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?


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.