Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dunwoody Blogger opinions of City Council, Transparency, Crime & Dunwoody Football

The following items crossed through my inbox and I figured I would share.

Knitternall ponders the location of the temporary Dunwoody City Hall and though wasn't pleased at the initial decision she is now happy with the frugality of the Dunwoody City Council. On the same subject, our Mayor, Ken Wright has an editorial regarding the temporary City Hall in the Crier this week.

Pattie over at Sustainable Dunwoody has a nice article regarding community participation and the Dunwoody City Council. I urge everyone to get involved as Pattie recommends because her advice about showing up to the meetings, making comments and getting known is absolutely dead on, correct! (Pattie should also be commended for her work on Sustainability and making her feelings known to the City Council. Four months ago I am guessing that she was relatively unknown by the members of the City Council and when she walked up to the table on Tuesday night for the very first time, there were three council members who were elated to see her at the meeting because they had all communicated with her via e-mail and read her blog on a regular basis.)

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has updated their Georgia Transparency website which has a number of useful tools, can show exactly how the citizens money is spent on education down to the specific school and can show you the salary of every employee of the DeKalb County Schools. Pretty soon there will be a Local Government transparency component to the site and some day soon I hope that Dunwoody will be as transparent as Carroll County is with their finances and other mundane bits of information.

I urge everyone to be aware of crime that is taking place around them. DeKalb crime is up and even Dunwoody's numbers are up, though it is officially hard to tell since our stats are lumped into DeKalb's stats. A neighbor has asked that I remind you of the ability to receive daily updates of those arrested in DeKalb County for zip codes 30338, 30360 & 30346

Friday night I will be missing the 2nd round of State Football Playoffs between the DHS Wildcats vs North Hall Trojans at 7:30pm at North DeKalb Stadium so I can escort five, 7 year olds to the movie BOLT. The movie better be good because I know the football game will be, though I am sure the movie will be a little warmer than the game.


Pattie Baker said...

John; Thanks for the mention, and for all your updates on Dunwoody happenings. I also wanted to say that I was at Enviro ExPo in downtown Atlanta Saturday and found out, during an excellent panel discussion, that 25 citizen letters on a single topic is the threshold for which a staff member brings the topic before a legislator, so "being heard" on the state level is a relatively easy prospect as well. Citizens with specific concerns can pull together a petition or encourage friends and neighbors to join them in writing letters to their state representatives.

Ilovemykids said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ilovemykids said...

Mr. Wright, the city of Dunwoody was authorized on July 15th. Are you telling me that only now are real estate agents assisting in locating and securing space for a City Hall?

The City of Dunwoody goes into operation December 1st and a police chief still has not been hired. Will Dekalb County still pick up our garbage?

What has been going on in the last 4 months?

Bob Lundsten said...

The City Council was sworn in on Sept 24th I believe and until then NO action could take place regarding the city. So ILMKs, it has been about 7 WEEKS not 4 months that the Mayor and Council have been on the job.
All the services that are currently supplied by the County will stay in place until the City decides on whom, if any vendor can supply those services at a more competitive price.
So your trash will be picked up and police will still be on the beat.
I have the honor of knowing the Mayor and all the City Councilmen and Councilwoman personally. I can tell you that these people are spending 60- 80 a week, getting everything together so the City of Dunwoody will be ready on December 1, 2008. This work is on top of their REAL jobs.
What the public sees in the 2 hour City Council meetings each week is the tip of the iceberg for all the work that these individuals put in everyday.
I hope all the citizens of Dunwoody get on board as to how they can help the City movement, rather than sit back and complain and look to find fault and failure.
Getting involved, staying committed is harder than sitting around and anonymously complaining everyday in the BLOG world.

Ilovemykids said...

So, Mr. Lundsten, the citizens of Dunwoody are supposed to sit back and fold our hands and assume the people in government are taking care of us and doing the job they were elected to do? That's such a Vernon Jones point of view of government. Sorry we voted to disengage ourselves from that - or that's what I thought we did. I applaud and laud John Heneghan for his efforts to keep the citizens of our soon-to-be city informed. I would hope and expect that the other members of the Dunwoody City Council take that same view. So far, I'm skeptical.

Just because the City Council was not sworn in until September does not mean that preliminary work on building the infrastructure and services of Dunwoody could not be taken on. Mr. Wright knew he was going to be Mayor - he had no competition.

Oh, and, Mr. Lundsten, I do not sit around in the BLOG world. I do work in the professional business world and I know how things are done and accomplished. People do not sit around waiting on "official" deadlines. No, research is done, decisions are made everyday prior to an contract being awarded or office space decided on, etc., The business world does not wait on arbitrary deadlines to make decisions. If they did, companies would not function.

Bob Lundsten said...

I never said anyone was to sit back and TRUST that things would be done. That how any government fails its constituents. It is why DeKalb failed us.

What I said was, get involved with the process.

We voted to become our own City because we knew we could do better in serving the needs of Dunwoody than DeKalb had done in the past.

Again BLOGGING is a wonderful thing when you can do it from behind the curtain of the internet.

I urge you to come out and PUBLICALLY challenge the Mayor. Challenge the City Council. That is why we became a city; to have a voice with our City leaders.
Tell them publically what your wants, needs and expectations are. Criticisms are far more effective if they come from people who are fully aware of the facts and know what is going on.

If after 7 weeks you already have problems with how things are being done, step up at a council meeting and voice your concerns publically. Demand actions and ask questions. The advantage of local government is that your voice will be heard in Dunwoody and not fall on deaf ears as it did under DeKalb.

Instead of cynically BLOGGING about the status of the police and trash pickups, come to a meeting and ask for a status report. Send an email to the mayor or any of the councilmen and ask them a question. I know you will find that each and every councilman and councilwoman more than open to hear your concerns and answer your questions.

If you have a better way to do things, tell them. Offer your business experience and expertise. They are always looking for ideas.

To compare anything that the City officials have done to date with the Vernon Jones administration is absurd. It is further proof that you would rather cry "the sky is falling” than to actively get involved to make it all work.

This is not a personal attack, but a plea that you take the energy that you spend criticizing and being cynical, without any background or information and become part of group of citizens that not only want to see this work, but want to be a part of its success.

If people sit on the sidelines and complain without trying to help, they are just as responsible IF the effort fails as the leaders who brought us the opportunities. But at least those who contribute to the city effort can honestly say they tried.

I would rather fight for a cause and lose, than sit on the sidelines and say I told you so.

Dunwoody is light years ahead of where Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and Milton were at the same time in their process. With every meeting I am more and more confident that The City of Dunwoody is going to be benchmark that other cities will try to emulate in the future.

Bob Fiscella said...

Bob - I agree with everything you wrote - well stated! I also can understand Ilovemykids questioning why a real estate professional is just now being hired. However with that said, rest assured, securing space for a permanent city hall began months ago. Just because an agent had not been choosen doesn't mean the process was not well underway. There is a good chance I'll be standing up at this coming Monday night's meeting questioning the selection of a new police chief. Why? because I'm hearing rumors I don't like, and this is my chance to stand up before the council and have my voice heard. Perhaps they can separate fact from fiction and what I'm hearing is wrong.

Piggybacking on what Bob said - it would be nice to see more citizens at council meetings. The typical meeting has 30-40 citizens. What happened to all of those who wanted to be part of the new city and have their voice heard?

There is a good chance that I will stand up at this coming Monday night's meeting and voice my concerns on the hiring of a new police chief. I'm hearing rumors about the process - and I have concerns. Hopefully the council will hear my concerns, and explain where I got it wrong.