Monday, March 31, 2008

Dunwoody Lemonade Days - Volunteers Needed!

We are very appreciative of our volunteers’ efforts during Lemonade Days 2007 and your potential help with 2008! We would like to let you know of our plans for this year’s event in hopes that the information will assist you in planning to be involved with us again this year. Our success depends so much on our volunteers, and we are so fortunate to have such a great group every year!

Lemonade Days 2008 will be held from Thursday April 17, 2007 through Sunday, April 20, 2007 at Brook Run Park, and we will continue to have a diversified set of family oriented activities. We have plans to continue to diversify and add more and more events and rides to maximize each Lemonade Days attendee’s experience! We will continue the tradition of our Dunwoody carnival with popular activities such as face painting booths, pony rides and a petting zoo for both Saturday and Sunday! Joining us again this year are the Dunwoody Arts and Crafts artisans, the Dunwoody Nature Center and many more new vendors! A comprehensive view of the agenda for Lemonade Days as well as a list of all that DPT is accomplishing can be found on our website at Also included on the website are the names of our sponsors and other important DPT announcements!

Lemonade Days is one of Dunwoody’s highest visibility events and this year more than ever, our volunteers are of vital importance in making this event a success. Because we have high expectations and have planned such a festive occasion, we will need volunteers for specific time slots to help in areas such as information booths, set up/tear down, schedule management, first aid assistance and support for some of the games and other activities. If you or a civic group you are associated with (Scouts, Woman’s Club, Church Group) or anyone you know might be interested in helping with this event, please contact Kelly Coker Smith at or 770-394-7648. You may select a specific work area and time frame which is convenient for you.

Thank you in advance for everything you do to support the Dunwoody Preservation Trust and our community. We hope you will join us again in presenting this family-focused weekend next month. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to call! Again, thank you for your interest in the work of Dunwoody Preservation Trust.


Kelly Coker Smith

Volunteer Chairman - Lemonade Days 2008
Dunwoody Preservation Trust
CC: Queenie and Danny Ross

Friday, March 28, 2008

Georgia Blog Carnival & Lights Out for Earth Hour

My little blog entry documenting the DeKalb County Police Officers Anonymous Blog and the everyday maleficence of the DeKalb Parks System has been selected for the 32nd edition of the Georgia Blog Carnival being hosted by Paw Paw Bill.

Please check out the other entries in the carnival and please leave a comment if you are so inclined. It is always appreciated.

Lights Out at 8 pm on Saturday
Turn out for the Movement

Parting gift to Dunwoody from Vernon Jones - Bond Referendum on July 15th

On July 15th, residents of Dunwoody will be voting to sever a number of ties from DeKalb County, including the counties police services. This afternoon CEO Vernon Jones stated that he is going to recommend a bond referendum for a new DeKalb police academy also be held on the same day. Since all DeKalb cities could opt out of the referendum and Dunwoody will not yet be a city; the new City of Dunwoody slated to start on December 1st would still have to pay the bond.

Swim, DeKalb, Swim

Stop digging the well.

DeKalb County finally announced that swimming pools will be allowed to be filled beginning April 1st. We will also be allowed to water shrubs & plants, but not our lawns, as long as it's from a hand held hose on alternate days depending on your address.

AJC Link

Thursday, March 27, 2008

DeKalb Chamblee Parents Council Meeting: Wed. April 2 @ Austin Elem

DeKalb Chamblee Parents Council Meeting

Austin Elementary
April 2, 2008
8:45 refreshments -- Meeting 9:15am -10:30am

"Safety in Our Schools"

Garry McGiboney, Ph.D.
State Director
Safe Schools and Communities and Support Services
Georgia Department of Education

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Gov. Sonny Perdue signs Dunwoody Bill

According to the AJC and now the Office of the Governor, Sonny Perdue has signed the Dunwoody Charter Bill (SB-82) which sets up a referendum for July 15th for the residents to decide if they they want to form a city.

Done deal for Dunwoody, House okay ends three-year battle - Crier

By Dick Williams for The Crier

Registered voters among the 40,000 residents of Dunwoody are scheduled to go to the polls July 15 to choose whether their area of unincorporated DeKalb County will become a city. If voters approve, a mayor and six city council members will be elected September 16 and the new city will begin operations December 1.

Polls by opinion firms, informal samplings of public gatherings and opinions posted on Internet forums and with newspapers indicate overwhelming support for incorporation. Sandy Springs and three other new cities were the subjects of citizen referenda in recent years and support for incorporation has exceeded 80 percent. The only proposed new city to be rejected by voters was a section of unincorporated south Fulton County.

After the Georgia state House of Representatives passed the bill for a referendum last Wednesday and sent it to the Senate for final approval, the only remaining hurdle was the signature of Gov. Sonny Perdue. He was expected to sign the bill Tuesday, after The Crier’s press deadline.

Upon his signature, the law will be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval under the Voting Rights Act. Swift approval by the Justice Department will be necessary for the referendum to take place as specified on July 15 in Georgia’s general primary elections.

“I do think the future of Dunwoody is brighter after the events this week,” said state Sen. Dan Weber (R-Dunwoody), the bill’s sponsor. “Now we need to have a debate in our community and get the information out there.”

Ken Wright, president of the Citizens for Dunwoody effort, congratulated the legislative leadership for its efforts.

“We are grateful to Senator Weber, Representative (Fran) Millar, Representative (Mike) Jacobs, House Majority Leader (Jerry) Keen, Representative (Wendall) Willard, and the countless others who, despite powerful and Herculean roadblocks, supported the right of Dunwoody citizens to vote,” Wright said.

In addition, Wright said the many residents, volunteers and board members who donated time and money to the effort were invaluable to the bill’s passage.

“This day would have never become a reality without this community-wide effort,” Wright said. “We look forward to continuing to disseminate to Dunwoody citizens the facts and figures our research has uncovered.”

Oliver Porter, who worked with citizens spearheading both Sandy Springs’ and Dunwoody’s incorporation efforts, said that the focus now lies in getting out the vote.

“The Citizens for Dunwoody has done a great job in getting the bill passed so that the citizens can exercise self-determination,” Porter said. “So, it is time for all the citizens to show their support.”

Porter said plans are underway “to involve every citizen who wants to help shape the future city.”

Millar also echoed Porter’s call to get involved and pledged his support during the transition period.

“I look forward to working with the Perimeter CID, DeKalb County, and the Citizens for Dunwoody to benefit all interests,” Millar said. “We are in this together and hopefully any differences can be resolved in a reasonable manner. There should be an effort by all parties to attempt to make this a win-win for all constituents.”

A three-year battle

Weber and other community leaders began discussing the idea of a city in 2005. His bill was introduced in the 2006 session of the General Assembly. Before its first appearance in a House committee, Millar, the bill’s manager in the House, raised questions about the cost of running the new city, and wanted further research. Weber withdrew the bill.

In 2007, the state Senate passed the referendum bill with ease. The ball was in the court of the state House and Millar. In the next-to-last day of the legislative session, it was defeated after prolonged debate on the floor of the House.

Many Republicans were absent for a variety of reasons. Some Republicans from areas outside metro Atlanta believe counties are efficient forms of government and see new cities as another layer of government.

As the 2008 session of the General Assembly began, the city bill suffered another defeat, rejected by the House Government Affairs Committee after angry testimony that opposed the inclusion of the Perimeter Community Improvement District and Perimeter Mall in the new city. One state senator from south DeKalb County even called for an economic boycott of Perimeter Center if Dunwoody became a city.

The bill was believed to be dead. But state Rep. Mark Hatfield (R-Waycross) asked for reconsideration of his nay vote. The bill appeared again before the committee and was approved.

Though Millar believed the bill had enough votes to pass the House this year, citizen advocates hired a lobbying firm and began intensive contact with legislators. The debate last week on the House floor was far less rancorous. Whether because they foresaw defeat or they noticed an absence of Republican members on the floor, many DeKalb Democrats waived their right to speak.

When the bell was rung for a vote, many Republican legislators were attending a press conference by U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Georgia’s senior senator. Millar was able to shout from the House hallway down to the main floor and alert his colleagues to the pending vote.

“Mr. Speaker,” Millar said at one point, “Can you ring the bell one more time, please?”

It wasn’t necessary. The measure passed overwhelmingly, 106-66.

In the end, Dunwoody’s self-determination attracted the votes of eight Democrats and 98 Republicans.

A dissident state representative, Jill Chambers, who lives in Dunwoody but whose district is mainly the cities of Doraville and Chamblee, voted against the bill in committee and spoke against it on the floor of the House. She was able to attract the vote of only one Republican after a rambling and emotional speech in which she accused critics of saying she took bribes and slept with Vernon Jones, DeKalb County’s chief executive.

“I allowed myself to be bullied into voting for this last year,” Chambers said. “What we have here is underestimated expenses and overestimated revenues.”

She said the bill is “a recipe for a large tax increase.”

Two studies by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia have shown a city of Dunwoody will operate at a surplus. The proposed city charter allows the new city government to vote only a one-mill tax increase. Any other tax increases would require a citizen referendum.

Pleas for self-determination

In his remarks before the House, Millar spoke of rearing his family over 28 years as a Dunwoody resident. He spoke with pride of the attraction Dunwoody now has to his children and grandchildren, several of whom have moved back to the area.

As he spoke of the nuts and bolts and finances of the new city, he spoke to his legislative critics and drew upon his 10 years in the state House.

“I am many things,” he said, “but I do not lie.”

Other speakers in the House on behalf of Dunwoody included the House Majority Leader, Jerry Keen of St. Simon’s Island, who grew up in Dunwoody, and state Rep. Jan Jones, who spoke of her pride in the new city of Milton and the need for government closer to the people than are county governments.

State Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-north Brookhaven), who has spoken of a city of Brookhaven and is championing legislation to create townships, stressed that local residents have the inherent right to choose their own form of government.

State Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs), said of his city, “The sky did not fall when we became a city; Fulton County didn’t collapse.” He added, “I know when the formula works and the Dunwoody formula works.”

Mayor Bill Floyd of Decatur starts blog by offering support for the City of Dunwoody.

Welcome Mayor Floyd to the blogosphere and we appreciate your support on Dunwoody's quest for self determination.

Since the people in Dunwoody first began to discuss the possibility of becoming a city, I have been supportive of that effort and their right to decide their fate. That applies to them and those in other areas of the county, or the state for that matter, that wish to consider being a city. Those who will be within the city limits of the new city will now get a chance to consider the pros and cons, and vote in July. If it passes, they will elect a mayor and council in September and become a city a few months later. The county should embrace this change rather than oppose it. The closer your elected officials are to you the more access you have to them and the more impact your opinion will have on any decision they make. The people in Dunwoody are in for a treat if they pass the referendum. They will experience the joy of being part of a city and the feeling of belonging. Strong cities in Dekalb will make for a stronger and better county. While those elected officials in the county will experience some loss of political power and control and influence, it will pale in comparison to the benefit they will get from having a strong, effective and efficient city of Dunwoody. I wish them the best and offer my support and help.

If I were a reporter in DeKalb on Tuesday, Police & Parks would be my focus.

If I were a reporter covering DeKalb County on Tuesday, the Board of Commissioners meeting in Decatur is the obvious item to cover with the probable fight over the means in which to fund police pay raises. The angle of the story probably being missed is the DeKalb Police Officer Anonymous Blog written by the officers themselves. The site was setup as a place to vent without fear of retribution and the commenters do not hold back on their frustration and anger at the Department. The pay raises being proposed appears to only be the first step in raising the job satisfaction and retention rate of the officers, with apparently many other internal changes being needed. Hopefully the DeKalb County politicians and the Police Chief are taking notes on the problems of the Department as perceived by the officers who serve in that role, instead of going on a witch hunt looking for the authors. Maybe the officers will take advantage of the available web space to make logical suggestions to improve the Department as well as highlight the problems?

If the DeKalb BOC meeting wasn’t exciting enough for one day, there is a little known meeting being held Tuesday Night at 6:00 p.m. in room 102 of the Maloof Building. The DeKalb County Parks and Recreation Department Citizens Advisory board meeting is sure to be revealing as the Parks Department explains to the members of the CAB why the County never mentioned the fact that the contract for the Parks Master Plan was canceled when members of the CAB have been asking for months for a update on the master plan? In my open records request regarding the master plan, I learned that about $200,000 dollars were wasted on the development of the plan which will never be finalized and there are numerous e-mails obtained from the county and posted to my blog which shows that the County was being uncooperative with the contractor in the process. If the fact that DeKalb was hiding information from the volunteers who serve on the CAB wasn’t enough, the e-mails obtained document an intent on both the contractor and the county to withhold information from the citizens and news organizations who were also looking for the same information.

The County might also have to explain during the meeting why playgrounds in the county are not being inspected and maintained on a regular schedule as they should be? Is DeKalb aware that a certification course on Playground Safety is available in October? Maybe someone needs a refresher course?

The last time I attended a CAB meeting, I wasn’t allowed to ask any questions, but if I had the ability to be at the meeting, I would try to ask the same question that I have been asking for some time… When will the back of Brook Run Park be opened to the public?

If someone could assist me in getting that answer, it would be much appreciated. My other questions about additional benches in playground and replacement shade trees along Peeler to block out the skate park for the neighbors, have also been forgotten by the County, so if someone attends this meeting, maybe these questions could be squeezed in as well.

It would be appreciated since the County refuses to answer my questions.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dunwoody Divas Arts & Crafts Fair at the DNDC on Fri & Sat

We are excited to bring you the return of Dunwoody Divas, a wonderful market where you will find all you need for Mother’s Day, graduation and teacher’s gifts! We appeared at Kingsley in the fall of 2006, and now you’ll find us in Dunwoody North.

Where & When

Dunwoody North Swim Tennis Club
Friday, 3/28 9am-7pm
Saturday, 3/29 9am-3pm


Enchanted Cottage Gifts
Monogramming and personalized gifts for all ages and occassions.

Tastefully Simple Gourmet Foods
Wonderful, easy-to-prepare delights for any event.

Decatur Paper
Personalized stationery, announcements, invitations, calling cards, notepads, stickers & gifts. Custom designs available.

Honeysuckle Soap
Handmade soaps made from the best oils to nourish your body.

Ice Cream Shop Designs
Children’s clothing and accessories–girls’ dresses, flip flops, and baby gifts.

Canvas Photo Boards
Canvases painted and personalized with names or theme. These boards are great to hang photos, ribbons, or certificates. Any color, any theme.

Pitter Platters
Custom hand-painted pottery. Perfect gifts for all occasions: new birth, baptism, first communion, birthday, mother’s day, wedding, anniversary, bar/bat mitzvah, housewarming, etc.

Jewelry for Mom & Baby
Quality jewelry, unique in design and/or personalized for a special gift.

Lovebug T’s
Kids t-shirts with 3-d bugs, sports, and other unique/fun features. Great t-shirts!

Fabrications by Wieda
Wieda works in all kinds of fabrics for her creations and makes unique items to wear and to adorn your special home: fabric paintings, decobjects, headbamds, art for your arm, notecards, pocket purses and scarves.

Sage Saks
Beautiful fabric handbags and accessories.

Our Feathered Friends
Tea cup bird houses.

Patty’s Pretties
Hair bows, headbands, and other accessories.

Girl Trends
Great boutiquey items - shawls, jewelry holders, etc.

Beth Edwards
Figurines and other art.

Get Cookin
Aprons of all kinds - handmade from vintage fabrics and tableclothes. Adult and childrens sizes..

Saturday, March 22, 2008

DeKalb Police is asking for our support on Tuesday

Lisa Unkefer our Neighborhood Watch Coordinator received this e-mail from the DeKalb County Police asking us for their support at Tuesday's BOC Meeting.

From: []
Sent: Friday, March 21, 2008 2:57 PM
To: A. L. Fowler
Subject: March 25, 2008 BOC meeting!

Dear Community Friends,

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners will meet on March 25, 2008, 9:00 a.m. at the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, Georgia 30030.

The meeting will again discuss a 4% across the board pay raise for police officers. May I remind you that this is an additional 4% on top of the possible 4% for merit. Therefore, our police officers can attain an 8% pay raise this coming budget year.

We need your support! We encourage all that can attend this meeting to attend and support the men and women of the DeKalb County Police Department.

Please RSVP to let me know if you will attend.

Thank you ,

Al Fowler
Public Education Specialist
DKPD North

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jill & Vernon sitting in a tree.... ugh.. I feel sick.

The attached video shows a small snippet where Jill Chambers went on a tirade during yesterdays City of Dunwoody hearing complaining about the way bloggers in general have treated her. Since Ms. Chambers is a resident of the Dunwoody North Community and represents a handful of homes, I made sure to print as much public information that I could find on the subject, be it local Crier articles, news videos or even her public statements on the Dunwoody Legislation. I never stated that "Jill Chambers was sleeping with Vernon Jones" nor would I personally attack a politician in any such way.

Supporters (lobbyists?) for Ms. Chambers have called me a vile and dastardly coward who uses my site as a public whipping post to crucify Ms. Chambers. I will admit that I have a tendency to print direct statements from politicians /governmental officials and shine a light on what they said. I try to effectively use the social media to further my agenda of quality governmental services for the 1,000 homes in my neighborhood. Be it DeKalb County, the DeKalb School Board, the Police or the future City of Dunwoody, I tend to be equal opportunity pain in the ass.

I have learned that the squeaky wheel in DeKalb gets the grease & I use my little blog to the advantage of the community I serve. I won’t apologize for that nor will I apologize for what someone else wrote in a comment on my blog site.

I am anything but a coward and will continue to represent the people I serve with the utmost distinction.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

City of Dunwoody bill passes the House

This afternoon the Georgia House passed Senate Bill 82 which will allow Dunwoody residents to vote on forming a city. The vote was 106 to 60. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Fran Millar, then moved to immediately transmit the bill that was amended in committee to the Senate. The House agreed to do this by a vote of 110 to 50. If the Senate approves the changes made by the House Governmental Affairs Committee the bill could be on the Governors desk by the end of the week for his approval. Once signed, the U.S. Department of Justice will need to certify the voting districts in accord with the Voting Rights Act and the Cityhood referendum would then take place on July 15th.

This is a proud day for the Citizens for Dunwoody and a large political victory for the community at large who will now have control of their own destiny by being able to vote for themselves on the referendum.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Civic leader forces action on PCMS crosswalk - Crier

The good folks over at the Dunwoody Crier have a close out article regarding the intersection at Peachtree Charter Middle School which mentions me by name. In reality, I was just the mouthpiece for the residents & school families affected and I'm glad it turned out so well. For the background history, click here.

By Bill Florence for The Crier

The great school crosswalk controversy is over. After almost three months of finger pointing between DeKalb County and DeKalb school system officials, a county public works crew has completed the re-striping of a crosswalk for Peachtree Charter Middle School at the intersection of North Peachtree Road and Kings Point Drive. Now that the striping project to realign the crosswalk at the new school entrance is complete, the only remaining detail left to finish at the intersection is Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramps.

The issue came to a head back in December when John Heneghan, President of the Dunwoody North Civic Association, began to publicly complain about the apparent stalemate between school and county officials over who was responsible for completing the crosswalk in front of the school.

The old crosswalk that remained painted on North Peachtree after the new middle school opened last August had worked fine for the former middle school on the same site. For the new school, however, the old crosswalk led children directly into the school’s main driveway.

Pat Pope, chief operations officer for the school system, was adamant from the beginning that, because North Peachtree was a county-maintained road, the county government was legally responsible for the roadway and intersection improvement in front of the school.

According to a December 11 email from Pope to Heneghan, however, Pope informed Heneghan the county had asked the school system to pay for, and perform, the work, estimated to cost approximately $50,000.

We are paying for the work under strong objections,” wrote Pope. “As you can imagine, we will never get reimbursed.”

Fast forward to the end of February. At this point, work had yet to begin to stripe the new crosswalk. Peggy Allen, with the county’s traffic and safety engineering department, sent an e-mail to Heneghan, the school system, and others, in which she claimed the school system was taking responsibility for having their general contractor for the middle school stripe the crosswalk at the intersection.

“Our construction activities are complete at this location,” wrote Allen. Allen did agree that her department would come out to evaluate the timing of the traffic light at the intersection and to make any necessary adjustments.

Heneghan objected to the school system paying for the intersection’s improvements. He discovered a 2002 memorandum written by the county’s Law Department that stated that the county was responsible for funding any traffic improvements on public roads outside a school’s campus.

Heneghan forwarded this memorandum to county and school officials earlier this month. On March 7, he received an email from Ted Rhinehart, Director of the DeKalb Public Works Department, that appeared to bring closure to the controversy over who was responsible for the work at the school’s intersection.

“Ms. Allen is working with the traffic and construction crews and/or contractors to do whatever striping or curb ramps are needed at the location below; as you saw from her previous note below, she understood from Mr. Young that the school had contracted for that scope of work, but now finding out that this was not the case, she’s proceeding in getting the work done as soon as the crews and/or contractors can fit it in,” wrote Rhinehart.

Heneghan is pleased the matter is close to being resolved, and that children crossing North Peachtree to go to the middle school will have a new, safe crosswalk to use.

“My community is looking forward to this project being completed in the very near future. I would like to thank everyone at the county and with the school system for their time and professionalism in handling this situation."

Monday, March 17, 2008

DeKalb Parks - $200,000 wasted and lawsuit with EDAW possible over payment.

A while back I started asking questions regarding the updated DeKalb County Parks, Master Plan and when the county officials refused to answer my questions on its status, I filed an open records request to see if this quarter million dollar investment of our tax dollars was being well spent. I have since discovered that the money put forward towards this project was completely wasted and the master plan will not be completed.

The urban design firm EDAW, considered one of the top firms in the WORLD for parks & recreation planning was awarded the contract. EDAW did the initial master plan in 2000, and by all accounts, it was an excellent document. They worked closely with then Director Becky Kelly, who now is in charge of Georgia State Parks.

The documentation provided by the county indicates that EDAW needed more feedback from the county then the county was willing to provide in order to complete the master plan. It appears that EDAW was asking some very tough questions that this administration didn't want made public since they were refusing to answer the questions. It was after numerous delays and canceled meetings that EDAW put these questions into writing and it was at that point that the contract was canceled. The county states that the contract for the new master plan was terminated under the accusation that EDAW was just cutting and pasting information from the previous master plan. The county has refused to pay the balance of the submitted invoices and EDAW is on the verge of suing for wrongful termination of the contract.

I have uploaded just a small fraction of the documentation provided by the County on this fiasco so that you can get a flavor of the ineptitude of the parties involved. I'm sure if EDAW was asked, they too would have fine things to say regarding this matter. Just look at the attached photo.

Unfortunately this type of incident isn't isolated, the DeKalb County Parks Department has a history of wasteful spending and organized deception of its citizens. Here are just a few examples...
I expect our government to be responsible stewards of our taxpayer dollars, but with the current CEO form of government in DeKalb whereby one man runs the various county departments as per his political whims; it seems that I will always be disappointed.

City or not here in Dunwoody, who is going to change this much bigger problem of County governance?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

400 Dunwoody residents meet with House Majority Leader Jerry Keen to discuss City status

On Thursday March 13th, approximately 400 Dunwoody residents met with their elected representatives to get an update on the City of Dunwoody legislation.

House Majority Leader Jerry Keen (R- St. Simons) came to Dunwoody to speak on behalf of the communities efforts for self-determination and a referendum on cityhood for Dunwoody. "It will be voted on in the floor of the House this year," Keen told the crowd "and I intends to vote for the bill". Most people cheered the remarks from Keen, a Republican from St. Simons.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Rep. Fran Millar - caveats about vote count

Rep. Fran Millar (R - 79)

Letter by Rep Millar published 3/14/08.

This week I was spotlighted in the AJC ("Lawmakers missing in action," Page 1, March 11) for missing one-third of House floor votes over a period of time. I believe the number of missed votes is accurate, but you need to get beyond the headline.

I serve on the Rules Committee, and every bill that comes to the floor of the House has been explained to members of this committee. I know in advance which bills are significant (in my opinion) or which need my presence to help pass or defeat. To my knowledge, I voted on all matters that fell into either category.

I am elected to represent my constituents, and I have spent a vast amount of time off the House floor with other legislators, legislative counsel and lobbyists working on my education bill for career pathways and on support for people in Dunwoody to have the right to vote on cityhood.

Also, my statement that 95 percent of what we had done so far in the House was not of great significance meant that my particular vote on a matter did not affect whether it passed or failed. Until Day 30 (March 11), we probably dealt with 10 matters of great significance. Furthermore, any significant matter is usually voted on several times, since each chamber usually amends the bill.

I am not making excuses for missing votes. If I had instructed the clerk of the house to put an "E" by my name (excused) when I was off the floor, I would not have appeared on the list.

I give up a lot more than $17,000 to be at the General Assembly, and that is my choice. I suggest your paper interview other legislators and lobbyists to see what they think of particular work ethics before you categorize us all together.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

AJC: Lobbyists register to fight for Dunwoody's incorporation


Three lobbyists with close ties to House Speaker Glenn Richardson and House Majority Leader Jerry Keen registered Tuesday to lobby for the creation of a city of Dunwoody.

The lobbyists are Clint Austin, Tony Simon and Sam Choate, according to records filed with the state Ethics Commission, which track lobbyists. Their client is listed as the Dunwoody Action Committee, which is identified as a group promoting Dunwoody's incorporation.

Choate is Richardson's former lawyer in the House. Choate also was counsel to the Republican Caucus in the state House, a group that was led by Keen.

Keen is slated to meet Thursday with Citizens for Dunwoody, a non-profit group advocating a city of Dunwoody.

Austin and Simon are close to Richardson. They were the strategists behind the state Republican House races in 2006.

Simon and Austin were deeply involved in the effort last year to pass a bill that would allow the creation of private cities. The proposal was strongly backed by developers. The lobbying team for that effort included Jay Walker, Richardson's former chief of staff, and Derrick Dickey, a former spokesman for Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Choate joined Simon and Austin in October.

The House has proved to be a stumbling block for the Dunwoody proposal.

The Senate passed the bill last year, but the House voted against it in the waning hours of the session. This year, a House committee voted to hold the bill, then voted to pass it when a member from Waycross asked for reconsideration.

The Dunwoody bill is among more than 110 bills and resolutions awaiting a vote by the House. Lawmakers will meet for nine days, after today, to vote on these proposals, in addition to working out differences with the Senate on a host of other House proposals that are pending in the Senate.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Legislative Forum this Thursday at DUMC to discuss Dunwoody legislation

Rep. Jerry Keen
GA House Majority Leader

House Majority Leader Jerry Keen, Senator Dan Weber, and Representative Fran Millar and other legislative leaders will meet with Dunwoody residents this Thursday evening, March 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the Dunwoody United Methodist Church in the Fellowship Hall.

Representative Millar and Senator Weber will provide a legislative update concerning the incorporation of Dunwoody, the annexations by Chamblee and Doraville, and the legislation allowing the formation of townships.

This is an important meeting for all Dunwoody residents and I would urge your attendance in order to be informed about matters affecting Dunwoody Cityhood. Please make every effort to attend.

Link to the front page Dunwoody Crier article describing the meeting.

Sen Dan Weber's announcement of the meeting with GA Legislative Leadership.

Background informational flyer from the Citizens for Dunwoody.


Monday, March 10, 2008

DeKalb County finally agrees to handle intersection, School Board is off the hook.

I believe the four month saga of the Peachtree Charter Middle School intersection is finally coming to a close and with this my now eighth blog entry on the subject. I am happy to announce that the County will be paying for the road improvement and the County School System is now off the hook for funding the project.

In my last e-mail on Friday March 7th to the County Attorney, Mr. Bill Linkous, I asked questions regarding a DeKalb County legal interpretation from 2002 which stated that the County Government and not the school system should be funding road projects adjacent to schools. Later that same day, I received a reply from the Public Works Director stating that the County will be scheduling the work as soon as the contractors are available and a message from Mr. Linkous who gave me an acceptable legal version of "No Comment" due to the document being considered confidential attorney client privileged materials.

In my reply, I thanked both offices and informed Mr. Linkous that I no longer needed his reinterpretation of the subject matter since the Georgia Supreme Court had just reaffirmed the County position from 2002. The full e-mail documentation from Friday is posted below and I look forward to the intersection being completed in the very near future.

From: Dunwoody North Civic Association
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2008 11:26 PM
To: 'Linkous, William J'; 'Rhinehart, William E. (Ted)'

Subject: Thank you for clearing up questions on the PCMS intersection.

Thank you Mr. Rhinehart & Mr. Linkous for responding to my inquiry so quickly, it is very much appreciated. In order to put some closure to this matter, I have copied your messages to me into this message so to inform the other interested parties of the community.

Mr. Rhinehart, I am very happy to hear that the County will be moving forward with this intersection improvement as soon as the contractors are available.

Mr. Linkous, I fully understand and respect the concept of attorney client privilege and with Commissioners Gannon & Boyer both copied onto the message from yesterday, I believe they could ask you for an updated legal opinion if they were so inclined. In this case, with the County now taking on full responsibility for the intersection improvement as well as a recent Georgia Supreme Court decision that reaffirms the Counties 2002 opinion outlined previously, I see no reason that they would need to do so. In case it was needed for reference, I have attached a copy of the court decision on this message.

My community will be looking forward to this project being completed in the very near future and I would like to thank you again for your time and professionalism in handling this situation.


John Heneghan

From: Rhinehart, William E. (Ted)
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2008 8:05 AM
To: Dunwoody North Civic Association; Allen, Peggy; Linkous, William J
Cc: Greene, Willie; Gurbal, John

RE: PCMS - Legal opinion sought to verify 2002 DeKalb County memo on traffic improvements near schools

Ms. Allen is working with the traffic and construction crews and/or contractors to do whatever striping or curb ramps are needed at the location below; as you saw from her previous note below, she understood from Mr. Young that the school had contracted for that scope of work, but now finding out that this was not the case, she’s proceeding in getting the work done as soon as the crews and/or contractors can fit it in.

Best regards, Ted R.

From: Linkous, William J
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2008 11:21 AM
To: Dunwoody North Civic Association
Cc: Ernstes, Viviane
Subject: RE: PCMS - Legal opinion sought to verify 2002 DeKalb County memo on traffic improvements near schools

Mr. Heneghan--

Thank you for your correspondence.

The materials you attached to your e-mail were, and are, confidential attorney client privileged materials. I cannot waive that privilege. The privilege can only be waived by express action of DeKalb County and the permission of the former Commissioner who apparently requested the opinion. Therefore, I cannot comment on it in any fashion, because any such comment could violate my duty to maintain the privilege.

Nor can I render a legal opinion to you. The only clients of my office that we are authorized to represent are DeKalb County and its officials, boards, and employees. Therefore, I must respectfully decline to respond to your request.

I hope you understand my position. Let me know if you have any questions.

Best Regards,
Bill Linkous

Sunday, March 9, 2008

DeKalb Police Department Asks For Support Needed On March 11

As I mentioned last month, the DeKalb BOC will be again taking up police staffing and pay raises but this time the proposal will be raises for all public safety officers, including the fire department. The following e-mail was sent to me by the North Precinct who originally received it from Commissioner Lee May.

DeKalb County can no longer be described as a suburb of Atlanta. With a population of over seven hundred thousand (700,000) citizens, covering two hundred sixty-nine (269) square miles, DeKalb County should be considered a major urban community. With the continuous growth and demanding needs of citizens, as your representative to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners I must support any measures that protect your public safety.

The staffing shortage within the DeKalb County Police Department is at a critical stage and must be addressed. The department is understaffed by more than eight hundred (800) officers’ according to the national average. The national average is 2.7 officers per 100 residents. DeKalb County currently has 1.4 officers per 1000 residents.

During the last five years 426 police officers have left the police department; 180 of these officers went to other police departments. During this same timeframe, 382 firefighters left the DeKalb Fire and Rescue Services Department. DeKalb public safety employees are the best trained in the metro area and are in high demand by other jurisdictions who offer great incentive and signing packages for our trained officers to join them.

The cost of a 4% increase would be $3,172,453 (9 months) for sworn public safety officers. A .21 millage rate increase would need to be effected in order to provide the much needed pay enhancements for public safety personnel. If no pay increase is provided to retain experienced personnel, the attrition rate within the police department will continue to rise and maintaining an adequate fire and rescue and police force will become problematic.

The estimated impact of a .21 millage rate increase on a house valued at the amounts below would be:

$150,000 home $8.39
$200,000 home $12.40
$300,000 home $20.39

On Tuesday, March 11, 2008, a Pay Incentive for Police Officers and Fire & Rescue Sworn Personnel will be on the Board of Commissioners agenda. However, if you want to keep DeKalb County as a safe place to live, work, and play for you and your family, come make your voice heard on Tuesday at 9:00am in the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA, 30030.

Disney's High School Musical @ Brook Run Park in Dunwoody

The Atlanta Professional Theater Company presents Disney's High School Musical at the Brook Run Theater from March 12th - 22nd. This is a family friendly, high energy show filled with the songs you know and love, plus some new ones that will have you dancing and singing in the aisles! Great for the whole family, and Atlanta's newest professional theater company does not disappoint! Prices are $26.75 - $36.75 and every seat is great seat in this small venue.

Brook Run Theater
4770 N. Peachtree Rd.
Dunwoody, GA, 30338

Purchase Tickets

Other Times for this Performance
03/12/2008, 07:30 PM - 09:30 PM
03/13/2008, 07:30 PM - 09:30 PM
03/14/2008, 08:00 PM - 10:00 PM
03/15/2008, 08:00 PM - 10:00 PM
03/15/2008, 03:00 PM - 05:00 PM
03/16/2008, 07:30 PM - 09:30 PM
03/16/2008, 03:00 PM - 05:00 PM
03/19/2008, 07:30 PM - 09:30 PM
03/20/2008, 07:30 PM - 09:30 PM
03/21/2008, 08:00 PM - 10:00 PM
03/22/2008, 08:00 PM - 10:00 PM
03/22/2008, 03:00 PM - 05:00 PM

Saturday, March 8, 2008

What makes Dunwoody so special?

I found another Dunwoody blogger (there aren't enough of us) by the name of Knitternall who blogs on knitting, raising a family and her everyday life here in Dunwoody. Her latest rant on Dunwoody Cityhood and what makes this town so special cracked me up and I hope you get a chance to check out her blog.

What makes Dunwoody special?
  • You can't eat ice cream, have a cup of coffee, buy groceries, or pick up a prescription without running into people you know.
  • Our town hall is a farmhouse.
  • Even though rush hour traffic snails its way down two-laned Mt. Vernon Road and Roberts Drive, we are in no hurry to widen the roads. We LIKE slowing people down. Many neighborhoods even have "traffic calming" devices such as speed bumps and road islands to make sure everyone is driving a decorous Southern 25.
  • If you're stuck on a side street trying to enter Mt. Vernon Road, you can rest assured that someone will slow down and let you into traffic.
  • One of the busiest places at dinner time is the local Fresh Market, where harried commuters grab gourmet bites and a cup of funky coffee before heading home.
  • The Dunwoody Publix has the best outdoor grill around on weekends, stationed right beside the entrance - you can buy tasty hot dogs, hamburgers, and slabs of ribs as you exit the grocery store. The prices are amazing and the food is delicious.
  • If you have small children, you can fill their entire week without leaving a five-mile area: preschool, soccer, t-ball, swimming, music lessons, karate, art, playgrounds, doughnut holes, ice cream, Sunday School, and more are right here. As they get older, you can add Cotillion, movies, Youth Group, Scouts, fencing lessons, ALTA tennis, swim team, and more to your daily rounds.
  • Social calendars have a distinctive Southern twang: Dunwoody Woman's Club, Rotary, Dunwoody Homeowner's Association, Friends of the Dunwoody Library, Dunwoody Preservation Trust, Dunwoody High School Boosters, Dunwoody Country Club, Dunwoody Nature Center, and more are opportunities for civic participation. Depending on your neighborhood, you can add Book Club, Garden Club, Bunko, and Progressive Dinner to your agenda.
  • We have our own newspaper. The Dunwoody Crier covers our town with a charming mix of small town news bites (who made the dean's list? who just earn an Eagle?), political discussion, columns by elected representatives, investment advice, historical tidbits, and letters to the editor that are downright entertaining.
  • We're close enough to Buckhead, midtown, and downtown Atlanta to ease the commute but perched just outside the perimeter to keep a sense of separate identity.

Friday, March 7, 2008

DeKalb Legal Opinion sought to verify a previous DeKalb Legal Opinion

Over the last four months I have been trying to ensure that the intersection which many of our children use to cross North Peachtree Road over to Peachtree Charter Middle School will be constructed both properly and in a timely manner. We appear to again be at a stalemate situation whereby neither the school board nor the county wants to pay for the needed road improvements. You would think that common sense would tell you that the school taxes we pay should go towards education and the county taxes should go towards road improvements. But I guess common sense can be tough to find in government these days and that is why we have lawyers. In 2002, the DeKalb Legal Department put out a memo stating that it was the responsibility of the County to improve the roads and the School Board should educate children and maintain the school grounds. Since it now appears that the County still wants the School Board to pay for the road improvements at Peachtree, I have asked the DeKalb Legal Department to verify their previous position from 2002.

Until it is determined who is responsible for the cost of the improvements we will have cross walks which lead our children into a driveway instead of a proper sidewalk. Below is the text of the e-mail I sent to the County Attorney and the Public Works Department.

Dear Ms. Allen & Mr. Linkous,

As you can see by the length of this e-mail string, I have had concerns regarding the intersection improvement at Peachtree Charter Middle School since early December. Though I am happy that the driveway is finally open, I am still concerned with the safety of this project since it has not been completed and it appears that we are again at a stalemate over the funding of the needed improvements yet to be made.

I believe Ms. Pope of the DeKalb County School System is hesitant about allowing her general contractor to go forward with road striping, cross walks and handicap curb cuts when she believes that the County Government should be paying for the traffic improvements off school property.

Mr. Linkous, I have attached a memorandum from the DeKalb County Attorney dated January 11, 2002 which gives the opinion, along with related case law, that the DeKalb School Board is expressly prohibited from expending funds to cover traffic improvements outside the boundaries of the school property. As such, DeKalb County must fund any traffic improvements outside the school, which are on public roads. Does your office still stand behind the policy of this memo and if not, may I please get the Counties official interpretation including the relevant law on which your new opinion is based?

Ms. Allen, if the county is responsible for this intersection improvement, it needs to be completed as per the final plans as soon as possible. Presently there is a non-existent left turn lane into the school which is being used in that fashion, nonexistent cross walks or cross walks which lead students directly into a lane of traffic for the driveway into the school. The handicap curb cuts will also need to match the crosswalks which will be coming in at different angles.

Mr. Linkous, I look forward to your reply.


John Heneghan, President
Dunwoody North Civic Association

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Business Week Magazine calls Dunwoody an Expensive Suburb, I think it's a bargain.

Business Week Magazine has an article identifying the most expensive suburbs in each state and Dunwoody, GA was named Georgia's most expensive in which to live.

How could that be? Dunwoody has it all, great schools, low crime, a wooded suburban setting with large lots, and close proximity to all the City of Atlanta has to offer. The top end perimeter of I-285 has also become the cornerstone of Atlanta's high tech job market as well as being at the cross roads of the major interstates & public transportation.

We typically have quarter acre lots with 30 year old homes which have 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths with an average selling price of $350,000. Compared to any other suburb in America, I believe that Dunwoody is a great economic value. Ask anyone who originally came from New York, Washington, Chicago, LA, Denver or San Fran. Dunwoody is actually quite inexpensive in comparison and we have outstanding schools and relatively low taxes.

Besides the modest housing prices, Dunwoody's close in location near the economic engine of the Southeast assures us of very low average transportation costs. Unlike Marietta, Peachtree City and other Atlanta suburbs, Dunwoody has mass transit options that the other suburbs can't match.

As much as I appreciate the recognition for our small town, I believe the article is way off base.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A video tribute to DeKalb's fallen officers, Eric Barker & Ricky Bryant, Jr.

A tribute to two men that gave of themselves in life and death. DeKalb County Police Officer Eric Barker and Officer Ricky Bryant, Jr. were killed in the line of duty on January 16, 2008.

May the politicians who paid homage to these brave men, remember and honor those officers who still serve the citizens of DeKalb County.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dunwoody Wildcat Ball & Auction, March 15th at the Dunwoody Country Club

The Dunwoody High School Community Association is having it's 3rd annual Wildcat Ball on Saturday, March 15, 7:00PM at the Dunwoody Country Club in order to raise proceeds for the Wildcat Fund. Tickets are $100.00 per person and are available from
Tickets should be ordered by March 8th.

DeKalb Police - ICP Program promises cell phone numbers

The DeKalb County Police Department hires 50 interactive community police officers which will be tasked with problem solving and they will give their cell phone numbers out to the community.

If the ICP Officers provide us their cell phone numbers and allow us to do so, they will be quickly published on this cite.