COVEReport – January 8, 2014

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Victoria Estates Meeting with Chairman of the DeKalb House Delegation

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Martha Pacini, COVE President – January 8, 2014

Howard Mosby, the head of the DeKalb Legislative Delegation, met with around a dozen neighbors from Victoria Estates on Thursday, January 2 at Pat Killingsworth’s house.  Representative Mosby represents the 90th District, which includes parts of south DeKalb County and Rockdale County.

Representative Mosby informed the group that he had called a meeting for January 9 at the Capitol for each of the proposed new cities to present their plans.  This meeting will not include presentations from those opposed to city hood or from the city of Atlanta regarding any potential annexation plans.  Several members of the audience encouraged him to plan a second meeting that would allow for input from these constituencies as well.

Rep. Mosby explained that the Lakeside city hood bill was started in the senate, while the bills for Briarcliff and Tucker were started in the house.  All three bills cannot move forward at one time because there are issues with the borders overlapping.  Rep. Mosby stated that he believes that all of the city hood bills (there are 7 distinct city hood bills in DeKalb, 4 of which have been reviewed by either UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute or GSU’s Andrew Young Center) are at the core about quality of life issues.

He was asked about the possibility of moratorium on cities until more research could be done and the boundaries could be worked out.  He stated that a one-year “hold” on the new cities would be best used by convening “hearings”  in summer 2014 that would include an evidence-based assessment of the impact of the new cities on the rest of the county, as well as a clear accounting of the legacy costs that remain with the county when the cities are formed.  The audience made it clear that transparency from the county regarding financial issues and performance audits would be crucial to making the most of any hiatus in the city hood plans.  Rep. Mosby made a personal commitment to a public review of these issues, and noted that there is a proposal before the Commissioners to fund a Charter Commission (with a current recommendation of $100,000), but he did not commit to a specific methodology for an assessment at this time.

Erika asked how people in our neighborhood could have a voice at the state legislature about these issues.  He suggested several people (Lt. Governor & chair of the committee, Amy Carter, for example) who would be influential, and requested that he also be copied on emails that are sent.  Erika offered to get email addresses and post them on the COVE website so that neighbors could make their voices heard.

Rep. Mosby stated that the county must address the quality of life issues that are spurring these bills, in particular the need for transparency.  Is the county operating as efficiently as it could?

DeKalb Legislators to Meet on Cityhood – Thursday

Jay Scott, DruidHill Patch – January 8, 2014

DeKalb legislative delegation to hear presentations from cityhood groups.

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DeKalb’s legislative delegation is hosting a hearing Thursday on the county’s cityhood movements, and it’s sure to draw a significant audience of supporters, detractors and observers to the state Capitol.

The hearing, which starts at 10 a.m., will be held in room 606 at the Coverdell Legislative Office Building, 18 Capitol Square, Atlanta. The meeting is open to the public. Call 404-656-0109 for more information.

Each cityhood group will be given a short time to make presentations to the legislators.

While there has been continued discussion of the issue through the holidays on Patch blogs and other articles and an AJC forum on DeKalb cityhood, the hearing refocuses media attention on the issue before the Legislature convenes next week.

Cityhood supporters were particularly incensed by comments from DeKalb interim CEO Lee May in the AJC forum as well as in an article which cited a “growing chorus” in DeKalb wanting to put the brakes on new cities. (Subscription required). May has called for a three-year moratorium on new cities.

Also, there has been considerable backlash in comments here and on other sites after a Dec. 20 WAOK radio interview in which former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones interviewed suspended CEO Burrell Ellis, who is under indictment on corruption charges. Both decried the cityhood movement as divisive and said it amounts to “resegregation” in a diverse county.

The interview did not gather much attention until articles quoted from it after the new year.

COBI officials this week have stepped up their social media presence in an effort to reach supporters. And COBI board member Herman Lorenz continues to file regular blogs here, which draw a number of regular comments from supporters and critics of the cityhood proposals.

Lakeside City Alliance, with the exception of the AJC forum, has been relatively quiet since Dec. 12, when they held their last public meeting at Lakeside High School. (See Tucker Patch for the latest on Tucker 2014′s efforts.)

 

 

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