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?