Thursday, November 30, 2023

Make It A Drinking Game

We've been suffering through a prolonged period of linguistic entropy. Some would blame it on social media, others on the pandemic, and some others on just increased general ignorance. Folks are misusing some words, abusing others, and making some up. There is an upside. You can make commonly abused words into "triggers," in a good way. You see one online in click-bait? Don't click. You hear the abuse on TV? Change the channel. Trip over one in something you're reading. Stop. Just stop. You can't make them stop, but you can stop yourself. 

Even better, if you have the time and inclination, then when confronted with an odious affront to intellect, take a sip. Preferably an adult libation. Let's look at a few shot-worthy nuggets.

Bussing or busses. This one you've got to see in print, but if they're not talking about getting some face time and making wet noises, fully clothed, then take a shot. Given spell checkers routinely flag this, seemingly not artificially intelligent enough to know the other meaning, it is an unconscionable infraction. Maybe two fingers. 

Physicality. While this does pass the spell checker it is still wrong, more than mildly unpleasant to the ear. It seems to have originated with jocks-turned-sportscasters trying to sound like they learned something during their college years. Certainly deserves taking a sip and will help soothe the pain of a losing game. 

Athleticism. Often used in the near occasion of physicality which accelerates the listener towards a solid buzz. Depending on the banter and color commentary you could be in the "just don't care" zone before the end of the first quarter. Even with the new clock rules. 

Hack. If something isn't getting chopped up or the reference isn't to a watch movement just close your eyes and take a long, deep sip. This usually is found in writing, almost always on the interweb finding its way into the clickable headline. Do. Not. Click. There is nothing on the other end of that link but unadulterated crap. Take that solid gulp and stay safe.

These are just a few examples, and surely there are many, many more. Plus, they are making them faster than you can gag on them. Thankfully you can vaccinate yourself against this brain rot with a healthy dose of brain bleach. Remember: thirst is a dangerous thing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

End RoR

If the city really wants to make the village pedestrian friendly there are a few things they can do. 

They could start enforcing traffic laws. Dunwoody apparently has such a widespread reputation for non-enforcement that speeding is more the rule than the exception and red lights are frequently run with drivers sometimes flooring it ten yards before the crosswalk. Heaven forbid a pedestrian thought red means red and began to cross. Enforcement has never been even a bottom-of-the-list priority and that is not going to change. Apparently actual public safety does not garner awards. 

Something other jurisdictions are trying is eliminating Right-on-Red (RoR) as drivers never look to their right and will flatten any pedestrian trying to cross, even though the pedestrian has the walk-man light right of way. This change could make a significant improvement in pedestrian safety, much more so than banning drive through windows which the city seems hell-bent on doing. Could the mayor still be miffed about those trash cans at Burger King?

Of course outlawing RoR won't actually work because this city manager is never going to enforce traffic laws even though it is his top priority job. And yet...he keeps that job.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Guinea Pigs

In the lip flapping leading up to the Trail Bond vote King John observed that Shining PATH did not have experience in putting their pavement in areas like Dunwoody which requires locating it in folks front and back yards. It is almost as if Dunwoody was/is a "what if trial balloon." 

But why Dunwoody? Is it just because city hall hasn't seen a project they don't like whether we do or not?

And...why not somewhere else? How about Morningside? Maybe Ansley park? Don't they need sweat walking to their fave eateries? Or here's an even better idea: put their pavement in Buckhead it is sure to impact the crime situation. And think about it, wouldn't the governor love one of these in his front yard?

Monday, November 20, 2023

Bless Their Hearts

Seems like city hall has joined the special olympics of city services having replace the broken light on the parkway. With a bright white LED creature that doesn't even look like the others. Maybe they'll say it is for safety but what about the one right next to it that works only intermittently? Isn't that unsafe at least some of the time. 

All you can say it "bless their hearts."

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Is It A People Park?

Or is it a car park? Seems the current plan for the park on Roberts, previously the site of Austin Elementary, calls for over one hundred parking spaces. When called out on social media regarding why the hell you need 100+ parking spaces the retort suggested this was just a preliminary plan and could be changed based on "community input." Guess who curates "community input." That's right, the very same folks who came up the the 100+ figure in the first place. So, yeah, it might change. Maybe when someone yells "switch" the decision maker will come up with a need for paving the entire park. 

Monday, November 13, 2023

Who Died?

This is an interesting nugget from the 2024 budget used as groundwork to justify never ending spending and associated taxation:
Today’s City needs police services but at a staffing level appropriate to the community, instead of the levels suggest by the incorporation study, along with compensation appropriate to retain officers. Repaving is being handled by SPLOST, but the transportation needs in a dense area such as Dunwoody are a never-ending battle. The current SPLOST has limits which have to be handled by tax dollars. The parks system, and now trails, are amenities that today’s residents expect. No longer is the desire modeled for this to be minimal efforts. Over half of the people living in the City today did not know the City before incorporation. They moved here from places with parks and trails and expect the same – along with programming befitting those features.
Now let's try to keep true to one thing: we (used to) have a democratic form of government. The unelected bureaucrats at city hall really, really hate that and will do anything to undermine democratic rule by the people. Especially if that means they might have tighten a few belts. But here's something all fans of democracy should rally behind: the referendum forming Dunwoody was ratified by the electorate to be the city that was put before them and changing that should come from a similar vote, not by some army of self-serving unelected bureaucrats.  After all, who died and made them god?

You might argue that the recent Trail Referendum (be honest, a vast majority of that money was going to PATH, which is why they weren't transparent) is just such an update to the original referendum. If you make that argument, or if you were involved in both votes, you may begin to wonder just where this train went off the rails. You see, the cumulative inflation since this city was founded to today is 43% yet the 2024 budget is over double the inflation adjusted budget we voted for at incorporation. Again, who died?

Maybe it is time to right-size this city. We can start by eliminating the assistant city manager position and hire a city manager that will be committed to and deliver on what the electorate, and the city charter they approved, demand. 

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Shaken, Not Stirred

Bond. Trails Bond. Apparently the any-debt-at-any-cost crowd are crying in their martinis. But no worry, if you can afford to live in Dunwoody you can afford a top shelf martini. Or so went the logic.

Problem is, that kind of logic did not resonate with the crowd who, almost 15 years ago, voted to create a city they thought would be characterized by fiscal responsibility, limited government and local control. As it turns out, the city charter minimizes voter input and local control except in those instances where a referendum is required for city bureaucrats to "grow the city." Such was the case with the rather deceptively named "parks bond" referendum. 

The postmortems have already begun and the do-over committees are probably forming so, well, let's pile on. 

Start with the name. It is deceptive on many levels. First it was to cover parks, which almost everyone favored and highway lanes (even more deceptively) branded as "trails." Worse yet, there was not a list of specific projects with pricing, just a bucket of items like a list a four year old child hands to Santa but no where near as specific as "I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!" More like "I'll have the whole bag and I'll take what I want when the mood strikes me." There is enough confidence in what goes on at city hall and how they operate to make some folks wonder if what would come out of the bag would be PATH's choices over the community choices. 

And city hall knew that PATH's choices were not popular amongst the populace which is why they bundled it with parks and refused to allow an up-down vote on each independently. Separation would also have required they expose exactly how much they intended to allocate to parks and how much they would direct to PATH. So they chose to piggyback something bad on something good as if they were the US congress or something. Works when voters aren't directly involved. Not so much this time. 

There was mischaracterization on both sides. The debt-averse crowd characterized the bond as a "blank check" which the mayor curtly dismissed by remarking, correctly, that it is not a blank check. Left unsaid was that it is better characterized as a slush fund (see previous observation that no concrete prioritized list was provided). The pro-debt crowd characterized the debt-averse as being "anti parks" without recognizing that the referendum included "trails" without constraint on parks vs "trail" priority or expenditures with no protection against PATH running away with all the money. 

Then it got personal with the debt-lovers characterizing the debt-haters as olde fartes who were frozen in the 1970s and against any change. This kind of attack is not noteworthy other than it invoked the Dunwoody version of Godwin's law. This degenerated to invitations to move if you don't like debt-funded changes or a Dunwoody that is nothing more than a cookie-cutter copy of neighboring cities. A bit like watching the folks with all the shiny objects trying to convince the millionaire next door to keep up with the Jones'. Entertaining to watch for the first couple of rounds but quickly turns painful. 

One can never have a contentious political debate without yard signs and one cannot have yard signs without someone removing the opponents' signs. When some debt-averse signagers pointed out that their signs went missing the retort from across the chasm was "the city did this." Not clear if that is true but everyone should certainly hope that it isn't. A city that shows disdain for their own responsibility to police signs in the Village should probably not be pulling down political signs advocating against the city's wishes. Not a good look. 

The pro-debt crowd used a common tactic to dismiss the 53% tax increase that the bond payoff represents by claiming you have to compare that increase to your total property tax bill. Actually, no you don't. You see, the only taxes that the city can directly affect is, well, the city tax. Kinda obvious if you think about it. So when they propose to add more than 50% to their bill they are just looking for a way around the charter restriction on millage rate, which turns out to have been a very good idea to prevent runaway spending. It got funny when the pro-debtors started insulting the other side because some of them weren't aware of what services were provided by the city vs the county when they argued for better priorities. See, you can compare taxes to school and county taxes but you must be oh so clear about the services. 

One thing neither side mentioned was that the bond tax is regressive. Apartment owners do not get a property assessment freeze (homeowners do) and they do not get a homestead exemption (homeowners do) so they are going to pass the increased cost directly to renters, driving up rents. And this is when the city is promoting more and more apartments as "affordable housing" while at the same time proposing a tax that will make rents less affordable. It is really amusing when blue fiscal policy runs counter to the blue agenda. 

Monday, November 6, 2023


Dunwoody debt advocates have promoted their passionate desire by suggesting they want to "invest" in "infrastructure" as odd as that may sound. And what will become of this investment, this infrastructure? Well, let's look at some of the previous infrastructure investments, namely Dunwoody Village Parkway. 

If you've been paying attention you'll have noticed that the eco-warriors at city hall were all eliminated having only just foisted those garish LED streetlights on us. For the Parkway? Well they get the warm glow of old school technology. When it works. If you happen to stroll the parkway after dark you'll notice that between one in five to one in four work only intermittently. At best. At least one has sustained obvious, visible damage and never works. 

This is how Dunwoody maintains their "infrastructure investments." Apparently there is no grant money available for upkeep.

Thursday, November 2, 2023