Monday, July 22, 2013

Dunwoody Observations?

Background -

I received the following letter this afternoon with a request to post it on the DWG blog.  It seems to address some of the methods behind the latest rounds of complaints and protests.

I didn't write this and there is nothing in the email to indicate who did.  But just for the sake of discussion, here it is, unedited.  If the author wants to chime in and claim this piece, the comments are open.


Dunwoody Observer
Dear Community,

There has been much conversation, press coverage and distribution of propaganda regarding the political happenings of the City of Dunwoody.

It seems time to open the kimono (so to say) and outline some rational information for thought.

1.) Tax Income Distribution: The important thing to keep top of mind is that tax proceeds funneled to the City is the primary income stream for the City to compensate crucial Community safety staff and provide improvements to the City and its residents. Previous similar tax increases & resultant tax income was diluted throughout the County of Dekalb and spread across the County geography to fund County service providers. (For which the origination and quality is under investigation, based on the recent indictment & suspension of Burrell Ellis.)

2.) Inflation Happens: Taxes will increase with inflation. Period. Whether the additional tax funds go to the County Services or the City Services, there will be an increase taxpayers will eventually be subject to.... When distributed among a larger population, a 2% tax increase may result in less than a 0.5% increase in focused support to Dunwoody residents. It seems noteworthy to highlight that our tax dollars currently being discussed are now 100% focused on Dunwoody.

3.) Demographic of Opposition: If we take time to closely observe the make-up of the vocal opposition of the City of Dunwoody's planned progress, it is quite interesting. The demographics are primarily made up of over 55+, maybe even best characterized as over 65+, citizens. Amazing people, who shaped this City and most likely are living on meticulously planned retirement incomes.

Quite frankly, inflation and additional costs are understandably scary and unwelcome to this segment of our population. After all, when their retirement years hit and they planned on enjoying Mai-Tai's in Hawaii...they instead watched the stock market crash, the real estate market crash and we have no idea what type of financial impact may have subsequently incurred.

However, this segment of the populations also has significant tax exemptions extended to them as Senior Citizens and therefore contribute a minimized amount of tax revenue.

4.) Furthering Education: Having witnessed the Accreditation issues and the School Board CEO ousted, the opposition group was interestingly not in attendance at large at the meetings key to shaping the education opportunities of our next generation. Why is the primary focus on their personal finance and tax situations with little regard to supporting the growth, sustainability and next generation of our beloved Dunwoody? What does this communicate to the community?

5.) Emotional Rhetoric: There is a self-demonstrated structure of the communication pieces of this "opposition" segment primarily focusing on emotion versus fact. The flyers distributed throughout Dunwoody regarding Charter Commission meetings and their stated "issues", were emotional, name-calling and without any statistics for the reasonable community to consider and evaluate. Unfortunate, self-imposed, characterization of anger and emotion was all this piece communicated, versus a legitimate communication piece.

6.) Respect: There is no known vocal resident or City Official who has an "agenda" to ignore the sage advice of our "forefathers". There is a lot of respect for our "forefathers.". Unfortunately, those so active in the "opposition camp" do not seem to be offering a lot of rational / fact-based advice to the community at large.

7.) Voting: We ALL had our times at the polls. We are all stakeholders. CEO's of publicly traded companies do not issue a vote for every spending decision made. Nor does the President of the United States. Its quite simply, the American way. Our "voice" is heard at the polls. "Shareholders" all have a right and structured platform in place to provide constructive / actionable feedback. It is crucial to not circumvent these channels and the feedback is presented in a structured, productive and fact-based manner.

8.) Cost: The result of emotional politics is cost: The cost of the community's time and money. Emotional approaches create additional costs the community must absorb as we watch the delays in the work committees. They are forced to manage non-fact based, emotional campaigns of Citizens who offer complaints rather than solutions. Is the rhetoric costing us more than the actual proposed tax?

9.) Balance: Free Speech? YES! Balanced Government? YES! If you want to contribute, it appears that contribution, accompanied with a balanced, fact-based discussion, is always welcome in Dunwoody. If you have a plan, share it! If you have a concern, outline it with facts and statistics.

If communications are not based in fact or intended to "educate" the reader, these communications distract from and stunt the focus and growth of the community. Take time to consider the economic impact on your neighboring Citizens and if they are to "educate and promote" a point of view or if they are simply "name-calling" communications.

10.) Legacy: The last point that I would ask the "opposition" camp and all those observing the actions of this camp to consider is this.... Would you want your children (or your grandchildren) to live in and invest in real estate, businesses and a community fraught with people who oppose progress? People who don't show up in droves to support the next-gnereation's education but instead show up in droves to air unproductive emotions? Would you advise your children to live among people fighting the building blocks key to continuing to grow an astute, independent, self-sustaining community? Would you call that "a good investment" for a community? Dunwoody was established by quality, intelligent, hard-working leaders. Don't distract from or destroy their legacy. Take time to consider the progress the next-generation is trying to fund is key to ensuring this community maintains its status of an elite Perimeter community to call home.

Times are changing all around us... As a community, we must thrive or we will wilt. If we do not embrace this change, we will have seen our bloom and best days in years long past.

To the Opposition camp, please consider your next moves wisely. If it is considered hard to be educational and factual about your issues without name-calling, then consider no longer distracting from your fellow citizens time and money and let our City do its work to continue the growth of Dunwoody.


A Dunwoody Observer & Resident


Max said...

Grassroots advocacy is the lifeblood of both our political process and innovative ideas change our society, often to the betterment of all.

Rhetoric is a poor substitute for facts; effective advocacy leaders know they cannot win a public policy argument without a reasonable supporting rationale.

I look forward to hearing how new candidates will present facts.

"Anger may catalyze a crowd, but only reason shall carry a campaign."

Sight Edman said...

Very good.

I had to read this twice. The second time I (in my mind) replacing "Dunwoody" with "DeKalb" and "Opposition" with "Citizens for Dunwoody". Makes me wonder what Jill Chambers' take is on all this.

As one who fits the deprecated demographics of "55+" and whose residency long predates this city I tend to agree this is not somewhere to "age in place" and would greatly appreciate it if those young progressives would quit tootin' that horn when they promote "new urbanism". Hell, I'm so old I don't even know why I read your blog. I am also not aware of all the tax perks of being an old fart in Dunwoody and would appreciate some links, but that notwithstanding it is probably in everyone's best interest if the gray-hairs hightail it and leave the young 'uns to figure it all out on their own.

Perhaps we can all agree on one thing: there are many better places to live some of which exist today others only in some folks minds and we should all pick the one that best suits us.