Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Business Attorney Bob Dallas announces bid for Dunwoody Mayor

Bob Dallas candidate for Dunwoody Mayor

Like many Dunwoody citizens, I was both surprised and saddened to learn Mayor Ken Wright decided not to run for reelection. Mayor Wright represented the Dunwoody spirit of cooperation, consideration of all views and collegial interaction with all who came before the City. Mayor Wright will not only be known as Dunwoody’s first mayor, but as a gentleman who made our new City work. The Dunwoody spirit he demonstrated will serve as a legacy for many generations to come. It is that legacy I look to embody as a candidate for Dunwoody’s second mayor.

The creation of the City of Dunwoody in 2008 was Priority #1 for the betterment of our community. After serving as DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer’s planning commissioner for over twelve years, I knew we had to become an independent city to achieve our collective vision. That vision included effective public safety, zoning and land use, code enforcement, parks, and transportation—all without raising taxes. This vision was simply not possible under DeKalb County control. There was a fundamental difference in perspective between DeKalb County government and Dunwoody citizens that played out in virtually every public arena.

The need for cityhood was first brought home to me when I co-chaired Citizens for DeKalb County Property Tax Relief. Our group fought to give homeowners the Homestead Option Sales Tax (HOST) property tax exemption. What to most citizens appeared to be an easy vote was blocked by those in DeKalb who wanted more control over homeowner assets, rather than homeowner tax relief. Because we won and big government interests lost, all Dunwoody homeowners continue to this day to pay less in property taxes.

The second class treatment of Dunwoody citizens by DeKalb County interests was evident in issues large and small. While I was president of the Spruill Center for the Arts, I witnessed as DeKalb County forced payment of rent for use of county-owned property, while other arts centers around DeKalb County did not. Dunwoody residents were seen as cash cows, rather than citizens with rights and voices equal to those elsewhere in the County.

Worse yet, the very look and character of Dunwoody suffered. As a Dunwoody Homeowners Association Board member who chaired the sign committee, I saw how DeKalb’s sign ordinance was inadequate and too often unenforced. Moreover, under DeKalb County control inappropriate zonings under archaic zoning rules allowed apartments to be built without citizen input. Code enforcement was absent. Transportation improvements were sporadic, when they took place at all. While we were fortunate to have Brookrun turned into a park, we soon learned real control and funds for improvement remained in Decatur, not Dunwoody.

The last straw was a law enforcement presence which was spread too thin. There were simply too few officers in Dunwoody to keep our community safe.

Faced with these challenges, the Dunwoody spirit kicked in. Many citizens worked all facets needed to become a city. Along with four others, including City Councilmembers Adrian Bonser and Denny Shortal, I served as a member of the Dunwoody YES! Board. Our job was to educate the voter and encourage a vote of YES! to cityhood. And Dunwoody did: by a mandate of over 80%!

The results have been nothing short of amazing. Local citizens stepped forth from all over Dunwoody to contribute to its governance. I was honored to be appointed by Mayor Wright to serve on the Dunwoody Planning Commission, where I was elected chair. There I worked with many of Dunwoody’s citizens to revise its zoning and land use plans to reflect Dunwoody citizens’ vision. We created business character area plans to manage the growth of Dunwoody’s commercial districts. We have in place effective law enforcement and code enforcement. Many of us worked on Dunwoody’s transportation plan, which is now complete.

Local control has yielded local results: long-neglected Dunwoody roads are being repaved, sidewalks built and bike lane and multiuse trails connecting our parks planned. We own Brookrun, bought the “PVC pipe-farm” and continue work on a parks master plan. I also advocated for Dunwoody’s private sector hotels, not government, to manage the Dunwoody Convention and Visitors Bureau. As a member of the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce where I serve on the executive committee and board, I have worked to maintain a business-friendly environment needed to bring more businesses to Dunwoody.

Mayor Wright and the entire first city Council members deserve credit for laying the groundwork for a better tomorrow. But the work must continue—this is why I am asking for your vote for mayor. I am, of course, a longstanding resident of Dunwoody, with a firm belief in the values of this community. I also have the managerial, legal, political and economic experience to implement our common goals. I worked in the private sector for BellSouth and as a business attorney in one of Atlanta’s largest law firms. I served as Governor Sonny Perdue’s Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, where with many partners—including Dunwoody police—we made Georgia safer, and significantly reduced Georgia crash deaths with fewer state dollars. I know how government should operate and know the State of Georgia legislative leaders who we must call upon to improve the State laws which impact Dunwoody.

But most importantly, I understand that the City of Dunwoody is not just about politics, infrastructure and economics. The schools, synagogues and churches of Dunwoody form the nucleus of the volunteer spirit of Dunwoody. I am so proud of my wife Liz, who serves alongside a large and tireless group of Dunwoody citizens to benefit this community that we call home. Liz serves at our church, Kingswood United Methodist. She volunteers at our children’s schools, and in our community. Like so many Dunwoody citizens, the Dallas family believes that in giving our time, we contribute to our community—and that is what makes Dunwoody work for families. Liz and I share a common dream for tomorrow, a dream that is firmly rooted in family—both ours and yours.

The City of Dunwoody must continue to aspire to be as good as its people. For the past 27 years, I have lived in Dunwoody and worked together with many of you to make it better. I would be honored to serve you today as mayor for a better Dunwoody tomorrow. I ask every citizen of Dunwoody to look at my common sense, conservative civic record of service to know my pledge to you is more than campaign words. For every commitment I make to you, I have backed it up with years of dedicated civic experience and my commitments reflect what Dunwoody citizens have worked so hard to achieve. With my record of public service, I commit to Dunwoody citizens:

Taxes, Economic Development and City Service:
  • I will not increase the property tax millage rate.
  • I will be frugal with every taxpayer penny.
  • I will continue to serve the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce’s economic development efforts to bring new businesses to Dunwoody.
  • I will ensure that the City of Dunwoody attracts the top-notch employees who are committed to provide excellent customer service to Dunwoody citizens.

Public Safety and Code Enforcement:
  • I will ensure that public safety is paramount and adequately funded.
  • I will ensure that code enforcement is conduced fairly and completely.

Land Use and Zoning:
  • I will ensure that the land use, zoning and business character area plans reflect Dunwoody citizen’s values and vision.
  • I will ensure that new development adheres to the adopted land use, zoning and business character area plans.

Transportation and Parks:
  • I will ensure that Dunwoody’s existing transportation infrastructure is maintained to the highest level.
  • I will ensure that Dunwoody’s parks serve the needs of its citizens and infrastructure is in place to provide sidewalks, paths and routes to reach Dunwoody’s parks and business character areas.
  • I will place the quality of Dunwoody citizens’ lives first and I will not widen Dunwoody roads.

To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, Dunwoody is a beacon of light atop a hill in a land we call metro-Atlanta. As we thank the tireless efforts of so many who worked so hard to make Dunwoody a great City, we can work toward our future and I believe our best days lie ahead. In sum, I will continue Mayor Wright’s Dunwoody spirit of cooperation, consideration of all views and collegial interaction with all who came before the City with the singular goal to make Dunwoody the great City we call home.

Bob Dallas, Candidate for Dunwoody Mayor

The Dallas record of public service:

FAMILY

PUBLIC SERVICE

EMPLOYMENT
  • BUSINESS ATTORNEY, CASEY & GILSON, P.C., Atlanta, GA, 2011-present
  • DIRECTOR, GEORGIA GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF HIGHWAY SAFETY, Atlanta, GA, 2003-2011
  • BUSINESS ATTORNEY, SHAW, EVANS & DALLAS, LLC, Atlanta, GA, 1997-2003
  • BUSINESS ATTORNEY POWELL, GOLDSTEIN, FRAZER & MURPHY, Atlanta, GA, 1989-1996
  • BELLSOUTH,1980-1989
    Project Manager. Atlanta, Georgia, 1986-1989.
    Project Staff Manager. Atlanta, Georgia, 1983-1986.
    Assistant Staff Manager. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 1982-1983.
    Assistant Manager. Stuart, Florida, 1980-1982.
  • Century 21 Real Estate Agent. Gainesville, Florida, 1978.

EDUCATION

PROFESSIONAL

ADDRESS
1445 Valley View Road, Dunwoody, Georgia 30338, 770-913-0303(h), 770-331-4040(c), rdallas@bellsouth.net

7 comments:

Chip said...

I'm happy to see Bob Dallas put forth his credentials and his qualifications for Mayor. I also appreciate his position statements and vision for Dunwoody's future.

I'll have more to say about his candidacy after I digest his statements more thoroughly, but I will say that, at least, he's presented his positions in a format that encourages debate and consideration.

I personally know that Bob is a believer in bike trails and interconnecting trails, and his vision for Dunwoody may conflict with many who opposed the greenways and proposed trails. That's an issue that got "mangled" this past year, and probably ought to get reconsidered and represented.

My only substantive disagreement with Mr. Dallas, as of right now, is that I disagree with the position that "no Dunwoody streets will be widened". This is an old saw that needs to be reconsidered with fresh eyes. Intersection improvements, including turn lanes and by-pass lanes get lumped into the category of "street widening" when they really aren't.

If Bob Dallas really wants to drive the same stake in the ground that Ken Wright did "no streets will be widened in my (Mayor Wright's) administration" then I believe Bob Dallas lacks the required vision for actually accomplishing all the things he wants for Dunwoody, and is pandering to what we refer to euphemistically as "The Farmhousers".

Chip

BeEwe said...

Great, "Chip". Can't wait to see your anonymous opinion.

Chip said...

No "anonymous" opinions from this writer. I always declare my identity when I write. Just because I use a nom de plume does not mean I'm trying to sneak anything past you. I've been blogging for several years with this identity.

Heck, I've even posted a picture!

Bob Lundsten said...

I think that Bob knows the difference between widening and intersection improvements

And Chip identity or not, you are still a bit of a coward for not having the guts to stand up in the open and let you opinion be known.

The only thing your "identity" does it let people know that you are a consistent anonymous poster.
That ain't sayin' much

Chip said...

Farmer Bob:

My opinion is never anonymous and is "known" and consistently offered under my "identity" as Chip Bagman. If you want to converse with me, you and anyone else may write me, directly, as "chipbagman@gmail.com".

My preference for communicating via written word/posting/email versus verbal address is just that, a preference.

If you want to make this about "me" and not about Bob Dallas, you're missing the point. I'm just an inconsequential blogger who offers his opinion, tries to avoid personal insinuation and personal attack, discusses ideas, reprimands foolishness (as I see it), and looks for inconsistencies in argument or positions. I certainly do not expect nor intend my blogs to have legislative impact.

When I do intend to work toward a particular resolution or result, I do so as my true self, and make public declarations of same. I have written to the local paper, appeared at City Council meetings, etc. in my true identity many times.

If Bob Dallas does know the difference between intersection improvement and street-widening, he should say so! There's another "public" figure in Ric Woroniecki, for example, who doesn't understand that distinction and opposes any intersection improvement as a street-widening project, and apparently has buffaloed the City Council on several occasions with this viewpoint so that the distinction has been lost. So, I believe I have a legitimate question about that distinction as it pertains to Bob Dallas' statement.

As for me being a bit of a coward, that's the kind of name-calling and ad hominem argument that I am opposed to.

I made two points about Bob Dallas' positions (not about Bob, personally). If you disagree with them, offer rebuttal or clarification. Let's try to stick to arguing about positions and statements, not about personalities.

See you around, Bob.

Chip

Chip said...

As I mentioned in my first post, I'd review Bob Dallas' announcement and have some comments after I had more time to review it.

I reiterate my two previous comments about greenspace, trails, and parks plus the comment about street-widening. I'd like to hear more about Bob's intentions in these areas.

Bob also makes the point that DeKalb County was failing with regard to it's sign ordinance and apartment zoning. This is an interesting one, because the sign ordinance passed last October, and due to be amended shortly, is based on DeKalb County's language, with some alteration of dimensions. However, it has almost been totally non-enforced except for new construction since it's adoption. This is primarily the responsibility of the City Manager and his departments, but none-the-less, the Mayor sets the tone. If Bob Dallas really wants to see enforcement "fairly and completely" I wonder what he'd do differently around managing the sign ordinance, the noise ordinance, and various other ordinances passed by the City Council and left to "enforce only if a complaint" policy, which is essentially the same as DeKalb County.

Recently, the City offered a Transportation Plan and a project list and budget. Many of the items on this plan call out for widening and/or improving our roads. What specific items does Bob Dallas support; which one's does he oppose.

Zoning and Land Use. Partly because of the economy, there hasn't been any serious zoning or land-use issue of note. In Dunwoody Talk today, it's claimed that the PCID will add 5000 new apartments within ten years, and grow to 17,000 within the next 25 years. (Depending on the location and breakout, that could represent between 10 to 20% of Dunwoody's current population.) What challenges does Mayor Dallas see with this estimate, if true?

These comments are addressed as well to the other candidates for Mayor, none of whom have spoken or written anything but pablum so far. Bob Dallas is to be commended for being the first to give us a comprehensive assessment of his qualifications and his positions. The others should not be held to a lesser standard or expectation.

Chip

Sparks said...

I have known and worked with Bob for years and look forward to him being our new mayor. Bob is by far the best qualified candidate for the job.