Thursday, June 23, 2016

Hold the Dunwoody City Council Accountable

 I am deeply disappointed in our elected officials.  Not only have they broken trust with our community by holding an illegal Executive Session to change a city policy, but have singled out the HOA that was the driver behind the cityhood efforts. 
Regardless of what you think of the Dunwoody Homeowner’s Association or their role in Dunwoody, the city’s actions this week represent terrible governance and a lack of ethical leadership.  If the city really wants to change a policy they are well within the law to do it PUBLICLY.  While I disagree with their actions and the lawyer’s rationale, I find the method they used to be reprehensible.
The city has violated state law, its own charter and its own administrative ordinances.  Here is a catalog of their misdeeds:
·        They met in secret (executive) session to discuss the DHA’s role.  They have alternately used attorney-client privilege and “personnel matters” to justify the secret meetings but neither of these apply since there is not current legal action pending as a result of the DHA’s role and volunteer board members are not city personnel.
·        They appear to have adopted a policy without writing it down.  This is a clear violation of state law, the charter and the city’s code of ordinances.
·        They have adopted the policy without a public vote.  While executive session allows private discussion in very limited instances, it never allows for private voting.  The city adopted these policies without a public vote.  Executive sessions can be used to discuss ongoing litigation such as the Manget Way case but cannot be used to discuss changing a city policy.
·        They have threatened volunteer board members with city and state violations if they discuss these policies publicly or privately.  Not only are they keeping secrets, they are bullying others to maintain cloak of secrecy.   This is the first time Dunwoody residents need to be afraid of their government.
Despite the legal threats, the memo that no one was to talk about or release is now public.  I have attached it this post.
A city that prides itself on openness and transparency has once again failed its citizens.  While a public meeting is scheduled for tomorrow at 9 am to discuss the actions of the last couple of day, the damage is done. They cannot walk it back (only Trump seems to get away with that), they cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube.
Here is the minimum of what they need to do:
·        Fire the Law firm.  This is the same group fired by the city of Brookhaven after they repeatedly were at odds with their city council over the same issues.  Their goal was to stifle interaction between the citizens and city boards and council. Can you say PINK PONY.  All done out of fear of being sued by someone.  I fear that the law firm’s actions here are preemptive moves to excuse the fact that they are going to lose both the Dunwoody Club Forrest and Manget Way cases (see attached memo)
·        Rescind the policy change   If the city and its citizens want to ban HOAs let them do it, but do it in public after open discussions.  Do not single out one HOA.  Treat all volunteer groups that discuss city business or have the ability to lobby voting members of any board.  That includes private conversations with groups like the Preservation Trust and the green shirted Save the Brook Run Theater group.
·        Apologize to each person singled out on the original email and to the DHA membership as a whole.
·        Apologize to every citizen of Dunwoody for violating their trust and pledge of being “open and transparent”.  Just because a lawyer tells you to do something, you do not have to do it.
The city needs to be held accountable by the State Attorney General’s office.  We created the city of Dunwoody to have transparent government closer to the people.  I’m afraid in this instance, that isn’t what we have gotten.  Lo, how the mighty have fallen.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Back to the Bounty of a 4x8 Raised Bed

This is a throw back to the start of this blog.
I decided this year to return to the Dunwoody Community Garden
Did my "volunteer" work by  rebuilding 4 of the food pantry beds that had seen better days and then focused on just 1 4X8 bed of my own.

Started at the end of February and panted 24 heads of Romaine lettuce.  For the first time I actually clipped leaves and collected a good 6-8 gallon bags of lettuce leaves perfect for home salads.
With the warmer weather approaching I harvested all 24 heads of lettuce  and donated them to the Food pantry at St. Pats.  I am guessing  each head weighed at least 3/4 of a pound so that was a total yield of lettuce of some 20 lbs

Planting early I went for just four tomato plants and  six mixed pepper plants.  I separated the two bu planting with about 20 onion sprouts.

Water, weed and a little organic fertilizer from Farmer D's, and the harvest began 8 weeks later.

First one was about 10 days ago.  Only 2 tomatoes ready but a lot still green on the vine..  a shopping bag full of red onions and assorted  peppers, ( no bell peppers , too boring). and a good 10 pounds of large red onions..

I figure that  I have about 10 pounds of tomatoes on the vine now and I am sure I will be getting some more peppers as the plants are full of the small white flowers that mark the beginning..

All and all I figure the garden, one 4X8 raised bed will have delivered at least 40-50 pounds of produce in one short spring and early summer season.

What I do next with this little farm I do not know yet.  More summer crops  or cover  crop t with some clover and wait till late summer and early fall.  Time will tell.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Trump continues to lose the war

It has been about a week since my last post about Donald Trump.  In that post I questioned HOW he was going to do all the things he promised to do.  The responses I received were quite honestly what I expected.  Not one single person could begin to justify let alone explain a single “platform” or concept that he has bragged about during the last years of campaigning.

The campaign rhetoric continued, with supporters parroting the statements of their new found leader, but not one could explain HOW.  The line that was the fail=safe fall back when I pushed:

“He is going to build the wall and Mexico will pay for it”

But for Trump supporters the mountain of BS only grew higher. 

"I would borrow knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal."

Trump has said he loves debt.  With interest rates being so low the US should be borrowing to pay for infrastructure repair and projects.  When the bills come due the US should ask for a haircut on the debt.

 In other words renege on our debt.  While this may be the way for Trump to escape bad business deals and play the system, doing that to the global financial markets would collapse economies around the world including ours.

Once again bravado and campaign slogans with no real understanding of real world wide consequences.

What of some of the other “promises” and bravado claims he has made and is now already changing?

The general election contest has not even started and he is changing his stance on taxes, minimum wage and the all so important self-financing his campaign.  So in the end, despite how we know he will spin it he will be part of the system.
Come on Trump supporters, give me something.  So far you are only deeper in the whole. 
As my good friend says, “it sounds like bullshit to me”

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Trump Wins the Battle and Loses the War

I resigned myself  a  while back that Donald Trump will be the nominee of the Republican Party. Two years ago I predicted that Ted Cruz could never win a national election

Hillary will be the nominee so it will be Trump vs the  Angel of Deceit and Lies in November.

We Republicans have managed to nominate the only candidate that Hillary will crush.

We are witnessing the self destruction of the Republican Party.

I wrote many a post about how the Tea Party or the American Liberty Party were trouble, not for the Democrats but the Republicans.  A wing of extremists that while believing that they or "right for America" are a wing that cannot win nationally.  It was the likes of Ted Cruz and Company that so polarized the the political scene with their scorched earth politics that brought the system to a halt.  That fueled the just as outrageous behavior of  Harry Reid who never allowed a Republican bill to even reach the Senate floor for a vote

The system that served us so well for 200 years came to a grinding halt.

Now Trump supporters claim that he will fix the system  He is change and that is what is needed. Nothing could be further from the truth.  The world is not a business deal.  The world has historically reacted negatively to any leader that  is viewed as a bully..  So no matter how much he shouts, insults, degrades he is not going to change it.  He will become a bad footnote in history if by some miracle he were able to pull of the most sunning upset of all time and actually beat Hillary

If by that miracle he  is elected we will  lose the House in 2018 and maybe the Senate.  In 2020 we will definitely lose the Senate and the WH to a democrat who is more like Bernie than Hillary. Perhaps Elizabeth Warren.  With all of these changes we will lose for another decade the opportunity to select and confirm Federal Judges including the Supreme Court.

The numbers bring us back to reality.  He cannot win when he will get no Democrat cross over votes.  He cannot win even with independents, because independents will tend to lean to the the left come November.  He cannot win  if he does not have support of more that 65% of the women in this country.  He cannot win if the Bernie supporters rally around Hillary.  That is going to happen because I believe that Bernie supporter hate one thing more than they dislike Hillary and that is the idea of a Trump Presidency

So congratulations Republicans,  you won the battle, scorched the earth, and lost the war

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Thank you Jean Williams

I was saddened to hear of the recent passing of Commissioner Jean Williams.  For those of you who are relative newcomers to Dunwoody, you may not even know who she was.  Jean was an early DeKalb County Commissioner and lived in Dunwoody.  The Williams Room at the Dunwoody Library is named in honor of her husband Bill who was also a DeKalb County Commissioner. 
Together they were a vital part of the beginning of the community of Dunwoody.  Long before City Councils, Preservation Trusts and the DHA, Jean worked tirelessly for her neighbors.  She helped introduce me to civic responsibility and showed me how to work for the community that she loved.
Here is the link to a story in this week’s Crier.

Thank you Jean for all you did for your neighbors

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I hear the FAT Lady singing

If this guy wins is it the end of the Republican Party? 

Government is not, despite what some would want you to believe is not a business. It is not a game where you can make mistakes and declare a "do over" by declaring bankruptcy.
It is not a game where you can alienate more than half of the electorate and expect anything to get done.( the last 8 years have shown that)
I mourn the loss of a Republican Party that would support a man that has been a democrat all of his lif

I mourn the loss of political parties that have lost the ability to govern effectively and employ a scorched earth policy that at the end of the day will leave us a weaker nation both internally and across the world.  Anger is not an agenda nor is it the foundation for a strong national policy.

God I hope I am wrong.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Apologies to Councilman Thompson and his staff

I attended a Dunwoody Homeowner's Association meeting last night to hear the presentation for the new development that is planned for the intersection of I-285 and Ashford Dunwoody Road:

It is going to be a game changer for this gateway of Dunwoody and I recommend that everyone pay attention and attend  future meeting to make sure you voice is heard.
On the subject of making sure your voice is heard, I heard Councilman Thompson loud and clear.  As most of you who know me, I am a man of many opinions and very seldom do I hold back expressing them.  They are neither right nor wrong, they are just mine.  I do however try to make sure I use statement of FACT when forming those opinions.  In my last post I missed a very important fact.

Councilman Thompson pointed out to me that while most of the city council has little or no professional zoning experience he in fact does.  He is a lawyer and as I knew and simply forgot, his practice does include business and commercial law.  He does have experience in the area of zoning and for that oversight I apologize to Doug and his staff.  There was no slight intended.  For the record, Doug mentioned this, not to call me out on it, but just to let me know that he and his staff found my omission  a bit "amusing"  It was all in good fun  My apology is real.

The message of the original post remains.  We are entering a new  stage of life for the city of Dunwoody. I hope that all members of the City Council and residents are prepared.