Monday, July 16, 2012

Dunwoody: City of Long Memories

When the City branding initiative was debuted to a less-than-enthusiastic response I remember hearing some insider comments along the lines of "Don't worry about it.  The furor will die down and everyone will forget and just accept it."

Not in Dunwoody.

No matter how large or how small the issue, it is unwise to assume that the populace will "just forget and accept" when their desires have been crossed and their needs ignored and their questions dismissed.

The further implementation of the branding initiative is only one example.  That situation is more complex than it appears on the surface and it's one I've had some experience in working for the Chamber.  That is enough to fill its own post on another day.

But in spite of the majority of public sentiment, City Hall is still pushing ahead with an implementation that is increasing the negative response.  Why?  What is to be gained by pushing a program that not only was not forgotten and accepted but is getting further criticism?  And who stands to gain?

ChattComm is another example.  Blogger Bob wrote a stellar piece on his own space this weekend that built on Greg C's comments via John's blog.  Why isn't the digital transfer of calls from ChattComm to DeKalb Fire (aka CAD to CAD) working yet?  This isn't a new question:  it came up when the ChattComm conversion was still being debated by Council almost a year ago.  But at the time, the question was dismissed, both by Chief Grogan and (then) Mayor Wright.

Looks like that one didn't get forgotten either.  Again, what is to be gained by pushing a program that faced quite a bit of resistance in 2011 and then not following through on the technical details?  And who stands to gain from it?

Let's not forget the multi-faceted arguments over green space.  First there was the proposed "greenways" that looked great on paper, but not from the back porches of the people whose property would have been confiscated to build them.  Then there was the rush to buy up the PVC farm and hospital properties.  At the time, City Hall and Council were justifying the purchases to increase park space, even though there has been some serious backpedalling by City Hall since then.  But the quote is clear in this Crier article from March 2011:  (emphases added)

“The addition of 16 acres of park land is a watershed moment for Dunwoody and a generational game changer for the Georgetown/North Shallowford community,” said Wright in the release. “The city council and I are thrilled to jump start the revitalization of the Georgetown/ North Shallowford area of Dunwoody and are relieved that this purchase will head off the inevitable development of the land for more apartments as well as help us move forward in our effort to eliminate our monumental deficit of green space.”
Which sounds great, until the development of said parkland was contingent on a bonds proposal that tried to include the kitchen sink (including purchasing apartment complexes).  Bonds are a hard enough initiative to get through a vote in a recession.  It might have passed if the language was more direct about what the money would be spent for and didn't try to encompass another property purchase.

Here's what the citizenry is going to remember from these fiascos:
1)  City Hall wants to take private residential property for public recreation.
2)  City Hall intends to ask for more money via taxes, bonds, etc, but is not going to be clear on how the money gets spent.
3)  City Hall intends to hold the citizenry responsible for voting against unclear bond referendums when the outcome isn't to their liking.  ("Well, it's your own fault, you voted against parks.  I guess you just don't like parks or children or families.  Shame on you!")

Someone is really out of their mind if they think this is going to be forgotten too.

The key to trust and credibility is consistency.  Dunwoody residents have very long memories.  If your modus operandi involves hoping people forget a gaffe or an idea that they're opposed to, you're in for a bad day at the office.

But for some reason, someone at City Hall has ignored this concept.  Who?  And what do they stand to gain from it?  And is City Council going to let them get away with it?


Joe Seconder said...

I'm looking forward to discussing backyard chickens during the Zoning Code Rewrite. I know one of our newly-elected council persons said it's a property rights issue (therefore saying the owners should have the right to have them). Another said it at least should be a SLUP. And another's spouse strongly suppports them, too...

SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

What does that have to do with the post you're responding to?

Sight Edman said...

Things that folks will long remember perhaps?