Monday, April 29, 2013

Going Postal

Anybody really wonder what's wrong at the Post Office? What, "My Other Car is a Mail Truck?"

We won't even talk about the illegal parking...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Somebody's Gettin' "A Curb Job"

In the middle of late of late last night I was sittin' on a curb
I didn't know what about but I was feelin' quite disturbed...
This whole curb cutting thing is silly. And that is just what makes it disturbing.

Is this part of a greater sleight of hand performed by the developer where all the Dunwoody watchdogs are being distracted by a useless curb cut while something much more nefarious is being slipped through? Perhaps. It is absolutely incredible that this developer really believes this traffic hazard is key to his property value.

Perhaps this is just another example of boys being boys with some nearby City Managers claiming New Hotel Bragging Rights. A kind of permanent prepubescent penis envy on the part of Dunwoody's City Manager where he feels he's come up short on the hospitality front.

Or it could be related to the song that seems to play incessantly at local City Halls with raucous sing-a-longs emphasizing a few key lines:
My Yvonne sweetest one me oh my oh
Son of a gun, we'll make big fun when they Buy-OH!
Thibodeaux, Fontainbleau, the place is buzzin'
Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dress in style, go hog wild, me oh my oh
Son of a gun, we'll make big fun with the Buy-OH!
Given the PCID's ability to turn one dollar into twenty by shaking hard on the grant tree it is easy to see why they all want to curry favor with the Queen of Somethin' Hot. Could it be that a City Manager is hoping for a slow dance with Yvonne and the chance to show off a pro-developer eight story priapism? Given the overshadowing Ravinia it is hardly impressive but desperation drives strange behaviors.

While it may be one or all of these, there is still something missing. Some dark undercurrent  hidden from public view.

The developer let the cat meow while keeping the bag closed when he referenced the many meetings he has had with the City. In reality he has not met with "The City" because there is no "The City". There are living, breathing humanoids with whom he has met. They have names. They draw salaries. And...they are responsible. They are supposed to be responsible to the citizens.

Fact is they aren't.

This will become exposed due to an inconvenient juxtaposition. The City Manager will advance the developer's cause based on improving the tax digest--money, money, money. Yet this is the very same City Manager who successfully advocated removing a five million dollar property from our tax digest and has since let that property decay as if it were Dunwoody's "picture of Dorian Gray" sitting at our southern gateway instead of locked in the attic. Unless he thinks everything outside PCID IS Dunwoody's attic.

How does one make sense of these polar opposites in position? By understanding the common thread. In both cases the actions of the City, the actions of the City Manager, were in the best interests of developers and consequently the best interests of a management and staff who never stand for a meaningful review let alone a public vote. The rotting building was a deal sweetener leveraging City funds to make the taxpayers a white knight saving a local development firm. A simple curb cut curries favor with another developer and the PCID.

This speaks to a serious problem which like all problems is only a problem because it has a solution. The City Charter is coming up for review. Soon. The problem we have is a too powerful City Manager and weak, limpid Council and Mayor resulting in a horribly squelched vox populi. It is time to fix this by ensuring that the real power in this City rests with elected officials beholding to the ballot box and not a hired gun who uses a divide and conquer strategy to bend the City Council to his will thereby subverting the democratic process.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Beware The Flu

There is a move afoot to bombard the new DeKalb County School Superintendent and the Board with emails demanding that the Super and/or the Board allow communities, Dunwoody included, to foot the bill for alternative per-school accreditation. Permission is needed because the accrediting agency will need access to school resources to perform their audit.

Unfortunately neither our recently un-elected Board, nor Thurmond, nor Tyson (who is actually running the show) give a shit what anyone in the community and particularly in Dunwoody wants. For them Dunwoody has been a pain in their ass for far too long and right now they don't have to listen to anybody, except maybe Elgart. And as long as they send Thurmond out on tour to say he's listening, to say "parents are the most important" part of the equation it doesn't matter that he is isn't listening and doesn't even believe what he's saying.

Our Superintendent For Life is special--he operates on epiphanies--he has "Aha! Moments". As it turns out now is a singular time, offering a unique opportunity for the parents of children in Dunwoody's schools to bring rapture to the Super, to catalyze his epiphany and bring him to an important "Aha! Moment".

It appears that we are right smack dab in the middle of CRCTs. Apparently these started this past Thursday and continue until Tuesday (day after tomorrow). As it so happens we are also in the midst of a mini-flu epidemic and it seems to be hitting kids the hardest. Particularly susceptible are those children under stress and what could be more stressful than a four day test? What indeed.

Now all parents know how important these tests they are critical for their children to achieve their having a fair chance at the college of their the Super intends to trot out some cherry picked results to a resounding chorus of "How Great We no one, especially not anyone in The Other Dunwoody would dare suggest that parents might put their child's health ahead of this all important test. Folks outside The Other Dunwoody sure as hell would though. And to their point, a responsible parent would never send a child to school when they suspect that child might be ill or worse yet contagious. And with this flu going around parents all across Dunwoody are asked to be extra vigilant and if their child shows even the faintest sign of illness to keep them home.

The test can wait.

As it turns out this is as true as it is key to parents getting their issue heard. Should the flu result in extraordinarily excessive absenteeism then the re-test[1] will of necessity see a large increase in takers. Barring another bought of flu. While only a few weeks of delay, this gives the Super time to bring his Rapture Road Trip back up to the 'Wood for some listen and learn. Now that parents have his attention of course. In full listen mode we can bring him to the still, healing waters of epiphany and pray with him as he has his "Aha! Moment". Then we can celebrate with one voice as he puts pen to paper offering a testimonial and an iron-clad guarantee that parents in Dunwoody can seek GAC accreditation prudently, payerfully, but with all due haste.

[1] Whenever there is a "high stakes test" anyone who might be penalized based on the results works to ensure there is at least two bites at the apple. Wouldn't want anyone to look bad based on any objective measure.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

About Those Kids

In DeKalb and particularly in Dunwoody we are about to be inundated with public school propaganda for causes that are diametrically opposed. DeKalb Schools will want to maintain structural integrity--about the only integrity they have left--and Dunwoody will not rest until they have their own school system. Dunwoody may settle for a charter cluster but many in the 'Wood will consider that "kissin' yer sister."

What both campaigns will have in common is the stated basis for their plan...for their actions: it's all about the kids. So from the outset let's get clear on that issue. It is indeed about the kids, but make no mistake this is not for the kids. The kids are mere conveyances, walking STDs with $10,000 in government funds in their hands ripe for the taking. If either group can get their hands on that money without actually educating children then that is what they will do. In fact they've built a sophisticated system around that very premise. It's called "public education".

Since neither group is proposing a fee for services structure all you need to do is ignore the blather about the kids and watch the money. Therein lies the truth.

Monday, April 15, 2013

We Were All Wrong*

Many folk in the Wood of Dun believed the reason behind the airstrip being installed in Brook Run was an incestuous circle of greed based on grants, gratuities and patronage. They are soooo wrong. Well, not soooo wrong, but wrong.

There were a few folk down to the farmhouse who suspected it was designed for a two-lane golf cart roadway so we can be "just like Peachtree City" but without the contemporary architecture. This was supported by the recent trend of fining golf cart drivers who step out of line and this reasoning aligns well with the Preemptive Alarm System Fines and expands the Toll Troll territory.

Wrong again. Turns out this patch of pavement in paradise is for Dunwoody's brand spanking new tank. Gotta have a track for the boys newest toy.

And we can expect our resident jarhead to do his very best Dukakis imitation, tooling through the park conjuring images of 'Nam after Agent Orange had done its evil business. Doesn't that G-4 sound just like a Skyhawk? And that Huey only looks like a traffic copter.

Ah, the smell of Napalm in the morning.

* Double entendre intended.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Phi Slamma Jamma

No, this is not about tonight's decisive game of the final four, now the final two, this is about the trifecta pulled off by Dunwoody's Police Chief.

As predicted on this blog the Chief got his pre-emptive fines[1] on businesses and the bill designed to make him look spectacular will become law. He has already received public accolades for his part in lobbying on behalf of that legislation.

But tonight is the real party where ribbon and bow get tied around the package--the selection of a FARA approved for-profit company to "administer" the fines generated by the alarm ordinance.

Now there are cynics out there who claim this is nothing but a FARA promoted operation to expand their scope and grow profit opportunities for member companies and jurisdictions. This is hard to verify because FARA is something of a secret society. You cannot access their membership list without first becoming a member, paying the dues and learning the secret handshake. While it is very likely that FARA scripts talking points and does their fair share of lobbying at all levels, this should not take away from the Chief's accomplishment. A good script underpins every award winning performance, but many actors play the role without collecting the gold. This cannot be said of our Chief.

So hat's off to the Dunwoody Chief of Police. Well played Grogey. Well played indeed.

[1] Call it what you will (refer to Lincoln's observation about the tail of the dog) but the City provides no meaningful and certainly no requested "service" for the alarm registration "fee". You might call it a tax but that would exempt the City from its presumption that folks with alarm systems are going to commit fine-able offenses.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Given how up-to-date and on top of things our IT department seems to be when it was announced that the Mayor and members of Council were getting new tablets, we in The Other Dunwoody assumed it would be one of these 1983 classics. Au contrare! Our Lords and Ladies are to be equipped with the latest iPad[1] that Apple has to offer.

Those few sad regular readers might suspect this will become a rant railing against wasteful spending in our new City, but this is no grant-grubbed police robot, this is a tool. And not just a tool for those who touch it, but for those citizen taxpayers who bought it.

Turns out this tool isn't compatible with the pathetic excuse for online streaming that our outdated if not otherwise incompetent IT staff has been foisting on mere citizens for years. Now they're foisting it on the Mayor and Council and as we all know that is the City Within The City that really matters. And matter it will when those that matter find out what they cannot do with these shiny new toys. Heads will (and well they should) roll.

While blinding anger is a necessary call to action, Council would be well advised to consider a few things. First fire them all. IT jockeys are a dime a dozen and since they are on contract this should be administratively straightforward. Second, set clear measurable goals. Like "get the CAD system online by [date certain]" or "publish speed sign data in CSV format by [another date certain]" or "establish system to publish all signed city contracts by [date certain]" or ... you get the idea. In a word, transparency.

And lastly, don't expect you have to do everything in-house. You probably don't anyway, our current train wrecks are poor management decisions on technology and by technologists. Since we love all things Plano, let's steal one more thing from them: their Swagit technology. They enjoy the benefits of modern core technology : HTML5/H.264 instead of the deprecated orphaned Silverlight crap Dunwoody uses. What's better are the usability features Swagit offers. Wouldn't it be way cool to be able to click on an agenda item and immediately fast forward to that part of the Council meeting? Well we won't be able to do that in Dunwoody with our current set of technologists.

Perhaps a fix is on the way. Let's all hope we have another instance of "when it affects Council it effects a change".

[1] FWIW, the original PowerPad was compatible with the Apple IIc.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Up In Arms

Not since pre-war Germany have we witnessed such a significant amassing of weapons to be turned inward as we see in America today. With the recent acquisitions of a police robot and an armored vehicle Dunwoody has shown itself a willing participant in this anti-American arms race.

And this isn't just about the insidious influence of grants or that purchase price is far from total cost of ownership. It really isn't about the money. It's about a City that thinks so little of their citizens that they willingly build a paramilitary force to use against them. And make no mistake, this isn't about the boogey man--those mysterious "bad guys" warned of on the lawn signs applauding the creation of the Dunwoody PD--despite the fact this is exactly how it is justified.

Compounding the error caused by lack of need is the flagrant lack of competence displayed in the all but forgotten double homicide, the negligence in the home fire that cost a life, the bungling of the Sneiderman murder investigation and a policy that deems a traffic violation a capital offense. These are people, with the assistance of the SWAT team they so adore, who failed to cover the rear exit when attempting to apprehend a suspect, a suspect who not only escaped but hasn't been seen since. Whether the failure is of leadership or boots on the ground these bunglers have no business with access to paramilitary fire power.

For the citizens of Dunwoody this is a call to arms, to a battle to be fought not with bullets but with ballots. Not a single person who voted for this should be returned to office and those who replace them should come with a commitment to turn out those at City Hall who have pursued this travesty.

Monday, April 1, 2013

New Olde Byke Shoppe

A new business specializing in bicycle sales, service and much, much more is rolling into town.

Fresh Air Transportation and Repair "Bucky" Belt Buckle

Those who've lived in the metro area for something north of thirty years and who might have had occasion to visit Piedmont Park long before the Botanical Gardens and yet have managed to stave off early senility might just remember Fresh Air Transportation and Repair. The original owner, Bucky Weatherall and his daughter Becky, a recently retired teacher have decided to revisit their roots and re-open Fresh Air. After much research they determined Dunwoody was the ideal location.

Over a beer at a local watering hole Bucky could barely contain his excitement. As a former non-doping amateur racer he has biking in his blood and appreciates the effort and enthusiasm required to create what is now a growing bicycle community here in the 'Wood. He was particularly glad to learn of the Brook Run Velodrome and is hopeful that the new sports facility at Perimeter will include an indoor track.

This is more than a nostalgic re-opening of a favorite business--Bucky plans a shop like no other in America. In addition to standard fare (sales, repair, custom frames, and customizations) there will be a training facility and health food supplies. He has partnered with a former racing colleague in California to create a unique computer controlled bicycle training stand controlled by an iPhone app, sporting full simulation scenery and providing a realistic track, road racing or touring experience. Becky is leveraging her passion for natures foods to create a line of preservative-free eat-in or take-away healthful meals, snacks and locally sourced wild flower honey.

For Becky, a free spirit, life has always been about either Birkenstocks or cleats and she embraces the neo-urbanism taking hold, especially in the village proper. Bucky confessed to living in the Piedmont bike store back in the day and though he recognizes the cool-factor of the mixed use live-work-play movement he isn't quite ready to give up his back yard garden--it's a mini-farm Mel Bartholomew would be proud of and he harvests a weekly crop of some very special herb. But Becky is leading the search for the retail space and favors shop-below, bed-above configurations which she feels confident is coming to the village in a timeframe that will suit Fresh Air as well as her family.

So dear reader, keep an eye out for a new Shoppe coming our way and welcome Bucky and Becky to the new, reinvented Dunwoody.