Friday, February 15, 2013

The Secret of the Wood at Brook Run

So there he was, strolling down Peeler Road.  The Man in the Yellow Suit had a fancy strut, unlike most others in this town.  His walk was more suitable for the likes of Buckhead or even Decatur, but not TreeGap Dunwoody.  He whistled a familiar tune as he walked.

The Man in the Yellow Suit was looking for a young girl to get home from Dunwoody Elementary School. Her name?  Winnie Foster. She lived in the Big House in Lakeview Oaks, a small influential community in Treegap Dunwoody.  Winnie knew a secret, and the Man in the Yellow Suit wanted that secret!

Winnie met an eccentric family living here in Treegap Dunwoody.  The family was old school type.  The kids in this odd family used MySpace, not Instagram or Facebook.  The dad was a laborer, not owning a suit or a necktie.  And the mom, Mae Tuck, was strange too - she stayed home and did motherly tasks like cooking and sewing, and did not play on an ALTA team.  This was the Tuck family.  They have been known around these parts off and on, coming and going.  Rumor was they were descendants of the Puritans or English Calvinists or something like that.  They had left Pennsylvania Dutch country and relocated to what was once rural farm land in Georgia, a place now called Treegap Dunwoody.

And now Winnie knew their secret - the secret of the spring, hidden deep in the Wood of Brook Run. The water of this spring provided life forever. The County of DeKalb and City of Treegap Dunwoody had unknowingly helped keep the Tuck family secret by ignoring the Wood for years.  But now, with planned improvements for the Wood, surely someone, perhaps a lumberjack tackling the massive timbers of the Wood, would find the spring.  The Tuck family could not have that happen.  Jessie Tuck, the elder son of the Tuck family, was a strong and well-chiseled young man.  He used his backwood swagger on young Winnie, and filled her mind with stories of horror regarding the destruction of the Wood.  Young Winnie shared these tales with her grandmother, a FarmHouser in great standing in Treegap Dunwoody.  The blue-hair grandma swung into action, calling all Red Shirts, Red Hats, bridge partners, gardening mates, and even members of the esteemed DWC and DPT.  Soon it seemed nearly everyone in Treegap Dunwoody opposed any changes to the Wood.  Jessie Tuck's plan was a success.

But along came the Man in the Yellow Suit, whistling that tune again.  The tune resembled a little ditty his great grandmother taught him.  It was a simple tune from a special music box.  And the Man in the Yellow Suit heard the music box somewhere.  Was it at the Enchanted Forest store by Publix?  Did he hear it at Marlow's? No, it was coming from an area close to the skate park in Treegap Dunwoody.  Closer yet, it was coming from deep in the Wood, past the garden, past the orchard, past the peeing dogs - it came from in the Wood.

Would the Man in the Yellow Suit find the magical spring?  Can Winnie and her grandmother stop all people from entering the Wood?

The spring meant children would forever play in the former Wood.  Discovery of the spring promised laughter and playfulness for all who came upon the once-guarded Wood.  Jesse needed a new plan.  No way can the people of Treegap Dunwoody deal with children and adults living an active lifestyle.  What will Jesse do next?  Will Winnie be an accomplice, or will she look past Jesse's defense of the Wood and open the spring to all?

And yes, for a limited time, Comments are welcome.  Please note Comments will need approved by one of our staff members before they go live.

A Message from State Rep Tom Taylor

Fellow Citizens,

Many of you, especially those with children in DeKalb public schools have contacted me asking how you can participate in what is currently happening with our school system. The fact that SACS has placed the entire DeKalb School system on academic probation, which is only one step from loss of accreditation, is very serious.  For more on this, please read my op-ed in the Dunwoody Crier here:

I recommend that if you feel so inclined, please write a personal letter to Governor Deal and/or the Georgia State Board of Education.  Emails are fine, but a personal letter, hand delivered by my office to the Governor or the State BOE guarantees that your thoughts and opinions land where they need to go.

My Chief of Staff Page Olson will be collecting letters at her home now through next Tuesday, February 19th.  She lives at 1148 Redfield Ridge in Dunwoody.  She'll have a box at the top of her driveway for your to deposit you letter. Make sure that it is marked to go to either Governor Deal, the State BOE or both.  I'll hand deliver to both offices on Wednesday morning the 20th.

You are all encouraged to come down to the Sloppy Floyd building, 20th floor (across from the Capitol) next Thursday, February 21st at 8am to witness the hearing between our DeKalb BOE and the State Board.  You will need a photo ID to get in.  If you can't be there in person, watch it streamed live on the Department of Education website:

Contact my office at any time should you have questions.

Tom Taylor
State Representative, District 79
Office 404.656.0152

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So what needs to go into your letter?  That's up to you.  Some ideas:

Discuss importance of allowing  individual schools to get accreditation instead of entire district

Governor encourage legislators to support a Bill that would amend the State Constitution to allow the creation of new school districts

Remove the school board

Keep the school board as long as Governor can appoint the new permanent Superintendent

Ask if Dunwoody can remove itself from DeKalb County and be the state's first city/county, and it shall be called Nathan Deal County

Suggest the Dunkin Donuts at Mt Vernon and Chamblee Dunwoody Rd be forced to put in a circular parking deck to accommodate more than two cars in its drive-thru

On a more serious note, do you Dunwoody residents know how much you pay for schools?

Let's take a $300,000 home in Dunwoody.  A $300,000 home in Dunwoody will pay approximately $4100 in taxes. How much of that is Jimmy the Red Shirt and the Save Dunwoody crowd complaining about in regards to city spending?  About 9% of their taxes.  And a good chunk of that 9% is for storm water and street light fees then police and road maintenance.  Discretionary spending by the city is about 1.5% of your total tax bill. 

The DeKalb School system gets 62% of the taxes you pay.  $2600 of $4,100 of taxes paid on a $300,000 home goes to a horrible school system.  (DeKalb County takes about 23% of your tax bill).  

I really would like to see Jimmy and Sac and the Save posse and the Friends posse organize and focus on schools.

Nice to see one of our elected officials having a bit of a game plan. Writing a letter to the State Board or Governor is a good idea.  On the contrary, asking people to write letters to the AJC and The Crier about the schools is a waste of ink.  You think Jay Cunningham cares what is written in the Dunwoody or Atlanta papers?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

We Need to Save Dunwoody from Save Dunwoody

Yes, the title of this post is a tad confusing.  In summary, the gypsy group known as Save Dunwoody threatens the civility of the Dunwoody community, and normal people in Dunwoody are encouraged to look deeper at rogue groups such as Save Dunwoody and Friends of Brook Run. Don't be fooled due to a catchy name - we are Smarter than that. These two groups have done a good job in looking into projects and government spending, but that does not translate into these groups being the final say in what happens in Dunwoody.  It is nice to see local involvement, but sad to see people concerned only with keeping a wooded part of the park to themselves.

Using a typical tactic from Leftist groups on the national scene, local residents have attached themselves to 'groups' with names that are meant to touch our Dunwoody hearts.  After all, who in their right mind opposes any group with 'Save' or 'Friends' in the title?

Here are a few gems of the past - all with such touching names:

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Patriot Act
Fairness Doctrine
Farm Security Act
Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act
Recovery Act
American Jobs Bill Act
Citizens for Dunwoody

And now we have Save Dunwoody and Friends of Brook Run. For those of you members of the Red Shirt Posse, go to the 9:30 mark of  video from Monday's Work Session and see your leader on video   You followers with signs in your yard must be so proud of Jimmy.

During Jimmy's egress rant, he makes a comment that the police chief is probably at home, as he is not a "citizen" (did Jimmy mean Chief Grogan is here illegally from Mexico or not a resident of Dunwoody?). I've heard a couple of remarks questioning if our police chief should be required (as a condition of employment) to reside in the city limits. Residency requirements have held up in court as long as the city can display some rational basis for such a provision.  What rational?  Perhaps emergency calls is a top issue.  We don't really have bad weather here so not much worry of the chief or police officers not being able to make it to work due to a blizzard.  Many people think having the chief and police officers living in the community, being an integral part of the community they serve and protect.  One person recently asked me if police officers had their own children walking across busy streets in front of schools would we have Dunwoody police in front of schools? I don't think that's the case.  The chief says there is not enough staff to have an officer at each school in the morning.  If council said they wanted an officer at each school, there would be no police anywhere else during that time, based on current staff levels.

I have no issue with the chief not being 'a Dunwoody citizen' as Jimmy phrased it.  If the chief and the other officers choose to live in the city - great.  Bottom line is the chief can do his job no matter if he lives in Dunwoody, Douglasville, Dalton, or Dahlonega.  If they choose not to live in Dunwoody - no problem with that either. The officers have take-home cars so not sure if there is a mileage limit or not. We don't require our school principals or teachers to live in the city or county, so no need for law enforcement to live here.
Jimmy, please know there is always an officer at council meetings and work sessions.  And should you fail to be respectful and keep your mouth closed (except for your three minutes of public comment) I hope you are removed from every meeting. Most people are not entertained by your antics and most are not believers in your message.
Now that the issue of the chief being a citizen is over, let's get back to the Saviors.  First, Friends of Brook Run.  A friend is one attached to another by affection or esteem. So those of us wanting improvements to Brook Run are not 'friends' of the park?  Many residents do care about the 100 acres referred to as a park, and these residents want to be friends with a park, but it's hard to be friends with a moldy old theater, a trashed dormitory, and a  polluting dog park filled with canine-urine soaked leaves. It's been discussed here before - the REAL reason a small group strongly opposes the trail at Brook Run is because trees will be cut.  And these trees are near their homes. 1000+ signatures?  I'll need an auditor to review those.  Probably 200 or so people who pay taxes in Dunwoody - leaving 49,800 who did not sign it.

And why do certain media give coverage to a random group of folks who met once and posed for a picture in front of someone's house?  Is that all it takes to become a news source and expert on deciding the fate of our city's largest 'park'?  Maybe I will throw a keg of Hoegaarden on ice, make some of my excellent salsa, sync my i-phone with my Sonos 5, invite my fantasy Football buddies over (yes, I am the 2012-13 champion, thank you), elect a president, treasurer, and secretary, then make up a group name.  Maybe Families for Brook Run or Dads of Dunwoody or FunWoody Fans. We can take a photo in my backyard of our group, then send press releases to The Crier, Dunwoody Patch, The Neighbor, and the Dunwoody Reporter.  And may as well send the press releases to our cut n' paste bloggers for extra coverage. Our group will be in favor of improving Brook Run, in favor of intersection improvements, and perhaps favor some economic development.