Anybody Know How to Make Something Work?

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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

LetsBePractical January 30, 2014 at 04:17 PM
Truth it is easy. Brookhaven to Jewish residential in Toco Hills is the line. Take the commercial land along the way. Might be a non-issue. Rep Jacobs has to deal with a primary challenge. Apparently he isn't as strong as he'd like to think he is.
Keith Hanks January 30, 2014 at 04:24 PM
If anyone has compromising naked photos now is the time to bring them to light. If we had to put Vegas odds on which passes first, creating MARTA train service to Emory, or a new city / annexation around Emory I don't know which one I'd pick. p.s. the train line from 2006 has a "Montreal" and "Tucker" station... let's not rehash that topic http://i.imgur.com/K3rEmy1.jpg
Jim Tackett January 30, 2014 at 04:27 PM
@Rhea-- The railroad tracks? The ones that bisect North Decatur? With respect sir, we really need to find a way to keep our community tied together. What you are proposing cuts established neighborhoods like Pangborn, Frazier, NDH and Emory areas right in half. N. Decatur Road, for those of us who actually live in this area, is at least a logical dividing line. Past that and one is ostensibly in Decatur area--plus if I'm not mistaken, below that is being considered for Decatur annex.
TruthWillSetYouFree January 30, 2014 at 04:33 PM
I sure hope he is out practical. Seems slimy to me. I voted against him when I lived in Brookhaven for the simple fact his constant robo calls where annoying.
Rhea A Johnson Jr January 30, 2014 at 04:50 PM
Jim .....We are talking about RR Tracks on SE of map, PDL& N. Decatur Rd. Jacobs is not a factor because TOCO and" his " neighborhoods are already in the Briarlake map. Truth ....just opened the wine and it is great...one of my favorites!
Rhea A Johnson Jr January 30, 2014 at 05:21 PM
LBP....Swordfish is in to bake(20min)timer is set. So..... logical boundary because RR's, Rivers, Interstates make crossing commerce difficult and have been used for centuries. In this case Scottdale has the most options,City-hood,annexation(by Briarlake or Avondale Estates), or stay unincorporated. Did not say it was the BEST boundary. Think more yes votes on Briarlake side of tracks because of strong political machine of Carla, Barnes and Lee on other, Carla made this clear in a meeting.
Enuff Govt Already January 30, 2014 at 05:30 PM
Metro Atlanta has 140 cities that just failed govt 101. Keeping things viable and operational. This morning the national news showed showed the traffic gridlock and the Atl Mayor had to point out most of the photos shown were not of his area of responsibility. It's time to end this orgy of more govt for the sake of local. We need to rethink this idea of boutique cities with this past week in mind. Might an overall response been different if public safety and public works had been concentrated with Atl and the counties? Local (small) is great for code enforcement, zoning, recreation but public safety and public works should lie with govt entities that can bring the economy of scale to bear. Across the north end of 285 the public safety of thousands was left to small police departments like Doraville, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. They had to make a choice between their citizens or the interstate; the people on the interstates mostly lost. I believe we should explore the middle ground (townships) that satisfy the demands of local control but balence the demands of public safety and public works for a major metro area. Cities above 150K population or of a certain tax revenue could assume public safety/works and allow townships for the other services. Our large metro counties of Cobb, Clayton, DeKalb, Douglas, Gwinnett and Rockdale should be our primary public safety/works entities. The State should also cede its responsibilty (& money) for roadways like Peachtree Rd in Atlanta or LaVista in DeKalb to those govts.....Townships would be inexpensive to operate and could exist covering natural geographic areas. Wouldn't be so much "cherry picking" to support the expensive public safety/works aspect...My compromise stance on more govt. IMHO
Frannie D. January 30, 2014 at 06:00 PM
On a lighthearted, totally off topic side note. Politics aside, and purely aesthetically: Briarlake really is a much nicer name, isn't it? And it's already an area. OK, back to the show.
Rhea A Johnson Jr January 30, 2014 at 06:01 PM
EGA.....NO townships in georgia....time moves on you stay in one place....excuse me, snow has melted so I have to go to the drug store and get a new vacuum tube for my black & white television!
Rhea A Johnson Jr January 30, 2014 at 06:10 PM
LBP...Southeast boundary will pass legislature if LCA and COBI agree....simple. Briarcliff has had at least three meetings in Scottdale with luke-warm results at best and I have talked to many residents over the past months, they need to decide the best outcome for themselves.
Rhea A Johnson Jr January 30, 2014 at 06:57 PM
Keith....see my other comments on this topic....you guys spend way too much time at Starbucks. I went to the Rec center months ago ...Toby Grant needs help and I have attended meetings on this....you just came South a few days ago, so go back to work to pay the $70 per month increase in my SS check(I'll buy you lunch). Public housing is being rebuilt into a $50M - $150M mixed use development for the same folks, and Seniors(Me); a city in that area would mean that the county officials would lose the graft money on this project because it would be transferred to the CITY Community Development Dept!! I'm on a roll(sometimes plain bread)so keep those questions coming girls and boys. Dinner was GREAT(glad you ask),time for a glass of vintage port!
Keith Hanks January 30, 2014 at 07:11 PM
@Rhea, I think it's past your bedtime. Get a good night's sleep and revisit the blog in the morning. I have no idea what you're talking about. Don't need to know what's on the meal agenda, or what your nap schedule is. I am curious what regiment of meds you're about to take post-dinner as i suspect you're at the 11th hour of a 12-hour time release on a few of them.
Rhea A Johnson Jr January 30, 2014 at 07:15 PM
Bill... Megan(Much)is no longer at Brokenhaven! She is a Quiet,Sleek,Stealthy yet no-nonsense Big Time political maven with a particular affection for K-9's. Her sharp wit and biting commentary for a metro media giant has, in the past, cut through the foul city air like a scalpel through soft male tissue. Enough foreplay...Megan in this Blog, will in future posts, slice through the impacted BS in DeKalb County!!
Tom Doolittle January 30, 2014 at 08:01 PM
Question for all to ponder: If LCA and COBI agreed on something--essentially becoming one leadership group--would there be anything once agreed upon that the Govt Affairs Committee WOULD NOT accept? This goes to the heart of LCA and COBI not being in the most powerful players involved right now. If you have no answer to the question then I'll assume you don't think anyone else is more influential than LCA/COBI "in this".
Tom Doolittle January 30, 2014 at 08:03 PM
Bill Lowe--keep bringing the Brookhaven info to the blog.
Rhea A Johnson Jr January 30, 2014 at 08:31 PM
Keith....Most Carpetbaggers have no idea what any of us are talking about(not our Problem)! Megan would come over and give you a special massage,except after our last tryst on the Southwest coast of France last Fall(undercover of course)she flew to her private oasis Southwest of Cairo(not Georgia). She likes the breezy blouses and puffy pants(underwear optional)but the new Gold Tiger Woods bedroom slippers are a bit uncomfortable. Megan finds Middle Eastern men curious.....she doesn't know if she is going to be blown away or blown up!! As the searing sun sets in the distance,and the mortar smoke and stench of burning Talaban flesh wafts thru the desert air ,camels pass in review and Megan contemplates her most important decision of the long night.....one hump or two. Megan will report on city-hood via ancient sanskrit.
Rhea A Johnson Jr January 30, 2014 at 08:50 PM
Tom....I'm getting REAL serious here(pay attention Keith),if LCA and COBI combine it will under a different name and leadership would have to be SOMEWHAT mixed. This would smooth the way in the House Government Affairs Committee,however; and help me here, would the bill(Fran's)be voted out of committee to the floor of the House for a vote then to a joint Senate/House committee then to the Governor for a signature??
Tom Doolittle January 30, 2014 at 10:54 PM
Well- that's I'm wondering. Even if LCA and COBI did everything the committee wants (or at least its most influential members)--would there be a poison pill somewhere else to keep it from moving on for a floor vote? Would the poison pill show up during the next phase? Are there any circumstances that folks here can think of that would stop the players we have always referred to as being in control of the situation?
Tom Doolittle January 30, 2014 at 10:55 PM
Keith--I'm interested in seeing more about the COBI charter. Is it posted anywhere? At what point does COBI think it will make an appearance?
Keith Hanks January 31, 2014 at 02:20 AM
@Tom, Charter is in the final edits, proofing it for any potential pitfalls. It's not the same rubber stamp one that past cityhood movements and recent cities have used, which is good, because you really shouldn't rubber stamp something like that. It's being handled by a sub committee that has industry experience to author such a document and doesn't have any blurred professional conflicts of interest. Can't stress how big of a deal my last sentence is. My background isn't legal so aside from chiming in on the need to keep terminology and concepts simplified, and be mindful of pitfalls and lessons learned from past rubber stamped charters, I haven't had too much involvement as we've got well qualified people. My role with the charter will come after the draft is ready to be released. I'll be working with others on how to break it down and showcase what makes the COBI charter unique and why it is better than a rubber stamped charter.
Rhea A Johnson Jr January 31, 2014 at 05:27 AM
Tom.....Committee wants the quickest and easiest solution. Don't know about the poison pill, but at that point who would pop that pill with any success. Other interests will have a say behind closed doors and many of the people you see active now will NOT be in control. Potential contractors for the city have already been contacted,legal mechanism, is in place. I have ask(am asking)that COBI charter not be released until the comprise map is released and we try to reach some type of reconciliation. The Charter will divide the groups even more and not help us move forward.....yes I know some of what is in the Charter.
Rhea A Johnson Jr January 31, 2014 at 06:05 AM
Keith......I think map comes first then negotiation on charter......keep your powder dry. Any charter is no good without an agreed to map. I appreciate your marketing skills but COBI will likely have less leverage after the release of the charter, not more.
newsydon January 31, 2014 at 08:43 AM
a charter is nice. what would really help is an agreement between lakeside and briarcliff. that way a charter might have some significance.
HamBurger January 31, 2014 at 09:35 AM
Mr. LBP, I would be surprised to see Rep. Mike Jacobs in any more new city efforts. He is feeling heat from folks unhappy with his fathering Brookhaven. Many of these folks were previously supporters of cityhood but now feel that they were hoodwinked. Just brief yourself on Brookhaven politicians and bureaucrats at work. His completion is one smart lady and has captured a lot of attention. Only the voters will decide who wins, but Rep. Mike Jacobs is worried and playing dirty. Here is a glimpse of his competition. http://tinyurl.com/kvnfpk6 Mr. TWSYF, I don’t think Rep. Mike Jacobs will find much support for anything he does in the Toco Hills area. He sold them out a few years back and they have not forgotten. Special hamburger and a Cheerwine anyone?
Rhea A Johnson Jr February 01, 2014 at 02:01 PM
If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.....If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed....Mark Twain. If you CAN'T read the newspaper you probably went to school in DeKalb County....Megan Much.
Tom Doolittle February 01, 2014 at 02:24 PM
Not all people who can't read newspapers came from bad public school systems. However, all people who can't read newspapers except those with irreparable challenges came from irresponsible households (if they were in a home to begin with). (Of course, there are also people who can't read newspapers that are also inherently smart enough to know they aren't missing anything--except the opportunity to better understand their enemy).
Keith Hanks February 01, 2014 at 02:35 PM
Too many people read just the sports section of the newspaper. Many uninformed voters tend to be heavy fans of ESPN SportsCenter and America Idol. Doesn't help that schools don't teach civics / social studies enough and when they do they have kids memorize names and dates, not reasons behind events. Concepts are important and history repeats itself.
Rhea A Johnson Jr February 01, 2014 at 02:56 PM
OK.....Last weekend before DeKalb Delegation meeting on Monday and BILL probably moves in the Senate. Any more Questions?....probably last chance.
Ralph February 04, 2014 at 12:23 PM
Time to put a final map on Senate Bill 270 and move it out of committee onto the floor for a vote and send it to the house.
Rhea A Johnson Jr February 04, 2014 at 07:25 PM
OK........ Proposed City of Briarlake(v2) map is out for publication...posted on CAN, ask a friend, or e-mail me.....don't think I can get map on patch. rjohnson58@comcast.net.


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