Monday, October 3, 2011

Spirited DHA Meeting on Bonds

As promised, Sunday night's DHA meeting was spirited.  Former state senator Dan Weber made a presentation (the power point is courtesy of John Heneghan's Dunwoody North Blog) on behalf of the group Citizens for Dunwoody, providing non-partisan information concerning the city's two parks' bonds.  At least it was supposed to be non-partisan.

Dan Weber
Clearly Dan, a man of high character who's got a tremendous track record of accomplishment as a public servant for Dunwoody, has a passion for the parks.  He wants the parks' bonds to pass.  As a matter of fact, he will tell you that everyone that's part of his "non-partisan" parks' committee on Citizens for Dunwoody is in favor of the parks.  Heck, I want better parks.
But the fact of the matter is, the parks' bonds, as written, are flawed.  They have little specificity.  As a matter of fact, as Bob Lundsten points out on his blog Dunwoody Farmer Bob, there is no guarantee that land purchased for parks will actually become parks.

I asked a lot of tough questions at Sunday night's meeting (questions that won't help me win a popularity contest).  It seems inherently wrong that, at the end of the day, if the bonds pass, a homeowner's out-of-pocket tax money on parks-alone will equal that of all other city services combined!
As I told Dan, this issue causes me to think back to the early days of the city in its negotiations with CH2M Hill. I, like a lot of folks, didn’t see how we could get this city off the ground, without a major hitch, unless we used that company's services.  Then Dan stepped in. He thought outside the box and came up with the hybrid plan that was the linchpin for an amazing start-up to the city!
I don’t feel we, as a city, are thinking outside the box on parks. We aren’t following the lead that Dan, himself, set.
We are taking the easy way out – taxing the people. And with no specific plan. In speaking with District 1 council candidate Rick Callihan, I understand the Concorde Fire Soccer Club is ready to dump $2 million dollars into three synthetic turf fields if it can find a property to host the fields.  I hear a tennis group would like a public-private partnership for courts on the PVC farm.  I still wonder if Home Depot, Coca Cola or another Atlanta-based company would like to pay the city a generous sum for naming rights to one of our current parks?
Regardless of how you feel about the parks, it's our right, as citizens, to question of our public officials.  More than that, it's our obligation.

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