Thursday, July 28, 2022

Happy Trails To You...

Or, maybe not so happy. According to a recent edition of the Blue Bag Rag, it seems there a few unhappy residents out there. Seems the city so proud of their former glory as Tree City USA, is now in the business of clear cutting vast swaths. Right in front of the restless natives' front doors. You see, this city has, since inception, been hell-bent on paving paradise by putting in these concrete highway lanes and call them "multi-purpose trails." 

The ones they're fixin' to git ready to start puttin' in real soon now are exactly well known, well designed or well planned. But one thing is for certain: they have their Friends and Family construction companies lined up to get their hands on some lucrative government money. And, they cannot even tell the folks directly affected by this arbor-geddon exactly what lies in store. Why? Because it isn't important. Neither are the families impacted. All that counts is shoveling money to their faves. 

You might think this would have council pulling back on the reins, maybe even ditching the plan to take the city into debt for even more freeway lanes that just piss voters off. Nope. You'd be wrong-thinking. They're still planning on plunging the city into debt, scheduling a bond referendum (and associated millage rate hike) for 2023. Look for that to happen during vacation season so as to marginalize as many voters as possible. 

That's the way this city rolls.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Just Wait Til Next Year

To bond or not to bond? That is a false choice. The correct answer is: just wait until next year. 

There are lots of reasons for the delay. A recent millage hike has drawn unwanted scrutiny and unwelcome questions. After all this city has had a tax increase[1] every year of its existence which has been downplayed but now it it is no longer a back-door increase. And no one had the stones to "shut the front door." Another problem is the mid-term elections. When the city (or Citizens For Dunwoody/Dunwoody Yes!) want something passed that is unpalatable to the thinking voters they schedule the vote in an off year at an unusual time. Think: round about the Fourth of July. Worked the first time. 

Heneghan nailed it with “A November [2022] referendum for me is off the table.” Lautenbacher confirmed the delay“We need to march down the road so we’re ready.” Odd man out, Joe Seconder voiced surprise that a committee of three would make these decisions unilaterally rather than having the full council weigh in. That's because success requires this thing be downplayed until the ambush vote next year.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

What We Got Here... a failure to communicate. says an audit of DeKalb County public schools. Seems a couple of years ago DCSD decided to install a new financial system, something they are in sore need of and should really learn how to use. Of course no software system can fix stupid especially when you have no clue about anything related to finances. Remember that these are the fools who refused to adopt the standard accrual method preferring instead to keep cash in brown paper bags. No one, absolutely no one, was surprised they never reported financials on time. 

Setting up this software went the way it ALWAYS goes: off the rails. But in the real world, where things have to work or you go out of business, you watch this process very closely and when things go pear-shaped you do something immediately. But these folks are on the public dole, responsible to no one and accountable for nothing. So here's the real shocker: they didn't even know the train was off the tracks until someone else told them.

The Ga DoE put them on a tight lease. Sort of. They have 120 days to come up with a recovery plan with unanimous board approval...but...they have already indicated they have no intention of complying. Board member Dr. Joyce Morley indicated her willingness to delay that process, asking, “What if we don’t all agree?” Dr. J seems to be setting the stage willful noncompliance. Others on the board seem less rebellious but equally out of touch with reality. Dierdre Pierce offered up: “I just want to thank you for getting us from late and high risk to on time and moderate risk.” Is this because they're running a system built on social promotions and participation awards where any improvement no matter how unacceptable the accomplishment is cause to cheer. Anything but abject failure gets an A for participation. Allyson Gevertz rosily cheer leads with “Just in my years on the board we have come light-years on the audit” riffing on Deirdre Pierce's “I just want to thank you for getting us from late and high risk to on time and moderate risk.” 

Even though educators are supposed to be society's great communicators, it is unsurprising this project has gone open loop. What continues to surprise is how voters keep approving eSPLOSTs. 

Monday, July 18, 2022

No Place To Hide

As predicted council voted to increase the millage rate and now there is no political cover. In the past council and mayors excused their consistent, non-stop tax increases by saying "we did not increase the tax...rate." Ahem. Now they have blown that cover and the mayor, as required by city bureaucrats, is out front trying to sugarcoat their stupidity. Isn't going well. Mostly because of dearth of data and the enormous distance between truth and what is said. 

The first thing greased out is the property value freeze. OK. Want to back that up with some data? You DO have an overpaid army of bureaucrats at city hall, maybe one could pull together a quick analysis of residential property (developers' property pays no taxes) showing percentage of residential digest vs years of ownership. Because, as you know homes mark-to-market whenever they sell so the excuse of frozen assessments should be easily backed by data, right? Unless the data actually tell a completely different story. What do these data say, mayor? Are you suggesting there have been no houses sold in Dunwoody in the last 11-12 years? Because that's what it sounds like.

Next excuse? Police. No kidding, really? The Dunwoody PD. This is where it goes from "you can't handle the data" to "you're too stupid to not believe this." Scary thing is, she may be right. But by stepping far outside the realm of credibility with "public safety is City Council’s primary responsibility" nothing that follows can be believed. If this had one iota of truth to it the mayor and council would look to the south, to Atlanta, to see how they are handling force shortages: community policing and quality of life enforcement. Want to give that a try, mayor? Want to address the real, morale crushing issues with PD command? Didn't think so.

Or how about you do what every business in the USA is doing right now: right-size your workforce; focus on your core charter; put a stop to the metastatic bureaucratic bloat; and stop giving tax handouts to developers. Get. Your. House. In. Order. Or is that beyond your ability? If so, step aside and let someone more capable take the reins.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Is The Party Over?

As in: turn off the lights, the party's over. 

Seems the city wants to ban brightey in outdoor lights. What makes this of any interest at all is the wishey-washey city is the most egregious offender having demanded that Ga Power replace existing argon street lamps with LED lamps. LED lamps that are now in violation of city code. And did we save money? Hell to the no! Why? Because Ga Power collects a capital recovery fee when they replace perfectly serviceable lamps with the trend du jour. Do these new shiny lamps work better? Nope. Turns out they cast a light that is brighter, but it is also less broad than those they replace leaving dark regions between the lights. You may be asking: "what were they thinking?" Consider this: they weren't, but that is the best they can do. Bless their hearts.

 At this point it isn't clear what they plan to do if you've got brightey whiteys indoors that shine through your windows. They're not accustomed to thinking ahead. They're playing checkers when we pay enough to get chess grand master level of thought.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Floor Wax? Dessert Topping? Just Another Scam?


They're calling it a nursing "facility," because Pill Hill is just toooo far away. Well, that's ONE thing they're calling it. But they're downplaying the fact that it really is just a sleight of hand to inject even more high density housing into a city founded on the promise that such development projects would never see the light of day. 

Doesn't really matter what they call it. It will be built on a foundation of broken promises.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

[Un]Real Estate Moguls

Shortly after getting bitch-slapped over trying to steal four acres of land from a local mega-church Dunwoody's bureaucrats are back in the game. Just a small walk away from the church's property is a lot Dunwoody picked up back in the day in order to pull Wieland's financial ass out of the fire during the real estate meltdown. One of their first Friends and Family successes. 

Then seeming contradictions set in. 

The map shown in the official notice says 4400 N. Shallowford whilst the text claims it is 4400 Dunwoody Park. Google maps doesn't result in the highlighted lot for either address and DeKalb has no map or GIS data for that parcel ID. It does show "Urban Redevelopment Agency" as the owner of record which is more than odd as there has never, not once, not ever been any structures or other development on this property. Only in the twisted minds of city bureaucrats can you have "urban redevelopment" in the suburbs on property that has yet to be developed. Semantic gymnastics of idiotic proportions. 

It gets better. 

They want offers in excess of $1M for a property is significantly smaller than the church property they low-balled under threat of confiscation by way of imminent domain. To be fair, the county lists a value of more than $1.2M. To be honest, they could have done due diligence on the church property and come away with a rejected, arms-length offer of close to $5M. Maybe they are not the real estate moguls they think they are. Maybe there are other things going on.

Monday, July 4, 2022