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DeKalb Delegation to Hold Public Cityhood Meeting Next Month

Members of the county delegation will hold the meeting at Clairmont Hills Baptist Church on May 6.

Members of DeKalb County's legislative delegation will hold a town hall meeting on growing cityhood efforts countywide next month.

The meeting will be held at Clairmont Hills Baptist Church on Monday, May 6 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., according to Decatur state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, who sent an email to supporters Wednesday morning.

The meeting will cover the process of creating new cities, associated tax implications and alternatives to cityhood, Oliver said. 

As it stands, bills have been filed to potentially support new cities in Tucker, the Lakeside High School area, the Druid Hills-Briarcliff area and Stonecrest. In her email, Oliver listed all the related bills filed this year:

HB 22---Primary Sponsor Mary Margaret Oliver.  HB 22 sets out additional procedures and enhanced financial requirements for creation of new cities.

HB 619—Primary Sponsor Mary Margaret Oliver.  HB 619 passed in 2013 and allows an area in unincorporated DeKalb that adjoins Chamblee to vote to be annexed into Chamblee

HB 665—Primary Sponsor Mary Margaret Oliver.  HB 665 is a placemholder bill to create new city of Briarcliff/Druid Hills.

HB 677—Primary Sponsor Billy Mitchell.  HB 677 would create a new city of Tucker.

HB 687---Primary Sponsor Pam Stephenson.  HB 687 limits the ability to annex new areas to existing cities by geography.

SB 270—Primary Sponsor Fran Millar.  SB 270 would create city of Lakeside

SB 275—Primary Sponsor Jason Carter.  SB 275 would create new city of LaVista Hills.

SB 278---Primary Sponsor Ron Ramsey.  SB 278 would create new city of Stonecrest.

The meeting will be attended almost entirely by Democratic state representatives, including Oliver, Bill Mitchell, Pam Stephenson, Michele Henson and Scott Holcomb. Democratic state Sens. Ron Ramsey and Jason Carter will also be there as will Republican state Sen. Fran Millar.

For more information on cityhood efforts throughout our area.

John April 24, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Randy, Just curious. Do you work? You seem to have a lot of time to post all over the place.
RandyRand April 24, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Does taking 7 minutes to read the article and write the comment above amount to a lot of time to you? For simple pleasure, I did it during a coffee / project break! Moving on......
John April 24, 2013 at 07:46 PM
if it was your only post of the day I would get that. Hopefully your not spending all your time on here while someone else is paying you.
Jonathan Cribbs April 24, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Pretty sure Elaine Boyer is a Republican, RandyRand.
Tom Doolittle April 24, 2013 at 08:53 PM
What will be evident--and useful--will be how clearly the current legal process for forming new cities has always had the potential for mass confusion in any area that isn't a well-defined community. It will show that the current law was tailored for a very specific type of area and not at all relevant to the general case. It will show that in order to be relevant to the general case, a complete rewrite is needed (however that won't be done). Hopefully down the road, the legislature will do what it should have done in the first place and reviewed other states' laws, which most mandate a direct relationship between counties and the areas in their communities wishing to incorporate. That is mandate--and enforce. The legislature in that case will be acting constitutionally and acting on the only legal subdivision of the state--the counties. It will affirm that non-profit non-governmental organizations have no direct standing. This meeting will in fact be the first time legislative representatives have done their job responsibly and hopefully the Republican brethren across the state will tell the local North Metro Republicans that they have overrreached and need to pull back their horns. County Republicans in Fayette and elsewhere are very concerned that the city-hood movement will move beyond besetting black Democrats.
RandyRand April 24, 2013 at 09:16 PM
The “Town Hall” meeting for “Non Towners” Updated Interesting that this called a “Town Hall” meeting when none of the invited parties is currently in a “Town” or a City for that matter! Apparently this is another attempt to gather multiple factions together for a meeting. I wonder if this is really a meeting sponsored and supported by all members of DeKalb house and senate representatives or is it just promoted by (a) certain Democrat(s)? I have checked and there are Not postings on senators or representatives sites other than Mary Margret’s (MMO). We are now 10 days out! If this meeting is being hosted only by MMO, then we all have grounds to be very pessimistic in the wake of the fiasco of a meeting in Tucker host by Representative Boyer. It too was promoted as a Cityhood discussion and was nothing but a of pro Tucker venting of Blah Blah Blah resulting in a huge waste of everyone’s time. A detailed and prerelease agenda should be mandated by everyone considering attending. Absent this minimum effort by MMO or others, the meeting, in my opinion, will be an effort to create equivalency across the cityhood efforts when, to date, there is only one well organized leader in the cityhood study effort: LCA. Maybe it’s just a coincidence but, May 6th just 149 years ago General Sherman began his march to burn Atlanta to the ground. Perhaps, with a clear agenda in hand we can all be more optimistic!
RandyRand April 24, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Tom, not sure if I quite grasped your comments Paragraph 1: a Statement : We will all see how the current law is messy and still nothing will be done! “It’s currently hopeless if you are anti cityhood or a democrat”! Paragraph 2: your Hope: Our politicians will re allocate back to the counties powers they currently have: to demonstrate they provide representative, lean and effective governance to thier citizens. “and this will somehow make things better” Paragraph3: a Statement: The Horned aka “devil like” northern county republicans (NCR) created this law to piss off black democrats (BD) and it may backfire on southern county republicans (SCR). And these SCR's will somehow now piss off with the NCR's and making the BD's happy! Just checking!
Tom Doolittle April 25, 2013 at 04:23 PM
that' ok rr: I'm hard to "grasp"--its a curse (your attempt at parphrasing is much appreciated tho)
RandyRand April 25, 2013 at 04:56 PM
I wonder, have the other "Bill" initiating Dekalb House or Senate representatives even been invited to this meeting? Have each of the specific groups currently mapping and raising study funds been invited as well? Would be too much to assume that each of the above listed parties was invited in advance of this meeting announcement? …… Or should we just assume that this meeting announcement will follow the MMO initiated “file a blank bill, then figure it out and fill it in later” protocol?
Ralph April 25, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Sounds like a meeting whose agenda will be toconvince people that we don't need cities. I disagree. I think we do need cities, especially in counties like DeKalb with populations approaching 800,000 or so. We need to form small cities with populations not exceeding 100,000 for loal contol by citizens of their areas, providing them with access to their local elected officials who can give immediate and positive reponse to their needs. Unlike the county ystem we hav now.
Tom Doolittle April 26, 2013 at 01:06 PM
Start talking villages and townships of 15,000 and you'll get me very, very interested. One of the things a review of current city-making legislation should focus on is how it bacame "common wisdom" or part of the Zeitgeist that a city is best to be 60,000 to 120,000 people. (Obviously I KNOW how that has happened--a very recent phenomenon which puts so-called "efficiency" in front of "community"--but I question the "wisdom") Ex: One of the things that is missing from current legislation is the idea of multiple choices in jurisdictions such as townships or towns. One can look at the state of Virginia for guidance--and no doubt find others. (BTW--this is just one outcome of the current legislative paradigm on "escape from urban counties" that requires a hard look). Please think about this--before Sandy Springs, there were only five cities in Georgia exceeding 60,000 people. There are now nearly double that and "Vinson" is saying all new cities must exceed that. Total lunacy. At 100,000 you have cities that are larger than most counties. There really has to be some way to "escape" the yoke of urban counties trying to deliver city services without forming mini-counties at the outset of organizing. Seems like intermediate steps would be smarter. Seems like the state legilsature needs to take a step back on a number of fronts.
RandyRand April 26, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Tom, I think John Mellencamp’s “small town” would be hard to discount, I lived in a city of 15,000, and I loved it! My city was also the county seat for a vastly big western US county. When I say big, I mean several entire rivers started and ended in the county running from mountains peaks to the ocean. My city existed economically as the centralized commercial hub for the massive county and as the governance center for a resource rich county. When were discussing economically viable cities of 15,000, they can work, but only in that they support a much bigger non city populations of somewhere close to three times the city size. Suburban cityhood is a totally different animal and assumptions that worked for historic or organically developed county seat towns simply don’t apply well. As I have mentioned before, in our community, our basic sector is one of intellectual capital, and by nature it’s lightly rooted, its mobile, and it’s multiplier effect is more virtual and non geographical. These facts are what drive conservative new city models to be larger. They assume no multiplier effect and take into consideration extremely fast and unpredictable technology driven changes which directly affect our basic, service and governmental sectors. So here is how I now enjoy a Small Town: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CVLVaBECuc
Tom Doolittle April 26, 2013 at 03:10 PM
RR: I respect the cut that you take at profiling our area and I know you understand one can cut in any number of ways that while not necessarily obviating the others, can lead to different conclusions on other matters--say how a jurisdiction is formed and run. Example, what services are best suited for a small city and how they should "morph" over time and at what speed. There is no question in my mind that a city here will push for its own school system as soon as the ink is dry on the legislation and the paint is dry on the city offices at the mall. Obviously, the small city you grew up in (I grew up in a Virginia "town" of 20,000, about half suburban, half "towny"). It is now 30,000 with the addition of some density, but mostly annexing developing farmland. The common denominator between the places of our heritage is the fact they formed and grew organically, have history as a congealed community and probably industry or institutional employers that give a shit about the civic landscape. In fact, the people that lead those types of communities actually ARE the local employers--banks, car dealers, farm feed and lumber warehouses (assuming Home Depot hasn't replace them). I also think there is something valuable in self-sufficiency, especially looking into the future in store for us. We simply CANNOT assume that the "foreign" employers we have here will always be here. Its just a different angle--a legitimate topic for public discussion and measurement here.
RandyRand April 26, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Tom, from an idealistic standpoint, simple living and self sufficiency as perhaps best depicted in the publication Mother Earth News is a point of interest we share. From a practical standpoint, we live in a huge urban city, on forested one third acre lots, our neighborhoods exist because of air conditioning and car travel while 50 years of suburban sprawl is the foundation on which we begin any efforts. Congealing community qualities are not currently economic nearly in as much as they are educational, religious, and recreational. Cityhood is just a first small step to align some of the areas great qualities into a cooperative, semi permeable and supportable brand.
Tom Doolittle April 26, 2013 at 04:56 PM
RR: We're starting to zero in on part of our differences in perspective. You said" Cityhood is just a first small step to align some of the areas great qualities into a cooperative, semi permeable and supportable brand." I'm sorry, I think its a BIG step and I fear the current process actually risks the very things you want in terms of the "software" you mentioned: "cooperative, semi permeable and supportable brand." ...and vice versa--the lack of those things which currently can't be enumerated, matrixed, documented--and put a boundary on...has a good chance of dooming a vote. (no matter what an economic feasibility says we can afford and do--and I suppose what we should do). Then the question becomes--if a vote fails (I give it a 40-60 shot)...will we EVER be able to get any kind of momentum in the future? I say as I have many times--do the hard, long work of forming those things you mention above BEFORE you take the plunge. Again I allude to the history behind the Sandy Springs movement and Dunwoody's indtitutionalized neighborghood umbrealla and obvious civic leadership. Their votes vs Brokhaven's slight margin are built into those civic differences.
RandyRand April 26, 2013 at 05:33 PM
There is an old saying: If one waits for all the lights to be green, it will be a long long wait. Great things begin to happen when the first steps are taken! Over eighteen months ahead of voting, over twice the average human gestation period, certainly this represents enough time to properly arrive on an agreeable name and give birth to a new city. We humans are a smart lot, we can and will figure out the rest as we go. We always have!
Ralph April 26, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Community identity is built around places where people shop (commercial centers), where their children go to school, churches, subdivision boundaries, neighborhood pool and tennis clubs and where they work. Community identities over lap among neighbors in urban areas depending on individual choices. Local goverment and control over police and code enforcement, parks and zones and other areas of the 13 possible services a local city could provide over ride hose overlapping differences. Those matters requre a legal governmental structure to enforce. They will also lead to a common feeling of community. Institutional systems involving family, e.g. schools, churches and shopping will remain the largest factores in determining identity.
Tom Doolittle April 26, 2013 at 08:02 PM
RR: Sounds like your town might have been in California. Check out Cali's way of handling incorporation of new cities. http://www.calafco.org/ "When residents of a certain area within California containing 500 or more people wish to incorporate their own municipality, they can go through one of two steps. The first method is a resolution for city incorporation by a government body which currently oversees the area in some form or another, either a city, county or other district providing a certain service like schools or other infrastructure resources. The second method is a petition signed by 20 percent of the people within the area that wishes to be incorporated into a new municipality."
RandyRand April 26, 2013 at 08:32 PM
No California models please! It is a political disaster area, conflicted in so many ways, so many conterproductive ways, it is also a fine example of over the top wrongheaded do-gooding. I would welcome the resource rich but polically bankrupt California models only as Bad Examples! I am talking about Southern Oregon, the place Californians have been moving to and regretibly bringing these same BS political schemes with them. Parts of Oregon have gone beyond crazy now with radical land use and planning commisions controlling every aspect of life. When I lived in Oregon we had a "Enjoy your visit, but please don't stay" sign at every state border. The Oregonians I left behind should have built a fence!
Tom Doolittle April 26, 2013 at 11:55 PM
RR: I don't see anything "left coast" in these rules. However, I actually knew you'd politicize this. That's how I know you're not serious and just entertaining. I'll find another state you can generalize about.
Tom Doolittle April 26, 2013 at 11:58 PM
I wonder what they're doing in Montana. I'll check.
RandyRand April 27, 2013 at 12:31 AM
Tom, I am sure that the rules you mention and the site you provided are more than informative. But what I know through direct first hand experience, is that these rules and guidelines must be applied on top of the existing dysfunctional network of state, county and commissions, laws and rules. That is the political reality. And it would be entertaining, in fact a comedy if it weren't so true for those folks.

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