Monday, November 7, 2011

Dunwoody Election 2011: Lynn Deutsch

Our latest response is from Lynn Deutsch.  She is running for District 2 at large.  \

1) What one qualification do you have for elected office that exceeds those
of your opponents?

What sets me apart from my opponent is my service on the City of Dunwoody Planning Commission and my consistent and current involvement in city issues.  I have attended City Council meetings, actively participating in multiple city issues, for the last three years.  I am ready to hit the ground running as I am very familiar with the many issues and challenges facing the city.

2) The City's Economic Development Department's stated purpose is "The City
of Dunwoody Economic Development Director is responsible for leading efforts
to retain, expand and attract businesses that support a broad array of
employment opportunities; strategically grow its knowledge-based economy;
and expand the City's tax base." What should be this department's next
priority task to accomplish this purpose?

I think the Economic Development Department has done a great job thus far.  They have attracted several high quality companies and retail outlets to Dunwoody.  The department must continue to market Dunwoody as well as focusing on retaining the businesses that are already here.  Exit surveys for businesses relocating out of Dunwoody must be part of the department’s strategy as well.  If we understand why businesses choose other locations, or leave Dunwoody, we can better strategize in the future.

3) What was the City's best business decision to date? (Any level or
department, since operations started.)

Dunwoody’s model of government, using some private entities to provide public services, has been very successful.  This model has allowed Dunwoody to offer high quality services for less cost than other governments.  In addition, the city is able to hire companies that specialize in specific service provision and control costs..

4) What was one business decision made by the City (at any level, since
operations started) that should not have been made? If you were given the
chance, what would you have recommended be done differently?

The Perimeter Center Improvement District needs its own overlay district.  Treating the PCID the same as Dunwoody neighborhoods is a mistake and makes extra work for everyone from landlords to the city employees.  A retail establishment that backs up to I-285 should not have the same sign requirements as a retail establishment that backs up to a neighborhood.  We want the Ashford-Dunwoody corridor to be high quality and not turn into “just another highway exit” but we must use common sense.   The overlay district for the PCID should have been a top priority.

5) As a member of City Council, you will be able to appoint or recommend
members of various commissions. Besides an interest in the subject, and a
desire to serve, what qualifications do you want to see in a potential
commission member?

I am going to cast a wide net looking for interested persons who may want to serve.  I think that the vast majority of citizens are unaware that there are opportunities for really meaningful involvement or if they are aware, they have no idea how to get involved.  My recommendations will be for people who, aside from being interested in serving, will do the work necessary, attend the meetings and have a long term view to their involvement with the city.  I would like us to use these commissions to get more citizens really involved in Dunwoody.    

6) Which City department or commission (besides the Police) is the most
critically important in developing the future of Dunwoody?

The Economic Development department is critically important to the future of Dunwoody.  What types of businesses we attract and retain has a direct impact on our commercial tax base, which impacts our ability to provide high quality services.  Empty commercial space is a huge negative for a community and lowers property values for everyone.

7) Which City department or commission do you feel is underserved and needs
more attention in terms of funding and other resources (including

Code Enforcement.  If we are going to take code enforcement seriously, we need more than one person serving in this department.  If we pass ordinances, then we need  to enforce them, otherwise they shouldn’t be on the books.

8) In what ways should the City and Chamber of Commerce (or any other
private entity) collaborate and in what ways should they be working
separately to grow the City's economic base?

The City can collaborate with the Chamber and the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) to promote Dunwoody to both businesses and visitors.  The City and these organizations share a mutual goal, the success of the City.   The Chamber and CVB can be more creative with initiatives because of their funding sources.

9) Elected officials are constantly contacted with requests to have specific
issues addressed by local citizens. If elected, how will you prioritize what
issues get on the Council agenda, what will get further private discussion,
and what will be tabled?

This will be one of the most challenging aspects of being a council person.  I will work with my constituents to help them solve issues that don’t require council intervention,  I will be cautious with introducing issues that really aren’t appropriate for Council meetings.  The City has to be a city, not a Homeowners’ Association and it is important to remember this as we move forward.

10) Open Mike Question: Make any statement you like on what issue or action
will be most important to you as an elected official.

When I am elected to the Dunwoody City Council, I will be accessible and available to my constituents. I am both a good listener and a good communicator. I will hold regularly scheduled town hall meetings where I will actively solicit feedback about issues. I will keep in close contact via a newsletter so that Dunwoody citizens can be regularly updated on issues that are important to them. I have friends in nearly every neighborhood in Dunwoody and am lucky that I can call on them to assist me in distributing information.

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