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An Open Letter from Thom Shepard to the Citizens of the Future City of Brookhaven

Mayoral Candidate Thom Shepard issued this letter about the suspension of his campaign.

On October 3rd I decided to suspend my campaign for Mayor of Brookhaven. It was not a decision I wanted to make.

To understand my decision I really need to go back to why I decided to run for mayor.

I participated in the election process of both Dunwoody and Chattahoochee Hills and met most of the candidates and introduced to them many of the concepts, tools and vision I have gained experience with around the country where leaders are taking their cities and rural areas towards a more sustainable vision of preservation, conservation and great walkable and bikeable urban design and development.

I was frustrated during both of the elections because the candidates who seemed to understand, in my personal opinion, both the very important technical, legal and engineering issues of transitioning from county services, and as well understood the importance of a greater vision to lead the city into the future simply were not necessarily the most skilled at asking for money and as such winning votes. So it seems that those who had strong experienced political backers or had political finesse had a strong advantage over those who were doing the hard work of city start up and really understood some of the important technical issues of creating a city from scratch.

In considering candidates citizens must realize that the potential elected officials need to understand the minutia of the previous government from which we will inherit our municipal code, as we can not legally change much of this at startup.  We will then go through a public and political process of changing and creating laws, adjusting zoning and planning issues for the short term and then hopefully creating our own clear vision for Brookhaven with our comprehensive plan. Then and only then can we consider transitioning to one of the contemporary zoning codes. Such codes have been designed from the ground up to promote wakable, bike friendly communities, great urban design, preservation, conservation and transit oriented development. If we choose the right path in this process we can allow each community of Brookhaven to define clearly what it wants for its future, in concert with the rest of the city. Our communities can be both different and unique as well as part of a greater, and very connected vision.

The first 5 new cities, excluding Peachtree Corners and their city lite model, all had, to some degree, the same problem that Brookhaven now has. Those who wrote/sponsored the “Act to incorporate the City of Brookhaven in DeKalb County”, GA Rep Mike Jacobs, GA Rep Tom Taylor and GA Senator Fran Millar made two very substantial mistakes.

First they did not follow the advice found on page 15, and repeated, of Oliver Porters 2006 book “Creating the New City of Sandy Springs”, where he stated, “A major improvement in a new city's ability to start operations would be to have created a better timeline. An interval is needed, six months minimum, between the time that the elected officials, or an appointed body, has the authority to make binding deals and the start or operations.” My only addendum to this quote would be that so much has changed since 2006 that I do not feel that six months is still necessary as the previous cities have all now shifted to split service contracts and the wide variety of contractors has created a healthy environment of competition. Municipal legal council could better define an ideal timeline, however it is obvious to all involved that 5-8 working days is simply absurd. We can do it but it puts huge pressure on volunteer committee members and volunteer legal council and greatly limits our options, creativity, public input and bargaining power with contractors and the county.

To briefly explain split-service, when Sandy Springs started they went with one master private contractor to provide all of the services taken over from DeKalb except the Police Force. While there were advantages to this model is was also expensive. This contractor then sub-contracted to other vendors or provided services in-house. The analogy would be hiring a general contractor to build your house vs hiring all the sub-contractors yourself. The trend now is for the city manager to hire these sub-contractors. The only problem is that since the council/mayor have not been elected, they can not hire a city manager, and he or she can not be part of this process of writing the RFPs, selecting contractors and making major decisions as to the structure of the city. As well there are three separate elements to consider:

  1. Working with DeKalb County on services we can not take over immediately.

  2. Transitioning immediately to basically provide almost the exact same services as DeKalb County, only hopefully with higher quality and better service for hopefully the same or better price.

  3. Having the long term vision to guide Brookhaven to change to the kind of city and structure model to be the conservation, sustainable and yet development and economically vital city we all know it can be.

Because our legislators did not follow this advice we have put huge time pressure on the future council and mayor. These is simply not time for them to be sworn in and have time to review, adjust and most importantly solicit some of the best possible vendors and city managers in the country. Much of this work will in fact be done by a body appointed by the Governors Commission and their volunteers with very little input from candidates as they are specifically excluded from much of the process. This is a rather incredible strange twist on democracy.  We are forming a brand new government, a remarkable and historic event, and specifically excluding, out of legal necessity and due to the design of the city enabling legislation, the very people who will be the potential leaders, and who will be democratically elected by the Citizens of Brookhaven, from a substantial portion of the formation process of the city.  We are in fact asking the future Mayor and City Council to play a strange blind dating game with a pre-selected group of contractors and city managers.  Despite this folly since the start date was written into the original bill, known as “an Act to incorporate the City of Brookhaven in DeKalb County”, signed by the Governor of the State of Georgia and ratified by the future citizens of Brookhaven, it is now set in stone and we must just deal with it.

We are fortunate though with the savvy of our Governors Commission, their volunteers, and many citizens leaders not to make the same mistake as Dunwoody.  They chose to (as Senator Weber described in the strangely restricted meeting last week) hand over the RFP writing/evaluating/startup management in a unusual no-bid contract to Boyken International. This was done by officially telling Boyken there was no guarantee they would be paid for these services by the newly elected city council and mayor. This was required as the Governors Commission that handed them this work of writing and managing RFPs could not legally make such a commitment of the city. And yet interestingly Boyken did do this major work, without having to bid on it, with no official promise of pay, and thus had huge control over the formation of the city. Boyken was paid by the city for these services once council and mayor were elected and although their pitch was to “work themselves out of a job selflessly” and hand over these duties to the city manager it is my understanding they are still being employed for similar contracts. Let it be noted that it is my understanding that Boyken Inernational builds luxury resorts in the islands and is not a firm that historically wrote RFPs, hired city managers or specialized in urban design, sustainable planning or providing city services.

The so called educational meeting last Monday organized by Mike Jacobs and Fran Millar was basically a sales pitch for Boyken International and Dunwoody’s current sub-contractors, and only Dunwoody’s sub-contractors. It might be noted in the invitation a lot of restrictions were place on who was welcome to attend by Mike Jacobs and it was billed as a rather closed meeting between candidates, the Governors Commission, their invitees and the Dunwoody leadership. I found it very strange Mr. Jacobs chose to ban the press from this meeting and then for Mr. Jacobs to days after the meeting that the public was largely welcome. This was not my impression as a candidate attending and I am deeply disturbed by the problems this has created in fostering a bias to a small group of contractors with most of the Governors Commission and candidates in attendance. Further many of those who were invited to speak simply stayed for the rest of conference where we were encouraged to question freely. It is very awkward to ask a tough question about Boyken International and then later realize people were coming and going freely and that Don Boyken was one of them and was probably privy to such questions. I personally feel betrayed by the Mayor of Dunwoody and the statement he made at the beginning of the meeting and what he allowed to go on in a very formal setting of the Dunwoody City Council, with the press specifically excluded.

This huge gaff and distraction is the most serious issue that led to the suspension of my campaign for Mayor of Brookhaven. But to be clear it is not the only reason and alone would not have led to this decision had it not been for the mounting challenge of the other 9 reasons.

Back to my discussion of the time table and Brookhaven. The problem that cities have encountered in my opinion is that because of the unfortunately truncated time line the previous cities have not had much choice or bargaining power on items 1 and 2 and 3 (from several paragraphs above) during initial startup and as such by the time they get to visioning a more sustainable and livable future they are as encumbered by existing infrastructure as most existing cities. This in fact goes to defeat the whole benefit of “starting fresh” as a new city. So if we elect a mayor and city council who do not have a clear sustainable vision for the future of Brookhaven, and they do not look for this in the city manager they hire or require this capability in the contractors they pick, it simply will not happen in the next 5 or 10 years, except in much smaller increments and in limited ways. The beauty of starting a new city is that you can start with a fresh vision, fresh city manager, fresh contractors. The pitfall is if you start wrong it is incredibly difficult to change at a later date. Structure and politics become institutionalized and are very difficult to change. What we are in government structure on January 1st 2013 is what will define what Brookhaven can be for the next decade. These are big decisions, being made in a frantic hurry, without a lot of the right questions being asked.

Second the political power team that wrote the act decided the Governors Commission would be held accountable to the Georgia Open Meetings Act. While normally this would be a great idea, since we are on such a terribly short time schedule, it basically disables the ability to meet quickly and work hard. Weeks have been lost of valuable time to do the work described above because those who know these issues could not gather until they went throught the formalities required by open meeting rules. Further all candidates are excluded from these discussions even if they might have very valuable knowledge and information. The deadlines to submit RFPs in time for them to legally be ready for the newly elected mayor and council and for them to accept them ASAP so contractors can ramp up city operations is just too close to foster much besides taking over DeKalb County services pretty much the way it has been done. We can and will do it, but it does remove time for detailed thought and creativity.

I am actually thrilled with the open nature of the Governor's Commission and the way they are handling this structure, they simply need six months to work under this legal requirement to accomplish the work I think we would like to see done. Instead, because of the extremely short time table handed to them by our state legislators they will have to go with the simplest process possible that can be done professionally. We simply will not have time to think about how we as our own city would want to do things differently than the 6 cites that came before us. We can not consider that we are the first city totally inside the perimeter with a DNA that is much less suburban than the previous cities, a city that in its southeast corner can connect with the Beltline trail-and-rail system and that planning for such a city with true urban potential is much different than cities that are more or less locked into their very car centric suburban nature.

So getting back to my decision to suspend my campaign. There were about 10 reasons I made this decision on Wednesday and frankly while the pressure had been building I did not consider such a decision until mid day when I realized, weighing everything that had happened the previous couple weeks, I could not move forward with the kind of professionalism I felt was necessary for my campaign. I was simply spending too much time on what I feel are critical issues for the city and where my personal knowledge and involvement is necessary. While some of the reasons for putting my campaign on hold relate to the challenge of putting aside existing projects and commitments and being able to fully dedicate to a campaign and as well the job, of mayor none of these were deciding factors. The main deciding factors all relate to the pressure created by the shorted timeline created by our state legislators and the fact that it is simply impossible to mount the kind of innovative campaign I would like to run, while still being as involved in the RFP/City Manager Evaluation process that I feel is necessary for me personally.

However after sitting thru the debate organized by Erica Mymudes and Victor Herec I realized two things.

One, I felt there was not enough discussion of the kinds of vision I feel is necessary to be part of the mayor race if we really want to be one of the greatest cities in America when it comes to biking, walkability, urban design and small business friendly development. While the walkability of the Dresden LCI is good, the LCI does have flaws that need to be discussed. There are clearly reasons to both love and hate the LCI and we need to have that discussion and realize that there are much better examples than the Brookhaven LCI. There are much better code models than the overlay and as a city we can incorporate everything good about the LCI without some of the substantial shortcomings inherent in implementing such a tool under DeKalb County. As an independent city we can protect the financial interests of those who have bought into real estate and who have plans for development in the LCI area while at the same time creating models to faily solve some of the mistakes and move towards a more comprehensive model for the entire city.

The second thing is that this debate, and the way it was organized independently by a community, has opened the door for a level of discussion and questions at the community level that I have not previously witnessed in other cities. If the other three districts follow the lead of the Ashford/Drew Valley group of communities there is a clear opportunity for us to have the kind of discussions necessary to balance both the dramatic transition of services from DeKalb County to our new city as well as fostering a clear vision of what we intend to become in five years. There were some great public candidate discussions in the other cities, but I now feel ours will far exceed their efforts in scope and volume.

Because of this I have decided that while it is necessary for me to leave my public campaign suspended, as I simply need to focus on other work with respect to the city startup, I will not withdrawl my name from the ballot at this time.

In closing I have to say I am thrilled to have seen how many people have stepped up at the community level and shown leadership. It is because of this leadership outside of the political process that I am confident that Brookhaven will be the most successful city yet and will take full advantage of its unique position as the first new totally ITP, and potentially great urban city of Georgia.

Thom Shepard

thom@ruralurban.org

HamBurger October 10, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Mr. Phil, actually, you can see all of my old posts on the Patch and you can personally verify my statements. Do your research. Or, you can do the Brookhaven Yes thing and continue with your less than factual statements. You know that is exactly what is expected of you, right? Speaking of going clean, just who are you that continues to harass me? Please pass the yellow mustard!
HamBurger October 10, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Mr. Phil, actually, you can see all of my old posts on the Patch and you can personally verify my statements. Do your research. Or, you can do the Brookhaven Yes thing and continue with your less than factual statements. You know that is exactly what is expected of you, right? Speaking of going clean, just who are you that continues to harass me? Reveal your warped personal identity! Please pass the yellow mustard!
Grieg Ericsson October 10, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Phil, I know this to be a Fact. Hotdog is running for city council. Not Hamburger.
Jack of Kings October 10, 2012 at 02:48 AM
HamBurger....you divulge who you are first. I think it will be more interesting who you are. You have been bashing your opponents on this board. You have been asked to let this issue die--by merely saying you are not running for office. It is because of YOU and your hypocritical posts on transparency that makes it important that no council member who posts anonymously should be voted in. I have a bet---you are not going to answer the question. People arlready know who you are and what council seat you are running for. And I assure you more will know before November 6.
Booyah October 10, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Whether Hamburger is Jim Eyre is not important. What is important is that Jim Eyre NOT get elected. Jim Eyre and his partner Ronnie Mayer will continue to act like Boss Tweed in Ashford Park and Drew Valley. These two have already created a fiefdom reminiscent of Richard Daley in Chicago. Empower Jim Eyre and he and Ronnie will run a muck in the community.
Eddie E. October 10, 2012 at 03:39 AM
residue, And, pray tell which of the 'stellar' choices remaining would you foist upon an unsuspecting public? Better stick with the choice we KNOW.
Eddie E. October 10, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Phil, I look forward to meeting you at the Oglethorpe debate. You will know me because I will not be hiding behind super dark glasses.
Eddie E. October 10, 2012 at 03:45 AM
res, A quick question. Does being able to stuff 'budget' and 'dunwoody' into every sentence in a twenty sentence paragraph somehow qualify one for a 'leadership role'? Personally, I don't think so.
HamBurger October 10, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Ms. A Resident, ask Mr. Russell this question: Question: If we become a city, is there a political future for Russell Mitchell? “Russell: I get that question often, but I want to make it very clear to the community that you will not see my name on any campaign signs should the city vote pass favorably.” Mr. Russell Mitchell is not very truthful, right? Here is a link to the article where this statement is made: http://tinyurl.com/9frwf3x I guess words don’t mean very much to Mr. Russell. As I have previously noted, he also participates in the conversation in the comments section. After all, he is a Financial Guru. And, as a C$ND Board Member, he ignored Kathie Gannon’s 08-26-2011 letter to C$ND. But, we don’t want to talk about that, right? Please pass the yellow mustard!
HamBurger October 10, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Mr. Phil, what an interesting proposition from someone that has made several people very uncomfortable because of your unsubstantiated accusations and actually hurt their personal business. You have ignored previous direct answers to your questions in the past only for these individuals to continue to receive your wrath and insulting, continued line of questioning as if we or I are criminals. Your identity is public knowledge. Yet nothing has been said to defame you, other than comments about your stained cute shorts. Putting up with your continued harassment of innocent individuals has become tiresome. You can see all of my old posts on the Patch and you can personally verify my statements as to my political participation. Do your research. Or, you can do the Brookhaven Yes thing and continue with your less than factual, defamatory statements. The other individuals defamed are there as well for your review. You have a choice. You have made mistake you need to acknowledge. I can assist you with the public acknowledgement of your public mistakes, or, we will address Mr. Phil issues at the appropriate time. This is your choice . . . While you contemplate your fate, would you like a special hamburger?
Hambusted October 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM
I hear Jodi Cobb is Jim Eyre's campaign manager. So Eyre really does want to sabotage the city if elected to city council. I love the blatant lie he told in the debate about being against the city only because the referendum was held in July rather than November. He gave about a dozen other reasons publicly on t.v. , a forum, in mailpeces( remember Brokehaven). He is a snake and there are more folks angry at him than he realizes for his commissar like activities around Ashford Park.
Eddie E. October 10, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Compare and contrast your assertions against the documented reality of individuals backed by for-profit corporate interests who have no obvious reason to force the city into life other than to make a buck off the taxpayers? You deride an individual who at least has the honesty to identify the shortcomings of the C4ND/Jacobshaven/BYES lie machine and to NOTIFY the Citizens of those shortcomings. The remaining choices are an individual who seeks to profit from the incorporation and an individual who publicly stated having no time and no real idea how municipal government functions. I'll take the guy who had sense enough to smell the rat in the first place.
Jack of Kings October 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Ask Jim Eyre why he felt driven to stop a neighbor who was planning on building a small pool in his backyard with an attractive fence. He went down to Decatur to stop the zoning for the pool and led the County into believing he was representing all of Ashford Park in HIS objection to the pool. The pool was not allowed to be built. And the neighbor will NEVER forget that high handed, "Not in my Kingdom" attitude. Can you imagine that kind of "leadership" in a council which require teamwork as well as district advocacy? HamBurger--I somehow think you were intimately involved in that pool action (too). Remember?
Booyah October 10, 2012 at 12:35 PM
I had lunch one day with Jim on an unrelated manner. He shared with me that he felt Ashford Park needed to have an HOA not a civic association. He felt an HOA could better control all architectural changes in the community, color of roofs, types of flowers and shrubs, fences, etc. Jim felt this would increase property values and that he knew everyone would trust his judgement. Elect Jim to city council and you can begin submitting your choice for paint colors for his approval. Jim has promised no moratorium on coloration.
Thom Shepard October 10, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Howard Billboard, Thank you for your comments about the Boyken Incident during the formation of the City of Dunwoody in 2008. I appreciate even more your research of the minutes of Dunwoody City Council meetings, this is something I have been planning to do but have not quite found the time. A question that I think is very relevant at this time is what minutes were kept for the Dunwoody Governors Commission. I can not remember if they were subject to any open meetings issues and what the law would be if they were not as far as records availability. They would have been the entitty to specifically chose to use Boyken and thus substantially subvert home rule issues by putting a contractor in place to manage the city startup before the council and mayor were actually elected. Even if all of the viable candidates were in agreement of this and even if Mr. Boyken got their word they would agree to pay him for the work later this still creates a rather dramatic ethical and possibly legal issue. This is quite different from the Brookhaven Governors Commission that is operating under the open meeting act, having an attorney present for a lot of meetings, and specifically going to substantial efforts to avoid these types of clear conflict of interest. I have been to meetings where contractor representatives or employees were asked to step out of the meeting when discussing certain topics to make sure they would not disqualify themselves from future consideration.
Thom Shepard October 10, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Howard Billboard, To you question: Was former Georgia State Senator Dan Weber at the "educational seminar"(sic) organized, promoted, RSVP'ed and restricted by Mike Jacobs that was held in the chamber of the Dunwoody City Council and presided over by Dunwoody Mayor Davis? Yes, he was part of one of the panel discussions and clearly stated that the contract was given to Don Boyken's firm Boyken International based on his friendship with him. Despite my total surprise at the back room switch from the Master Contractor Model of providing city services to such a quick hand over to Boyken International I do not remember reading any articles at the time that deal with this issue. But then again the Atlanta Journal and Constitution is a major player in real estate with their corporate offices for both their used car company Cox Enterprises which is located in Sandy Springs, their offices for the AJC which are located in Dunwoody and I think they are still a major real estate player in the NW corner of Brookhaven. So little surprise they would prefer to see backroom deals where they have more power than upset the very council and mayor where they want to re-zone properties and build major buildings. Covering Dixie like the Dew seems to have a whole new meaning now that the AJC left the City of Atlanta proper. That dew is getting a bit sticky and definitely smells pretty nasty right now when you look at their coverage of Dunwoody and Brookhaven.
Thom Shepard October 10, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Dear Patchy Jesters, If you are a thoughtful intelligent poster, who stays on topic most the time, then I am clearly not referring to you with this name "Patchy Jester". But to the Patchy Jesters, I must commend you on your diligence in understanding how "The Patch" neighborhood blog works and your intentional effort to disrupt any intelligent conversation that might surface. For those who are not aware, the Patch is rated, I assume for ad dollars, on how many comments they get for an article. So they have no reason at all to moderate the articles for healthy discussion as private bloggers or listservs tend to do. So when you go off on arguments about who is really who, copy paste the same post over and over with quotes, or rant angrily and draw others into the fight, the publisher and editors of The Patch love it. You are making them money. But it is clear and obvious to all those who attempt to have an intelligent conversation about an issue related to an article that when they hit home on a fact or an issue a swarm of Patchy Jesters pops up to try to drown out the conversation and chase as many people away from reading the comments as possible. So Patchy Jesters, while your reign in Brookhaven and Dunwoody of disrupting community conversation has been quite successful and and has served the DeKalb BOC and the Republican Power Structure very well. The Phoenix of Journalism may soon ...
Eric H October 10, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Great post Thom. That a few "neighbors" would use their anonymity this way speaks volumes about them.
Jack of Kings October 10, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Are we talking about HamBurger and his consistent bashing of his opponents? I do not think he is part of the Republican Power Structure. Nor do the other posters of which you speak, Thom. I agree that the Patch loves the hits they are getting with the back and forth. It is a godsend for thier website stats. Less posts would beget even less posts. Traffic would die down. People come back just to see if there has been a riposte --and occassionally there will be a substantive post. I have contributed to the back and forth because I think it is sleazy that there are poster shere that are running for public office that are anonymously bashing their opponents. Frankly, I coudl care less if there is a candidate posting anonymously who does not go after their opponents if they choose to post informative messages--on occassion. It is the high frequency posters that continue to use the threads as an integral part of their campaign hat I take exception too. This will be a moot point after the election...the losing candiates will continue too post and carp from the peanut gallery--proposing new conspiracy theories and being genrally disruptive to the process. But, at least, they will not be on the Council. And the Democratic Power Structure will continue its guerilla marketing.
TomMiller October 10, 2012 at 03:48 PM
ThomS: It's tough to wade through all of the mess created by a few. It's interesting that Hamburglar posted as Greig right after his HB post. Tells me all I need to know. Telling people to STFU or calling someone an arse to me shows that the person using those terms - reduced to name calling -has nothing more to say. Now ThomS back to you saying your campaign is suspended -- I read this up above on your post: "It will become very apparent substantially prior to the election why I felt it was necessary to suspend my campaign and why I decided to hold off on a formal withdrawal from the race " Is this separate from your letter? B/c I have to tell you the election is 26 days away. Thom some free advice for you - talk to others about what you are doing - why have folks waste a vote - and that is precisely what they would do - by voting for you? You have no chance. Why possibly play a role in a runoff? You have a bully pulpit as we see. You aren't diminished by dropping out. I though will ask this if you ever run for office- the guy quit once, will he do so again? Will he quit after being elected to any office? my 2 cents
Eddie E. October 10, 2012 at 04:13 PM
'Democratic Power Structure'? Here in the one party state where it is still possible to elect a reliable, honest Democrat and you are whining as if the Democratic Party has some boot on your throat? Tell me 'phil' how has the last decade of 'OnePartyState' control done for Georgia? Is that really how you want the new city to start, and deteriorate?
Eric H October 10, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Eddie you are correct about the state of politics in the State of Georgia. But DeKalb County Government is a Democratic Power Structure - granted not the type of Democrat I think of. And many (I'm not including you) of the so called "democratic" posters here are as bad or worse as some of the so called "republican" posters. But yes its interesting how the economic engine of the state is centered largely in the Democratic or at least more moderate jurisdictions - yet some state Republicans seem intent on tearing it down. I do think Phil makes some valid points.
Eddie E. October 10, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Eric, Of course I'm correct. I'm also correct in the assertion that the one area of the state that can be considered a functional economic engine is the ONLY (well almost only) place in the state not under iron-fisted control of the party that has damaged every other part of the state. Heck, they want control of this part of the State so bad that they have to invent new 'fiefdoms' to engage control. Wouldn't it make more sense to show some functional improvements and then try to encourage people to join rather than destroy what works just to say it's 'theirs'? And I've never looked closely at phil's head so I'm not sure about the points. For the record, I'm not running for anything. I do intend to spend every waking moment ensuring environmental and vegetation regulations are followed to the letter. If developers had done that from the beginning, people wouldn't have blamed 'the county' for the developer's indiscretions.
Eric H October 10, 2012 at 07:56 PM
"I'm also correct in the assertion that the one area of the state that can be considered a functional economic engine i....." yes, but I already basically said that, so that makes me correct. As to the rest, we don't need to go over that again since whatever the motivations were - and their are many held by many different people - since it is what it is. As to developers indiscretions, its not just that, its also developers getting modifications approved without the county telling the communities involved. The county SUCKED at communication. And frankly this whole mantra you guys have of "people should have worked harder to influence the county" is BS. I have a job, why should i have to make weekly visits to Decatur to shadow my taxpayer funded county staff? Yes I know many things the Yes people said are BS. But, I figured I'd weigh in on the old people didn't try hard enough to change the County. I mean sometimes after banging your head against the wall people finally wake up and decide to go around it instead.
Eddie E. October 10, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Eric, And the 'OnePartyState' certainly decided to go 'around' the voters who wouldn't go 'along' with them.
Brookhaven Maven October 11, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Did any of you posters catch the article in the Sunday AJC about Brookhaven's pro bono lawyer being the very same Bill Riley who put that incompetent Westmoreland on the Fulton Elections Board? Another red letter moment for our fair start-up city! http://www.ajc.com/news/news/fulton-elections-board-member-swayed-hiring/nSW28/ -- The Maven
HamBurger October 11, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Mr. BM, things like this really do not matter now. The unengaged voters in our area voted in a new city and could care less about little things like this. Now, can you tell me how much this attorney contributed to Brookhaven Yes and Brookhaven Ballot committee? Please pass the yellow mustard!
Brookhaven Maven October 11, 2012 at 04:32 AM
To BahHumBugger @ 12:20am -- I haven't the foggiest notion how much or even if Mr. Bill forked over any cash to the formative groups. It is a matter of record that he is donating his professional skills and time to the Guv's Commission. Theoretically, you could say Mr. Bill was the cause of the Fulton County Election Board having to fork over $120,000. I sure hope he doesn't do anything to cost Brookhaven any big fines like that. Full disclosure alert: I've attended all of the Guv's Commission meetings, including the one at which Mr. Bill was initially introduced. He said he had been involved in the formation of all of the recent Fulton and DeKalb incorporations, but I never heard him say anything about being the Johns Creek City attorney. I check with some of my Sexton Woods neighbors who also have attended the Commission meetings, and none of them recall his having made that clear. This is one busy guy! -- The Maven
John Q Public October 11, 2012 at 10:00 AM
Maven please take note. This subject was discussed sometime ago on the other Brookhaven. You may or may not read this blog however there is some factual information there and your assertions about Riley McClendon have evidence that make your point. Additionally, this is the brain trust who was neck deep in the Dunwoody ethics debacle. It's only a matter of time folks. We did indeed get effed. http://theotherbrookhaven.blogspot.com/2012/08/return-on-investment-you-decide.html?m=1
TomMiller October 12, 2012 at 07:44 PM
While this guy is doing the work for free, let's hope that other law firms get the chance to submit a bid for the work - and hey! guess what??? a couple of the guys on the commission ARE lawyers and WORK at law firms with government experience! whoda thunk it?

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