Sunday, October 16, 2011

City of Dunwoody Ballot Questions

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Rob said...

VOTE YES on the Parks Bonds and YES on Redevelopment Powers. And YES on Sunday Sales.

These are all very clear cut ways for Dunwoody to move forward. The Parks Bonds will fund the acquisition of new park land, and the improvement bonds will allow us to fix and upgrade our existing parks. All of this is long overdue in Dunwoody. We've talked about it for over a decade, and now with land prices so low it's the opportune time to move forward.

Similarly, the ability to do TAD's is something most other cities have in the Metro area. City of Dunwoody needs this ability as well. All this referendum does is give the City of Dunwoody the same powers as other local governments.

We didn't spend all our efforts setting up a solid and effective local government to now come along and deny it the power it needs to offer TAD's should that be a desirable alternative. We must give our City of Dunwoody the same authority to act as other cities possess.

I for one am tired of those who want every last detail spelled out, when in fact, we've got to have confidence and trust in our local officials. I do. They are elected by us; they are responsible to us; and I'm sure they are going to do the sensible thing with both the Parks and TAD's. Their track record proves this.

Let's get serious about doing the right thing as voters and having the ability to improve our city.

All of these referenda are really about our future. If we want a better City, with Parks and not projects, then vote YES for these items on November 8th.

Rob Augustine

Colleen O'Casey said...

Rob, dauntless and discerning words! Well done!

Chip said...


You continue to amaze and distress me with your unabated boosterism for all things Dunwoody, even when they don't make sense.

Long ago, you were touting the value of "local control" and here is an example of "local control" trying both to raise your taxes (albeit with your approval) put us considerably in debt, and not take the very basic step of putting safeguards and specifications in place before they begin.

My recollection is that you practice law in some capacity. You're advocating that the citizens of Dunwoody enter into a financial contract with the City Council and City Manager for the sum of $66 M plus future ability to spend even more (tax revenue bonds) without so much as a description of what's in the contract, specifications as to what goods and/or services are to be delivered, and relevant terms and conditions as may apply.

I don't know if you practice contract law or not, but what you're saying is, here we have a contract for $66 M dollars, and all you have to do is sign on the dotted line and "trust us."

If you foisted this approach to contract writing onto one of your clients, I doubt you'd be a practicing attorney for long.

Too bad you're tired of people wanting details. This is a contract, and everyone knows that details are critical to enforcing and delivering on contractual promises.

Rob, frankly, your willingness to turn a blind eye in support of Dunwoody, not using any portion of your critical reasoning skills continues to amaze me.

Far from "dauntless and discerning words" I'd characterize your thoughts as Pollyanna-ish and misguided.



Rob said...

Great over simplification and nonsense Chip. Parks make perfectly good sense for our City. Had you been there you'd know we've been trying to add green space and parks for many years. Now is the opportune time to do so. For many cogent and clear reasons.

You probably do need an attorney to help you find some better logical analysis than you've shown on your comment. I'm not accepting clients in your category though.

Suffice it to say that Local government law is being handled perfectly well by our City officials in this parks bond referenda. And VOTE YES IS THE BEST THING WE COULD DO.

Colleen O'Casey said...

Don't worry Rob, I still find you to be dauntless and discerning, and I anticipate that you are better looking than the other guy, but with a potato chip for a face he really hasn't set the beauty bar that high. Keep up the good fight!

The selfish vision-less segment that opposes the parks reminds me of people that think because they don't have cars or their children have grown that they shouldn't have to pay for roads or public schools as they are afraid they won't have enough money to finance their bottles of Geritol, cans of Metamucil, or Depend undergarments to fill their seven year end-of-the-world pantry.

Someone paid for the parks we played in as a children and now is the time to for us to be responsible stewards of the next generation.


Chip said...


You often like to posit rhetorical bon mots in your messages. Here's one for you to ponder, the false choice.

You'd like to make the case that passing the bond referendums(sic) are the ONLY and BEST way for Dunwoody to get parks.

I, for one, am all for more parks; I'm just against the vehicle posed by these referendums, for the reasons stated. There are many other choices, and better drafted choices available for the City to acquire this land.

I have never written anything against the need or desirability for more parks in Dunwoody; I have come out strongly against these particular referenda.

That's a distinction with a difference.

On another subject we have what you attorneys like to call "a meeting of the minds" in that I agree I don't want to be your client, either. So that issue can be settled.

Colleen, you are not a connoisseur of potato chips (or crisps). That particular chip possesses qualities that make it "beautiful" in both the aesthetic and generic categories. Granted, it does make a better presentation than my mug, but please! don't disparage a truly beautiful potato chip just because it happened to get drawn into a political, partisan battle.


P.S. Rob, I've been here over 20 years, including the time you were DHA President. I'm hardly an "outsider", again a rhetorical gambit of yours that misfires.

Rob said...

Chip, I've been around Dunwoody quite some time. More than even you. We've been trying to come up with more park space for a long time. Now we've got the opportunity to do that with an excellent program for both park land - green space acquisition as well as funding for improving, fixing up, and making our existing parks the best we can make them.

Now is the time to do this. Land prices are very low. We need funding to do this, and the parks bonds are the way that local governments fund these programs. So we need to move forward and approve the Parks bonds.

Now you say in your latest message there's better ways to do this. Well, I don't see it. No one else sees it. There really isn't an alternative to the Parks bond referenda before us. We either approve these and move forward or we continue without parks and green space. If we do that we'll wind up with development projects, not Parks.

You cannot make an argument that you have some "better" way to do things. City council has looked at all this. We know how park land acquisitions and improvements are funded under Georgia law. The program before us is the desirable course.

Then you try to argue that you want a "contract" between us and the City govvernment. Well, Chip, we are the city government. We, the citizens of this community elect and work with the representatives we choose. That's how this parks bond program came to be in the first place. So, we don't need a contract. You need two parties to have a contract. WE are only one party. US - the citizens of Dunwoody. We don't need an agreement with ourselves to have parks. We just need to move forward with the program that is before us. That's the program we've all been working on for the past 20 years.

So, I would ask anyone who may happen to read this, not to be misled by your simple, really non-existent alternatives. You are either for moving forward with more parks and green space or not. The way to move forward is to approve the Parks Bonds presented to the citizens on Nov. 8th.

I hope I have avoided all perceived "rhetorical gambits" in this response. This refers specifically to your statement Chip that I somehow said you were an outsider, apparently by saying "had you been there." What that really meant was Had you been involved in our plans and efforts over the past two decades you would know the desirability of approving these Parks bonds for our community. It didn't mean that you were an "outsider" just that you weren't there helping and supporting the efforts. Just like right now you are not there with any help or support either. What you've been doing is just trying to strew a lot of red herrings across the path of progress. Well, we don't accept your thoughts at all.

Rob Augustine

Chip said...


You're engaging in "pettifogging" of the first rank.

You don't have to go any further than to ask the question, "Why are the referendums written for a "lump sum" amount, rather than on a specific project basis?

For example, let's have a bond for $3M for the Donaldson-Chestnut farm, yes or no. Let's have a $11M bond for three baseball fields, yes or no.

Alternately, the Council found $6.5 M in surplus funds to purchase the former PVC park and the 1.5 acres on N. Shallowford. No bonds or referendums needed. This is an "alternative" way of providing funds.

YOU weren't around when the discussion about tying the referendums with the Parks and Open Spaces MasterPlan was held. There is absolutely NO CONNECTION between what is shown on that Master Plan and the intentions discussed by the Council. In specifics, there is no mention of ball fields or sports fields in the Master Plan, yet everyone "assumes" that these will be included. You want to go on assumptions, or you want to go on facts? Your call.

You know Rob, you call my arguments "simple" but you obviously can't see the forest for the trees. You try to persuade that "we don't need a "contract" yet, you wholeheartedly endorse passing of the bond refereda. If we don't need "something" why do we need a referenda? If the Council is us and we are the Council, what's the point? following upon your logic.

No, Rob, you can obfuscate and dissemble all you want, but it's clear that the Council does not have the power to go into debt, because we the citizenry have not granted them that authority. NOw, they want to put us all (not them, US) into debt.

While I may be willing to agree to go into debt for parks, I'm not agreeing with this method or this approach.

You call my proposed alternates "unrealistic" yet the Council has exercised that particular perogative twice, already. Who's kidding whom here, Rob?

My "simple" statement about the parks bond stands unchallenged: "It's only $66M, trust us!"


Rob said...

There you go again, Chip.

Let's think of some other way to do this .... like have a bond referendum for each item. We'll spend hundreds of thousands just getting all these on the ballot over a period of years. Great idea, Chip.

While we're at it, you can hire a soothsayer to predict the precise future and tell us which properties will beoome available over the years ahead. That way we'll know exactly what to buy and can vote on that too. Very specifically.

Really, Chip, your whole approach is nothing more than to throw up more impractical, unrealistic, and unacceptable alternatives. Your goal obviously is to kill the Parks Bonds by throwing up all kinds of zany, but useless ways to do this. Apparently, you have a whole case of fresh red herring to put out there.

But we are not taking the false scent here. The Parks Bonds as currently defined are the way that local governments do these acquisitions. City Council will be able to use the money raised to select appropriate properties to acquire and the right areas to make improvements.

As I said initially, this is the common sense approach to our lack of parks and our inadequate facilities. The City Council has done lots of work to identify what the citizens want, and I'm sure once the Parks Bonds pass that we will all see the City Council make the correct investment in our community.

Again, we want Parks. Not projects from developers who will no doubt have their own plans and ideas about using land in Dunwoody. If we don't do this and provide more green space, these developers will acquire the land and develop it.

Maybe that's what you want to see, but I can't believe you do.

Chip said...


"You're no Ronald Reagan(sic); I knew Ronald Reagan and I know what I'm talking about!"

And, you're grossly mistaken about the cost of putting a referendum item on a state-ballot, but even if you weren't, the cost of doing so wouldn't even touch one month's interest payments on the amount of debt this bond referendum can generate. Please go make up some more defensible "facts," Rob, and stopping setting up straw men.

Here, in plain and direct language, is my position.

I'm for more and improved Parks in Dunwoody.

I'm certain that the Parks referenda (as written) are not the appropriate vehicles for making that happen.

These are no red herrings in this; there is no hidden agenda. My opinion is that the Council, far from being the far-sighted, benevolent, and infallible agency you portray them as, does not have a "plan" per se, and are asking for a "blank check" for "what might occur." If you can show documentation otherwise, please do so.

You do not have to be an advocate for or against parks to understand that the justification of the amounts and the intended improvements are all being bet "on the come."

It's just not good government, no if's and's or but's.

Rob said...

Once again, Chip, there you go.

I can plainly see that you are for more and improved PARKS in Dunwoody. That's great.

I'm so happy that you agree with me on that. We really need more and better parks and green space.

Of course, your idea of having many, many parks bonds and ballots would waste so much money, not just on voting, but on issuing bonds, interest costs, fees, etc. that what you are so strongly in favor of could never get done. Plus, you would so constrain the City Council, year to year, project to project, that they counldn't do anything. Unless, of course, you said it was OK.

Great ideas, Chip. We'll just run everything by you so nothing ever happens. Not my idea of how local government should work.

"A strong nation is one that is loved by its people and, as Edmund Burke put it, for a country to be loved it ought to be lovely."

Now who said that?

Chip said...


You'd have a better case if you'd actually attend a couple of council meetings and listened to Chris Pike describe the process.

The City will not issue one large bond, they intend to piecemeal the bonds, as required. So they're already hamstringing themselves, according to your analysis, if one follows your tortuous logic.

The problem (once again, maybe if I say it a dozen times you'll finally get it)is that the Council is under no obligation to follow any guidelines, no obligation to deliver any particular product, refused (until compelled by citizen resistance) to even accept the notion of two independent appraisals on property they intended to purchase, and established the amounts of the bonds based solely on the observation that a majority of polled voters said they might be willing to pay $20/month thru increased taxes for parks.

The bonds WERE NOT set based on a project list, on a plan, or on anything of substance. Just the observation that if every household in Dunwoody was charged $20/month, that's what the total value of the bonds should be.

You chided me for "not being around, working for greenspace" and on what basis you determine that, I don't know.

However, I do know that you were not around at any of the City Council meetings, have a very vague an peremptory idea of what the bonds cover, and are hardly in the position to assess the value as you have absolutely no idea what's involved.

If your only argument for voting for the bonds is " trust our Council, they're our friends and neighbors, they know best!" you have a very weak argument, indeed.

And, here you go again.....


Rob said...

Exactly what I'm saying: You, no one, can predict what opportunities will become available to use the bond financing. So you cannot pin down every detail of every project at this time. So City Council proceeds to acquire parks land and improve existing parks moving forward. They've already extensively reviewed master plans and so much else. You act like we've got some kind of foreign government in charge of our own city. It's ridiculous, in my view, to want an exact blueprint for items that are going to come up as we proceed with land purchases, facility locations, and the many improvements we need in our Parks.

And if we take your no win course, we'll just keep screwing around until the market turns, prices go up, and we won't be able to do any of this.

Chip said...


Clearly trying to have a discussion with you is like arguing with a mule.

There's a lot of braying and stiff-necked behavior, but the field isn't getting plowed.

We'll just have to see if the voters of Dunwoody are gullible enough to follow your suggested path and write a check for $66M under the "trust us" approach.

No need to respond; I'm done.


Rob said...

My thoughts exactly. You put up all kinds of objections, most of which are just red herrings to disguise your opposition to the program, and just keep switching around from point to point without really grasping the true meaning of what's being done. I think my last post put it succinctly enough. We need to move forward.

Following your approach, we will have nothing for our Parks or for the other referenda that are on the ballot. TAD's and Sunday Sales all make sense to me. Same as Parks. SO VOTE YES ON ALL OF THEM.

I certainly don't demean our citizens by saying they are gullible. They have great common sense and they have a local government as well which will continue to do great things for the City, so long as folks with your attitude don't succeed. Those who act like our city council is not trustworthy, or not going to act in our best interest, are truly offensive to all that we've worked for in Dunwoody. While irritating, they are clearly wrong.

Signing out, Rob Augustine