Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Crier - Analysis: Chambers had agreed to bills
The Crier article below shows that Representative Jill Chambers met with the Citizens for Dunwoody as well as other State representatives and agreed to support the Dunwoody bills with no further changes. A letter from Rep. Fran Millar documented the conversations to the Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman, Austin Scott and he also copied Speaker of the House, Glenn Richardson & Rep. Chambers.
Rep Millar states that he has been ambushed by a fellow legislator and from the looks of the conversation, it is hard to say otherwise.
By Dick Williams for The Crier, 2/5/08
For all of her public questions, press releases and web postings about taxes, the fact is that state Rep. Jill Chambers (R-Doraville, Chamblee) interposed herself between the people of Dunwoody and their right to vote on their form of government.
Her flip-flop last week in a House committee - changing her position and preventing a referendum in Dunwoody - was clouded by a haze of her questions and worst-case scenarios.
The essential question to be answered was whether Dunwoody residents were intelligent enough to vote on incorporation, as were residents of Sandy Springs.
“Once a cityhood bill is passed,” said state Rep. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), “citizens have months to study the research gathered by volunteers and experts and decide for themselves if the numbers work.”
“The people of Dunwoody were once again denied their right of self determination,” said Oliver Porter, former chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Sandy Springs and an expert on new cities. “Unfortunately, Republican Rep. Jill Chambers who represents a very small number of Dunwoody homes was the most vocal in opposition and cast the deciding vote against the bill. It is a shame. The people of Dunwoody deserve better.”
In the view of many in the Citizens for Dunwoody - volunteers who have worked thousands of hours on the feasibility of a city of Dunwoody - what Chambers did after the committee vote was to add insult to injury.
Less than 24 hours after her vote to kill a referendum, she issued a press release under the headline, “Representative Jill Chambers voices support for self determination for Dunwoody.”
The release pledged her support for the right of Dunwoody to become a township, with control of zoning and parks. She did not mention that township legislation has not yet passed the General Assembly.
A few board members of the Citizens for Dunwoody contacted refused comment on what most privately call treachery. Most of her constituents live in cities.
The history of Chambers and the Dunwoody bills is complicated. Ken Wright, president of the Citizens for Dunwoody, noted that she has not attended a single CFD meeting, nor has she ever asked for information or raised a question.
After her performance last year in denouncing the bill and then twice voting for it, Millar and Wright decided to anticipate any objections in 2008.
At a lunch meeting with them and with state Rep. Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell), vice-chairman of the Government Affairs Committee, Chambers agreed to support the Dunwoody bills with no changes and no further antagonistic questions.
Millar wrote the committee chair, state Rep. Austin Scott (R-Tifton), with copies to Geisinger and Chambers of the agreement all had reached.
Despite the agreement, Chambers began raising new questions. At a meeting of the DeKalb House delegation, she peppered the county’s finance director with new issues. A few days before the hearing, she delivered questions to Millar.
“Many questions asked by Representative Chambers were already answered by me and I had no warning that she had any problems with the legislation,” Millar said “We sit two seats apart and nothing was said to me in spite of the fact that I had asked everyone in the committee (Republicans) to come see me if they had any issues. Bottom line, I was ambushed by a fellow Republican whom I have supported financially and on her legislation and her actions speak for themselves. Chairman Scott was the one who lived up to his word on this.”
The fate of the Dunwoody bills is uncertain. As long as the General Assembly is in session, some hope for them exists. But Wright has written his board suggesting that the matter might wait until next year.