'Cityhood Is Absolutely About The People'

Another entry - this one, in favor of cityhood - into The Forum.

I am an ‘ordinary citizen’ and I am in favor of incorporation for the City of Brookhaven. I am also a board member of BrookhavenYES.

I became involved when opponents of incorporation tried to take away my right to vote. Our board is a diverse group of  involved citizens who believe local control is a better option than the status quo. We believe it is important for our neighbors to know who we are and why we support cityhood. That is why we have always had our biographies on our website.

The opposition writer(s) state, “Our organization and website is not about the people; it is about the issues, because that is what this campaign should be about.”
I disagree. Cityhood is absolutely about “The People.” The People should have a stronger voice than they now have with DeKalb County. The People should have local control over police, zoning issues, road and parks/recreation. The People should have a chance to examine the issue, ask questions and decide for themselves how to vote in the July 31 referendum.

BrookhavenYES and the supporters of the city are very public about who they are and why they support the city. I would suggest the deep pocket opposition to cityhood are not very public, and in fact, hide their real motivations from the citizens of this area. I wonder, why….?

Shannon Cameron

HamBurger June 01, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Ms. Shannon, words do mean something and you intimated that city opposition folks “tried to take away your vote”. You neglect to discuss how little information was disseminated about the new city movement to the entire geographical area considered for a new city. There were plenty of folks on the south side of your proposed city that were blindsided by this movement. Regarding the opposition folks, you may not know us, but we are many and we are resentful that C$ND and Rep. Jacobs was not more forthcoming in the development of his new city. We resent that a flawed study has been used as the cornerstone for the purpose of selling folks on a new city. As far as DeKalb County goes, why did you folks not garner support to make changes to our existing government? Not to mention our school system? DeKalb is not going away. If your city passes vote, we will still be voting for DeKalb Commissioners AND Brookhaven city elected officials. Clearly, this is a duplication of government. The Brookhaven Yes bunch may not be politicians but there certainly were a bunch of politicians hawking this city in the meetings I went to. You must have left early . . . Living in Rep. Jacobs dreamland are you? Excuse me, I have to go light the lump charcoal for my special hamburgers . . .
Eric H June 01, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Steve, personally I'd prefer not to be annexed into Dunwoody so that would be good news. However, why was the bill for Dunwoody Annexation proposed? Why did Chamblee's Mayor come out after that bill say Chamblee might want the area? Was Bob Dallas really pushing for Dunwoody to move on annexation entirely on his own? http://www.thecrier.net/news/article_9694d728-30ad-11e1-b978-001871e3ce6c.html I believe the settlement of distribution of HOST funds have changed the dynamics. Now let me say I found my way to another thread and I am deeply concerned about the commenter by a couple of people who say they are for the city of Brookhaven regarding Buford Highway. Stuff like that makes me rethink my inclination to want to be in a city where we could better implement smart growth transportation and land use policies. This thread is alarming - though who knows who the poster or posters are http://brookhaven.patch.com/articles/city-of-brookhaven-neighborhood-meetings#comments
Bob Martell June 01, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Eric, et al, before y'all get too wound up about being divvied up between Chamblee, Dunwoody, Doraville and Atlanta like the last pot of the night in a poker game, I would urge you to become familiar with the annexation laws in Ga...you might find the following link to be of some help- http://www.gmanet.com/MDR.aspx?CNID=20717 There are a lot of stipulations governing how annexations are done, having to do with population density vs. acreage, etc... As a general rule, you get to vote on whether or not to be annexed...
Eric H June 01, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Thanks Bob, yes I'm aware of many of the annexation requirements, including the need for a vote of those that would be annexed. And I apologize for not being clear. But what I'm saying is that their is a clear desire to be in a city in the north side of the proposed city of Brookhaven. I think being literally painted into a corner by cities on 3 sides of us has helped, as has the bad parks, and seeing Chamblee and Dunwoody in action (and Sandy Springs). While I personally would prefer not to be annexed into Dunwoody, I think if it was Dunwoody or unincorporated Dekalb Dunwoody annexation would easily win a vote on the northside. We've done community surveys and of course Mike did a phone survey that was legit.
HamBurger June 02, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Mr. Eric, have you read HB 636? If so, would you be kind enough to share your thoughts regarding this bill? Hamburgers come in all varieties . . . But there is only one Mr. Hamburger special hamburger!
HDM June 02, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Hamburger likes to pretend that citizens of Brookhaven could make a dent in DeKalb bureaucracy, when we all know how the numbers game works in DeKalb Government. Many of us have tried to influence decisions with no heed paid to out opinions. By the way Hamburger, do you own a bar in Brookhaven?
HamBurger June 02, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Mr. Dean, the problem is that the greater ND area has never organized for the purpose of letting our existing county government and BOE know how we expect our money to be spent and these government entities be managed. When was the last time you and your neighbors attended a BOC or BOE meeting in person? Anyone can dial in the county cable channels, pop open a PBR and eat some nasty fast food while watching a late night county cable re-run. Just when did you and your neighbors attend in person? Did you sign up to speak before these two groups during their regular meetings? Did you express your dissatisfaction with how things are run? You didn’t. You elected to run from your existing government into the Jacobsville dreamland based on the questionable Vinson study and an all encompassing HB 636 allowing for some serious undefined government control. Imagine . . . You sign up to speak before the BOC or BOE. When you are called, 350 of your fellow citizens come to the front of the room showing support as you speak. With reasonable, repeated demands and a show of support, you would eventually garner plenty of attention and desired results. But you and the rest of the BY crowd have not tried. Fortunate for you, I do not own a bar in Brookhaven. If I did, I would take you to the restroom and give you a shampoo in the first available toilet . . . You are blindly following an exceptionally selfish group of people. Want a special hamburger? NOT!
Sandy Murray June 02, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Yes it said NO City! It was on the big electronic sign.
Enuff Govt Already June 02, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Just curious; I don't get this feeling of "disconcerting living in an unincorporated area surrounded on three sides by cities". The county provides municipal services. Some will say better some will say not but I don't see how a peninsula makes a difference. Doraville has had peninsulas for years or take a look a Smyrna. It has multiple peninsulas and islands. If Chamblee wins DECA's annexation vote then they will have a peninsula stretching down Clairmont to I-85. If Dunwoody annexes down to Johnson Ferry then they'll have a peninsula.
HamBurger June 02, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Mr. Eric, regarding your 6-1, 2:39 post discussing how far Dunwoody would annex south, comments have been made by others that Dunwoody is only interested in the CID inside I-285 and they are not interested in the residential areas. I assume the thinking is greater tax base without service liability. Excuse me, I have to go start the charcoal for my morning special hamburgers!
Mark J. Greenbaum, D.P.M. June 02, 2012 at 12:53 PM
To the great people of Brookhaven. I am a practicing physian and I have been living in this area for 11 years. I truly love living here and I have been trying to read as much as possible to see what is in the best interest for the people that live here. I am not making a decision based on any special interest groups and like any good legislation, it is always about "For The People" The way I see it, Dekalb County has a lot of big problems and has been legislated poorly. This is an opportunity for us to rid ourselves of those big Dekalb County problems and get new people, who care, about making our community better. Obviously, we will need to make sure that the right people are put into the positions of power. If this does happen, there will be great upside to doing this. Dr Shark
City Yes June 02, 2012 at 01:08 PM
You mean that big electronic sign that was approved by Dekalb County over the protests of everyone that lived there?! The one that would never have been put in had proper zoning been in place? Welcome to continued incompetency and going against the people's wishes if Dekalb is still in charge of zoning.
Enuff Govt Already June 02, 2012 at 01:33 PM
DeKalb created a very restrictive sign ordinance a few years ago to limit billboards. The sign/advertising promptly flooded the permit office with applications and then sued. After a settlement was reached the sign/advertising company got the case reopened and the Peachtree sign went up following a judge's consent order. The Brookhaven Peachtree Community Alliance might have better info.
Joe June 02, 2012 at 02:22 PM
No, you didn't say anything about a voting rights violation, but you did say: "I became involved when opponents of incorporation tried to take away my right to vote. " Exactly how did that take place? Seems like the usual MO for the Yes folks is to make an outrageous statement like that... or like "the new City will not be another layer of government". When I hear stuff like that, the switch goes off.
not one of 60 June 02, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Taxpayers, not Ellis’ re-election campaign, have paid $4,000 on the eight temporary signs so far. That figure is expected to double when another eight are put up later this year and could swell to $40,000 if the county erects signs at the 82 upcoming water/sewer projects, according to records obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
not one of 60 June 02, 2012 at 02:34 PM
more Dekalb dollars working to keep the same old people lading us down the drain
not one of 60 June 02, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Taxpayers, not Ellis’ re-election campaign, have paid $4,000 on the eight temporary signs so far. That figure is expected to double when another eight are put up later this year and could swell to $40,000 if the county erects signs at the 82 upcoming water/sewer projects, according to records obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
HamBurger June 02, 2012 at 03:02 PM
I am amused at the entire hubbub regarding the electric sign. I do not find it objectionable as it tends to blend in with the adjacent building and is approximately the same height. Very comical that this sign is frequently mentioned yet no one says a thing about the other three billboards less than half a mile north. Cities and towns with exceptionally restrictive sign laws drive me crazy. Some go so far as to dictate the colors acceptable demanding changes in nationally known logos. Years ago, before GPS was available, I passed by places I was looking for in Charleston three and four times because the signage was hard to locate and in some instances logos changed. Man! That certainly was a tasty special hamburger!
not one of 60 June 02, 2012 at 03:30 PM
dekalb sign ordinance and enforcement = non existant. tickity tackity, rickty rackity. it reminds me how tacky the 96 olymoics were in atl. one big county fair...if thats what you like, keep it as it is....
Eric H June 02, 2012 at 04:22 PM
True we would be a peninsula of Dunwoody, though they have so much Cash its hard to argue the taxes would not be lower or the services much better. Plus since the city is more compact and we do border the Southern Edge of the CID its not like the area is far is as Isolated as it is in a bigger county. And again I'd prefer not being in Dunwoody but the fact is the area north of windsor is pretty Republican and there are a lot of people who like the idea of being in Dunwoody over Unicorporated. Regarding the legislation i've read it, its vauge but that's basically the template used for the other recently formed cities. Regarding only taking the CID - that would be a huge hit to DeKalb, losing the tax base but not losing the single family homes which is exactly my point. As Mr. Martell pointed out there are numerous requirements for annexation. Relevant here though not covered in that link is that Dunwoody can't just incorporate the commercial edge, they need natural boundary or a highway boundary or a residential boundary. True they could take just Byrnwyck and Oak Forrest/Nancy Creek Heights though I think they would go to at least Marist. But that would be a huge hit to DeKalb, as the Crier article pointed out surprisingly the assessed value of the CID inside 285 in DeKalb is 200 million which is almost equal to the assessed value of the CID outside 285 (Dunwoody) which is 222 million.
Eric H June 02, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Yea yea yea, I agree the line used by all the recently formed cities that they were "merely" seeking a "right to vote" I find to be somewhat annoying because it gives short shrift to the other citizens in the county or neighboring areas. But shoot the Democratic areas of Georgia I sometimes think only exist to be beaten and abused by a state legislature and government is so heavily tilted to one party that there is not even one statewide elected Dem. So what, that's life. But Shannon didn't claim a voting rights violation and that wasn't the main thrust of her claim. Yes there is a usual cast of characters involved in the city-hood movement but Shannon's point is very valid, its bigger than that. the No Brookhaven group also has a cast of characters and "outrageous statements" That mailer full of half truths didn't mail itself after all, nor did the professional political consultants who designed and mailed it to frequent primary voters provide their services free of charge. But yes the No City group is bigger than that and they do raise valid issues. So lets focus on the issues at hand. Which have, little to do with the infiltration of pink slime into our Hamburger meat ;-)
Eric H June 02, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Oh so now the No City Group is supporting those horrible billboards that the County ineptly allowed! ...... Sorry I couldn't resist some Saturday Afternoon friendly ribbing. Though seriously how come other areas are able to do decent sign ordinances.
Eric H June 02, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Dr. G. Well said I have been leaning towards your sentiments. Though my big concern is who will be the folks in a position of power. I do worry about that. On one hand I see great value and benefit in a branded community that is provided a vehicle to work together. On the other hand I don't want to buy a vehicle that's just going to run over people that don't think, live or act like the simple majority.
HamBurger June 02, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Mr. Eric, the 2011 DeKalb Tax Digest shows the Perimeter CID valued at $842,732,095. Looking at an aerial map overlaid with the CID area I think the Crier numbers are incorrect for the Lake Hearn/Perimeter Summit CID. Or, did they undervalue the area north of I-285? I have not had the time to do a tax roll analysis of LH/PS to verify this. Do you have further insight? Do you know the source of their numbers? Man! Those are the dillyest dills I have ever had!
HamBurger June 02, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Mr. Eric, OUCH!!! Blasphemy sir, blasphemy!!! By the way, the best parts of unincorporated DeKalb have characters with character! Man! Please pass me a special hamburger with thin sliced onions, dill pickles and extra yellow mustard! Fast!
HDM June 02, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Very salient statement, Dr.Greenbaum, Brookhaven will be a real boon to our area.
SayWhat? June 04, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Enuff has most of this right, but the permit flood came just a day before the more retrictive sign ordinance was to go into effect - there were a couple hundred. The suit followed, resulting in a negotiated agreement on numbers of signs and locations. Case closed. "Somehow" the case was reopened and additional signs were allowed by the courts. Generally, Commissioners agreed to sign locations in areas where other signs already existed. The sign location of Sandy's post was "requested," and Commissioner Boyer allowed it. It never was a zoning issue, as the site is properly zoned to allow signs. This sign was in District 1, but is now in District 2. The county wants to get this sign relocated and has talked to the owner, but it is all about traffic counts. Our sign ordiance lags the state of the art, and needs to be revisited.
Eric H June 04, 2012 at 10:12 PM
You guys are making me go way back in time. The sign ordinance goes back to the Liane Levetan days and was sat on for far too long. I forget all the steps to final creation of the ordinance but do know that there was what I think was an unauthorized act by a county official that allowed several Billboards that had the name in small print on the bottom of the billboards of the operating business on the premise where the billboards were. This was largely a fake premise. But even if true the approval still violated the code because the businesses kept their real business signs up. Nevertheless the approval led to the less than positive settlement. Here's a test do you all know the county official who signed the approvals? And the connections to the party getting the approval?
SayWhat? June 05, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Eric - Go ahead. Scare us. I know that at the time, Bob Lunsten was fighting some signs in Dunwoody and Larry Danese fighting two near Blackburn/cambridge square. As a last official act - or near last - Vernon had Patrick (Ejike) issue some permits near Georgetown to aggrivate some Dunwoodians. There are like 5 of them around there.
Eric H June 05, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Say what, nope I'm talking farther back in time. Patrick, while I could find fault, was allocating a settlement based on an approval by someone before him.


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