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!


Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell (TOD) said...

You say, correctly, "as our first budget is cobbled together, revenue will be hard pressed to meet demands", yet the pro-city forces commissioned a study showing that the city was financially viable, providing equivalent services with no tax increases. We all know now, and many knew then, this was a contrivance to sell Dunwoody on cityhood. Clearly those in power thought this necessary, indicating the rather low regard they have for their neighbors. Regardless, many of us believe creating a city is a good thing, though many fewer of us feel that we, the citizens of this new city, should take full fiscal responsibility for our choice. I am one of those few.

Also, a key founding principle of this city was "no taxation without representation". I'd argue it was the primal scream of the pro-city movement and that it has some basis in fact. But it leads into a moral tar pit: if it was wrong when someone did it to us is it no less wrong for us to do it to others? Or, is anything right if it advances the City of Dunwoody--does this end justify any means?

Should you win election you will be faced with this decision. It will come about in the matter of franchise fees amounting to over $2 million in revenue, second only to property taxes. However some of this revenue will come from our fellow Georgians, many of whom do not live in Dunwoody, visit Dunwoody, and certainly have no representation in Dunwoody. To avoid hypocrisy, to stand on our own and pay our own way, we will have to forgo that source of revenue, making up the difference from our own pockets. You will have to choose between doing what is right and placing a price tag on our integrity.

So, the immediate, pre-election question is, will you take a clear stand on this as an issue of right and wrong confident that your fellow citizens are people of integrity and not greed, or like some other candidates will you find a convenient rationalization to avoid that loss of revenue and political fallout that you may feel will follow?

Bob Fiscella said...

Let me tell you just a little about franchise fees. When Georgia Power sends its heavy duty trucks on our roads causing major potholes - who pays for that? When It puts up ugly telephone polls on our streets that we have to constantly look at - who pays for that? When Atlanta Gas Light digs into our yards - who pays for that?
Those companies do, in the form of franchise fees. Now we all know that they forward those fees to the taxpayers, but that seems the most fair way to handle the situation. Do you have better ideas? I'd love to hear them.