Monday, August 31, 2015

Dunwoody City Council Elections Qualifying Period Starts Today

The three at-large seats and Mayor are on the ballot for November 3.  Qualifying period for candidates is today through September 3 4:30 on September 2.

Dunwoody Voter Information

including list of candidates as they quality

As of 11:30 AM on 8/31, the field of candidates is thus:

  • Mayor
    • Mike Davis (Incumbent)
  • District 1 At Large, Post 4
    • Terry Nall (Incumbent)
    • Becky Springer
  • District 2 At Large, Post 5
    • Lynn Deutsch (Incumbent)
  • District 3 At Large, Post 6
    • John Heneghan (Incumbent)
    • District 1, Post 1
      • Pam Tallmadge

(Update:  Denny Shortal qualified later in the day after this post went live.)

When Dunwoody began, we had all kinds of people with all kinds of experience throwing their hats in the ring. No big deal, you have to start somewhere, right?  Then the election cycles adjusted to bring them up to the regular 4-year cycle we have now.  The discourse was polite, the elections mild.  Some seats were not contested, some previous council members chose to resign or not see reelection.

Then 2 years ago, Dunwoody saw its first slate of candidates.  Those who were pissed at Mayor Mike over the suggestion of a novel intersection upgrade rallied to  "Save (sic) Dunwoody" and had partial success with the election of Jim Riticher.  But exactly what "change" or "saving" was effected? Because Jim and Mike almost always vote the same way on whatever issue comes to council.

This year has a hint of a darker turn.  There are no slates of candidates (yet).  The "SD" crowd is active if smaller and have quietly cultivated a single candidate.  There is open conflict over the Mayor's office.  In both of these cases, long-term friendships are going to be strained to the breaking point and there is no discernable difference in policy or vision between the candidates for any given seat.  Yet.

In years past, choosing between friends and acquaintances for an elected office was uncomfortable business, but it had to be done.  In 2015, it looks like it's getting personal.  The structure of our community is going to undergo a radical change in its network of relationships and foundation of trust (or lack thereof) because political business is going personal.

Friday, August 28, 2015

UPDATED: SDOC Returns to Business Radio X at noon today!

Listen to the session online here!

Several weeks ago, Matt Holmes of DeKalb Business Radio X reached out to me via email and invited me to be a guest on his show.  I was thrilled to accept as last fall I was on Lee Kantor's program on the same online radio network.

Hit the link below to listen online wherever you are at 12 Noon EDT

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I Like Big Bugs and I Can Not Lie... Dunwoody Food Truck Thursdays Aug 20 and Comparison Lobster Dining

Dunwoody Homeowner Association's
Dunwoody Food Truck Thursdays

8/20/15 @ Brook Run Park 5 PM until Dark

This Week's Sponsor
Home Energy Solutions 

Guest Musician
Michael "Hurly" Hurwitz

Adult Beverages
Moondog Growlers   

Dinner Trucks
(**DWG Top Picks)

Dessert Vendors

Know Your Lobster Truck 

 No one was happier than I was when the lobster trucks started showing up at Food Truck Thursdays!  My family have been New Englanders going back into the 17th century so seafood and lobster rolls are a dietary requirement.

The offerings between the two trucks in metro Atlanta are not the same.  This is your PSA before you head ot to Dunwoody Food Truck Thursdays, or any other regional food truck gathering.

Tasting Maine (appearing tonight) and Cousins Lobster have been making the rounds in Dunwoody.

I have no idea which one was actually founded first; our family visited Tasting Maine before Cousins.

Tasting Maine

Cousins Lobster

Cousins Lobster was created by two Maine natives and is franchised around the country.  The menu-board-side of the truck features a celebrity collage of the owners mugging with the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Barbara Corcoran of "Shark Tank" who became a company investor after the owners appeared on her show.

Tasting Maine was created in and is local to Atlanta.  Not a lot of other company info is available.

Comparing the goods:

Both trucks provide the traditional lobster sandwich offerings:  the Traditional Maine (cold poached lobster with mayo - best for hot summer evenings) and the Connecticut (warm lobster with drawn butter dressing.  Wait til the weather cools for that one, trust me.)  Cousins Lobster sticks to a variety of lobster concoctions with a limited amount of sides.  Tasting Maine starts with lobster and runs the gamut of Maine seafood including fried clams, haddock, and tuna.

A Traditional Maine Roll at Cousins' will run about $13 (don't make that face, fresh lobster isn't cheap down here).  At Tasting Maine, it runs about $18 and change.  The difference is partially in the side offerings.  Cousins lobster rolls are sold a la carte with small sides like tater tots or bisque/chowder available separately.  Tasting Maine offers a complete meal with seasoned french fries, cole slaw, and a pickle spear.

The rolls themselves are also different.  Each time DWG has visited one of these trucks, the Tasting Maine lobster roll was noticeably larger with more lobster than the Cousins truck.

Whichever truck is present on any given Thursday (they're never in Dunwoody at the same time) grab a beer from Moondog before you get in line.  You'll stay cool a lot longer in the evening.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Georgians for Local Area School Systems Fundraiser at McKendrick’s Steak House in Dunwoody - August 25

Meet the legislators, citizen volunteers, and concerned parents working to make accountable school systems available to all in Georgia who desire them.
(The real website address is but the one in the ad will get you there too.)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Kosher BBQ Contest Takes Over Brook Run in October!

Back in May, Dunwoody Food Truck Thursdays incorporated Kosher food trucks and related providers with MJCCA sponsorship.  It was a smash!  Largest turnout at FTT EVER.  Playground was packed.  Almost caused panic attacks over traffic and whether the neighboring community could handle it.  (Just kidding - had to get a jab in on those who use "traffic" as an excuse to stall everything.)  The only drawback was the guy with the beef ribs ran out before I could get to him.

Looks like we all get another chance at Beef Rib Perfection in October.  The competition was posted at FTT and now it's official.

All info including team sign up, videos, the works is below.  Remember, this is Kosher, so there are going to be more rules and regs than your typical BBQ fight to the finish.

Thanks to everyone for marking a day on my calendar when I don't have to cook!

Sunday, October 18, 2015
Brook Run Park
11:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Free Admission for visitors
See website for contestant entry fees
Kids stuff, "Live entertainment" (that must be required or soemthing)
Dare someone to enter the Kosher Pickle Eating Contest!

Dunwoody City Tax Refunds are Coming

This letter arrived from City Hall this morning.  If you believe you are entitled to a city tax refund, watch your mailbox or your mortgage escrow statement.   Post in the comments if you've received yours.

Dunwoody, GA – August 17, 2015 – The City of Dunwoody completed the distribution and mailing of homestead exemption refund checks to all Dunwoody homeowners who qualified for a residential property assessment freeze exemption for the purpose of city taxes over the three year period from 2012 to 2014.

Dunwoody homeowners qualifying for the refund will receive a check according to individual annual tax payment methods. Refund payments were distributed either directly to the taxpaying homeowner or to the homeowner’s mortgage company escrow account. All affected homeowners were sent a letter from the City of Dunwoody indicating refund amounts and distribution method.

Refund payment amounts will vary according to individual property assessment increases incurred over the three year period. The City is requesting all qualifying homeowners cash or deposit the checks, regardless of the refund amount, to help ensure accurate reconciliation.

The City of Dunwoody and the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner’s Office examined residential tax records from 2012 to 2014 and determined approximately one in five residential parcels within the city were not properly credited with the property assessment freeze exemption. The city then worked closely with Tax Commissioner’s Office to issue individual refund checks and expedite check distribution and mailing.

Dunwoody homeowners who filed and qualified for a homestead exemption and received an increased property assessment during 2012, 2013 and/or 2014 above what their assessed home value was in 2009 have been mailed a refund check. Approximately 2,748 residential parcels were affected based on analysis of the Dunwoody residential tax records for the three year period. The city issued a total of approximately $150,000 plus interest in property assessment freeze refunds for affected residential parcels.

For questions or concerns regarding property assessment freeze refunds please contact City of Dunwoody Finance Director Chris Pike at

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Help Name Dunwoody's New Park on Pernoshal Ct

Dunwoody, GA – August 4, 2015 – The City of Dunwoody offers an opportunity to get involved in creating a lasting impression on the city with a newly introduced contest asking residents to name the city’s newest park at Pernoshal Court.

The “Name Your Park” contest begins August 5 and runs through September 30, 2015 and provides an opportunity for city residents to vote on potential park names or provide a write-in name. Interested residents can participate in the contest by registering at the “Name Your Park” online contest portal at

The “Name Your Park” contest offers participants a chance to choose a favorite new park name from a list of five potential selections or provide a write-in idea for a potential park name. The five potential park name selections are Pernoshal Park, Hightower Trail Park, Muskogee Park, Old Buck Park, and Magnolia Park or a write-in name submission.

Contest participants will be limited to one vote per person. After all votes are submitted the winning name will be identified by city staff and announced by the Mayor and City Council on Monday, December 14, 2015 at the 6 p.m. City Council Meeting.

The new park, located at Pernoshal Court, will be approximately 5-acres and the largest newly-built park created since incorporation. In addition to the multi-use trail, the park will have a centralized pavilion/restroom facility, 162 parking spaces for park and trail users, passive and active open areas/fields for sports, and basketball courts with a pickle ball court overlay. The park construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2015.

“Name your Park” contest rules and additional details on voting procedures are available at the online contest portal at

This contest/reaching out to the public to decide the identity of the new park is a classic case of Doing Something Right.  There is enormous talent, skill, perspective, and insight about our city and region right inside our borders.  That local citizen perspective (and skill set) should be the first go-to resource in building elements that contribute to our shared municipal identity.  Bonus points for the write-in option.

IMHO - I would not name any of our parks or other city features after a single person.  There is too much room for egos to get in the way and it would block the "organic" growth and evolution of identity.  No disrespect intended to Liane Levitan, but the locals think of Brook Run Park as Brook Run Park.  A space can be set aside to immortalize the efforts of individuals to establish a major feature (like a park) but leave naming the feature itself to the citizens.

Paving Dunwoody Roads, Timing, and Teachable Moments

(Insert picture here of Dunwoody ES, Vanderlyn ES, Dunwoody HS parking lots overflowing on to side streets during registration while road work continues on both Vermack and Womack.)

A picture of the streets-turned-parking-lots right outside of Dunwoody ES would have said all that needs to be said about schools and traffic.  But it isn't the first day of school - it's Registration Day in DeKalb County and that means that our centrally-located intersection with 3 public schools in close proximity are packed to the gills.  It wasn't safe to inch through the line while snagging a cell-phone photo of the above.

But wait, there's more.

Two much needed street improvements are also occurring at the same time.  (paving on Vermack, a refuge island outside of Dunwoody ES on Womack)

Discussion was had on Facebook with Terry Nall about the construction and its timing.  Terry reports that the contractor was required to complete work before the first day of school.
The work on both Vanderlyn Dr and Vermack Rd was intentionally scheduled to be completed before school started back.
Anyone who has ever had a child in public schools even for a single year can see the problem with that logic.  The "first day of school" is not the first day that activity gets heated in public schools.  Teachers and staff return in advance to set up their classrooms and get other operations in order.  then a few days BEFORE the first day of school is registration.  Even with prepping paperwork through the summer, families have to show up on registration day to finalize it all.  Dunwoody ES had a packed parking lot with overflow parking clogging both driveways.  Parking for all three schools spread into the neighborhood side streets.  A roundabout would have done nothing to ease the congestion at Dunwoody's most controversial intersection.

So what did we learn today?

1)  Allowing contractors to schedule street work at the last minute results in a clusterf*** by any definition.
2)  The "first day of school" is not a reasonable deadline for road work.  Assume the contractors are going to wait to the last minute to finish up.
3)  The real deadline should be a week before the first day of school, to get out of the way prior to registration.
4)  Whoever made this decision can read a calendar but needs to brush up on the actual start-of-school logistics.

Remember an earlier post where I said it's time to stop making mistakes?  This would be a good mistake to stop making.  Fortunately it's an easy one to fix.  Start construction projects around schools immediately after school lets out in May and mandate completion before August 1.

Best of luck to everyone in this new school year!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A hole in Dunwoody's zoning code

While we're wringing our hands about what our neighbors do behind closed doors and why they have guests at their homes, and what they park on their property, behold what gets parked in the metro NYC area.

Full Story

Dunwoody's zoning code is silent on the parking of personal aircraft.  Any bets as to how long it will take to fill the hole?