Cityhood supporters and foes find a rare patch of common ground

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt April 9, 2015
DeKalb County Georgia. Source: Google Maps.

DeKalb County Georgia. Source: Google Maps.

This story has been updated. 

DeKalb Strong, a group formed in response to the process of creating new cities in DeKalb County, will become the public face of the opposition to the proposed cities of Tucker and LaVista Hills.

Meanwhile, LaVista Hills and Tucker supporters are planning to rally support ahead of the November cityhood referendum.

While that might look like a clear line dividing the two camps, there is agreement between LaVista Hills Chairman Allen Venet and DeKalb Strong President Marjorie Snook. Both say the state Legislature needs to reexamine its current cityhood and annexation processes.

“I think the General Assembly is starting to realize they need to try and restore some sanity to this process before it gets worse,” Snook said. “I think it’s made them realize this is not an issue of DeKalb. We have a broken cityhood process in the state of Georgia.”

Venet said that even though his cityhood movement was the beneficiary of the current process, it’s still a flawed process.

“The legislature handles annexations along one path, and handles city proposals along a different path and it was not easy for anyone to get those paths coordinated because those paths don’t currently meet the way the Legislature is organized,” Venet said.

State Sen. Elena Parent said in an email to constituents that there is currently a plan to reexamine the “broken and unfair process” of annexation and cityhood.

“I was able to pass a Resolution to create a Senate Study Committee that will recommend formalizing this process,” she wrote. “This committee, I hope, will bring all the key players to the table for an honest discussion on how creating cities, and annexing unincorporated areas can be transparent and fair to those that want it and those that don’t.”

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver said the House passed a similar proposal.

Several key conflicts emerged during the recent debate over the incorporation process.

Which comes first: Annexation or cityhood? 

A plan to annex Druid Hills, including Emory University, into the City of Atlanta illustrated one major procedural flaw. Parts of the map promoted by a group called Together in Atlanta overlapped with a plan put forward by LaVista Hills.

Cityhood bills are introduced as general legislation, which does not require approval of the majority of the county’s legislative delegation. If a cityhood bill was local legislation, it would require the consent of nine of DeKalb’s 16 House delegation members and four of seven DeKalb County Senators to move forward. Annexation bills are considered local legislation.

New cities have been vehemently opposed by Democrats that control the delegations of some Atlanta counties. To get around this, when the Republicans took control of the Legislature they changed the rules so that city legislation could be general legislation. This is why Sandy Springs finally formed in 2005 after decades of trying to become a city. But annexation has remained local legislation. That conflict came to a head this year as multiple existing cities pursued annexation plans as Tucker and LaVista Hills pursued their cityhood bills.

Also, cityhood bills work on a shorter time table, having to pass one chamber of the General Assembly by Crossover Day. Annexation bills are not bound by Crossover Day rules which means the process of passing those bills could take longer.

Annexation bills for Decatur, Avondale Estates and Atlanta all failed this year.

Too many methods? 

While there is only one method for forming a new city, via referendum, there are four different ways to annex property into a new city. One method is by a petition. LaVista Hills learned this firsthand when Brookhaven used the petition method to annex Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Executive Park into its city limits before the start of the 2015 Legislative session. Both had been in the LaVista Hills map.

Annexing property by referendum is also has been targeted for reform. During the session, state Rep. Beth Beskin, R-Atlanta, introduced a bill that would change the process for annexation referendums. Currently only people in the area to-be annexed have a right to vote under the state law. Beskin’s legislation would change the rules so people in both the existing cities and the proposed areas to be annexed would get a chance to vote. The Legislation died this year.

Flexible rules

The Legislative process for moving forward with cityhood bill is largely dependent on rules established by the General Assembly. But the Legislature bent those rules to allow Tucker and LaVista Hills to move forward. Specifically, the two cityhood movements were not required to have a completed feasibility study for their proposals to move forward. A feasibility study would show whether the city could generate enough tax revenue to provide services to residents.

While both had completed these studies during the 2014 Legislative session, the maps changed. LaVista Hills was a combination of two previous cityhood movements: Briarcliff and Lakeside. The LaVista Hills map and Tucker maps both split commercial property each wanted. When both cities were approved, neither had an updated study reflecting the new maps.

Meanwhile, two other proposed cities – Greenhaven and Stonecrest – were not successful at making it through the Legislature this year. Both completed feasibility studies.

Both Greenhaven and Stonecrest have a population that is over 90 percent black. While there are no updated studies for Tucker and LaVista Hills yet, data from prior studies and Census data suggest that both will be majority white cities.

An Atlanta Journal Constitution article says that LaVista Hills’ population would be 57 percent white, 18 percent black, 16 percent Hispanic and 9 percent Asian. Tucker’s population would be 49 percent white, 34 percent black, 9 percent Hispanic and 6 percent Asian, the AJC story says. To read the full story, click here.

The 2015 General Assembly was more flexible with the rules for proposed majority white cities than it was with majority black cities.

Kathryn Rice, chairperson of the group behind Greenhaven cityhood, avoided mentioning race while commenting on the apparent double standard during an email summarizing the 2015 session.

“We found the legislative process for cityhood to be a challenge,”  she wrote. “The rules were not consistent and we found that exceptions were made for some but not others. We at (Concerned Citizens for Cityhood of South DeKalb) believe that we complied with all the requirements; however, there were legislators that interpreted the rules differently from us. Sometimes it was frustrating when there seemed to be blatant exceptions to the rules for some proposed cities while narrowly adhering to their rules for others (like Greenhaven).”

More input needed

Toward the end of the 2015 session the LaVista Hills map was altered so that it now takes in parts of the Mason Mill and Medlock Park neighborhoods. Those changes caught residents of those neighborhoods by surprise.

The arbitrary, indifferent nature of the current process can be harmful, Snook said.

“We are not opposed to the idea of any new cities in DeKalb but we are opposed to these new cities,” Snook said. “We clearly know that the boundaries are haphazard and ill-thought out …They do a lot of damage to existing communities. We feel that in general, the cityhood process needs to be a lot more careful, a lot more thought out and invite more public input.”

Venet said there’s a compelling argument for approving LaVista Hills cityhood this year. He also sees the benefit of reexamining the process.

“The short answer is yes,” Venet said. “The long answer is the existing laws have worked and we are proceeding under the law as it is. Would it be good if the Legislature and the laws had a better way of coordinating, for example annexation plans and city plans? Well certainly, yes.”

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • RAJ

    Dan…Very unfortunate that you were not able to cover the legislative session your self or send someone to get a more complete picture of the annexation and city-hood process; I understand your problem. By contrast I had the luxury(?) of spending 3-4 days per week for 10 weeks at the gold dome. I think going in, the majority party said that Northside cities would be considered this year, Southside cities next year; City-hood this year, annexations next year. When you consider that 158 other counties besides DeKalb have business to do during the session that probably makes sense. City-hood and annexation bills take different routes and I suppose an annexation bill could be a general bill and I think Stonecrest or Greenhaven may have been a local bill. You may want to check. Your comments on race are less than appropriate, Kathy Rice(a friend)probably did not mention race in her comments because when you consider the three prominent minority categories in both Tucker and LaVista Hills they comprise more than 40% of the population in each proposed city. With respect to the City-hood/Annexation study committees established in both the House and Senate both are promoted by anti-city-hood forces and aimed at fostering the annexation of a large part of Southwest DeKalb by the City of Atlanta. Meetings will be held this summer at which I will likely be in attendance!

    • I would’ve loved to have a full time employee down there, but right now I’m my company’s only FTE. I hope that changes. As far as the appropriateness of race in this discussion, I find that people seldom think it’s an appropriate topic to bring up in any discussion, even when it’s staring them right in the face. The white majority cities (and yes, more than 50 percent is a majority, particularly when the county we’re talking about is majority minority) got preferential treatment. Did they get that because they were majority-white cities or because the Legislature was just sick of dealing with Tucker and LaVista Hills? My point is, the reason why doesn’t really matter. The result does. Majority white cities had the rules bent for them and are going to be on the ballot in November. Majority-black cities didn’t get any of those favors and they’ll have to reapply next year. It’s a basic issue of fairness. Because of the way it played out, the process has the appearance of being unfair. Why are we making one group play by the rules and not another? Tucker and LaVista Hills both have compelling arguments to make. Greenhaven and Stonecrest do, too. But only Tucker and LaVista Hills are going to get a chance to make their case this year. Why?

      • guest2

        LaVista Hills and Tucker were working on it last year and got scuttled at the last moment. Would it be fair to make them take 3 years instead of 2? They came in last year under the rules that had been applied before (or ignored before). What would have been unfair would be making them wait another year.
        There are big issues with South Fulton and Greenhaven (neither of them make any sense at all). Stonecrest wants all the same land Lithonia wants. LaVista Hills and Tucker mainly had conflicts with each other.
        You also aren’t noting that Sharon Springs didn’t pass. That overwhelmingly white proposed city was treated the same as South Fulton, Greenhaven and Stonecrest.

        • Actually, Briarcliff and Lakeside were working on it last year, in addition to Tucker. Only Lakeside and Tucker were introduced. The feasibility studies are based on the maps in the actual proposals. We are assuming that studies for the new Tucker and Briarcliff + Lakeside = LaVista Hills map would show those cities would be economically viable, and they probably would be. But that’s not the process that was established. As far as Sharon Springs, I only heard about this proposed city today. It’s not in DeKalb and was not a factor in the current annexation, cityhood debate regarding this county. I don’t think it’s a fair comparison because it was not in direct competition or even running parallel to the cities I’m discussing here. Four DeKalb cities were being discussed. Two wound up on the ballot. Two didn’t. The two that did were majority white. The two that didn’t were majority black. You can argue race had nothing to do with that, and I can’t argue that it did. I’m not a mind reader. I’m just pointing out that the results of this process give an appearance of unfairness.

          • guest2

            The legislature dealt with all 6 of the city proposals, not just the 4 in DeKalb. And the merged two that were seriously pushed last year were the two that got through this year. Stonecrest was brought up at the end of last year, but almost as an afterthought.
            Its true that they didn’t apply all the rules to LVH and Tucker. But they never applied those rules to cities in the past. So LVH and Tucker were effectively “grandfathered.” It makes perfect sense without resorting to racial overtones and doesn’t to me have ANY appearance of unfairness. Changing the way things were done to stop LVH and Tucker would have had the appearance of unfairness.

          • guest2

            Now the whole thing is political which is part of the problem. Georgia needs to look at how other states do new cities and annexation.
            For annexation, Texas has a concept of extra-territorial jurisdiction that solves a lot of these issues. Existing cities have limited control over areas beyond their city limits and don’t need to go to the legislature to annex areas in that extra-territorial jurisdiction. For the largest cities, its 5 miles beyond their borders, with shorter distances for smaller cities. Now Texas doesn’t even require a referendum. I’m sure Georgia doesn’t want to go that direction, but the city could arrange elections without the legislature’s involvement.

          • guest2

            One other thing about Texas is that changes in city limits don’t change school districts. That complicates things with Atlanta and Decatur and the other’s with city school districts.

          • Bernie

            guest2: You’re totally mistaken in thinking that “Stonecrest was brought up at the end of last year, but almost as an afterthought”. HB278 to create Stonecrest was filed on March 28, 2013! That bill was effectively stopped on Jan. 9, 2014 when the (first) feasibility study came back as unfavorable. Get your facts straight!
            Later in 2014, Stonecrest and Greenhaven were part of the same conference as LVH and Tucker at which Mike Jacobs laid out the rules for cityhood bills to move forward in 2015, including agreeing on borders. They succeeded in agreeing to a mutual border, even though Tucker and LaVista Hills didn’t. Stonecrest and LaVista Hills followed the rules, but that didn’t seem to matter.

          • RAJ

            I think from a practical(Republican)point of view, things came out about right this year; Northside cities this year, Southside cities and annexations next year….about all they wanted to do for now.

        • Bernie

          Guest2: No, “Lithonia” doesn’t want to annex any land. Only the Mayor of Lithonia has talked about annexation. She doesn’t speak for the City of Lithonia. The City is almost broke, and can’t even afford to buy bottled water for meetings. In October 2014 the City Council voted against pursuing annexation, after noting that the City couldn’t afford to fund a feasibility study. Without the Council’s support, local legislators will not consider allowing annexation.

      • guest2

        I would say the biggest problem with the annexation and cityhood process is that the state legislature is too involved. As you noted in your earlier article, Karla Drenner on her own decided Decatur (instead of Avondale as agreed by the 2 cities) should include Decatur Terrace. Fran Millar changed the Livesey voting precinct from Tucker to LaVista Hills in a boundary that was decided by the state legislature in the first place. Who knows who negotiated the changes in LaVista Hills boundaries caused by the city of Atlanta annexation proposals? The area west of Briarcliff disappeared in the Senate bill.

      • MAC

        Dan, I commend you, in your position as reputable media representative, for having the courage not to allow the racial overtones of which cityhood groups moved forward and which didn’t to get swept under the rug and dismissed as so often happens when issues of race are brought to the table in our society. Put race on the table, and people tend to shut down, shut up, or look for all sorts of excuses to the contrary.

        I agree with you 100% in that there is a difference between interpreting racialized motives (which you are not doing and which is far more difficult to do) and stating the racialized facts of an outcome (which is pretty easy), and which is what we’re looking at: the two majority white cityhood proposals were allowed to move forward and the two majority black ones were not despite the later two having cleared all of the necessary feasibility hurdles and with far less conflicting “baggage” than the former two.

        To be restricted from or criticized for stating racialized facts of an outcome is very dangerous in a society which continues to struggle with a real perception by many that “the system” devalues the perspectives (indeed the very lives) of its citizens of color. More important, far from solving the problem, it exacerbates the problem, makes it fester, makes enemies out of neighbors too afraid to “go there” as you sometimes must. Sometimes it’s necessary to call a spade a spade. I own property in proposed Greenhaven, and I was as eager about cityhood moving forward there as in Tucker, where I reside. Kathryn Rice de-emphasized race in her comments as not to get accused of race baiting, certainly not because race is not a factor in the current cityhood outcome. Race almost always lies beneath the surface of things whether we like to admit it to ourselves or not. Bravo, Dan.

        • RAJ

          So bottom line is race was not much of a factor in the city-hood movement this year and probably even less so next year! If Tucker passes and LVH fails look for LVH to reappear as Briarcliff once again with a new map and an annexation deal with City of Tucker. Stonecrest looks good for next year and Greenhaven has a lot of work to do to pull itself together.
          I hope to have more time with JL and KR as I spent much of my career in development working on the Southside.

          • Factivist

            RAJ, for those of us who don’t know the abbreviations, who are JL and KR?

          • Susan In NoMansLand

            JL = J. Lary, one of the heads of the Stonecrest movement. Sorry, can’t think of his first name off the top of my head.

          • Bernie

            Susan &c.: It’s Jason Lary. He has a strong group of supporters, including Joel Thibodeaux, Chad Belinfanti, Shawn Jones, Plez Joyner, and Darold Honore.

          • Factivist

            Change that – Katherine Rice, I figured out. JL please.

          • RAJ

            Please check Stonecrest web site for clue. Want to keep people interested but not make it too easy!

          • Factivist

            Argh! Not another web chase!

      • RAJ

        I’m always amazed how younger journalist seem to stick to old stereotypes about race, guess it feeds the subscriber base. Appearance was not what it seemed in this case, if you had been on the scene you may have known. On the other hand a journalist may not have been fed this information. LVH was moving behind the scenes to help push the Stonecrest bill forward and had supported JL in the past; however MKW wanted her supporters to keep this on the QT to avoid any distractions moving the LVH bill. Same was true of JL. I spent most of my time with the minority party….more interesting and challenged folks by far than the up tight, git er done, other guys. Fairness in this case was determined in advance by the majority party and I think everyone understands that, including the minority party. Southside cities are in a good position for next year and face many of the same governance problems as the rest of us in DeKalb.

        • MAC

          Raj, I don’t see at all where Dan is “sticking to old stereotypes” in his statements. Would you mind explaining what “stereotypes” Dan is harboring? As I see it, he’s stating the facts of an outcome (he’s not even subscribing motives).
          Even if Dan wasn’t was as present at the Capitol as you were, clearly Kathryn Rice was present, nursing the Greenhaven bill, and from her point of view: “The rules were not consistent and we found that exceptions were made for some and not others.” That is the conclusion of a true insider and her perspective is at odds with the benign, rosy picture that you paint of the process. Further, it’s far too early to conclude that the southside cities are in a good position for next year. One point of Dan’s article is to illustrate that reforms to the cityhood and annexation process statewide may be on the horizon. Those reforms could be a game changer for prospective cities beyond the two that slipped through this year…

          And Raj, while you do bring a great deal of perspective and humor to these conversations, I have to call you out for the consistently patronizing tone that you take regarding southsiders, who here you define as more “challenged folks.” For the record, such labels have paternalistic, tending toward colonial overtones, and are probably best avoided in civil public conversation.

          • guest2

            RAJ said minority “party” referring to Democrats. That would include non-southsiders like MMO and Elena Parent as more “challenged.”
            So his criticism applies very much to you reading racism in regardless of what was actually said.

          • MAC

            Guest2, you’re editorializing for RAJ. Moreover, I said nothing about racism with respect to RAJ’s statement. I said that his label is “paternalistic” and “colonial.” Problematic even if applied to the minority “party” as you wish to interpret the statement. What democrat would want to be labeled as “challenged.” I stand by my statement. One extreme is reading race at every turn; the other extreme is denying race at every turn. Both approaches are counterproductive. I advocate for the middle ground in my approach.

          • RAJ

            Sorry…never fathered anyone(that I know of)and only visited the Northeast on one occasion! Just think the Democrats had a frustrating(challenging)time this year as the Republicans probably did 40 years ago.

          • RAJ

            Thanks guest2,….what I saw was democracy at work and at times was enough to turn my stomach. Much has to do with majority party politics as it did 40 years ago when the shoe was on the other foot. The Greenhaven bill was as much a reaction to what may happen to unincorporated DeKalb as anything else,Kathryn would admit as much. Stonecrest and a reworked Greenhaven bill could very well pass as local legislation next year and garner Republican support. Plans are in the works to block any reforms that facilitate making an annexation by Atlanta of $200M in DCSS property easier. The battle lines have already been drawn. Hundreds of quality teachers would be lost from the DeKalb System and lower income students throughout the school system would be hurt the most. Lots of moving parts!

  • Smarter Than You

    Dan – this article is Pulitzer quality. I continue to be impressed how you maintain your journalistic integrity and write detailed articles, under what I would guess it great pressure from your neighbors, without bias. I have been regularly relying on Decaturish to explain what has happened and where we are. Thanks for writing it the way you see it. Bravo!

    • Wow, thanks! I appreciate you saying that and for reading.

    • RAJ

      Hope that we don’t go to the equipment room, find we don’t have a helmet large enough for this player, and have to trade him to another team! Thanks Dan.

  • Tom Doolittle

    Guest 2 hit it out of the park: “Its true that they didn’t apply all the rules to LVH and Tucker. But they never applied those rules to cities in the past.”

    What everyone has been missing is that there are no rules FOR FORMING CITIES, for DEFINING them. Nothing written, nothing tied to legislation (the law). Things go down hill from that point forward. The first rule that does get applied is DOWNSTREAM– “dropping the placeholder bill”, the next one (and only one) is for the feasibility study. The two “rules” are malleable because they HAVE to be. They have to accommodate weaknesses in not having FORMATION, DEFINITION rules.

    Thusly, in the case of Sandy Springs, there were no problems with the two rules there are (placeholder wasn’t needed then)–because the FORMATION, DEFINITION was beyond question and challenge. Same to some extent with Dunwoody–there were no “internal” challenges to the definition of the city (its map).
    Now–go to Brookhaven and the trouble began with community definition (people wanted out), so the first rule change was made (placeholder, a unilaterally decided group and map–and maybe more importantly, an artificial timetable). The city passes with 25% of voters approving 54-46 percent: calculate–12.5% of voters decided the future of the city–and its a mess because of a weak mandate.
    Now–LaVista Hills/Tucker/Atlanta–internal strife on steroids–all cause by have NO FORMATION, DEFINITION (community history and agreement). This again can only be resolved by BREAKING the FEW RULES (downstream) that are there–
    what again? Timetable and Economic Feasibility.

    Elena Parent, God Bless (thankful there is a Senate, the House are hacks)–unfortunately has either misspoken or truly has missed the core problem. This is not a procedural issue–its a core legal issue. The process must be made to be regulatory and not political. Regulation would require a strict review of WHAT MAKES A COMMUNITY–it accommodates much of what annexation processes accommodate–particularly hearings that are solely present to air challenges and objections.

    • Bernie

      Tom: As always you have interesting points to make, but have you given much thought to the areas outside North Central DeKalb? If you’re looking for an example of “what makes a community”, you need look no further than Stonecrest, which is comprised of Lithonia Industrial Park, the Stonecrest Mall Commercial Overlay, the huge Arabia Mountain Park (and other greenspaces), and 50,000 residents. Community leaders from the industrial, commercial, and residential segments are working together as a community to take control of their economic development and future land use policy.

  • Factivist

    Dan, I admire your work and enjoy Decaturish, but was sad to see you come up with the tired old stereotypical “play the race card” explanation for something to which it does not apply. The difference was length of time from initiation of legislation between the three-year old initiatives and the brand new ones. The legislative process is deliberate and not the arbitrary muddle depicted by some noisy purveyors of chaos. I hope you also listen to some of the quieter, calmer voices.

    The reason LVH and TKR were finally voted out of committee and moved through the legislature had zero to do with anything racial. It was about due process. Creating a city calls for introduction of a bill and proposal in one Session, then time for the Government Affairs committee to carry over, gather facts and study it during the interim, report the results, and act (either do or do not pass) in the next Session.

    Two cityhood efforts had already met that requirement and were in position to be acted upon in the 2015 Session, which actually completed three years of legislative work and consideration. One year longer than the usual two needed for the process to unfold. It could be said that LVH and TKR were victims of reverse racism, required to cross a higher hurdle, and that the brand new cities’ legislation should be required three years of legislative work too. But that would also wrongly drag race in where it doesn’t belong. They simply all had to go through due process.

    Stonecrest and Greenhaven are brand new, just introduced in the 2015 Session and are being required to go through the same carryover process of fact-finding and legislative study that LVH and TKR had to go through their first two years. Hopefully our friends In the new proposals won’t also have to do a third year of work in order to finally get acted upon.

    • I believe Stonecrest was considered last year. Need to double check. I think the issue of race is unavoidable in most of the cityhood discussions and it’s been that way since Sandy Springs in 05. It’s not my invention. As far as reverse racism, the cityhood bills that failed last year did so because they each presented overlapping map boundaries. That was something they were given a chance to avoid this year and the House STILL had to settle it for them. I don’t think the Legislature set the bar too high. It actually lowered it regarding the feasibility study requirements for the new boundaries of LaVista Hills and Tucker. I will happily agree to disagree and thank you for reading.

      • factivist

        Thanks for responding, Dan. There was talk, but nothing ever happened regarding Stonecrest last year. The proponents just got active this year, and I believe they have a good chance of making it through next January. Concerning feasibility studies, tens of thousands of dollars have been spent on those over the past three years of legislative study. In March the legislators received revised feasibility numbers from CVI that made clear the soundness of LVH and TKR, and I believe both cities are now getting finalized reports for the boundaries they were given the last night of the Session. Contrary to DeKalb Strong’s accusations, the legislature definitely did not lower that bar – if anything, they made it more difficult.

        It is good that we don’t always agree on everything – if we did, one of us would be unnecessary! 🙂 We learn from each other by sharing different points of view. I sometimes wonder how you manage to gather so many different topics, and admire your agility. Best wishes to you and your wife with the new bundle of joy in your life.

        • RAJ

          “boundaries” no map from the County GIS Dept Thursday, or Friday…..I’m patient(believe that)but CVI has to have this map to complete the revised feasibility studies for Tucker and LVH. Why? Because all the property tax data and some other supporting revenue data for the city’s revenue projection(about a fourth of the total)comes from this one source. I’m sure that LVH hopes to collect the remainder of the $15K for the revised study Monday night at Sprig!

        • Bernie

          factivist: Please check your facts. You’re mistaken in saying that “nothing ever happened regarding Stonecrest last year” and that the “proponents just got active this year”. The facts are that Sen Ron Ramsey filed the original Stonecrest bill on March 28, 2013 — yes, that’s Two Thousand Thirteen — and that Stonecrest was ready to move forward as of January 2014 — that’s Two Thousand Fourteen — until the (first) unfavorable feasibility study came back on January 9. After that the Stonecrest group was very active rethinking the boundaries and services of their new city; pulling together another $15,000 for a second study; writing a charter; and preparing for the 2015 session.

  • Tom Doolittle

    Which has a stronger basis in law–annexation or new cityhood? Slam dunk–annexation–read here:

    Note plenty of info on the California new city process–it’s regulatory, not political–run by a professionally qualified commission.

  • EMP

    Last Sunday the AJC had an article about LaVista Hills and Tucker. It included the black and Hispanic percentages of each area based on data from the Georgia Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office. I don’t know if this information is recent or from the 2010 census. So even though it did not include white, Asian, other, or two or more races, it still gives us a good idea of the overall breakdown.

    According to those numbers LaVista Hills is 18% black and 16% Hispanic. That means that the city is probably less than 60% white.

    Tucker is 36% black and 9% Hispanic. Which means Tucker is probably less than 50% white.

    I took the 2010 census info and did a rough calculation of each census tract included in each city’s map and concluded that Tucker is about 47% white and LaVista Hills is about 56% white. If you account for further demographic change since 2010 then the white percentages for each city are probably even lower, seeing as how almost every census tract in each map had a decline in the percentage of white people from 2000 to 2010.

    • RAJ

      Your numbers are close,I will publish the actual, up to date figures as soon as we get a “real”LVH map from the DeKalb GIS Dept. When I buy a custom map($65/hr 2hr min)the data is stored in my personal account at GIS. Asian is about 5%-7% and “other” I don’t break out because the map would be confusing. Once again I am not an “official” member of LVH so I can publish stuff they do not want published. Remember that LVH..formerly Lakeside, formerly Briarcliff, formerly North Druid Hills Study Group, formerly……blah, blah, blah started life as a bipartisan, multi cultural city-hood effort!

      • EMP

        A new AJC article provides racial demographic information from the state Legislative and and Congressional Reapportionment Office. This is based on Census data but still no clarification if it is from 2010 or more recent.

        LaVista Hills would be 57 percent white, 18 percent black, 16 percent Hispanic and 9 percent Asian.

        Tucker would be 49 percent white, 34 percent black, 9 percent Hispanic and 6 percent Asian.

  • HB

    RAJ, you are the king of innuendo. “If LVH fails it will reappear next year as Briarcliff, with annexation deals for Tucker.” Where is this info coming from? News like this could make me vote no to LVH. ITP doesnt want Evansdale and Tucker does, so don’t tease us like this. That would be the happiest ending of all to Millars, um, handling, of our area. Pun definitely intended.
    Long live the king.

    • RAJ

      This “info” comes from watching grass grow! Don’t get your hopes up….we are joined at the hip with the RED people so we have little choice. We are where we are because of FM so remember that when you wake up in the AM!

      • HB

        I am perfectly happy to have Red and Blue joined at the hip. “Kids today” have no idea that this is how it used to be. How it should be. We had two parties that willingly negotiated and compromised. Didn’t call each other childish names. Other aspects of society have since improved, but politics were smarter and worked better as a system decades ago. Bringing this back to cityhood…I’ll be watching to make sure this a bipartisan effort that is focused on improving the lives and homes of all our citizens, not a personal powerplay for a few strivers. It’s too early to tell right now which direction it’ll go. Bottom line I’ll be watching for signs of graft, and for honesty and transparency, and base my vote on that. I’m on the fence for now.

        • RAJ

          OK….So we have 67,000 people “on the fence” in this proposed city. If that’s not stupid I don’t know what is!

          • HB

            Not sure where you’re going with that. I consider it wise, not stupid, to carefully assess how the LVH people lay out their campaign from hereout. Show me your vision, show me your leaders, show me some numbers. I want to see all three. And, I want to see it in writing, as in, on a website. Not just words said in a meeting that can be denied later. Lay it out in an official way. This matters, big time, to thier future accountability. A vision isn’t a promise, it’s cited priorities, big difference. So far LVH isn’t doing a good enough job of selling us their priorities. That’s what it’s going to take to sway the fence sitters.

          • RAJ

            WOW! I’m with you all the way on this, I just can’t get any traction….lets talk tonight! I have, or can find the resources just need the opportunity to apply them.

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