Monday, November 4, 2013

If You Want A Tax Increase - Vote Clean Sweepers

Did the headline and photo grab your attention?   It should.
Full disclosure, the clean sweepers, to my knowledge, are NOT pushing for a tax increase.   However, their uninformed policies could very well force the city to increase taxes to pay for the massive legal defense bills that could pile up.
If you've read John Heneghan's blog or that of Dunwoody Farmer Bob, you are familiar with the letter circulated by Tammy Anderson, the wife of dismissed city attorney Brian Anderson.
In a nutshell it insinuates Dunwoody has the means to stop 3,000 apartments from being constructed as part of the High Street project across from the Dunwoody Marta.  It implies the current council is not doing anything to prevent the construction, but if elected, that the "clean sweepers" would.
I don't know a whole lot about zoning, but I have spoken directly with those that do.  They say without a doubt, following the advise of Tammy Anderson's letter will put the city on the wrong end of a lawsuit that it cannot win.
It's pretty simple.  The developers purchased the High Street property because it was zoned high density.   The city can work with the developers, and through the use of variances, modify the project and hopefully lower that density.  But they cannot flat out change it, as the letter, and the sweepers, would have you believe.
Imagine you and your spouse purchased a home in Dunwoody with the idea of raising a family.   A few years after the purchase, the city changes the zoning to limit the number of people per household to two.  You'd cry foul, sue the city and win big.
My concern with the sweepers is their lack of knowledge and the unintended consequences.  If they had attended council meetings or DHA meeting or zoning meetings prior to running for office, they would have a working knowledge of government, which is vastly different from private business.  But they didn't attend any of these meetings.  They did not take the time to educate themselves.  Basically, they want to go from kindergarten straight to high school.   Like a child making such a jump, their chances of succeeding are very small.   And unfortunately, it will come at the taxpayers' expense.
Vote Shortal, Wescott & Thompson on Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Teddy Roosevelt Says Sweep Aside The Clean Sweepers

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Teddy Roosevelt
The above is an excerpt from a speech entitled "Citizenship In A Republic" by one of the country's great president ,Theodore Roosevelt, in 1910.   Truth is, Roosevelt could have delivered this speech today to the citizens of Dunwoody. 
Roosevelt says bully to the critics, let's give credit to the people who are actually doing the work.   He said let's applaud those who have spent the long hours volunteering and laboring to make our city the best it can be.   He said sure, these "doer of deeds" will make mistakes along the way, but in the end will "triumph." 
Roosevelt was clearly speaking of the Clean Sweepers when he talks about the critics.   The sweepers, all good souls to be sure, have put forth hardly an ounce of energy to make this city better.   By their own admission they never served on the board of their local swim/tennis club, or church, or charity group, or baseball, football or softball league.   They've never been an active member of the DHA - who's mission statement is to protect the homeowners of our fair city - or served as a volunteer in the parade or even attended a city council meeting (until deciding to run for a seat).  Besides pointing out the flaws of those doing the work, these Clean Sweepers have done nothing.  
In the same verse, Roosevelt talks about "the man who is actually in the arena."  He says this is the man to be praised.   This is the one who spent long hours in seemingly endless meetings to create a city or a school system, who woke up long before daylight to ensure the success of the parade, who raked the infield dirt hours before a ballgame at Murphey Candler, who tediously lined the football field, who slaved over the grill at the swim meet or pushed cars up and down a hill to ensure the success of the local soap box races.   Roosevelt was talking about Denny Shortal, Doug Thompson and Heyward Wescott.   For they have been, without fanfare, the "doer of deeds."  
Do I agree with everything the city has done in its five years?   Absolutely not.   I think the city manager, while doing an adimirable job, needs more oversight, I feel the mayor, at times, could be less heavy handed, and hiring a traffic official (non-police officer) to handle the congestion at Vermack and Womack is, by far, the best solution for this intersection.  However, I feel more comfortable placing those decisions in the hands of folks who have walked the walk, rather than the do-nothing Clean Sweepers, one of whom admitted at a candidate forum to being "asleep at the wheel." 
I know "the doers" will not fall asleep on the citizens of this city.   Please don't fall asleep on November 5.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Important Candidate Forum

Okay, it's been about eight months since my last blog - my apologies.   I've gotten a little busy on the real estate front and with my hobby - freelancing at CSS (Comcast Sports Southeast) a few nights a week, talking SEC Football.  It becomes very addictive!  
I did want to get a blog post out reminding you of the important Dunwoody Homeowners' Association candidate forum 7pm Thursday night at the high school auditorium.

We have an important city council election coming up in November.   There's a lot of mis-information being spread, which is why it is important to attend the forum.  

If you know me, it is no secret that I am supporting Heyward Wescott in District 2 (the district in which I live).   A city council position is the ultimate in public service to the community, and Heyward has a strong track record in Dunwoody.  He was one of the driving forces in starting up the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce and Soap Box Derby.   He is a past president and vice president of the Kingsley Racquet and Swim Club.   He is the current vice president of the Dunwoody Homeowners' Association.  And he is involved in Dunwoody's quest for an independent school district.  Heyward's spent a lot of evenings and Saturday mornings rolling up his sleeves for the betterment of the community.   He's walked the walk.   Meantime, I'm not really sure what his opponents have done.  They probably are very nice guys, but in the time they've lived in Dunwoody, what have they done to better the community?   It's easy to complain, especially from the family room sofa! 

I hope to see you Thursday night!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dunwoody Real Estate Update

4868 Mill Brook Dr. in Springfield
Someone asked me this weekend, "so, how is the (real estate) market?"  For almost five straight years I would answer "fantastic" as I tried to stay positive.   Fact of the matter is, and as most of us know, the Dunwoody market, like the rest of metro Atlanta, struggled mightily.  Prices reached their peek in the summer of 2007, and had been on a steady decline. 
However, the first quarter of 2013 bears all positive news. 
I'm a big believer in statistics, and the stats for the first three months of 2013 compared with 2012, are all improvements.  Again, this is something we couldn't say the last five-plus years.

From January 1 through March 1 of 2012, a total of 35 single-family homes sold in Dunwoody (30338, 30360).  The average list price was $349,000.  The average sales price was $331,000.   The average days-on-market was 146. 

From January 1 through March 1 of 2013, a total of 43 single-family homes sold in Dunwoody (30338, 30360).  The average list price was $360,000.  The average sales price was $349,000.   The average days-on-market was 114.   That's an increase of 5.2 percent sales price, in 32 less days.  In normal market conditions, a homeowner can expect a 4-to-5 percent increase in their home value from year-to-year.  All the signs are good.

Currently, there are 78 active listings in Dunwoody, ranging in price from $924,900 to $215,000.  There are 58 other homes under contract (an excellent ratio of active listings to pending listings).
To view any of the active listings, click on the first link below (that includes my newest listing at 4868 Mill Brook Dr. in Springfield. For more information on this home, click on the photo above).  To view these listings as a line item report, click on the 2nd link.  If you wish to view any of these homes, please contact me or 404-644-5220.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Governor Suspends DeKalb Board Members

By Greg Bluestein and Ty Tagami
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Nathan Deal said Monday he will suspend six of the nine members of the DeKalb County school board, calling the district’s accreditation crisis a “matter of grave concern” that compelled him to intervene.
At a press conference flanked by members of DeKalb’s delegation, Deal said he would appoint a nominating committee to replace the suspended board members.
“I feel it’s my responsibility to act,” Deal said, adding: “Maybe there’s a better way but the reality is this is the only way open to us now.”
He said he wrestled with the decision to suspend duly elected officials, but ultimately decided he had little other choice.
“The urgency is this: We don’t need to have this cloud hanging over the students and their parents any longer,” he said. “We didn’t take it lightly.”
Several DeKalb lawmakers expressed their support of Deal’s decision, but others said it only plunges the state’s third-largest school district into more uncertainty.
“Now the question is: Who is running the DeKalb Board of Education and how long will it be before they can get a legal vote,” said state Rep. Billy Mitchell, D-Stone Mountain. “This is a difficult road we are going down.”
Click Governor Deal to read full story.

Friday, February 22, 2013

State School Board Votes to Suspend 6 DeKalb Board Members

By Ty Tagami
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

After a grueling 14-hour hearing that lasted until 10 p.m. Thursday night, the Georgia Board of Education voted unanimously to recommend suspending six of the nine members of the DeKalb County school board.
“I just think the culture of poor governance that has been sustained over years has to be broken now,” said state board member Brian Burdette. “And I don’t think there’s any way to do it short of replacing some of these board members.”
Jennifer Hackemeyer, Department of Education general counsel, asked that the suspension not affect the three board members who took office this year.
The rambling hearing sounded at times like a legal proceeding, and at other moments like a confessional. It covered everything from financial mishaps to board member ethics.
At stake are the futures of 99,000 students in Georgia’s third-largest school district.
Click Georgia Board to read full story.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dekalb County School Board at it Again! Mayor's State of the City Speech

By Ty Tagami

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The DeKalb County school district filed a lawsuit Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to derail a process that could unseat all nine members of the school board.
The action, filed in Fulton County Superior Court by an attorney paid with taxpayer funds, elicited outrage from parents and other observers. The suit seeks a temporary restraining order to prevent a hearing by the Georgia Board of Education on Thursday.
The state board could recommend suspension of the DeKalb board, giving Gov. Nathan Deal authority to remove the DeKalb members under the provisions of a 2011 law.
Click Ty Tagami at AJC to read the full story.

Good question: To spare system and save money, why doesn’t the DeKalb board resign?

By Maureen Downey
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Today’s AJC story by Ty Tagami gives a great summation of the lawsuit filed yesterday by the DeKalb Board of Education to keep their elected positions by challenging the constitutionality of the law that permits the governor to oust them.

Taxpayers are underwriting this legal challenge, which is upsetting many DeKalb parents tired of crowded classes and dwindling resources.
As I wrote in a piece yesterday, there may well be good cause to question the state law. But should a costly legal challenge come from DeKalb, a system with a $16 million deficit and a parent community that seems delighted at the prospect of getting rid of its board?
Click Maureen Downey at AJC to read the full story.

Dunwoody Talk's Take

The blogsite Dunwoody Talk also has a take on the school board fiasco - click Dunwoody Talk to read it.   I respect Dunwoody Talk's author, Rick Callihan, who's a friend, but I disagree.  It's time for the entire DeKalb County School Board to go.  I agree, Nancy Jester and Pam Speaks appear to have done everything they possible can, but in order to remove the dead wood, the entire pile has to be burned.  And in the case of Nancy and Pam, they can be reappointed by the Governor.  It's simply time to remove the board, and hope that when elections are held again, the bad apples don't get re-elected.

Mayor's State of the City Speech

Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis delivered his State of the City speech last night at the Crown Ravinia.  John Heneghan has posted the video of the speech on his blogsite - all 65 minutes! 
The mayor did a nice job, but he's got to learn to be more concise.  His speech started a little after 7:40pm, and at 8:20 I said, "I gotta go!"  So I didn't get to hear the end. 
Remember mayor - always leave them wanting more.  No one knew that better than Abraham Lincoln.  Below is the entire text of one of the greatest speeches of all-time, the Gettsburg Address.  The speech lasted less than 10 minutes!

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

State of the City

Mayor Mike Davis gives his "State of the City" address tonight at the Crowne Ravinia.  The public is invited.  The mayor will speak of his vision for Dunwoody.  I assume much of the mayor's speech will focus on businesses, and in particular, businesses in the PCID.   But I'm hoping some of the speech talks abut the residents of Dunwoody and the neighborhoods.  Below is the release from the city.

The City of Dunwoody, the Rotary Club of Dunwoody, and Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce proudly present the fourth annual State of the City Address on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia on Ashford Dunwoody Road.

Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis will deliver this year’s City address focusing on new goals and opportunities for 2013, growth, economic development and the implementation of key projects in the coming year.

“In 2012 the City of Dunwoody was actively engaged in the enhancement of our community’s basic needs for public safety and transportation accessibility,” said Mayor Mike Davis. “Our successes over the past year include improvements to our roads and traffic, upgrades of our park amenities, growth of new and existing commercial business and the financial health of our city’s resources. Our vision for the future is to implement the plans and ideas of our community and help Dunwoody become an even better place to live, work and play.”

This year’s festivities kick off with a public reception beginning at 6:00 p.m. followed by the State of the City Address scheduled for 7:00 p.m. In addition to Mayor Davis, the Rotary Club, the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce and the City are honored to have Bryan Tate, CEO and founder of Digitel as the honored guest speaker. Entry to the State of the City event is free and open to the public. Early arrival is encouraged, as seating and parking will be limited.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Post from Rep. Tom Taylor

Our state representative Tom Taylor asked if I would post the message below.  As you may know, Tom is working on a bill that could give cities like Dunwoody the ability to have their own school system, although he warns don't expect that to happen in the near future. 

Fellow Citizens,

Many of you, especially those with children in DeKalb public schools have contacted me asking how you can participate in what is currently happening with our school system. The fact that SACS has placed the entire DeKalb School system on academic probation, which is only one step from loss of accreditation, is very serious. For more on this, please read my op-ed in the Dunwoody Crier here:

I recommend that if you feel so inclined, please write a personal letter to Governor Deal and/or the Georgia State Board of Education. Emails are fine, but a personal letter, hand delivered by my office to the Governor or the State BOE guarantees that your thoughts and opinions land where they need to go.

My Chief of Staff Page Olson will be collecting letters at her home now through next Tuesday, February 19th. She lives at 1148 Redfield Ridge in Dunwoody. She'll have a box at the top of her driveway for your to deposit you letter. Make sure that it is marked to go to either Governor Deal, the State BOE or both. I'll hand deliver to both offices on Wednesday morning the 20th.

You are all encouraged to come down to the Sloppy Floyd building, 20th floor (across from the Capitol) next Thursday, February 21st at 8am to witness the hearing between our DeKalb BOE and the State Board. You will need a photo ID to get in. If you can't be there in person, watch it streamed live on the Department of Education website:

Contact my office at any time should you have questions.


Tom Taylor
State Representative, District 79
Office 404.656.0152

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Great Community Dinner

Need a dinner option for this evening?  Give All Saints Church World Famous Knights of Columbus Fish Fry a try - I promise it is one of the best values in Dunwoody!  The Fish Fry is now averaging over 1,100 meals every Friday night (5p-8p) during the Lenten season.  Catholics and non-Catholics are invited.

The Fish Fry, now in it's 17th year (my math could be off), has a fabulous menu that includes either crispy fried cod (similar to Long John Silver's, but better), broiled talapia or salmon seasoned to perfection, or crispy fried shrimp - all for $8 (salmon is $9).  The price includes two sides, and in the case of the fried meals - hush puppies as well! 
And if you're a clam chowder connoisseur, you've got to try the Knight's secret recipe.  It was handed down from a popular restaurant in New England - and is to die for!  Water and tea is included with the meal, soft drinks, beer and wine are available by donation.  All proceeds go to Knights' charities (Special Olympics, the Elaine Clark Center, etc).

Click on the photo below to watch a Channel 11 story on the Fish Fry.