Thursday, May 26, 2016

INTRODUCING: GA State Representative Tom Taylor - District 79

May has been one busy month.

Tom asked me to recreate his website back in November 2015 when initial plans were being laid for his reelection campaign.

This updated WordPress version launched at the beginning of May 2016.  The responsive design was a traditional American political approach.  The content was formatted to highlight Tom's voting and bill promotion record during his previous time in the House, his record of community support prior to taking the District 79 seat for the first time, plus other commentary as needed.

So why am I talking about this "new" website a month after launch?

Due to the news coverage of Tom's arrest and subsequent legal questions, this was not a typical election season.  Every focus of this website, plus the social media that I also managed, had to be on Tom's record.  Any distraction could diminish the results.  Plus, the opponent in this campaign has a history of aggressive and even violent behaviour and his political supporters weren't much better.  Personal safety procedures, both online and real life, were not afterthoughts.

When anyone of any profession chooses to get into a supportive role in politics or government, it's smart to count the cost beforehand.  I went through this same process when I worked for Nancy Jester's campaign and subsequent Commissioner's websites and former Councilwoman Adrian Bonser's site.  When it comes to building a website and/or managing social media, I work for the official or candidate.  But in the rest of reality and the universe, they work for me as my elected representative.   When everything is going smoothly, that dichotomy is no big deal.  You don't even notice it.  But when there is a legal conflict or problem, it gets complicated.

I resolved it by compartmentalizing my opinions and feelings where the legal issues were concerned from my technical skill and expertise on websites.  That's a skill I picked up while working in oncology research back in the day when I had to turn my feelings off to work with cancer patients in one study or another.    Your reactivate your feelings and process them later when the job is done.

In politics and government, there are going to be legal problems and conflicts.  It's an inevitable nature of the beast.  It's OK if a professional decides they don't want to handle it.  But you make that decision BEFORE you take a job, not after.  I kept my commitment to Tom that I had made 6 months prior to the election getting hot and heavy.  I keep my commitments to all of my clients in the same way.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

VOTE!!! Local Elections Impact Your Life More Than National Elections

Today in DeKalb we have a primary election for State House and Senate seats, and a special election for Tax Commissioner.  You've seen the signs all over Dunwoody and you've probably already found the websites and social media so I trust most people reading this have made up their minds.  Now make it count in the booth.  Your opinion doesn't help if it isn't recorded on a ballot.

We also have a vote on (yet another...) E-SPLOST.  The one you heard about in the news where Superintendent Green wants you to approve the money first, then tell you what it's going to be spent on later.

Compounding this backward planing was a DeKalb Schools robo call last night that was supposed to be merely informative, yet claimed that voting in favor of E-SPLOST would result in capital improvements to "your" childrens' school.

The contradictions are obvious to citizens, but apparently not to most of the school board or to Dr. Green so let's spell them out.

1)  The appeal to improving "your" child's school is bogus without a project list.

2)  The call was made using the DCSS' automated calling system - the same one used to distribute weather closing alerts and requests to follow up on truancy reports if your child is late or absent.  That means tax money was used to persuade parents to vote a certain outcome in the election.  That's illegal, kiddos, but since when has that stopped you before?

I'm headed out to Crossroads Baptist as soon as the garbage is on the curb and my cup of coffee is down.  Every vote counts and every person has an impact today.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mt Vernon Renaissance

Shout huzzahs from on high - the water mains are replaced, the roads are smoothed, the Chamblee-Dunwoody washboard is (almost) gone and new asphalt is down.  Paint is in progress.

Mt Vernon is now a road capable of the traffic it carries and no longer a glorified cow path.

To some people the most important parts of the road are the 3-4 feet at the edge on either side.

This one's for you!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Dunwoody is getting a dedicated city hall

(Emphases are added.  See notes below.)

Dunwoody, GA – May 5, 2016 – The City of Dunwoody agreed in principal to establish a new location for its City Hall by signing a purchase agreement for the lot and building located at 4800 Ashford Dunwoody Road.

The selection is a result of a two and a half year exploration conducted by city staff and planning consultants to determine the optimum location for the first City Hall complex completely owned by the eight year old municipality. The decision to select 4800 Ashford Dunwoody Road was based on a prioritized list of considerations and needs for a new City Hall, primarily looking at accessibility, convenience, overall cost and capability for future growth.

The agreement signed by the City of Dunwoody covers the purchase of the three and a quarter-acre lot and building for approximately $8.25 million. The city will continue further due diligence and inspection of the property over the next 90 days and, dependent on the due diligence findings, expects to close on the purchase within approximately 120 days.

“We performed extensive assessments and evaluations of available, existing or vacant properties within the city to see which might be the most beneficial solution for our citizens and city staff,” said Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal. “As city leaders and staff reviewed options, the 4800 building rose to the top of our list as the most fiscally prudent and logistically sound choice.”

With an estimated 45,000 gross-square feet, the newly purchased building offers slightly more overall square footage than the space currently leased by the city (located at 41 Perimeter Center East) and an annual cost comparable to existing yearly lease terms. The city intends to conduct minor modifications to its future building to create well-organized, efficient office space for the entirety of city staff, police department, municipal court, and city council chambers.

“We believe the new City Hall building will allow us to better serve our citizens,” said Mayor Shortal. “Our intent is to utilize the first floor of the new City Hall as the primary space where citizens and businesses will interact with the city through permitting, licensing, police department, court or council and public meetings. The central location, sufficient parking and overall accessibility make this new City Hall an ideal fit for our community.”

The city anticipates moving into the new City Hall space following the close of the sale and the completion of all planned modifications to the building, estimated to be no later than the end of Q1 2018.

# # #

For more information regarding the City of Dunwoody, please contact Bob Mullen, Marketing and PR Director, at 678.382.6700 or

A few notes:

1)  The location is ideal:  city hall has to serve full-time residents and commuters and visitors alike.  The old C&S Bank building on Ashford Dunwoody is a middle ground for all of those populations. It may not be the geographic center of the city, but it is the "center" of where everyone can get to it.

2)  I've been inside - even without redecorating or renovating it's an attractive space.

2.5)  added - the press release makes no mention of the chamber or CVB space.  I'm sure details about their futures is forthcoming

3)  Two and a half years ago the process for finding a permanent city hall was begun.  That puts the process at around January 2014.  Mike Davis was the mayor at that time.  That means, Mike Davis' administration began the process that made this result possible.

4)  During the DHA candidate forum in 2015, Mike and Denny had to know that the process for obtaining a site for a permanent city hall had to be well on its way to a conclusion.  And yet, when Denny was asked about a city hall location, he clearly stated that a "citizen committee" had to be formed to determine the best way to proceed:  build, buy, or lease.  I didn't hear any word of a citizen committee being formed, but it must have happened because Denny said so in his campaign speech.   it had to happen very quickly because Denny was inaugurated in January and this deal is announced in early May. 

Anyone who served on this committee, please post in the comments here or on any other blog/social media and let the public know what actually happened.

Here's the video from the DHA forum.  Denny's comments on city hall and a "citizen forum" to determine the best course of action begin at about the 51:49 minute mark.