Saturday, November 2, 2013

2013 Election Endorsements

The usual disclaimer:  my endorsements below are based upon what I think are qualifications for holding office.  This has nothing to do with my opinions of people as human beings.  I don't personally dislike anyone in this race - which is what makes decisions that much harder and more emotional.

District 1:  no endorsement

This wasn't as easy a decision as you might think.

Mr. Davis and Mr. Shelton just don't have enough experience in participating publicly in Dunwoody life to make good participate in the decision making at this level.  Before jumping in to city council, get involved in something - ANYTHING - to get a feel for the different facets of whatever issue is on everyone's mind.  I haven't seen any indication that they are as receptive to questions as they will need to be in office.  Both of them blew off an opportunity to respond to my blog questions, even with the promise of an open mic and no editing.

Mr. Shortal may have been elected to the original city council but I believe the period of his effectiveness is behind us.  Denny's point of view is extremely narrow.  He has openly and repeatedly advised anyone who will listen that all decisions about Dunwoody's governance should be based on what each person "wants to live next to".  I posted before why I believe this is bad advice.

Denny's perspective is limited to expectations of life circa 1971.  Problem is, the world has changed and our population has evolved in many different ways.  Questions about what is "quality of life" in the 21st century are coming from all directions and there's no sign of that stopping.  Denny's perspective is simply too narrow to adequately address these questions or even give them fair consideration.   An elected official who refuses to acknowledge any way of life beyond his own fosters conflict, rather than coexistence.  It is exactly this type of thinking (only that which is in my front yard is valid) that gave rise to the "Save Dunwoody" movement and all of the downstream conflicts that resulted.

Denny is also starting to lose control when serving in council meetings.  While acting as mayor pro tem on February 11 of this year, he allowed Jimmie Smith to bait him into a screaming match from the floor.  (Recorded video:  the incident begins at about the 9:00 mark.)  The correct course of action would have been to call a 10-minute recess/bathroom break and allow Chief Grogan to discreetly remove Jimmie and explain to him the advantages of calming down and shutting his mouth.  It's not OK to turn every confrontation into a full scale battle, or sink to the behaviour of a malcontent who may have some psychological deficits.  See above re:  encouraging conflict.

Denny is better suited to advocating for his neighborhood and demographic that represents the "1971" way of life.  He's not able or willing to acknowledge the diverse lifestyles in his own district.

Best of luck to you, District 1.  The next couple of years are going to get bumpy.

Distrrict 2:  Heyward Wescott

Again in District 2 we have two gentlemen who may have the best of intentions, but have not been involved enough in public city life to know how to promote their solution.  Mr. Mercier and Mr. Riticher have also been implicated in some of the mudslinging that came out late in the campaign.

First lesson in Dunwoody politics:  negative campaigns do not work.  If you don't understand that point, you haven't been paying enough attention, which means you don't know enough to serve in office.  If slinging mud is how you behave in your campaign, how are you going to act if you're sitting in one of those seven chairs?

I've known and worked with Heyward through the Chamber for the past couple of years.  In that time, I have never known him to make a promise he didn't keep when he had the power to do so.  When he says he listens to people, he actually absorbs what they say and reconsiders his own position in light of that perspective.  Some people think "listening" is letting an opinion go in one ear and out the other.  That doesn't mean that he's able to bring about the results each and every person wants all by himself, but he at least gives everyone's opinion a fair shake.

Heyward's involvement in the community in a long list of organizations has put him in touch with a lot of people and in a position to solve inevitable conflicts.  Contrary to some opinions, no one in any group sits around agreeing with each other all the time.  (Says the odd duck from the DHA board....)  It doesn't take long to learn that there's a time to fight, a time to knock it off, and a time to think outside the box to maintain some kind of equilibrium between the varying interests that make up this city.  In District 2, Heyward is the most capable and most willing to put forth the effort necessary to promote coexistence rather than conflict.

District 3:  Doug Thompson

One final time:  Mr. Eads has spent no time showing any interest in any public events or governance in Dunwoody prior to his campaign.  I can't see how he is qualified for the position if he has such little knowledge of what issues the city is facing.  It doesn't take much to catch up:  sit in on a council, committee or commission meeting.  They're all public.  The schedule is readily available on the city website.  Just show up and hang out.  Neighborhood over-the-fence gossip or reading the newspaper in the oval office isn't the same thing.

Doug is another one who actually considers the opinion of constituents who approach him with a question or a problem.  God knows, he's had to deal with me in his face more than once if I didn't understand a decision or had a concern that I wanted considered.  (Better in person than here on the blog, right Doug?)  Doug (along with Heyward) was one who took the time to answer the questions I posted as the campaign began.  He is also the one who proposed tax cuts for the citizenry as the city began to operate with a surplus.  In District 3, Doug's seat isn't broken.  There isn't a need to fix it.


Max said...

Wow, finally I can exhale, SD's long awaited endorsements are here!

I love your picks for District 1 and 2, and the reasons you support these candidates.

We differ in opinion for District 1.

I think Denny represents his constituents with unwavering promises kept, clear actions, and solid intentions. We may all have differing opinions of what great looks like - In District 1 maybe that looks like Dunwoody Circa 1971, but the folks in that area know that whatever Denny says, Denny will deliver.

Hysterical comments, as usual. You add so much to the fabric of this community, keep on doing what you do!

SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

Thanks for jumping in, Max.

That's what made this decision so difficult. Of all four council members who went under my microscope in the "Truth and Consequences" posts, Denny is the one that still has my respect because he is so consistent. He doesn't play favorites or apply different standards to different issues based on which one he likes best. Not everyone can say that.

However in the big picture, consistency in and of itself is not enough. Being consistent with a 1971 POV is on the same level as avocado kitchen appliances, shag carpeting and wood-paneled station wagons: some people may still use them, but they are awkward, difficult and expensive to maintain, and you can never get rid of the smell.

IMHO (as always, only MHO) what you're consistent about and whether it's compatible with modern living makes a huge difference.

Max said...

Modern living, huh? Sometimes I think about those avocado 'fridges without motherboards that go poof...

That said we must look forward to the future if we are to be successful, but we cannot forget basics.

Like 'truth in advertising.'

Max said...over in Councilor Heneghan's blog:

Trust is a cornerstone value that our political leaders must exhibit prior to an election and while in office. One way to determine trustworthiness is to evaluate written campaign statements.

Yesterday, Mr. Eads wrote this regarding Dunwoody taking on Fire Services:

"Independent Fire Department

Now is not the time for Dunwoody to take on fire service. The city needs to do a better job of handling their current responsibilities before taking on new ones. I think Dunwoody residents should be allowed to vote on this issue before they move forward with a take over.

The current council has approved city charter change recommendations that would allow the city to take on fire service WITHOUT a vote by the citizens."

There are two material errors in fact with this statement. These are not opinions or interpretations. I know this because I spent last Summer studying the Dunwoody City Charter as Charter Commission Chairman.

1.) There is not requirement for a citizen vote for taking on Fire Services. Sec. 1.03(26) allows the City Council to establish Fire Service. Period.

The Charter is silent on how to finance Fire Service, so the Charter Commission addressed this conundrum, without raising taxes. That did not get my vote, BTW.

2. City Council has NO authority to approve Charter recommendations; the General Assembly has exclusive authority to approve ANY City Charter changes, for ANY City.

These FACTS were published in The Crier and The Reporter.

We can argue opinions all day long, but in the end, we must share the same facts.

While I appreciate any citizen willing to run for office, only adherence to facts, in lieu of rhetoric, earns my vote.

Max Lehmann