Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First City Council Meeting

The first official Dunwoody City Council Meeting is 7 p.m. Wednesday night at Peachtree Middle School. Among the topics to be discussed is will the city sign a contract with service provider CH2M Hill, or will it choose the "hybrid plan" devised by State Senator Dan Weber. This is your chance to have your voice heard.

Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. the Dunwoody Chamblee Parents' Council meets at Kingsley Elementary. The featured speaker is Patrick Winter, the senior associate director of admissions for the University of Georgia at Athens.

Monday, September 29, 2008

City Council Holds First Public Workshop

The newly elected Dunwoody City Council held its first public workshop Sunday night at Dunwoody United Methodist Church. Among the topics discussed before approximately 30 people was the city's official seal and the venue for council meetings (Peachtree Middle School).
But the hot issue of the night: would the new city hire CH2M Hill to provide its broad spectrum of services or would it turn to a "hybrid plan" devised by State Senator Dan Weber.

CH2M Hill is the known quantity. CH2M Hill is the provider for all of the area's new cities: Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Milton and Chattahoochee Hill Country. All of those cities express satisfaction with the public-private agreement. The problem is CH2M Hill's services are expensive. Will the city of Dunwoody be able to afford them? Thus, the birth of Sen. Weber's hybrid plan, which he estimates would save the city $2.9 million. Sen. Weber's plan calls for a public-private partnership with Boyken International, an accomplished company yet with no experience in starting up a city. Dunwoody resident and past Dunwoody Homeowners' Association Don Boyken is the president of Boyken International.

Also discussed was the offer by Oliver Porter, the man instrumental in Dunwoody's start up as well as the start up of the other area cities, to serve as interim city manager, pro bono. However, it was recommended that Mr. Porter be paid $54,000 for his services, if not as interim city manager than as a consultant. Mr. Porter already has spent close to three years in volunteer work on the city's behalf.

For more information on last night's workshop: http://dunwoodynorth.blogspot.com/

The first city council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Peachtree Middle School.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mayor, 4 Council Members Sworn-In

Dunwoody's first mayor and first city council were sworn-in in a ceremony Wednesday evening at the 1420 Room at Dunwoody Village. Mayor Ken Wright and councilmen Tom Taylor, John Heneghan, Robert Wittenstein and Denis Shortal took the oath before an estimated gathering of 200. Councilman-elect Danny Ross was out of town, unable to attend the ceremony. The sixth council position is in an October 14 runoff between Dr. Adrian Bonser and Larry Pankey.
The first city council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 1.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Absentee Voting For November Elections

Attached is an application for an absentee ballot for the November 4th election. Submit the application and you will be mailed a ballot. You do not have to have a reason to request an absentee ballot by mail. It will enable you to avoid standing in line on Election Day.

PLEASE VOTE - this is a crucial election. Here is the link:


Once you complete the application, follow this link for an address where to mail the application (according to the county in which you live):


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dunwoody Inauguration Day

Wednesday night at 7:30 at the 1420 Room in Dunwoody Village, Dunwoody's first mayor and city council will be sworn in. And while the ceremony won't have the pomp and circumstance of a Presidential Inauguration, it will be an historic event. The public is invited.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Springfield, Cambridge Real Estate

There are currently 6 homes listed for sale in the Springfield and Cambridge subdivisions.
  • The average list price is $374,412
  • The highest price is $449,500
  • The lowest price is $315,000
10 homes have sold in Springfield/Cambridge since the start of 2008.
  • The median sales price is $364,667
  • The highest price is $735,000
  • The lowest price is $310,000
For more information, please contact:
Bob Fiscella, Keller Williams Atlanta Perimeter, 404.644.5220

Crime Report

The most recent crime report issued by the Dekalb County for the north precinct (which covers Dunwoody and nearby DeKalb County) from Sept. 1 to Sept. 15 showed the following:

  • 4 Robberies

  • 4 Burglaries (2 residential)

  • 11 Thefts

  • 22 Automobiles Entered

  • 4 Automobile Thefts

  • 14 Shoplifting

One of the burglaries took place in our neighborhood on Cambridge Dr. Police say it was likely a case of the perpetrators "stalking the street" first and then coming back a second time to commit the crime. Please be aware of suspect cars

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A New Website

I have turned my political website into a Springfield neighborhood website. My goal is to print all the news of interest to my Springfield neighbors. Not only news from the subdivision, but Dunwoody in general. I believe this site can be a valuable asset to the community (or at least that is what I am hoping). I encourage all of my neighbors to participate by adding posts and/or sending me pictures and news from our community.



Election Results

Dear Friends,

My family and I want to sincerely thank each and every one of you for your support in my campaign for Dunwoody City Council. We put our best foot forward (which is my right foot, as I am still recovering from torn ligaments in the left one), but unfortunately came up short. Here are the final numbers from my race – District 2, Local:

Adrian Bonser 44% 1029 votes
Larry Pankey 36% 829 votes
Bob Fiscella 20% 461 votes

*Adrian and Larry are headed for a runoff in three weeks.

While the final results are not what I hoped for, I believe the fight was worth fighting and my message of telling the truth and running a race with dignity was widely accepted. Despite the fact that I was outspent at the astronomical rate of 25-to-1 by each of my opponents, we still got 1 of every 5 votes. To put the best spin on it (and what would politics be without spin) it cost my opponents about $27 per vote. It cost me about $3.

It was truly an amazing experience. Not to mention a learning experience. If you ever want the minutia of the new city budget, stop by for a beer. Or two. Or three.

The best part of running for office is all the wonderful people I had the opportunity to meet. And to learn who my true friends are, and just how much they care.

I hope to thank all of you in person sometime very soon.



PS A very special thanks to my de facto campaign manager Greg Crnovich, who doesn’t know how to say NO!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Voting with a Heavy Heart

Election Day is upon us and regardless of whom you are voting for, I sincerely hope you get to the polls. It's important that every registered vote in Dunwoody make his or her voice heard.
My family, like many in Dunwoody, will be voting with a heavy heart. This weekend, we lost Kathleen Beausoleil, a devoted Dunwoody wife and mother of three. I did not know Kathleen nearly as well as my wife and son, who was in the same class with Kathleen's daughter Jackie, but according to all who knew her, she was a very special person. Please keep Kathleen and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Final Election Push

My last campaign email ahead of Tuesday's elections went out late last night. If you did not receive an email, this is how it read:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Vanderlyn & the City of Dunwoody

I had the opportunity to sit down and spend time with new Vanderlyn Principal Noel Maloof on Wednesday. It's hard not to like Noel personally and even harder not to love him as an educator. When he was appointed to the job this summer, making the short trek from Dunwoody High School where he was an assistant principal, a mutual friend told me what a "great" hire it was. I concur. Not only does Noel relate exceptionally well with the children, he has a wonderful vision for Vanderlyn. And he was quick to credit Mrs. Burger for some terrific hires.

I asked Mr. Maloof what the new city of Dunwoody could do to make his job easier. I was not surprised by his answer, "help with the traffic!" Hopefully the city will have the resources to have a police officer make routine patrols during morning drop off and afternoon pickup. Mr. Maloof said that would go a long way towards solving the problem. But he said school officials, parents and even the students must do their share! Many of us are in a hurry in the morning as we start a busy day, but there is never an excuse to exceed the speed limits on roads surrounding the school. That won't be tolerated when we become a city if I am elected to the council. Our children's safety always, always comes first.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Dollars & Cents of Campaigning

Many of you might have read in this week's special election edition of The Dunwoody Crier the amount of money each candidate reported spending on his/her campaign as of Sept. 1. I found it very interesting. Hopefully it is not indicative of how our candidates, if elected, will spend city money as council members (I don't believe it is).
In my particular race, the breakdown is as follows:

Adrian Bonser -$14,865

Larry Pankey - $12,078

Bob Fiscella - $746

You are reading those numbers correctly, there is not a typo. My opponents have outspend me almost 20-to-1! Since September 1, I have spent an additional $500 dollars, but I've still got my work cut out if I expect to pull off a "Rocky" type of upset on election day. As I've stated in the past, my candidacy is truly a grassroots effort. I've been spreading my word via email, phone calls, walking door-to-door and word of mouth. This is why I so desperately need your help to get elected. I hope you agree with my platform and are willing to support me. But I will tell you, I have nothing but admiration for both of my opponents and wish them all the best.

Setting the Record Straight

There was an email circulating that said I was in favor of widening the roads in Dunwoody. I want to set the record straight (it is the same position I took at the candidate's forum at Dunwoody United Methodist Church). I will NOT support widening the roads in interior Dunwoody. NEVER. NEVER. NEVER.
What I said is - I think we need right and left hand turn lanes at particular intersections on Mt. Vernon Rd. in order to alleviate traffic jams (or at the very least diligently study the matter). I also feel we need to study the intersection at N. Peachtree Rd. and Tilly Mill. But at the same time, I will not support widening interior veins in Dunwoody because all that will do is make us a "cut thru" city and that's the last thing we want.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

County or Waste Management?

Are you satisfied with your trash pickup by DeKalb County? My guess? The answer is YES! However, private sanitation company Waste Management has made an offer to the new city of Dunwoody that the council might not be able to refuse.

Waste Management is offering to provide all of the services that DeKalb County does for 5 percent less (currently, we pay $268 per year for trash collection). But here's the big carrot - if we sign a 10-year contract with WM, they will give us $3 million upfront. Remember, our entire budget is less than $20 million. This single contract with Waste Management could ensure that the city operates at a surplus in its first year.

So what are the downsides to the deal? If WM lives up to its end of the bargain, seemingly none. Except for this. DeKalb County is not happy about WM's offer. The county already has the equipment and personnel to handle our trash, and they would like to continue as our provider. It makes economic sense for them. And if we don't stick with the county on trash, they may not be so kind to us in providing other services that they will continue to render even after we are a city. There could be repercussions.

The council will have a huge decision to make on Day One. How would I vote as your councilman? I can't answer that question at present in that I haven't spoken with representatives for WM or with the County. The issue is not as cut and dried as it seems.
The above information was presented to the candidates last night at the same time as the proposed budget (to be addressed in the next post). I was the only candidate in my race who attended the full session.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dunwoody Crier Insert

I have placed an insert in the upcoming Dunwoody Crier, which is the final edition of the paper before the election. Below you can read what that insert says. I am getting outspent nearly 10-to-1 by each of my opponents, who are making a lot of bold promises. I don't have their money, and I can't make those same guarantees. My only promise is - to work as hard as I can, and to be as honest as possible with the citizens of Dunwoody. If this election is about marketing and advertising - I don't have a prayer. But if it's about content and character - there could be a surprise on September 16th.

Since announcing my candidacy for city council I’ve listened to what you had to say, applied common sense to what I’ve heard, and combined with long-standing core beliefs and values, formed my positions for the new city of Dunwoody.

· Straight Talk on Taxes It would be easy to promise “No New Taxes!” But the reality is, as our first budget is cobbled together, revenue will be hard pressed to meet demands. We'll have to make tough decisions to keep our taxes at current levels. Nonetheless, I pledge to staff a stronger police department that will better protect our citizens, and to establish clear and workable zoning and planning ordinances. I’m prepared to defer infrastructure improvements (except for emergency repairs) until we can get our operating budget under control.

· Zoning Dunwoody must maintain a single-family home atmosphere. The reality is that market forces will challenge our city to allow more high-density development. Anyone who says we will simply stop apartments in their tracks is naive. Trying to stop development is not the answer—directing and controlling it is. I promise to work with developers to secure the kind of smart growth and construction that’s a win-win for everyone.

· Schools I promise to establish a strong working relationship with DeKalb County Schools. This past week I met with Superintendent Dr. Crawford Lewis. As a unified community, we will have our voices heard and truly make a difference!

Friday, September 5, 2008

A handful of the task forces for the city of Dunwoody briefed the Governor's Commission Thursday night at Dunwoody United Methodist Church. The Finance and Administrative Task Force said contract negotiations are ongoing with services provider CH2M Hill, and that progress is being made. From what I've been told, the initial offer from CH2M Hill was well above where we expected it to be and, needless to say, not within the confines of our tight budget. The task force also stressed the importance of hiring the right city manager, who can make or break the city. In the city of Dunwoody charter, the city manager is, to a large extend, the "be-all end-all."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Crawford Lewis Speaks at Dunwoody High

Thanks to the efforts of the Dunwoody Chamblee Parents' Council, DeKalb County School System Superintendent Dr. Crawford Lewis spoke at Dunwoody High School on Wednesday giving his "state of the school system address." Enrollment in DeKalb County Schools is now 99,476. While enrollment is up, the budget is getting slashed, in large part because of the Governor's two percent cut to the state budget, which amounts to over $10 million in losses to the school system. Dr. Lewis also said that every time fuel rises one cent, it cost the school district $21,000 annually.
Dr. Lewis did speak about the new 4th/5th grade Academy off Womack Rd. He said construction is on schedule and that the school will be ready to open in time for the 2009-2010 school year. He also said the Academy will have one foreign language program. He was also asked about replacing trailers at Austin and Vanderlyn with modular units, but said at this time it was cost prohibitive. As for the Old Chamblee Middle School, Dr. Lewis said it will not become a 6th grade academy, as some have speculated. He said the property will not be sold, because at some point in the future it may be needed by the school system.
Of the 16 candidates running for elected office in Dunwoody, only John Heneghan and myself attended the meeting. I thought it was important to be there and learn first hand.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Will The Real CH2M Hill Please Stand Up!

In talking with officials of Sandy Springs, services provider CH2M Hill was a vital partner in the city's start up. Officials at Milton say the same. And in conversations with Oliver Porter, the operations consultant to the Dunwoody task forces, it doesn't take long to realize how impressed he is with CH2M Hill.

But will the real CH2M Hill please stand up! A city in Ohio is suing the company over a deal that it signed with CH2M Hill that is costing taxpayers millions of dollars. The story makes for some very interesting reading: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2008/aug/31/ohio-city-sues-ch2m-hill-over-sweetheart-deal/.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dunwoody Crier

I commend Dick Williams for a very informative article in the September 3 Dunwoody Crier. If you plan on voting in the September 16 election, it is a must read. However, I must point out that contrary to what was written, I do have issues with CH2M Hill's contract proposal. While I feel CH2M Hill would be a tremendous service provider for the city - Sandy Springs' officials praise their work and call them an invaluable partner - we need to negotiate a fair contract. And some of the services that CH2M Hill has offered the city, instead, need to stay in the hands of DeKalb County, at least for the time being.