Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Candidates Forum; City Branding

If you were expecting fireworks from the Dunwoody Homeowners Association forum on Tuesday night at United Methodist Church - you were sadly disappointed!   There were some poignant exchanges between the candidates, but it was a civil, honest debate on the issues.    

Nancy Jester
  Almost 100 residents attended, and first heard from the candidates for the hotly-contested DeKalb County School Board, District 1 race.   Nancy Jester and Dunwoody resident Bobbe Gillis are challenging incumbent Jim Redovian.  Ms. Gillis comes across as a very likable, concerned mom, but clearly this is a race between Redovian and Jester.  And the first question dealt with the contentious issue of redistricting within Dunwoody.  
All 3 candidates agreed that it will happen.  Jester said she doesn't want it to be political (like it was 3 years ago), and that a professional demographer will play a large role in redrawing "common sense boundaries."   She said board members should not jump in.  She also said that hopefully mom's won't be dropping off children at three different schools, more than hinting that Dunwoody Elementary will likely switch from a 4th/5th grade school to K-5.
Jim Redovian
Redovian defended "jumping in" three years ago.  He said at that time "the county was no where in position to do (redistricting) right, didn't have the right numbers and information, and it would have been a disaster."  (Redovian had a large hand in changing the controversial lines originally drawn by then superintendent Crawford Lewis and his lacky Pat Pope).
Redovian defended his record over the last 4 years, saying he wasn't a member of the board when Lewis was hired, and he has said "no" more than anyone else on the nine-member panel. 
Jester spoke about how this would be a full-time job for her, and that "we're going to have to have a change of leadership if we're going to have a change of trajectory" in talking about the increase in under performing schools across the county.

State Senate, District 40

Fran Millar
The debate between Republican Fran Millar and Democrat Eric Christ, battling for the state senate seat being vacated by Dan Weber, opened with the best line of the night, courtesy of Christ playing off his last name.  "I'm the guy responsible for all the green and white signs causing you to say, 'why is he running for this seat and not jumping right to president!'" 
There are no polls on this race, but clearly it's Millar's to lose.  The district is largely Republican and in DeKalb County - Christ lives in Gwinnett.  Millar is a 12-year veteran of the state house who counts, among his top accomplishments, getting an addition $26 million in federal funding for DeKalb County Schools after the school district dropped the ball.  Each spoke of the need to intergrate the metro area's public transportation system, with Millar advocating that MARTA be taken over by the state.  Both candidates stressed the need to solve the state's water issues, Millar saying we should think out of the box.  In exchange for Tennessee giving up water rights, Millar suggested Georgia could build a high-speed railway from Atlanta to Chattanooga.

Eric Christ
On the topic of alternative energy, Christ snapping off another great one-liner.  He said "Georgia is not a great place for wind, except what comes out of the gold dome (state capitol)!"
When the topic of a proposed Milton County came up, Millar said he would not vote in favor of it unless Dunwoody was part of it.  Christ is not in favor of the formation of a new county, saying we don't need more government.

 State House, District 79

Tom Taylor (L) and Keith Kaylor discuss issues
Former Dunwoody City Councilman Tom Taylor scored big in his debate against underfunded Democrat Keith Kaylor for the state house seat being vacated by Millar.  Taylor spoke of his successes as a member of the Dunwoody council, from spearheading the city gaining control of its parks to helping start-up the police department, which he called "the finest in the nation."   The soft-spoken Kaylor has run for this seat before, but posed only token opposition against Millar.  

The elections are next Tuesday, November 2.

City Branding Takes Beating
The City of Dunwoody's new branding contains the slogan, "Smart People - Smart Place."   But according to my unscientific poll, there's nothing smart about it.  More than 85 percent of those that weighed in said they either disliked the new brand or hated it!
Among the comments I received were, "may I just say that the fact that we spent money on this is unbelievable to me" to "this is horrible and does not in any way communicate the warmth and uniqueness of Dunwoody – it feels very institutional and cheap (reminds me of Wal-mart) and the asterisk feels like an afterthought."  But here's the comment that, perhaps, best sums it up, "I think it is obnoxious and pretentious! Ughh! Did we spend a lot of tax dollars to get that???"

Interesting to note, Plano, Texas uses the same slogan.  If we're lucky, a restraining order will force Dunwoody to make a change.

1 comment:

Steve Barton said...

Ooh, I like Fran Millar putting that price on his vote for Milton County!