Tuesday, December 6, 2011

VOTE TODAY - Dunwoody Election Runoffs 2011

The Electoral College does not rule in Dunwoody elections.  EVERY vote is going to count and these runoffs may come down to a handfull of votes making the difference in who sits on council next year.  Don't rely on what you think your neighbors are going to vote for - go out and cast your own vote.  You've got 5 1/2 hours left as of this writing.

After a lot of mental gymnastics and a few brain cramps, here are my personal endorsements:

District 1 at large - Terry Nall
The District 1 campaign was as neat, clean, and gentlemanly as an election could be.  There are going to be negative issues to talk about, but no one swung below the belt.  Terry stands out because of his ability to listen to all sides of an issue and work toward internal consistency in government.  That's an issue he dealt with directly when confronting the ZBA for violating their own procedures on an issue with the Goddard School.  Terry is not conspicuously associated with any individual special interests, so I believe he will approach any question with an open mind.  I have all the respect in the world for Rob as a human being who stepped up to serve the first City Council.  However the issues he has brought for through Council have been increasingly divisive.  In one of his letters to his constituents, he discusses the idea of rolling back taxes due to city hall operating on a surplus, yet then urges us to vote for a huge parks bonds issue that became more and more troublesome as the details emerged.  For the citizens of Dunwoody (both homeowners and home renters) to trust their government, it has to be consistent and fair to all sides.  I think Terry is the right man for the job this time around.

Mayor - Bob Dallas (by a nose)
This is the difficult one.  Mike and Bob are in a virtual dead heat in many ways.  I have met both, as well as their reps, listened to the forums/debates and listened "offline" when there were no microphones around.  I understand their philosophies and views on life and I find a lot in common with both.  However neither of these boys have clean hands in the campaign tactics department.  The current chatter on the Internet is about Bob's latest flyer crticizing Mike on filings, fees, etc.  But who remembers that Mike fired the first shot by questioning Bob's commitment to Dunwoody based on the source of his campaign contributions?  Or trying to paint a negative picture via the "career politician" label?  That's negative campaigning too, and it's just as bad.   Worse, in fact, when claiming to take the "high road" later in the game.   Both are also associated with their share of "Johnny One-Notes"  whose vision of Dunwoody is more like a static, ceramic Christmas village than a thriving, diverse, living, growing, evolving city.

The reason Bob has the edge in my mind is because of the very experience and political connections he has been criticized for.    Dunwoody is in a position now where, after three years, we can assess what we have in terms of infrastructure, citizens and lifestyles, other resources, and determine what we can build in the future and how.  There is also the very unique situation of having our residential population outnumbered by almost 3 - 1 by "daytimers" during the week.  Bob's experience working for Sonny Perdue forced him to deal with a broad spectrum of competing interests that had to be addressed, like them or not.  That's where Dunwoody is at now:  after three years we learned that the lives and lifestyles of our citizenry are far more diverse and sometimes conflicting than we knew at incorporation.  It all has to be addressed and integrated  as fairly as possible, because no one is going anywhere.  I think Bob is better equipped for that circumstance.  

With that said, no matter who wins, I ask our new council members this:  keep the Johnny One-Notes on a leash.  It isn't fair to the city now or in the future to allow one special interest to take precedence over other equally valid and valuable concerns.  The major zoning rewrite is coming up and there are a lot of "master plans" being bandied about - make sure all of the populations that call Dunwoody home benefit from these plans and no one gets shut out.

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