District 1: no endorsementThis 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 WescottAgain 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 ThompsonOne 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.