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.