Thursday, September 28, 2023

In The Beginning...

...there were dinosaurs and then came Tube Man.

When the city is run by clowns we're going to get a circus.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Who's Gonna Tell

Finally. A vote that matters. It's called a referendum and it is what this city's officials would like to avoid at all costs much preferring well curated "community input." To no one's surprise we're seeing the kind of full court press not seen since the days when Dunwoody Yes! and Citizens for Dunwoody touted a study saying this city could run on $18 million a year. These folks want to go all Wimpy and get their hands on $60 million today for which they will gladly pay $200 million over the next twenty years. Or more precisely, they'd like everyone to pay. 

That's where the vote comes in and with it the lobbying. If you're interested you can find the city's promo here and the other aficionados argument here and those advocating deferred gratification here. We've not had entertainment like this since we had clowns running around saying it isn't another layer of government. Turns out they were right since if you don't enforce laws and ordinances it isn't a real government. 

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Thank God It's Not Dunwoody

Thankfully this property is located in Sandy Springs which has a history of protecting the single family residential character of the area. Remember the gator goat farm? Really nice house there instead of a bunch of clutter homes because Sandy Springs held to their guns. 

If this were in Dunwoody there would be some city bureaucrat getting the developer hotlines hummin' with the prospect of a 5 over 2 stick on pedestal live-work-play lifestyle development. Or ghetto. Your call.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Thursday, September 14, 2023


Having gotten the new School Superintendent to cave, the self-proclaimed top-cop is advocating a set of ordinances mandating cameras at hotels, apartments, gas stations, convenience stores and in designated "high-risk" areas.  

And here's a shocker: many in the public, those being increasingly and incessantly surveilled, did not really cotton to the idea. The best anyone on council could say is "this needs more work." Understatement of the century. One remarkable and incredibly accurate comment was "all this strikes me as government overreach." Overreach to enable under-delivery. And you are not alone. In fact, one commenter in the marked up doc noted: "Need consent, a warrant, or some exception to the Fourth Amendment." Dunwoody PD has previously run afoul of the US constitution to the point you wonder if the police oath includes fealty to that document. Honestly, you have to wonder if this is an effort on the part of government to get private businesses to do blanket surveillance that the government could not do [legally] without a warrant. Doesn't a mandate make this a government operation?

Then there is the abdication of public safety and community policing responsibilities to be replaced with expensive technology paid from private budgets which is not only overreach, it is unconscionable. But one also has to wonder: when the government forces public safety responsibilities on these businesses has it also transferred liability? If so, can it provide the umbrella of sovereign immunity government enjoys, or will these companies be subject to civil litigation if a crime occurs even with all these expensive surveillance systems? Are they not mandated on the premise they reduce crime?

Another council-folk pondered the policies and procedures around "high-risk" classifications. Note that this ordinance would apply to convenience stores and gas stations regardless of risk classification. Falling into the high-risk classification requires police providing service more than six times in 30 days for a specific list of serious crimes. Note that the original ask was for 3 in 30 making you wonder: why not one? There is no provision for getting off the list either by petition or a lowered crime rate. This is supposed to result in lower crime rates, right? Sorta like police patrols did in the good ole days. There is also no requirement for the PD to report on the impact all these expensive systems have on crime. Perhaps it is also worth noting that prostitution (AKA "human trafficking") is NOT listed as a serious crime lest city hall be classified as "high-risk." 

If Dino-gate has taught us anything it is that city hall is incapable of crafting even minimally acceptable ordinances. Do you remember the before times? When everyone was getting triggered and screaming "words matter?" Well, it turns out that when it comes to crafting laws and ordinances words really do matter because it is what the law actually says that will be deliberated in a court of law. Some mistakes are silly but nonetheless symptomatic of fundamental language deficiencies. For example, writing "VSS system" is kinda dumb since the second "S" in VSS IS "systems" and that is clearly stated in the definitions. Then there are actual factual issues. A requirement for 5,017,600 pixels per image is difficult to obtain from a 4MP sensor and 1440p at 16:9 resolution is 3.69 MP. Oops. What are they asking for, upscaling? The container format, MP4, is specified but the compression format is not though perhaps they think the container implies H.264 when it really doesn't. When you are writing a technical specification into law these specs need to be complete, detailed and accurate. Laws and ordinances should not be "make it up as you go along" or so says the Dino. 

And what are the mere residents to think of this city foisting safety and protection on us? Should we all be ensuring we can protect ourselves knowing the city is not there for us? Think that is unreasonable? Over the top? Well here's a thought exercise: suppose Dunwoody had its own Fire Department and operated that as well as it does code enforcement, operates the police department and crafts ordinances? Then fire trucks would only roll in the 4th of July parade, houses would burn to the ground, but we'd have it all on video.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Writ Of Mandamus

More on the writ later, but first let's set the stage...

As many of you may know there has been a dinosaur zoo operating in Dunwoody for a few years now. Not live dinosaurs or even fossilized bones but the inflate-a-date variety. Now the city is shutting down the dino-zoo and that is making fur fly over on fece-book with most seeing dino-extinction as a sin against god and humanity. Mostly because their kids liked it. 

This would be a real teaching moment if it weren't taking so long. Some are just now learning that Dunwoody takes an "enforce on complaint" approach to anything they deign to address and with any action subject to their assessment of the complainer, the alleged offender and the alleged violation. This has led some to call for an open records request to identify the dino-hater presumably to go after them, but be honest, isn't guessing more fun? Others are seeking their very own inflate-a-dino to defy "the man." Others cannot fathom how an inflatable is a sign. Some want to "throw the bums out" suggesting write-ins for the unchallenged in the upcoming election. The zoo-keeper confesses to knowing the rules but has been doing this for three years which may not be the best thing to immortalize on the interweb. The mayor is going to "look into it" which is politician-speak for "I'm outta here" as there is much that any city politician would not want the electorate figuring out as they dig into this affair. Let's learn that anyway.

We'll start with the "sign, not-sign" confustication by looking at the actual ordinance, specifically Section 20-34 - Prohibited Signs:

Except as otherwise provided by this chapter, the following signs are prohibited within the city:

(1)Dilapidated signs, including sign structures.

(2)Animated signs, including balloons, streamers, air or gas filled figures, signs that move mechanically as a result of human activity, wherever located.

There you have it, no ignorance, no excuse. Those dinos are prohibited and in violation of city ordinance. You should also know that this ordinance passed unanimously, 7-0, with much self-congratulatory backslapping and support from many if not most of the current politicians. So what exactly is the mayor looking into? An unread ordinance that was voted for? How often does that happen?

Suppose the mayor does look into it. Can the mayor actually do anything? Let's see what the city charter has to say about that, specifically Sec. 3.05. - City council interference with administration:

Except for the purpose of inquiries and investigations under Section 2.08 of this Charter, the city council or its members shall deal with city officers and employees who are subject to the direction or supervision of the city manager solely through the city manager, and neither the city council nor its members shall give orders to any such officer or employee, either publicly or privately.

It is impossible to believe that anyone who voted yes for the Dunwoody referendum ever read this (or ever will) as this prohibition is kryptonite to all those Dunwoody zionists preaching local control. Dunwoody is modeled more after DeKalb Schools with powerless elected officials than after DeKalb county where our elected officials have real staff, real responsibilities and offer the electorate real control. In Dunwoody, voting in new bobble-heads only affects the entertainment value of council meetings. 

The third leg of this stool is the "enforce on complaint" practice. Here we look to Sec. 3.04. - City manager; powers and duties enumerated:

The city manager shall have the power, and it shall be his or her duty to:

(1)See that all laws and ordinances are enforced;
Job one: enforce all laws and ordinances. In what world is that: just sit on the sidelines until someone complains? No one should be complaining because if the city manager were getting the legally mandated job done there would be nothing to complain about. Why? Because if all laws and ordinances had been enforced then this one in particular would have been enforced three years ago. Isn't what the city is doing to us the very definition of dereliction of duty? And since the only thing mayor and council can do is upgrade the city manager, which they are not doing, they too seem to have dropped the ball. And none of this seems to bother any of them.

This brings us to the writ of mandamus, a court order forcing a government to do its job. Maybe it is time to pursue that path as we're living in the municipal equivalent of a failed state where clearly defined responsibilities are being ignored in deference to...who knows what. This city's failure has conditioned folks to believe that ordinances don't matter, which means your vote doesn't matter, because the council vote doesn't matter. Just ignore what you don't like and hope no one important complains. And had the city done its job these dinos would not have been up long enough for folks to come to believe if something is popular or you get away with it long enough then it cannot be illegal even when it is. Is that what we want to teach our children? Because that is exactly what this city is doing.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Monday, September 4, 2023


You've heard of a trail before haven't you? You know, like the Appalachian Trail. Now that's a trail. This isn't:

Two Lane Highway?

When it is a road-sized strip of non-eco-friendly concrete (does anyone care about ecology anymore?) with a stripe down the middle it is nobody's definition of a "trail." Can you imagine the shock if any of those trail aficionados ever got to the AT. What would they call that? They've already used up "path" and "trail."