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? 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, 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... 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.