COVEReport – February 11, 2014

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Important Neighborhood Meeting with Georgia Legislators- Victoria Estates and the City of Lakeside





Monday, February 17, 6:30 pm @ 961 Castle Falls Drive

marthaDear Neighbors,

Please join us Monday evening, Feb. 17 at 6:30 pm at the home of Tim Buchman and Barbara Zehnbauer for an important neighborhood meeting that may impact our future cityhood. Specifically, Victoria Estates has been hastily and unexpectedly included in a new map for the proposed city of Lakeside that is included in a Georgia legislature Senate Bill that may come up for a vote in the immediate future.


At this meeting, we will hear from Senator/Gubernatorial Candidate Jason Carter, our Representative Mary Margaret Oliver and from Representative Mike Jacobs (who currently represents the Brookhaven community and was involved in the inclusion of VE in this new map). Other legislators, including our senator Jason Carter have been invited as well. Because the Senate bill may move to a vote quickly, time is of the essence.


Additional background:

On Wednesday, February 5, the Georgia Senate’s State and Local Government Operations committee approved SB270_Lakeside_Feb112014 for the formation of the city of Lakeside– with a new map that included Victoria Estates.  We had received no advance notice that we were being included in this proposed map. Upon hearing about this Thursday morning, COVE members immediately set to work to determine who had made this decision and the reasoning for it and invited our legislators and several others known to be involved in this matter to meet with us, explain their process, and give us the opportunity to provide feedback. Because things are moving quickly in the legislature, we asked for an immediate meeting, thus the last-minute nature of this invitation.


We hope we can count on you to join us for this important meeting.

Whether you are for or against cityhood, or neutral, it is a chance to show our legislators that we are concerned and that we expect to be included in processes that could significantly impact us.  This invitation is extended to Victoria Estates neighbors and guests. Light refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP to the Evite Invitation [click here] or email so our hosts can properly prepare.


Legislative Update Including Bill for Independent Schools

Pat February 11, 2014 – Pat Killingsworth

It appears that there may be a connection between bills introduced by Rep. Mike Jacobs and Sen. Fran Miller regarding the incorporation of the new city of Lakeside and a bill allowing cities to establish their own school systems.  Mike Jacobs dropped HR486_ Create City School Systems in the hopper on 2/25/2013, which proposes that a referendum be held to amend the Georgia Constitution to allow cities incorporated after January 1, 2005, to create their own school systems.  The bill stalled out in the House Education Committee last year, but was favorably reported out of committee by substitute on Wednesday, February 5, and I assume that it is in the House Rules committee now.  In an interesting coincidence, Fran Millar introduced SB301_Lower School Construction Standards on 1/21/2014, which allows for less expensive wood construction in new public school buildings.  It was read and reported on 1/22/2014, and favorably reported out of the Senate Education and Youth committee on Friday, February 7.  I assume that it is also heading to the Senate Rules committee.  One might connect the dots to see a vote on a new city of Lakeside, and a vote to amend the state Constitution to allow the formation of an affordable independent school system in Lakeside, on the same ballot, carrying the referendum.


HR_1330_Study Committee_Feb112014, a resolution to create a Study Committee on DeKalb County Governance, was dropped into the hopper yesterday.  It is sponsored by Representatives Mosby, Henson, Kendrick, Dawkins-Haigler, Stephenson and Oliver.


I honestly don’t know what the impact of this bill will be on DeKalb County governance.  HB935_Exempt Disclosure of Public Record for Retirement Systems is a bill to exempt local retirement systems from public record disclosure requirements.  It was dropped in the hopper last Thursday, assigned to the Retirement committee, and had its second reading yesterday.  It is flying through, and that is rarely a good thing in my experience.


HB 905/906, to end the lawsuit between Brookhaven and Chamblee over Century Center (affirming the legislative intent that the area in dispute be incorporated into Chamblee), passed the House last Thursday, and was read and referred to Senate SLOGO on Friday.


Nothing else jumped out at me.  I am attaching the new and improved SB270_Lakeside_Feb112014  for review.  It’s 51 pages – enjoy!



Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb Meeting – Rescheduled to next Thursday

Thursday, February 20 at 6:30 PM

Gannon BannerDecatur Library

Lower Level Meeting Room

The Blueprint is the foundation for a community discussion to address the issues facing DeKalb County.  The Blueprint process has been endorsed by more than 60 community leaders to date. The blueprint addresses the Grand Jury recommendations, ethics, government operations and cityhood.


The complete Blueprint is available at Citizens are encouraged to visit the site, read the Blueprint, sign on to show your support AND attend the community meeting on February 20th in the Decatur Library lower level meeting room at 6:30 PM. Free parking is behind the library located at 215 Sycamore Street.


Davis Fox

Policy and Projects Manager for

Super District 6 Commissioner Kathie Gannon

DeKalb County Board of Commissioners


MMO Third Legislative Newsletter–February 7, 2014


MMOliverFrom: [] On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, February 07, 2014 5:26 PM
Subject: MMO Third Legislative Newsletter–February 7, 2014!


Mary Margaret Oliver

Law office: 404.377.0485

Legislative office: 404.656.0265 Coverdell Legislative Office Building


This is Mary Margaret Oliver’s third email newsletter for the 2014 General Assembly Session which convened Monday January 13, 2014, and has completed 20 days of the annual 40 day Session.  I send periodic newsletters on  General Assembly activities, and if you do not want to receive this email newsletter please visit my website at to unsubscribe.

In each newsletter, I ask how you would vote on a pending bill or budget item. I am very grateful for your thoughtful responses and I personally read all your answers, and you can read past newsletters and past questions asked under the Media section of my website . Thank you for your interest and thoughtful opinions!  Also, please follow me on FACEBOOK and TWITTER for daily updates on the 2014 Session!

Weekly question: Would you vote to allow guns to be kept in dorm rooms in Georgia’s universities and colleges by students twenty one years of age or older?    Would you allow guns to be carried into churches and bars?   Should guns be allowed in state parks other than those used by for hunters who are complying with all hunting laws and regulations?


Proposed HB 875 contains a variety of expanded authorities for gun owners to carry their properly permitted guns. The debate has been ongoing for some time, and there have many hours of hearings conducted this week.    Should Georgia expand its gun laws and ease the current restrictions? You may review HB 875, and all its substitutes, and any other bill including the state budget, on the General Assembly web site, and view many committee meetings and House floor Sessions live on-line.




To reply to the weekly question, please click “reply” or email me at  Thank you!!




A town hall meeting scheduled for the MMO, Representative Rahn Mayo and Representative Howard Mosby scheduled for Wednesday January 29 was cancelled based on the snow storm and another gathering with Representative Scott Holcomb will be held Wednesday, February 12, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at Hawthorne Elementary School, 2535 Calladium.  Please come!

[Note: it is assumed this rescheduled meeting will also be postponed – Carl]


MMO enjoyed lunch this week with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers this week who are assigned to assist children in the foster care system, primarily through Juvenile Court interventions.  A huge statewide group gathered at the Capitol to advocate for this great program.  Every day, small and large groups are organized to attend hearings or floor sessions to monitor legislation and budget work, and offer testimony and opinions, aided sometimes by lobbyists, but more often through grass route efforts–democracy at work!  Please come visit any day–all Sessions and committees are open to the public.


DeKalb Cityhood Legislation.  The DeKalb delegation meets Mondays at noon, and on January 27 CEO Lee May presented his legislative package and asking the delegation for a moratorium on creation of new cities and annexations.  This week on February 3, the DeKalb existing cities, all the mayors, visited the delegation and laid out their plans for annexations, and whether they would be seeking local legislation this year.   Also, the proposed new cities of Tucker, Lakeside and Briarcliff are all active and seeking movement.   The Lakeside city legislation SB 270 has passed out of one Senate committee, and may or may not move to the Senate floor for a vote in the near future. I will be activating the Briarcliff city bill HB 665 in the next week, preparing a detailed substitute with a slightly revised new map, and along with Tucker proponents proceeding into the fray and politics of DeKalb County cityhood debates.  Stay tuned!  I cannot predict at this point whether the House and Senate leadership will ask DeKalb to pause and re-group after further study through a moratorium, or we will fight out all options in 2014.


HB 685 At the request of the State Bar of Georgia I introduced HB 685 to close a gap in Probate Court procedures relative to appointment of testamentary guardians that are named in wills when both parents are deceased leaving orphan minor children.   I participated in almost four hours of hearings in last week on this legislation, through the Judiciary sub-committee, full Judiciary committee, Rules Committee and today, HB 685 passed the House floor 157 to 0, and moves to the Senate for further consideration.


HB 993 I prefiled HB 705 to make changes in the Child Fatality Review Commission, and I am grateful the Governor has made this issue part of his legislative package.  HB 993, which I co-sponsor with the Governor’s floor leaders, proposes necessary reforms to the fatality review process and moves the function to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.  HB 993 needs to pass this year, and I will report in the future on its progress.


Appropriations Committee MMO serves on the Appropriations Committee, and specifically the subcommittee Human Services, Aging, Veterans Affairs, Labor, and Behavioral Health. Sub-committees and the full committee have met and the Supplemental mid-year budget has passed the House, and the Fiscal Year ’15 Budget will come to the House floor next week. Again, many hours of committee work. Our revenue growth allows a few new spending items and for the first time in years, agencies were not required to cut programs.  Our state budget remains less than in 2008.


Capitol Visits and Pages If your group would like to visit the Capitol, your child serve as a page on the House floor, please let me know. I want to hear from you and how I may help!  Thank you for your interest.



A Letter to the Capitol

A sample of one of the many letters sent by our neighbors to the Capitol concerning cityhood legislation


Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2014 2:12 PM

To: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;

Subject: Senate Bill 270 – Proposed City of Lakeside – VOTE NO!


Dear Senators,

Senate Bill 270 for the proposed city of Lakeside is currently being reviewed by the Senate Rules Committee, and may soon be up for vote.  Several neighborhoods, including Victoria Estates, were recently added to these plans.  Our neighborhood has been actively following this initiative and only became aware of this change today.  The Lakeside Initiative did not communicate their plans to expand the geographic area of the proposed city.  Independent of my personal preference, all citizen affected by the proposed changes should have advance notice and time to weigh in on the process.  Because these changes were not done in an open and transparent manner, I urge you to VOTE NO on Senate Bill 270.

E. Bennett
— Mason Mill Rd (Victoria Estates)
Atlanta, GA

Should New Cities Be Allowed To Form Independent School Districts?

Peach Pundit


Peach Pundit – November 27, 2013 13:31 pm

by Buzz Brockway · 25 comments

An independent Dunwoody school system would run a surplus of $30 million according to a feasibility study paid for by the city and a local parents group. Click for more


One thought on “COVEReport – February 11, 2014

  1. Jennifer Tipping

    Thank you for sharing this. One reason I had not felt too threatened about the outcome of pending cityhood initiatives was the “protection” offered by Georgia’s constitution proscribing the creation of new school districts. Given our legislators’ affinity for amending our state constitution, I’m not surprised there is a push to amend the constitution to allow the creation of new school districts, but I am a little disappointed in how behind-the-scenes all this seems to have occurred. The fact that Mr. Millar is associated with a private charter schools group is beginning to help me understand why all of this is happening, including the effort to make it less expensive to construct those new schools. I’m feeling frustrated and disappointed in our legislative process, but grateful to have this information – thank you.


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