Where do we stand now?
I hate to sound alarmist, and the sky doesn’t really fall down. But we’ve got a problem around here that’s not getting solved.
There’s a whole bunch of people in central DeKalb who would like to create a city of some shape or design. And there are clearly a whole bunch of politicians who want to do something – of their design, and on their schedule. And the only thing worse than a city designed by a bunch of citizens is a city designed by a bunch of politicians to suit their own goals.
At this point there are four main steps to getting something done:
1. Some legislation has to pass in the Senate or the House
2. Some method of compromising the different options in a joint committee must result in a bill that can pass both houses of the legislature
3. The legislation has to be signed by the Governor
4. The proposed city has to pass a referendum among the people inside its borders.
There seems little doubt that the existing Lakeside proposal can pass in the Senate (can you say “Republican”). It doesn’t look like any other proposal will be entered there. Senator Carter, who originally supported the Briarcliff proposal, is now otherwise occupied; he’s unlikely to support anything that may hurt him in his real pursuit. And there doesn’t appear to be Senate bill for the Tucker proposal.
There are several city proposals that may be entered in the House. But several of the Democratic legislators who are “supporting” the Briarcliff and Tucker city proposals are also saying that they support a delay to allow the DeKalb delegation and County government a chance to design their own proposal. You can bet that their ideas won’t match any of the existing city proposals. And at least one of the local Republican House members is saying that the Lakeside map cannot get through the House without changing their map.
And just to muddy the waters more, six existing cities are proposing annexation plans that include parts of the new city proposals.
Meanwhile some portion of the electorate, who would have to pass a referendum, are becoming frustrated and polarized. That bodes bad news for anything at the moment.
I’ve given my opinion before that there are no perfect designs or perfect logic to this process. What works; what’s doable; what can get through the Legislature; what can pass a referendum? What’s the best that can be done?
Is there a chance of at least two of the city proposals to compromise and combine? Compromise means some form of give or take. For Tucker or Briarcliff, no matter what the combination, it means giving up something they want. For Lakeside, it means adding something they didn’t want; there’s almost no “giving up” that works for them.
Briarcliff and Lakeside could combine around a compromise map; it’s actually not that hard to visualize a range of possibilities. Briarcliff and Tucker could compromise around some map line; but the clock is really ticking on getting something through the legislature. A month or two ago that might have been a done deal; not so easy now. Tucker and Lakeside could compromise around some map; but it’s hard to figure out how.
I hope someone can come up with a silver bullet soon. A lot of us want to see a city formed.