Monday, July 30, 2012


Tuesday is election day, don't forget to vote.  The big item on the ballot is the T-SPLOST.  But there is also an important school board election as well.  To view a sample ballot and find your polling place, click VOTE.  See you at the polls!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

T- SPLOST Debate, Return of the Blackberry

The most important item on next Tuesday's ballot is the T-SPLOST referendum.  Do you know what it is?  Or how much it will cost? 
The DHA is holding a T-SPLOST debate/forum 7pm Thursday night at the Perimeter College auditorium. 
Speaking in favor of the T-SPLOST will be Bob Dallas, past Director, Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety and Terry Lawler, Executive Director of the Regional Business Coalition of Metro Atlanta. Speaking in opposition to the T-SPLOST will be Ron Sifen, Past President of the Cobb County Civic Coalition, and Mike Lowry of the Georgia Tea Party.

This forum will be conducted in a Question and Answer format. Questions will be asked by the Moderator, and the parties will alternate their responses. The parties have agreed to the format and time limits of the debate. Audience members may submit questions in writing to the Moderator, Greg Crnkovich, A DHA board member. Program starts at 7:00 PM and ends at 8:30 PM.

The DHA hopes that you will attend to hear both sides of the issue and ask your questions regarding the T-Splost referendum, which is on all ballots for the General Primary Election Tuesday, July 31. For maps and project lists go to:

Phone Woes - Call Me, Maybe

Okay, sometime soon I will relinquish my Blackberry and trade up to an iphone or android.  That day almost happened on Tuesday, as my phone was on the fritz.  The keypad stopped working.  But a funny thing happened on the way to the T-mobile store.  Actually, the funny thing happened IN the T-mobile store.I was bemoaning to the young clerk, who just told me my beloved Blackberry was "fried," the hefty price tag on the new phones.  A Samsung Galaxy S III for $199 upfront, and $20 per month for 20 months! 
As we were discussing the new phones and my options, I casually was tossing my fried Blackberry in the air.  Well, on one of the throws, the phone slipped through my hands, and crashed onto the tiled flooring.  I bent down to pick it up, and guess what?  The keypad was back -working perfectly! 
The moral of the story?  I'll let you know when I figure it out.  In the meantime, I'll keep using my Blackberry.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Update from Councilman Shortal

The following update was emailed to me from Councilman Denis Shortal this morning.  It preceeds this evening's city council meeting.

My fellow citizens .... the following is an update of items that maybe of interest ...

1. Good News - Charlie Was Found ... My thanks to all of you who got involved in the search for the McCrocy's family Dog ... Charlie. About a day after I sent out the email with Charlie's photo asking for help, some fine citizens spotted Charlie and he is home safe and sound. Below is a note from the McCrorys and photo of Charlie after he was found:


We would like to thank everyone in Dunwoody for helping us bring Charlie home. We found him this afternoon in a backyard on Withmere Way. We have lived in Dunwoody for many years, but this experience has really showed us the true community of Dunwoody. We would like to thank all our family and friends for their relentless searching (too many to name right here but you all know who you are), as well as total strangers who reached out with sightings info, offerings of help and some just calling and e-mailing to check on the search. We will be eternally grateful to the Dunwoody community for bringing Charlie back to us!

2. Green Market .... For those of you looking for the Green Market it has moved to the Spruill Center Gallery which is located on the corner of Ashford Dunwoody Rd and Asbury Square. The Green Market will still be on Wednesday mornings with the same vendors and great selections. The reason for the move was the Post Office needed the old location space do to the closing of the Post Office Branch on Shallowford Rd.

3. Paving ... There are three different paving projects that are on going somewhat simultaneously by three different contractors ... Paving is a great enhancement to our City but paving will require patience from all of us as there will be traffic disruptions.  Full Depth Reclamation Paving (FDRP) .... There are seven streets in this project ... These are streets that had extensive deterioration and lacked adequate pavement thickness for normal resurfacing. FDRP is a process where the existing pavement is completely pulverized, mixed with the underlying soil and then cement is added to form a stabilized base which is then overlain with new asphalt pavement. (That is probably more info than you needed.) One of those streets in now complete in Leisure Valley ... this is street DC accepted before our cityhood. The street wasn't up to specs and by default the responsibility fell upon us when we became a city ... (as you know the City has responsibility for all streets and roads within our boundaries). This is a new construction area where the old builders went broke. We were fortunate enough to work out an arrangement where the new builders paid about 56% of the cost. The other streets in this project are... Tennille Ct, Vernon Oaks Dr, Tichenor Ct, Broughton Ct, Tyndall Ct and Arnaud Ct. Total cost of this portion of the repaving is approx. $370K.

Capital Paving Plan (CPP). CPP is the type of paving we have done in the last two years. This process involved milling the streets, deep patching the bad spots and then overlain with new asphalt. This work was started over a week ago on Perimeter Center East which is currently a little over half done. The other streets in this project are Ashford Ctr Pkwy, portions of Winters Chapel Rd, Ashley Ct, Sanlee Ln, Arrie Way, Lakesprings Cr, Lakesprings Ct, Charmant Pl, Joel Pl, Joel Ln and W. Fontainbleau Ct. The rain we had last week slowed progress on this project but I won't complain about the rain as it was needed to get our lawns, etc. back to good health.

The third Paving Project is the enhancements on Mt Vernon Rd … this includes widening the road, adding curb and gutter where needed, adding sidewalks on the south side and repaving ... there will be bike lanes as part of this enhancement. There will be some tree removal (which is currently in progress) involved in this project to accommodate the sidewalks. A second part of this project is enhancement to Chamblee Dunwoody Rd south of Womack Rd. This portion of the project has been put on temporary hold pending the outcome of a "shovel ready" grant that we found and have applied for ... we are awaiting the outcome of that grant application.

4. City Signage ... Thanks to all of you for your input. There is a blond lady that I hang around with a lot and she also agrees with your point of view. You can rest easy as we are going back to the "drawing board" on the city/way finding signage. That is one of the reasons we became a city .... your representatives are fellow citizens that you know, and can contact easily and they will respond. The public feedback is a key part in running our city as long as that feedback is not individual self-motivated ... in this case it definitely worked. I was out on the road with the paving crews this week and I have a fairly good working knowledge of that subject. When it comes to art and signs ... I personally can't even draw a "stick man." We will get a couple of graphic art type folks combined with some citizens with a good corporate knowledge of historic Dunwoody and proceed forward.

5. Voting ... Candidate Primaries and other major issues are on the 31 JUL 2102 election ballot .... just nine days for today. This is your website for all voting Information ...

How and Where to Vote ... See under "Normal Voting" below for instructions to see "specific" sample ballot for your area of DC.

You can still vote absentee but time is getting short. Go to the above website and on the left side of the page click on "Application and Forms" and in the middle of the next page click on "Absentee Ballot Application." Fill out the application -- remember this is a primary and you must choose either a Republican or Democratic Ballot (the general non-partisan issues will be on both on these ballots). At this date I recommend you fax your ballot application to DC Election Office (DCEO) ... Fax Ph # is 404-298-4038. Your application must be received NLT 4 PM on Friday, 27 JUL ... You will receive your ballot in the mail .... fill it out and mail it back to the address shown. To be counted your ballot must be received NLT 31 JUL at the DCEO.

Advance Voting ... Advance Voting is voting in person from 7 AM to 7 PM at five polling places around DC starting 23 thru 27 JUL 2012 ... the closest Advance Voting Polling Place to us is Chamblee City Hall, 5468 Peachtree Rd, Chamblee, GA 30341. Remember whenever you vote in person you need a picture ID.

Normal Voting ... Normal Voting will be at your regular polling place on Tuesday, 31 JUL from 7 AM to 7 PM. To find your regular polling place go to the above website, click on "Current Election Information" ... first items on the top left column ... and on the next page click on "Voter Specific Sample Ballot," it is the second item in the center of the page, fill out the required personal information and click "submit" and a page will come up showing your polling place and location. Also about 1/2 way down that page you will see a paragraph entitled "Your Sample Ballot(s)" and at the bottom of that paragraph you can select the "specific" Republican or Democratic ballot for you area of DC.

My Comment of Voting ... Over the last 10 months I have been the senior Marine at the funeral, in the Atlanta area, for two very patriotic young Marines who lost their lives preserve your privilege to vote. Pls. keep faith with them by voting at this and all subsequent elections!

6. TSPLOST .... This issue, among others, will be on all ballots for the 31 JUL election. Basically it adds a one cent to the sales tax in each region. There are 12 regions in the state and DeKalb and nine other counties are in the region which encompasses the greater Atlanta Region. Each of the 12 regions across the state will vote independent of each other whether or not to pass TSPLOST … i.e., only those regions that vote in favor of TSPLOST will have TSPLOST. As I see it the positive for Dunwoody are ... we would get approx. $12 million from the regional funds to complete the Mt Vernon Rd enhancement from the city east boundary to Ashford Dunwoody Rd and additional $112.5 Million with $337.5 million in matching federal funds to enhance the I-285 / 400 intersection plus we would get approx. $800 — 900K annually for the 10 year life of TSPLOST for capital road enhancements within our city. The negative are it is a sales tax increase of approx. 14% ... also we are the only region to have a 85%/15% split where 85% of the funds go to regional projects across the region and 15% of the funds go to local projects for the individual counties and cities ...… all other regions have a 75% / 25% split. The last negative factor is trust. How you vote is your decision ... you decide!

7. DeKalb County Fire & Rescue (DCF&R) ...… Currently DCF&R is planning on outsourcing ambulance service in DC. There is currently a Request for Proposal (RFP) on the street with a due date of 9 AUG 2012. If this project goes forth this will probably be implemented sometime later this fall. This is brought on by the fiscal issues in DC. How it is currently envisioned to work is that when you place an EMT / Paramedic 911 call the first response would be a fire truck from one of our fire stations and on the truck will be an EMT and a Paramedic. At the same time the contract ambulance will be dispatched to the scene with an EMT and Paramedic on board to take anyone who requires it to a medical facility. I will keep you updated as this situation develops. I like the current system better.

8. Stage Door Players (SDP) ... Meredy and I went to see SDP production of "High Society" last night ... all we can say it was excellent and we highly recommend the play. The remaining shows are on Th, Fr and Sat 26, 27 & 28 JUL and 2, 3 and 4 AUG @ 8 PM ... There is also a Sunday Matinee on 29 JUL and 5 AUG at I think 2:30 PM. Call 770-396-1726 or go on line at info@stage door The plays have been sold out so get your tickets early. If you haven't been to SDP we would highly recommend you start supporting this crown jewel intimate theater of Dunwoody. One day I envision some of our generous citizens stepping forward with the funds to renovate the Brook Run Theater (I am pretty sure we can get the votes to name it after you) which would be a venue enhancement while more that doubling the seating capacity.

9. City Meetings and Event of Interest ...
23 JUL @ 7 PM ... City Council Meeting @ City Hall
24 JUL @ 1 PM ... Dunwoody Design Review Committee Meeting ... At the Dunwoody Homeowners Association Office ... 5527 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd.
24 JUL @ 4 PM ... Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Meeting at City Hall
26 JUL @ 7 PM ... TSPLOST Forum @ Georgia Perimeter College (GPC)
28 JUL @ 7 PM ... Dunwoody Nature Center (DNC) Summer Concert @ the DNC ... Bring your food and beverages in a picnic basket and enjoy a wonderful evening for the entire family.
01 AUG @ 7 PM ... Dunwoody Zoning and Land Development Code Rewrite ... Public meeting @ The Fellowship Hall @ DUMC

10. Dunwoody Bakery Grand Re-opening ... I attended this event this passed week. Jill, the owner tells me she uses all organic ingredients and everything is also gluten free. She is going to start serving lunch starting in August.

11. Pat Sadler .... At tomorrow night's city council meeting we will honor Pat Sadler who for the last ten years has been the President of Dunwoody Senior Baseball. Pat, is moving to NC to retire and play golf. Pat, on behalf of all the citizens of our fair city ... Thanks You! You are my definition of a real "community activist."

12. It is about time I put an end to this update before I have to get a copy write. Please pass this on to all your friends, neighbors, members of your HOA or anyone else you think maybe interested. If anyone would like to be added to my email list please let me know and I will make that happen. Thanks for your continued support and remember that each of us are the City.

Let Us Continue To Build Our City Together

Denny Shortal
Dunwoody City Council, District One, Post-1
Mayor Pro Tem
PH (O) 678-382-6700 (C) 678-246-9006

Friday, July 20, 2012

911 Follow Up, T-SPOLST

Dunwoody City Council meets again on Monday evening, and Councilman John Heneghan, true to his word, had an update on the city's 911 services placed on the agenda
Two blog posts ago, I published an email by former Councilman Danny Ross on the progress  - or lack thereof - of service provider ChatComm's CAD-to-CAD (computer-aided dispatch) function (read July 14).
Since that time, I spoke with Councilman Terry Nall, who says don't be so quick to place all the blame on ChatComm, the private company hired by the city to replace DeKalb County's 911 services.  Terry says a lot of the issue lies within DeKalb County and two of its IT departments , which can't seem to get on the same page. 
And to add fuel to the fire - so to speak - DeKalb has pulled one of its rescue crews - Unit 12 - out of Dunwoody in order to serve other areas of the county. 
One other item on the agenda of note, longtime Dunwoody resident and remodelor Sam Portis will be added to the Design Review Advisory Committee.   Any committee that has Sam as a member is better for it!

T-SPLOST Prospects Look Dim

I found the following article on Dunwoody Patch concerning T-SPLOST very interesting.  In some respects, T-SPLOST makes a lot of sense.  In others, it makes no sense.  15 years ago Georgia legislatures had the opportunity to do the right thing and build a northern arc.  They didn't have the backbone.  And now the metro area suffers.  We still need a northern arc, however it's not part of the penny tax.  My inclination is to vote against T-SPLOST.   And I am very pleased to see the Ga.400 toll coming to an end, albeit 3 years too late.

By Perry Parks
Georgia Republicans' aversion to any kind of tax, and concern about riling the Tea Party, are helping to consolidate opposition to the state's one-percent sales tax referendum for transportation, UGA professor Charles Bullock said in an analysis of a Patch survey.

Patch's unscientific survey of about 60 state Republican activists, candidates and office holders showed overwhelming opposition to the TSPLOST referendum. Bullock, a longtime observer of Georgia politics, says that while the Tea Party didn't put up as many primary challengers to sitting Republican legislators as it had hoped, anti-tax pressure within the party remains high.
Click Dunwoody Patch to read full story.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Real Estate Update, Dunwoody News

As we approach the final weeks of July, time to update the Dunwoody real estate market.  We still have yet to see an increase in sales prices, however we have not seen a drop since January.  And that's a good thing when you consider the steady decline in sales prices each of the previous 13 quarters.
So, it appears that we have bottomed out.  Let's hope that's the case.  However, the housing market is tied to the jobs market, and until we see a decrease in the unemployment numbers, don't expect to see an increase in pricing.
The last two months, a total of 50 single-family, detached homes sold in zip codes 30338 and 30360 with a median sales price of $350,000.   The highest sale was $882,500.  The lowest was $160,000. 
To view any of the sold homes in the past two months (with photos), click on the first link (the list price is top right.  The sales price is bottom left).  To view sold homes in a line item report, click on the second link.

There are currently 124 active homes listed for sale in Dunwoody, with a median asking price of $376,950.  To view any of the active listings, click on the link below.  Of course you can always check active listings by clicking on the home at the top left corner of my blog at  By the way, that is my newest Dunwoody listing above.  For full details, click on the photo.  It's a fabulous renovation with open floorplan zoned to Kingsley Elementary School, listed for $315,000. 

Congrats to Dunwoody city officials for putting the kibosh on its wayfinding signage program.  The signs were awful looking and the price was too high (read Dunwoody Talk for more details and opinions).  About four or five weeks ago, I was asked to be a member of a focus group for the signs.  I expressed my opinion then that they would never fly in Dunwoody.  The city contracted with a company from Pittsburgh to design the signs, and as well intentioned as its employees were, the signs just didn't speak Dunwoody. 
The following was taken from the city's release on the suspension of the program, and I couldn't agree more.  "Mayor and council asked for input and received it from many residents (either by email or via posts on blogs and news web sites) and took action based on that input. Thanks to Mayor Davis, our city council members, and staff for doing the right thing."
Now if the city would start to slowly but surely lose the Walmart logo and "Smart City" tagline!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Was Dunwoody Sold a Bill of Goods?

It hasn't been a very good time for our young city.  These wild ethics charges are an embarrassment for Dunwoody (read AJC), and now my friend at Dunwoody Talk is bringing to light some hard-to-defend spending by city hall (Rick, I couldn't agree more.  The signs are not only ugly, but the spending is unnecessary).
If that isn't enough, Dunwoody has paid an awful lot of money for a 911 service that still isn't doing what it is supposed to do.  And it may end up costing homeowners money.  How do I know this?
My friend Greg Crnkovich wrote the following comment on John Heneghan's blog (and by the way, how anyone can file an ethics complaint against a man with an impeccable reputation like John's is laughable):

     "Why did the Council forego the monthly updates requested of (Police) Chief Grogan and (City Manager) Warren Hutmacher as to the status of the (911) Chattcomm switch-over? I am surprised to learn that more than 9 months after the changeover, the CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) function has yet to be functional. This was supposed to be complete by March, 2012.
     "Since I am in your district, I would like to request that you put an agenda item before the Council to publicly disclose the costs of the transfer and any additional costs incurred in this switch over, to date.
      "I would also ask that you consider appointing or hiring a program manager unrelated to the City to get this issue resolved, promptly.
      "It appears to this citizen that there is not proper oversight of the process by the people who are currently in charge."
      Greg Crnkovich

John immediately responded to Greg:

     "Greg, I understand and share your concerns on the switchover delay.  I will happily ask to have this item on the next agenda."

Well after reading the above, I decided to forward that exchange to former Councilman Danny Ross, who was the only member of council to vote against the switch of 911 services from DeKalb County to Chatcomm (I was also against it for no other reason than cost.  Read former Councilman Robert Wittenstein's cost figures from November, 2010). 
Danny's response to me was immediate and in no uncertain terms (I have omitted one name from his email response).

     "Bob - Greg is not correct on when the CAD to CAD was suppose to be completed. The date was October 3, 2011. Attached you will find a compilation of e-mails relating to this subject dating back to May 2011. You will note until late July 2011 (one year ago) Hutmacher assured the council that the project was on schedule. It was not until late July, early August that he finally revealed to the council that the October 3rd date was not going to happen. By then it was too late to change the switch over for police 911. If I were on the council today, I would be calling for his resignation, as I indicated in the October council meeting that "heads should roll" if this is not completed by the then promised date of January 3, 2012.
The date continues to slide each month. During the council meeting on July 9th, I watched the portion related to this matter. Hutmacher continues to give the same excuses for not having this done. Without question, the IT department should be overseeing this, not (omitted). (omitted) is a very nice person, but totally incompetent in overseeing this. All (omitted) does is serve as a conduit of the information given by ChatComm, DeKalb and the other parties (OSSI and InterAct). Our IT supplier has a highly qualified person on their staff that was a policeman and who is schooled in E-911. That was a major reason that as a member of the selection team, I pushed for switching IT supplier during our renewal process this past year.
     "To my knowledge, ChatComm (and Hutmacher) have not supplied council with a report on the Fire and EMS dispatch times since February. At that time, it was taking over 3.5 minutes to dispatch calls related to Fire and EMS (1.5 minutes for ChatComm and 2 minutes for DeKalb call takers). I am surprised that ISO (Insurance Services Organization), the organization that establishes the grading for response (which should be 1 minute or less) has not cited Dunwoody on this and possibly lowered our rating from a 3 to a 4 or worse. If this were to happen, the insurance rates on the average homeowner in Dunwoody would increase over $200 per year (see attached ISO Report). The first responder to a fire or EMS event should be 5 minutes. As you can see, with the dispatch time we have, this only leaves 1.5 minutes for the respondent to arrive at the scene once the dispatch is finally completed. Thank God we have not had any (more) fatalities thus far!
      "Thanks for sending Greg's questions. I have copied John Heneghan and Greg on my response to you. John and Bob, feel free to post the attachment (and this e-mail response) on your blog if you wish. Greg, thanks for bringing this important issue to John's attention."
     Danny Ross

I have no idea who is responsible for the delay in the switch, but when it affects my pocketbook - I'm all ears.  I agree with Danny, this should have happened months ago, and if it's ChatComm's fault that it hasn't, the city of Dunwoody should be getting a refund (I'm still waiting for a traffic officer to handle the ridiculous jam on Womack Rd. every school morning, but am told we don't have the budget.  The money spent on ChatComm would have more than paid for that officer)!
In the end, I don't know if Chatcomm's services are better than DeKalb County's.  But the county was willing to bend over backwards to keep Dunwoody as a client.  And Dunwoody said no.  As a result, our money, and even our lives, are at stake!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July Post Post Mortem

Congratulations to Pam Tallmadge and her sidekick Penny Forman on staging another success 4th of July parade! 
There were a couple hitches this year that forced a delay, but I think most everyone had a great time as usual. 
One of my highlights was watching the Black Hawk land in the Village, and then take off after the parade.  Talk about a spectacle.   And talk about force.  As the Black Hawk was landing, the wind coming off the propeller was strong enough to knock over an elderly gentleman (fortunately, he appeared to be okay after receiving lightening-fast medical attention), blow orange traffic barrels and chairs like they were hot dog wrappers, and even destroy the Knights of Columbus tent that was, at the very least, 75 feet away (three of the metal legs to the tent were snapped in two)!

While I have a great time at the parade, it's also one of my least favorite events.  As a member of the DHA parade committee in charge of traffic control at the Village, I make a few enemies every year.
When the parade makes the left turn off Dunwoody Village Parkway into the parking lot, and then makes the final right turn at the corner by the cleaners heading towards the post office, many of the drivers of the cars and floats just want to stop and park right there - it makes for an easy walk back to the festival area. 
However, if these vehicles are allowed to park, or even spend a lengthy period of time trying to unload personnel and props, the parade starts to back up and slow down.  Invariably, I get into a heated discussion with a few of the drivers. 
Yesterday, I got into it with a member of the DeKalb EMS crew.   The EMS vehicle made the turn by the cleaners, pulled up about 50 yards and then just stopped.  One member of the crew started heading back to the festival area, and another member started out that way as well while the driver remained.  I asked the driver if he could pull up, or at least move as close to the curb as possible.  That's when the second member of the crew doubled-back.  He said told me they had a person they needed attention, and that the vehicle needed to be there.  I said fine, but please pull over to the curb.  That's when he started into me, and basically told me they didn't have to move.  I told him I'd work it out with the driver, while he proceeded to yell at me.  That's when I asked him, "if you've got an emergency, why are you wasting time talking to me?"  He proceeded to yap-on for another 30 seconds, before leaving. 
Bottom line, if you're driving a vehicle in the parade, please following directions. 
And with that said, 95 percent of the parade participants are fabulous in helping with traffic control - thank you so much!