Friday, March 29, 2019

What TAD?

The AJC is reporting, all but celebrating, the developments going in Doraville at the former GM plant. How can that possibly be? Remember back when the local yokel politicos were screaming their chicken-little heads off about a TAD being absolutely necessary to develop this land and further how DeKalb Schools simply had to give in to developer demands? Recent events seem to have proven that you could not have prevented development of this property and questionable government-to-corporate welfare was totally unnecessary. So why were these politicians so hellbent on handing over our money? What did they expect to get and from whom? Must we  re-elect them? Could we really do any worse?

Monday, March 25, 2019


Renewable? Only If You Plan To Re-Plant!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

It's Just Temporary

Everything is relative. Consider what is temporary vs what is permanent. Take DeKalb County School trailers. Are these temporary? Well, at least around these parts, they've outlasted more that a few superintendents. Some have been in place longer than the prison terms for convicted, previously highly overpaid miscreants running the schools. Often these felons were involved in the facilities failure resulting in the need for trailers in the first place.

So what isn't temporary? Well, the school system's demands for money and more of it. The constant focus on anything and everything except teaching and learning. Incompetence at nearly every level, but most emphatically at the top.

Some say the school system is just too big. Perhaps. But it may be time to ask ourselves if we had no public school system at all is THIS what we'd build at any scale? Do we have to endure this forever?

Monday, March 18, 2019

Software Update

You get a new phone and then what happens? Software update. And later? Another update. But it is JUST a phone. But were this aircraft flight control software should one just tap "OK" without reading the list of bug fixes, new features and updated End User License Agreement? Should it be pushed out just because some Product Manager is under time-to-market pressure? It's one thing for a software bug to inadvertently convert your phone to a spy-cam and another to have even a minor glitch in software acting as the brains of the planes.

So how did this happen? Where was the FAA? Back in the day a plane would not get into service until there was a bow on the entire package. The craft would be fully tested. Simulators would be in place. Training regimes would be defined, vetted and approved. Pilots? Trained and certified on normal operation, Line-Of-Flight Training and emergency situations. It seems software may have escaped without this level of rigor.

As we migrate important functions from tangible controls operated by human hands and a well-trained mind to software systems reasonable care for public safety suggests we expend no less effort qualifying and vetting software than the humans it supplants. We must also address issues around the humans who create this software. Are they qualified? Are their tools properly used? Are the processes  complete and are they followed? Are the processes sound? Do they ensure that software is fully tested, that operation is robust and resilient, and that it is performant?

Maybe this is NOT the software that should be outsourced to the lowest cost labor pool. Maybe it is time that "Software Engineer" was more than just words people like to say.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

It's Green. And It Stinks.

DeKalb Schools have scheduled some mini-meetings with a cap on attendance by BOE members in order to circumvent Open Meetings laws. And it is intentional as the Interim Chief Operations Officer explicitly stated there could be no more than three board members in attendance "to avoid a quorum" and one can only conclude this is a deliberate attempt to subvert our representative, democratic system.

How can such a school system ever be trusted? How can you vote in favor of another SPLOST? Ever?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Uncomfortable Juxtaposition

This Sunday's AJC offered a couple of items rooted in human rights that could hardly be more diametrically opposed despite the common thread of "women's choice" as regards their bodies, fetuses and children. First up was a letter to the editor from someone incensed at the heartbeat bill and the sex of those debating abortion--dominated by men. A contrasting article, much in the style of an op-ed piece, lamented the plight of a woman trying to cut bureaucratic red tape to secure a passport for her daughter. This legal process requires the signature of the father of her daughter even though the child was born out of wedlock.

As if such things still exist. Fathers? Really. And that is the crux of the matter.

Without belaboring how a zygote brings an additional brain to the party and somehow enhances post-coital judgment found seriously lacking mere days, or even hours earlier, it seems that a woman's choice is sacrosanct. What the passport kerfuffle highlights is the enormous gulf between choice and responsibility.  The mother seeking a passport is the poster child for the "have my cake and eat it too" of the abortionista's agenda. This mother had a choice and made a choice. Make no mistake, it was her choice and her choice alone aligned with pro-abortion dogma. Yet she has, unfailingly, received child support from her Why-Ask-Y genetic donor. Now, because of bureaucratic inconvenience, she wishes to be unshackled from any conditions related to Mister Y. But without turning off the child support cashflow. Of course.

Fine. It IS a woman's choice. Outside of rape, it is her choice to bed Mister Y. Her choice to use or eschew pre-coital birth control. Her choice upon impregnation to abort--or not. With the great freedom of these great choices comes great responsibility. Or so it should. Perhaps before engaging in a heartbeat debate the State should address current inequities that penalize men. The State should ensure that choices, and those who make them, bear the responsibility for those choices. Then it will be easier to get that passport. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Driving For The Green

Never-say-die proponents of the City of Cliffside, now re-branded as Greenhaven, got their passover wish: yet another bill setting the stage for another contrivance, another vote. It is as if Brexit intersected with the Clinton Campaign on Groundhog Day. Unlike the early days of city mania there is significant pushback. Significant because skeptics are using the only approach likely to succeed: facts. Against the non-stop propaganda, even when endorsed by CVI or GSU with "commissioned" reports, facts are the only way to win the day and to date, facts have prevailed.

But the powers behind the neo-city movement will never, ever, give up. Why? Because at the heart of these cities is greed and greed is like entropy: without significant, concerted effort put forth by those of high character and moral integrity, greed will not go away and it will not diminish.

Make no mistake: this is not about "local control" or even "keeping our taxes at home." It isn't even about race. This is about power and greed and nothing else. When this city is created, and sooner or later it will be, there will immediately be Bureaus and Authorities to satisfy a broad, deep and pervasive greed. There will be a Convention and Visitors Bureau funded by hotel taxes to pay for patronage jobs for friends-and-family appointments. Tip of the iceberg.

The real gold mine is the Development Authority which will reap enormous revenue for the powerful amongst you at great cost to everyone else through a very clever, well executed sleight of hand. Development Authorities are equipped with a machination that allows them to give developers property tax exemptions lasting years and even decades. Begs the question of how greed can be sated by giving away tax money and why would a developer be interested in abatement of the paltry city tax, which any citihood shill will tell you is the smallest tax you pay. That is because this machination allows a CITY Development Authority to not only set aside city property taxes but also eliminates those of the county and the public schools. And the city gets something called "occupational tax" from the businesses leasing the developers' offices and this generates significantly more money per square foot than property tax ever will. And the city shares this with no-one. They just steal money from your children and line their pockets with a city income tax.

None of the ardent supporters of Greenhaven will say, out loud, that they plan to steal your children's education to fuel a powerful monument to greed. A monument they have every intention of owning. But when you vote for this city this is exactly what you are supporting and this is exactly what happened in Dunwoody.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Don't Get Too Close

When selling the city concept local control was a powerful tool used to depict the county as distant and detached whilst the city would be accessible and neighborly.

That was a lie.

If you're not a rich, powerful developer you really don't get their attention and as long as they can deceive themselves into office there is no reason that the Brothers Crim should NOT carry more weight at city hall than a mere once-in-a-while voter. As far as the non-developer community goes this city was always intended to be a HOA on steroids: arbitrary rules; questionable enforcement; and willful ignorance.

It appears the state has had enough. Legislation at the Gold Dome would return control of your home to, well, you, the owner. And the City is fighting mad. Under no circumstance do they want you, directly or through your contractors, to usurp their authority when it comes what color your house (or even just the front door) is painted, what your roofing material might be or even the overall architectural style. And it gets worse. They want control of not just brick vs cedar shake cladding, they intend to control the layout of rooms in your home. Want that open-concept? Too bad! You have to get council's approval for that--as if THEY are the actual owners of YOUR home. Arrogantly, they contend these decisions are the exclusive domain of the Lords and Ladies running this town. And they've unanimously declared to fight any usurpers tooth and nail--to the death.

When it comes to decisions about your home the most local of local control is the conversations had and the decisions made around the kitchen table. Somebody seems to be looking out for you while others are taking advantage of you. Maybe it is worth a few minutes to reach out to your representatives under the Gold Dome and let them know how you feel about detached busybodies at city hall trying to run your life.