Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Game On Tom Taylor

We wanted to think the DeKalb County School Board would do the right thing and approve the Druid Hills Charter Cluster, but we weren't holding our collective breaths either.  Last night the charter cluster was shot down 5-4.

Ok, Tom Taylor - you are up and we are 100% behind you.  Whatever you need to help pass HR 486, A Better Dunwoody stands ready to help.  Folks - this our chance to truly make a better Dunwoody.  Imagine a school system not run by self-serving politicians, where the kids truly do come first.

Whatever you think of the parkway, roundabout, paving - it is trivial compared to the push for an independent school system.  We need to stand united behind Tom and scream loud and clear -we want our own school system!  Sending emails is not enough, we need to be seen and heard in person.

Bring it Tom and let us know what you need.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Kindergarten Lessons

The election is over and it is time for all of us to come together and work to make Dunwoody a better place to live, work and play.  There are, of course, a lot of different opinions in our community about how to do that.  We should continue to have those discussions but we need to move away from the acrimonious tone, the accusations and the exaggerations.

I’ve got a friend who is a real estate agent.  She HATES showing houses in Dunwoody.  You know why?  She doesn’t want to answer the questions: “Save Dunwoody?  Why does Dunwoody need saving?  What is wrong in Dunwoody that these folks need to save? Do I really want to live here?”

Dunwoody is a great place live, but you would never know it from the tone of the debate over the last year or so.   The world may not be watching what we do, but our neighbors are.  It is time for us to turn over a new leaf and find ways to disagree without being disagreeable. 

Put away your signs.  Tone down your public comments.  Moderate the tone of your letters to The Crier.  Curb your outrage.  Distance yourselves from the spreaders of unreasoned dissent and twisted malice.
In other words, stay involved, but be civil.  To remind everyone how to act, I refer you to the book “All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum   Here are the 16 things we all need to remember from kindergarten:
“These are the things I learned (in Kindergarten):

1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don't hit people.
4. Put thngs back where you found them.
6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
7. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Flush.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life - learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Stryrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first workd you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.”
Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The polls are open!

Go exerise your right to vote.  Those of us in District 1 and 2 are jealous of those voters in District 3 - y'all have no chance of a run-off.  Hopefully everything will be decided tonight.

District 1 - Shortal
District 2 - Wescott
District 3 - Thompson

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Our picks

A Better Dunwoody volunteers attended 2 forums (not the one at DUMC, we were at the DHA meeting that night), have spoken with all the candidates and have made our decisions for election day on November 5.

We believe in a Better Dunwoody and do not think we need to save Dunwoody, except from those who think we should freeze time or look backwards.  We think the city is doing a good job at transparency and asking for public input. - although in order to give input you do have to attend meetings.  Is the city staff and council perfect?  No, but we do believe they have the city's best interests at heart and look at the big picture.

District 1- Denny Shortal (incumbent) will get our vote on Tuesday.  Denny surprised us at the DHA forum with his complete understanding of the various vendors the city uses for services.  We liked his suggestions to tweak some of the service levels.  Denny supported the Village Parkway Plan and the Brook Run trail system.  At the same time, he is the first to question costs and unnecessary spending.  Denny fully supports keeping Austin as a community school in the same location. 

David Davis is an unknown in Dunwoody.  We liked his short, brief answers at the Kingsley forum but feel his lack of experience and understanding of the city do not qualify him to sit on council.

Henly Shelton is one of the sweepers who seems to think Dunwoody is becoming the next Detroit.  What really turned us off was one of his answers at the DHA forum.  The question asked how he had helped improve his neighborhood, community and the city in the past 5 years.  He said he supported the city, but since its incorporation the "in crowd" had taken over and since he wasn't one of them, he was not invited to be involved.  For the record, you did not and do not need a personal invitation to attend council meetings or any other meeting held by the city.

District 2 - Heyward Wescott will get our vote on Tuesday.  Heyward's positive attitude, involvement in many different community organizations and proven leadership will make a great contribution to the council.  Truthfully we hope he runs for mayor in the future.  We think his perspective as a small business owner add to his qualifications.  He is the only candidate from District 2 to support Project Renaissance.  As noted in another post, this project took foreclosed land zoned for 300 apartments and turned it into a city park and single family residential homes.

Jim Riticher is the sweeper candidate from District 2.  We were completely turned off by his negative campaigning and lack of answers to the questions at the DHA forum.  He paid no attention to the questions actually asked, but just went off on his own tangents.

William AJ Mercier is a newcomer to Dunwoody.  He has lived in Dunwoody less than 18 months, having moved here from Ohio.  While being a newcomer can bring a fresh perspective to council, we were surprised by his negativity regarding the city.  Had he brought a more positive approach and some fresh ideas, we would have taken his candidacy more seriously.

District 3 - Doug Thompson (incumbent) will get our vote on Tuesday.  At the DHA forum we were delighted with his understanding and commitment to District 3 issues.  His candor about city issues  helped provide some insight to decisions made over the past few years.  The loudest applause at the forum was Doug's closing statement when he said, "I don't understand when people try to tear this city down."  He almost had a standing ovation for that statement.

Sam Eads is the sweeper from District 3.  We appreciate his not being as negative as the other sweepers.  He was honest about his lack of community involvement while the other sweepers merely gave poor excuses.  What turned us off Sam completely was his answer to a question about intersections at the DHA forum.  He stated the city has already spent millions on the N. Peachtree/Peeler/Tilly Mill intersection and the spending was wasteful.  In truth the city has not spent one dime to improve the intersection and in fact, the job has not even gone out to bid.  Don't make up an answer just to fuel anger in citizens.

So there are our choices and a few sentences of explanation about our thought process behind those decisions.  The election is November 5 and remember, you will only vote for one candidate from your district.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ghosts in the Farmhouse

Well done Troop 477!  The Boy Scout troop created a haunted farmhouse tour at the Donald Bannister farmhouse complete with ghost sightings in the house.  And how could you go wrong with roasting s'mores over a fire pit on the grounds of the farmhouse?!  Over 1,000 visitors took the farmhouse tour this past Saturday.  Lots of great kids games in the field, reasonable priced concessions and a parking shuttle made the entire experience fun and easy for my family.

Given the success of new and established community events - Food Truck Thursdays, Butterfly Festival, Haunted Farmhouse, Light Up Dunwoody, Lemonade Days it is easy to see we are a community who enjoys the "play" in the idea of "live, work, play."  We enjoy seeing our friends and neighbors while enjoying great events a few minutes from where we live.

The one thing I think we are missing - a 4th of July fireworks show.  We have to leave Dunwoody to catch good fireworks (unless you sit on the Dunwoody side of Dunwoody Club drive to watch the country club's).  Any pyros out there want to lobby the city for a show?

Friday, October 25, 2013

PVC to Project Renaissance

I drove by Project Renaissance this week with my daughter in the backseat.  She saw the new playground in place and quickly asked if it was a new park.  When I answered in the affirmative, she asked if the park was for us.  Again, I said yes but she would have to wait until it was open.  Much excitement ensued and more questions about when it would open.

In looking for a Better Dunwoody, I can't wait for Project Renaissance to be open and built.  Instead of apartments, the city will have a new park and new single family homes.  Over 300 apartments were planned for that space, fortunately for the city, the recession hit and the developer was unable to build them.  There were not many positive results from the recession - Project Renaissance is one of them.

The city, through a public/private partnership, was able to buy the foreclosed land (aka the pvc pipe farm) destined for apartments and turn it into new single family homes and a new city park.  That is a Better Dunwoody.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Walk This Way

Yesterday was Dunwoody Walk to School Day, an annual event that traditionally kicks-off the walk to school programs at each of Dunwoody’s five elementary schools.  Hundreds of students – many joined by their parents – made the choice to bypass the carpool lanes in favor of walking to school.
Dunwoody’s walk to school programs have their roots at Kingsley Charter Elementary School, which staged its first Walking Wednesday on April 1, 2009.  This, coincidently, also happened to be the first official day of operation for the new Dunwoody Police Department, and one of the department’s very first public acts was to participate in Kingsley’s event.  Police Chief Billy Grogan walked to school with the Kingsley students that day, and the walkers were escorted by a shiny new police cruiser with lights flashing.   The DPD has been a great friend and partner to Dunwoody’s Walk to School efforts ever since, enforcing traffic laws near our schools to keep our students safe.
Since that day, walk to school efforts have evolved and spread throughout the city.  Kingsley is now joined by Austin, Chesnut, DES and Vanderlyn as schools with active and vibrant walk to school programs.  As Dunwoody continues to become more pedestrian and bike safe with the addition of sidewalks and bike lanes, more students than ever have the opportunity to SAFELY walk or bike to school in our community.
So what’s the big deal about walking to school?  You can point to the various studies that show students that have 20 minutes of moderate physical activity to start their day perform better on tests, are more attentive in class, retain more of what they learn and have fewer behavior issues in school.  You could recognize that more students walking to school translates to fewer cars on the road, making the morning commute easier on everyone.
But the most important reason in my opinion to walk to school is simple – It’s FUN!  Walking Wednesdays are more than just a way to get to school, they are events that often include contests, prizes, special guest walkers, music, cheerleaders and even superheroes.   Students get the chance to walk to school with their friends in a parade-like atmosphere.  Parents join in on the fun too…walking and talking with friends and meeting new neighbors.  And why not try walking home from school as well - this is a great opportunity to spend some quality time with your child, learn about their day and get some exercise in the process (an added bonus).