Monday, October 15, 2018

Nailed It!

To a pole:

Signs nailed to phone poles in the same week folks down at Taj Mahal nearly dislocated joints patting themselves on the back over what a great job they think they do. They cannot keep their own signs up and the illegal ones out. Only in government is that just cause for a raise. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Tale Of Two Cities

A Heartfelt Welcome
A Hollow Threat

Monday, October 8, 2018

THEY Said It

They Don't Think We're So Smart
Nailed It!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Libertarians And Government

What They Wanted
What They Got

Monday, October 1, 2018

No Constitution For New Cities

A judge threw out video evidence unconstitutionally obtained by the Dunwoody Police Department in their ill-conceived and poorly executed prostitution sting. Now we find that the Georgia Supreme Court has reversed a murder conviction because the Milton PD refused to recognize the suspect's Miranda rights, an action the justices characterized as 'incomprehensible' and 'scary' in arguments put forth to rationalize this blatant attack on civil and constitutional rights.

What these cloistered justices do not understand is these new cities see themselves as sovereigns above and beyond any other law or constitution--state or U.S., it doesn't matter. These cities are operated that way by people who think that way, including those otherwise sworn to honor and uphold the laws and constitutions of this state and country. Higher courts must remain vigilant unless and until the state intercedes to remedy, by re-organization or dissolution, these "failed state" cities. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Is The Eagle Landing?

Supporters of the proposed city of Eagle's Landing are trotting out the same tired excuses used in the run-up to Dunwoody: keep tax money close at hand; add parks and libraries; and boost police and code enforcement. Just as we look northward to Roswell, perhaps the good voters of Stockbridge should look north to us, asking Dr. Phil's famous question: "how's that working for you?"

Taxes have done nothing but increase. Keep in mind, some off-the-rail Eaglets are claiming there will be no "municipal taxes" from which one can only conclude there will be every other kind of tax imaginable. Then there is the police issue. It will start small, too small, to encourage a positive vote. Then the force will grow exponentially, dominating the budget. If it follows the trend in Dunwoody, there will, ironically, be a decrease in policing within the community. Instead, expect lots of virtual policing in the world of social media. Code enforcement? In Dunwoody that is a joke. A very bad joke. It won't be too long before city staff and members of council don't even understand what the ordinances mean. That is where Dunwoody is today.

Before anyone votes into existence yet-another-city they should create a list of all the times where more government is a good thing. It is a very short list. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

How It Might Look

In reference to re-creating a position to re-hire former Chief of Police Turner with the position to be initially funded by the Atlanta Hawks, Howard Shook remarked:
"Has anyone wondered how it might look to have the same people lobbying for the Gulch deal providing the city with a thing of value?"
Maybe the smart folk inhabiting smart city Taj Mahal can offer a clue or two. Seems the smart city is in a similar position with the Brothers Crim, who want something--gutting the village overlay, and offer something--a promise to pay nearly a million dollars for a city asset. No one at the smart city has raised an eyebrow. Not even when the Good Bro's insisted on a delay on the payment side of the equation. Total coincidence that the permission to build their faux-factory building across from the farmhouse has been similarly delayed.

In the city to the south the pols on the finance committee agreed with Mr. Shook and put a stop to the arrangement. The smart city either figures no one is watching or no one cares. They certainly don't. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Suburban Re-Re Development

The Brothers Crim are in da house. In the event you've been visiting family in Argentina or have been otherwise distracted, you may not be aware that the Brothers Crim are pulling the strings down at City Taj Mahal making the mayor, council and staff dance like some of Geppetto's best.

Outside of Taj Mahal they've not been batting a thousand. Most recently they failed to round up a restauranteur whose cuisine was good enough to overcome what the Dear Brothers perceive as an out-dated Williamsburg exterior. They do say you eat first with your eyes, but these Bros are taking that a bit too far. 

Before that, the Brothers Crim had committed to take some property near Project Renaissance off the city's books. But commitments come and commitments go. So, once again, the fraternal brain trust could not round up suitable tenants for Dunwoody Green. Kind of put the slow down on their get rich quick scheme, even with the financial assistance of the city.

Keep in mind these are the folks who threatened to install undesirable tenants in the heart of the village if they didn't get their way. Now it is looking like they can't round up any tenants even when their money depends on it. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Do You STILL Believe?

Before the fateful referendum, Fran (of Fran and Dan fame) had a conversation with a member of The Other Dunwoody who felt things were moving a bit too fast. Fran ended that conversation by saying "don't you just believe we'll be better off as a City?"

And now here we are. Sure, we got a new parkway. But we also got a rapid slide into a lower level of service, particularly with regards to code enforcement and police presence. It is worth noting that a call to 911 will come up empty on the code enforcement front because that isn't what cops are for. They're shuckin' and jivin' in a lip sync contest.

So Fran, what have you wrought?

The Penzoil Sign (at the right) is STILL Illegal
Moving the sign onto the grass may have opened up the sidewalk but it remains out of compliance with city ordinances. After all, THIS is what we were promised.

Last Work By Norman Rockwell
So, yeah, moving the offending sign allows these folk their promised right of passage. But we are obviously still not paying folks at the City Taj Mahal enough to get the job done. JiffyLube may well have pastured the Penzoil sign but they also offer us this.

That's right. TWO illegal signs. You just have to wonder who is getting a lube job. Oh, and does Fran STILL believe?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

They Call It A Sign Walk...

...we call it the Walk Of Shame.

Cannot Be A Sidewalk, Can It?
So, how much do we have to pay to get a city that provides their committed services? Keeping in mind that this sign has been in this location, blocking this sidewalk on the beloved Village Parkway for several days. What pay scale does it take to get ordinances enforced?

Perhaps we're already paying too much and higher salaries are not the solution. Perhaps we have more than one problem. Maybe the salaries are low but equally matched by low capabilities and even lower work ethic. Maybe money would be better spent on fewer, better employees at higher compensation.

One thing is certain. We aren't getting what we are paying for but we are sure as hell paying for what we are getting.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Everybody Gets A Raise

The city is preparing to give everyone on payroll a pay hike with the preparation, beyond the initial decision, comprising a commissioned study supporting their decision to increase salaries. At least they get what they pay for.

But do we?

The study itself, while somewhat boilerplate in presentation, content and methodology, is not entirely unreasonable. There is a section of "peer" governments to which Dunwoody compares complete with percentiles, quartile, hell, more tiles than Floor and Decor. It is the peerage where things unravel quite a bit. Largely driven by geography, somewhat by demographics, we see the likes of Sandy Springs, Chamblee, Brookhaven and the mayor's beloved Roswell. All good, but that it leaves that nagging question unanswered: do we, the mere residents of Dunwoody, do we get what we pay for?

You see, bureaucracies, particularly government bureaucracies like relativism over absolutes. Especially when it comes to bumping their payroll. So they are more than happy to compare what a bureaucrat in Roswell gets paid to what a similar bureaucrat is being paid in Dunwoody. Especially when it suggest the Dunwoody Aeron Driver should get a bump. The alternative is to compare merit, even relative. In fact, the only comparison readily available to residents is relative.

Do we get what we're paying for now? Relative to what folks in Doraville, Roswell or Alpharetta receive? Will paying more put us on par with the city's self-selected peers with regards to service or will we simply pay more for the service we're now receiving? And lest someone suggest that we are already getting more than we pay for TOD will challenge you to survey residents of, say, Roswell regarding that city's control of clutter, ordinance enforcement and compliance, traffic control and general quality of life. If the Village would be enormously improved by emulating Roswell then perhaps there are operations at City Hall that could benefit similarly.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Family Feud... know, as in "Survey Says." Recently someone at City Taj Mahal kicked off just that. Who exactly did this or pushed for it is unknown, about as unknown as details on who actually completed the survey. Online surveys are built like that. And here is a real shocker: the survey says everyone wants the Village Overlay gutted and they really want the area to look like Canton Street in Roswell. Georgia. Just like the mayor has always waxed poetic about. Now it may be that a lot of respondents actually live in Roswell and like it. Maybe a few folk filled out the survey many, many times. Online surveys are built like that. Now if the City really wants to know what we think there would be a referendum on the upcoming ballot. Don't hold your breath.

So the mayor loves Roswell and yet, doesn't live there. Seems fixable.

Nonetheless there is much this city can learn from our neighbor to the north. First would be signs and code enforcement. Up north, you better get your sign approved, apply that sticker, or you are going to get fined. Hefty fine at that. Oh, and this is not just a do as I say, pretty please, these folks really will come to your home or place of business and write you a citation. They also have traffic enforcement. And not just right on Canton Street, but even in the neighborhoods where people live and kids play. Not only do they enforce truck zones they are notorious for keeping a lid on infractions as minor as rolling thru a stop sign. Don't even think about that illegal u-turn. Oh, and those construction sites and trucks? Thinking about tracking some mud on that city's streets, well, think again. Do that and you are going to get a very large fine. So what happens when ordinances are actually enforced? People obey the law. And the city is a nicer place.

So maybe instead of taking dictation from developers who insist on reworking the overlay to look like Canton Street maybe the mayor and council could focus on the important things that actually make a real city. If they focused on that then perhaps what follows wouldn't be just superficial appearances.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Men At Work

Are Women NOT Allowed?

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Found Art Foundry

Dunwoody has long been known for its Arts Festival where folks can wander about and get information on kitchen remodeling, window replacement and home equity loans to pay for it all. Now a group of residents have caught the art bug and have formed a non-profit to encourage the collection, curation and presentation of "Found Art" in public spaces. The head and co-founder of Dunwoody's Found Art Foundry, Steve Butterworth could hardly contain his excitement saying "we're bringing out art previously rejected as unwanted imbuing the community with a uniform sensitivity for these previously unwanted artists and their art." His partner and co-founder, Ruddy Kalman added "all too often we filter out the extraordinary beauty of our environment and what we hope is for the community to open themselves to new art that offers a more universal guidance, helping us navigate the complexities of modern life."

So what is the Found Art Foundry? Well it is an increasingly cohesive amalgam of local activists and artists who have joined together to use readily available materials "found" in the public domain to create art for public display. As Ruddy describes it "we're taking public eyesores, creating compelling art and returning this to public spaces."

Sounds like a win-win-win. Here is how it works. Artists, along with a growing group of volunteer helpers, routinely scour the city collecting illegally displayed signs. These signs are then used to compose an artistic collage--writ large--again for all to see. You may already have noticed the positive community impact with the removal of illegal signage of all shapes, types and forms: from not-yet-open businesses to flamboyant (and flagrant) booster groups but what you cannot yet see is the work going on to transform these eyesores into soaring works of art.

We can hardly wait. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Hickory House Returns

Well not exactly, but BBQ is on the way back to the village. And it would appear that the bank that took over the Olde Hickory House location is folding its tent and moving out. Or so one must conclude from the sign being located on that bank's property.

Illegal Seven Ways To Sunday
The sign is clearly in violation of Dunwoody's Ordinances, specifically Section 20-67 regarding temporary signs like the one above. And what does that section say? Glad you asked.

Key elements of the ordinance include:
  • "(2) Each board must be located within ten feet of a pedestrian entrance of the sponsor of the board;"
  • "(3) Such a board may be utilized only during the hours of operation of the store or entity using it and shall be removed during the hours it is closed.
This sign is located nowhere near any pedestrian entrance to any business let alone within ten feet. Then the sign condemns itself indicating that the business is not yet in operation so therefore "shall be removed" because the business is closed.

Looks pretty bad, doesn't it? Like someone is planning to lower the average IQ in this Smart City of ours. Or, could it be something else? Perhaps this is less illiteracy, ignorance and arrogance and simply a game of "follow the leader." As it happens, at the very same time, the City of Dunwoody put out their illegal sign.

A Blatant Violation Of City Code
To make it even better, the City's illegal sign was to advertise a meeting to go over proposed changes to the Village Overlay. At this point it is worth noting that the sign ordinance the City has violated is not specific to the Village Overlay but applies equally throughout the City.

Rumor has it that a mere citizen pointed out the illegality of this sign as it was being placed and was later informed by a member of council that said council member "disagreed." Can said member NOT read? Or is it a comprehension problem? Or is it simply a capability issue? Regardless, the law is in clear, plain language and anyone who cannot read and understand that ordinance and see that these signs are in clear violation has no place at City Hall. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Fool's Gold

What is Dunwoody Village? That is the question of the moment and when posed by the folks we have on our payroll, it is a rhetorical question because city staff is going to do what they are told. By the developers.  But really, what is Dunwoody Village?

Well to look at the map it is a relatively small area centered around the Chevron station that started it all. Exclusively businesses but unless the map changes the upcoming Postal Townhouses on The Parkway will add "live" to work-play in the overlay. That's the geography but what is this Village? From a resident's perspective--you know the folks that live around here, shop there and keep the place alive?

You gotta start with Banks. Bankwoody has replaced Dunwoody Housewife Jokes as the Dunwoody Dig. And yes there are plenty of banks but keep in mind some have relocated keeping the net-net under control. And banks can be useful, especially if you want to buy a house or a car. Know what else is handy? Real estate agents and the village has quite the selection of those. And sneaking under the radar is a rather recent growth in law firms--in the farmhouse and over on The Parkway to name just a few. And your car? Which one of those banks holds the title on? Need new tires, service or repairs, or just get it cleaned--over half a dozen places awaiting your business. In the village. Just need to handle normal errands? Mail and shipping? Gotcha covered. Laundry and dry cleaning? How do so many even stay in business? Good eats? Pick your cuisine, price range and dining experience--you'll find multiple options from fast food to white napkin, from burgers to brunch to bar food. Into entertaining at home? Two grocers, a liquor/wine store and growler shop. In the village. Need to work off some of that fine dining? Choose your poison: yoga, pilates, hard workout. In the village. Need an MD after over-doing it, well you're going to have pick a speciality and then choose from one of many. In the village. Same for dentistry. In the village. Need a gash stitched or bone set? Two emergency doc-in-a-box to choose from. In the village. Meds involved? Two big box pharmacies and one independent. In the village. Want to get your doo on? Even without Super Signs there are over half a dozen places to get trimmed, coifed, tinted, polished and massaged. Yep, in the village. And that is the tip of the iceberg given there are multiple office condos and rentals hosting a wide variety of businesses. In the village.

There is a word for The Village: thriving. Businesses have come and gone over the years. Because it is thriving. The Village has been a place where someone with an idea, commitment and a dedication to serving the community can succeed and those with good ideas and hard work and willingness to embrace the community have succeeded. There is a word for those folks: entrepreneur. None of this happened overnight and it didn't happen because of or in spite of bricks and beige. It reflects the hard work of these business people and residents who have supported them. It is not some pre-fab, factory made spawn of a strip-mall architect's pen--it is a reflection of the community. The DVO is merely a legal document codifying what this community has built over the decades.

But developers have a new buzzword, "vibrant," and they're using City staff to get it out. What is "vibrant"? Well if you want to see what "vibrant" was a few years back drive up North Point Parkway from Mansell to the mall. What do you see? Stacked stone. Everywhere. Why? Because just a few years ago developers said that was "vibrant". No more. Now faux-factory-reno-loft-industrial is "vibrant" but what will be "vibrant" five years down the road? Who knows but it won't be what is "vibrant" today because development in this area is brownfield. It is re-development. So developers have baked in planned obsolescence and its name is "vibrant".

These developers are catering to a demographic with short attention spans who are easily attracted to the shiny, the new. The superficial. Those who will soon need something else that is shiny, new. A demographic that is shallow and transient--intellectually if not geographically.  Is that your Dunwoody? Is that the Dunwoody you want? What are you going to do about it?

Monday, August 20, 2018

Candles In The Wind

Light one or curse the darkness, or so goes the thinking behind those who are answering the Village Overlay survey. Others see it being as useful as spitting off the wrong side of the ship.

It is an odd survey having some of the aspects of a push poll. For "vibrant" they do offer their own definition, but they implicitly assume that everyone believes that "vibrant" is not only good but that it is to be maximized. If you don't fully accept their definition or their premise, that's too bad because your answers are going to be interpreted and presented in THEIR context and not yours. Even the picture selections are biased--away from what we have developed and embraced over the years in favor of what one, apparently very well connected developer wants for today. It is almost as if the developer commissioned the survey.

They ask what you'd like to see the village look like in 20+ years? Disingenuous that. The folks putting on this circus know damn well that what this developer is asking for is little more than the current trend based more on developers' version of the Hawthorne effect than any enduring societal or demographic sea change. They don't care what it will look like in 10 years let alone 20 and why should they. When a new trend surfaces, they or their followers will simply demand the old make way for the new and they will expect the City to at least rubber stamp their plan if not actually pay for it. It is almost surprising that the Brothers Crim have not demanded tax abatements.

In preparation for the tussle, forces have been sent to undermine the Williamsburg character of the current overlay. First was to broaden the definition, without asking anyone, to be "mid-atlantic" allowing them to nibble away at the existing requirements. Then they blamed it all on a gas station saying it "just happened" after one business picked that style. But that is the very essence of organic development. It started with one, was adopted by others until it because a cohesive representation of the community. Why? Because that is exactly what it is.

Now we have unelected folks at the City's Taj Mahal deciding what they will make of Dunwoody, what they will do with Dunwoody Village. As staffers, not even required to live in Dunwoody, they are beholden to developers, not those pesky but unknown and unseen residents. But they are not unlike elected officials who should reflect residents' concerns even when not facing election but increasingly seem distracted by more important issues.

There will be a presentation this Saturday and they will tell you what they are going to do. They won't say it directly because they know it isn't what you want--it is what their real bosses want--but if you listen between the lines you'll hear the end of Dunwoody Village as you know it.

Friday, August 17, 2018


What happened to the concept of "light pollution"? You remember--one of the key elements of the Village Overlay when this city was foisted and hoisted. Village lighting had to prevent overspray. Of course these ordinances have been "updated" as in "better suited to the business community" but they are very specific and actually quite stringent. And it isn't just the overlay--if your front porch light illuminates your neighbors' yards then you, sir, are a criminal. Motion light stay on for more than 10 minutes? Then it damn well better be pointed down--not that you really wanted to see what tripped it, right? Check out Sec. 27-250 of the ordinances, and for real fun notice that neon lighting is verboten by way of Sec. 27-248. Of course signs aren't lights are they?

And what IS it with the Dunwoody High School and outdoor lights? Why is this a mission ranking up there with Save Darfur or #BringBackOurGirls? And why the Trumpian propaganda that would make Goebbels blush? From the Go Fund Me blather:
"Neighborhood friendly LED lights could extend our practice time without bothering the neighbors..."
Seriously, did you guys actually graduate from a High School? A real one? So you expect smart folk in the smart city to believe you can install field lighting and magically the laws of physics will not apply and nary a single photon will escape the confines of your Blessed Child's event?

Fine, it isn't Wrigley in the Good Ole Days. You know, before they won. But they weren't playing in the dark they just weren't trying to not suck. Anyway, there are only a few ways that field lighting is "neighborhood friendly." It can either not be there at all (best); be turned off (second best); or be used only during the day (suboptimal). Somehow it seems Boosterus Maximus on City Council would not approve of any of these options.

Some might suggest it is "free lighting for a backyard 'cue" but they've not seen the number and size of bugs these lights attract. And it isn't just the bugs--that's not mustard on your dog, that's bat guano. And so what if it keeps YOUR child up late at night? Watch Close Encounters with them and they'll be so scared they'll pull covers over their heads and the light won't bother them. And you KNEW there were lights there when you bought your house didn't you? Oops--there weren't. So what. We've got someone on City Council who just loves all things Dunwoody High, so screw you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Without Character...

...there is no shame. And frankly this is shameless.

Too Bad It Is Not A "Going Out Of Business" Sale
Shameless, arrogant disregard for this community. Supported by a member of Council known to flaunt a "don't ask-don't tell" approach to any quality of life ordinance if it is the least bit inconvenient for "friends and family" in the business community. To top it off, this business has touted their ownership as residing in Dunwoody. Apparently it is the part of Dunwoody that votes poorly and cares not a bit for anyone else who lives here.

Could it be any worse? Well...actually...

Code Enforcement CONSISTENTLY Absent
It isn't just the illegal sign. That truck was barreling down Chamblee-Dunwoody having come right thru the official No Truck zone. But what the hell, if you don't ask, they won't tell. And think about it--they're actually busy lip syncing, something they CAN do, so those words are not actually coming out of their mouths anyway.

Now, one might write this off as just another bee in TOD's bonnet. It certainly has become a meme around these parts, but that can be attributed to consistent failure of the City to perform one of its most basic duties: code enforcement. And, it isn't just TOD. This was provided by another disgruntled resident (in an envelope outside the front door beside a flaming bag of poo).

Could We Add An Hour To Discuss ENFORCEMENT?
Is there anyone left who sincerely believes we're better off now than before this city was voted in? REALLY? OK. FINE! Anyone other than the business owners putting out illegal signs?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Blind Spot

The City absolutely refuses to enforce their ordinances regarding truck zones but they've found a fig leaf to cover their inadequacies. The Police have published their guidance on how citizens should protect themselves from the City's negligence.

DIY Safety--No Cops Necessary
That's right. Dunwoody willingly turns a blind eye to their own ordinances and expects you to deal with truck blind spots even when those trucks are operating in violation of Dunwoody's ordinances.

Wonder if residents can infer the Police think everyone should arm themselves as well. Just in case the Police are too busy. You know, with lip sync contests.

Monday, August 6, 2018

French Ban Distracted Learning

The French recently passed a law prohibiting smartphones and tablets in the classroom ostensibly as a means of shielding children from addictive habits and to protect the sanctity of the classroom. At least they still have that. In DeKalb schools a teacher has a good day if they can just get the buggers to sit down and be quiet--even if it is only because they're facebooking.

Friday, August 3, 2018

They're Still Here

Citizens For Dunwoody: The Original Permission Society
There's a lot of mystery here. Is this really THE Citizens for Dunwoody? Did they ever file their required IRS forms? Have they morphed into a Bingo, Eats and Drinks franchise? This does proclaim that the soirée is licensed by CfD. And you have to wonder if they have a liquor license from the CoD or are they covered under Council's Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell policy? After all they are selling beer and wine.

Monday, July 30, 2018

School Daze

School is about to start up for the 2018-2019 school year. Have no fear, trucks will still be barreling thru your schools zones with nary a tsk-tsk from the city.

Take care for your children as the Dunwoody PD is busy with a lip sync contest and cannot be bothered. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Who Cares

Truck zooming unmolested thru a school and no-truck zone.
No One At City Hall Cares

Monday, July 23, 2018

Guest Post: A Dish Best Served Hot

Cacio e Pepe. Roman spaghetti and cheese, a simple recipe with few ingredients: pasta, grated pecorino romano, ground black pepper, salt and water. Cook the pasta, al dente, toss it in a bowl with the cheese, pepper and enough pasta water to make a sauce and BAM! You're done. 

Sounds pretty easy, right? Watch someone who knows what they're doing and you'll be convinced it is easy. But it turns out you'll screw it up the first time. And the second time. And... When you finally get it right--smooth sauce evenly coating the pasta and not those little grey clumps of cheese and pepper--you'll screw it up the next few times because you don't really know how you did it right. We call that "luck". It is going to take time and practice to develop the skills, adjust to  the nuances of temp, liquid and time to get to the point where you can "just do it".

If you're doing this for fun, for friends and family of the patient variety, you'll probably be OK turning out a few dozen mishaps before you finally get it right and dozens more before you get it consistently right. But if you have a restaurant you better be able to whip this out fast and perfect every time before you even consider putting it on the menu. Otherwise you won't really need to learn how to make Cacio e Pepe because you'll be out of business.

But if you're really interested, here is:

How To Make Cacio e Pepe  (the long version)

  • ​Grated pecorino romano, about a cup, you can always use leftovers.
  • Salt, less than you usually use.
  • Water.
The cheese can be grated the day before and kept in the fridge, uncovered, but it should be up to room temp before you start. The most critical thing to manage in this dish is the temp which is a bit odd since water pretty much boils at the same temp in most places. If the sauce gets too hot the cheese will clump. Too cold and it may never melt enough to even make the sauce. 

​Cook the spaghetti in a large skillet with just enough salted water to cover. ​You will have to stir often to ensure the pasta doesn't stick together, but using much less water than usual increases the starchiness of the pasta water. This helps the sauce coat the pasta. You'll want to cook the pasta 1-2 minutes less than called for in the instructions. 

About halfway thru the pasta cook time put a couple ladles of pasta water into a bowl swirling it around. This heats the bowl and brings down the temp of the water. Add the pepper. Add at least half the grated cheese and blend into the water with a fork. 

When the pasta is done (al dente) turn off the heat and use tongs and put it in the bowl. No need to strain as you'll probably add more water anyway. Here's where things get tricky. You want to toss the pasta about, some say "furiously" but others would probably say "with purpose" and it is often best to use the tongs. As the pasta is getting coated with the sauce add more cheese and more pasta water until you have the level of cheesiness and coverage you're looking for. 

Serve immediately.

What Can Go Wrong -- Will Go Wrong

Then there is cheating and cheating is, well, wrong--which doesn't keep very many folks from doing it and you'll find that most YouTube videos on this dish are cheating. Cheating usually involves adulteration by way of added oil and fat, usually EVOO and/or butter. While this does decrease the likelihood of cheese coagulation what you end up with is not Cacio e Pepe. Because you cheated. The other common cheat is to mix in a pan over heat with this cheat being combined with the oil/fat cheat. This *seems* like it should work, but improper control of heat on the pan exacerbates the cheese coagulation and you will end up with a pan that is a pain to clean. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Paving A Path To Perimeter City

Stockbridge's attempt to deny Eagle Landing a chance at cityhood has failed in the courts. We are at the brink of a precedent-setting de-annexation and incorporation to form a new city providing a template for more to come. The most important of these will be Perimeter City (of course) but the first is likely to be Buckhead, whose biggest challenge will be finding a name. Maybe our Smart City Namers and Branders can help out...Not! Once Buckhead gains independence we can expect the dominos to fall.

Perimeter City will be a slam dunk. By mixing in a healthy dose of "politicking" to Live, Work, Play we will be at the forefront of how aging Millennials and their offspring choose to live. And it is a developer's wet dream--that simply cannot be overstated.

So what of the rest--some say the best--of us? Where does that leave us? First, we're in control of our destiny, unbeholden to powerful developers leaking their greed outside the PCID into our neighborhoods. And we can remain the "City of Dunwoody" or we could dispense with the additional layer of government and return to the liberty of unincorporated DeKalb. Or, we could annex into a neighboring city in DeKalb. Brookhaven offers the growing pains of a new city appealing to the masochists amongst us. Chamblee is an option with nicer restaurants and downtown. But these would span the region's ITP/OTP divide--as painful as slipping off the pedals and crushing jewels on the top bar.

That leaves Doraville which is a good fit--if they'll have us. Joining "A Touch Of Country In The City" would certainly please the Farmhouse-ers and even the Williamsburg-ers would not be fish out of water.

There is a lot of work to do, obstacles to be overcome, but with the right people involved, smart people, we can get this thing done.

Monday, July 16, 2018

A Greener Shade Of Beige

The City is well on the way to gutting the Dunwoody Village Overlay as part of their indefensible but unstoppable kowtowing to business and developers. The brazenness of the developer's open threat to bring in undesirables if they don't get what they want is clear indication that City Hall has their back and that they have your number. That is if you happen to be one of those simultaneously fond of the Williamsburg requirement and appalled by its imminent demise.

But what the shiplap is this Williamsburg thing and what does it mean? Of course it is symbolism but what does it mean?

Leading the list is homogeneity, the only "homo" some will tolerate. It is not limited to the uber-HOA, all houses look the same. When you see a community of ticky-tacky all in a row you kinda know what is inside and Williamsburg, even with the beige, screams lily white. And that screams Dunwoody--Olde School.

Then there is superficiality. It is bricks and beige and slate-look roofs but little substance. It is as if someone played architectural spin-the-bottle and this is what we got. At least it isn't shiplap.

Perhaps it is a flag, or a pennant for what would have been a visiting team. One that seems to have decided to stay but insisted on the literal and figurative reminder of home. White flight may have been the Dunwoody zygote but that grew by attracting that "special demographic" from locales far from ITP. Where "Williamsburg" actually means something.

What was once bucolic farmland was overrun by urban sprawl, development guided only by greed and a population fueled by local white flight and opportunistic northern invaders. If tradition trumps all why was there such a battle over urban henhouses? Should we have farmhouse styling with barn wood, white siding and tin roofs? Or should we recognize that Williamsburg, like the farms beforehand has had its day?

What should be remembered is that which is constant. Politicians are beholden to business, turning blind eyes when expedient, writing custom laws when necessary and taking liberties with the power and prestige of their positions. They will gut this city like a sturgeon to get anything they can serve up to their business buddies as caviar. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Yankee Go Home

And take your faux Williamsburg "style" with you.

Or so say the powers that be in Dunwoody. And in case you have any doubts those powers are called "developers" and the developers at hand are Crim and Associates. And the Brothers Crim have no qualms about making an open threat suggesting that if they don't get what they want, the way they want it then they'll gather tenants that would be "not what you want." The property has been a problem child in the Village Overlay with the DHA getting really pissy when it went from a gas station to a car wash with the kind of backlash that later resurfaced around the Parkway. Now the property is leveled awaiting SLUPs, Waivers and Overlay changes so the Brothers can build what they want which is definitely NOT Williamsburg style.

And guess what is going to happen? It should come as no surprise that City Staff are preparing proposals to gut the Village Overlay and the Council is chomping at the bit to do the Brothers' bidding. Why no surprise? Because outside of one property owner who fell for the "you remodel you must widen the sidewalk" requirement in the Overlay District the City has shown no diligence in enforcing any of the Overlay requirements. Hell, they've not even shown much in the way of interest regarding their own rules but if any Friends and Family business owner, City resident or not, needs custom, just-for-me ordinances, well then "drinks are on the house!"

Monday, July 9, 2018

Signs Of The Times

Sure. Sure. It IS still a crosswalk even without the sign. 

No Sign At Dunwoody Road

But you simply have to pause and ponder: What the hell does this city do with our money?

No Sign At Stroll The Knoll

And the cops might do something but between gratuitous meals and violating Constitutional rights they are kinda busy down at Perimeter City. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

What Constitution?

Rules have never been this City's forte. Not making them. Not enforcing them. And sure as hell not following them. This didn't start well with hiring-in-haste resulting in clearly suboptimal selections one of which we still suffer. And if one believes what is leaking from former members of the pre-city police task force, the city fathers didn't follow task force recommendations. Of course we'll never really know because their report was not made publicly available and isn't subject to open records laws. Perfectly legal, but somehow unnerving, serving as a poignant warning of things to come.

And they have arrived.

Yes we have had the aggressive persecution on DWB non-laws. We've seen the bungled daycare murder investigation and the no-progress-ever Abbott family murders. Quick-draw police involved shootings. Non-enforcement of almost any quality-of-life laws. So it comes as no surprise that a judge has recently observed that the Dunwoody PD ignored the U.S. Constitution violating the Fourth Amendment rights of residents of the City apparently because it was too difficult to enforce the law using legal means.

This is a clear failure of leadership. In the department. In the City. And on Council. Changes need to be made. Forthwith. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

DeKalb Wins!

With the new taxes on the books DeKalb's tax reduction and Dunwoody's most recent in a never-ending series of tax hikes are in unflattering juxtaposition.  The unavoidable conclusion is that our taxes would be lower than they are now had a new city not been thrust upon us. And the natives are increasingly restless with more voices raised in a chorus of "this is not what we were promised when they asked for our vote."

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Problem With Higher Ed

Actually it is a problem with how folks, who pose as reasonably intelligent, view higher ed. Christopher Quinn of the AJC hits the nail on head with this pearl of wisdom:
There are many reasons people quit [college]. Personal and family problems interfere, an immediate need for money pushed back long-term goals, the fear of debt and lack of hope that the degree will pay off in more income discourages others. 
Notice anything missing? That's right. There is no mention whatsoever that some folk may not be capable of college-level work. But how could that happen? Why would any college or university offer entry to anyone who could not be reasonably expected to perform to a level required to complete the program?

Money. And if that is not enough, then there is political correctness around race and diversity. At then end of the day that really just boils down to money.

Academia has inflated quite the bubble. There are too many colleges and universities with far too many subscribing to a "grow or die" business model, driving towards tuition-driven models with little or no concern for anything resembling academic integrity. Or any other form of integrity for that matter. And as much as some like to make political hay from the HOPE program, injecting more government money is like putting out a tire fire with kerosene.

As long as colleges and universities have no skin in the game, and currently they are paid just as much to create academic failure as success, this problem will continue to grow. We could require that all public college and universities drop all remediation programs, forcing them to use tools, readily available, to ensure that those admitted earn a mortar board without the institution becoming a tax fueled diploma mill. While this will have immediate impact on their revenue, even that is not enough. The next step is ensure that academic institutions carry some financial risk associated with the "it's an investment" myth of higher ed. Such a restorative revolution could happen, just not in today's political climate and entitlement society.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Permit THIS

The local chapter of our intrusive permission society headquartered at City Hall demands permits to replace your shingles requiring the installation of a silly drip rail. Why? Because they can. But if this City were for the public good, if it were to improve and preserve the community there is something to do.

If you want to intrude on resident's property rights, and you do, why not require owners control invasive, non-native plant species? Particularly those that are destructive. Think kudzu and english ivy. Sound like too much? Really?

We have a tree ordinance restricting what you can do with "your" trees. We banned chickens until the Girls Scouts wagged a finger at Council. Really--that's the kind of leadership this City offers. So why can we not protect those same trees from a slow death by ivy as we do from the faster death by chainsaw? Do we need to call out the Boy Scouts?

And there are real, public health and safety risks. Ivy provides a safe haven for snakes and is breeding ground for mosquitoes. If you're Mister Mister that is great for business, but if you really care the least little bit about public safety and have ever heard of Lime Disease then Dunwoody's current [non]policy is like encouraging folks to stack old tires in their yard to bolster the vermin population.

Maybe the Smart City hasn't figured out an effective way to monetize public safety. Or maybe it is too much work. Or maybe, just maybe, they really don't care. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Unapologies Unacceptable

The constant tax increases inflicted by the City of Dunwoody have apparently reached the point where public excuses are warranted. With the podium being the same Blue Bag Rag where the state-imposed notice of tax hike was published.

The mayor felt compelled to drag out the old "we didn't raise the tax rate" excuse, doubling down with the observation that the taxes are only going up because your house is worth more. As if to suggest you've got more so it is OK if he takes more.

The editor's yin to the mayor's yang is the classic shell game: look at your bill, it is the school taxes that are enormous. True enough. But does irresponsibility from one government excuse irresponsibility from another? As if to say: Dunwoody--we suck no more than the others.  Is it logical or reasonable to stack rank by dollar amount and ONLY look at the item atop the list? Is that what Smart People in a Smart City do?

You may have noticed how this city spinelessly bends over backwards to offer developers significant tax abatements while offering homeowners but self-serving excuses. No one is asking for zero-based budgeting. Yet. But with responsibility, for services, for stewardship of this community, comes accountability--more that what is currently afforded at the ballot box. The fact is that our taxes are going up and the people elected by this City are pretty happy about that.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Somebody Is In Trouble

Not sure if is will become a court suit or just a righteous hashtag bashing, but someone at the AJC is about to be in really hot water. Recently they adulterated a NY Times article offering up this salacious tidbit.

Acts Of Tender Sex?

Let's zoom in on that.

Bringing Heavenly Rewards Down To Earth

The AJC seems to be convinced that reading the paper should be a non-stop Word Jumble but maybe they are about feel the wrath of the hashtag "ScrewYouToo" movement.

Cannot happen soon enough.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Monday, June 11, 2018

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Monday, June 4, 2018


Did you read last week's Blue Bag Rag? Of course not, it was a holiday week, the kids just got out of school and you were probably busy. Why would that matter? Because the Blue Bag Rag is the City of Dunwoody's Official Organ and as required by law the City published their notice of this year's tax increase:

Says 12.85% Increase Here

Though a larger increase than usual, raising our taxes is what this City does:

Says 13.45% Increase Here

Pretty slimy to publish when folks are distracted, right? But isn't that exactly how they pushed the referendum thru in the first place--by scheduling the vote during a holiday week? And it's pretty slimy to pretend this tax increase is somehow out of their control even though they've done it, deliberately, knowingly, for the last five years (at least). What about when they say "I did NOT raise tax rates" as if doing nothing to address our tax increases is a stellar accomplishment on their part? Deflective? Deceitful? Despicable? All of that, but let's just call it "slimy."  And really, isn't it just a wee bit slimy that they refuse to send any of our tax dollars back into our neighborhoods by way of code and ordinance enforcement that improves our quality of life and protects our communities? No. It isn't a wee bit slimy--it is very slimy.

But that's how "local" control works. You're not getting screwed over by slimy politicians in distant corners of the county, you're getting screwed over by slimy politicians who live down the street. Aren't you glad you voted for this train wreck?

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Mizz Grady

You know Grady, right? The grizzled gentleman known for taking a rest in the shade of some of Dunwoody's finest trees. In the Village and along the approach to the Linear Park. No-one is suggesting he is living rough--no aspersions being cast. But feeling all proud of our gender diversity, Dunwoody is home to Mizz Grady.

Look. If the City of Dunwoody isn't going to take care of the Linear Park, somebody's got to do it. Right?

Monday, May 28, 2018

What Are The Odds?

Not so good for Sharon Springs as sanity reared its ugly head delaying successful adoption of another layer of government. Until next time. And next time there will not be an ill-advised deal to set the hurdle at 57.5% of the vote--a rather odd number allegedly a compromise between a mere 50% + 1 and a two thirds majority. Such a feeble grasp of arithmetic does not speak well to successful operation of a proposed city.

Further south the city of Stockbridge is poised to offer up some prime real estate to a new city of Eagles Landing should the eaglets vote in favor. Much like greater DeKalb during the Dunwoody scramble folks in Stockbridge but outside the Eagle's Nest wanted but were denied a voice at the polls. But that's how cities are made.

Why does any of this matter?

Because we desperately need yet another city. We need Perimeter City. Eagles Landing sets the precedent of creating a city by pilfering property from another city, a necessary prerequisite to founding Perimeter City. Sharon Springs, in defeat, indicates setting a high bar is an unnecessary risk.  But recent setbacks in the march to cities-for-all signals a need to improve the odds and expedite the process ensuring minimal time for organized opposition. Perimeter City, without a doubt, will be an economic and political powerhouse but it is far from a slam dunk. Success hinges on a back-to-basics hard-hitting campaign blitz and maybe a little bit of the good old sleight-of-hand that gave us Dunwoody.

Let the games begin.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

NOT Watching

By now the Dunwoody City Council has probably approved Billy's Single Source demand for surveillance cameras so they can watch you. Single Source purchases should be raising more than a few eyebrows but there are other much more serious concerns.

Will the camera feeds be publicly accessible? Why not? Do the people being filmed have a right to privacy? If so, why are they being filmed? If not, and these videos are done on the public dime then they are public property and should be publicly available. So...make it happen.

Be no less surprised that Council approves this targeted expenditure than they offer some flimsy explanation why you cannot gain ready access to public information they collect. We know they're watching, they probably do not think that we are, but what are they hiding?

Monday, May 21, 2018

It's Not YOUR House

No, no, this isn't about the fact that the bank holds the title. While you certainly feel the pain of "renting from the bank" with every mortgage payment the title doesn't identify the real owner. Government is the real owner. Taxes are a mortgage you cannot pay off; a rent you must pay and if you don't they'll come take the home and kick you out. Thinking about resisting? You'll stay in government housing, but this time it will be prison and you will be marched there at the point of a gun by an increasingly military police.

And that is just the money. Those running our over-arching permission society will tell you what you can and cannot do with their property, literally the roof over your head. From our local overlords' Permits on roofing:

What does this do to protect the public and from what devastating tragedy? What public good does this serve? What is it about a metal drip edge that protects you from your neighbor should they neglect to purchase these or worse yet simply rely on the existing wood molding serving the same purpose? Is this part of the City's war on wood?

But let's put this in context. This is a city that refuses to enforce quality of life ordinances they themselves have passed. It is a city that refuses to enforce safety laws regarding speeding in school zones and semi-tractor-trailer trucks in residential areas. Laws they crafted. Laws they passed. Just like the drip edge requirement.

And this is also the city that refused to even inspect let alone apply their Certificate of Occupancy regulations for semi-permanent trailers at local schools. Schools within the city limits and subject to city codes and ordinances. This is the city that cares more about a drip edge around your roof than it does about your children who live under it. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Silly Season Upon Us

Tuesday marks the voter's chance to pick from a bouquet of single-issue pure-bred candidates. But. There is one issue that everyone lines up behind: government education. Politically it is like oxygen, without it a candidate quickly gasps their last breath. Non-negotiable. Non-partisan. Red and blue, both end up purple.

There is one problem and it is a big one. Education isn't what these folks and their constituents say that it is and most folks, especially those who actually have one of these educations know the truth. Most folks figure this out pretty early. You learn for the test, whether from the College Board or the teacher between you and the Smart Board. With few exceptions, most notably math, you can purge all such knowledge without consequence. THAT is what makes math hard--you actually need it for more than the quiz.

Got a college diploma? Been working for a while? And... Do you use much if any of what you studied in college in your average work day? Didn't think so. But don't feel bad, only the very few actually use what they learned in college and they have a special name: college professor. After all, what do you really expect to do with a degree in Medieval European History? That's right, teach Medieval European History--to a bunch of bored students who need this course to get a diploma to get a job. There are a lot of folks out there with history [and english and psychology and ...] degrees that are, based on content studied, worthless.

Or are they?

In "The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money" economics professor Bryan Caplan makes a compelling case citing a wealth of research--you can fact-check and second guess to your heart's content. You'll have a VERY difficult time countering his argument, partly because it is a conclusion based largely on the research of others, including those who'd not likely agree with his conclusion, and presented in the context of common sense. How can you nod knowing at "All I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten" and then tout the inestimable value of the college education offering no learnings that you now use?

More unsettling is Caplan's explanation, not necessarily original to him, that the value of education, particularly to the labor market is, in a word, signaling. You get a better job with a diploma not because you'll use anything you've learned, beyond basic literacy and numeracy, but because acquiring that diploma tells hiring companies something they can use to quickly, effectively and easily improve their hiring decision. The diploma signals some measure of intelligence, of conscientiousness and most importantly that you are compliant. You sat thru innumerable mind-numbing courses with arbitrary content and requirements and yet you did what the voice of authority at the head of the class told you to do. Because they were at the head of the class. Because they were in charge and you were not. What pointy-haired boss doesn't want that?

To be clear, Caplan is adamant, constantly repeating that education is not only signaling, but that it is mostly signaling with the rest being what politicians and others wax poetic about: human capital--ephemeral, unmeasurable, unquantifiable and yes, inestimable. Except when it isn't. Like in economics. Caplan reaches and supports all the logical conclusions. Signaling is important because it is effective. Credential inflation, well under way and proudly promoted by politicians, undercuts that effectiveness and therefore the signaling value of education. We don't need more worthless diplomas, we need vo-tech. We need separation of school and state, just like church and state.

We need to quash credential inflation. Soon janitors will need a college diploma. Politicians will see to it they get them. Once everyone has a diploma, at any level, the diploma signals nothing. So you move to the next one and the next until you run out. Yet politicians seem hellbent on fueling credential inflation given the slightest opportunity to do so. If they said they were going to invest your tax dollars in Venezuelan bolívars voters would run them out on a rail but when they say they're going to print diplomas at the Caracas Mint voters drool.

We don't need politicians bragging of bravery as a Ranger or a SEAL, or their gender, or poverty, or bad haircut. We need statesmen whose real courage lies in making difficult, necessary and unpopular decisions. We need leadership.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Monday, May 7, 2018

Code Enforcement Is Haaarrrddd!

But dating can be "made" easy.

And isn't knowing there is yet-another-summer-camp for your snowflake much, much, much more important than a silly old law?

If this city cannot take care of the Dunwoody Village Overlay and enforce the city's own code do you really think they should participate on SWAT teams? Or become part of a constitution-avoiding property-seizure operation masquerading as "drug enforcement"? Really?

Thursday, May 3, 2018

AJC ePaper eFail

eFail as in "Epic Fail." Their "ePaper" is the so-called "online version" of the paper and it is undeniably crap. The main problem is that it looks more like Illya Kuryakin used his mini-spy-cam to photograph pages to put online that it does an actual 21st century online presentation of content. But pictures remain worth thousands of words.

Typical Front Page - Just Like The Print Edition
Let's look into that article the editors think warrant front page coverage. Still looks like the photocopy that it really is.

A16? Really? Not Even A Hyperlink?!!?
Yes. Continued on A16. Annoying in newsprint, especially when chopped in mid-sentence. Surely this wouldn't happen in the article view. But let's take note of where the article is hacked. Just in case.

What You Get When You Click On The Article
Scrolling down to the bottom of the article, this is what'll you'll see.

Hacked In EXACTLY The Same Location
That's right! You get to know which article you're looking at--sorta, because as it turns out the remainder of THIS article is actually listed as a separate article. From a reader's point of view it may as well be. But good luck finding it because there is not a hyper-link to the continuation. From the so-called article view you can go to the next/previous "article" or you can exit to the as-printed view and navigate to the faux-printed page containing the rest of the article and then...well, you get the idea. It sucks.

Maybe there is a work-around. What if you try printing the article. Surely that would print the entire article and not just a hacked up piece. Maybe print-preview is a way to read an article.

Printing Is Also The Hacked-To-Pieces Article
No such luck. Perhaps the iOS version sucks much less. Not really. Similar presentation, but even with the latest version of the app (29 May 18) it repeatedly crashes.

Now let's keep in mind that these articles are not written in two-part disharmony. The good folks running the AJC actually do this. Why? Because the luddites running the show only understand newsprint and that's the way it has always been done. What you see when you look at the AJC ePaper is them giving the finger to the entire Information Age.

And there are a couple of things that make this particularly annoying. Not only are you assaulted by the ads in the faux-print, you actually pay real dollars, every month for the displeasure. Then there is the hypocrisy. This is the "news" outlet that blasted the Kasim Reed machine for intentionally putting roadblocks between public information and the AJC--self-appointed representatives of "the public."  If you are actually trying to read this ePaper, how is the AJC really any different?

Monday, April 30, 2018

Word Smatter

Or do they? Matter? Well the AJC offers examples where they disagree. Pictures are worth thousands of words and the AJC seems to be on a limited quota.

Random Words
AJC Says THIS Is Sex
Justice Sotomayor Is A Distant Cousin

The AJC Has Uncovered That Our Mayor Is A Guy

Dangerous Rice

This has been the first in an observational series on "How Technology Has Eluded The AJC."