Legislative panel approves Tucker, LaVista Hills bills

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt March 3, 2015
State Rep. Buzz Brockway, chair of the State Government Administration Subcommittee

State Rep. Buzz Brockway, chair of the State Government Administration Subcommittee. File photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The State Government Administration Subcommittee met today and signed off on bills for the proposed cities of Tucker and LaVista Hills.

The bills will now be heard by the full Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday at 8 am at a location to be announced.

Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, objected to the proposals on the grounds they overlapped with other annexation proposals.

Rep. Oliver clarified on March 4 that she is not a subcommittee member and did not get to vote on these proposals.

The attendees said that there would be no changes to the maps to resolve overlaps between the cityhood proposals and annexation proposals. The map for LaVista Hills overlaps overlaps with an annexation proposal for the city of Atlanta. The Tucker map overlaps with a Stone Mountain annexation plan.

Bills for both cities were introduced on Monday, March 2.

Some more details have emerged about the proposed cities.

– If the bills are approved, an incorporation referendum would be held in November 3, 2015.

– Each city would have six council members and a mayor.

– Tucker would have three council districts and three at-large seats. LaVista Hills would have six council districts.

The bill have been published on the state Legislature’s website and are being republished here. Keep checking Decaturish.com for news out of today’s hearing. If you’re attending today’s hearing, feel free to post your observations in the comments section.

LaVista Hills Tucker

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information regarding Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver’s subcommittee membership. She is not a member of the subcommittee that approved the Tucker and LaVista Hills bill and therefore did not have a vote. 

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

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  • RAJ

    Great Republican rubber stamp worked to perfection this afternoon! A slam dunk,not even close! DeKalb Strong(?) took it in the shorts and vowed to fight ;clutching an armful of blue clad, tear soaked, multi-page flyers….no takers today!

    • DecaturNotDecatur

      LOL… now THAT’S funny.

    • Whodean

      The Snookers Are Dekalb Democrat bureaucracy backers.

    • Marjorie Snook

      Poor Raj. He is angry at me for rebuffing his advances.

      This isn’t the way to win a lady over, my dear.

      • RAJ

        Don’t judge a book by it”s cover…..old saying but still true. And by the way you may be surprised by what’s inside…..but doubt you are able to respond! Sorry we missed our afternooner( HGAC meeting), lasted a bit to long and I missed you dearly. The blackened Steelhead trout with home made remoulade sauce w/ baked sweet potato served with nutmeg burre blanc coulee, accompanied by a simple ,off dry, white wine from the cellar was outstanding……but somehow not the same with out you! I understand that life is stressful in your youth….but I am patient!

  • CTH

    I don’t think that Whodean’s comment is funny at all. DeKalb Strong is pushing for reforms in the county and is encouraging a more cautious, planned approach, in an effort to avoid unintended consequences. There is absolutely no connection between it and county bureaucrats.

    • RAJ

      These people from DeKalb Strong are paper tigers, not willing to get their hands dirty in the work of change in DeKalb County. I go to all the County meetings I can possibly attend(not a hero mind you) just doing the public’s work. The only time DS shows up is after they get their makeup on straight and there is publicity to be had! This organization has reached the end of it’s usefulness, since most all of DeKalb is now covered by city-hood proposals. I don’t have to say more ….but I will! Dekalb Strong(?) embraces the corrupt ,seedy, prostitution laced, gambling, drug dealing , political lifestyle of Lee May, Vaughn Irons,and Stan Watson. Need I say more!

      • Save Tucker!

        Wow, your comments are so far off base that they don’t even make sense. How does going to a county meeting equate to “doing the public’s work” in your mind? No one asked you to do anything for the public, so unless you were elected, don’t bother. Please. DeKalb Strong is a group that actually makes a lot of sense if you would actually take time and listen to them. The makeup and camera comments are clearly sexist as you haven’t remarked about the fact that Sen. Millar seems to be constantly seeking media attention and attending meetings outside of his district to keep a pulse on what the public is saying about this grand scheme. Why does he, a Senator from Dunwoody, care so much about what happens here? Shouldn’t he be more concerned about the horrific traffic that all the “economic development” that his area has hoarded for themselves has brought to Dunwoody and the top end perimeter? Shouldn’t he worry about the social injustice of then keeping all that money to themselves instead of helping out the rest of the county during the slow recovery of a major economic crisis? Dunwoody wants to disassociate from the rest of the county because they copy everything they see Sandy Springs do. So, maybe they should go ahead and start doing that right now by keeping Tom Taylor, Fran Millar, Elaine Boyer, Mike Jacobs and the other city starters in their own area where they are free to live in a construction zone filled with apartments and cookie cutter big businesses, enrich their charter school and online education friends and ride Marta. Leave us alone!

  • Hugh Bean

    The hideous, unintentionally poignant comments below from Raj et al effectively illustrate why most citizens loathe the cityhood push and all it represents.

    • MAC

      Hugh, you’re right again. Some of the comments of more than a few cityhood proponents here are way over the top, unnecessarily antagonistic, invective, personally-directed, and totally out of bounds of productive, mature civil debate. I am puzzled why the worst of these commentators are allowed to continue to post here despite multiple reminders to keep it clean.

      But please reflect that these extreme voices DO NOT represent the whole of cityhood supporters out there. Disappointment with the county does not, by default, translate into venomous hostility against it. Moreover, a quest for cityhood is not wholesale reactive against leadership shortcomings. The cityhood quest can also be organically aspirational. I’ve been impressed, for example, by the Tucker cityhood movement, which seems to have forged a healthier marriage between their cityhood goals (grounded in preserving their unique local & historical identity) and a necessary cooperation with the county to which ANY of the new cities will be inextricably tied like it or not.

  • CTH

    I disagree with RAJ completely. People don’t seem to realize that forming new cities does not sever the relationship with DeKalb. Cities only have to take on 3 services – the rest of them are provided by the county. So it behooves everyone to work to make DeKalb stronger. Carving the city up into many pieces only creates more levels of bureaucracy, which gives more opportunity for corruption. This has happened in both Brookhaven and Dunwoody. It would be much better to develop a comprehensive plan for DeKalb. If that involves new cities, let’s do it with a careful plan instead of land grabs by communities, in which each one is trying to capture all of the commercial property it is able to do. I perceive a selfish attitude among the cityhood supporters. They don’t seem to care about the county as a whole, even though a healthy county is essential for all of us.

  • Save Tucker!

    The comments may not represent all of the city supporters, but they do represent the leaders of the movement. It has been this way from the onset of their attack on Central DeKalb, trying to pit people against one another and making it impossible to speak up or ask questions without being attacked personally. And this is how they behave without having any official power to represent anyone. Imagine how they will behave if they actually win a referendum and somehow get elected into an office with a P-card, a staff, a podium, the media and the ability to decide things about where you live and then levy fines against you. No thank you! What we have needs a lot of work, so why don’t some of these self appointed leaders actually run for office? They can have all the local control they want in the system as it exists right now.

    • RAJ

      Most of the “Leaders” you see now will be nowhere to be seen when the real work begins….just cheerleaders on the sideline. Most of the efficient service of the city(only four services out of many)will be performed by contractors doing every day work. No rocket since involved! City will have 9 employees(other than police)and things will work out just fine, Leaders will run for office in six districts and everything will go smoothly. Yes it will take a little work.

  • MAC

    That there are different positions on the cityhood question is natural, and in and of itself not a tragic thing. How we at the individual level manage our position on the matter is what says the best or the worst about us in the context of good citizenship. Personally, I support the cityhood movement in DeKalb (and I’m not speaking as any of the movements’ leaders–I’m a voting resident, plain and simple. I will cast my vote YEA for my area’s cityhood proposal. I stress that I do so NOT because I am angry or bitter with DeKalb County. If the NAYs win the referendum, I’ll graciously accept that outcome and move forward. Easy.
    But it’s important to stress that working toward a stronger DeKalb does not have to happen in mutual exclusion to the creation of new cities. It intrigues me why so many see cityhood in a county as large as DeKalb (nearly 700,000) as if it were alien from outer space. Fulton’s nearly 1 million residents have some 15 incorporated areas within that county; Cobb’s nearly 700,00 has 7; Clayton’s 260,000 has 7 (pretty high number relative to its number of residents); Gwinnett’s 800,000–smaller population than Fulton–has a whopping 17 cities/towns! DeKalb currently has 9 cities. If all of the cityhood proposals are successful (and that’s being optimistic since it’s possible for one, any or all to fail referendum), it still wouldn’t have as many cities as its larger county peers in the state, and the percentages: population/ # of cities still would in no way make DeKalb an outlier. Throughout the nation, big counties tend to have more incorporated areas within them, which speaks to localized needs, desires, and aspirations that communities quest to exercise when a mega county cannot, for whatever reasons, satisfy those localized needs.

    • factivist

      MAC, you are the most logical poster I’ve seen lately, and you make such important points. I hope more people will stop and think carefully, instead of treating this as some sort of game to be won. This is about trying to restore our once-great county that has grown too large and unwieldy for a single central government, which unfortunately is now mired in corruption. Like other densely populated counties in the nation, better-run areas within DeKalb can help the whole county. Holding on to the past should not keep us from striving for a better future for not only our local communities, but the whole county. We are not the rural agrarian county of 100 years ago, and I, for one, am willing to move forward into the 21st century of governance with whatever new cities can be an asset to our county. It is not an us-against-them situation, not a game — it is our families, our homes, our neighborhoods, and hopefully building local units to bring back the magic of DeKalb.

      • MAC

        Factivist, few (myself included), could have said it better. I especially appreciate the point that you hit home about an agrarian DeKalb of a century ago, being very different from one that has grown upward and well beyond the half-million mark, a reality that NECESSITATES new arrangements (well-planned, healthy, and strong entities within) capable of maintaining and strengthening the county whole, while at the same time being more responsive to localized aspirations and needs.

        • Marjorie Snook

          But is this current plan ‘responsive to localized needs.’? The area with lower crime is going to have it’s own police force, and the area with higher crime is not. The area with a great need for park acquisition (LVH) has budgeted almost nothing to that purpose. Communities in the Druid Hills High School cluster have been desperately asking to be let out, so if their high school annexes into Atlanta they can go with it; cityhood organizers have refused to even meet with these neighborhoods.

          I agree that there could be a way to municipalize that creates healthy entities within the whole that respond to community needs. Unfortunately, the current proposals do not acheive this goal.

          • RAJ

            School issue should be off the table for this year as of Monday if the City of Winship bill is dropped. Don’t see an annexation by Atlanta and schools probably remain the same for another year. I had planned to take the day off, but a phone call came in this morning and my blood pressure shot up like a rocket! Another damn map issue. Look, LVH police will free up County police to better cover high crime areas of the County and I will take care of the already planned three year and five year restorative parks plan as outlined by the future Parks Director.

          • MAC

            Marjorie, thanks for the comment. Cityhood proposals contain the ingredients and address the mechanisms required by the legislature to create cities. A proposal is in no way intended to speak in any exhaustive way to all of the needs of a new city. The goal that a cityhood proposal is designed to achieve is cityhood itself, plain and simple. How could a mere document be expected to do so? Put another way, the U.S Constitution established the structural foundations of American society, but it didn’t (and couldn’t) propose to fix all problems for posterity–alas, the country, after 230+ years of existence is STILL a work in progress. In a similar vein, once achieved, a new city then has the political and material capital with which to gauge and address the needs, aspirations, and concerns expressed by its citizens.

            As you well know, the selection of three services is what’s required in a cityhood proposal according to the Georgia State Legislature. For a city aspirant to select, let’s say Code Enforcement over Policing in its proposal hardly means that the proposed city devalues protection and crime reduction–or worse, that it somehow deems building code conformity to be a higher priority than law enforcement…that reasoning is faulty. If the Tucker Cityhood leadership, for example, chooses not to select Policing in its inaugural proposal, the new city will work closely and cooperatively with the county to provide and to enhance that service. And more, if the citizens of a new city of Tucker desire at a later date to ADD a city-run police department (or some other service), the charter permits that possibility–at the behest of the voters. I find an approach that delays the implementation of high-ticket services until a fledgling city stabilizes, grounds itself and its finances, and had better grasp and view of the will of the masses, totally wise and totally prudent.

            Marjorie, thanks for the comment. Cityhood proposals contain the ingredients and address the mechanisms required by the legislature to create cities. A proposal is in no way intended to speak in any exhaustive way to all of the needs of a new city. The goal that a cityhood proposal is designed to achieve is cityhood itself, plain and simple. Put another way, the U.S Constitution established the structural foundations of American society, but it didn’t (and couldn’t) propose to fix all problems for posterity–alas, the country, after 230+ years of existence is STILL a work in progress. In similar vein, once achieved, a new city THEN has the political and material capital with which to gauge and to address the needs, aspirations, and concerns expressed by its citizens.

            As you well know, the selection of three services is what’s required in a cityhood proposal according to the Georgia State Legislature. For a city aspirant to select, let’s say Code Enforcement over Policing in its proposal hardly means that the proposed city devalues protection and crime reduction–or worse, that it somehow deems building code conformity to be a higher priority than law enforcement…that reasoning is faulty. If the Tucker Cityhood leadership, for example, chooses not to select Policing in its inaugural proposal, the new city will work closely and cooperatively with the county to provide and to enhance that service. And more, if the citizens of a new city of Tucker desire at a later date to ADD a city-run police department (or some other service), the charter permits that possibility–at the behest of the voters. I find an approach that delays the implementation of high-ticket services until a fledgling city stabilizes, grounds itself and its finances, and has better grasp and view of the will of the masses, totally wise and totally prudent.

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