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.