally well in each case, especially when the assault team can only get their minds around a "frontal assault."

But rest assured as incompetent as our modern day Keystone Cops may be, this same brain trust is going to lobby for their own paramilitary force complete with flashbang, tear gas, assault weapons and APCs. It will be quite the show come Fourth of July.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Family Ties...

...that bind.

Since politics became a profession it has been a "family run business" and our small town politics are no exception. We have an interesting race in the Republican primary to back-fill Fran Millar's vacant house seat.

In one corner we have "Who Knew I Had To Resign" Taylor whose mixture of family ties and politics raised eyebrows as the city was being formed. "Who Knew" sat beside Porter, the "Shill for CH2MHill" touting the benefits of outsourcing City Hall's responsibilities along with our tax dollars to his wife's former employer, with whom she remains on good terms. Awkward.

In the other corner we find "I Wrote It Down" Anderson whose claim to fame is recording secretary for pre-cityhood documents and being married to our City Attorney. This doesn't sound like much until you realize that a City Attorney whose resume wouldn't clear a simple "fit for the job" screen must have connections at City Hall. These connections are strong enough to overcome lack of academic background, lack of experience (fleeing a failed business adventure is hardly a compelling qualification) and these connections will probably serve the candidate well. However, should "Wrote It" clear the primary, search results on Ripoff Report might become embarrassing. Suppose a desperate Democrat would air that laundry?

Regardless, voters know how these connections benefit the politician and those near and dear, but neither has offered a clear statement of how they benefit the public. Apparently there's no connection.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rights Righted

As of this Tuesday, with Governor Purdue's signing of Senate Bill 308, it is now practical for the citizens of Dunwoody to exercise their Second Amendment Rights. This bill removes the rather peculiar eighth of a mile halo around schools, public and private, that previously made otherwise legal carry by licensed, law abiding citizens virtually impossible in Dunwoody.

Some may wonder why anyone would or should be allowed to carry in Dunwoody, and probably are not receptive to the straightforward explanation that it is a constitutional right. Nor are they likely to accept the view that a citizen ought to be afforded the option of self-protection. Now keep in mind, some of these are the same folks who proudly displayed the yard signs welcoming a double-sized Dunwoody Police Force with the by-line "Bad Guys Beware!". But you cannot issue a such a warning without implying "Good Guys Be AWARE!" And the harsh reality is that outside of infrequent coincidences police show up after the crime, no matter how violent. If you don't want to become a passive victim you need to be pro-active.

Given that law enforcement is by necessity reactive and non-preventative, there is no justification for local governments to start playing soldier by establishing paramilitary forces (e.g., anti-terrorist, SWAT, and narcotics teams) that have a rather spotty record including the death of innocent, law-abiding citizens. Pop Quiz: how many SWAT team members are needed to clear the corpses left by a lunatic who kills and then commits suicide or simply turns himself in? Answer: not as many as needed to cover up after a no-knock warrant is "executed" at the wrong address. What these Tories see through their rosy lenses and blinding, flag-waving civic pride, is a parade of the Noble Uniformed who they believe could never fall prey to history or the failings of other, similar organizations. Not here. This is Dunwoody.

But the Second Amendment isn't really about self protection and even a casual study of American history of the mid to late 1700's reveals that the Bill of Rights was put in place to protect the citizens of a new nation. And it is equally clear from whom our founding fathers knew we needed protection.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Re-Refer Madness

In the event you're new to Dunwoody, or simply consider politics as much fun as changing any other soiled diaper then you may not know the back story to the Republican contest to fill Dan Weber's State Senate seat. It was the legislative Dynamic Duo of Dan Weber and Fran Millar (Senate and House respectively) who through any means necessary brought about the referendum for, and advocated the creation of, the City of Dunwoody. Now Dan is done, ready to scurry off to St. Simons, or Emelia Island or where ever else politicians past their use-by date are warehoused.

Fran is viewed by many, especially Fran, as the heir-apparent to fill Dan's seat. Unfortunately, word did not make it to James Sibold, who opposes Brother Fran in the Republican Primary. The Dunwoody Fan magazine has spared no ink in defense of sometimes columnist, who's overbearing zeal to balkanize our little part of DeKalb receives unending praise. Meanwhile Sibold is depicted as either not supporting the cityhood movement, or as one to be counted amongst those advising consideration and caution. Mentioning his name alongside that of "Shrill Jill" Chambers is clearly intended to rouse the rabble, though truth be told, Shrill Jill proved once again that it isn't what you say, but how you say it.

So the local media have painted a scene wherein a vote for Fran is a vote for Dunwoody, and a vote for James is a vote against. This characterization is nothing short of re-referendum on cityhood. But this time around there are some differences.

Unlike the first time, citizens have access to information and the city has a track record, whilst in the first go round the Citizens for Dunwoody conveniently neglected to publish task force reports before the vote. And though this is not an election year with the kind of voter draw one gets from personalities like Obama, Hillary and Palin, at least it will not be scheduled solely to manipulate the outcome.

Dunwoody fans like to point out that over eighty percent of those who voted (on July 15th in a presidential election year) favored cityhood. They neglect to point out that even with intense prosthelytizing they could barely entice forty percent of registered voters to the polls, so they only garnered a third of the registered voters' approval. Of course a high turnout wasn't the goal, else the referendum would have been coincident with the primary or better still the general election. The goal was to motivate most if not all of those in favor of cityhood with emotional pleas and frenzied hype to vote early and often. While a very high percentage of these voters did visit the polls, it is unlikely their numbers have swelled since the city was formed. As it turns out, there is an increasing level of buyer's remorse in Dunwoody.

Nonetheless, barring nightmare scenarios (like a candidate coming out in favor of late term abortion) we should enjoy a Republican primary synonymous with re-approving Dunwoody. And regardless of whether we get the single issue zealot or the thoughtful moderate we will likely be represented in the State Senate by a Republican that sits comfortably to the right of center.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Arts Redefined

Dunwoody, with its premier Arts Festival was not content to put on just another flea market style parking lot carnival of an arts festival. Yes there was a tent city that would be the envy of René Garcia Préval (we leave petty comments about tents not conforming to the Williamsburg overlay to those bloggers who can never find a good thing to say). There were indeed vendors hawking artery clogging blood sludge fare. And of course there were booths with art-student-oils, stained glass, knick knacks, and yard art, that had the council been paying attention would soon be as welcome in Dunwoody as back yard chickens.

But there was much, much more. Though the Dunwoody Arts Festival shared a common starting point with its more established artsy neighbors, Dunwoody has higher ambitions -- no less that redefining parking lot art.

And that they did.  Looking at the now rather common examples of stained glass the Dunwoody visionaries saw what they were convinced must be only the beginning of home related artistry. They embraced the struggling movement of "Home Renovation as Art" by inviting home "designers" and their "remodelers" to demonstrate the artistry behind "hand blown budgets" with well crafted "slip schedules".

A closely related, but distinct category of art was put on public display (well sort of) by a local artist specializing in RetroFoam. Dunwoody has, in one dramatic exposition, made accessible an art form that heretofore was appreciated only by the most discerning eye. Often mistaken for a performance art due to the aesthetics of injection hole placement, "wall foam" is actually a response to the recent trend of "found art"-- for this is Hidden Art. The work itself, comprised solely of foam inside a home wall, is intentionally created outside the view of the artist and presents a holistic connection between artist, art and the patron. This ethereal relationship is somehow made tangible by the full engagement of the mind's eye.

But there was true performance art on display, and what a display it was, for it was performance art in its oldest, and some say darkest, form--banking! An art considered by many to one of the most formal, often held in venues commonly associated with chained pens and bullet proof glass, banking took on a gritty, street-wise edge when performed under the sidewalk "little top". Passersby were regaled with the elegant pas de deux of high fees and fine print.

As stimulating and raw as "Banking as Street Art" was, it retained a certain orchestrated Cirque de Soleil quality, missing the informality of improv and thereby creating an artistic void that demanded to be filled. And the Dunwoody Art Community was determined to shake off an unfair characterization as an ultra conservative, intellectually restrained and aesthetically challenged arts backwater by presenting a burly, if not actually burlesque, display of "College Hunks Hauling Junk". The "Hunks" put on a series of bawdy plays in the shadow of their very own circus wagon garishly dominating the intersection of Chamblee Dunwoody and Mount Vernon. Oddly, alcohol was not involved.

Perhaps feeling that the "Hunks" might have pushed the envelope just a bit too far in one direction, the Dunwoody Arts Community showed a softer, but in fact no less edgy, foray into the performance arts with "Merry Maids". Spreading their own brand of pink, the Merry Maids added a warm undertone to the staid "Dunwoody Beige", reminding young and old alike just why these Maids made merry.

So there you have it. Not since the 1996 Olympics were declared almost the best ever have people in Dunwoody, and all across Georgia, had something to be this proud of.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

X Marks the Spot

Many children's stories include treasure maps with a large "X" indicating the location of what is always described as the world's greatest treasure. Apparently this is true in the world of grownups as well.

Perhaps you've noticed the MARTA buses with a large Red X painted on the side. Or, perhaps your car is in the shop offering the opportunity to visit a rail station where some of the train cars have similar markings. Perhaps you've wondered what that is all about.

Well, dear readers, the recent Toyota recalls have opened up many opportunities to chat unofficially with MARTA officials at the Lindberg train platform. During a recent conversation the issue of the Red X came up.

So, what's with all the Red X's?
"It's all part of a PR campaign. See we want more money. "
Why?
"So we can spend it, duh! We want state funding for operations and capital expenses and this is all part of the plan to get it."
How will Red X's do that?
"Well, the Red X means that's a bus or a train car that we will take out of service. That does two things. First, ITP, it riles up the riders. You'll see 'em storming the statehouse, marchin' arm in arm, singin' "We shall over-COME!" That will be grand political theater. "
So, that will blow over...
"Maybe, but then there is the impact OTP. See all those conservative suburbanites who "pay more than they play" will see a bunch of empty buses with a big red X and think, "Finally! Somebody at MARTA came to their senses and we won't have all those empty buses barreling through our neighborhoods spewing fumes. At last they're using some of our money wisely". Once they perceive "we get it" then we've got them! They'll start thinking we are responsible stewards of the money they owe us and then we can crack open that "Capital Expenditures Only" lockbox and spend CapEx on operations. Before you know it all those buses, and more, will be back on the streets."
Won't that just pissfritter away the money that should be spent on new buses, train cars and rail lines? Why not just spend some of the CapEx on smaller, more efficient buses? Then you can improve services whilst decreasing operating expenses.
"That's exactly what's wrong with the general public. You seem to think this is somehow about efficient operation and top notch service."
At this point the unofficial official was interrupted by an announcement: "We are experiencing delays in our Northbound rail service".
"As I was saying...CapEx get's you nothing, it's all about OpEx. OpEx means more headcount. More headcount means a manager has a bigger budget..."
Which means the manager gets a bigger paycheck...
"...and a bigger bonus."
You get bonuses?
"You BETCHA! Big ones. The kind only public servants can get. And let me tell you, we don't want to lose them either. "
So if you spend all the money set aside for capital expenses on operating expenses what happens when you need new buses and cars, or you need to extend rail service?
"That's the beauty of this plan. Once we drain the CapEx funds we'll start pulling buses and trains out of service because they are too old and broken down. The the State will have to buy us new buses and cars to avoid a complete shutdown."
And since you've already spent every penny you have...
"...that's right. We still get our bonuses."
After the piercing screech of ill-maintained brakes deafened the crowd, this gleeful unofficial official boarded his train, a fitting end to this painful conversation.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Freaknik Weekend

Freaknik comes to town this weekend!

Get ready to party!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Most Prolific Writer

By far the most prolific writer, even before the Whirled Wild Web, remains Anonymous. And there are some folks that take issue with that.

A recent AJC editorial posits that anonymous posts and comments have no place in "legitimate journalism". Legitimate journalism is readily identified by phrases like "unnamed sources" or "remaining anonymous because he was not authorized to speak on the record" or "unidentified sources". That's where the irony gets knee deep. This editorialist cited a case where a judge may have disclosed information on a case that, well, that judge just shouldn't ought to have. That's right. Legitimate journalists are the only ones allowed to divulge information, especially when it is sensitive. But it gets better. Because this is the electronic age no one can really prove that the judge actually made the offending comments, or even that the judge's computer was used. The only thing that may be certain is that the judge's internet account was used.

Then it gets local. A Dunwoody blogger, who shall remain nameless, thought he might encourage greater and more lively debate by allowing anonymous comments. Indeed. This change also did what it generally does, which is remove any inhibitions some folks might otherwise have against vitriol. That anonymous posting degrades the quality of conversation is well demonstrated in local school and police blogs (where anonymity is rationalized as necessary to prevent retribution from the man). Anonymous rants on these blogs have rendered them virtually useless, totally predictable and incredibly monotonous. But there are large number of comments on any given post.

So this Dunwoody blogger gets blasted by a local blog-o-phile, we'll call him "Roger Luddite", who has a consistent non-stop rant about folks "hiding behind anonymous" and using "fake names".  He seems to think that the value of the comment is directly related to whether the poster uses his "real name", a pseudonym or simply remains anonymous even though the "real name" is the only one that cannot be verified. (As Thaddeus Osborne Dabell once remarked: "it isn't the name that matters, it's the initials".) Now Mister Luddite considers himself quite the mover and shaker and presumes that everyone in Dunwoody knows him, knows he really exists and assumes we actually give a rodent's rectum that he does and what he says. But in his rather narrow world, if you're posting on the internet, then by god, you should use your "real" name or your comments just don't count. But in taking such a strident view, he prevents open discourse by implying that given a "real" name he might launch an ad hominem attack to advance his own opinion, especially since he already engages in ad hominem in absentia.

Of course this ignores a few key realities. First, since the days of 1200 baudbps modems and bulletin boards, folks have been using "handles" when posting online, much like folks did and still do on CB radio. It is, and has been, the way these bulletin boards, and now the web, work.

And, if you follow Mister Luddite's logic, what must we think of "Poor Richard" or "George Sand", and other great intellects forced by circumstance--often an ignorant and bigoted populace--to use pseudonyms? Are their works somehow diminished  by the fact that the "real" author's name remained hidden or has the world been a better place because important ideas were offered to the public? Is a good idea, or a sound and legitimate criticism, any less worthy because the mind behind the words chooses to remain unknown? Conversely, is there any value, positive or negative, in knowing that it was indeed Mister Luddite who said something?

At the end of the day, if you cannot filter the sound comments, the profound analysis and the informed opinion from the increasing noise on the internet, regardless of the name on the tagline, then maybe you're not as smart as you think you are.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spinning in Their Graves

Is this what the patriots who founded this country fought for?



Or against?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

No Problem

First Law of Problem Solving
Where there is no solution, there is no problem.
Second Law of Problem Solving
If you have a solution, you own the problem.
Then there's politics. Politicians get elected by claiming they will solve problems others can or will not. Often they claim to be able to see problems others cannot even recognize. But what happens when an elected official elects not to see problems obvious to almost anyone else? Does the lack of acknowledgment which prevents any solution mean there really is no problem? Or do we have another, more serious problem?

This effect was made public in a recent post on a local blog (a post that is rather difficult to find). In this post, the author excerpted an article that espoused how wonderful Dunwoody Village is for the over 55 crowd, with its accessibility, wide sidewalks, great restaurants, live-work-play, etc. The article even provided a convenient web link: www.dunwoody.org. Now let's be clear, it was the original article author who mistakenly stated that this wonderful, walkable, live-work-play "village" well suited to the blue-hairs was actually located in Dunwoody, GA.

The issue is that someone allegedly familiar with Dunwoody Village, in Dunwoody GA, would confuse our village with the one described in the article. Wide sidewalks alone should be a clue to anyone who has ever walked around the village. And just where is someone "living" in the village. Yes, there is that fellow camping out in the truck camper behind the Chevron, but the bag lady is long gone and there aren't any residences in the village proper. Instead of a walkable village center we have a tribute to asphalt: Dunwoody Village PARKWAY. A rather bizarre four lane divided highway that is hardly a quarter mile long. And yes, the 25MPH speed limit is never enforced, but it has too many hills and curves for a proper drag strip, and we don't have a Shoney's to provide the proper before and after race party atmosphere. With Brewster's closed we cannot even conjure a proper "parking lot carnival" backdrop.

"So what?", you're thinking, "most blogs are all made up anyway...surely this one is." And generally, you would be correct. Most of this blog is made up. But what if someone did read the aforementioned article and conclude "this sounds just like Dunwoody Village by the farmhouse"? What if this person were in a position to actually identify and solve problems within our city? Is this the kind of "power of observation" that would support effective problem solving? Probably not.

Our beloved parkway is an excellent example. Were someone in authority to actually notice they would recognize several problems. There are four lanes, plus turn lanes, where two would easily suffice. There are no sidewalks whatsoever, let alone wide ones. There are no safe pedestrian crossings. All of these (and more) could be remedied. And this is just one small patch o' pavement in Dunwoody.

So we have a real, fundamental problem. We have a Mayor and City Council so blinded by self adulation that they cannot effectively serve the public. Given there is a problem, there must be a solution, and it is simple: it is job of every voter in Dunwoody to elect a Mayor and Council that can see and fix the obvious problems we have in our city.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dumb Terror

Reacting to the recent spate of terroristic activity in Dunwoody, our PD is pulling an officer from his routine patrols and sending him halfway around the world to protect and serve from afar. If you think this is just another City Junket, one that would never happen if not covered by other people's money, or that we would not make this investment in our own safety, or worse yet, you think there are no terrorists targeting Dunwoody, then think again.

The danger is clear. And it is here.

This was revealed during a visit to a local asian restaurant, a family run operation that may well be a front for an ancient terrorist organization. The owner, a wiry old man, revealed some truths obviously known to our PD, but hidden from the population at large.
"I am leader of Phalen Dong."
So? We don't care, we're looking for Holder of Dinner Menu. We're here to eat.
"You will care. Phalen Dong...ancient society, formed during Mang Dynasty, to destroy Men of Great Stupidity and strike terror into the hearts of the Merely Dumb."
You mean the "Ming Dynasty"?
"No, Ignorant One. Mang Dynasty. Mang Man of Great Stupidity, whose misdeeds inspired Phalen Dong who then ended Mang's reign after thirty days. Phalen Dong prevailed, but many remain who celebrate the Month of Mang, so Phalen Dong ever vigilant, always ready to arise."
Fine. So what can that possibly have to do with the price of Moo Shu Pork in Dunwoody?
"Where need is great we appear. Followers of Mang gain strength in Dunwoody. The Merely Dumb align their forces--become Men of Great Stupidity--then the Phalen Dong must rise again. Stupidity will be destroyed and a dark fog of fear will surround the Dumb."
At this point the old man was interrupted by the sounds of breaking china emanating from the kitchen. He disappeared into the back and amidst the old man's piercing screams a bus-boy shot out, chased by the Flying Pan of Phalen Dong which left a small but prolific scalp wound on the poor boy as it raced past him towards the door.

So there you have it. The Phalen Dong, clearly a well-armed terrorist organization, is in our midst. Dunwoody is at great risk, and under the circumstances sending our Police Force to a foreign country may just be the smartest thing this city is capable of.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dunwoody Lands Freaknik

In a competition between several southern cities, Dunwoody has been chosen to host this year's "Freaknik" celebration. Speaking with two folks at the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Dunwoody, Sally Feurth and Mark Addol, emotions were running high and there was electricity in the air.
"This is quite a coup--we were up against some impressive offerings", remarked Sally. "We had stiff competition from Hanging Tree, Mississippi, Strange Fruit, Alabama and had it not been for the Governor's recent troubles I'm sure we would have some formidable opponents from South Carolina, with that flag and all."
"That's right, Sally", added Mark in a rather condescending tone, "but hands down, the legacy favorite had to have been Lynchburg, Virginia. They've got it all. The name. The heritage. And, as good as Dunwoody may be, they've got Williamsburg refined to an art--after all they are IN Virginia."
"But we knocked them off their throne, didn't we? And I think if you do your research you will find that in some quarters Dunwoody carries every bit as much cachet as Lynchburg."
Apparently Sally took the marketing initiative and would have nothing to do with sitting quietly in the shadows. At this point, she couldn't be stopped.
"See, we have not only a long, distinguished history to fall back on but we have very recent accomplishments--feather's in our cap--not the least of which is our recent victories in our campaigns against DeKalb. We also quite proud of  our heritage preservation efforts. We have farms and while these are not quite plantations, they really capture the essence of the plantation, don't you think? Really, we do get the same effect. And, if I'm not bragging too much, we have more than our fair share of ``woodsheds'', which I'm sure favorably impressed the selection committee." 
Quite an accomplishment indeed. But what about events? What about city-wide preparations for this monumental event? Sure, Dunwoody has the roads, complete with the stop-not-go traffic a mainstay of the unofficial parade at the very heart of every successful Freaknik, but Freaknik is much more than a cruise-in.  Much, much more.

Understanding the magnitude of this event, the City Council has taken up some key initiatives.

The first, and most innovative, is City-supplied "free" vouchers for tanning salons. This will encourage the largely melanin-challenged population of Dunwoody to proactively "darken-up" to become more welcoming (and one hopes, less frightening) to our guests as we roll out the red carpet. What makes these vouchers "free", particularly to the City, is the addition of a small "fee" to every resident's power bill thereby ensuring that tanning services are available to all. Hopefully this includes those who might not otherwise tan. On a related note, local hair salons are slammed with requests for perms so make your appointment now.

They have also formed a Toady Citizen's Committee to plan and coordinate the various events and related activities.

First on this Committee's list is a parade, for after all what is Freaknik but a large, multi-day parade? The Committee plans to kick off the festivities with an official parade which means City Officials get to ride around in really nice cars. They have reached out to Queen Latifa, their first choice, to be Grand Marshal, but she declined, saying "Freaknik in Dunwoody? Are you EFFin' crazy?" The Committee's second choice, Cynthia McKinney, has gladly accepted remarking that "what I miss most being in Cali are the Dunwoody parades. I'm thrilled, absolutely thrilled." In addition, Vernon Jones is expected to be a keynote speaker at several events and head judge of the Rick James contest.

To say that Hiz Honor is jiggy with it when it comes to Freaknik is quite the understatement. Rumor has it that he not only intends to enter, but win the Rick James contest. Visitors to City Hall have reportedly heard strains of "Super Freak" and shouts of "I'm Rick James, Beeeich" coming from the men's room. He, or someone strikingly similar, has also been seen about town taking advantage of the City's Tanning Program.

Miz Honor  seems less enthusiastic about Hiz participation, perhaps fearing that some might suspect he has been practicing at home. And she is right to be concerned after that recent fuss with the ZBA, which was presented as an issue solely for Miz, not Hiz, leading some to conclude they maintained separate domiciles. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ever the loyal supporter, Miz Honor has reportedly said "I don't think he has a good chance to win, I think he's all but guaranteed the Blue Ribbon."

We shall see, for unlike his earlier anointing, there are rumors of formidable competition. Sources close to Fran Millar aren't prepared to make a public announcement but neither will they deny he is considering entering the fray. Dan Weber's closest associates on the other hand have made it clear that the Senator has no intention of entering the Rick James Contest or any similar event. At this time. But the likely front-runner is Dunwoody's long-time favorite,  Jill Chambers. She already has the voice down pat.

And what would any Dunwoody event be without church involvement--without fully engaging our tax-exempt mega-churches? Nothing, that's what. And true to form, the United Baptist Bank of Dunwoody is riding the Soul Train to Freaknik.

Dr. Richard Head, Music Minister, sees this as "a great opportunity to pump up the music offerings for our congregation", while Delburt "Del" Doe, Social Activities Director, is planning a Grand Marshal "Roast and Revival" for opening night and these two are working very closely together to make this event a success.
Dr. Head seemed quite excited about a casual music event bridging traditional and contemporary genres. "We'll have an open mike night for Negro Spirituals..."
"...can you say that?", a slightly embarrassed Doe quizzicalled.
"you mean Negro?..."
"...yes...can you really say Negro?"
"well, I did, and we are OTP..."
"...then I guess you can."
"as I was saying", Dr. Head continued in a slightly, well, pissy tone, "we're hosting open mike and in respect for our visitors and contestants we're asking all congregants to don unadorned albs and since this event is under a tent, head covers are inappropriate. Nonetheless it should be quite the sight from the stage."
While Dr. Head took a much needed breath, Mr. Doe, all a-buzz, continued "And what a site it will be. We'll will have a huge tent with a large white cross adorned with red neon lighting directly behind the elevated altar..."
"What a Friend We Have In Jesus" 
"and a water feature reminiscent of the River Jordan..."
"Down in the River to Pray"
At this point, the conversation became uncomfortably like a lover's spat, but let it be known by all that UBBoD will be putting on quite a show.

Of course, safety throughout Dunwoody is a top consideration, no less so to those in our police department than anyone else. While no one with the police would speak on the record, a unnamed passerby was more than eager to speak on their behalf.
"The Dunwoody PD will be in charge of ticket sales with their main service center on the south side where the majority of attendees are expected to arrive."
Oh, are they supporting pre-sales, perhaps through Ticket Master?
"Well, it isn't exactly that kind of ticket, and the final cost is yet to be established. However the Dunwoody PD will be offering complementary ``DWB'' citations, but framing is extra."
Nice touch that. Framing. Who would have imagined?
"And while it should go without saying, we will keep with tradition, and shut down all official activities by sundown."
At this point this mysterious passerby got into a large black sedan with government plates and sped away.

But this event does not come without dissent. The Itty Bitty Titty Committee is not at all happy with the tanning plan. Barbara Beacoup, Committee Chair, contends that "extensive tanning blurs the line between skin and areola, making the existing ordinance virtually unenforceable."  She believes it is "bad enough that people are doing this on their own, but it is unconscionable for the City to pay for this." Vera Vadeveist, a Committee co-founder takes serious issue with some attendees. "Many of the young ladies we expect to attend Freaknik are not only, what is their term, bootylicious, but are equally well equipped on top. This is simply not consistent with what our members want to see in Dunwoody."

The Lemonade Days Committee voiced some initial concern that Freaknik would be scheduled too close to their own event. Freaknik organizers offered a convincing argument  the Freaknik crowd generally did not like citrus and probably would not return for Lemonade Days even if it were conveniently scheduled, greatly allaying the Committee's fears.

As expected there was also some complaints from the losing cities who suggested that the competition might not have been totally on the up and up. A quick call to the City Attorney's Office degenerated into an hour of IVR hell resulting in a canned statement: "The City of Dunwoody cannot comment on any pending or current litigation, complaints or negative comments except to say that any negative assertions leveled at this City are patently absurd. All of them, bar none are unactionable." So there you have it. If you were looking to patent absurdity, Dunwoody beat you to it.

It is hard to say just how well Freaknik In Dunwoody, The 2010 Edition, will play out but it is almost certain to be unlike any other event since the referendum.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Supreme Court Matters

"The laws that forbid the carrying of arms .... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants. They serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
Thomas Jefferson
We now have nearly two generations of Americans increasingly comfortable with redacting, in effect if not in fact, portions of the Constitution with which they take issue. This is exemplified in a recent letter to the AJC in which the author states: "No matter what [...] the Supreme Court say...", followed by the writer's conclusion that not only were the Founding Fathers flawed in their thinking, but the framework they established for our governance and the current Supreme Court are equally flawed.

He and others like him play fast and loose with Constitutional interpretation as it suits their needs, yet are unwilling to argue their position within the context of that very Constitution by seeking remedy in the amendment process. History will judge this hubris harshly. Those now turning their backs on our Constitutional liberties and the rights that maintain them not only dishonor our Founding Fathers but are condemning the United States to death by a thousand cuts, and by their actions all those who have died will have died in vain.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gandering Goose

In a recent edition of the Dunwoody Fan Magazine, a state representative pontificates on the matter of a "City of DeKalb", suggesting that all the presented reasons favoring a unified city/county government are not only borne of faulty logic, but are, in essence, evil.

He points out, and rightly so, that by way of incorporation DeKalb would gain access to franchise fees, a clear grab for other people's money many of whom do not live in DeKalb, cannot vote in DeKalb, and gain none of the enormous benefits DeKalb will shower upon its residents with this ill gotten revenue.

And yet, he rather conveniently fails to point out that many of his own constituents tap into this equally ill gotten source of revenue without finding themselves in any moral quandary. In fact, the editor of the Dunwoody Fan Magazine, when it was pointed out that Dunwoody, screeching "Taxation w/o Representation" in its drive to cityhood, might not be on firm moral ground in adding a new tax against non-citizens, replied with "it has been in the plan all along and we cannot afford the city without it." Even more astounding is that this arrogant self-righteousness, a fine quality in the City of Dunwoody, is magically transformed into a heinous evil once outside the city limits.

Perhaps arrogance and self-righteousness simply don't travel well as well to Decatur as to the State House.

But our representative's bashing of the Dark Overlord, DeKalb County, was not complete. Revealing the true reason behind his objection, that incorporation would prevent annexations by Dunwoody, Doraville and Chamblee, he presented a fairly uncompelling case of "this land is our land, this land's not your land", harking back to a day when other, real live human beings were things to be owned and bargained for---mere property to be acquired and collected.

North DeKalb and its newest city have yet to pass the smell test, and they seem little concerned about their neighbors downwind. Were they, as individuals and collectively, to have an "ethical epiphany" they should work towards:
  1. a system whereby all utilities paying any city any franchise fees, would collect those fees only from the residents and businesses within that city's limits; and
  2. the free association of any residents in unincorporated areas to form, as they themselves have,  their own city, be it the City of DeKalb, some new independent city, or to join with a neighboring community.
Do these ideas originate from and are they supported our local statesman? Hardly. In fact he intends to use the DeKalb delegation to deny citizens of unincorporated DeKalb the opportunity to form their own city, though when that same delegation sought to block the City of Dunwoody, that was considered wrong.

Isn't it amazing? Where Dunwoody is involved what's good for the goose is almost never what's good for the gander.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Some Things Never Change

"How to Make a STRIKING SUNDIAL, by which not only a Man's own Family, but all his Neighbors for ten Miles round, may know what a Clock it is, when the Sun shines, without seeing the dial."

Choose an open Place in your Yard or Garden, on which the Sun may shine all Day without any Impediment from Trees or Buildings. On the Ground mark out your Hour Lines, as for a horizontal Dial, according to Art, taking Room enough for the Guns.

On the Line for One o'Clock, place one Gun; on the Two o'Clock Line two Guns, and so of the rest.  The Guns must all be charged with Powder, but Ball is unnecessary.  Your Gnomon or Style must have twelve burning Glasses annex'd to it, and be so placed as that the Sun shining through the Glasses, one after the other, shall cause the Focus or burning Spot to fall on the Hour Line of One, for Example, at one a Clock, and there kindle a Train of Gunpowder that shall fire one Gun.  At Two a Clock, a Focus shall fall on the Hour Line of Two, and kindle another Train that shall discharge two Guns successively, and so of the rest.

Note, There must be 78 Guns in all.  Thirty-two Pounders will be best for this use; but 18 Pounders may do, and will cost less, as well as use less Powder, for nine Pounds of Powder will do for one Charge of each eighteen Pounder, whereas the Thirty-two Pounders would require for each Gun 16 Pounds.

Note also, That the chief Expence will be the Powder, for the Cannon once bought, will, with Care, last 100 Years.

Note moreover, That there will be a great Saving of Powder in cloudy Days.

Kind Reader, Methinks I hear thee say, "That it is indeed a good Thing to know how the Time passes, but this Kind of Dial, notwithstanding the mentioned Savings, would be very expensive; and the Cost greater than the Advantage."  Thou art wise, my Friend, to be so considerate beforehand; some Fools would not have found out so much, till they had made the Dial and try'd it ... Let all such learn that many a private and many a publick Project, are like this "Striking Dial," great Cost for little Profit.
           
B. Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack for 1757

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dunwoody Gets Cobblestone Streets

You may be wondering why, over a year into official citydom, no road work has been done. Not even the former Dark Overlord's works-in-progress have, well, progressed. Turns out, that's because you don't know "work" when you see it.

Refusing an interview, a City "payrollee" described what he called a "radical innovation" in road maintenance gleaned from a peculiar and serendipitous series of events.

Apparently a council-person was reading their grandchild a bedtime story about Ole Virginie, from whence they hail. Skipping the chapter about how the poorest settlers were forced to raise smelly, noisy chickens to survive, this dotty doting grandparent leapt ahead to the "History of Beige". But a sad combination of chocolate and soft drinks held at bay the hypersomnia this story so often induces, forcing the storyteller to advance to a heretofore unread chapter: "Williamsburg and Cobblestones". A riveting tale that inspired that city leader to conclude:
Dunwoody's Williamsburg makeover will not be complete until all our streets are cobbled. 
This city founder, no stranger to politics, knew just who to call upon for guidance: the Mayor of Bug Tussle Alabama, a brother-in-law, former cousin and friend none-the-less.  It was all but certain that Bug Tussle held interesting parallels from which Dunwoody could learn, discovering how to advance it's roadways into the 18th century.

As many already know, Bug Tussle is virtually identical to Dunwoody, only in a different state. And it doesn't have a major retail and business center like Perimeter. And they didn't adopt "beige" as the city color, prefering the weathered, unpainted barn look. And their farmhouses are still on farms. We'll also have to ignore the inconvenient fact that they actually have the iconic southern small city downtown. And then there's that trailer thing they got backwards: none at the schools and some folks actually live in them. Other than that, Bug Tussle and Dunwoody are two peas in a pod.

And as expected, the Mayor of Bug Tussle was well versed in all matters cobble. Their fair city had tried road surfaces of sand (too small to be proper cobble), then gravel (better but not quite there), then, like all too many others, they were seduced by asphalt. While smooth, easily installed and fairly durable, it simply would not maintain itself.

Or so they thought.

By way of significant, unintentional delays in the care and feeding of their asphalt roads (they had to pay for pensions first), Bug Tusslers found that car and truck traffic, in combination with weather, renders asphalt into "chunks". Chunks virtually identical in size and shape to cobblestones. As it happens, neglect is the philosopher's stone of asphalt. Now Bug Tussle has cobblestone streets that are the envy of many--especially the powers that be in Dunwoody.

Clearly the City of Dunwoody, smart folks that they are, intend to emulate the Bug Tussle Miracle. What else can explain the condition of Chamblee Dunwoody in the Village, or Ashford Center Parkway? These roads alone are proof positive that the Dunwoody plan to cobble our streets is well into the execution phase.

"Not so fast!", you think. Certainly this plan is not well received throughout the community. 

Au Contraire, Mon Frère!

After refusing to be quoted, Sue "Green Jean" Steinibel, LEEDer of the local Left Wing Nut Tree Huggers said:
"I'm all for it. It reduces both the number of cars and the speed of those venturing onto these streets."
What about other traffic calming measures?
"Well I can see how some might like that, and I for one am impressed as this is clearly a zero carbon solution, but I've not found Dunwoody that receptive to, shall we say, 'out-there' ideas."
"Anyway, the City's approach has other benefits. It turns an impermeable surface into a virtual drywell. I'd have to say it's the next best thing to no road at all. And if it hadn't been for the county, we'd already have the kind of roads we deserve, the kind of roads our City leaders are finally giving us."
As expected, no one at the Police Department would speak on the record, but someone "in the know" represented the mood of the department with:
"What do we care? We're getting an APC and a SWAT team. And when we get the Narc Squad, we're talking no-knock warrants. We can go wherever the hell we want and do whatever the hell we want."
"And who's gonna stop us? Some pasty faced voter in a Hummer carrying a SEMI-automatic pistol? A couple of three round bursts from our AR-15s and that ``poser'' Hummer is gettin' towed right back to Obama General Motors."
The same general "citizen friendly" attitude prevails at the City's Public Works Department:
"Look, we have pensions to fund and those defined benefits programs cost money. Big money. But I guarantee, if Bug Tussle can pull it off then so can Dunwoody. No way are the folks in Bug Tussle one whit dumber than Dunwoody. After all, there is a reason folks at City Hall call it Dumbwoody. Plus we got the whole Williamsburg-Cobblestone thing going for us."
But what about the fact that the City gets a big chunk of money the County never did and you still canno...
"Can you not hear the words coming out of my mouth? Get with it: pensions first! After that I really don't care because I'm retiring--early, thank you very much--and moving to a gated golf community in Florida where the only driving hazard is on the fairway. And you wanna know how much time I'll be spending worrying about pavement in Dunwoody?"
Well, it could hardly be any less.

So there you have it. It looks as if Dunwoody will leapfrog Bug Tussle on the list of "Places to be From".

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Financial Irresponsibility

First, they voted themselves a gold-plated health insurance perk. Not a raise, mind you, but a "benefit". Then there were the "Bonuses Paid before Roads Paved". And we won't even go near the smell of a 40% increase in the City Attorney's budget (to over three hundred and fifty thousand dollars) without putting those services up for competitive bid.

And now, for the second time, the City Council is hell bent on a getting a paid vacation--a "retreat"--using our money to pay the tab. This time they're not staying in the city, nor the county, nor even the state. This junket is headed to Franklin, Tennessee. The name alone conjures up wisdoms like "a penny saved is a penny earned"---a concept foreign to our council members who are unburdened by fiscal prudence. What irony.

And our city mouthpiece, Warren "5K" Hutmacher, tells the AJC "interesting parallels will inform the retreat with benefits that could not be obtained by staying within the city". Given that the entire sentence is borderline incoherent, it is difficult to understand what ole 5K is really saying but it sounds like we have an incompetent City Council that cannot look around the city we live in, identify our problems and fix them. At least not without having someone else show them how--hence the obviousness of the incompetence. If they would spend some of the effort and resources dedicated to themselves on making Dunwoody better for us all, they just might find they like it here.

So the question remains: is it just a paid vacation or is there something else? Do they expect to see how effective Franklin is at Toll-Trolling I-65 to glean ideas on how Dunwoody can improve its own trolls? Do they want a real town center to copy (after all, how original is "williamsburg")? If so they need not go as far as Nashville. (Somehow the fact that Franklin is only 20 miles from the Grand Ole Opry didn't make it into the press release.)  Since Franklin does allow chickens in the city limits, maybe our decision makers will finally visit a backyard poultry operation. Or perhaps Franklin council members have a platinum retirement program and our council is looking for some "how to" guidance. And if they were serious about paving a road, fixing a drain or pouring a sidewalk, they could pack a lunch and take a day trip to Decatur where the county can show them how it is done.

But if they would really like to learn something important, they should visit a small town in Massachusetts. There they can see what a voter uprising looks like. Or perhaps if we, the taxpayers, spend just a little bit more on this junket we can make sure the council and mayor have a one way trip.