Monday, January 9, 2012

Dunwoody 2.0

At the end of the day, Dunwoody 1.0 as well as 1.1, the failed "Bug Fix" release, will go down as the "Spend All We Have, Then Borrow More" version of the city. The silent majority, the sixty five percent who either did not vote or voted against cityhood have awakened, and by rejecting the parks bonds clearly indicated the days of Dunwoody's pre-existing power structure "flitting others' perfume" is over. But the Spend-Alls did not leave without getting in a few sucker punches.

We were treated to a protracted pas de deux around the apparently pre-arranged purchase of an empty office building, owned by the same party that anticipated quite the windfall from the parks bonds. Believing these to be two separate, completely disjoint, arms-length negotiations is more than even Polly Ann can handle. The second rabbit punch was the approval the CVB budget including their move into the most expensive office space in Dunwoody--the Ravinia. So now we own vacant office space and rather than move the CVB there, to the benefit of all, well, the Spend-All Team preferred to piss away more money.

And those in the community worried about a return to the ways of D-1.0 must be vigilant. Some of the Spend-All Team remain and those new to office have not been tested by the temptation of spending Other People's Money. The city has also proven to be not quite as smart as they would like us to believe. Case in point: the plan to create Parks Under the Power Lines. Problem is, the wizards at city hall either didn't realize or didn't care that this was private property. Owned by city residents. Who, not surprisingly, did know and did care.

From the very beginning, D-2.0 will be challenged to show a degree of wisdom and foresight that eluded their predecessor. D-2.0 must take up the challenge of rewriting our zoning. As noted elsewhere there is much silliness in the existing documents, as authored by D-1.0, and an equal portion of care must be applied to handling this effort lest the impact of that inferior team be felt for years to come. It may turn out that the effort should be postponed indefinitely, but if pursued due consideration should be given to discarding the existing documents.

If D-2.0 is to succeed, it might look to the DeKalb Schools for guidance. Really. After finally changing guard, the new superintendent is making significant staff changes to address the culture that created the problems she inherited. Low hanging fruit includes "Friends and Family", those overpaid staffers who hold a position because of who they know, rather than what they know or what they can do. Dunwoody 2.0 should follow suite and purge City Hall of F&F staffers.