Qualifying for Dunwoody City Council Elections
After a long & thoughtful consideration, I'm announcing that at 4 pm today I will
|Joe Seconder kicks off the 2011 Dunwoody Candidate Forum on Sustainability|
Sorry....April Fools. You've all seen how negative & caustic the past two election cycles have been in Dunwoody. Seems that to win in Dunwoody, you have to pretty much not have a history of doing much. Or better yet, be a complete unknown. Then, you have to go 100% negative against your opponent. Talk about conspiracies. The world will end if your opponent is elected. And then forget about targeting anyone under the age of 50 or so. Because they pretty much don't vote or come out unless there's talk about school redistricting.
If a dozen or more people decide to approach me and say they'll work 10 + hours a week for several weeks to make something happen, then that's a different story. I've seen good people out there work their butts off. But without a broad-based & engaged grassroots network of active supporters, winning a local election is hard work. And in running for public office with a on-line searchable history of involvement, your opponents will be quick to find whatever points they'd like and turn it against you.
Oh, just imagine the labels my opponents and our local crying publication would put upon me. I support:
-- Backyard Chickens
-- Vehicle Parking Standards that include accommodation for bicycles
-- Saving Trees throughout Dunwoody. Not just on city-owned land
-- Roundabouts- where they make sense. Like at Womack & Vermack. And Chamblee-Dunwoody & Peeler / North Peachtree
-- Letting kids or families play a pick-up game of softball on the fields at Dunwoody Park (A public park with near exclusive use by a private, pay-to-play baseball corporation used by very, very few Dunwoody kids)
-- An ACTIVE Parks & Recreation Department -- Actually offering PROGRAMMING to our citizens much the way it is in Brookhaven, Sandy Springs & Roswell. We offer ZERO programming today, and instead "outsource" it to the volunteer groups in town. More & more people in the younger generation is working full-time jobs, with business travel and family obligations. What if they simply want to come back to Dunwoody and experience and partake in a program that is offered by the city? Sorry. You have to pay to play here. Want to swim? Pay a private club. Tennis? Oh yeah I think there's TWO tennis courts over at the Windward Hollow park. For 47,000 residents to use. And no bathrooms there, either.
-- Parks Bond: Do you know how many times the city has held specific, dedicated meetings with the public since the bond referendum failed on the future of our parks? ZERO. That's right NADA. Totally missing the boat here. Once it failed, we needed to talk to the citizens, get feedback, adjust and then present the findings and then move forward with a revised plan.
-- Slow progression but YES -- to looking at a greenway along the Georgia Power line easement. My approach: Start at Austin Elementary School. Talk with the parents, faculty, church next door and residents along the existing path that runs perpendicular across the power lines today. Work on getting a 1/2 mile trail along the powerline from Roberts drive to Bunky Way. So the kids can walk or ride to school. Once it's built, then just let it "simmer" for a while until the adjoining neighborhood is interested in connecting. And then progress. Little by little as the community asks for it.
-- Transportation: My #1 Priority would be SAFETY. Want to "fix" something? I want to know where it lies with safety metrics. How many collisions have there been? How many injuries? Does this help people walk or ride a bike a couple of miles safely, instead of HAVING to drive in a car? Do we employ best-practices engineering for traffic calming measures, designing our streets so that motor vehicles actually drive at or BELOW the posted speed limits at all times? Or, does simply this increase motor vehicle throughput? We definitely need mid-block pedestrian crossing islands along our major roads to slow traffic, and increase safety for pedestrians. We've spent tens of thousands of dollars on two separate "laser truck" analyses for pavement conditions. Based on that, a worst-is-first paving plan is made. I propose making a worst-is-first project list with funding based on SAFETY. Yes, eventually your street will be repaved. But first, we need SAFE places to move about in our city. Of course patching and filling potholes will take place.
-- Chatcom / 911: I'm on record as opposing the original deal back in circa 2009/2010. At that time, it was an extra & unforcasted $900,000 annual expense. Costs continue to rise. Calls to the fire department are delayed. Is a million dollars a year necessary for an "extra" 60 seconds notification to the police?
-- Police SUVs, Equipment, Costs: I don't have enough time here. Need to break out these costs and have separate votes on them instead of incorporating into the whole annual city budget. I love our police and their community service & engagement, but seriously. The excuse they need SUVs is because they have so much equipment. Seriously? What they heck?
-- Outsource -vs- Contractors. Ok. So this year the finally took my advice (Yes, I'm on record in the past as recommending this) and brought in-house the key Director-level positions. So what about the rest? The companies we outsource with must make a profit on us. They hire full-time employees and "assign" them to work for our city, based upon the service level agreement(s). Guess what can happen to these contractors? They can leave in a day to something else. They serve two masters, or more. If their company's contract isn't renewed, the entire staff of the department can most likely leave and be replaced by a whole new set of people that don't have any history of our city, the people or the projects and our vision of a great place to work & live. Let's do further cost/benefit analysis and work towards the stabilization of our city staff, in creating greater predictability and dependability. We don't even have a publicly-available org chart that shows all of the employees & contractors within the city of Dunwoody.
-- Future Vision: Yes, we're in the tactical mode of "Police, Paving & Infrastructure". But heck, I want DIPLOMATIC LEADERSHIP of my elected officials that speak about the future vision, and set in place discernible steps to take us -- together -- collaboratively -- along this journey. Yes, we have to be "fiscally conservative". But without any RISK, there is no REWARD. And we must INVEST for our future.
Ok. So that's my rant for today. I could go on & on. If you want to know more about me, just do a google search for "Joe Seconder" or "Joe Seconder" & Dunwoody
PS: YES - U better believe it that we'd become a certified BICYCLE FRIENDLY COMMUNITY if I were elected. As as a Council person, instead of being a Church Mouse and simply attending Council Meeting, perhaps asking a few questions & then voting on items presented to me, I'd be proactive. Collaborate and LEAD community efforts. Like a BFC recognition. Which isn't scary. Isn't bad. & Doesn't need lots of staff hours.
PPS: And we'd have a dedicated FARMERS MARKET, too.