DeKalb Strong announces upcoming forums, fundraisers

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt September 10, 2015
DeKalb County Georgia. Source: Google Maps.

DeKalb County Georgia. Source: Google Maps.

This story has been updated. 

The group leading the opposition to new cities in DeKalb County has a busy itinerary over the next few weeks as both sides of the cityhood debate gear up for the Nov. 3 cityhood referendums.

DeKalb Strong is holding two fundraisers and attending several community forums about proposals to create new cities. Proposals to create cities of Tucker and LaVista Hills are on the Nov. 3 ballot. LaVista Hills would have over 65,000 people, a city bordered on the north and west sides by I-85 and bisected by I-285. Tucker would have a population of over 30,000 people. Its western border would be I-285 and its southern boundary would be portions of Stone Mountain Freeway and East Ponce de Leon Avenue.

The cityhood issues are driven in part due to the ongoing corruption and dysfunction of DeKalb County government. Cityhood groups argue that a locally-controlled government will be more effective than the county, while DeKalb Strong argues that new cities are simply another layer of government that’s just as susceptible to dysfunction as DeKalb.


DeKalb Strong will hold the following fundraisers, according to a recent email.

Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
2836 Lavista Road
Decatur, GA 30033
Eventbrite Page

Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Home of Pat Killingsworth
1364 Rainier Falls Drive Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30329

There will also be forums in the next few weeks:

LaVista Hills Cityhood Discussion
Sponsored by a coalition of LaVista Road neighborhood associations
Sept. 16th, 7 p.m.
Mt. Zion AME Church, 2977 LaVista Road

Legislators Debate
Sponsored by Sen. Elena Parent and Reps. Scott Holcomb, Michelle Henson and Mary Margaret Oliver
Sept. 30th, 7 p.m.
Lakeside High School

Laurel Ridge Shamrock Civic Association Q&A
Oct. 13th, 7 p.m.
Druid Hills Middle School

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the host of the community forums regarding cityhood. This story has been updated with the correct information. 

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  • Marjorie Snook

    I want to be clear: we are actually not sponsoring the forums. We are enthusiastically participating at the invitation of the events’ hosts.

    We are sponsoring the fundraisers.

    • Thanks for pointing that out. We’ve corrected the story.

  • Cities Are Bad

    Hell to the yes! Come out and donate to Dekalb strong. Bring yourself to learn about how we can keep Dekalb from changing into something that it is not. A yuppie filled group of cities that want to keep you from living your life as you see fit. Since all of these cities have come to Dekalb the crime rate has decreased for Dekalb police. They are doing their job and we want them to continue doing their job. Becoming a part of a city will make some of those jobs go away not only for the police but other sections of the county will lose positions. We need to keep people employed to keep a good strong economy flowing. It takes money to make money is what the truth is, and these cities rob the county of money needed to support the economy. Support the true grass roots movement to keep the County from becoming some grand megalopolis. Protect places like pearidge from becoming extinct by way of the huige houses. Protect our neighborhoods from immigrants moving in. Most of the immigrants live in cities haven’t you noticed that in the census reports? Clarkston, Chamblee, Doraville and even the highly touted Brookhaven have large immigrant populations. Higher than Dekalb county for sure. Donate to Dekalb strong to keep our area secure and free from all of these bad ideas that cities bring.

    • Marjorie Snook

      While I welcome your support, I don’t believe cities have anything to do with attracting immigrants (I am the daughter of an ESL teacher and grew up in Chamblee where a large number of my friends were 2nd gen, and I live in the perimeter largely because I like the diversity).

      Most of the immigrants moved to Buford Highway when it was unincorporated, although the immigrant community does spread into the Chamblee and Doraville city limits.

      Cities DO lead to an increase in density and more multifamily housing. But my concerns related to that are more focused on the lack of transportation planning for these projects, not the residents’ country of origin.

    • notapunk

      This is what DeKalb Strong is really all about.

  • Amy Velez

    Odd that DeKalb Strong has to hold a fundraiser outside of the boundaries of the proposed City of LaVista Hills. Weren’t they just slamming the LaVista Hills Alliance for the same thing?

    • Marjorie Snook

      It is a house that is walking distance from the borders. The people in that neighborhood volunteer to pull privet in the park that LVH cut in half, and are members of civic associations that have found themselves divided by these boundaries. These are areas that are very directly affected by this referendum, even though they are not permitted to vote.

      Very different than inviting a bunch of big-money private contractors from North Fulton to contribute to this cause.

      • Guest

        Oh please. This isn’t a pack of little old ladies in dungarees sporting gardening shears and cut off from their back fence friends.
        It’s a million dollar home in an expensive neighborhood that asked to be removed from the map– and was.
        How much of their livelihoods are reliant on the status quo?

        • Marjorie Snook

          None that I know of.

          • notapunk

            Yes, big houses are better for fundraisers. They are usually closer to really rich people. Of course, there are big houses inside the LVH footprint, so why go outside when you’ve clearly criticized LVH Alliance for holding a fundraiser at 57th Fighter Group — a very, very short distance outside the footprint?

          • Marjorie Snook

            While they fact that they weren’t even supporting local businesses was funny, we were criticizing them for soliciting donations from people seeking to do business with the city, and openly saying “It’s personally reasonable to ask them to invest in us before we invest in them.’

            The pay-for-play element is what’s key.

          • notapunk

            I do believe they’ve supported local businesses far longer than you have. Who held how many fundraisers/celebrations at Napoleon’s? See, what you don’t get, is that they don’t have the ability to pay anyone to play anything.

            Where are your candidates? Are you even looking for any? Or are you just going to continue whining if you lose?

          • Marjorie Snook

            We have no candidates. I don’t know of any people in my group looking for a political job. We will defeat this, and then hopefully be able to focus on the District 4 race, the D.A. race, and others that can make a difference.

            I hope we don’t end up with a whole new set of politicians to watch. Our hands are full!

          • factivist

            And you’ll do a smashing job on those races, like you did with the District 5 race, right? Is it your group that all of DeKalb has to thank for the gang of 4 now running our county — none of whom we can vote for? The public isn’t fooled – DeKalb Wrong is focused totally on trying to kill LVH, only does a little gadfly routine here and there to try and obfuscate that fact.

            Voting no on LVH is voting yes for continuing the same disgusting situation in which we find ourselves now, with absolutely no voice in our county government and our state government.
            Like Einstein said, doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. LVH is the only thing that throws us a life preserver and gives us hope for change in this part of the county, which will also build a stronger underpinning to help make real difference at the county level.

          • Marjorie Snook

            Yes. We are 100% responsible for commissioners that were elected before our organization even existed. Makes sense.

            If we take responsibility for them, will you take responsibility for the likes of Nancy Jester and Fran Millar?

          • factivist

            If memory serves me correctly, you formed your DS group in the first quarter of 2015. Lee May did not relinquish his 5th district seat until after that time, and the election was held this summer. You and DS backed a candidate in that race, who lost to new Commissioner Mereda Johnson.

            I cannot take responsibility for either Jester or Millar — but I would, if I could vote for them or if I were part of any organization that supported their election. They are both good, decent public servants (neither of whom are under investigation by the state and/or federal gov’t). I wish we could say the same for all the DeKalb commissioners and the CEO.

      • factivist

        “Walking distance from the borders” is just that — home/family/life & financial investment OUTSIDE the LVH map. Just another “big-money” millionaire trying to run the lives of other people and neighborhoods where they do not live. Looks like DS must be training folks to talk out of both sides of their mouth.

        • Marjorie Snook

          It is the community that is cut up by this map, which was drawn by people who TRULY live elsewhere (Dunwoody and Lawrenceville) and have no interest in these communities. If you think people a block away from the borders should care at all, why do you think people who live miles from this area should have been entrusted to draw the boundary lines??

          For people in this community–this is their neighborhood. They are affected. They are not trying to benefit financially, they are trying to protect their communities.

          • notapunk

            This is my neighborhood. I live here. Let us decide. We just might reject it. If we don’t, they can ask to join later, or figure out their own future.

            Protect their communities from what? South DeKalb? Doesn’t that benefit them financially?

          • Marjorie Snook

            So if you don’t think citizens across the street should be involved, I am sure ypu are enraged by the heavy involvement of a Valdosta law firm and a bunch of North Fulton contractors on the procity side, right?

    • factivist

      Amy, if I’m not mistaken, one of the hosts for DS’s first anti-LVH fundraiser does not even live inside the LVH map – has absolutely no vested interest in the outcome of the referendum. This is OUR homes, our neighborhoods, our families, and our financial investments, our lives. People who do not live in the map should stop sticking their noses into our business. Unless there is some pecuniary interest for them; in that case, it should be publicly disclosed.

      • notapunk

        Isn’t the bulk of DeKalb Strong’s leadership from outside the proposed LVH city? Of course, there are no bios on their web site, as there should be.

        • factivist

          @n/p, yep, they yell for disclosure at the top of their lungs, but sure don’t provide any disclosure about who is pulling the DS strings and providing all the thousands of dollars they are spending trying to kill LVH. Hey, Marjorie, how about full disclosure on your website? names and identification as to whether LVH residents.

          And while you’re at it, for a group that calls itself “DeKalb Strong” you people sure are disregarding the Tucker cityhood effort entirely — are openly trying to “kill LaVista Hills referendum” period. the. end. Your effort does not encompass all of DeKalb. The total DS focus is venomous hate speech at all things LVH and anybody who supports it. The group is totally misleading the public with this behavior, unless you start dividing your efforts evenly between the Tucker referendum on Nov. 3rd and that of LVH. 50/50 split. How about y’all start doing that? Or change your organization’s name to LVH-No, and stop the pretense of being pro-DeKalb.

          • jo

            “venomous hate speech” …geez, it’s a
            difference of opinion. Two governments instead of one government is more
            government. I believe a new city will
            behave like all governments. There will be the same problems; look no further
            than Brookhaven. The new cities are all
            growing their employee pool, as predicted. They continue to cite the move of
            bringing more and more employees in house as a cost saving move which is the
            exact opposite of what they campaigned on. The
            The Dunwoosy police just cited an increase of 18% in felony crime and his answer was more employees. We need to emulate them? Brookhaven
            is a revolving door of employees and incompetence. The latest is they just
            issued a Brookhaven permit for a tree removal only the job was in Atlanta. There answer to all this is more city employees. But my favorite is the low introductory city millage rate as the bait
            will a switch just a few years down the road. Milton, Johns Creek and Dunwoody have already made
            noise about being handicapped by their locked millage rate. I look at LVH and I
            see a Dunwoody controlled political machine that is all about
            installing a Dunwoody satellite. I see the bad behavior at the county level but
            I’ve also see it at the city level in DeKalb. I hit pot holes in DeKalb and I
            hit pot holes in Dunwoody. I see re-investment and resurgence in the
            neighborhoods here. We aint withering on the vine.

  • factivist

    Dan, are you going to attend and video record these fundraisers like you did the LVH fundraiser? In the interest of fair journalism, please do – and post the videos on here and youtube for us to watch, like you also did on the LVH one. thanks.

    • Sure, why not. Will you consider becoming a Decaturish subscriber in the interest of helping me provide fair journalism and coverage about cityhood?

      • factivist

        Isn’t that what I’ve been trying to do on here?

        • Yes, but “here” would not exist without the resources and time I put into it. I have to pay for server space, pay writers and freelancers, etc. People who read us regularly and comment on our articles should consider supporting us for a mere $6 a month. Just pointing out that what I do isn’t magic and there’s a cost to providing free news for everyone.

          • factivist

            Gotcha. Thanks for sharing, Dan, and for all that you do. I’ll see if I can get some other folks to sign up too.

          • Excellent. The more the merrier. 🙂

          • notapunk

            You almost have to cover it, Dan to avoid the appearance of bias. The Napoleon’s fundraiser is no big deal. But the one at PMK’s house could be very interesting!

          • For the record I don’t HAVE to do anything. I’m running a business and I’m taking care of a six month old. I choose to do it because I have availability and am going to do my best to cover every event as well as I possibly can. Subscribers help me hire freelancers to provide me the flexibility to do these things. Anyone who has followed my coverage knows that I really don’t have a position on whether there should be new cities in DeKalb. I don’t live in any of the affected areas and I think both sides make some valid points. I went to the LaVista Hills fundraiser primarily because so many local elected officials were there, including a commissioner from Decatur. Maybe some elected officials will show up at DeKalb Strong’s shindig. Who knows? But when you tell me a bunch of politicians are going to be in a room and it costs $500 to get in, it piques my interest. Any attempts to shame me for covering or not covering one thing or another are made by people who are obviously trying to work the refs. If you don’t think I’m fair, you haven’t been reading us for very long.

          • Marty

            Dan – do you accept checks or is PayPal or credit card only accepted?

          • We don’t accept checks, mainly because it would be very difficult for me to manage on my end. We use PayPal which can be connected via credit card. (PayPal isn’t perfect, by any means, but it gets the job done.) In addition, there’s also an option for a one-time donation, which you can make by visiting this link

          • Marty

            Done. Thanks for your work providing locally sourced news.

          • Wow. Thank you for the donation, Marty!

          • factivist

            Thanks, Dan – we truly appreciate your coverage of the upcoming DS fundraisers and your efforts to cover both sides of this contentious issue in a fair and even manner, giving the public facts on what both LVH and DS are doing that will affect the lives of everyone who lives in LVH. Your journalism can help all of us make an informed decision when we go to the polls.

          • notapunk

            Dude, chill. I’m a subscriber and a professional in the biz.. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a position. It’s all about perception. Don’t cover it, you look biased. You lose subscribers. Not good. I believe in you and want you to succeed.

            Tell me you’re holding a fundraiser in a million dollar home outside the area in question, it certainly piques my interest. Maybe some rich people who want to control the hoi polloi show up. Look at DeKalb Strong’s leadership. How many live in any of the maps of the proposed cities? How many were recruited as fronts because they do and fashion themselves to be activists, albeit inaccurate and free content for a web site?

            You know how log I’ve been reading, so don’t go there.

          • Sorry to sound like I’m going off on you or anyone else for that matter. I just like reminding people that there’s a cost to producing news. I feel like people forget that sometimes and it’s unfortunate for the news business. I appreciate your support and my readers. I will make my best efforts to attend every event that I can. You know that.

          • notapunk

            Of course, there’s a cost. We appreciate what you do and I’m willing to pay for it. People DO forget that sometimes. The news business is in a big squeeze and it breaks my heart. I’ve been a part of it since the 70s. Thank you for all you do. I’m here to support it as long as I can.

          • Marjorie Snook

            DeKalb Strong was formed to fight annexation into Atlanta and new cities. Everyone in our leadership is affected by those two things, and they are tightly intertwined.

    • Marjorie Snook

      We would definitely love to have you Dan!

      Bemused as to what dark underbelly our opponents think they’re going to expose. The evil mechanations of the Friends of W.D. Thomson Park? The scheming of retired schoolteachers?

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