Dear Decaturish – ‘Wait and see’ isn’t an option

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt December 2, 2014
DeKalb County Georgia. Source: Google Maps.

DeKalb County Georgia. Source: Google Maps.

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Dear Decaturish,

I wanted to share some thoughts about annexation and cityhood that I hope you will comment on at an upcoming meeting or elsewhere.

1. People keep saying that if they’re not in the new city map they’ll be able to get in later. There’s no assurance of that at all. Mary Kay Woodworth has said that “she would be open to it” at some future date. But she knows that’s meaningless, because she doesn’t represent the future City. The executives of the city – including possibly Mayor Woodworth – will decide based on the value to the city, not based on the desires of the outsiders (or the organizers). She of course is aware of that; and has previously stated her actual feelings about areas south of N Druid Hills. Only two people can “guarantee” that option – Mike Jacobs and Fran Millar. They will write the legislation.

2.  Being out of the city means not having the ability to vote for the Mayor and City Council. So see No. 1.

3.  The choice is not “do this or wait”; the choice is to be part of what’s happening, or not. Do you want the ability to impact the future of this area, or to let someone else do it without you? The city will probably win a referendum. So you don’t have the choice of “nothing happening”. The only real choice is to be part of it or not.

4.   No one seems to understand Decatur’s problem. If Decatur expands its housing stock, the housing prices in Decatur will drop. People seem to think that Medlock’s prices will go up to match Decatur values. But economics  tells you that prices of the “high” value will go down; not the other way around. (Look at what’s happening to oil prices as new supply becomes available.) There’s no way the people in Decatur today will want their values to be at risk by a significant supply increase.

5.  And the group pushing the ATL annexation is already agreeing to drop some areas from their map because people are quickly recognizing the negatives. ATL wants Emory (and vice versa), and that forces them to take Druid Hills and/or part of Lindbergh-LaVista. Anything else is expendable. According to the AJC article, ATL is making deals to add a black area in south Fulton to offset any influence or impact of the Druid Hills population. How attractive will that be to the people in this area?

It’s very important to consider the implications of “wait and see”, or “leaving options open”. There may not be as many options in the future as there are today.

– Mike Hughes

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • DecaturNotDecatur

    Great letter, thanks.

  • travelingfool

    Regardless of your actions, there’ll still be a wait and see. Let’s say you’re in Laurel Ridge. They just voted overwhelmingly to not be part of LaVista Hills. See this site for the results. However, all they can do now is wait and see.

    There will be some major push back from DeKalb if Druid Hills determines they want to annex into City of Atlanta AND take Druid Hills High School. At this point all they can do is wait and see what happens with the 3 Republican and 2 Democrats on the State committee that will determine the boundaries for LaVista Hills (sounds like a retirement community) and Tucker. All either of the latter can do is wait and see.

    Unfortunately, our outcome is completely determined by your actions in this scenario.

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