Delegation Meets With Key Players Missing

A number of legislators and one cityhood group cite prior commitments as discussion of new cities continues.

Tucker 2014's Frank Auman speaks to legislators about cityhood efforts.
Tucker 2014's Frank Auman speaks to legislators about cityhood efforts.
Updated 3:30 p.m.: This story has been updated to clarify Rep. Mike Jacobs' appearance at the Merry Hills Neighborhood Association last night. And his comments also appear below the story.

The DeKalb Legislative Delegation scheduled a public hearing Wednesday night with two challenges:

  • Fitting in comments from the interim CEO, the school superintendent and school board chairman, cityhood groups and the public.
  • Holding a hearing after the Legislature is already in session and the issue of cityhood very much up in the air.
The result? The comments lasted for 2 1/2 hours. However, a large number of legislators did not hear them as they had prior commitments. One legislator and one cityhood group split their time between the hearing and another long-scheduled meeting with the Merry Hills Neighborhood Association.

And one cityhood group did not show up at all.

"We learned late Monday evening about this meeting, via email newsletters from our respective representatives," Lakeside City Alliance's Mary Kay Woodworth emailed Patch before the meeting. "We were not contacted by either the House or Senate chairs of the DeKalb Delegation regarding the meeting, nor asked to make a presentation. We have a previously scheduled community meeting at Beth Jacob Synagogue (at the request of the neighborhood), so LCA will not be making a presentation at the DeKalb meeting."

The neighborhood association invited LCA and the City of Briarcliff Initiative to their meeting Wednesday night. Some Briarcliff board members stayed briefly at the county hearing before heading to the Merry Hills meeting.

The delegation scheduled the public hearing after the Jan. 9 "DeKalb Day" meeting at the Capitol, in which all three cityhood groups -- Lakeside, Briarcliff and Tucker -- made their case for their cityhood plans. Stonecrest, which pulled back on its plans for this year after a feasibility study found it not financially viable, also made a presentation that day to the legislators.

Some cityhood leaders were visibly miffed by changes in the format at Wednesday's county hearing. The original schedule for the meeting called for a 15-minute presentation followed by people speaking in support or against the cityhood proposals. That 15 minutes was trimmed to five. COBI board member Don Broussard also was concerned that audio-visual was not provided and told the legislators that he could not show everything he wanted them to see.

State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), who is sponsoring a bill supporting Lakeside cityhood, spoke briefly on behalf of LCA, saying they had made a full presentation Jan. 9 and had a "prior commitment." He said the group wasn't "ducking a meeting."

Millar told the audience that Lakeside and Tucker representatives had met as recently as Wednesday. As he recently told another legislative gathering, Millar said earlier efforts to form a "megacity" of 90,000 combining Lakeside and Tucker did not work out.

He told the audience that there is no final map or final version of his bill at this stage, "but I do anticipate it will go forward."

State Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven), who left the hearing to attend the Merry Hills meeting, told that audience that the Lakeside bill is the most likely to move forward. An earlier version of this article misstated what he said.

In comments appearing below, Rep. Jacobs wrote: "What I actually said was that Lakeside is most likely to move forward, not that it is the most "viable" in other uses of that term. It is a near certainty that Senator Millar will get the Lakeside bill out of the Senate, and then the House will have to address the proposal. I don't see how the other proposals have a path forward as of right now, but that could change. My apologies for cross-posting an article from another publication, but the Brookhaven Reporter pretty much captures what I said at Beth Jacob last night: http://www.reporternewspapers.net/2014/01/23/fate-proposed-new-dekalb-cities-unclear/. As an aside, I was at Beth Jacob because I represented Merry Hills for 8 years and they requested that I speak on the subject. I did tell MMO (Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver), their current rep, that I would be doing this speaking engagement. "

Tucker 2014's Frank Auman spoke at the county hearing about the history of Tucker and why the community should become a city.

A number of residents spoke up against cityhood or against specific aspects of the proposals. A number of speakers said the rush to cityhood was moving too fast.

Check back with Patch later Thursday for more of what they said, along with comments from interim CEO Lee May and schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond.

Cheryl Miller January 27, 2014 at 06:45 PM
Winding Woods/Midvale ... I just have to make a comment about the false assertions at the beginning of the comments. There is a board member on Tucker 2014 who lives in Winding Woods, so I highly doubt that they have collectively determined in some manner that they now want to be part of Lakeside. Also, Winding Woods in a neighborhood just off LaVista. Midvale is an entire section of Tucker, surrounding an elementary school, including a road named Midvale and it contains many, many of our most devoted residents and nice homes. There are many residents in this entire area who are completely offended that Lakeside would want to include them in a City of Lakeside. Many of them grew up here and attended Tucker High School. This is a high school rivalry, after all, since Lakeside is a school. And, regarding the petition .... yes, we have heard about that one, too, and straight from someone who lives in the area that the "Friends of Lakeside" tried to convince that they should sign. The person attempting to get signatures was telling people that if they signed, they might get a chance to vote on whether or not the city would be approved. If they did not sign, they would have no voice and their neighbors might be able to decide for them. They were saying that the only bill to go forward would be Lakeside and therefore, signing was the only way to have any hope of being heard at all. Sneaky.
Cheryl Miller January 27, 2014 at 06:49 PM
Longer: I am just an ordinary resident. So, who am I supposed to ask if it is not the people who have stepped up to say that they are working on a city proposal or those who are already named as the ones who should be representing us?? This stuff should be transparent! How can anyone claim that they don't like the operations of DeKalb County government and support something like this instead? I find it to be very offensive and highly suspicious.
Longerthanu January 27, 2014 at 07:30 PM
Cher, no you're not an "ordinary citizen." You are a S*** stirrer. YOU asked that Tucker cityhood be considered. Now, you're pretending otherwise because nobody followed your imaginary script. Stop pretending nobody asked for this, when YOU asked for it. Do I need to post the link to your blog post?
Todd Chester January 27, 2014 at 10:49 PM
Longer, it is apparent that Cheryl is upset that she was not asked to be a part of the Tucker Cityhood movement. After seeing the Cheryl commentary on the Patch during the last 10 months, and the hate that she spews towards people she admittedly has never met, or had significant conversations with, I can understand why the powers that be would neglect to involve her in any of the decision making....
Longerthanu January 28, 2014 at 09:27 AM
You're absolutely right Todd Chester.


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