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Thank you for your interest in the City of Tucker.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Future of DeKalb County

How the Proposed New Cities Will Transform DeKalb County

This map incorporates the decision of the House Governmental Affairs Committee regarding the final boundaries for the proposed City of Tucker and the proposed City of LaVista Hills. Also shown are the current annexation plans for Decatur, Avondale Estates and Stone Mountain.

The talked about annexation of Druid Hills by the City of Atlanta is also included, although it has little change of ever happening. That proposal will have to be approved by the DeKalb Delegation of the General Assembly as a Local Bill, a remote possibility given how this proposal will devastate the DeKalb County School District.

Both the proposed City of Stonecrest and the City of South DeKalb are also indicated, although neither proposal is likely to be considered in the next legislative session. The city limits for South DeKalb have been adjusted from their current proposed map, in deference to the future annexatioin interests of Stone Mountain, Pinelake and Clarkston.

The recently approved annexations for Doraville and Brookhaven are fully incorporated. Note the islands now found between Doraville and LaVista Hills, as those voters recently rejected the Doraville annexation. Will they be forced into LaVista Hills? That seems to be Sen. Millar's intention.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

And the Saga Continues . . .

The Brookhaven Post has been diligent in its pursuit of the truth behind the Executive Park and CHOA request to be annexed into Brookhaven. On October 17, Tom Doolittle, a contributor to the Brookhaven Post, published an account of the DeKalb Delegation public hearing, held on October 13th in the Brookhaven City Hall. The article includes several videos of the meeting, the viewing of which is its own reward. His article can be found HERE.

The Post provided a follow up article today, found HERE, which includes maps provided by the property owners of the proposed annexation, as well as a composite map assembled by The Post. 

Smaller versions of those maps are reproduced here. (After the break.)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Brookhaven Meddling . . . Again?

Brookhaven Considers Annexation South of I-85 to Include Executive Park & Children's Hospital of Atlanta

The City of Brookhaven is considering applications from Executive Park and the nearby Children's Hospital of Atlanta for annexation into the City.  As those properties under consideration are exclusively commercial, they can be annexed by Brookhaven using either the 100% method or the 60% method, both procedures allowing annexation solely by a vote of the Brookhaven City Council. The state legislature is not involved, and a referendum by residents (there are none) would NOT be required.

The annexations, if they proceed, will have a potentially serious impact on the proposed City of Lakeside/Briarcliff. I say potentially due to the fact that this area was NOT included in the proposed City of Lakeside until the very last map, engineered by Rep. Mike Jacobs (R), Brookhaven, which would be version 7 for Lakeside.  It was NOT included in the feasibility study for Lakeside. This area has always been included in the proposed City of Briarcliff proposed boundaries and feasibility study.

This is an interesting twist for Brookhaven for three reasons. First, when Dunwoody first formed, they had initially sought to include major commercial properties south of I-285, but backed off when complaints were noted that they would be depriving any future city south of I-285 from potential revenue. Dunwoody deferred to the then non-existent possiblity of a City of Brookhaven, at that point merely a twinkle in the eye of Rep. Jacobs. Second, Brookhaven found itself in a serious kerfluffle when it tried the same play with Century Century, after Chamblee had already been allowed to pursue annexation of the area by the state legislature. Brookhaven eventually backed away from that battle. And third, when the City of Lakeside's first map was issued, both Brookhaven and Chamblee pundits objected to Lakeside jumping I-85 to include revenue-rich commercial properties. Lakeside immediately deferred to those concerns.

Monday, October 6, 2014

DeKalb County Organizational Act

The DeKalb County Organizational Act

During the discussions of the DeKalb County Operations Task Force (OTF), the Organizational Act for the County has been a regular focus of their discussions. Unfortunately, there has been some confusion over the exact requirements and language of the Organizational Act, combined with the fact that only a select few members of the Task Force have any familiarity with the Act.

Confusing the matter even more, a pdf version of the Organizational Act, scanned from an original document found somewhere in the dusty files of the county's legal department and made available to the OTF and the public, differs from the version found on Municode, the official repository of all current laws for DeKalb County.

Both versions of the Organizational Act are available here and are downloadable. The version from Municode, the official version available HERE, was downloaded and combined into a single Word file, reformatted for spacing and outlining, and turned into a pdf document. This is an accurate copy of the Organizational Act as of September, 2014, but should always be regarded as UNOFFICIAL, due the circumstances of its creation, and that it is NOT being distributed by the county.

Both versions, after the break:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

DeKalb County Sunday Voting

Sen Fran Millar - Racist?

Sen. Fran Miller certainly created a firestorm with his sharp criticism of interim CEO Lee May's announcement of the opening of a Sunday voting site to be opened just prior to the general election in November, to be located at South DeKalb Mall.  He was concerned that this was UNFAIR because the new location is located in a predominantly African-American (meaning Democrat and uneducated) part of the county, whereas his Republican constituency (meaning white and wealthy) in the north end of the county were being denied an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY to vote.

All told, this is very consistent with the national Republican Party's remarkable efforts to deny the vote to poor and Democratic voters at every opportunity.

Perhaps if he had looked at a map he would have realized he just should have kept his mouth shut.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

But You Left Out the Franchise Fees!

Brookhaven Explains It All

Brookhaven recently mailed out a flier, titled The Facts About Property Tax In Brookhaven, to every property owner within the City limits. In an attempt to justify their position that property taxes are lower in Brookhaven when compared to adjacent areas of unincorporated DeKalb County, Brookhaven has provided a point-by-point analysis of the tax advantages supposedly enjoyed by City residents.

The Truth-O-Meter In Action!

In an article titled Claim Exaggerates Tax Savings, PolitiFact Georgia, a joint site managed by and, took a hard look at the numbers provided in the flier and attempted to determine just how accurate Brookhaven's claims actually were. Their analysis can be found HERE.

In essense, where Brookhaven claims that tax savings for a home valued at $200,00 would be $260.84 per year. PolitiFact, in its analysis, determined that the true savings for that same home would be less than $50.00 per year. Ultimately, PolitiFact rated Brookhaven's claim as Half True.

But Where Are the Franchise Fees?

In reading the both the flyer and the PolitiFact article, we note that both groups omitted the impact of franchise fees on their city revenues, exactly how much is paid by City residents and how those fees vary between the new cities and the County. In researching franchise fees, I've found it is problematic to determine exactly how they work, who pays what, who ultimately receives that revenue, and just how it is accounted for. In general, cities may collect franchise fees that the County cannot, but franchise fees are assessed on both city and county residents, often unknowingly. Some franchise fees paid by unincorporated residents are distributed to cities statewide, but not to the County which generates them. A tricky slope indeed, franchise fees.

So what impact do franchise fees have on Brookhaven's budget? And how does that compare to the County? They're not saying, and its quite possible that nobody really knows for sure.

The flier itself, after the break.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What Do You Do When The Hired Expert . . . Isn't So Expert?


GSU Presentation to the DeKalb Operations Task Force

At the recent DeKalb County Operations Task Force meeting, held on July 16, 2014, a presentation to the Committee On Municipalization / Annexation was made by Dr. Laura Wheeler, a Senior Research Associate with the Fiscal Research Center of the GSU Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.

During her presentation, which was marred by a computer failure which kept her PowerPoint presentation from being displayed, Dr. Wheeler made several statements that some in the audience knew to be incorrect or misleading. This was disappointing to hear, considering the supposed expertise that Dr. Wheeler, and by extension, the Andrew Young School, was expected to bring to the proceedings. What is worse is that the committee members, believing her to be an expert in these matters, were highly inclined to believe that everything she referenced was true and correct. Given the minimal level of their understanding of the issues before them, and my impression that these committee members are not inclined to do their own homework, this does not bode well for the entire process.

A audio recording of the meeting can be found HERE. This is the only accurate documentation of what was said in the meeting as it was not televised or recorded by the County.

Herman Lorenz, of the City of Briarcliff Initiative, was in the audience and was equally troubled by what he heard. As Herman is one of the most knowledgeable and well-read individuals in the entire incorporation debate, his words should be heard and appreciated. His understanding and expertise on many of the issues before the Task Force would seem to go well beyond that of their hired 'expert'.

Operations Task Force - Meeting of the Committee On Municipalization/Annexation

Please note that only 5 of the 8 appointed committee members bothered to show up. (The list of committee appointments can be found HERE.) Commissioner Stan Watson, Rep. Mike Jacobs and BoE member Jim McMahan were absent. I would further note that Commissioner Watson has not shown up to ANY of the Task Force meetings.

Herman's comments, after the break.

Second Verse, Same as the First!

Clarkston Gets Its Re-vote on Annexation

The annexation in Area 1 is now scheduled for a "re-run" election on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, Election Day in the United States.

We've been closely following the proposed Clarkston annexations for a while now and earlier this week noted how the annexation question had inexplicably disappeared, given the tie vote in Area 1, and Clarkston's intent for a second vote. Having asked the question earlier this week, we now have the answers.

Clarkston had filed a petition against the DeKalb County Board of Registrations and Elections, after their refusal to allow a re-vote on the annexation of Area 1, as they maintained that the tie vote, under Georgia law, constituted a rejection of the referendum, normally requiring 50% + 1 Yes vote to pass. But as seen Clarkston's petition (which can be found HERE) they cited two reasons which justified a "Re-Run" of the vote.

1) The Bill Was Poorly Written

The local bill for annexation, HB 1128, allowed for separate votes for annexation in both Area 1 (Part 2-B) and Area 2 (Part 1-A).  Area 2 failed to pass; Area 1 was tied 35-35.  In HB 1128, you will find the following language:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Whatever Happened With the . . .

Clarkston Annexation?

Clarkston had considered annexing several areas surrounding the City, and ultimately chose to formally pursue annexation of two specific districts, one to the west, crossing over to the far side of I-285, and a larger one to the northeast. The grand annexation plans were covered in this article, The Optimistic Cartographer. The vote for annexation was held in the May 20 primary, and ultimately failed, as explained in The Voters Say No to Clarkston.

Or did it?

Each area voted in separately considered votes, meaning either area could be approved by the voters without the other. In the vote, the area to the west was voted down by the overwhelming vote of 9 No to 5 Yes. The vote in the area to the northeast, around Brockett Road, was tied at 35-35. Under Georgia election laws, for the referendum to be approved, a 50% plus 1 vote is required. A tie represents a No decision, and the referendum fails.

Or does it?

After the election, Clarkston announced that there would be a runoff election to reconsider the vote on annexation in the Brockett Road area, in approximately 4 weeks. But no second vote was held in that time frame. Although surprised a runoff was even being considered, I thought it odd that they wouldn't wait for the already scheduled July 22 runoff date, particularly since the annexation was not scheduled to actually take place until the end of the year.The first supposed date for the runoff came and went without a sound. Presumably, the re-vote WAS scheduled for the July 22 runoff date.

Or was it?

There was no other notice or other activity in Clarkston, on its webpage or on the local FaceBook pages regarding a re-vote on annexation. No campaigning, no yard signs, no rallies. A quick check on election day at the Jolly Elementary precinct confirmed that no vote on annexation was scheduled that day. It's a mystery.

Or is it?

Inquiries at the Clarkston City Hall revealed some, if not all, of the truth. Although the exact sequence of events remains unknown, apparently the DeKalb County Elections Board refused to schedule the runoff vote for annexation as was requested by Clarkston. We can only presume this was due to the 50% plus 1 requirement for voter approval. As far as the Election Board was concerned, the referendum lost, and did not qualify for a revote. A recount maybe (with only 70 votes, we already know they tried that), but not a revote. Case closed.

But wait. There's more.

The DeKalb County Sheriff Runoff Vote

Maps detailing how the runoff vote for Sheriff played out in DeKalb County.

The incumbent Sheriff Jeff Mann was running against the ex-CEO of DeKalb County Vernon Jones. The runoff was held July 22, 2014.

In the runoff vote, Sheriff Jeff Mann defeated Vernon Jones - 40,537 to 12,553 (76.36% to 23.64%). The 53,090 voters represented 13.61% of the 389,998 registered voters in DeKalb County.

A map of DeKalb County illustrating how each precinct voted.

A map of DeKalb County illustrating the percentage of registered voters who participated in the runoff election. Kudos go out to Smoke Rise and Avondale Estates!

A spreadsheet of the vote totals by precinct can be found after the break.

Friday, May 30, 2014


The DeKalb Government Operations Task Force lives! For REAL!

Yesterday, May 29, 2014, DeKalb Interim CEO finally issued details of the DeKalb Government Operations Task Force, tasked with EXPLORING and STUDYING various issues related to county government, city annexations and new city incorporation, and HOST distribution.

Its first meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 5, 6 to 8PM, in the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, in downtown Decatur.

Lee May's original Executive Order for the Task Force can be found HERE.

Following is the complete news release from DeKalb County with photos and links for the Task Force members, followed by a quick commentary from the City of Briarcliff Initiative's esteemed Herman Lorenz.

ETA: Changes to the Task Force membership on June 2, 2014.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Voters Say NO to Clarkston

Only 84 Voters Participated in the Clarkston Annexation Referendum

 The City of Clarkston, largely in response to the possibility of new cities close to or adjacent to Clarkston, had developed an annexation plan for two separate areas adjacent to the City. Their interest in annexation prompted both city movements for Briarcliff and Tucker to adjust their proposed borders in deference to Clarkston's interest in those areas.

The referendum vote on the annexation was held this past primary day, May 20th. The two proposed areas were considered separately, which allowed for an up or down vote for each unique area, the two were not tied together. For whatever reason, finding the results initially proved to be something of a challenge, but they are easily found today.

Both areas were voted down in the referendum. A total of 84 voters participated in the referendum, 14 in Part 1-A (6% of a registered 231 voters) and 70 in Part 2-B (from a total of 2,122 registered voters - a paltry 3% participation). The labels assigned to each area can be confusing as the map drawn by Clarkston conflicted with the published study, and none of the references were used in the bill approved by the General Assembly.  Part 1-A (Area 2 on their map) is the area to the west of the City, crossing I-285, and Part 2-B (Area 1 on their map) spans Brockett Road, to the City's northeast. Part 1-A was voted down in a 9 No to 5 Yes landslide, while the vote for Part 2-B was TIED, remarkably enough, at 35-35. In a tie vote, the No vote should prevail, as Georgia requires a 50% + 1 clear majority to be approved. I suspect Clarkston may be preparing a case to challenge the results.

Map and  formal results, after the break.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Kevin Levitas Tries To Keep It Up - Even MORE Sophomoric Ranting! (Sigh . . .)

Kevin Levitas Just Can't Stop Digging That Hole of His

On his personal blog, ex-Representative, ex-Democrat, and ex-LCA-co-chair Kevin Levitas continues to expound upon his epic failure to pass the LCA sponsored Lakeside incorporation bill in this past legislative session, and persists in blaming everyone but himself. In this particular article he is focusing on Tucker's proposed map, and what he seems to think was the motivation behind its proposed border. He couldn't be more wrong. 

I am reposting his article here, in its entirety, as a service to the Tucker community. My personal response follows.

Perusing his blog, I have three suggestions for Mr. Levitas:
1.  Man up and grow a pair!
2. Get some help on your graphics. (All images below are from his blog article. Don't blame me.)
3. Keep trying! As we all know 'Practice Makes Perfect!'

Enjoy the repartee, after the break!

Slate's David Weigel Visits Georgia. This Is What He Saw.

David Weigel, a political journalist for the on-line Slate Magazine, while generally focusing on conservative political issues in his blog articles for Slate, seems to be all over the map in his political inclinations. (You can find his Wikipedia article HERE.) I have found his articles to be required reading.

Mr. Weigel recently visited Georgia and subsequently wrote several articles for Slate focusing on Georgia politics. For a conservative, he is remarkably positive about the future prospects of the Democratic Party in Georgia, while offering some brilliantly scathing commentary about a few of our Republican candidates.

There's still hope for us yet!

Following are links to his recent articles:

Can Georgia Democrats Make the State Turn Blue Ahead of Schedule?

How Red Can You Get?

The Third Coming of Bob Barr?

Watch the Homophobic Ad That a Losing Candidate is Running in Georgia

Read What Georgia's Michelle Nunn Actually Said About Obamacare

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kevin Levitas: 'F*** Y**, Briarcliff!'

Kevin Levitas
Former LCA co-chair
Kevin Levitas is STILL upset, and STILL refuses to take responsibility for LCA's failure.

In the comment section of a COBI Facebook article, Kevin Levitas, former co-chair of the Lakeside City Alliance (and former state representative and former Democrat) makes no bones about his feelings regarding the City of Briarcliff Initiative's role in the recent cityhood hearings in the House of Representatives. In his comment, Mr. Levitas belittles COBI's efforts over the past year, and insults every DeKalb citizen who supported COBI's proposal.  We can only shake our head at this shameful fingerpointing and blame game that the LCA has presented to its adoring public.

Mr. Levitas's comment, and a response from COBI board member Keith Hanks, after the break. In this reposting, I have edited the comments into a cleaner outline version, for readibility's sake. These comments can be a challenge to find in the Facebook system.

A Snake In the Meadows

Kevin Levitas accuses Rep. John Meadows of being a SNAKE! Ooooooo, burn!

In a clever play on words, Kevin Levitas, former co-chair of the Lakeside City Alliance, takes on Rep. John Meadows, R - Calhoun, the powerful Chair of the House Rules Committee. Former representative (and former Democrat) Levitas is personally, and singularly, blaming Rep. Meadows for the 'failure' of the LCA's proposal for the new City of Lakeside to pass the General Assembly in the 2013-14 legislative session.

Rep. Meadows' power in the legislature comes from his position as Chair of the Rules Committee, where he can personally guarantee the success or failure of any bill that comes out of any House committee.  Seems to me its not all that wise to piss off one of the two or three men in the state government who can personally kill your pet project. I guess that's why Mr. Levitas is now being billed as the FORMER chair of the LCA. Oh well, business as usual for the LCA.

Read for yourself, in the article as posted to zpolitics. Click HERE for the original article.

His article, after the break.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Emory Has a Plan!

Emory and Atlanta, Sitting In a Tree, K - I - S - S - I - N - G

Well, maybe not so much - yet.  But word on the street is that Emory is certainly exploring the option of being annexed by the City of Atlanta, and have had informal talks to that end. And they already know pretty much how they can go about it.

The recent incorporation debate between the City of Briarcliff Initiative (COBI) and the Lakeside City Alliance (LCA) certainly got Emory's attention, to the point they began to internally evaluate just what their identity was, and what impact possible incorporation would have on that identity. It certainly did not help when the proposed Lakeside southern boundary was bouncing around hither and yon just north of the Emory campus. When the surprise Lakeside map that was issued only after approval by the Senate committee, Emory was shocked to see the new southern boundary actually divided the Emory Campus in half. At that point they made it clear to St. Francis of Dunwoody that that was absolutely unacceptable and they demanded that the Emory campus, and the adjacent neighborhoods, be left out of the LCA plan.  Regarding COBI and the City of Briarcliff, they were officially neutral to that proposal, as they realized there was little room for negotiation with COBI. However, that doesn't mean they did not speak privately with certain legislators in the General Assembly to make sure they privately understood Emory's position. But, by that point, the question was moot as it had become clear that Briarcliff would go nowhere as long as Lakeside remained a possibility.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Residents Fight to Save the City That Isn't There

Residents Fight to Save the City That Isn't There

An article in USA Today, featuring Tucker, its long history, its active community and its battle against the Forces of Evil, represented by the LCA and the proposed City of Lakeside, may it rest in peace.

The main article can be found HERE.

Kevin Levitas Responds to the AJC

Kevin Levitas

LCA's Kevin Levitas' response to AJC editorial/reporting staff re: one-sided article from 3/23/13: 

While I do not anticipate that any what follows will make it into a follow-up article or as part of a retraction, it is nonetheless important to have a record of the facts because the truth really does matter. I have spoken with you both you repeatedly and at length over the last year about cityhood and have been easy to reach, so shame on you for not having the journalistic integrity to engage in even remedial fact-checking before submitting your flawed piece. 

I will respond to the erroneous points raised in the order in which you presented them:

1. "[D]esperate Lakeside backers, who were watching their effort fall apart last week, drafted Jacobs to work his magic again." This is utterly false. At no time did anyone from the Lakeside City Alliance ask or "draft" Rep. Jacobs into the process. Rep. Jacobs's statements to the House Governmental Affairs Committee came as a surprise to Alliance members and, I believe, to the sponsor of SB 270. 

2. Lakeside had "an identity based around a high school district, not a historic community." One of the more tiresome notions espoused by April and other pro-Tucker supporters is the idea that Tucker is a "real" community, but other areas are not. Tucker is, of course, a strong and historic community, but the idea that our community is somehow less historic is absurd. 

My writing to correct the many grievous errors you published is not the proper venue for a history lesson, and your post-hoc education cannot “unprint” your misstatements. Nonetheless, it might be interesting for you, at another time, to examine who Greenville Henderson was, where he lived and the genesis of communities between modern-day Tucker and Chamblee. Before you went to press, you might have spoken with longtime members of our community to get some minimal background, but, as your hit-piece now attests, you chose to opt for a less labor-intensive route. 

The discussion above, however, somewhat misses the larger point, which is: for those of us who were born and raised in this part of DeKalb County, who love, who have served and who continue to serve our community, it is offensive and crass to suggest that we are somehow unequal to Tucker. You do not need to denigrate one community in order to promote another in your story. It is regrettable that you chose this path.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The DeKalb Executive Order

Lee May Issues an Executive Order for the Creation of a Task Force on DeKalb County Operations

Having lucked out and gotten their one-year moratorium by default, not merit, DeKalb County Interim Chief Executive Officer Lee May has issued an Executive Order with the purported purpose of examining DeKalb County government, county services and incorporation.

The Executive Order can be seen, after the break.

"They Were a Sleeping Dog . . " .

Give Me a 'T'!
Why Lakeside Cityhood Push Failed

An article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Friday, March 21, 2014, by April Hunt and Bill Torpy, is a well-written, in-depth article exploring the legislative push for the City of Lakeside, the forces gathered against it, and the ultimate reasons it failed.

The article can be found HERE. For the moment it is not behind the pay-to-view firewall.

Tucker Resident Honored by Legislature!


Tucker Resident Commended in House Resolution!

A Tucker resident was given an incredible honor by the House of Representatives in the closing days of its 2014 session, in a Resolution honoring and commending their contribution to our community. Coming as an absolute and total surprise, the Resolution recognizes the incredible work, community involvement and influence of our friend and neighbor.

We should all give a hearty Well Done! and Thank You! to this fine and upstanding citizen.

The formal Resolution can be found after the break.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Alrighty Then, Let's Roll Up Our Sleeves and Get Back To Work!

How the Mighty Have Fallen!

The Lakeside Bill Dies In Committee! Actually It and St. Francis of Dunwoody Went Down In a MURDER - SUICIDE.

The recording of the House Governmental Affairs Committee meeting, held on March 17, 2014, can be found HERE.

With our apologies, we should note that the Live Stream of the hearing started late and only begins after Rep. Mike Jacobs has begun his testimony. The recording lasts less than 16 minutes. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

LCA Shenanigans

Credibility is not their strong suit.

For all seven versions of the Lakeside map, including the latest, issued on Friday, March 14, 2014, look back at the previous article on this blog - Lakeside Rapes the Tucker Community. Again. This article has been updated to keep all the Lakeside maps together in one spot.

To the other article, click HERE.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A New Tucker Map. So, What Else Is New?

If this keeps up, I'm going to run out of space on this blog.

The latest change merely puts the entire Pleasantdale precinct back into Lakeside. Tucker got nothing in exchange.

This is the version of Tucker that will be used at the next Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, now scheduled for Monday afternoon, March 17, 2014. Unless, of course, it changes before hand, as is their wont. A St. Patty's Day surprise, perhaps?

The current official Lakeside-Tucker map, prepared by the General Assembly GIS office, after the break.

ETA: The new official map as issued by Tucker 2014, on Sunday, March 16, 2014, also after the break.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The LCA Is Broken, Truly Broken

The True Nature of Your Typical LCA Supporter

I received the following emails in response to the article I posted March 13, 2014, titled How To fix That Map.  This came from an ardent supporter of LCA and the proposed city of Lakeside who I have had occasional conversations with over the past year. I posted an earlier exchange back on April 17, 2013,  Tucker Discussions (Yahoo Groups) A Civil Exchange, when things were just starting and we were all more civil and respectful.  Of course, civility is no indicator of decency or truthfulness. 

Faithful readers may remember previous articles I've posted featuring LCA appointed minions.  An Uncivil Exchange on the North Druid Hills Patch, featuring Ralph, April 21, 2013, Betsy Parks' Virulent Rant, June 27, 2013, The Proposed New City of RandyRand, June 27, 2013 and Scottdale, featuring RandyRand, July 12, 2013. 

This individual lives in the Livsey area, and even after Wednesday's events (disco maps), continues to remain within Lakeside, largely because St. Francis of Dunwoody continues to look after his most adoring fan, a neighbor, just down the street.  I had expected those of their ilk to be thrilled, and I was anticipating a variety of boisterous in-your-face tainted emails and comments on Patch. What I did get came as quite a surprise, in its bitterness, anger and sheer unadulterated arrogance. Read for yourself.  

This is the Heart and Soul of the LCA proponents and their minions. They have been edited to remove personal references of the innocent and unknowing. 

 The Emails, after the break. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How to Fix That Map!

The New Tucker-Lakeside Map Has a Few Problems

The map makers for the LCA aren't very sharp. As they are relying almost totally on the General Assembly's GIS office, they are forced to buy into their way of doing things. Unfortunately, these folks are set up primarily for demographic and financial analysis, and are not interested in getting into the gritty details of property lines and natural features. The power of the GIS system is all the data that can be mined simply by drawing a few lines on the map program, resulting in fairly accurate demographic information - population, racial and ethnic distribution, income, party affiliation - all those things of most interest to a politician. And this GIS program is based on the federally defined Census Blocks.

But for running a city, you need city borders that help in the distribution of services and avoiding confusing legal responsibilities. And that comes from borders based on property lines and natural features - rivers and creeks, ridges and valleys, and maybe railroads. Street right-of-way and center-lines should only be used as a last resort. Lines based on pre-existing voting precincts alone should not be an option. Lines should be drawn following the REAR property lines of those properties along a street, such that the street is only within one city. That way police and fire services do not have to be concerned over jurisdiction.  

But we have to deal with a consummate politician, Sen. Fran Millar (R), Dunwoody.  He only sees maps in terms of precincts and voter affiliation, and that will always result in maps based on the Census Blocks, however they have been defined. Highly evident in the previous decision to run the Lakeside border down the center of Midvale Road, splitting a unique and unified community of interest in two. 

In this light, I am asking the politicians and incorporation groups to take another look at the awkward line separating Lakeside and Tucker in the Midvale, Evansdale and Livsey area. If they were to follow the creek almost exclusively south of Evansdale Elementary School, any question of separating communities or school populations is largely eliminated. The creek simply makes the most sense.

ETA: Ahhh. Now I understand. I was informed tonight that Millar's border for Lakeside, reaching so deeply into the Livsey Elementary School district, was specifically designed to make sure a personal friend of his, a homeowner in the area, would be included within Lakeside. So disappointing that a politician would use such a personal and shallow relationship as his main reason for continuing to abuse the Tucker community. But then, as we all know, that's St. Francis of Dunwoody's style. Man, what an asshole. (And 'NO' Ms. Caroline, its not you.)

Another Map! After the LCA Is Forced (!) To Compromise With Tucker . . .

A new map for Tucker.

This map was negotiated between the LCA and Tucker2014 on the eve of the House Governmental Affairs Committee meeting ,held March 12, 2014, to consider SB 270 (the Lakeside incorporation bill.)

The apparent agreement would have allowed Lakeside to incorporate this year, using this map, while Tucker would have to wait until the 2015 session of the General Assembly.

The new Tucker?

The new Lakeside map (is this number 6?), and statements by Mary Kay Woodworth and Rep. Scott Holcomb, after the break.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

House Governmental Affairs Hearing on SB 270

Recording of the Governmental Affairs Committee to consider SB 270.

The most critical news out of this hearing is a motion to table further consideration of SB 270 to later in the Session.

Sen. Millar stated that Lakeside and Tucker had agreed to a mutual map whereas Lakeside removed the Midvale Elementary area (which I assume includes Hernderson Park) and the commercial areas south of Northlake Mall from their map. This would leave the Evansdale and Pleasantdale Elementary School areas within Lakeside, but how the line is drawn through the Livsey area is unstated.

Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver essentially gave up on Briarcliff and threw her support to Tucker, and made the motion to substitute the Tucker bill for Lakeside. This was voted down.

Another Representative on the Committee, John Meadows (R) Calhoun, noted the confusion present in the changed Lakeside bill (SB 270) and made the motion to table further consideration for that meeting. This was approved by 8-7 vote. It should be noted that Rep. Meadows is the powerful Chairman of the House Rules Committee.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Doraville Files a Bill! No, Wait . . . Twins!

Doraville Proposed Annexations

On March 10, 2014, the City of Doraville filed two annexation bills in the Georgia General Assembly. House Bills 1138 and 1139 were sponsored by Representatives Scott Holcomb (D), 81st, and Tom Taylor (R), 79th.

Two bills were prepared for this annexation to separate residential areas from commercial/industrial areas. As they are in separate bills, they can be handled differently, whether by a vote of the residents, or by direct annexation upon approval of the General Assembly.  HB 1138 covers the commercial/industrial areas, and is divided into three distinct and separate areas, although all are contiguous to Doraville. HB 1139 covers the residential neighborhoods. The text of the two bills, HB 1138 and HB 1139, can be found after the break.

If both bills are approved in the General Assembly, then the commercial/industrial areas would be annexed directly into the City of Doraville, without a vote or even the approval of the affected property owners. Residents of the area covered by HB 1139, would have a vote as scheduled by the General Assembly. It is very possible (it's happened before) that the residents of the affected areas might vote against annexation even if the commercial areas were annexed, which would make for a very awkward situation, particularly if the proposed cities of Tucker and Lakeside are approved.

A map of the proposed areas can also be found after the break.

UPDATE March 24, 2014:

Both Doraville bills passed the House on March 12, and the Senate on March 20. If signed into law by Governor Deal, the residential areas to be annexed, covered by HB 1139, will be voted upon by registered voters in the area on Election Day, Novermber, 2014. The commercial and industrial areas to be annexed, covered by HB 1128 A, B and C, shall become part of the City of Doraville on December 31, 2014, without a vote.

Avondale Estates Files a Bill!

Avondale Estates Proposed Annexations.

On March 7, 2014, the City of Avondale Estates filed an annexation bill in the General Assembly. House Bill 1130 was sponsored by Representatives Karla Drenner (D), 85th, Michele Henson (D), 86th, Scott Holcom (D), 81st, Mike Jacobs (D), 80th, and Karen Bennett (D), 94th.

The areas proposed to be annexed were described by text in the body of the bill  These areas included residential areas to the southwest, and light industrial areas to the north, specifically including Your DeKalb Farmers Market.

Both the bill, HB 1130, and a map illustrating the proposed annexation can be found after the break.

UPDATE March 24, 2014:

HB 1130 was approved by the House, unanimously in a vote for all pending bills of local legislation, on March 11, 2014. For whatever reason, the bill failed to pass through committee in the Senate and was therefore Not Approved.

Clarkston Files a Bill!

Clarkston Proposed Annexations.

On March 7, 2014, the City of Clarkston filed an annexation bill in the General Assembly. House Bill 1128 was sponsored by Representatives Michele Henson (D), 86th, Karla Drenner (D), 85th, Scott Holcom (D), 81st, Mike Jacobs (D), 80th, and Tom Taylor (R), 79th.

The areas proposed to be annexed were described by text in the body of the bill, and included Phase I, and Phase II, Area 2. These areas were described in a feasibility study that can be found on this blog, in the article posted February 23, 2014 titled The Optimistic Cartographer.

Both the bill, HB 1128, and a map illustrating the proposed annexation can be found after the break.

UPDATE 3/24/14: 

The annexation bill for Clarkston was approved by the Georgia House on March 11, by the Georgia Senate, as amended, on March 20, and re-approved by the House, as amended, on March 20. The amended bill added a second area to the northeast of Clarkston - Phase II, Area 1, as described in the Annexation Study, which can be found in the article titled The Optimistic Cartographer, March 11, 2014, on this blog.

As written, the Bill allows for two separate votes, one for each of the affected areas. As the votes are separate, either area could be approved for annexation, or not approved, independent of the vote in the other area. As per State law, residents inside the City of Clarkston, and residents in unincorporated areas of DeKalb County, will NOT have a vote.

The last minute change to the Bill, adding the area northeast of Clarkston, may have been in response to the bill allowing for the incorporation of Tucker failure to pass by committee, and would therefore not be in competition with Tucker. The last few maps for Tucker had removed this area from inclusion within the proposed Tucker boundaries.

It remains to be seen how voters will react to the prospect of annexation. Those residents in the northeast area may prefer to be included in the future City of Tucker and vote it down.

All maps and the final bill, after the break.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Now, It's Briarcliff's Turn! ( . . . and Lakeside, Too!)

On March 6, 2014, the City of Briarcliff Initiative (COBI) and the Lakeside City Alliance (LCA) were given an opportunity to present their case before the Georgia House of Representatives Government Affairs Committee (HGAC). Tucker 2014 had already made their presentation before the Committee, on February 27, 2014.

Recordings of the presentation, after the break!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tucker Has a New Map! (and Briarcliff, Too!)

New Maps for Tucker and Briarcliff, made public on February 28, 2014.

The Proposed City of Tucker

This new map shows three Voting Districts for the City of Tucker. From a previous statement made by a Tucker 2014 spokesman, the City Council will be composed of six Councilmen and the Mayor. Three of the Councilmen will be elected by district, and the other three Councilmen will be elected city wide. For each of the three city wide seats, all of the candidates for election must reside in one District, but are to be voted upon city wide. For example, for Council Seat 4, all the candidates must reside in District 1, but must run and be elected city wide.

The new maps, after the break!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tucker Makes It's Case!

Tucker Presents to the House Governmental Affairs Committee

On February 27, 2014, Tucker2014, the advocacy group for the proposed City of Tucker, was given the opportunity to present its case before the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Georgia House of Representatives.  Chariman Rep. Amy Carter (R), Valdosta, allowed Tucker just one hour for its presentation, while promising that both the LCA and COBI groups will also be allowed just one hour. This was the first time Tucker had an opportunity to speak before an official group within the General Assembly, as the process in the Georgia Senate was limited to just Lakeside. Unfortunately, only seven of the sixteen Representatives assigned to the committee were in attendance.

The Tucker presentation was made by Rep. Billy Mitchell (D), Stone Mountain, and Frank Auman, a Smoke Rise resident and former chairman of the DeKalb Republican Party.

The presentation was followed by public comments from the audience, divided into two groups, those against the bill, and those in favor.

A recording of the hearing follows, after the break.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

An Embarrassment in the Georgia Senate

Georgia Senate Votes to Approve SB 270, 32-17

No surprise there, given how few of our Republican Senators are capable of thinking for themselves. Or who will place the interests of Georgia citizens above their own. Kudos to the three Republicans who voted against SB 270.

A recording of the entire 52 minute Senate debate is available, after the break.

March 2, 2014 - Edited to add - The video of the Senate afternoon session is now available, after the break.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

First and Ten on the Forty, and Briarcliff . . . PUNTS?

The City of Briarcliff Initiative Changes Its Map

With the General Assembly deep into its 2014 session, the City of Briarcliff Initiative (COBI) took a hard look at its options and opted to redraw its map. Perhaps in response to pressure from its legislative sponsor, Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D)  House District 82 (who also lives in Decatur), COBI chose to defer to the existing cities of Decatur, Avondale Estates and Clarkston and their supposed annexation plans, and redrew its southern border to totally avoid conflicting with those proposed areas.

Let's hope we no longer have to hear their tiresome refrain of 'Logical Borders.'

We should also question why COBI didn't also pull back its eastern border so as to avoid conflict with the proposed City of Tucker in the Northlake area. As that area has been a subject of contention for all these several months, where neither side demonstrated any true desire to compromise, this would have been a particularly positive gesture to its kin in Tucker.

In moving their proposed southern border to the north, COBI also removed considerable commercial and industrial properties from their map, which could seriously impact the expected financial situation, as studied in the Carl Vinson Institute feasibility study.

As posted in the blog, both Decatur and Clarkston have studied annexation options in various areas surrounding their respective cities.  Decatur's interest in growth goes back several years, and has typically targeted commercial areas immediately adjacent to the City's existing borders. They have also avoided any large scale annexation of adjacent residential areas, specifically due to the potential negative impact on the City's school system. Annexation efforts pursued by Decatur in 2007 and 2012 were unsuccessful, largely due to resistance from the targeted areas, internal differences within Decatur itself and/or the failure to realize legislative sponsorship.  Annexation has been a low and failing priority in Decatur in the past decade, so its difficult to believe that the situation has improved markedly just because of Briarcliff.

A new map, after the break.

Play It Again, Sam

The City of Decatur Proposed Annexations - 2007-8, 2012 & 2014

Once again, the City of Decatur is looking at annexing various areas surrounding the city. But this time, their interest in annexation is compounded by the proposed City of Briarcliff, which had proposed its city limits to include all of unincorporated DeKalb County north and east of the Cities of Decatur and Avondale Esates.

The City of Decatur, first established in 1822, has a long history of annexation, growing from the original 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile square centered on the main square. Decatur didn't take on the prototypical circular form for its city limits until 1900. Decatur continued to grow in at least 4 documented additional stages until 1937. There were additional annexations after that year, but are mysteriously undocumented by the City.

The Optimistic Cartographer

The City of Clarkston Proposed Annexations

Partially in response to the new incorporation proposals for the Cities of Tucker and Briarcliff, the City of Clarkston prepared a study, Annexation Study - Phase I and Phase II, of possible annexations of adjacent areas of unincorporated DeKalb County. This study was prepared and submitted to the Clarkston City Council in the summer of 2013. Its current status in the General Assembly is currently unknown as no bill as been submitted as of today. Clarkston's current representatives in the General Assembly are Rep. Karla Drenner (D), House District 85, and Sen. Steve Henson (D), Senate District 41.  Rep. Michele Henson (D), House District 86, may also play a role as the some of the proposed areas for annexation are in her district.

The study focuses on 5 separate areas surrounding Clarkston. All five areas are primarily industrial and commercial, chosen to increase the tax base for the city while minimizing the need for additional city services. The overall map included in the study is deceptive in its scope, as it includes significant residential areas not proposed for annexation and not a part of the financial study. In fact, other than an optimistic cartographer, there is no real suggestion anywhere in the study that these residential areas are under serious consideration for annexation at all.

Several areas in the map, including significant residential communities not seriously proposed for annexation, are included in the proposed city boundaries for both Tucker and Briarcliff.  While Clarkston may be a great town with a long and proud history, it does not have a particularly strong reputation locally and is therefore not a favorite of the adjacent communities, particularly those north and west of I-285 and north of US 78. There can be no reasonable hope or expectation that those areas would ever voluntarily choose to join with the City of Clarkston. Of particular interest in this regard are those neighborhoods off of McClendon Road, and south of Lawrenceville Highway, which include the Emory Northlake Orthopaedics and Spine Hospital, and the new John's Homestead Park enthusiastically adopted by the Tucker community. COBI has unfortunately chosen to redraw their map to totally disassociate themselves from those areas in the Clarkston annexation map, even those areas with no reasonable expectation of annexation. I suspect that the residents off of McClendon Road are sorely disappointed with this pusillanimous decision on COBI's part.

Maps of the proposed annexations, and the Annexation Study, follow after the break.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Star Spangled Banner

The Star Spangled Banner

Quick Facts About the Star Spangled Banner

  • Made in Baltimore, Maryland, in July-August 1813 by flagmaker Mary Pickersgill
  • Commissioned by Major George Armistead, commander of Fort McHenry
  • Original size: 30 feet by 42 feet
  • Current size: 30 feet by 34 feet
  • Fifteen stars and fifteen stripes (one star has been cut out)
  • Raised over Fort McHenry on the morning of September 14, 1814, to signal American victory over the British in the Battle of Baltimore; the sight inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner”
  • Preserved by the Armistead family as a memento of the battle
  • First loaned to the Smithsonian Institution in 1907; converted to permanent gift in 1912
  • On exhibit at the National Museum of American History since 1964
From the Encyclopedia Smithsonian, found here.

A hauntingly beautiful, and totally unique, rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, after the break.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The LCA Rapes the Tucker Community. Again.

The LCA Embarrasses Itself Once Again

The Lakeside City Alliance, through the despicable backroom dealings of St. Francis of Dunwoody in the Georgia State Senate, has spit in the face of the Tucker community with their most recent Bill, approved today in the State and Local Government Operations committee of the Georgia Senate.  While the Bill was fully expected to be briefly reviewed and approved in this committee, the LCA revised their map, once again, to rape Tucker of many of its long-standing neighborhoods. This in spite of the strong efforts of Tucker Together and Tucker 2014, and the passionate and unremitting voices of hundreds of Tucker residents.

The new Senate Bill 270 can be found here.

The new map for the City of Lakeside can be found, here. After several months of debate within the community, the arrogant and overconfident LCA chose to expand their map to include new additional areas well beyond the area studied in the CVI feasibility study, with a new population approaching 80,000 residents.

Following are all four versions of the Lakeside proposed map.

ETA: On February 26, 2014, at the vote for SB 270 on the Senate floor, St. Francis of Dunwoody produced a FIFTH version of the proposed City of Lakeside map. Was not vetted by the Governmental Affairs Committee, was not released to the community prior to the Senate hearing, and was not even truly presented to the Senate itself as it was solely on a single printout that floated across the chamber.

ETA: Before the HGAC meeting on March 12, 2014, St. Francis of Dunwoody revealed that a new map had been agreed to between Tucker2014 and the LCA that split the contested areas between. This agreement would have supposedly led to Lakeside being approved by the General Assembly for 2014, and for Tucker to be approved in 2015. That proposal was tabled on a motion by Rep. John Meadows (R) Calhoun, who also is the powerful Chairman of the House Rules Committee. That new map is Lakeside No. 6!

ETA: St. Francis issued a new map for Lakeside and Tucker that changed the line in the Pleasantdale area. Sigh. This is getting old. Lakeside No. 7.

Are we going to see a Lakeside No. 8 during the Monday, March 17, HGAC meeting? Stay tuned for a St. Paddy's Day surprise!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Elephant in the Room

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 25, 2014

This article is reprinted from the AJC, January 25, 2014, addressing the issue of race and politics within the new cities in north Fulton and DeKalb Counties. A response to the AJC article from Oliver Porter follows.

New cities reignite debate over race
Updated: 10:01 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014  |  Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014


Advocates urging the Legislature to allow new cities in DeKalb County point to the success of those recently created in bringing government closer to the people and lowering taxes.

But one impact of new cities in metro Atlanta has gone largely unspoken: all have led to elected governments that are alost entirely white in counties where whites are no longer a majority.

The incorporation of new cities in metro Atlanta has had one impact that has gone largely unspoken: all have led to elected governments that are almost entirely white in counties where whites are no longer a majority. 
Almost a decade since Sandy Springs set the incorporation template, seven cities in Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties have been created. Today, 45 of the 46 elected officials in those cities are white, the lone exception being a Hispanic councilman in Johns Creek who steps down next week.

And in the history of those cities, of the 66 people elected since their inception, just one was black, a councilwoman, also in Johns Creek.