Monday, December 9, 2013


Whenever three or more are gathered to complain you would think you had inadvertently walked in on a twelve-step meeting. You're probably in a church. Folks are milling about, chatting and sipping coffee from a styrofoam cup until the meeting is called to order. Attendees speak in a fashion reminiscent of a testimonial. It is a church after all. More than not speakers begin with something like: "My name is Bob. I've lived in Dunwoody since before God invented rocks and I'm here to say..." and then roll into a less-than-complementary observation or a why-question.

Such was the case at a recent townhall meeting sponsored by the newly elected Dunwoody Councilman. The event was video taped and YouTubed by (no surprises here) Councilman Heneghan. Fran Millar was in attendance as was the outgoing Councilwoman. The format was open mike with the audience encouraged to voice their concerns. No surprises here either.

The WOW! factor comes from the blogosphere with one local opinion outlet characterizing the crowd as haters--an opinion seconded on another site. There was indeed an audience comment berating bloggers who strike thru snide comments as engaging in grade school humour. OK. To be fair they actually will give pretty much anyone a blog* which most bloggers use as a modern day megaphone for their opinion. But hate is a pretty strong word to level against folks who are also voicing their opinion albeit in a different forum that others may see as outdated.

There was also some dead horse beating and some critical comments regarding City sins of omission and commission. Testimonial from no less than Fran Millar supported one corpse flogging and called out the City on one act of gross negligence. One would therefore think it might be difficult to lambast those hosting and attending this meeting by pointing out that listening is insufficient while at the same time neglecting to point out that is nonetheless necessary. Or perhaps not?

It appears that Dunwoody suffers a greater chasm between internal factions than one would conclude from a fairy ring of yard signs, red tees or red letters. After the constant pleas for citizens to become engaged come the protestations when those who do and have engaged are not properly aligned in their thinking. Or maybe these folks are not as savvy as those of us equipped with a keyboard, an opinion and just a bit too much time on our hands**.

While it is two hours of your life you will never get back it may be worth your while to watch the videos and decide for yourself if these folks rise to the level of haters. It is also up to you to determine if listening is necessary but not sufficient or if engaging your neighbors and constituents is just another unnecessary distraction undermining good governance.

* Making it hard to determine exactly how many bloggers were in attendance. 
** You mean like those of us here at TOD?