Wednesday, February 1, 2017

City Attorney resigns. Is the embarrassment over?

City Attorney resigns. Is the embarrassment over?

The Assistant City Attorney resigned today just days after posting were found on Facebook that apparently exposed him as a closet Islamophobe, using foul language and attacking another poster.  That would seem to be a pretty cut and dried reason for termination.  However it is not that simple. 
The other poster who he was conversing with, was never identified.  The Post was forwarded on Facebook by two local Dunwoody students who claim they found it on a PBS blog or website.  It was being investigated by the city and they had not yet turned up any connections to the City Attorney.
Then suddenly the Assistant City Attorney resigns.  That makes him guilty, right? 
What is does is save face for the Vendor, McClendon and Reilly, the law firm for who the City Attorney worked and the City.  The embarrassment is over.  Lenny is gone, end the investigation and move on.  Sacrifice Lenny for the good of the firm and the good of the City.  Time to move forward.
More now than ever it is time to see the investigation through.  Did an employee of the vendor, the Assistant City attorney do anything wrong or was he simply hacked?  If the investigation ends now as I believe it will, we will never know.
It is over, move on, get back to governing, it will cost too much to find out the truth.  Sweep it under the rug.  What does all that equate to?  Weak leadership and expediancy.
A council that will demonstrate itself to be weak and not willing to seek out the truth.  A Mayor who through all of this has hidden behind press releases made by a staff member and refused to step forward.  Finally a City manager that has failed to make a statement.  Nope, leave it to a press release.
If they fail to continue the investigation, they are all as guilty as Lenny.  Only they are guilty of laziness and guilty of not doing the peoples work and finding the truth.  They are guilty of settling for the easy way out.  They are guilty of NOT being transparent
If Lenny admitted it before the resignation, announce it.                                                                          
Bottom line is I asked a member of City council tonight that if a law firm came today and applied for the job of City Attorney, would you hire McClendon and Reilly, knowing what you know about the quality of service and professionalism.  The answer was no.

Time for the Mayor and City Manager to step up and the council to act.

In Troubled Times, More Important than ever to find the truth.

The recent post discovered on FB earlier this week depicted our assistant City Attorney as a Muslim bigot. 
I was shocked when it appeared on my page and contacted the city council immediately.  Now I at times may disagree with some of the City Attorney’s legal thinking and criticize him for it, this post that was attributed to him just did not match the man that I knew.

I immediately asked that the City take action and investigate these posts to verify the points of origin.
I was happy to see that the city is taking such action at this time.

I know personally the pain of having Newspapers.TV and Blogs slanting stories.  I also know that once it starts it is hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

I applaud the city’s actions.  I believe that when the investigation is complete, it will show that the Assistant City Attorney was indeed hacked and the comments made under his name are bogus.

I agree with Joe Seconder that Mayor Shortal should get out in front of the issue and be making a statement for all the citizens of Dunwoody to hear.  A press release from the City is not sufficient in these troubled times.  The Mayor should lead

I wish the Assistant City Attorney well during this process.

Bob Lundsten

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Shame is not a strong enough word. John Lewis vs Trump

Like most of the people in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs I did not support President-elect Trump during the primary races.  When he won the nomination, I withheld my support hoping that his inflammatory rhetoric and tweeting would be brought under control and we would get clear picture of what his policies were going to be.  That never quite happened. After the election I waited to see who how he would perform as the President Elect. 

I am still waiting to be impressed. 

This fact that he uses Twitter as the new way to communicate to his base is shaking up the political world and conventional media.  However his continued attacks on US Intelligence Agencies, his obvious attempt to use Twitter to inflame and misdirect the public. His tweets that dismiss US Intelligence findings and takes the “word” of the Russians are  embarrassing.

But the recent attack on Representative John Lewis, a true American Hero, in his latest round of tweets is  disgraceful  and sad.  In Trumps usual style, he aggressively attacks the person and tries to humiliate and call in to question decades of Representative Lewis’s selfless service to this country.
He seems to forget that a Congressman can only do so much at the local level with local issues.  But when you are ignorant of so many things like Mr. Trump, why let the details crowd out your message.  After all you only get 140 Characters.

Shame is not a strong enough word.  For my Republican brethren who continue to find no fault or express any concerns over Mr. Trump’s behavior, step back and look at what he is actually doing.  If you are following blindly which a lot of you seem to be doing, shame on you 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Governing as the result of fear

When you are elected to “govern” whether it be the President of the United States or locally, a Mayor and City Council, you are chosen to lead for the best interest of those who elected you AND what is best for the jurisdiction you were chosen to represent.

Sounds simple but it is not.  It is not supposed to be simple. 

Simple is governing by polls.  You vote for something simply because a poll or the number of phone calls leads you to believe that your constituency is demanding you vote a specific way.  It is easy to claim publicly that you have received thousands of emails regarding a specific issue.  (Just a side note, the current Mayor and former Councilman Danny Ross made such a claim to justify their anti-chicken vote in the early years of city hood.  Upon scrutiny it was discovered that there were less than 20 or so original emails)

If governing were that simple we could phone in our votes, after all majority rules.  (Not really)
Elected officials are also charged to lead.  To make tough decisions.  Decisions that might actually go against what the outspoken constituency is telling you to do.  We elect LEADERS.  Sometimes leaders need to consider more than the number of phone calls or emails.  Making those choices are a bit tougher.

The WORST way to govern is to govern through fear of being sued.   “We must do this or we could be sued and we can’t afford it.  Such was the case that was highlighted by the Mayor’s actions to ban DHA members from sitting on City boards.  The Mayor who was clueless became an expert overnight and simply attempted to change and implement new policy out of the FEAR of being sued in the future. He did this despite the fact the was no case law cited in the City Attorney’s opinion nor any record of case law in Georgia.  He acted on an irrational fear placed in his head by lawyers of the city.  You do not govern out of fear.  You do not govern out of fear of being sued.

You govern because you know it is right.  You govern, reaching decisions that you are confident are what is best for the community.  You govern knowing that you may have to defend yourself in court if challenged.  But you govern.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Dunwoody Politics.. What is the status?

Several weeks have now passed since the Mayor took it upon himself to execute powers he did not have according to the Dunwoody City Charter.  Changing city policy the implementing it without city council review and approval is not something the Mayor can just do.

The action of the Dunwoody legal team, advising the Mayor and writing the memo that in essence forced DHA member to choose who they wanted to serve, makes them complicit in the Mayor’s actions. Adding to this, informing the members that they would face ethics charges or State charges if they discussed the issue with other calls their behavior into question as well.

The city’s response to these very distressing actions was to hire outside attorneys to investigate themselves.

I have several questions regarding these issues:

Are the citizens that are nominated by the Mayor to the Board of Ethics vetted by anyone on the city council prior to the nominations going forward or are these "nominations” taken and approved as a courtesy to the Mayor?

What is the current status of the legal review by outside council of the actions by the Mayor regarding the controversial Executive Session and illegal policy change regarding Board appointees and the DHA?  Will any part of that investigation be public?

Is not an investigation of these actions better and more correctly addressed by a Board of Ethics review and not an attorney hired by the Council to investigate itself?  A negative ruling by the BOE on any of these issues would result in consequences and send a message that these behaviors will not be tolerated.

As I have said before publicly, these action weakened if not destroyed the trust that citizens of Dunwoody had in its city government. I believe that these events should undergo a complete legal review by the process we already have in place and that is Board of Ethics

Monday, July 18, 2016


“We cannot turn on each other” (President Obama)

It has to stop. People who know me know that I am a Republican. That does not forbid me from respecting the Office of the President of the United States. It does not mean that I participate in the blanket hatred that some right wing conservatives heap upon President Obama.

There my preamble is done.

This however is a time for politics and the hateful rhetoric of all people to be set aside. Whether it be Trumps often hate filled rhetoric, or the sometimes mixed message of Black Lives Matter, we all need to stop, step back, take a deep breath and see what is happening to us as an American people.

We need to stop posting and re-posting half-truths or opinions as fact.

Do not waste your breath telling me I do not understand, BLM or Liberty Party/Tea Party/Trump messages. If you do, you are missing a MUCH bigger picture.

Rhetoric from both sides fuels the hate. The hate of a few that erupts in death, often of the innocent. As President Bush said in Dallas last week, we then go on to judge the whole by the actions of a few.

Rhetoric from political parties immediately tries to change the focus to their causes such as gun control or the uncontrolled right to own and carry a hand gun. Again do not waste your time by replying and spouting more partisan political views. If you do you are a bigger part of the problem than you realize.

We need to all sit down and face the real issues of the day and find the way.

Slain Baton Rouge Cop’s Haunting Facebook Plea: 
‘Please Don’t Let Hate Infect Your Heart.’ (Montrell Jackson)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Battle is Over, Time To Move ON

The final decision on the fate of the Brook Run Theater was made on Monday night. It was a long battle by a group of dedicated Dunwoody volunteers who despite having years to come up with a plan, failed to garner city wide support and failed to raise a single dollar or committed sponsor. 

Their first feasibility study was incredibly weak on details and financials based on wild guesses and data that could not be justified by any method. The follow up report where they were told specifically what the council expected to see was even weaker than the first. In fact the report they submitted and the chief flag waivers comments in the Reporter News Paper exposed they did not have community wide support. 140 signatures on a petition is an incredibly small number despite having a booth at Lemonade Days (the largest city function held every year) where they actively solicited visitors for signatures. Their Facebook page had 150 people in the group. Once again minuscule numbers coming from a city with a population of +/- 45,000 residents. 

So a well thought out motion made by Councilwoman Deutsch was immediately seconded. Before a vote was taken the Mayor properly offered a substitute motion of $500,000 dollars in cash and $500,000 in Parks Bond money be directed to the Save the Theater/Center group. This coming from the Mayor who only a few weeks earlier had said "no tax payer money would be used" The result was a deafening silence from the other 6 councilmen and councilwomen. The Mayor’s motion failed for lack of a second. The original motion to seek bids to demolish the theater passed 6-1 with Mayor Shortal the lone NO vote.  After the vote the mayor was quoted as saying:

“We’re undermining a lot of citizens tonight, a lot of our rich 
talent” Reporter News Paper Juy 11 2016

I am done with this issue. The battle is over and we all need to move on. Mr. Ross (chief flag waver) was visibly upset after losing the vote and said: 

"To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement,” he said. “They’re going to kill the community … the spirit of volunteerism. ”Reporter News Paper Juy 11 2016

If he and some of the members of his group believe that, it is a sad statement and a sad day if they follow through with it.

These volunteers have an incredible track record working with various groups that have been critical to the growth of the city and community of Dunwoody. I urge and hope that every one of them realizes that while they lost this battle, there are many more battles to fight. If they take their ball and go home, the city might be diminished. The very city they worked so hard for could suffer. I believe however that the spirit that has led this community for 50 years and guided this city since it was created will recover with new generation of volunteers. This is what Dunwoody has always been about. 

So Danny get angry, vent; get it out of your system and find a new project. To all of the volunteers, do not let Danny’s and the Mayor’s prediction come to fruition. There is so much to do and the city can always use your help 

We did not become a city so you could get your own way. We became a city so our neighbors who serve as our leaders could make these types of decisions locally. Their message Monday night was clear. Now it is time to reunite and move on.