Monday, December 30, 2019

Holes In CVI Study

Perhaps it was at DeKalb's direction to simply focus on tax revenue and services impact but the CVI study of new city impact on the council misses significant impacts on the folk who actually live here. Fact is these new cities are not about local control, zoning, parks+paving+police. They are about establishing development authorities. Quasi-government organizations with plum jobs for the well-connected. Organizations that by their very nature issue bonds from which they skim significant sums and remove enormously profitable developments from the tax rolls for years on end. All without voter approval and minimal meaningful oversight. By anyone.

These in-the-shadow operations impact more than just the county. Yes, they shift the bond-skimming from county to city but when they decimate the tax base they do so at the expense of the school system. They are robbing your children to enrich themselves, their friends and family and wealthy developers. And no one, not DeKalb County and not CVI are willing to shine a light on these out of control enterprises.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Please Santa, Don't Get Drunk Next Christmas

I don't want to see a reindeer die.


Now before you get your knickers knotted because TOD posted a bashed bambi, you might want to ask yourself a few questions. How did this happen? Hit by a car? Maybe a truck in the no-truck zone? Was the driver distracted by a handheld screen? Drunk? Speeding? Could be any of these, because none of these laws are enforced. Because that isn't what our cops are for. They are here to serve and protect folks in perimeter center and enforcing quality of life laws that annoy Perimeter Center businesses and commuters just ain't gonna happen. Not with a city government with an openly advertised "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

But it gets worse. Residents near the scene have reported shots fired. Three. They are further reporting that cops came out, shot [at] the deer with a rifle as some form of mercy killing. And then just left it. Even for this city that seems harsh and the only thing remotely believable is that it took three shots for them to hit the [immobilized] deer. Marksmanship. Not.

One thing we know for certain: when this city gets involved bambi-s die.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Developing Problems

In their coverage of an on-going pissing contest between the City of South Fulton and Fulton County, or more specifically their respective Development Authorities, the AJC disclosed the real problem. In handing out these tax give-aways these Authorities issue bonds to fund the scam and they skim off the top. In South Fulton this pilfering is estimated to be in the range of $7 million. This is not chump change.

And who are these people and where do they come from? You know, these money launderers and power brokers? Well, they're buddies of the local politicians who appoint them. Fine, fine...they may be family members as well, but usually these folk are given no-show jobs with the developers.

This is what happens when you spawn these cities. It may well be the power/money motive behind creating them in the first place. And make no mistake, when the interests of a Development Authority or their politician friends are not aligned with those of the community, the community will lose. Every time.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Too Bee Mayor

We are on the verge of installing a queen bee down at the city hive. She was the thought leader on the compulsory installation of yellow jacket nests at local drive through windows. It was never clear if the motive were to effectively banish drive through windows, favor new development over established or just plain meanness.

But we're already treated to even more silliness. In shilling for the proposed development in the front lawn and lake of the former Wang building our Mayorette Too Bee posited that there would be no traffic impact because "travelers don't drive, they use [...] Uber." And what do Uber drivers drive? Well in a world clouded by the influence of developers that must be magic carpets. It is also worth noting her assertion that this would generate few NEW trips to the area. Why? Because in her world these developments, including restaurants and a 70,000 sq. ft. fitness facility would serve these MARTA addicted "travelers" and those already slogging there way through our neighborhoods. Should the developers indicate it is their wish, perhaps she'll ban mere residents from entering, blocking the way with their armored personnel carrier and the time-share SWAT command[o] center.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Attacking Loeffler

Isakson is still in the midst of his Accolade Tour and she isn't even sworn in and yet the AJC is on the attack. You'd think she were Richard Jewell. Their complaint is that being a successful businesswoman she might now be in a position to further her interests as a sitting US Senator.

Nothing new there.

Senators have a long history of using their positions for personal gain. And we're not just talking about Biden leveraging his position to get his kid a job or Schumer's daughter have a sweet job at Facebook. We're talking about real money from real influence. They do it so well that they outperform corporate insiders.

It got so egregious that they were forced into legislation in 2012 that on the surface prohibits trading on their privilege but like all legislation they have ensured it is more for show than for go. As recently as this September reputable rags have reported that Senators are still monetizing their positions. And where has the AJC been all this time? Why now? Why this woman? Sounds like an agenda. Yet when speaking out the other side of their face they want us to believe they are legitimate sources of the Real News. Have they learned nothing since 1996?

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses...

...And we'll pack them up and fling to the far corners of our country where folks neither want nor can support them. Or so say the lords of the high castle: New York City. Now they have temporarily stopped their "encourage them to come, then pay them to leave" program, but that delay tactic is a common political convenience. Like a Heisman running back they will simply wait for their blockers to open a gap and take it in for the score. It is worth noting that NYC tried a similar tactic with their attempt to undermine the U.S. Constitution but SCOTUS will have none of it.

The same tactic is used right here. Think of all the time that a developer has willingly withdrawn a demand for public subsidy of their profit margins only to come back, when public outrage has cooled, to demand, and get, as good or better a deal. Watch as unpopular, custom-crafted F&F regulations are pulled off the agenda only to re-appear when in-the-pocket pols think "the time is right."

NYC just does it on a grander scale. After all, if you can do it there you can do it anywhere.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Weapons Of Math Destruction

Among all disciplines mathematics has some unique qualities: logic; completeness; and correctness. You either proved Fermat's or you didn't. You can prove things do add up or that they never will. Of course by math, this means real math, not the pseudo- or fake-maths like statistics and certainly not the vulgar concept that any endeavor involving numbers is "math." So back in the day when you found yourself in the company of real mathematicians you were amongst some of the most rational, logical human beings alive.

Those days appear to be gone, at least in academia. We've known for decades that colleges and universities have abandoned the classroom mission of teaching and learning so it should be no surprise that such activities hardly find their way to the average prof's to-do list. But maths is cumulative and plays an important support role. You are definitely going to need those calculus skills when you take on PDE's and you're going to be a mental cripple in Heat Transport without some reasonable math chops. You would think it would be hard, nearly impossible, to expunge teaching/learning from maths. But academicians can do hard things. And so they have.

Unshackled from classroom responsibilities Math professors have joined their colleagues in an obsession over social justice especially as it is manifested as "diversity" in their mind's eye if not in reality. A recent tempest in their teapot was brewed up when Abigail Thompson published an op-ed piece in "Notices," an American Mathematical Society publication where she raised concerns about the use of Diversity Statements as a gating factor in hiring faculty. Doing this by delegation to pre-screeners in HR by providing a rubric makes this a litmus test from which no Teaching Statement or Research Statement can salvage the application. If you cannot satisfy the Thought Police your application will never even be read by anyone on the hiring committee.

Where Thompson lit up the SJWs was in comparing this pre-requisite, overarching testimony to diversity to loyalty oaths of the McCarthy era. Backlash was as immediate as it was off target as there seem to be fetid bags of bile wrapped in human flesh, and ordained with PhDs, awaiting the slightest pin prick to unleashed their screed, even if that screed is otherwise irrelevant. They called for the AMS to retract her op-ed piece. They called for her dismissal. They called for boycotts of her University by job applicants and grad students until they removed her.

What they did not do is address the logical errors in her analogy. These pre-screening practices intended to guarantee that only those aligned with the political leanings of academia are allowed even a chance at entry are not McCarthyism. McCarthy sought to remove folks from positions they already held. He sought to de-platform, to "cancel" before there was even an internet. These diversity litmus tests are much more like Trump's immigration policies than McCarthyism. That is what Abigail Thompson's detractors should have, but did not point out. Instead, what they actually did by trying to cancel Abigail Thompson was demonstrate that academia is saturated with actual McCarthyism. Because she did not pledge her loyalty to their satisfaction, she did not join their jihad, they insisted she be black-balled. And like Joe McCarthy they believe they wield that power.

And the most outspoken Joey in this inter-web Kangaroo Kourt goes by the name of Chad Topaz with a day job at Williams College and he was swift in leveraging his twitter feed for a call to arms--a petition in protest of Abigail Thompson. He wasn't alone and upwards of 600 loyal SJWs chimed in with attribution (naming their employer). But wait! There's more!

Having not learned a damn thing from the Oberlin Over-reaction the jihadists had gone a bridge too far and there was backlash to the backlash which seems to include at least one individual from Williams. Apparently there are still some reasonable minds remaining in academia, even at Williams, and the original petitioners presenting themselves as speaking on behalf of their institution ended up with "some 'splainin' to do." Herr Doktor's twits were abruptly deleted from his twit-feed but have been preserved and analyzed by a group championing, and critiquing, all things Williams. And then there is the money. One commentator observed that Herr Doktor runs a "non-profit" where he solicits donations for which he provides "free and anonymous" consultation on preparing an effective diversity statement. He has set up a business monetizing the expansion of litmus-test diversity statements using a quid pro quo that would make Donald Trump blush.

Herr Doktor also provides mere taxpayers with an opportunity. From his web page (you'll have to go directly to chadtopaz.com as he redirects links) you'll notice he has been sucking off the taxpayer via the NSF and expects to continue through 2021. He includes a disclaimer that opinions on that site are his and not a representation of the NSF and yet he was among those who refused to accept Abigail Thompson's similar statement that her op-ed piece was her personal opinion only. Maybe we can learn from Herr Doktor--perhaps he can be cancelled. From the NSF. Perhaps if we all write to the NSF and our US Representatives and Senators demanding de-funding this foolishness we can effect a meaningful change. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Will It Really Make A Difference?

You know, the VRU ordinance that recently sailed through council like dysentery through a refugee camp. Don't know what that is? Well, dysentery is ... oh, VRU? OK. It stands for Vulnerable Road Users and it is a local regulation being pushed through local rule-writers across the country, much like the home alarm regulations squizzed out by FARA. Remember them?

The reason that VRU is all show and no go is because this city has amassed quite the reputation for NOT policing in our communities. In particular the city treats quality of life issues as if toxic somehow posing an existential threat. They are significantly less afraid of global warming than they are of community policing. So this regulation will, like most others, go unenforced rendering it mere words on paper.

These trendy feel-good regulations are just that: feel-good opportunities for city hall self congratulation. And they are far from "local control."

Monday, December 2, 2019

Citizens To Admire

Unfortunately they're not close by, but the good folk of Amelia, Ohio have shown the way. After becoming disgusted with an opaque city government that was increasingly deaf to vox populi the people rose up and asserted true local control. They dissolved the city. Something to aspire to.

If the Grey Lady is to be trusted "the fight in Amelia also shows what can happen when polarized voters decide that their government is so broken that it simply shouldn't exist." We shouldn't be far behind given quasi-government agencies handing out tax breaks to developers and shift costs to residents, police force that shirks responsibility to residents preferring to serve the business community and council that prefers feel-good ordinances and support for Friends and Family over serving the community.

Amelia's former mayor was less than enthused: "If you don't like what your government is doing, just vote them out." Ignoring the fact that this is exactly what the good folk of Amelia just did it is worth observing that politicians are generally influenced by and beholden to almost any interested party but the residents. Those wanting to get elected are little better and soon become just as bad. Politicos are concerned with voters only during a brief campaigning period. After that...

When the NYT bottom-lined it that is exactly what the found, citizens asking "what am I getting?" And the answer was "screwed."

Now that we know it can be done it is time to get to doin' it.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Guest Post : Product Endorsement

TOD generally doesn't do endorsements, not political nor product, but it is Black Friday Eve so perhaps this is a timely review provided by someone-other-than-TOD. It is worth noting this is a product that is designed and manufactured in the good ole U S of A.

A little background is in order. Over the last few years I've spent quite a bit of time and made quite a few trips to doctors, clinics and hospitals. It was immediately obvious that a purse was not going to cut it: too cumbersome and depending on the purpose of the meeting is just another thing to keep track of and to worry about. But you must have all manner of cards and sometimes cash and you'd think the average wallet would be just the thing. You'd be wrong. Folks burn logs in their fireplaces that are smaller than my wallet so I took to carrying just the essentials with a makeshift card/money clip:

Makeshift Moneyclip
This worked just fine. Secure. Easy to carry. Fits in any pocket. Intuitive operation. But my husband didn't like it. He had visions of me slipping and flipping cards and cash all over the room. I could see that. If he used it. He also did not like the "flashin' yer cash" aspect and the fact that to get out an insurance card you had to unclip the cash as well. So he got me one of these:

Flipside 4

It is called a "wallet" but it doesn't look like one and it doesn't operate like one either. Push the button at the end and this thing springs open exposing the top two card holders. These hold three to four cards each and provide RFID protection. Now THAT appeals as I'm pretty paranoid about identity theft. The card holder on the bottom of the divider and the money clip do not but that's OK. I still have plenty of cards that would not benefit from RFID protection. For easy access without the potential of cash-flash he also got me this option:

FLIPSideKick

It attaches to the bottom providing easy access to three or four of your most needed cards at any medical facility: ID; Credit Card; Insurance Card; and Medicare Card. These are held very securely but slide out with a thumb push. There is also a small drawer that can be used instead of the cards for a few keys and/or coins but I don't expect to use it.

This wallet is secure, easy to use with spring-loaded opening and pretty small, not that much bigger than my previous bills+cards+clip. It looks more like an old flip-phone than a wallet which makes me think it is less likely to be stolen. It comes in colors that make it easy to find and less likely for me to be misplaced which was another problem with the life hack money clip. I don't know what it costs and I'm sure my husband didn't either. 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Like A Third World Country

Recurring Failure
How often does this happen? Once a year? Twice? And let's be honest: if it continually floods it never really has been fixed. Has it?

Have you noticed that the larger the government operation, county or city, the larger the screw-ups? Water and sewer have been an enormous problem in this county and don't fool yourself, Dunwoody runs the storm water operation and not much has been done with maintenance of that disaster-in-the-making. So we have water in the gutters, sewer overflows with patchwork, bandaid "fixes." 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Pure Lunacy

Despite the founding fathers' frequent invocation of a higher power, they, in their wisdom incorporated the Establishment Clause to prohibit governments from inflicting religion, even the one to which they subscribed, upon us. Some folks have a serious mental defect preventing them from understanding this simple but foundational principle.

One councilman wants to "dance a little sidestep" and let the City Manager take the bullet and make the call by suggesting the determination of what is or is not "religious" be left up to him. Now that's leadership. NOT! Here's a simple little rubric: if it is not DIRECTLY related to city services called out in the charter then it has no place on city property. Don't waste our money on any of this seasonal falderal even if it isn't related to any religion. And yes, that means not a penny of city expenditure goes to Lemonade Days. Do your job first and then let's talk about a Fun-Fund.

But seriously. there are still folks out there who actually argue that Santa Claus is NOT a Christmas, Christian symbol. Same with Christmas Trees. [We at TOD reject the underhanded, deceitful practice of labeling these wastes-of-wood "Holiday" trees.] There is a real simple, clarifying thought exercise: if there were no christianity how could there possibly be a Christmas, a Christmas Tree or a Santa? Easy-peasy.

For what it is worth you could have your reindeer since they did and would exist even in world full of atheists. Just not the one with the red nose.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Education Industry's "N-Word"

It is as if Oprah is managing the national lexicon: "Everybody Gets An N-WORD!" And the verboten word-that-will-not-be-spoken in earshot of a teacher? That would be "Accountability." This little nugget was inadvertently dropped by the AJC's Edu-cheerleader, Maureen Downey, in a fairly recent op-ed piece bashing Kemp for not being a lap-dog for Public Schools. In her piece she ascribes to Georgia teachers dissatisfaction she claims is voiced nationwide leading off with:
"Too many mandated tests that hold too much sway over how students, teachers and schools are judged." 
Sure, they wedge "teachers" between "students" and "schools" to create an obfuscating trifecta but let's be honest, teachers' top five priorities are: (1) teachers; (2) teachers; (3) teachers; (4) schools; and (5) students. And the latter two are only a important to the extent that teachers are impacted.

Teachers are  more than a little obsessed with pay/compensation and are always positioning themselves as under-paid, often suggesting that with a similar degree they would make much more in the real world. Clearly they've kept their distance from that reality. Fact is there is no "similar" degree as the real world eschews subtractive programs resulting in "major"-education degrees as they truly are less than a real degree. It is more than a little baffling where they think they'll get a job with tenure (official or merely by tradition), with guaranteed pay bumps just for hanging around or a defined benefit retirement. Given all that we now learn that they want to never confront a reasonable performance evaluation or accountability of any sort whatsoever.

But this one little line from the AJC begs a very important question. EXACTLY how should we, parents and taxpayers, judge teachers? How do we hold teachers accountable for doing the job the profession demands and the public expects of them? Maybe the teachers have an answer for that one. 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Going To A Happy Place

The Happy Hearse
Uber Take You Up To The Spirit In The Sky

Monday, November 11, 2019

Luxury Trailer Park

Future Home Of Dunwoody's Next Trailer Park

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Really? In Dunwoody?

Look very closely. Just above the Toyota emblem. No, not the photographer's reflection. Yeah. Right there. A swastika. 

Found In Publix Parking Lot

And this was not the ride of some H1-B Refugee from Chennai--they DO want their symbol back. But there was not a miniature Hindu temple on the dash, so this is just a plain old swastika.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Please Daddy! Please Don't!

Stop it Daddy. It hurts. Stop. Please!

Don't you just want to scream? You know, when someone who claims to "serve and protect" instead works diligently to "annoy and offend." So when Daddy, our paternalistic City government, gives you that 4AM wakeup call, you aren't just annoyed, you are downright offended. After all, there are still quite a few "Smart Folk" in daVille and they are quite capable of determining when their succulents are at risk. While the "Smart City" protestation has been dropped, all that city hall has done is acknowledge that they have no brain cells to rub together in hopes of generating an intelligent thought.

But it really was a wake-up call: wake up to the fact that there is something seriously rotten at Dunwoody City Hall. And stay waked. Until the rot is excised. And this rot runs deep.

Superficially it would appear that the po-po have tried to be your papa. And they aren't. They are not adult enough, responsible enough. Just watch, they are about to throw Nixle under the bus, and while there are serious problems there, this would be a juvenile diversionary tactic to keep you from looking too hard at who is really at fault. That would be the po-po, who seem to think their job is anything but community police work. But also their bosses: the City Manager and Council who let them shirk their responsibilities and who refuse to hold the Police Chief responsible.

There are many problems with Nixle. The TCPA should protect us from businesses of that ilk. Protect us from automatic dialers. From recorded messages. Except of course from politicians and governments and this is what Nixle will hide behind. "Papa made me do it!" But there are bigger problems. There are the lies. The City claims that Nixle harvested numbers from the "white book." Had one of those delivered lately, have you? So how did cell phones show up on the list, keeping in mind the TCPA takes a very dim view of calls to cell phones? They also slimed out: Nixle called numbers in Dunwoody. And yet some folks in Gwinnett county, definitely NOT Dunwoody, received calls.

But that isn't really the worst of it. The worst thing is that the City of Dunwoody took it upon themselves to start cold-calling residents. Not. Their. Job. Making matters worse, this was not an opt-in service. After the fact there have been some indications that you can opt-out by calling Nixle. Right. Yet again, the Federal Do Not Call List is ignored. This time by your local-yokel out-of-control government. Maybe when they touted "local control" they were referring to their control over you and your life. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

City Diss Service

Did you get the call? You know, the warning about a freeze this Friday? The one that came in at 4AM Thursday? Yeah. THAT one. And has anyone from The Other Dunwoody thanked any of you ass-hats who voted this disaster into existence for your service? No? Well, we'd like to here but words fail us. Adequate pejoratives are yet to be defined.

Monday, October 28, 2019

It All Adds Up

The AJC has a rather disturbing but unsurprising blog post on how "we" expect kids to be on grade level in math but a lot of them aren't. The education industry has ginned up a report, with its own website, arguing that this expectation, that children stay on task with math, actually causes them to lose ground in math. Though there is an observation that "math is cumulative" they dare not identify very real, systemic, pedagogical problems within the education industry and consequently offer no meaningful solutions.

Math is cumulative: a student will not progress until they have mastered pre-requisite skills. Not "demonstrated once after cramming for a test," but acquired enduring proficiency. And we're talking skills here, not merely "learned concepts." Think of it this way: you could study the rules, history and great players of cricket and even ace tests on all these areas, but would that make you a great cricket player? Or even a competent one? And after the test would you even bother to remember the rules? And this is the pedagogical paradigm dominating the education industry: get it, then forget it. It works for history. It works for english, grammar, writing and literature. The only thing embraced by the education industry that it does not work for is sports, and well, math. But with math, a classroom endeavor, they will use only the get-it-forget-it approach. And should anyone or anything try to upset that applecart they will fight it tooth and nail. Consider that the kind of practice required to acquire proficiency in sports, and math, is required for the former and given the pejorative of "drill and kill" with the latter.

And this is not going to change. Our current crop of educators are themselves products of this system.  They know nothing else and cannot make any meaningful change. Frankly they have no reason to improve as long as they can "pass" their failures (AKA "students") to the next grade without any responsibility or accountability. Should anyone bring in outside evaluations they will undermine them in any way possible, even to the point of cheating. They will suggest that math competency is unnecessary or unattainable and generate documentation supporting those claims. They will deride any objective measure as unfair because they know that no amount of cramming, no teaching-to-the-test will overcome three or four years of mathematics retardation.

And what happens when your child gets to college? Well, they (and you) will expect the same treatment, the same unwarranted praise and advancement, the same lack of rigor that they received in high school. And since colleges have been pulled into the education industry that is exactly what will happen. Just don't be too surprised when your child gets into the job force and has their ass handed to them by co-workers with a foreign education--where math counts. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Trust, Do Not Verify

That is what Georgia's teachers and educators want. Of course they're hiding behind what they claim to be student frailty (but don't call them "snowflakes") and hyperbolic rhetoric (e.g., "deluge of tests"). But student testing is not their real issue. What they are really upset about is being called to task on actually educating our children. Not just passing them thru a system but ensuring that each and every step along they way these children have learned what they need to progress. Educators will not stand for that.

How do we know this? Well, cruise on over to Stan Jester's "No Joking" blog and check out the post on AP Exams - Return on Investment paying attention to the comments. One commenter outs DCSD on an institutionalized platform for grade inflation exposing "the county’s grading policy of Guided/Group practice being 45% of the final grade" also pointing out one of the main reasons for this obsession with subjectivity: "students are able to maintain their A’s and B’s and keep their chance at the HOPE scholarship alive (even if they fail every test)!"

But if you have objective, third party evaluations (testing AND grading) then your subjective evaluations will be exposed for the sham that they are. Why aren't parents appalled? Because the HOPE scholarship is based on grades, not independently verifiable knowledge. And they fully expect colleges and universities to continue this subjective grade inflation all the way thru the Bachelors program. And they do. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Another Mystery Solved

It was Monday morning. About a week ago. Tried to access the online version of the AJC. After much spinning of the wheel abject failure is acknowledged.


Probably because the morning update locked the editions list with a write semaphore which blocked the read necessary to allow access. Sloppy programming. But how can this happen? Well there is the rest of the story.


Check out the "Exception Details." Notice anything disturbing? That's right, they're not only using .Net, they have a Win32Exception. On a foundation of suboptimal technology they've managed to build a fragile application all but guaranteed to fail.

If you've actually read the AJC is there really any surprise?

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Drive Like Hell...

...you'll get there faster.

You've seen those signs. You know, the ones begging you to slow down before you run down one of the neighborhood kids. Or even furkids.


But you're going to drive like hell anyway, aren't you? Why? Because if anyone put up a sign saying "Drive Like Cops Are Watching" you'd check the calendar to see if it is April First. After all, this is Dunwoody and our cops don't do traffic. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Don't Breathe The Model

Much to the Georgia EPD's consternation and feigned surprise the folks living near sterilization plants don't breath models. And models are what the EPD proposed to use to "monitor" carcinogens in the air. Exclusively models.

There are a couple of problems with this. First, folks breathe air. Happens all the time. And if the air they breathe is loaded with carcinogens they just might want to know. Now the EPD protests, saying that air tests do not pinpoint sources or prove causality. To which most folks ingesting carcinogens simply say "so what?" They also ignore the fact that the model and testing are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it is a common practice to validate a theoretical model with empirical data. Other states did exactly that.

Maybe the real problem is that EPD staff are breathing our air and living off our tax dollars. Maybe we can come up with a model showing that we really don't need more than one out of ten of the current EPD headcount. 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Year Of Just Say No

The first, definite NO is the GO Bond vote. With rumors and surveys floating around strongly suggesting that the new Austin Elementary will open, Day ONE with trailers, what greater indictment of this System Administration do you need. With their total incompetence when it comes to planning facilities why in gawd's name would you give them more money to abuse? Because you hope to get some?

Then there is the county government where SB7, sponsored by State Senator Emanuel Jones, is poised to gut what little remains of DeKalb's ethics board. Some have observed that the more you know about SB7 the less likely you are to vote in favor. This is why Jones, after a challenging public meeting with only limited discussion of SB7, published a smarmy notice that "it had been decided" to postpone the remaining two public meetings until after the vote. In itself a disgusting political ploy that is made all the worse by suggesting (he won't allow you to pin him down on anything) it needed to be closer to the legislative session since they intend to put out more proposals to fully eviscerate the ethics board.

At least voting should be easy. The county, on two fronts, are shoving referenda most foul into our face and all we have to do is Say NO!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Be Smart--Don't Vape

The AJC has announced that "tackling vaping" is among the top concerns for DeKalb schools. Thank gawd we can knock that off the Parents' Should-Do List. In fact DCSD is ranking vaping right up there alongside guns on campus. What is yet to be revealed is whether DCSD is ever going to address chronic, systemic ignorance. That is apparently unknowable. 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

No Joking. Really?

What DOES Google Know?

Monday, September 30, 2019

Minding Inquiry

Tis the season of pondering, asking questions, getting evasions in return and casting votes nonetheless. As a backdrop, we all, deep down, knew this was not going to go our way. Lack of transparency, the transparently obvious "we're setting up a Development Authority, of, by and for developers" and a general back-tracking on anything even closely related to competent policing and code enforcement. To describe this, and all the other new cities, as mercenary is to disparage guns-for-hire all across the globe. Just look at the difference between a permit to install a garbage disposal and enforcing code violations. In the first case the city makes money and you actually are required to bring it to them. In the latter case it is just another expense that offers City Hall no benefit.

Except maybe every so often. Say at election time. Now is our opportunity to ask aspiring politicians questions and watch them hone their skills of evasion. Just ask them what they, personally, specifically intend to do about quality of life issues that are important to residents. Ask whether they will prioritize residents' concerns over catering to developer interests. Ask them if they know what happened to elected officials who have dropped the ball, been co-opted by the system, and just what they will do to avoid a similar fate. Ask them what they will do should we suffer from their failings.

Then vote.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Code Enfarcement

Council Calls This "Enforcement"

Going Out Of Business

No. No. Not the recently opened Pet Emporium. It will do just fine.

Sign Of The Times
What IS out of business is City Hall, particularly code enforcement. Their stop-work-order comes directly from council who is working real hard to craft a brand spanking new overlay ordinance that is better suited to the demands of the business at the expense of residents.

But there is an election coming up and this may be a good time to find out where candidates stand on enforcing laws that support quality of life. 

Monday, September 23, 2019

Oh Black Water...

We recently endured storms that knocked out power in the Dunwoody area. One of these killed power to the nearby water treatment plant and before the generators could kick in the water pressure dropped to a level requiring boil-water advisories. While these were county-wide, the advisory lasted a day or two longer in DaVille. Watching those pots and boiling that water offered time for reflection, to ponder a few things.

First is the extremely long, automated call from the Dunwoody Police Department. How the hell did they get our phone numbers as we didn't offer them up and who the hell are they to make unsolicited calls? If someone wants alerts and calls let them register for them and leave everyone else alone. This should be exclusively opt-in and it isn't even opt-out as the City provides no [online] way to do so.

A bigger ponderance are those big blue structures around DaVille. You know that tall thing around the First Baptist Bank at Mt. Vernon and Ashford Dunwoody and the squat beast over by the Fire Station. The first is a water tower and the second is a ground based tank. Both store water. Potable water. To drink.

Where does this water (in these tanks) come from and where does it go? Well it seems to come from the water treatment plant, the very same one that lost power then water pressure and delivered questionable, perhaps non-potable water.


If DeKalb's system works like most, and given how screwed up this county is there is no guarantee, then the water from the treatment plant is pumped into the storage tank and tower and from there it is delivered to homes in the community. This raises all kinds of questions.

If the water supplied to the tower is tainted does this taint the entire tank? How much, in days of usage, does the tower hold? How does this impact (or even relate to) the number of days for a boiled water advisory? If the tank holds several days of supply how long does it take for tank water to go from potable to grey? Is there enough thru-flow to prevent degradation?

And finally, is the boil-water advisory just a CYA/PR stunt?

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Journalist, Heal Thyself

This week our collective school marm, Maureen Downey, asks us to ponder why we shame girls for their bodies. Perhaps Maureen should read the paper she writes for as once a week (at least) they publish a body-shaming article of their own. They print this under the title of "Success story" where folks brag about how much weight they've lost, how they did it and how long they've kept their weight under control. To complete the body shaming of readers unable to control their portly selves they include both before and after photos. This is just filled with micro (or given the "gravitas" of their targets, perhaps "macro") aggressions. And given that Maureen's domain is education, the home turf of safe spaces, trigger words and micro-aggressions, her insensitivity is appalling.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Franchises, Fees, And White

This is not just another rant about how despicable, right out of the gate, that Dunwoody (and other new cities) have been in adding new taxes when the city started--in this case franchise fees. It is that, but it is somewhat more.

It has not been that long ago that City Hall flew the flag of "Smart City" and it still adorns our recycle bins as a weekly reminder of the lady that doth protest too much. But when it comes to utilities, franchises and fees City Hall has gone full frontal lobotomy.

It is one thing for a mere resident to open a bill, see the "Local Fees and Taxes" and think that somehow the local government provides some benefit or service on our behalf with the money they pick from our pocket. But it is another thing for all those smart folk down to the Hall and up at the GMA to be so ignorant, since they were in cahoots establishing this in the first place.

So what is the disconnect? Well, in an incessant drive to paint this city monochrome, Council has decided that all utility markings will rendered in white: paint, sticks and flags. Yep. They will mark a white sidewalk with white paint. Maybe like those white tattoos they will be visible in UV light. Maybe someone on council has F&F selling those lights or maybe the paint. Or both.

But it gets better and that is where the intense ignorance (or hubris) kicks in. Quite a while back many of the utilities lobbied under the gold dome to make some changes to how they are regulated and franchised in Georgia. What they fought for, and won, was state-wide rules and regulation: state wide franchises. What was untouchable was the money, meaning that the local yokels got the cash, but they lost their place at the table when it came to bossing these folks around. The cities were pretty pleased because their focus was, and still is, on the money. But now it seems mass amnesia has settled on City Hall and they think they have the power because they get the money when in fact they gave up the power just to keep the money.

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

We'll Take Her

Mother Meria has been shown the door by our neighbors at APS with her contract conveniently ending coincident with our shutting down the Dr. Green Machine. If the DeKalb BoE has not already made overtures to Dr. Carstarphen they are fools. And yes, there is much evidence in the dossier that they fools they be.

There are many reasons to aggressively pursue Carstarphen for the DCSD job. She's smart. She's capable. She's ebullient, inciting enthusiasm in everyone she touches: students, parents, teachers and the general public. Yet she's a hard-nosed advocate for students and their education and will allow no one, even entitled stakeholders, to long impede her progress. As best as anyone can suss out she simply ran afoul of entrenched groups more powerful than competent that are directly or indirectly part of the very problem she was hired to fix. Once she'd cleaned up the stink of their cronies they re-emerged to exert their expulsive force. They wanted cleanup and coverup rather than substantial change that would disenfranchise their legacy power base.

But that is exactly what DCSD needs. We need someone who will come in unafraid of ruffling feathers if that happens in a drive to put students first. If that means personnel changes she knows how to make those changes. If it requires hard choices and hard sells, she can do it. How do we know this? Because we've watched her do it. What we have with Carstarphen that we will get from no other candidate is that we have been vicariously trying before we buy. She is more of a known quantity than any other candidate we are likely find by any other means and at any other cost. And she is a known good quantity.

In her interview the AJC closed with this quote:
"I know we are a challenge, but if you really love kids, if you really don't mind putting your back into hard work, if you want to be a full-service superintendent like I am, there's plenty of work to do."
Yeah, we'll take her. The question is would she even consider us?

Monday, September 9, 2019

Dunwoody In Black And White

Dunwoody is not just a monoculture it is obsessed with Black and White. Riffing on the "Everything Will Be OK" (just not right now) signage at the ever diminishing Spruill Center, Council has finally addressed a serious issue that has languished at the top of their To-Do list for nearly a decade. They've finally decided that all public art must be black and white. Take that, Warhol we're with Adams! But what is public art? And what about temporary installations? You know, like that publicly provided, publicly enjoyed sidewalk art over on The Knoll? Is that now verboten? Will parents now be scrambling to find black sidewalk chalk for their budding Picasso's and Dali's? Or, will they be stuck with white (not yellow) chalk with their children forced into Frogger Does Art using the blacktop for a canvas? Nervous parents need to know.

Perhaps it is of some consolation that Council's focus on this dire lacking in our community kept them from doing something really foolish. Or did it?

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Unbelievable. Untrustworthy.

The nation's newspaper editorial pages have recently been home to a never-ending stream of screeds ostensibly defending the Fourth Estate with claims that journalists are foundational to a free society and that they, and only they provide reliable information. We are to trust them because they tell us to.

But they cannot be trusted because the information they spew is as unreliable as it is inaccurate. Just a single case in point is a recent article published in the AJC with this headline:
Infant dies in multi-car crash
followed by a sub-head of:
Ambulance carrying baby involved in collision on I-285.
After the by-line the author leads with "An infant died following a multi-vehicle crash on I-285 in Dunwoody on Monday morning."

Pretty horrific isn't it? A wreck involving an ambulance in which a baby dies. The facts are indeed quite tragic, they are just now what you garner by reading the headlines and first paragraph. As it turns out the baby did die, but only after reaching the hospital being transported from the wreck by DeKalb Fire. And the baby's died "from causes not likely related to the crash."

So the next time someone shame-splains to you about how critical journalists are to an informed public just point them to a self-contradictory "news" article like this. The AJC prints them every day.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Labor Day

We're from the Government and we're here to watch!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

America The Beautiful

There is a god and she doesn't drive a Prius!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Too Soon?

With the recent mass shootings, as with any others, the gun control crowd wants to strike while the iron is hot. While emotions run high, honest discourse is politically incorrect and an attitude of "we must do something, this is something, let's do it" might carry the day. We will hear of "common sense" gun laws without any explanation of what is "common" or what is "sensible." Proposals with so little regard for the U.S. Constitution as to smell of treason will be put forth. Reason will be in short supply.

But there are "common" gun deaths and there is some "sense" to be made. Let's look our brothers in the Second City where we find some of the strictest gun laws and yet Chicago operates on a daily basis as an ad hoc but very lethal shooting gallery. The death toll this month will exceed Dayton and El Paso combined. By the end of August well over 300 folks will have been shot and killed so far this year. In one city.

Where is the outrage? Why is there no outrage, at least none rising to the level of a one-shooter-several-victims event? Is there a racial component? Victims are largely black as are the shooters. Does that make the loss of life less important? Is there a demographic component? Is this because these are urban shootings with no connection to the deplorables and their deplorable leader? Is there a political component in addition to that inherent with the urban/rural divide? Urbanal America runs deep blue as does the political ectoplasm of the loudest voices screaming for gun control.

Why are there no learnings? Chicago's laws have done little or nothing to stop the massacre. So why are similar approaches proposed to address recent shoot-em-ups? Is it possible they are not looking to the efficacy of Chicago gun control because it would not support the anti-gun agenda and it isn't so much about saving lives as it scoring a political win?

Thursday, August 22, 2019

THWG!

To Hell With Georgia! The rally cry of the Good, Clean Haters as the last act of defiance before their gridiron heroes charge into the slaughter. But it gets worse. How? Glad you asked.

You've probably heard of U.S. News and World Report because colleges and universities are adept at scamming their rating system using the deceptive outcomes to their own advantage. But there is another organization, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) whose job it is to keep track of how well their colleges and universities are performing as educational institutions. You, know, What WILL They Learn? Unlike that other rating system this one, from folks in the know, emphasizes Composition, Literature, Foreign Language, U.S. History, Economics, Mathematics and Science. Given these criteria and those judges how does Georgia's flagship party school stack up against a world renowned trade school?

The ACTA website offers a nice little comparison tool and you can easily compare the Fuzzy Bees to the Hairy Dawgs. Turns out UGA makes the A-Team while, educationally speaking, Tech is Junior Varsity. While neither makes the grade on economics (a quite serious failing) Tech doesn't even seem to bother with either Literature or Foreign Language. Sorry to disappoint all the Wrecks out there but neither Python nor R qualify as a Foreign Language though there may be some validity to the argument that Lisp should be accepted. Tech does address its shortcomings by charging more, addressing the needs of the thrifty by offering only a 40% graduation rate. Given the Party School's 65% graduation rate Dawgs are ultimately going to spend more, on average. Or so it would seem.

You'll also find that UGA, along with other Georgia A-listers KSU and Morehouse, made ACTA's list of Hidden Gems which is missing not just the Bees but each and every Ivy League school. And if you want to feel better (and end on a good note) notice that Georgia faired better than almost every other state in the union including those pretentious folk looking down their collective nose at dumb southerners.  

Monday, August 19, 2019

Modern Temperance Society

Can you find the interesting things in this photo?
No Alcohol Allowed
No, this isn't about drink driving in what appears to be a nice old car. There is a lot more to going on than just an old MG. Towards the left, way in the background are some lawn care professionals going about their daily grind with the usual complement of lawn equipment. While a weedwhacker and an MGC seem worlds apart, because they are, they share one thing in common: they don't do alcohol.

You see alcohol, like what the corn farmers are forcing down everyone's throat, is really bad for lots of engines, like those in lawn equipment and about any automobile over twenty years old and in most jurisdictions that means "any classic car." While some damage is done by the alcohol interacting with rubber components not suited to a drink most damage is ironically done by water that alcohol sucks right out of the air.

But ethanol is not just bad for the car, it kills people by pumping aldehydes into the air with a Stanford study suggesting a 9% increase in air pollution deaths if Los Angeles were to switch to E85. Sounds like a fair trade: increased profits for global agri-business for the low, low price of human lives.

Seriously, there must be some upside. Well, for every unit of energy required for corn-ahol you get 1.3 units out. Sounds good until  you look at sugarcane with a balance of 8 or cellulosic ethanol with a projected balance of well into the double digits. What about carbon balance? That has to be good, right? Now that get's very complicated as there are a large number of variables needed to arrive at a total carbon footprint: feedstock, fermentation; refining; and transportation. Most models, already complex, ignore change in land use but research indicates that tilling new soil for ethanol production releases so much Green House Gas that it takes decades or centuries to recover even with the most optimistic estimates of GHG reduction.

And this is done with the assistance of Beltway Bandits to enrich already wealthy industrialists all on the public's tab with arrogant disregard for cost in human lives. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

It Isn't An Experiment

First things first. A DeKalb County student was severely burned at school. This is a tragedy. And it was avoidable.

The story reported in the press indicates that a teacher ignited some alcohol in a container, the flames got out of control and the teacher then attempted to extinguish the flames with what was presumed to be water. It wasn't. It was alcohol.

It wasn't an "experiment" either. Most of what is labeled "experiment" in public schools across the country are in fact "demonstrations" bereft of any aspect of the scientific method. There is no informed hypothesis. No theory being extended, examined and verified. There is no mathematical modeling, no expected results, no data collected and no analysis. These are all just variations on the grade school volcano, mere classroom theater serving only to entertain, offering nothing in the way of learning or knowledge.

But there is an experiment at hand and it is the public schools themselves. The hypothesis was that governments were the proper instrument for education, an education based on the generally accepted notion that an informed population is the foundation of a sound, democratic society. But decades of data have not yielded much in the way of support for that original, government-is-the-best-education, theory. But rather than accept the data, declare the experiment a failure and move on, we've continually redefined the original hypothesis removing all teaching, learning and knowledge from the equation. We have generations who believe that third grade volcano spewing red dye number two represents legitimate science because they are being taught by a generation who believed the same and were never in close proximity to any real science.

It is time to call this experiment what it is: a failure. Then we can examine all the data, draw conclusions, form a new theory, a new hypothesis and design the next experiment, one that might work. This one certainly hasn't.

Monday, August 12, 2019

DCSD: Got Schooled

DeKalb County Schools just learned a $45K civics lesson. Turns out that constitutional rights extend to students and not just parents, not just voters and not just citizens. Even lowly students have rights. Also turns out the founding fathers put these protections in place to guard against government oppression. DCSD even found out that public schools are actually an agency of the government. Who knew? Apparently no one involved in education in DeKalb. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Is Distraction The Theme?

It is easy to bash DeKalb County Schools because they give you so many opportunities. But this time they are actually trying to do the right thing, provide an environment focused on learning, and they are getting trashed because that focus results in rules viewed by armchair critics as "insensitive". This case is about hair cuts/styling. So what is the problem?

In a sane world it would be a non-issue. The specific school is a DeKalb Theme school where enrolling requires application and a commitment by the parents and the child to follow certain rules including a strict conduct and dress code. If a student wants to distinguish themselves they have one option: learn. It is an environment where no distractions, even stylin' doos, are not allowed as permitting these distractions would be "insensitive" to those students and their parents who chose a theme school because it provides them the best education.

Being a theme school it is a choice school so no one MUST attend, and if participating in a program exclusively built around learning doesn't satisfy your need to be the center of attention then stay at your home school. 

Monday, August 5, 2019

Ask Not For Whom The School Bell Tolls

It tolls for the death of learning. This is no surprise to anyone paying attention but the eradication of learning, and teaching, from the education industry is all but complete. Systems like DeKalb have long focused on "wrap around services" emphasizing what goes on outside the classroom using this as a cover for ignoring what goes on inside the classroom. At the college level the transformation to a customer-focused service industry has been deliberate and tragic. Turning the keys to the asylum over to the inmates began with end-of-course teacher evaluations--that these often ask students who may have barely scraped thru the material "does the professor know the material?" and that these evals are a significant portion of tenure criteria pretty much tells you that academia have decided that happy students are more important than knowledgeable ones. Even knowing the depth of ignorance of these transient, self-entitled students, academia has placed their fate at the mercy of whatever incites their whiny indignation. One need look no further than Oberlin College to appreciate the existential threat academia has created for itself.

More pervasive is the societal tragedy know as the 504 Plan as this sits at the confluence of over-labeling ("diagnosing" as a disease or disorder that which cannot be shown to have a physiological basis), celebration of those so labelled and accommodations for those with "psychological impairments." The 504 scheme affords special concessions to those "students" who stress over tests and since qualifying for this program is based on wholly subjective evaluations parents are doc-shopping to get their kids in. And the "subjectivity only" evaluation model mimics what goes on in our public schools. Simpatico. At least one knowledgeable observer contends that by 2020 almost every child will have a diagnosis at which point there will really be no point. At least not where schooling is concerned.

Where will we be when our entire workforce requires time-and-a-half because they are just so stressed out? How will we compete in a global market of products, services and ideas? Maybe it just doesn't matter. That seems the message coming from the education industry. 

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Just Say NO To GO

DeKalb County Schools, the only entity on earth that makes DeKalb County Government look well run, is at it again. In this case "it" is taking more of your money by way of a General Obligation Bond for which you will have the pleasure of paying higher taxes via an increased millage rate. This is on top of what seems like a never ending series of eSPLOST money grabs which have changed only in that there is ever decreasing explanation of or justification for these tax increases. Being DeKalb County Schools there is also no oversight or anything else that could be mistaken for fiduciary responsibility.

But DCSD cannot do this alone, it requires active participation of voters who seemingly suffer from mass delusion. On blog comments some have rationalized that "some" of the money "might" make it to the classroom, a backhanded way of saying they know this money will be wasted, but they'll hold their nose and vote for the tax increase anyway. But money is not the problem and it is never the solution to structural and process failings. So why haven't they addressed these fiscal issues? Because that would undermine the argument that they need more money and since they waste it on friends and family less money means fewer smiles at the family reunion.

It really is time to put a stop to this. Vote no on the GO bond. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Never Lower The Millage Rate

Our neighbors in Fulton County are at it again. The roused rabble of homeowners cannot stomach the mark-to-market increases in property value as it blows their tax bill sky-high. On the other side of the equation the bureaucrats and politicians running the show refuse to implement the simple fix of adjusting the millage rate--downwards. It is more than simply not in the politicians' DNA, lowering any tax seems to pose an existential threat. It is as if this might happen:

Politician Lowering Taxes

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Milestones Or Millstones

Milestone reports are in and the AJC is declaring "impressive" gains. Of course this is relative (and propaganda) since the absolute measure shows 58% of third graders scored below proficient in Language Arts (includes the first of the three "R"s : reading). Juxtapose this with the declaration that "reading well by third grade is essential for academic success" and one has to wonder what all the chest beating is about. After all well over half do not possess this "essential" skill.

Milestones is coming under attack from another direction as some districts in Georgia are banding together to create "student focused" tests they claim will remain nationally normed. The plan is to discard the "big bang" approach of Milestones replacing it with evaluations scattered throughout the year. This caters to the current pedagogical paradigm of "get it then forget it" where students are expected to retain knowledge only briefly. Their approach aligns with teacher provided grades while the Milestones test exposes grade inflation and lack of real, substantive learning. 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Ethical Or Legal

The recent armored car I-285 "cash drive" brought issues of ethical and/or legal behavior to the fore. After cash from the truck littered the interstate folks stopped to gather what they saw as a windfall of free cash. The Dunwoody Police (it happened in their jurisdiction)  rightly pointed out that this was not their money, it must be returned and keeping it would be illegal. That is also consistent with Ethics 101: it is isn't yours, don't take it.

But can unethical taking be made legal? Turns out that is the case and it is something the Dunwoody Police do on a routine and regular basis. It is called "asset seizure" which is government (police) appropriation of private property on the mere suspicion of wrong doing. In theory, due process applies. In practice due process is so onerous that it is impossible for the accused, even if exonerated, to ever regain their property. So the police, DPD included, seize the property, convert it to their needs without any consideration given to the fact that a) it is not their property; and b) there exists legal due process-a law they are sworn to uphold.

So now the question is do actions speak louder than words? Are laws something that only apply to the "little people" with the police state immune to ethical, moral and legal considerations?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Guest Post: International City

From a former neighbor and Friend of TOD. Without further ado.

About ten years ago I went into semi-retirement and moved to Blue Ridge, GA. The "semi" part of retirement gives cause for infrequent travel, mostly out of Hartsfield. It's a haul and I usually park at North Springs and MARTA it the rest of the way as that is the most reliable way to get past the roadblock that is Atlanta. At least until yesterday.

I was coming back from the flaming hot mid-Atlantic to the cooler sunny South expecting to bypass rush hour traffic using MARTA and get home in time for an adult libation and at least Final Jeopardy. But there were clues this was not to be. I got on the train at Hartsfield on the side usually reserved for the Red Line noticing the sign was (still?) set to "Airport" which I dismissed as typical MARTA. Don't sweat the little things, right? Train pulls out, still indicating it is an "Airport Train" though it is clearly headed in the opposite direction and other than that everything seems normal. Until Five Points. At this point confusion reigns and it basically becomes clear that this train is going no further. I get out and see MARTA employees directing all riders up and out. It was at this point, and only because I asked, that I learned there had been a fire at the Peachtree Center station and there was a "bus bridge" from Five Points to North Avenue. Whisky-Tango-Foxtrot? NOW you tell me?

It gets better. After about over an hour waiting for, getting on and stand-riding to North Avenue I find myself standing with a lot of hot peeved folks waiting for the next northbound to Lindberg. That's right. There would be no Red Line at North Avenue, I would have to disembark at Lindberg and wait, again, for a Red Line train. It was at Lindberg where MARTA decided to rub salt in a now very raw wound.

A MARTA employee, with no need of a megaphone, basically told everyone to "get off the phone, be quiet and listen" and then proceeded to inform all southbound commuters what lay ahead. The fire. The bus bridge. The delays. All that. She even recommended that riders that need to make a flight might consider "alternative transportation" explicitly calling out Uber and Lyft. Wow! And just why was there not a similar, informative presentation at the Airport Station where there often are, and in this case were, people not even from this country who were completely confused by this dysfunctional goat rodeo. Was it because the City runs the airport and they're more beholding to medallion wielding cabbies than Uber or Lyft? Who knows. But if Atlanta fancies itself an International City, it must brace itself for the hard reality that this means its peer-cities are all in Third World countries.

This dark cloud came with a silver lining. I used the extra couple of hours to do some internet research. I already knew I was a 90 mile drive to the MARTA ride to Hartsfield, but what were the other options? Well, I'm only an 80 mile drive, through some of the most beautiful scenery in America, to the Chattanooga airport, conveniently located on MY side of their fair city. It's under 100 miles to the Knoxville airport, again on MY side of the city, only sightly further than my drive to MARTA. I'll never fight my way through Atlanta, MARTA or not, to get to Hartsfield. I know I will pay more, in cash anyway, and that I will be at that airport sometime in the future, but only to change planes. And if I ever visit another "International City" it will be in another country. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Deja Do-Over

If it feels like we've been here before it's because we have. Dial the Way-Back-Machine to 2011 and look up the Dunwoody Village Master Plan. Now you do have to wonder how much this cost and why it didn't even endure for a decade because now the City is shoveling more money into what is being called a Master Plan Update. This is like building a McMansion by tearing down all but the side wall of the basement and then calling it a "renovation" yet this "update" leaves almost nothing untouched or intact.

Some of this is explained by the context of the original master plan which was created when the City was relatively young, politically naive and not yet unduly influenced by outside economic forces. But now, when a developer wants the overlay in the dustbin and demands a building with floor-to-ceiling windows, stacked stone and other trendy veneers the parrots down at City Hall begin squawking "vibrant" incessantly. But this "update" is a great bit of theatre, a theatre City Hall will not vote to tear down. It is the embodiment of "practical impossibility" as it demands conversions of private property to public roads and paths (keep in mind that this City's idea of a "trail" is a super-highway lane of concrete) that is both prohibitively expensive, politically "unattractive" and more disruptive than desirable. At least if you live around here. But it may be attractive to those who will cash in on the re-development and keep in mind the very first impediment to this plan is "long-term property owners" who will have to be sated (or just pushed aside) in favor of new developers. Not likely to happen.

So what is going on? Well there will likely be limited re-development and things will need to be pushed aside to satisfy the developers' demands. The impediment in that case is the existing Village Overlay. Basically they are demanding trends that are getting close to their use-by date: new urbanism (being displaced by Avalon-type developments) and a faux-post-industrial look that peaked a couple years back. One has to wonder how long before a wave of developers descends pushing a "Williamsburg Style" as "vibrant" and "retro-trendy." Then there is the high pressure sales job--the kind that would make a Florida condo-pitch seem tame. When they are trying that hard they are either selling you something you don't need or they are distracting you from what they are really doing. Or both.

But it is the "Who's Responsible" slide that is the most odious, the most insulting, the most offensive. This characterizes "The Public" (us) as doddering old fools unable to comprehend what is going on and so stupid we are easily bamboozled by a myriad of special interests, all the while the aficionados of neo-urbanism (traffic enginerrs) are positioning themselves at the same level of honor and integrity as Girl Scouts. With an air of arrogant condescension they demean us as readily manipulated (by everyone but them) idiots and by commissioning this team and using OUR money to pay them, our elected officials are saying exactly the same thing.

Shame on them! For what they have done and for what they intend to do. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

So The Mountain Goes

Trying to capitalize on the PD epiphany of the Parade where many eyes were opened and more than a few Police realized that Dunwoody actually has residents, some of whom own single-family homes, some members of the community have decided that what this City really needs is a government affiliated non-profit. In this case it is the Dunwoody Police Foundation which in addition to soliciting funds and picking winners to receive the proceeds will, perforce, be a liaison between the newly discovered residents of Dunwoody--lest they forget. And honestly, what could possibly keep the forgotten masses front-of-mind better than good ole greenbacks? Now a cynic might say this is just backfilling the likely loss of highly questionable asset seizures (Jeff Sessions is long gone taking his staunch support of a militarized police state with him) but if this does anything, even a minuscule amount, to keep the PD aware of the existence of our communities, then it is, if nothing else, a good start.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Officer Friendly

The Fourth of July parade was a momentous occasion for the Dunwoody Police. It was the first time in their ten year history that many, if not all, have actually entered the community at large. You know, where the residents reside.

Overheard during an interview for a local rag, Officer Friendly said "who knew so many people actually live in Dunwoody?" Unable to contain himself, Lieutenant Richard Head chimed in with "yeah, look at all those houses--I thought that whole 'home alarm' thing was just standard BS from on high but it's really just another excuse for us to stay at The Mall."

Clearly a great time was had by all but let's hope it doesn't take another year before officers wander into our neighborhoods.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Curb Your Dog

Tall Dog

Monday, July 1, 2019

Blue Bag Rag Goes To Onion

Though recently rescued from the dust bin by a local media outlet it appears that the Blue Bag Rag is being positioned as the Onion-esque imprint of the local mogul. The article on Georgia City of Ethics is a nifty bit of satire.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The AJC And Disenfranchised Voters

Since the November elections where darling of the left, Stacey Abrams, lost a close race, the AJC has been beating the table about disenfranchised voters. As is often the case, they beat the table because they cannot flog their case. How so, you ask? Well the numbers don't support their claims of massive voter disenfranchisement.

First let's take a look at the total population 10,519,475 with the same source (the US Census Bureau) estimating 23.8 percent (2,503,635) are under 18 years of age. There is an estimated 422,000 illegal immigrants in Georgia, with indications that number is growing. Then there are supervised felons totaling 248,751 as of 2016. This gives approximately 3,173,386 folks in Georgia who cannot even register to vote. At least not legally. This leaves 7,345,089 potential folks who could register to vote. As of 2018 there are 6,935,816 registered voters in Georgia, giving a 94.4 percent rate of registration. This leaves 409,273 potential voters that Stacey Abrams' door-to-door, intentionally error-prone paper-only registration army have yet to find.

Just looking at available numbers, we in Georgia have more illegal aliens than unregistered voters, something you are not likely to read in the AJC. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Rights Banned In Dunwoody

At least if you own residential property.

It all has to do with an odd-shaped 2.6 acre bit of property on Roberts, backing up to Fairfield condos and across from the new Austin Elementary site. There are some, not clear exactly who, but some, who want special treatment for this property allowing what would otherwise be high density housing, perhaps re-zoning to R50. Of course, being a HOA-on-steroids more than a local control, limited government city, Council wants to dictate what the property owner should/will/must do. With their property. At their expense. While this higher density would, perforce, dump more vehicles on a crowded thru-way, the city seems OK with that, having turned a blind eye to the triplex operating just up from Novo Cucina.

No less than the mayor himself takes umbrage at the property owner's rights suggesting if the hobnail boots of the city are not planted firmly on their throats these owners are "going to get five houses in there by right. And they're going to build what they want to build, and I don't think that's something that we want whatsoever." Who "we" kemosabe? You mean the property owner might actually build five homes on 2.6 acres? Unprecendented! NOT! One need only go to nearby Magnolia Walk where you'll find nine similarly spaced clutter-homes.

But this is Dunwoody and no way is anyone going to exercise their property rights in this town. Not while this mayor is large and in charge. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Here's A Headline

From the AJC:
Creating East Cobb could cost residents
Really? What a shocker. Not!

One cost item the AJC points to is Franchise Fees an issue addressed time and again by TOD.

But, you say, they have a study from Georgia State saying this city is not only financially feasible but will run a surplus. Wanna bet?

Proponents, and there do not seem to be nearly as many as there are skeptics, roll out the standard lies:
according to their website they believe a new city would improve police, fire and zoning services and "create and preserve local identity" without raising taxes
So much wrong, so little time. In fact there is hardly a single nugget of truth in that statement (as printed in the AJC). Let's start with the "raising taxes" politi-speak. Those franchise fees? That's not a tax, it's a fee. See? No new "tax." "Raising" taxes means raising the millage rate. Ask any currently elected politico. We have a whole council full of them. Right now, if you are of a "certain age," you enjoy the best property tax relief in the entire state. Will your new city fall in line with the county or will that fall thru the cracks?

Then there is the "L" word : local. Their use is subtle but suggestive of the "local control" bromide. Local identity? What is that now and what do they expect it to become? You'll have to wait and see. Is their vision that Loch Highlands will carry the same identity as Indian Hills?

The implication that the city will provide fire services is ludicrous. As to police, without a significant infusion of money, from you, there will be no improvement. If Dunwoody is any guide, even with annual budget bloat, police services will degrade. And zoning? Often mentioned, but it has been nothing but a disaster in Dunwoody.

Don't you already have a HOA? Do you really want another, more expensive one? But if you're hellbent on getting a city, come on over, we've got one we'd love to give you.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Why?

Pave Paradise & Put In A Parking Lot
Why did council vote to approve this? Because the developers told them to.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Who Owns The FCC

The obvious answer is the correct answer: politicians. That's who own the FCC. Why is this relevant? Because it has taken so long and the technology has been available for decades. Consider this nifty little box produced by a long defunct company (yes, it is that old):

DASTalk Call Blocker
This attaches to hardwired landlines, processes caller ID, then automatically answers any blocked number holding the line to 20 seconds of silence. Waste the telemarketers' time, not yours. And you can wild-card entire exchanges or area codes. Don't know anyone in Idaho? Block all telemarketers who've taken up virtual residence in that state.

This bit of kit was built in the era of touch-tone desk phones. Now we live in the age of cell-phones, VOIP and online access to all manner of telephony features and services. All except one. No carrier allows subscribers a flexible, comprehensive white-list, grey-list, black-list capability. With today's technology subs should be a click away from building their own no-call lists, their own "always ring" lists and their own call diversion to voice mail.

The only reason we still suffer from floods of robo-calls is because the politicians don't want to empower us to block their campaign calls. Thank the gods of Silicon Valley that other communication technology is far ahead of the slow-witted politicians. We can mark their emails as spam and let AI automagically dump them in the spam bin. Where they belong.