Controversial changes to LaVista Hills, Tucker map approved

Posted by March 20, 2015
Closeup of the Georgia State Capitol. Photo by Connor Carey. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Closeup of the Georgia State Capitol. Photo by Connor Carey. Source: Wikimedia Commons

This story has been updated with the new maps of LaVista Hills and Tucker, approved by the Senate SLOGO Committee.

The Senate State and Local Governmental Operations Committee approved proposals to create the cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker Thursday — but with controversial changes to a compromise map that was created last year.

The AJC reports the Senate committee amended the legislation to move the Livsey precinct from Tucker to LaVista Hills.

State Senator Fran Millar, SD-40, told Decaturish Thursday morning before the vote, “The Livsey precinct will be in LaVista Hills. It will not be in Tucker. 2,000 people. I represent them. 80% of them want to be in LaVista Hills. That’s where I put them.”

Millar continued, “Scott Holcomb knows they want to be there too. We’ve gone to meetings over there where people have said that. Last time I checked, Scott and I are the ones who represent those people. I don’t need someone from another area telling me these people can’t be there.”

In a statement on Facebook, representatives of Tucker 2015 said, “If the bill passes the Senate, it will then go back to the House due to the map change. We are disappointed that the LaVista Hills leadership chose not to honor the boundary agreement. We are heartbroken that once again many of you find yourselves removed from the Tucker map.”

Tucker 2015 said areas removed from the proposed city of Tucker are all of Livsey, Shadow Walk Lane, the QT shopping center, the shopping center at Britt Road and Chamblee-Tucker, Briarglen Court, homes on Thornbriar Road, and Scyler Way and Scyler Place.

Last year, a cityhood subcommittee was appointed to create a unified map. Both Tucker and LaVista Hills agreed to stick to the boundary. A few days ago, when rumors of the map change were swirling, LaVista Hills YES released a statement saying,

The House subcommittee’s charge was to draw the boundary between the proposed cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker. While neither effort was 100% satisfied with the outcome, we agreed to abide by that decision. We continue to maintain that the line drawn by the subcommittee is the border between our two cityhood efforts.

We are aware that constituents who reside in all of the cityhood and annexation efforts before the legislature are contacting their Representatives and Senators, requesting changes to boundaries. We are not part of this legislative discussion.

Today LaVista Hills YES said, “Senator Millar’s amended map for LaVista Hills will be posted as soon as we receive from him. We do not have complete, specific details of the changes.”

Comments on the LaVista Hills YES page included concerns that the late changes would get both city measures killed.

In his discussion with Decaturish Thursday, Sen. Millar said, “Three city studies, and it boils down to this. We send something over to the house, if they agree, they get the cities. If they don’t agree, they’re probably all dead.”

State Rep. Buzz Brockway, R-Lawrenceville, was one of five appointed members who created the compromise map last year. He released the following statement on his Facebook page:

When House Governmental Affairs Chairman Amy Carter asked me last year to chair a subcommittee tasked with drawing a border between the proposed cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker, the goal, in my mind, was to avoid a situation where one city proposal was getting almost everything they wanted and the other was getting very little of what they wanted. When the subcommittee finished it’s work, I said the line between the two cities was set in stone, meaning I could not support any changes to that line. The Senate SLOGO committee changed the line today. They have the right to do so, but it puts us back to where we were last year, with one group getting almost everything they want and the other getting very little of what they want. I gave my word to the people of both city hood groups that I would not support changes to that line and I will be true to my word. The Legislative process is far from over but in their present form, I stand now opposed to both the LaVista Hills and Tucker bills.

The cityhood bills now must be approved by the full Senate before going back to the House which has to decide whether to accept or reject the changes. Below are the maps approved by the Senate SLOGO committee, provided to Decaturish by the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office.

Tucker-SD040-p1(dist)-2015 – 11×17 map, full detail LaVistaHills-p2-2015 – 11×17 map, full detail


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  • Ann Barber

    Any word on Decatur annexation?

    • guest2

      Drenner is sponsoring the eastern portion (basically Church St.).

  • guest2

    Do they have to choose one or the other (Senate or House bill) under their rules or can they choose a 3rd option?

  • AW

    It does not include ALL of Livsey, only half of the school attendance area. It includes all of what is called the Livsey voting precinct.

  • Guest

    Buzz is 100% right. I hope he can work with enough of his colleagues to get them to understand what has happened and derail the effort or get Tucker 2015 and LVH into a room to hash out a compromise for the theft of the Livsey area. No official, unbiased entity has done a house-to-house survey of the Livsey voting precinct, so I do not believe Millar’s 80% number.

  • Hugh Bean

    I hope Buzz stays the course. We don’t need any changes to the committee’s map, at least on the border between LaVista Hills and Tucker.

  • MAC

    Rep. Brockway has consistently demonstrated his integrity as a legislator and his fairness throughout this process. I appreciate his statement on the matter, and while I think it will be a tragic waste of the time and effort of so many, Senator Millar’s political machinations and disregard for the process should not be tolerated for the sake getting these cityhood bills passed. Getting bogged down in whether Millar’s 80% poll on Livsey voices is accurate or not–while certainly exaggerated–is beside the point. The point is the House Affairs Subcommittee worked hard to establish a boundary that both groups agreed to abide by and live with.

    • guest2

      Its not beside the point at all. It is the point. The goal should be to follow what the residents want, not what a bunch of self-appointed committee members want.

      • MAC

        Guest2, if it’s the point, follow that point to its logical conclusion and the communities where the majority have expressed an overwhelming desire to be left out of the LVH map should be removed. Right? But alas. Politics, like statistics and polls can be manipulated to the benefit of the manipulator. I reiterate my point: it was understood that the map that came from the House Gov. Affairs Subcommittee would not be a perfect set of boundaries that would satisfy ALL residents within those boundaries, but it WAS the clear path to cityhood for BOTH Tucker and LVH–if only followed.

        Tucker followed the path provided; LVH didn’t. No doubt Tucker could have requested an amendment based on the voices of Tucker proponents from communities that found themselves within the new LVH boundaries, but the Tucker leadership opted, instead, to move forward with the path provided them for the sake of greater good. The greater good was cityhood even if it came at the expense of neighbors who didn’t get what they wanted. In a compromise, everybody can’t and doesn’t get what they want. LVH couldn’t swallow that truth, which might have cost both groups their chance at cityhood as a result. THAT, my friend, is the real point at play here…

        • guest2

          I haven’t heard any claims of any area wanting to be in Tucker that is in LVH. You’re speaking theoretically. As for neighborhoods that don’t want to be in either, there are probably some of those. As long as both are financially viable, the border areas should be determined by the residents of those border areas.

          • MAC

            It’s funny that you accuse me of speaking theoretically in the same breath that you cite what you’ve “not heard” about areas wanting to be in Tucker. How empirical is what you’ve heard?? Still, you do admit that neighborhoods have expressed a desire not to be in either. If it’s necessary, as you say, for the will of the residents to determine the boundaries, what of those neighborhoods? Shouldn’t they be removed from the maps based on their opposition?

            My question is rhetorical. I’ve already spoken about the “greater good,” the master plan (cityhood) that unfortunately can never yield an outcome that will satisfy EVERYONE. That’s an impossibly tall order. After the line was drawn in December, Tucker proponents ended up within the LVH boundaries and vice versa. That’s a fact. The Tucker leadership accepted that outcome; LVH agreed to accept the outcome in December, but then reneged with a bad faith and underhanded move at the SLOGO meeting on Thursday. Because of the LVH amendments, the bills now go back to the House where they BOTH have a good chance of dying, especially in light of Rep. Brockway’s publically-expressed opposition to the LVH amendment, which he views and unfair and out of the spirit the Subcommittee’s deliberations. That fact, my friend, is the only point worth focusing on at this delicate stage in the game. Rehashing Tucker vs. LVH jockeying is so passé, so pre Dec. 2014.

  • Anne

    I know there’s a legislative process that must be followed, but it seems unfair that legislators from Lawrenceville and other areas have the power to decide the borders of LVH and Tucker. WHY can’t LVH & Tucker compromise between themselves??? Because of this stubborn boundary dispute, it’s likely that both proposals are now dead and residents of those areas will not have a chance to vote in a referendum.

    • MAC

      Anne, thanks so much for chiming in. Your point is well taken. While the SLOGO Committee that made this recent, potentially show-stopping decision is indeed composed, in part, of legislators from other areas, the amendment that was the basis of the decision was signed, sealed, and delivered to the SLOGO Committee by Senator Millar, who does represent the area AND who is/was well aware of the repercussions for Tucker and LVH’s cityhood prospects. He pushed it forth anyway, and the committee, composed of his senatorial colleagues (most Millar’s junior) gave him what he asked for. That they did so unaware of the consequences or irresistibly deferential to a senior member is anybody’s guess–probably a combination of the two.

      You ask why can’t Tucker and LVH compromise between themselves. For me and for most objective observers, both groups’ agreement to accept the line that was drawn in December as a result of the House Gov. Affairs Subcommittee’s hard work and careful deliberations (a line that considered tons of data, surveys, and polling information made available to the subcommittee by both groups), constitutes THE compromise. Had LVH and their proxy, Millar, accepted THAT compromise, the original compromise, Tucker and LVH would have had a pretty clear path to a November referendum.

      At this point, the whole process is in serious jeopardy–we’re looking at a possible outcome that could result in a big waste of people’s time and money. Let it be clear, NOT because of any border dispute (the so-called border dispute was resolved in December). The true culprit here is a heavy dose of greed and ego. For me, the biggest losers are the Tucker supporters because they gracefully accepted the loses that came out of the subcommittee’s decision, abided by the terms of the “compromise,” and refused to play politics with the border decision. While Tucker did in no way serve up any land-grabbing amendment scheme to match, rival, or respond to the LVH amendment, its cityhood propspects indeed may be dashed because of LVH’s reckless and selfish gamble, and that reality is the most unjust piece of this saga…

      • Guest2

        Its not mentioned that the Senate adjusted the southern boundaries of LVH slightly near Toco Hills and deleted the area west of Briarcliff.
        But LVH isn’t saying much about this. Its mainly the Tucker people whining as they have been for 2 years. I don’t live in either area, so I’m not picking sides, just making an observation.

        • MAC

          Guest2, for someone who doesn’t live in the area, your statements have been consistently defensive of the LVH side of things. Sounds an awful like you are picking sides to me, and that’s ok. Just call a spade a spade. By the way, none of the other adjustments that you’re citing constitute a gain to the Tucker map, so what’s your angle? A good faith and more fair approach would have been for both Tucker and LVH to have had the opportunity to engage these last-minute changes. Instead, the LVH shoehorned a grab of territory, and in so doing, has placed in jeopardy the process for both groups. I keep coming back to that point, and your response resorts back to a childish, irrelevant, and inaccurate “Tucker-Whines” default.

          When LVH supporters write letters requesting a change to the outcome of a decision (the original boundaries drawn by the House Subcommittee, for example), you frame that as a legitimate protest. However, when Tucker supporters exercise the same right and protest an outcome deemed by outside observers as unfair and detrimental to the entire process for BOTH groups, you dismiss that legitimate protest as “whining.” It’s possible to advocate for one side or the other and still be mature and intellectually sound in the debate.

          Scroll up to the top of this page. The title of this article, “CONTROVERSIAL changes,” was dubbed and written, not by a Tucker supporter, but rather by a news source whose job it is to report in a fair and objective way. Why would an independent journalist, who has been consistently objective in his coverage of the Tucker and LVH cityhood saga use the term “controversial” in reporting what took place at the SLOGO hearing? And further, which side is responsible for an action that became the source of recent controversy?

          • guest2

            There’s a difference between writing a letter and whining in public about a deal.
            And you’re proving my point. I’m not saying those people should be in LVH. I’m saying they should be where they want to be (which I make no claim to know).
            TuckerNow doesn’t own them and neither does the rep from Lawrenceville. If they were talking about primarily commercial revenue producing properties like in Northlake, there would be a justified complaint. As it is, its arrogance from Brockaway and the TuckerNow leadership.
            BTW, IMO last year’s Lakeside leaders and Millar frequently came across looking pretty bad as well.

          • MAC

            Stating one’s argument and position on the issues hardly constitutes whining. Nor is the distinction between whining and not made on the basis of expressing one’s opinion by letter vs. by social media. In this age of technology, both are legitimate vehicles of expression. They’re not mutually exclusive activities. But rest assured, I’ve written my fair share of letters too. Only time will tell how it all shakes out for everyone.

  • Medlock Mom

    For Millar to site his constituent’s desires as a reason he made these changes is a joke. There are many already on the LVH map who never wanted to be on it and have lobbied hard to get off of it, why wouldn’t their voices matter? My neighborhood (Medlock Park) has been surveyed twice and LVH was not an option we wanted, but this new map splits our neighborhood, putting half of us in LVH. This whole process is a mess.

  • Guest

    I live in the disputed area, graduated from Lakeside, and am part of the Evansdale district. We’ve voiced our preference to be part of the Lakeside map from the beginning, as have most of the people in our neighboring streets. Millar is responding appropriately to the letters received from us and our neighbors. I love Tucker, but I’ve also watched Tucker do very little over the years. I’ve watched the LH group do more in 3 years than I’ve seen Tucker and the Northlake area do in 30. This is a good motivating force for the area. Tucker is being kicked into gear by this movement. Allow us to be part of the map we are petitioning to be part of.

    • MAC

      Guest, first, there is no “disputed area” and there has not been a designation of such since the House Subcommittee drew the boundaries in December, boundaries that Tucker and LVH agreed to abide by for the sake of path to cityhood for BOTH groups. Second, your and your neighbors’ voices, while certainly vocal aren’t the ONLY voices in the mix. There were Livsey residents present at Thursday’s SLOGO meeting (which I attended) advocating strongly in support of remaining in the Tucker map as drawn in the boundaries. Many residents writing letters in no way constitutes a conclusive, data-driven assessment of the will of the masses in an area. Third, if Millar was simply responding to the expressed will of residents, why did his land-grab amendment target and include non-residential COMMERCIAL assets namely Pittsburg Plaza and Tucker Square Shopping Center?

      You’re certainly entitled to your stance against Tucker, though it is misguided and hyperbolic. Your hyperbole is clear for anyone to observe when you say that LVH has accomplished more in 3 years than Tucker in the past 30. How is that remotely possible? Last time I checked, LVH is a CONCEPT, a mere name that came into existence about 4 months ago. There’s an important word that should always be at play. That word is integrity. When integrity is absent in leaders, it will certainly be absent in the followers.

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