Updated: Why Briarcliff/COBI has swayed me

While it's too early to know if any cityhood effort will be a good solution for our communities before the individual studies, numbers and vision plans are laid out -- on the outset, COBI/Briarcliff appears to be a more viable choice for my N. Decatur community. I'm basing my opinion on these thoughts:

1. Briarcliff and Tucker initiatives will be able to co-exist peacefully and cooperatively, respecting each area's history and sense of place.

2. The Briarcliff map is based on the idea of encompassing all unincorporated areas--simple, real boundaries that we already identify with.  LCA's map excludes Emory, Medlock and North Druid Hills, an area that is an integral part of our community by profession and affinity.  (That said, I do believe that if COBI were to incorporate the adjacent areas of Midvale and Evansdale, who are traditional Northlake communities and have indicated their desire to be part of an intown city, it would be a winning solution for all.)

3. University areas are proven stability factors for a community. Keeping Emory and CDC as an integral part of the plan provides a safety net  for our property values.

4. LCA by design has drawn itself to be a relatively homogenous, suburban city. Its very name reveals that its focus is the Lakeside high school community. And while there's nothing wrong with that--I am concerned that this conscious suburban spin belies an old school suburban vision, not the New Urbanism that prioritizes the trend to build a better walkable/bike able/green/connected community. That is the future we should all be working toward, as ATL and Decatur are. If LCA was suddenly in charge of my intown area's zoning, I am not currently optimistic they would work actively toward this essential vision. Without it, our desirability as a neighborhood will decrease as buyers look to more forward-thinking areas.

5. Briarcliff study was 98% funded by citizens and neighborhood groups, unlike LCA. Thus, its borders, being more definitive of our actual community, should be far more successful when it comes down to a vote.

6. One can not rule out the possibility that there could be some Gerrymandering at play with LCA, who were funded more by lobbyists and lawyers than the communities, and limits itself to a traditionally Republican demographic. (Sen. Millar, sponsor of LCA, has stated only Republican-led effort will pass. Is this connected?)

I would like to add that despite my personal preference for the Briarcliff map, I do not wish to cast any aspersions whatsover, nor question the integrity in any way, of the LCA leadership.

(Though please...reconsider the name Lavista Hills or Oak Grove. Briarcliff is not an established area, but Oak Grove is. Plus, it is the geographic center of the Briarcliff map, and has an existing neighborhood center village that defines our community.)

Longerthanu September 05, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Snapshot of armed robbery (including attempted) in Northlake area since March 9: http://www.crimemapping.com/map.aspx?aid=ade4bee3-a31a-472d-8033-fb882945ccb2
newsydon September 06, 2013 at 07:20 AM
cheryl: maybe you ought to check on what you're posting. you're spouting about lakeside high school in evans ga. there's probably a lakeside high school in minnesota too. try that one.
Longerthanu September 06, 2013 at 08:36 AM
I guess it's easier to delete misguided posts, than to admit you were wrong. That's the way to lead a movement! Go STFL, huh?
Roger Kennedy September 06, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Did someone throw water on poor Cheryl and she disappeared, along with all of her comments (reference - Wizard of Oz)?
Frannie D. September 06, 2013 at 04:58 PM
She self-destructed. Of course, once posted, they're never really gone... they all remain in our inboxes. Kinda like Hotel California. Check those facts first, kiddos!
Longerthanu September 06, 2013 at 11:37 PM
Ding dong, Roger'
RIP Madiba September 07, 2013 at 08:17 AM
Hi, Frannie - I wanted to say "ditto" to all that Roger Kennedy has posted and add the following: The neighborhood associations, like Civic Association Network (CAN) are the strongest and most potent lobbyists around and have nothing on the registered lobbyists. When you state that COBI was funded by neighbors and the associations, it is important to note how the associations got together and made a concerted effort to back COBI. These are the same groups who fought having Costco, one of the most progressive corporations around, from breaking ground in the N. DeKalb mall area. For all the good they do, and I know a few key folks who have my utmost respect and admiration, it is important to note the weight they carry in the communities, especially when it comes to development. I would put them at a much higher "strength" level than the lawyers and lobbyists. Another point I would also like to address on this stream - COBI and Tucker cannot coexist because of Northlake. Who would make the concession in that arena? COBI will have the base to go forward and Tucker would not. LCA does have the more diverse demographic makeup when compared to COBI and it has a more reasonable resident population at 60K people compared to COBI's 90K+. LCA also takes into account the "live, work, play" aspects of the people included in the map. I would love to see Clairmont Heights in the LCA map because I think it makes sense, but as you and I both know, this mapping process is difficult and not everyone will be happy. We all need to support the best endeavor for the development of a progressive urban and sustainable area that will allow all areas, both incorporated and unincorporated to prosper.
Frannie D. September 07, 2013 at 11:55 AM
Hey Caroline! It's hard to imagine LCA being more 'diverse' than COBI, in that COBI encompasses more areas, with all the communities mentioned above -it it certainly more politically diverse, wouldn't you agree? But I don't know the stats, and it's not one of the more important points in the end. :) I have no issues with 90k vs 60k, as I witness the approval rating of Sandy Springs, who were like us, an inner ring suburb of downtown. I'm sure you know folks there too--I don't know anyone who lives there who doesn't think their city is a success, even with a larger citizen base. So the size debate is not convincing to me one way or another. And my point was that there are land conflicts in every scenario...but COBI and Tucker have a better working relationship than LCA does with them, so compromise should prove easier to acheive. (And compromise is thr necessary and neighborly way to solve this, I believe.) One correction I'd like to offer to the public from our post: Costco at N.Dekalb was not deterred by any neighborhood groups. My friend worked with Costco and learned directly from their execs that the main reason they had to cancel that location was wetlands issues behind the mall. Mitigation would have required parking lot construction that was not feasible from an environmental or cost basis, plus it required cooperation from other stores in the mall that were not willing to move to accommodate the project. They said they actually had quite a bit of community support and supposedly were 'disappointed' not to be able to build there.
Tom Doolittle September 08, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Now we have two underliying Great Narratives the amount to "stories within the stories" on the battle of the would-be cities: (1) The Battle of Northlake--the place that nobody likes, but everybody wants to control and (2) Whose Shape To Trust-- Neighborhood Associations (activists) or a real estate mafia (power elite). These are the types of "dia-metrics" which can make any group larger than 30,000 ungovernable in this area. Ex: Can you imagine the war between a North Briarcliff/Briarcliff Woods/Sagamore Civic Association (C.A.N. combo)--both in either of the City of Briarcliff and Lakeside when they get ramped up against just about everything that either city's top-down elected government tries to do? The answer of course is to start carving cities of less than 30,000 in three different locations from Tucker to Emory. Only then will you have "cities-of-affinity". Then again, once the CVIs are done "in the image" of Tucker Together, LCA and Briarcliff--there will be no chance to reshape (negotiate) new and smaller boundaries. It will be all or nothing uncooperative scortched earth war--with you and your neighbors the cannon fodder. Then there will be a cry for the White Knights of the Legislature (Milar/Carter/Oliver) to make the decision in a back room--a deal that is based on anything but democratic interests--more than likely a large private university's and Oliver's standing with ruling Republicans. That will be the story that finally forces the legislature to re-think the current city-making process.
RIP Madiba September 08, 2013 at 01:57 PM
@Tom - don't take away the voice of the people. We are not quite in a totalitarian regime quite yet (except for BOC District 1 which is a complete fascist state). LCA has a good and realistic size that would be very successful and meet the needs of the community while paving the way for substantive planning initiatives. Plus, Northlake would become more of an epicenter. COBI will struggle in declaring where their epicenter will be. I am more concerned if elected officials continue to ignore the grave issues in DeKalb, as a metro Atlanta county, and do nothing to salvage the area. The CEO model doesn't work and fosters white collar crime, large swaths of citizens do not have proper representation (and don't even get me started on the Census carving that occurred) and commercial areas are crumbling around us because folks like May and others think CIDs will offer some salvo when the sound business and economic strategy is not in place. I could care less if I have pretty sign as I turn onto a key artery in my area - I want to see real development and business! I laugh when you mention our legislators "thinking" and then "re-thinking." They are the ones who put the laws on the books. What are they going to think of next? Try to stop everything because that is all that those brain cells combined can conjure up. The unintended consequence will be that they think everyone is going to stay in the area. For what? The schools? Frannie's area will fare well because of the proximity to CDC/Emory/CofA, but what about the rest of the areas? We will lose out and our legislators won't care as they haven't cared for the last 20 years of corruption and waste. Look at the mess they made with SPLOST IV when they tried to intervene on the school board and the MMO and Jacobs bills were trash and have now cost us more with getting less??? This isn't about political affiliation as you allude to, but complete ineptitude and lack of connectedness to the constituents. If Millar, Carter and MMO (and company) ROB us of this (which is what they would be doing), they will have violated the oaths they took to serve the people. They work for us and the people demand change now.
Cheryl Miller September 08, 2013 at 02:11 PM
And, regardless of which one or more goes forward, in the spirit of T-SPLOST, I predict they will all be voted down by the people. We are all sick and tired of being used by the powerful as they put money into their own pockets. None of these groups appear to be in touch with the actual population in their respective areas. If they were, they would be focusing on education in Tucker, stopping Wallmart in N. Decatur, stopping the new home builders in Druid Hills and stopping corruption in the property assessment office for Lakeside. And someone should have come up with an answer to the coyote problem and the falling tree branches that have citizens concerned but their voices not being heard. Have you heard what's going on at Tucker High School? No textbooks. Retaliation against the parents. Same ()*&(*& I've been telling you about for months but everyone chooses to paint their own rosy picture. Overcrowded classrooms, missing money, no answers. It makes the city talk all seem so trivial when there are children who are not being educated with the basic essentials that we all had when we were growing up, doesn't it? Do you understand how severe these problems are and how no one will want to move to ANY part of DeKalb if we do not all participate in fixing this school system? No commercial project will want to launch in your city, no matter what it is called, when they learn that your school system can't even pay for books or teachers. Go ahead and tell me about the state constitution - I know, I know. Go ahead and tell me that this is about the parks and what you are going to do with them that will make my family overlook the fact that we are spending a second mortgage's amount of money for a private school for a basic, PRIMARY SCHOOL education. We are only contributing to the further demise of our own county by continuing to demand "local control" down to the neighborhood we live in. You can't always have control over every facet of every decision. Sometimes, your representative will be outvoted. That's not corruption. Sometimes others will get something more than you, but that doesn't mean you are being deprived. The U.S. invests in technology for the classrooms and not the people to teach and implement it. And we are falling behind. Why is that? Which states are dragging down the entire U.S. Guess what? Georgia is always at the bottom. Who has one of the largest counties in Georgia? DeKalb. Which county is lagging behind the others in education? DeKalb. We aren't just harming a few families here and there. We are dragging down the entire state and in turn, that's dragging down our entire nation. And when we are too old to take care of these issues or try to solve them, guess who will be in power? The children. And the ones most likely to still live here will be the ones we fail to educate. The others will be smart enough to get out when they can and never look back. We're digging ourselves a big hole right now. And there won't be a way out of it unless we stop the fighting and find a way to work together. And, I'm not speaking to those who have written anything here. I'm talking about the regular folks who need to get out and vote in MAY or JULY - whenever the election for cities will be held, if it is held. In the meantime, write your representatives and tell them what you think about this distraction that is leaving children without books and holding no one accountable. Simply unacceptable. https://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/the-textbook-mystery-continues-and-gets-even-weirder
RIP Madiba September 08, 2013 at 02:21 PM
And, Cheryl is back - off point and off topic as usual. This is not a school blog and the cityhood efforts do not and will not have anything to do with the schools' budget or decisions.
Cheryl Miller September 08, 2013 at 02:36 PM
As for erroneous information, yes, I noticed almost as soon as I copied and pasted it, that I had the wrong Lakeside High School. So, I quickly deleted it as I would not want anyone referencing it. What is the big deal? If you search for it in your email, you are waaaaaay too concerned about rubbing someone's face in an honest mistake instead of being all about creating a better, more accountable form of government. Who in their right mind would want to be governed by people who behave in that manner? I tell you what, Caroline, I will gladly support a city of Lakeside, if you can get everyone who has been a part of LCA from inception to date to promise that they will never ever run for office, elected or appointed. That would be a great way to clean up the corruption and gather more support for your fabricated city all at the same time! And, to Caroline's point in the last comment at 2:21 p.m., yes you are right and that's why it is a distraction from the real issue affecting our communities the most right now. Force everyone to watch one hand while the other one bleeds us dry. I've seen it work with the school board a million times. I'm surprised you're falling for it.
Cheryl Miller September 08, 2013 at 02:44 PM
"Plus, Northlake would become more of an epicenter. " Carolyn, HOW? Can you please explain? "Northlake" the mall is privately owned. Do you know something about the plans of the Simon Properties Group that you are not telling us? Maybe if you would share what you know, there would be more people who would support the LCA's plans. What's the big secret? If it is so great, why aren't they telling anyone about it? Are you talking about the light rail? DO you have inside information about it? What do you mean by epi-center? Are you referring to the plans that DeKalb County has ALREADY laid out where they would make it a "Regional Center," one of three in DeKalb? Because that's already in the works and does not require a new layer of government or increases in taxes or franchise fees that will jack up our electric and gas prices either. Why can't we simply FIX what we have instead of trying to add more of the same folks to the leadership structure when they are the ones who helped break it in the first place? Big businesses, corrupt politicians, educrats (LCA has many in their core group of supporters). OF COURSE it is about the SCHOOLS for LAKESIDE. That's all Lakeside is right now - a school, an attendance zone, a group of school leaders, a school community. That's it. Name ONE other thing that "Lakeside" has done well that would make anyone want to live in their city?
Tom Doolittle September 08, 2013 at 02:49 PM
You two seem to get it. It's real people against legislature. By the time the referendum comes around, it will be obvious that we're getting played for thier games. The one thing that will spit in its eye would be a 60% voting participation--taht's what the special elections are designed ti prevent.
Tom Doolittle September 08, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Anyone invoking problemss with the county government in a discussion about which cit(ies) we'll live is starting to seem fishy. The issue of cityhood in The Corridor is obviously not about the county government at this point--we're past that, much to the chagrine of those that found it expedient. We're going to have a referendum, so the debate is about which city or cities, not competitng with the county. Also, since we're only starting a city-lite, we're part of the county anyway. Therefore, whoever has a beef with the county...who should hear your complaint? The people that can do something about it--the county and voters who elect county officials.
Longerthanu September 08, 2013 at 06:30 PM
Tom, serious question here: why did you contribute to the cityhood studies?
Tom Doolittle September 08, 2013 at 08:17 PM
Longer--the answer is nuanced. The people who run the city-making efforts are folks that have in various capacities seen and helped develop a vision for the Northlake area over the last 13 years. My dough was directed to serve a broader purpose--essentially to maintain their viability--nearly symbolic. I contributed to their ability to transform what they've done into some momentum to connect the community--a mission that I hope they'll embrace given the current state of conflict on the more direct and simple "yes/no" cityhood question. I didn't contribute to CVI's in my mind-- which are predetermined shallow, short sighted (lame) number crunching exercizes that I'm confident the Vinson Institte would say only are intended to launch a ship. My guess Vinson is highly qualified and more than willing to advance the art of assisting communities fully evaluate the establishment (and more importantly lay a future budgetary course) of a new taxing jurisdiction--and even offer choices of community sizes with a large area. However, Vinson would either have to do that as pro-bono academic exercizes or charge three times as much as they currently do. Vinson and others annointed by the legislature have a HUGE opporunity to allow localities examine economic AND social viability...to use this time to establish base-lines and metrics that go way beyond looking at tax digests. I'd pay for that (as long as they let me play too).
Tom Doolittle September 09, 2013 at 08:25 AM
A couple of observations (not debating) in a broader light: (1) political calculus in BOC Dist 1--the primary power base for Boyer has always been Dunwoody--square that with its cityhood (here if someone can); (2) It's telling that someone would notice that CDC/Emory/Fed Govt employees are sure to bolster areas south of Toco, but not continue to bolster areas around Northlake Mall--which they have in the past--trend data on that would be something I would want from a complete economic (socio) feasibility study, which any economist would immediately factor in demographic predictions.
Roger Kennedy September 09, 2013 at 11:51 AM
Boyer is supportive IF the city(ies) stay inside 285. She seems to have a deaf ear for those who are on the outskirts of Tucker - or even in Tucker proper - who want to be in Lakeside's map.
Tom Doolittle September 09, 2013 at 12:04 PM
Anybody want to chime in on how she danced in Dunwoody when city-making came up--and whether they still love her there? Remember, city folk still choose our county officials too. Oh--and whether she'd still be elected here?
Enuff Govt Already September 09, 2013 at 12:41 PM
It's striking that the only areas of the county to have incorporated are areas in her district; what do they complain about, zoning. DeKalb works under a ward type system so all the zoning that every one is upset about flowed through her office. The person responsible for the motion to approve or disapprove zoning is the district commissioner. It would of been much easier to have replaced the commissioner. All this city stuff is not about public service it's about gaining more or creating more political power. byw..In Dunwoody, she referred to cityhood as a divorce from DeKalb but for Brookhaven she toned down her rhetoric. She did show up at the Brookhaven Yes victory party. Also seen at the party were officials from Dunwoody and a couple of major contractors for those cities. My impression is she does what the Dunwoody state legislators and the county party instructs her to do regardless of whether it's good for the county or constituents.
Cheryl Miller September 10, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Interesting info. Enuff. Thank you for sharing that with us. So, what you are saying is that the only people who were in the dark about what LCA was up to were the voters. The county and state politicians were already working together and knew where they would be headed next.
Roger Kennedy September 10, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Oh, lordy, Enuff. Don't get her started, you are feeding into her paranoia and conspiracy theories.
Longerthanu September 10, 2013 at 08:29 PM
C'mon, Cheryl. Didn't Elaine co-host that LCA ambush in Tucker? Don't be so disingenuous. You need to take a closer look at your county commissioner.
Cheryl Miller September 11, 2013 at 05:42 PM
My county commissioner? I'm not even sure I have one these days. I did wonder why she would host a meeting that appeared to be about creating a city of Tucker, but was really an attempt to identify opposition to LCA and sway the undecided in their favor (in my opinion). The guest speaker who was going to be representing the Tucker Parent Council is now an organizer of an LCA front group. Nice. Real nice. It sort of reminded me of an AMWAY meeting I was forced to sit through once. That really changed how I felt about the friend who tricked me into coming to the "cocktail party," just like this city stuff is changing the way a LOT of people are viewing their "representatives" both county and state.
Cheryl Miller September 11, 2013 at 05:45 PM
Roger, at this point I think most people can see that there is more actual "conspiracy" and less theory going on here.
RandyRand September 11, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Note to Cheryl: You were NOT invited to any cityhood cocktail party! ALSO...You were NOT tricked by NOT being invited either! This is not a Conspiracy it is simply neighbors freely and legally banding together to communicate and explore governance and taxation options.
Cheryl Miller September 11, 2013 at 08:18 PM
As long as that is all they are doing, Randy, we won't have a problem.
Cheryl Miller September 14, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Too many comments on this one blog. Too hard to follow. Let us know when the studies are back and we can have this conversation all over again, okay?


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