Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dunwoody Talking Out of School

On a recent Friday the Dunwoody Mayor and Council held, on short notice, a meeting for the purpose of going into executive session. As we all learned from the Dekalk County School Superintendent search these executive sessions are not held in public and discussions are not made public. In the vernacular, what happens in executive session stays in executive session.

Those are the rules. And as we also learned from DCSS, some folks hold themselves above the rules, to wit, someone is alleged to have leaked information regarding the topics of discussion in the Dunwoody executive session. Naughty boy(s) or girl(s).

Condemnation has already rained down from others in the blogosphere and that is not the purpose of this rant. It will be left to others to ensure guilty staffers are fired and guilty politicians will be pilloried.

There are items of equal if not greater concern. At first blush there is the matter rumored to have been discussed: the sale of all or almost all of the "PVC Pipe Farm" to a developer who will build housing though probably not as high density as the original developer intended. To make up for this reduction in traffic on our roads the rumored proposal includes "mixed use", generally thought to include retail and restaurants. Perhaps a Chick-fil-a?

Some really important questions are raised here. How enduring is a "master plan"? Is the master plan so riddled with loop holes and vague language and therefore so open to manipulation and interpretation that the city can buy property under the guise of "much needed green space" and hardly a year later do a one eighty and propose to sell the property back to developers? Can this city create a plan that will endure one election cycle or is every election to become yet another set of mandates for sweeping change?

And the original financing for the purchase seems so sketch it would make Bernie Madoff blush. Did we really buy the property, as reports indicate we are simply leasing it from the Georgia Municipal Association? And since when did this lobbying organization get into the business of second hand financing? Just who approached whom in setting up this house of cards? How much of this fragile setup was based on the now dispelled confidence that the sheep of Dunwoody would approve the City's "parks bonds"? We were told this property was bought for "parks" and now it is just a speculative real estate deal relying on shaky financing. How many other pre-emptive spending programs were executed based  on "Parks Bonds Anticipation"? The property for the Peachford  Road to Nowhere? And how did this influence the negotiations? Clearly we paid too much for the Peachford property. That or no citizen should ever have complained about County property tax as it appears property in the area is undervalued by half. Was the overpayment because the negotiator was sure the City would soon be flush with cash? Did they "go shopping" too soon?

And who are these people? We need names. If there be consequences, firings and recalls, then let it be for the staffers, the managers and the elected officials behind these speculative land deals and public deceptions. And let it be NOW.