Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dunwoody City Council Meeting - Wed 7 p.m. @ Peachtree Charter Middle School.

Dunwoody City Council Meeting
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
7:00 p.m.
Peachtree Middle School
4664 N. Peachtree Road
Dunwoody, Georgia 30338

Agenda & Attachments.

There will be 30 minutes of comments at the beginning of the meeting and additional comments at the end.
  1. Consideration of approval of a Resolution adopting and approving the City Council Rules and Procedures.

  2. Consideration of approval of a Resolution appointing an Acting City Clerk.

  3. Consideration of approval of a Resolution appointing an Acting City Attorney.

  4. Consideration of approval of Resolution approving a City Seal for the City of Dunwoody.

  5. Consideration of approval of Resolution designating Legal Organ for official publication and notices of the City.

  6. Consideration of approval of Resolution adopting a Regular Meeting and Work Session Schedule for the City Council.

  7. Consideration of approval of Resolution adopting the City of Dunwoody Mission Statement, Vision and Values Statement.

  8. Consideration of approval of Ordinance providing for the continuation of ordinances and law during the legislatively established transition period for the City of Dunwoody.

  9. Consideration of approval of Ordinance adopting Chapter 1 (General Provisions) of the City of Dunwoody Code of Ordinances.

  10. Consideration of approval of Ordinance adopting Chapter 2 (Administration) of the City of Dunwoody Code of Ordinances.

  11. Discussion of the contract with Boyken International for implementation of City services.

  12. Consideration of approval of Resolution approving and adopting the contract with CH2MHill for implementation of City services.

Why is this a tough decision? A $6.9 million surplus vs. $2 million deficit over 3 years.

Sunday night Senator Dan Weber presented the Dunwoody City Council the comprehensive financial information compiled by his ad-hock committee for the hybrid plan in comparison to the CH2MHill expense numbers being batted around by the City Council. In these very tough economic times, the “Weber - Boyken Hybrid” plan appears to save us $6 million dollars over three years in comparison to the CH2MHill plan which currently shows a $2 million dollar deficit over the same period. The CH2MHill plan which was initially presented at $10 million to match the request of the RFP (see page 8 – why did we tell them a price?) but has now been cut way back in price and to a level of service which is unknown. The City has also whittled down the expenses to where we have very little money for capital improvements, very little reserve funds for contingencies (others use 8%), very little money for parks, a tight police budget and very little wiggle room until which time the City Council will need to come begging the citizens for a possible tax increase. Senator Weber explained these spreadsheets during the Sunday meeting and I encourage you to re-listen to that specific segment as you look at the documents.

Besides the money issue, the next big question is what level of service does each proposal present and at what price? The CH2MHill proposal has been cut way back from the original response to the RFP and I honestly don’t know the levels of service that they are currently proposing since it is still a moving target. I was looking for definitive, detailed information from CH2MHill during their presentation Sunday night but they only offered their “reputation of quality” and “customer service” speech, instead of specific levels of service. If we are having hard time getting this type information from the single master contractor prior to the contract, it doesn’t bode well for us in the next three years if we do decide to sign on the dotted line.

The “Weber - Boyken Hybrid” appears to offer a reasonable alternative which enables us to control and maintain our own assets, and creates a capital pool of savings that could be allocated to some “immediate needs” expense items. The scope of Boyken International is in-depth project management. The company’s strengths are implementation and management. Don Boyken is a DHA Board Member, former President of DHA and trusted citizen and stake holder in Dunwoody. He has made significant contributions to the community throughout the years. Although the implementation “may take longer”, the CH2M Hill model prohibits Dunwoody from addressing parks improvements and other infrastructure improvements for 3 years! As you know, a future expense for some necessary improvements needed immediately could create exponential expense multiples 3 years out. I believe the Weber - Boyken route presents a clearer, more affordable path; but I am only one member of the City Council.

I am still awaiting the formal announcement and agenda of our tentative Wednesday evening meeting (7 p.m.) at Peachtree Middle School and please be aware that this item may be voted upon and decided at that time? Whether the CH2MHill proposal is or isn’t on the agenda for Wednesday, I would like to hear your public comments on these proposals at the meeting. As per my recommendation at the first work session, the City Clerk should post a sign up list which will allow 10 commenter’s three minutes each to speak at the beginning of the meeting and if those slots are full there will be public comment at the end of the meeting.

I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to voice your opinion, people will be listening. Thanks.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Audio of First Dunwoody City Council Meeting

My first Dunwoody City Council meeting is now behind me. I was prepared and made a few suggestions as to the operations of the meetings. Namely I requested a public comment section at the front of the meeting so that people didn't have to wait around for four hours to make a quick statement. This way if you have something important to say, you and nine others can sign up in advance and each have 3 minutes; you can then say your peace and then go home if so desired. There will be a second comment period at the end of the meeting with another 3 minutes per person with no set maximum limit.

I pushed for internet postings of everything, including all legal notices that are also required to be in the cities legal organ (newspaper).

I pushed for electronic open records to be provided electronically to the requester at little or no charge. (I personally have paid DeKalb County hundreds of dollars for paper copies of electronic documents that they printed for me when I would have preferred the electronic document to begin with.)

I listened to the presentation from CH2MHill for the third time but wanted more details to be provided to the community regarding the actual services and the total cost. Since negotiations are still on going; they provided no cost detail and very little service detail. I was hoping for an electronic copy of their detailed plan to post to the web but nothing was available. I held up CH2MHill's RFP response which is a huge binder of detailed information, which I signed a non-disclose agreement to obtain, and asked if it was now a public document to be disseminated to the community and the answer from the CH2MHill representative was no. I asked if the RFP had an expiration date and if we could delay making this decision for a month or two. You can listen to the audio for the answer but I believe the short answer given by Mr. Hirsekorn was that time was running short for a December 1st start up and it has been priced accordingly. With five current city council members and the Mayor there is a chance that the decision on whether or not to accept the CH2MHill bid may be dead locked in a 3 to 3 vote and therefore this final decision may have to be delayed until after the runoff of District 2. (I found on page four of the RFP that it states we have 60 days from yesterday to decide.)

I listened to Senator Dan Weber's presentation and went through his numbers for the second time in two days and I believe it could work, though it is a much more difficult proposition to start the city from scratch. It is riskier on several levels (untrained employees, questionable start up operations, unproven level of customer service and unknown variable costs which CH2 has built into their contract) and yet safer on a few levels (easier to scale back individual contracts if expected revenues don't pan out and lower initial costs freeing up more money for capital expenses and a larger reserve fund). I am very impressed with the proposition of working with Don Boyken, whom I know as a long time member of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association and believe that his companies' presence would be a huge asset to starting the city.

This first decision made by the city council will probably be the biggest that most of us will decide and it may come as soon as our next meeting, currently scheduled for Wednesday evening 7 p.m. at Peachtree Charter Middle School.

When I get the agenda, I will post it.

As a reminder, here was our last agenda and here is a link to the audio of the meeting but the player below should work for most people.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

City Council Work Session called for Sunday @ 6:30

The Dunwoody City Council has called for its first official work session to be held Sunday, September 28, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. at Dunwoody United Methodist Church. 1548 Mt. Vernon Road, Dunwoody, GA 30338.

The agenda and documents to be discussed are available here.
  1. Discussion of Resolution Adopting and Approving Rules and Procedures for City Council Meetings and Public Hearings for the City of Dunwoody.
  2. Discussion of the proposed City Seal and Resolution to Approve the City Seal for use by the City of Dunwoody.
  3. Discussion of Dunwoody Crier as the official legal organ for the City of Dunwoody and discussion of Resolution to approve same.
  4. Discussion of the Vision, Values and Mission Statement for the City of Dunwoody and Resolution Adopting the City of Dunwoody Mission Statement, Vision and Values Statement as Guidelines for Elected City Officials and Actions of the Governing Body of the City.
  5. Discussion of Ordinance Providing for the Continuation of Ordinance and Law During the Transition Period Legislatively Established For the City of Dunwoody, Georgia, and the Adoption of Ordinances by the City of Dunwoody, Georgia.
  6. Discussion of proposed Chapter 1 ("General Provisions") of the City Code and Ordinance to Adopt and Approve Chapter 1 of the City Code.
  7. Discussion of proposed Chapter 2 ("Administration") of the City Code and Ordinance to Adopt and Approve Chapter 2 of the City Code.
Rick Hirsekorn. Representative of CH2MHill
  1. Discussion of proposal by CH2MHil1, pursuant to the RFP, to provide contracted services for operations of the City of Dunwoody.
Dan Weber, State Senator
  1. Discussion of the Hybrid City Implementation Approach model for operation of the City and provision of City services.
Fred Brandt, Representative of Executive Committee of Citizens for Dunwoody
  1. Discussion of proposal to hire Oliver Porter as Transition Consultant for the City of Dunwoody.
Ken Wricht, Mayor
  1. Discussion of the proposed schedule for regular City Council Meetings and Work Sessions

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dunwoody - Friendly Divorce or Death by Bow Tie

At the Sept 23, 2008 DeKalb County Board of Commissioners meeting, the lawsuit against the City of Dunwoody was discussed and then deferred until the next meeting. It was at that time that Commissioner Elaine Boyer entered a few corrections on what was said previously and then CEO Vernon Jones wanted to reply to Ms. Boyer's comments.

He espoused his knowledge of Constitutional Law then went on to discuss Brook Run Park but forgot to mention that he specifically promised the park 11.5 million dollars in the last bond referendum but only spent about 5 million to date. The premier park that he discusses is a playground which has no benches nor shade for the parents who want to watch their children, a water feature that has been broken for several years, a skate park that is now a large capital drain for operations, vandalized buildings that are still unlocked and a safety hazard to the community.

He then discusses the lack of diversity on the Governor's Commission and the new City Council claiming that the new City of Dunwoody was created to accomplish the goal of "Bleaching Governments".

The CEO then goes on to state that Dick Williams, Editor of the Dunwoody Crier played to peoples fears in order to get the city and because of that the CEO then stated that he prays for Mr. Williams "because one day Dunwoody is going to change and I hope that bow tie doesn't get so tight that it chokes him and kills him because he can't accept the results."

A member of the audience then yells out, "That's Disgusting!!"

When Mr. Williams was informed of the comment he stated... "The disappointing, vindictive comments made by the chief executive Tuesday were just another example of why 40,000 Dunwoody residents voted with their feet this year and are itching to start their new city. Eight years of embarrassing behavior, racial divisiveness, higher taxes and declining services are Vernon Jones' legacy for the people of DeKalb County."

Founding Fathers of Dunwoody

The Dunwoody Neighbor by Tom Spigolon

Dunwoody voters are looking to an Oct. 14 runoff after choosing the mayor and five city council members last week in the fledgling city’s first election.

And the new city council was set to be sworn in today at 7:30 p.m. at 1420 Room in Dunwoody and meet soon to begin setting up government operations after enough members were elected to gain a quorum.

The state law leading to formation of the city allowed the council to meet after the election was certified — which was done Thursday by the DeKalb Board of Elections.

The runoff election is for the District 2, Post 2, seat featuring top vote-getter Adrian Bonser, who received 45 percent of the vote, and second-place finisher Larry Pankey, who received 35 percent.

Ms. Bonser was active in the Dunwoody Yes! cityhood advocacy group and the three-year incorporation effort. She said she will continue to campaign to show she is the most qualified and committed candidate for the Post 2 seat.

“I feel I’m the best candidate ... the most qualified. I will keep working hard to bring that message to the voters,” she said.

Ms. Bonser said she anticipates continuing an active door-to-door campaign, as well.

“I’m humbled beyond words for the turnout I had,” she said. “Working to create a new city ... has been one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done in my life.”

Pankey, a longtime area youth sports coach, said he will be working to show he also is the most qualified.

He noted he would bring a knowledge of government issues with which Dunwoody will deal. He said his 16 years as an attorney has included work both for and against area city and county governments.

Third-place finisher, Realtor and former TV announcer Bob Fiscella, last week endorsed Pankey. Fiscella and Pankey both have children who attend Vanderlyn Elementary School, Fiscella said.

“Dunwoody needs a candidate like Larry on city council who has seen firsthand the overcrowded schools that our children face every day,” Fiscella said. “In the coming days, I will be helping Larry and his supporters get out the vote.”

Only the Chesnut Elementary, Dunwoody High, Kingsley Elementary, Mt. Vernon East and West and Tilly Mill Road precincts will be open for the Oct. 14 election because it only affected District 2, DeKalb election officials said. Half of the council is elected by districts and half elected at-large by all the city’s voters.

More than 26 percent of the city’s 25,000 registered voters turned out Sept. 16 at 13 polling places to elect five of the six Dunwoody City Council members and the mayor in the special election.

Those elected included:

District 1, Post 1: Denis Shortal won with 61 percent of the vote. He defeated Al Alberghini, 31 percent, and Nancy Kaylor, 8 percent, for the seat.

District 3, Post 3: Tom Taylor won with 54 percent of the vote over Doug Thompson, 40 percent, and Ellen Fix, 5 percent.

At Large, Post 4: Robert Wittenstein won with 55 percent of the vote over Mallard Holliday, 45 percent.

At Large, Post 5: Danny Ross won with 63 percent of the vote over Janet Webb, 37 percent.

At Large, Post 6: John Heneghan won with 65 percent of the vote over Mary Jo Chambless, 35 percent.

Ken Wright received 5,949 complimentary votes in his unopposed race for the new city’s first mayor.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Parents your teen needs to learn that ignorance is no defense in Georgia.

DID YOU KNOW that a person under 21 years old can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if the person’s alcohol concentration is .02 grams or higher?

For most people under 21 years old, drinking one beer or one glass of wine or one mixed drink will cause their alcohol concentration to be .02 grams or higher. There is no “safe” amount to drink and still be able to drive without impairment.

DID YOU KNOW that when you wake up on your 17th birthday, you are an adult under Georgia’s criminal laws?

DID YOU KNOW that if you have a fake ID with a government logo, you can be charged with a felony?

DID YOU KNOW that if you give a prescription drug to a friend, you can both be charged with a crime?

DID YOU KNOW that you can be charged with statutory rape regardless of whether you are a girl or a boy?

Author J. Tom Morgan will be coming to All Saints Catholic Church, this Sunday, September 28, 7pm to speak on his latest book, “Ignorance is No Defense”, which explains Georgia Laws to teenagers in easy to understand language. He is a nationally recognized expert on the prosecution of crimes against children and served as District Attorney of DeKalb County Georgia for 12 years. He has also dedicated his career to child advocacy.

Open to the Public and every Dunwoody teen should be encouraged to attend.
Sunday, September 28th @ 7 p.m.
All Saints Catholic Church
2443 Mount Vernon Road
Dunwoody GA 30338

Donuts for Dad @ Chesnut Charter on Fri morning.

Dads (or granddads, uncles..) bring your child to Chesnut Charter Elementary School on Friday, September 26th and enjoy a donut and some milk or juice before heading to class and work. The event will be out front of the school weather permitting (lobby if not) from 7:15- 7:45 am. Hope to see you there.

It's Official - I took the oath of office and I affirm that I am not a Communist.

This evening Mayor Ken Wright and City Council Members, Denny Shortal, Robert Wittenstein, Tom Taylor, & myself (John Heneghan) were sworn in to our respective posts. City Council member elect Danny Ross was out of town and will be sworn in tomorrow and then there is still the October 14th run off between District 2 local candidates Adrian Bonser & Larry Pankey.

With what must be a quirk of Georgia law, the oath of office taken by each elected official included an affirmation that you are not a member of the Communist Party.

Duh, of course I am not a member of the Communist Party; everyone knows that I need to stay completely Non-Partisan.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Creative Loafing loafing names Chamblee best suburb in Atlanta

Creative Loafing has just released the 2008 "Best of" List and the City of Chamblee was listed by the critics as the best suburb of Atlanta.

Congratulations to Mayor Clarkson, your city is noteworthy and it looks to be growing; both of which are commendable. My long term goal for the new City of Dunwoody is to be ranked in Money Magazine's Best places to Live survey and in order to do that the crime stats (currently from DeKalb) need to come way down and then we need to improve in a few other areas. I read recently that the City of Atlanta was named the 19th Greenest City and I would like to make Dunwoody one of the top livable, walkable and vibrant cities.

Congrats to our next door neighbors!


With a reasonable downtown commute, whether along I-85 or on MARTA; an impressive selection of shops, particularly along “antique row”; and plenty of affordable housing, replete with a handful of loft rehabs, CHAMBLEE, population 9,552, possesses many of the things that make suburban living attractive. But what elevates the DeKalb County city over more homogeneous enclaves are the Asian and Latino cultures represented there. International Village packs in more than 30 nationalities along Buford Highway, and the restaurants that line the corridor – from Korean barbecue to Vietnamese pho to Chinese dim sum – are reason alone to live there. Chamblee wrapped up a year’s worth of centennial events in August, and although the former railroad town may only encompass 3.5 square miles, we envision its mix of diversity, charm and convenience being celebrated for years to come.

36th Annual Dunwoody Woman’s Club Home Tour - Wed Oct 1st

The home tour will take place on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Each of the four homes selected for the tour has been designed to enhance the particular lifestyle of its owners whether that be a young family, a home with teens, a work-at-home professional mom, or empty-nesters who have frequent houseguests. All provide spaces for hobbies and family activities as well as both casual and more formal entertaining. Two are new, two are renovations of previously existing homes.

In 2007 the club added well-received Design Seminars to the activities of tour day. This year’s seminar, titled “Decorating With Color” will be conducted by Melanie Serra, owner of Interior Revivals, Founder of Home Stagers’ Guild, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the location of Southern Comforts, 2510 Mt. Vernon Road.

New this year is the availability of not one but two Decorator Boutiques. One, by Artichoke Designs will be at the McBride-Nakada house. The other, by David Long Interiors, will be at the Shumard home. Fifteen percent of boutique profits benefit the Club’s charitable and humanitarian efforts. Both boutiques will accept either credit cards or cash for purchases.

The Tour is the major fundraiser of the Club and all proceeds are dedicated to the Club’s commitment to community service in Arts, Conservation, Education, Home Life, International and Public Affairs in Dunwoody and the larger Atlanta community.

Ticket donation is $25 prior to the Tour and $30 on the day of the Tour. They will be available beginning on August 21 from any club member; the Club’s website at www.dunwoodywomansclub.org or at these local merchants: Artichoke Designs in Williamsburg Shopping Plaza, David Long Interiors and the Copper Pig in Dunwoody Village, the Scarlet Tassel in Sandy Springs Plaza and Southern Comforts at the juncture of Mt. Vernon, Dunwoody Club and Jett Ferry; or by calling 770-394-0435.

All guests are requested to wear flat shoes. Children, including infants, will not be admitted to Tour homes.

Homes on the 2008 Tour:

The Gregory House
400 Meadow Gate Close

From the handsome multi-gabled front elevation to the cushy home theater, on the terrace level, this newly constructed home welcomes family and friends to enjoy its many carefully planned areas. Almost finished when the owners purchased it, its finishing touches are specific to the owners and include collections of water colors and pottery painted by family members as well as art pieces from family travels.

The McBride-Nakada House
5024 Vernon Springs Drive
Site of Artichoke Designs Boutique

Respectfully designed for the site where an older house was razed, this graceful new three-story home appears from the street to be only a story and a half high. It blends the technological dream of the husband, an executive in the high-tech sector, with the space-utilization dream of the wife, a management consultant. This “intelligent” home features state-of-the-art computerized systems, elegant spaces for entertaining and comfortable special-purpose areas for the family.

The Shumard House
8035 Monticello Drive
Site of David Long Interiors Boutique

Behind this columned Southern Colonial façade beats the heart of a major renovation completed just weeks before the Home Tour. Walls were removed, hallways eliminated or reoriented, fireplaces redesigned, rooms altered, enlarged or simply created, and new landscaping installed, all in harmony with existing architecture. The result is a blend of graciousness and informality perfect for the busy owners, their visiting family and frequent houseguests.

The Smith House
5670 Ball Mill Road

Within the European exterior of a 1970’s house, the current owners completely renovated this lovely home from the studs to its final finishes including countertops, lighting and flooring. Walls and stairwells were removed and the floor-plan opened to create an airy spaciousness. At the custom-designed front door and throughout, cherished Country French furnishings evoke the graceful palette of Monet’s gardens.

Are you Blue?

Wondering what you can do about climate change? Here’s an idea;

DeKalb County Sanitation runs a recycling program that retrieves your paper, cans, glass and plastics in one easy chore. Sign up for a blue bin and bags and every Wednesday, DeKalb trucks will pick up your recyclables at your curb.

Why recycle? If we recycled just 1.7 million tons of the millions of tons of aluminum, paper, glass and plastic thrown away annually in Georgia we would,

*Conserve 4% of the total energy consumed in a year within our state which equals the transportation energy consumed by over one million Georgians annually.

*Conserve over 7 million barrels of oil! (Stats from Ga. Recycling Coalition)

DeKalb County Recycling trucks go directly to SP Recycling in Forest Park for the load to be processed and sent on to be used in remanufacturing.

Neighbor is telling neighbor. Some streets in Dunwoody North have no blue bins at the curb yet Stonington Drive, a two block street, sports 10 blue bins on recycling day. Congratulations, Stonington Drive!

If you recycle, won’t you please tell your neighbors about your experience; how it saves you gas, time and energy and gives you that “feel good” feeling about doing your part?

Recycling in DeKalb involves just a one-time fee, $15 for use of the blue bin. It also costs $15 for a supply of blue bags that last for years and there is no service fee ever. That’s it! That’s what DeKalb Sanitation must charge because by law, the program has to be self-sustaining.

For more information about recycling at home and at school call DeKalb Sanitation, Sheri Arnold, Recycling Coordinator at 404-294-2900 or e-mail: Sanitation@co.dekalb.ga.us or look up the website: www.co.dekalb.ga.us/publicwrks/sanitation.htm.


Bobbi Sedam (bobbi12@gmail.com)

The City is about to begin; tough decisions will soon be made.

This evening seven fairly intelligent people sat around a table for six and a half hours going over the expected City of Dunwoody revenues and expenses. Come this evening at 7 p.m. when five of us are sworn in, we will then be subject to open meetings and everything from that point on will be discussed in the open.

Rooms are being obtained for our first couple of meetings and when finalized I will be posting our first meeting details and will provide the agenda on my site when available. To answer a comment on my blog, I am not the official City website but I will do what I can to keep people informed. The official information will be provided to various news services and I have asked to be one of those venues. Eventually an official website will be obtained and I will be looking for the city to post everything possible on line in a timely fashion. Until that happens, I will strive to post notices of both regular and working meetings in advance of the meetings. I will strive to post agendas, budgets, and and provide all materials on line prior to the meeting so that you can be informed.

Let me be the first to tell you that money is very tight no matter how the city decides to go forward, there are many unknowns in this intial process but we attempted to set a reasonable (yet conservative) budget for the city. There will be growing pains but my goal is provide the Citizens for Dunwoody the very best services that we can afford while still striving to keep the taxes under check.

Effective tomorrow, I will be stepping down as President of the Dunwoody North Civic Association so that I may properly represent the entire City of Dunwoody on the newly formed City Council. It has been my honor to serve my immediate neighborhood in that capacity and I am leaving the board is in very capable hands. Thanks to my wonderful board members who I have had the pleasure of serving with; we made a great team. I'm not going away but instead I will just be serving my community in a different capacity.

The Crier had a couple of good articles showing what we the city are up against and I have posted the links below.



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vote Yes to DeKalb County Reform - SB52

If you are voting early absentee, please be sure to mark the following question Yes.
"Shall the Act be approved which provides for the presiding officer to preside over meetings of the DeKalb County Commission and for the commission to establish its own agenda for such meetings?"
The full text of the law is found here and the AJC just wrote a nice article here
Early voters casting absentee ballots at the county election office will be the first to say whether the county commission’s presiding officer should run board meetings and whether the commission should set its own agenda. Every member of the county commission supports the proposal now, including newly elected CEO Burrell Ellis, who would become the first chief executive to operate under it.

If voters go for the change, it will end more than two decades of strong — some say autocratic — control by a succession of county chief executive officers.

Investing in Tomorrow’s Transportation Today

Governor Sonny Perdue’s IT3 Initiative (Investing in Tomorrow’s Transportation Today) is a state funded study by McKinsey of Georgia’s transportation issues and options for solving the many problems faced by the state. The study is expected to conclude the end of November. The idea is to apply business planning to Georgia’s transportation strategy, create strategies and goals, estimate cost, and set up policies and governance to execute. You can learn more about this study at http://www.it3.ga.gov.

Complete an online survey by going to www.it3.ga.gov/Pages/Public.aspx. There are two questions that enable you to list transit, bike paths and sidewalks as possible solutions to congestion. You may also select “specify your own value” and type in a personal response to the two questions about congestion. Please be creative, who knows maybe someone will actually listen and act accordingly.

Date: September 24, 2008
Location: Georgia World Congress Center - 285 Andrew Young Intl. Blvd.- Auditorium C101 - Atlanta, Georgia 30313-1591
Time: 4pm - 7pm

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dunwoody, Mayor & City Council Ceremony

The mayor and a majority of the Dunwoody City Council will be sworn-in in a ceremony Wednesday evening, September 24, at 7:30 at the 1420 Room.

The 1420 Room is located in Dunwoody Plaza at 1420 Dunwoody Village Parkway.

The elected officials will start posting public notices of open meetings immediately upon being officially seated. Since there is much work to do, I am expecting several working meetings prior to the first official city council meeting.

Looking for Dunwoody Community Information

Dear leaders of various Dunwoody organizations,

My name is John Heneghan and in case we haven’t met, I was just elected to the Dunwoody City Council in an at large position representing all the residents of Dunwoody.

In order to better represent the entire City of Dunwoody, I want to know when there is something special happening in your neighborhood, school, or civic association so that I can be informed, involved and therefore more qualified to represent your communities’ needs. In order to help me do this, please add the e-mail address info@jkheneghan.com to your general mailing list so that I can know when meetings are taking place and I can help publicize your events on my website and public calendar. http://dunwoodynorth.blogspot.com

Previously as President of my subdivision homeowners association I maintained a website of neighborhood interest and a calendar of events open to the public; now I would like to attempt to do the same thing but on a city wide scale. I’m sure I couldn’t list everything that your organization does but I would hope to list the highlights.

Thanks for helping me, get to know you better.


John Heneghan
Dunwoody City Council

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dunwoody District 2 voters need to specify what ballot they need if requesting an absentee ballot.

October 14th, City of Dunwoody Runoff Election

Due to the November Presidential Election the DeKalb County Board of Elections are already processing numerous requests each day for absentee ballots, therefore if you need an absentee ballot for the October 14th, City of Dunwoody, Runoff Election; you specifically need to state as such otherwise expect to receive a ballot for the November election.

Obtain your ballot request form by calling DeKalb County Voter Registration Office at 404-298-4020 or on-line by clicking here to go to the DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections website or clicking here for the form.

Mail absentee ballot request forms to DeKalb County Voter Registration and Election Office, 4380 Memorial Dr., Suite 300, Decatur, GA 30032 or faxed to 404-298-4038. Absentee ballot request forms should be received by the County by October 3rd to give ample time to get your ballot mailed in. Your absentee ballot will be mailed to the address shown on your DeKalb County Voter registration card.

Mail your completed absentee ballot to the address shown above or you may hand deliver your ballot to the address shown above from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM as soon as it is completed.

Completed ballots must be received by election day, October 14th.

DeKalb is looking for a Park Representative from District 1


The DeKalb County Parks and Recreation Department, Citizens Advisory Board is looking for a new representative from District 1. I am told that Mr. Jeffrey Skelton who has filled the position for quite awhile has now stepped down from the CAB and that Commissioner Elaine Boyer is now looking for a parks advocate to represent her on the committee.

The Purpose of the Citizens Advisory Board is to provide advice on the types of activities, necessary facilities, general direction and to assist the Park and Recreation Department in their efforts to provide leisure services to all citizens of DeKalb County.

The Citizens Advisory Board meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Maloof Center, 1300 Commerce Drive, 1st floor Conference Room 102 in Decatur, Georgia. Quarterly community meetings will be held at one of our recreational facilities.

If you are interested, please contact Elaine or her assistant Nancy at 404-371-2844.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dunwoody results available by precinct

Dunwoody District Three, Post Six Results.
(Minus 21 write-in votes for others)

The DeKalb County Board of Elections just released the Dunwoody City Council vote results by precinct and they are available here. Of the total 24,776 registered voters in Dunwoody there were 6,523 votes cast, resulting in a 26.33% turnout.

Chamblee To Seek Large Annexation In 2009

GoDeKalb.com by Mary Swint

The unincorporated area in North DeKalb may continue to shrink in 2009 as the City of Chamblee lines up support among legislators for a bill to allow the Huntley Hills and Sexton Woods neighborhoods to vote on joining the city next year.

The annexation would add about 7,000 residents to Chamblee, Mayor Eric Clarkson said. “It would be a revenue neutral annexation. It adds enough tax revenue to offset the expenses to give the same level of services to the new residents. We won’t raise taxes or reduce the level of services to current residents.”

The Carl Vinson Institute, which prepared a feasibility study for Chamblee, reported in the fall of 2006 that the proposed annexation of land west of the city and north up to Interstate 285 would increase the city's land size by 77 percent and expand the population from 9,763 to 16,696.

Fifteen percent of the 700-plus homes in Huntley Hills already are inside the Chamblee city limits and part of the large Sexton Woods neighborhood sits inside the city. “We’re just trying to make our neighborhoods whole,” said Nick Guerrero, a board member of the Huntley Hills Neighborhood Association, who has studied annexation for three years. He noted that when residents inside the city call 911, the police respond from a station about a mile away while their neighbors in unincorporated DeKalb experience a 15 to 30 minute response time from county police farther away, he said, adding that the residents don’t know where the North Precinct will be moved after the City of Dunwoody starts functioning Dec. 1.

“People were very concerned that we would become the red headed stepchildren of North Dekalb,” Guerrero said.

On Nov. 4, about 1500 voters in the Cherokee Hills, Sequoyah Woods, parts of Oakcliff Estates, and neighborhoods north and northwest of QuickTrip at Chamblee-Tucker and I-85 will vote on annexation into Doraville. If the referendum is approved, Doraville’s territory would grow by 66 percent from 3.5 square miles to 5.95 and its population would grow by 72.9 percent from just over 10,000 to 17,072, according to a fiscal analysis that the Carl Vinson Institute in December 2006. The new borders would go into effect Dec. 31, 2008.

For years, the Huntley Hills residents have participated in Chamblee recreation programs. Annexation will give residents more access to government leaders. “It is nice to see the mayor at your children’s T-ball games and it is nice to run into a city council member at a restaurant or while walking your dog,” Guerrero said.

Ten years ago there was a petition drive to get Huntley Hills annexed using a process that required signatures from 60 percent of the landowners and 60 percent of the residents. That annexation plan would have created unincorporated islands in the Rosewood and Gainsborough neighborhoods, which the legislature could not support. “It was a doomed effort from the beginning,” Guerrero added.

When annexation bills were introduced in the General Assembly in February 2007 for Doraville and Chamblee along with a bill to incorporate Dunwoody, the DeKalb Board of Commissioners passed a resolution “vehemently” opposing the three bills, asking the legislature to table the bills and calling analysis and a county-wide referendum.

A survey in August 2007 showed 83 percent of the 150 homeowners in Huntley Hills that responded were in favor of annexation into Chamblee. If Dunwoody became a city, 87 percent said they would favor some form of annexation and 70 percent favored it if Dunwoody did not become a city. The most important factors in considering annexation were police response, change in taxes, responsive government, zoning and sanitation, according to the survey. The survey also showed residents would accept a property tax increase as part of annexation.

“It will be a perfect marriage. It will help both manage growth,” Guerrero said. When the General Motors plant is redeveloped, many developers will come into the area, he added. “It would give us better control over zoning; we’re tired of apartment complexes being built around us. Chamblee has a master plan for zoning and growth. It is a great opportunity for Chamblee to expand its footprint so it will but up to Doraville and they can manage growth along the Peachtree Industrial corridor.”

The survey results were presented to the City Council in October or November to show widespread support for annexation but the matter was postponed until after the city elections.

The city council passed a resolution in February 2008 asking the General Assembly to begin the process of annexing these people, but it was late in the session and the legislation was never introduced, the Mayor said. “We were a little late to the party this year. All the legislators have agreed that if they are re-elected they will work together to move the legislation forward in some form or fashion with the annexation map as it was first introduced three years ago.” Three different legislators represent Huntley Hills, Sexton Woods and Chamblee.

At their meeting on Sept. 14, the Ashford Alliance Community Association, which represents 75 neighborhoods, discussed the annexation proposal that would involve neighborhoods from Huntley Hills to Keswick Park and Ashford Dunwoody Road on the west and Harts Mill Road to the north. “We are in the process of reaching out to other neighborhoods and giving them a heads up,” Guerrero said.

The annexation plan has two parcels. One would take Chamblee boundaries to I-285 and the Doraville city limits; the majority of the land is in Huntley Hills and it includes a cemetery and antique warehouse. The second parcel includes Sexton Woods and would annex the land south of Harts Mill to Ashford Dunwoody.

Guerrero said residents in the Murphy Candler area may want to be included in a third parcel. “It is not going to happen soon. They need to get organized. That may be three years down the road.”

Peachtree DeKalb Airport is not part of the annexation plan, Guerrero added. However, in the interview of a new Chamblee representative for the Airport Advisory Committee on Sept. 16, a county commissioner asked about annexation of the airport.

“Hopefully it will pass this legislative session. Town hall meetings would be held in the spring and the referendum would be held in the July primary time frame in 2009.”

In the meantime, Chamblee is looking for a new city manager to succeed Kathy Brannon, who will retire in June 2009 and the city is working on improvements, including two new pocket parks at an old rail spur and near City Hall as well as new streetscape on Peachtree Boulevard.

Note that tonight (Thursday) is the monthly meeting of the Ashford Alliance, starting at 7 pm, St. Martins Church - Gable Hall- 3110 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Atlanta GA 30319.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

AJC - Dunwoody’s leaders can get a head start on city business.

The AJC, by Brian Faegans
Wed, Sept 17, 2008

New cities in Georgia traditionally have started with a compulsory round of municipal midnight madness. Council members who can’t be seated until the first day of business find themselves meeting in those early minutes of cityhood, passing ordinances into the wee hours. That way the sun doesn’t rise on a lawless city.

But the Dunwoody City Council, elected Tuesday, can avoid the craziness that marked the early days of nearby cities such as Sandy Springs, Milton and Johns Creek. The bill creating the north DeKalb city of nearly 40,000 gives it an unusual head start, said Oliver Porter, an unpaid consultant who helped set up the city of Dunwoody.

Once Tuesday’s vote is certified, members will have the power to make decisions immediately rather than waiting until the first day of business Dec. 1. “We have almost three months now when they can actually make decisions and advance things,” Porter said.

Those sitting around the table will be Mayor-elect Ken Wright and Councilmen-elect Denis Shortal, Tom Taylor, Robert Wittenstein, Danny Ross and John Heneghan.

One seat — in District 2 — remains to be decided. A run-off election set for Oct. 14 pits Adrian Bonser against Larry Pankey.

Porter expects the first City Council meeting within the next couple of weeks. Here are some of the issues expected to be high on their list:


To CH2M Hill, or not to CH2M Hill? That is the question. The Colorado-based company submitted the only bid to handle a wide array of city services — from planning & zoning to code enforcement — should the City Council decide it wants to contract them out. The exact amount of the bid is under negotiation, but skeptics have said the city can’t possibly be getting the best price if there’s no competition. They want the City Council to consider breaking up services into smaller pieces and putting them out for bid separately. Others, including Porter, say the amount has been going down during negotiations with a citizens’ group and should be more than reasonable.


Technically Dunwoody has a two-year cushion on this one. The county must continue providing all services, from garbage collection to police patrols, for two years. But the county also gets to set the price for things like trash pick-up. So it’s in Dunwoody’s best interest to get rolling. Some things, like access to sewer and water pipes, require little more than an intergovernmental agreement. But others, like the possible transfer of parks and a police station across from Perimeter Mall, might take longer. The two sides would have to agree on a fair price.


A city task force presented a cash-flow analysis last week that showed city operations will cost about $2.3 million more than the city will take in from projected taxes and fees during its first year. That doesn’t mean the city will end its first year with a deficit, Porter says. The City Council can cut costs, find new revenue sources or raise taxes.


Though far from the most important issue, this one seems to get a lot of attention. Just where will the center of power in Dunwoody be? Some think leasing some of Dunwoody’s abundant office space would be practical. Others would like to see city offices occupy vacant space in a shopping center. CH2M Hill, should it get the city contract for services, has said it already has a spot in mind. One thing is clear, Heneghan said. “We can’t go out and build some marble hall with cannons out in front of it.”


DeKalb County has placed a moratorium on new zoning requests in Dunwoody. A task force on the issue has suggested the moratorium be extended for at least 90 days once the city begins operations in December. That will give the city time to adopt zoning ordinances and set up the infrastructure to enforce them. Don’t expect a land-use plan that quickly, though. The blueprint for how the city should grow will certainly involve lots of public input.

A three year Dunwoody City Council seat for only 30¢ a vote.

Since I am not a wealthy man financially and I wasn’t able to accept political contributions due to the restrictions placed upon me by my Federal Employment; I ran this campaign out of my pocket, which for me meant that it had to be done cheaply.

I used the electronic media to build a citywide following leading up to the election with my neighborhood blog and then converted it over to my personal blog once the election was about to begin. I sent out a rather non-traditional campaign announcement which was circulated through the community via e-mail whereby I heard some residents received it through various routes up to 6 times.

I not only refused political contributions on day one, I also explained my circumstances and the fact that I would not be doing yard signs, mass mailings, robo calls or other expensive advertising tactics used to garnish votes. I proclaimed that every yard in Dunwoody without a sign was going to be voting for me and with the final count showing that 2 out of every 3 voters voted for me, I wasn’t far off.

I kept my blog readers engaged with fresh and relevant content on a nightly basis and I ensured that my fellow candidate’s information was available on my website to improve my site traffic by obtaining visitors (voters) who were looking for election or Dunwoody information.

Besides my web presence, my good friend Rob Maxwell donated a few hours of his time to craft a professionally designed logo and business cards, to again drive traffic to the site. Once the cards were in hand, I worked hard to meet as many people as possible to tell them about my campaign, my service to the community and again the website. I attended any function where people stood in line, namely school registrations and venues like the Bruster’s Ice Cream shop on warm weekend nights. Both venues were great for meeting Dunwoody residents, but I also walked door to door in several neighborhoods and I attended every school and civic meeting that my schedule would allow. Campaigning was a lot of work but I always pushed my website since I figured it was what made me different from the other candidates and it would help garner votes.

Besides the website it also helped that I had the best campaign manager in the city, who also happens to have a full time job being the domestic goddess (look at my financial statement) to me and my three boys. Without Kristin this election would have been very different since she is the social butterfly who knows almost everyone in town and in turn those people voted for me because of her.

Towards the middle of the campaign, the demand for yard signs was extremely high since my opponent had already blanketed the city with signage and my supporters wanted to fight back in kind. They also felt left out of the political process, cheated in fact that they couldn’t support me publicly, financially or in any other outward way. Since I made a statement that I would not be doing yard signs, I wasn’t going to back down but thought that magnetic bumper stickers would be an adequate replacement for my supporters. I ordered 250 of them, they were gone in about a week and I could have given out twice or three times as many if I had wanted to spend the money.

In the end, I spent a grand total of $1,233.34 on the campaign and garnered 4,074 votes therefore each vote cost me about 30 cents. Compared to what some of the other Dunwoody campaigns spent per vote, I am pretty proud of the accomplishment.

Thank you to all of my supporters who forwarded e-mails, wrote letters to the editor, told their friends about me and finally thank you to everyone who actually voted for me.

I hope to live up to your high expectations but then again if I am able to live up to the very high expectations that I have set myself; the City of Dunwoody should not be disappointed.

Dunwoody Election Results

John Heneghan & Tom Taylor interviewed following election to Dunwoody City Council.

Fox5 news clip taken as the candidates met at the Historic Dunwoody Farmhouse to watch the election returns.


Dunwoody's new leadership team.

Shown at the top is Mayor Ken Wright who ran unopposed,
followed L to R by the City Council.

Robert Wittenstein with 55% of the vote.
Danny Ross with 63% of the vote.
John Heneghan with 66% of the vote.
Denis Shortal with 61% of the vote.
Tom Taylor with 54% of the vote.

In the District 2 local seat, Adrian Bonser (45%) will be in a runoff with
Larry Pankey (35%) on October 14th.

Constitution Day - September 17, 2008

On September 17, 1787 the United States Constitution was signed by thirty-nine brave men who changed the course of history.

Today, September 17, 2008, is Constitution Day and we celebrate the oldest written constitution in the world.

Legislation passed by Congress (http://www.llrx.com/columns/govdomain37.htm ) requires all schools receiving public funds to hold educational programs on the United States Constitution.

At each DeKalb school today your child should receive instruction concerning this historic document. For those of you home-schooling, the links below will prove to be excellent resources for instruction on this topic.

Here are a few links for your own enjoyment. With the city elections behind us Constitution Day is an opportunity for parents to continue teaching their children about our country, politics, and its history.

Below are a few links with related subject matter.






Monday, September 15, 2008

Dunwoody City Council - Election Day

Go Vote at your normal polling place !

Today is Election Day in Dunwoody and if you haven't already done so, please go vote for the candidates of your choice.

The polls are open from 7 am to 7 pm and I am planning on bringing my older sons into the voting booth with me to cast the vote. (How many of you have ever voted for your father? I definitely want to share this momentous occasion with my boys.)

The results of each polling place are normally posted on the window as the poll workers close up shop around 8 p.m. therefore if all 13 Dunwoody polling places were watched and the numbers from each tallied; the results could be tabulated by 8:30 or 9.

I believe I ran a good campaign; win, lose or draw I am proud of the effort that I put forward. I would like to thank all of my friends, neighbors and my supporters who cast their ballot for John Heneghan for Dunwoody City Council. Without the love and support of my wife Kristin; this campaign wouldn't have happened, thank you for putting up with me!

This evening Kristin & I are planning on stopping by a few of the other candidates parties celebrating with each of them for running a good campaign. ( I would have said all of them but I'm not sure what some people are doing?)

For six of us the adventure is just beginning.

If you haven't seen my official campaign video, this is it's official retirement; never to be posted again. I promise!

Click below.

Open meetings and Dunwoody City Attorney Wanted

Open Meetings

Though the City of Dunwoody doesn't officially start until December 1st, the elected officials can start taking official actions as soon as they are elected. There is much work to do and meetings are already being set therefore I have just reminded the candidates that we need to publish our schedule and ensure that all meetings are open to the public.

Once I obtain the schedule, I will post it on my blog calendar and win, lose or draw you can count on me being in attendance at most if not all of the meetings. A basic outline of the open meetings law can be found at the link below.


City Attorney Wanted

City of Dunwoody is soliciting applications and proposals for the position of City Attorney. The committee considering the proposals anticipates making recommendations to the Mayor and City Council at the beginning of October and all proposals must be received by Friday September 26, 2008. Please submit resumes and proposals to City of Dunwoody Legal Qualification Committee, info@gmlj.com, or fax to 404-164-1737.

From the Dunwoody City Charter

City attorney.

The mayor shall appoint the city attorney(s) together with such assistant city attorneys as may be deemed appropriate subject to confirmation by the city council and shall provide for the payment of such attorney(s) for services rendered to the city. The rates or salary paid to any city attorney or assistant city attorney shall be approved in advance by the city council. The city attorney(s) shall be responsible for representing and defending the city in all litigation in which the city is a party; may be the prosecuting officer in the municipal court; shall attend the meetings of the city council as directed; shall advise the city council, mayor, other officers, and employees of the city concerning legal aspects of the city´s affairs; and shall perform such other duties as may be required by virtue of his or her position as city attorney. The city attorney(s) shall review all contracts of the city but shall not have the power to bind the city.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Non-Partisan Election in Dunwoody, huh?

Political party consultants obtain lists of registered voters and they track when you vote and how you vote in primaries. Besides your voting record the data includes your name, address and phone numbers and that is the reason that you receive targeted advertising and robo calls from specific candidates. The Dunwoody election is non-partisan and as a high ranking Federal Employee who will serve the next President of the United States, no matter what his party affiliation, I am only allowed to run as long as I do not bring partisan politics into play.

My opponent knows this, but she is grasping at straws because she has little other substance and she is now bringing this into play as the e-mail from a staunch Republican below shows. Unfortunately for her, the Dunwoody electorate is smart enough to research the issues, take my circumstances into consideration and vote for the more qualified candidate.

It is really sad that it has come to this.

Hey John,

I just got a call from some republican group representative (sorry, I did not catch the name of the group) calling to let me know that Mary Jo Chambless is the only republican running for the at-large position from district 3! I told her I thought this was a non-partisan election. She agreed that it is. So I asked the relevance of Mary Jo’s party affiliation if the election is truly non-partisan. Her reply was “it is just part of the background”. Really? It was the ONLY thing she called to tell me which makes it part of nothing but an attempt to bring party affiliation into this election. Surely there is enough partisan politics in the daily news right now to keep anyone’s appetite for such stuff satiated. Let’s keep it out of Dunwoody – at least for this election. Geez!

Where were you seven years ago today?

Seven years ago today I was in Arlington, Virginia (near the Ballston Metro Stop) attending a training course which was scheduled to start at 9 a.m. As we were getting ready to start the class, a blackberry went off stating that a plane hit the World Trade Center and we were lucky enough that the location had a TV connected to cable and therefore it was immediately turned to CNN. The class watched as the reporters were unsure what they were seeing and we tried to figure out if it was small general aviation accident or something more serious. Just then on live TV we saw the second plane hit the tower and we knew that the first plane must have been similar. We sat in awe with the rest of the world as we watched that screen to try to comprehend what we were actually seeing.

At about 9:30 half of the class was on the telephone seeing what needed to be done as the other half watched the screen. The facilitator of the training class was a contractor who wanted to start the class (in order to get paid?) and after a 5 minute argument with most of the remaining students in the room, a supervisor made the call and said that the TV should be turned off and the class should go on. Not less than 2 minutes later, the person with the blackberry (in 2001 he must have been pretty special because they were probably rare.) stood up and yelled that "the Pentagon was just hit!”

The Pentagon is located in Arlington, Va the same city as the training course and my hotel was even closer as I was staying in the Crystal City area, just blocks from the Pentagon. People scrambled, everyone was dazed, cell phones didn’t work, locals jumped in cars to get home to their families and I decided to try to get back to my hotel since most of my co-workers had already left.

Thousands of people decided to go home the way they came and the Metro mass transit subway system wasn’t made to accommodate that level of traffic. People were reflective, several were crying, scared, shoulder to shoulder, a mass of humanity, now a hundred of feet below ground in a subway station that was build to be a fallout shelter in case of nuclear attack. On top of everything else, it seemed that the trains had now stopped running.

Underground, time had stopped. I might have been there an hour, but it seemed ten. What was happening up on the surface? Were we now at war? What was next? Babies were crying, mothers were holding them tight but there was very little other sound. A Metro conductor, held the microphone to his ear and yelled that the trains were now running again, the platform erupted in cheers; 10 minutes later I was on a train heading back to my hotel.

As I got out of the Crystal City Metro Station, I could smell the Pentagon burning less than a mile away and I was able to walk faster then the stream of cars who were trying to get out of the area. Back in the hotel, I sat alone in a very dark hotel room surfing channels to get as much information as I could absorb. I watched in horror on the Spanish Channel as they showed in graphic detail of people jumping to their death and then I watched as the towers fell. Finally I got a hold of my wife to let her know that I was fine and where I was located.

At the time Kristin was a United Airlines flight attendant, based out of Newark, NJ who was on medical leave because she was eight months pregnant with my son Gavin. Had she been flying, it is very likely that she would have been on United Flight 93 because it was one of her regular flights. Flight attendants obtain trips based on seniority and with Kris’s 12 years of seniority at the time, was able to hold the cross continental trip scheduled for San Francisco. Flying all of her trips from the Newark base while we lived in Atlanta meant that she shared a flop house with other flight attendants near the Newark airport. She and 15 other flight attendants shared a room at the Hampton Inn that contained a bunch of beds and was permanently set for them on a first come, first serve basis. Two of Kristin’s “roommates” in the flophouse were working Flight 93 that day and crashed in the field in Pennsylvania. From that day on, Kristin never flew again as a United Airlines Flight Attendant.

My return flight possibilities back to Atlanta were non-existent and I didn’t have a rental car since I was taking public transportation around D.C. Luckily my super social wife spread the word to her friends that I was stuck in Washington and the very next day I was picked up by the husband of one of her friends from a Dunwoody playgroup who was working in D.C.

As we departed Arlington we pulled onto I-395 and the Pentagon with the huge black hole in the side came into view, we knew from that day forward the definition of the word "normal" was forever changed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Letter of Endorsement noting my proven leadership and civic experience.

Letter to the Editor in the Dunwoody Crier

It’s no surprise that almost all of the Dunwoody candidates are worthy of serving us. So why should we pick one over the other?

It takes a different skill set to start something from scratch or change the course of a large operation than it does to maintain or fine tune and existing operation. It’s very hard work and takes a tenacious, experienced, smart individual.

Look for the guy or gal who has experience with the issues and government, experience with big contracts and sub-contractors, great integrity and intelligence, and also someone who can go toe-to-toe with the big dogs, stand their ground and get results. No on-the-job training if it can be avoided! As a start up, this election should not be about rewarding folks who have worked to get us this far. The worst is yet to come. We need to elect the candidates who have the smarts, diplomacy, experience, skill set, determination and tenacity to take us to the next level.

Look at John Heneghan running for post 6 (District 3 at large - we all vote for at-large positions). I know John personally to be of high character, but I can also attest to his experience, diplomacy and results when dealing with Dekalb County. I have worked with John across the table from Elaine Boyer on the white-elephant skate park. John stepped up got many concessions for the neighborhood. John personally got the intersection completed at the new school on N. Peachtree so our kids can cross safely at the same time traffic flows. When Dekalb wanted to do a massive road widening in 2005 greatly increasing cut-through traffic, John was on the front lines of the effort that completely stopped sure devastation to our bedroom community. I could go on with many more specific examples of his experience and efforts on our behalf.

John currently works for the Department of Transportation: he knows how things work and he’s familiar with the politicians and bureaucrats. He’s a pillar of the community and he can get the results we need!

Since John is a government employee, he can’t take donations and he can’t get the signs up and word out like many other candidates. Spread the word to your neighbors and friends that he’s the guy we need. We need his transportation and community experience on our city council - he’ll get results and fast. The other candidate worked hard to help us get this far, but it’s not a time to reward and experiment. John Heneghan is the only candidate in any council race with a proven track record of what it’ll take to move us to the next level. Please vote for John Heneghan, a vote for a successful Dunwoody.

BTW, the next Dunwoody Cruise Night is Thursday, September 11, at Dunwoody Village. I hope the candidates come out to meet the cruisers and vice versa.

Ric Woroniecki

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Crier - New city budget tight, contractor talks ongoing

I missed this meeting due to a business trip but was informed that the financial report was not completed therefore there is nothing to post to the internet. When I finally get to review the paper documents provided during the meeting, I will post what I can. John

By Dick Williams for The Crier
Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The candidates for Dunwoody City Council heard Monday night that no big spenders need apply. The final report of the finance task force shows a city budget in delicate balance for 2009 with only a little more flesh on the bone for the years after that. Some candidates who have reported spending thousands of dollars on their campaigns may have second thoughts.

Vickie Patton reported on the work of the task force, showing a budget with some $17 million in revenue, challenged by about $2.35 million in startup costs after the city begins operations December 1.

The uncertainty over the first-year budget is largely a matter of timing, said Oliver Porter, a consultant to the Citizens for Dunwoody. While new cities in Fulton County had proceeds from that county’s local option sales tax, Dunwoody does not.

Porter pointed to issues such as franchise fees for 2009 that aren’t scheduled to be paid until 2010.

The candidates also heard from Brian Anderson about the negotiations with CH2M Hill, the private contractor that operates four new cities in Fulton County.

Anderson said the negotiations were continuing and progress was being made. He said the budget could be balanced using the private contractor.

Candidates also heard from Porter on franchise fees available to cities and how other services could be franchised.

On the campaign trail, several candidates have expressed misgivings about having only one private contractor at the negotiating table. They have asked for other options to consider.

State Sen. Dan Weber (R-Dunwoody) told the candidates of research he has been leading about whether Dunwoody could be started from the ground up, hiring department heads to seek bids on specific services, rather than having one master contract.

“In any event,” said Porter, “we believe we’re going to be providing better services than DeKalb County now provides.

While city finances might be tight, several candidates are spending substantial amounts to win the votes of Dunwoody’s 40,000 residents.

Most of the candidates are paying for their campaigns from their own pockets and a perusal of the reports filed last week with the state Ethics Commission showed almost no contributions from lobbyists.

The campaign expenditures follow a familiar pattern: yard signs, mailers, consultants and robocalls.

The most expensive seat so far is the district post in the central district, where Dr. Adrian Bonser has reported spending $14,865.82 and attorney Larry Pankey $12,078. Bob Fiscella has spent $746.01.

The second most expensive race so far is the western district at-large post, requiring a citywide campaign. Robert Wittenstein reported raising $6700 and spending $12,082. Mallard Holliday reported spending $2735.

In the central district citywide election, Danny Ross reported spending $3227.93 of his own funds while Janet Webb reported raising $660 and spending $5335.35.

In the third citywide race, based in the eastern district, John Heneghan reported spending $1233.34 of his own funds while Mary Jo Chambless spent $3994.32 as of the reporting deadline.

For the western district post, the campaign is a financial mismatch. Al Alberghini loaned his campaign $15,360 and reported spending $10,596.71. Denis Shortal listed expenditures of $2871.59.

In the district race for the eastern district, Tom Taylor reported spending $2047, Doug Thompson $2061.35 and Ellen Fix reported no contributions. Her qualifying fee was her sole expense.

AJC - Dunwoody faces projected $2.3 million shortfall

The AJC; Tuesday, September 09

Georgia’s newest city will run in the red during its first year of operation, according to a new study by advocates of cityhood.

The Citizens for Dunwoody task force on administration and finance presented a cash flow analysis Monday that shows the city operations will cost about $2.3 million more than the city will take in from projected taxes and fees during its first year. The new city opens for business Dec. 1.

“I don’t want people to be alarmed to see a deficit, because it can easily be fixed and improved,” said Oliver Porter, a consultant who is helping the northern DeKalb city get off the ground.

The new city’s government can cut costs, officials said, by delaying some projects or by negotiating a less expensive contract with the management firm promoted by city advocates.

Various task forces have issued recommendations and reports on how to best provide services when Dunwoody begins operations. According to Citizens for Dunwoody’s projections, the disparity in the proposed city budget comes come from "revenue such as about $1 million from the Homestead Option Sales Tax and about $1.6 million in occupational tax revenue” that an earlier study had projected the city would collect. Now, city advocates don’t expect that money at least for the first year.

Sue Hansen, an accountant who co-chaired the committee, cautioned that the $14.7 million projected budget changed daily and that the figures were only a draft.

But she said the new council needed time to plan to make up for potential losses by negotiating further with the consulting firm CH2M Hill and making other policy decisions such as delaying road projects.

Voters will pick six city council members from 15 candidates next Tuesday.

It will be up to the council, many of whom are tied to Citizens for Dunwoody, whether to approve the recommendations and sign off the contract with CH2M Hill that the group is negotiating.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Early Voting now available for Dunwoody City Council Elections

Will you be out of town next Tuesday? Don't miss this election.

Early voting is now available at the DeKalb County Office of Voter Registration and Elections located at Memorial Drive & I285 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300
Decatur, GA 30032
Phone: 404-298-4020
Driving Directions
Brook Run Park to 4380 Memorial Dr, Decatur, GA 30032

From Brook Run Park (No Early Voting Available)

1. Head south on N Peachtree Rd toward Barclay Dr 1.1 mi
2. Turn left to merge onto I-285 E 10.9 mi
3. Take exit 41 for GA-10 W (inside 285) 0.3 mi
4. Merge onto GA-10/Memorial Dr 0.2 mi
5. Pull into DeKalb Drivers Facility on Right
6. Voting office, suite 300 is on the Right side of building.

4300 Memorial Dr, Decatur, GA 30032

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Youth Garden Grants Program looking for applications.

The National Gardening Association together with The Home Depot awards Youth Garden Grants to schools and community organizations with child-centered garden programs. Awards are gift cards of $1,000, $500, or $250 to Home Depot, and educational materials from the National Gardening Association. Schools, youth groups, community centers, camps, clubs, treatment facilities, and intergenerational groups in the United States are eligible to apply.

Applicants must plan to garden with at least fifteen children between 3 and 18.
Application deadline is November 1, 2008.

Read grant priorities and get application info at http://www.kidsgardening.org

2008 Tri for Tourettes Kids Triathlon, slots available & volunteers needed.

Sunday, September 14th, 2008 at 4:30PM
Concourse Athletic Club of Sandy Springs (Membership is not required)
100 Yard Pool Swim, 2.5 Mile Bike, 1 Mile Run

Boys and Girls, Age Groups 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, & 13-14 (per USAT, based on age child will be on 12/31/2008)

Additional registration options for the above age groups include Physically Challenged and Mixed Relay teams for Physically Challenged and Able Body Athletes.

Come out and join an exciting day of fun and fitness for the whole family - including food, moon walk, raffle and a fun run for kids 6 and under.

Volunteers Needed! Please contact Charlotte Marks at ctm199@comcast.net if you are interested in volunteering.

How to make your own Dunwoody Blog.

Since the City of Dunwoody has officially been authorized, the number of Dunwoody Blogs and websites have increased ten fold and I for one am happy to see it. I started blogging as a means to keep my neighborhood informed and I have now parlayed the website into a campaign tool which just may land me on the Dunwoody City Council, representing 37,000 residents. Several Dunwoody candidates have spent more money on the campaign than the salary being offered for an entire year ($12,000) and I not being able to accept political contributions, spent just over $1,200 of my own money for the same position. If I win without a consultant, yard signs, mass mailings, robo calls or newspaper ads, much of my success will be because of this blog which I have used to communicate to anyone who was interested in listening.

On a regular basis I receive inquiries wanting me to explain how to set up a blog site similar to this and when they find out that it costs me absolutely nothing; I usually spend the next hour describing what I do and the tools I use to make my site purr.

First let me say that I have had no formal computer training and everything I have done has either been self taught or I just copied what liked from other websites. What I do works for me and there are probably twenty ways to do the same thing. That being said let me explain what I do and how you can do the same.

First go to Google and get an iGoogle account to grant you access to numerous Google tools. The iGoogle link is at the top right of the main Google page.

Once you have a Google account, check out the many Google owned tools that make the internet fun. At the top of the iGoogle page, click more link and then even more link which will bring you to this page. From there you will notice that both Blogger & YouTube are Google owned applications.

Click Blogger and sign in with your Google account username & password. From there Blogger is pretty self explanatory and has numerous guides.

Photos posted to the web usually need to be edited, cropped and resized prior to uploading to an online storage location. I use a free piece of software to resize and crop my photos called Irfanview and I then upload them to a photo storage site called Flickr (I believe owned by Yahoo). Once my cropped and resized (never over 400 pixels wide) photos are online at Flickr; each photo has an internet address. I then copy and paste that address into a photo box in Blogger and the photo appears.

For a basic blog you could stop there but many of the blogs I read use other tools to enhance the visitor’s experience; so I added them to mine and I’m glad that I have. The first is linking the blog to a Feedburner account which allows RSS feeds and my blogs to be sent via e-mail. The e-mail feature is great since I have over 100 people receiving my entries directly to their inbox once every morning when I post; therefore they don’t have to go looking for my site it just comes to them.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

The second tool I use is Snap Shots which is an efficiency tool which pops up photos of the items under internet links located on my site thereby saving time for the reader who isn’t sure if they should click on the link.

The final tool is actually my favorite part of blogging and that is looking at the statistics, seeing who exactly is looking at my site and where they came from. Statcounter offers real time monitoring for free but I am only able to see the last 500 people who visited my site, where they came from, what they where searching for that drove them to my site and what page they landed on my site. Since I have been getting about a 1,000 people a day visiting the site, I may need to break down and start paying them for a larger account.

Once you have the blog set up and functioning, you will learn that the hardest part about blogging is being able to provide content that others may want to read on a regular basis. That being said, numerous blogs are being created and maintained by everyday people looking for a forum.

Do you have something to say that Dunwoody would find interesting? Try setting up a blog since it may take you places that you never dreamed....like me to Dunwoody City Hall.