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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.

Recording of the hearing, 1:20:00

00:00 - 20:00      HR 1330
20:00 - 40:00      Tucker Presentation
41:00 - 52:00      Anti-Tucker public comments
52:00 - 1:20:00   Pro- Tucker public comments

Rep. Amy Carter, Chairman
The recording is one hour and twenty minutes long. The first twenty minutes addresses Rep. Mosby's HR 1330, a House resolution calling for the creation of a Joint Study Committee on DeKalb County Governance.  You may review that resolution here.

Rep. Billy Mitchell
The Tucker presentation, by Rep. Mitchell and Frank Auman, is twenty minutes long, starting at the 20:00 minute mark. Public comments then follow, starting with two speakers against the Tucker bill, which run from 41:00 to 52:00. Those two speakers were Robert Stamper, a resident of Smoke Rise, and Bill Kaduck, representing the Stone Mountain CID. (Emory Morsberger, President of the CID, asked the City of Stone Mountain to consider annexing the CID into that city.)

Frank Auman

There were twelve speakers coming out in favor of the Tucker bill, starting at the 52:00 minute mark, lasting until the end of the recording. They included David Bundrick, Keith Hanks (COBI Board member), Anne Lerner (Tucker2014), Kay Stewart, Elizabeth Beck, Anne Lewis, Shawn Stone, Sonja Szubski (President, Tucker 2014), Thomas Walker, Rebecah Coblentz (Stone Mountain CID), Anita Stoltzfus and Jonathon (no last name given.)

Robert Stamper
Bill Kaduck

David Bundrick
Keith Hanks, COBI

Anne Lerner, Tucker2014
Kay Stewart

Elizabeth Beck
Anne Lewis

Shawn Stone
Sonja Szubski, President, Tucker2014

Thomas Walker
Rebekah Coblentz

Anita Stoltzfus

There was no vote held on the Tucker bill. It also seemed that fewer than half the committee were in attendance. Rep. Carter further promised that both Lakeside and Briarcliff would also be given one hour, and one hour only, to make their case before the committee, sometime in the next few weeks.

If the Tucker bill is to move forward, the most likely scenario is that the Governmental Affairs Committee, upon reception of the Lakeside bill, SB 270, will choose to substitute the Tucker bill for Lakeside, perhaps along with the Briarcliff bill.  If approved by the House, it will then go back to the Senate, where it will most likely be voted down.  Then the House and Senate will have a joint committee tasked with reconciling the differences between the two versions of the bill.

This entire process (including Lakeside's approval in the Senate) has been fully expected from Day One of the General Assembly, and has been factored into Tucker's strategy in presenting its case to the General Assembly.


  1. Wow! Mr. Stamper and Mr. Kaduck made good presentations against Tucker. That opposition has got to hurt Tucker's chances with the committee.

    At the rate things are going, I'd be surprised if a Tucker/Briarcliff option makes it to a referendum this year. I think Lakeside has only a slightly better chance of making it this year. Lakeside and Briarcliff still have to have their committee hearings, which as of yet have not even been scheduled. Then the Republican-dominated committee has to vote. Does anyone know what Mike Jacobs is going to say to other legislators and what influence he will have? He is obviously sympathetic to Lakeside.

    Probably no hearings will be held this week. Maybe next week they will occur. That leaves the final week of the session for the bill to (maybe) pass the House, go back to the Senate and likely be defeated. Would a joint-committee really be able to work something out at the very last minute?

    I also don't think any of the delay or reform bills will pass this year. So it ought to be a tense rest of the year for everyone involved.

  2. The first commoner to speak in favor of Tucker, Mr. Bundrick, led off with some serious misinformation (I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and not call it disinformation). He alleged that Tucker would be about the same size as Decatur or Cartersville. Now, when people talk about places being big or small, they should always clarify if they mean population or physical size. Bundrick doesn't specifically do that in his comparison of Tucker with these two cities; however, in his later comparison of Tucker to Lakeside he clearly talks about population.

    In the 2010 Census Cartersville had a population of 19,731. Decatur had a 2010 population of 19,335. So far, so good. Tucker's proposed map up until a few days ago listed a projected population of 55,522. Uh oh, we have a problem. Tucker would have almost THREE times as many people as the two smaller cities Bundrick chose to use to conjure up the idea of Tucker as a small village.

    Tucker is almost as big as Cartersville in square mileage, but Tucker is SIX times as large as Decatur, a city that is constantly lauded as a great small town, and what I think Bundrick was aiming for in his comparison.

    I understand that some Tucker supporters really dislike Lakeside, and I think there are valid reasons to oppose it and good points to make when speaking against it, but making a size comparison in which Bundrick tried to paint Tucker as a small village and Lakeside as a hulking behemoth is just foolish.

    Lakeside's feasibility study showed that the city would actually be several square miles smaller than Tucker. With Tucker's reduced map and Lakeside's enlargement, I expect the two proposals are about the same now size-wise.

    The population for Lakeside in its study was 63,244. That's only 8,000 more than Tucker. And Tucker's population in its feasibility study would make it the 15TH LARGEST city in the state. That's only THREE places behind Lakeside, which would be ranked 12th, not 10th as Bundrick said.

    The new maps subtract several thousand people from Tucker (maybe now about 50,000) and add about the same to Lakeside (maybe now around 70,000), so the difference is still not so great as to warrant the cry of small-village vs. big city. Tucker would drop one spot to 16th largest and still be ahead of Dunwoody. Lakeside would still remain in 12th place.

    So while there is now more of a population difference, the strategy of coming out of the gate and planting the idea in the committee members' minds that Tucker is going to be "small" is just not accurate.