Please join us to keep DeKalb Strong!

I am pleased to announced that I have joined with several other neighborhood activists to join a PAC to fight for a moratorium on new cities and annexations as they are constituted in 2015. People have different motivations and reasons for wanting to stop these initiatives in the legislature this year, but we all agree: these new cities and annexations, as they are being pursued by special interested this year, are not a good idea.

Please visit our Web site at DeKalb Strong. At that link you can add yourself to our mailing list, sign our petition, and follow all the latest developments as we try to convince the legislature to stop!

Best map out there

If you want to know exactly how your neighborhood fits into the annexation/cityhood mess, the excellent map produced by Decaturish lets you zoom in very closely.

It also really helps to show just what a mess this is at the moment, with multiple disputed areas. The idea that a vote on this could even be possible by May is a bit absurd, as a few months out we still don’t even know exactly what we would be voting on. A May vote is still something cityhood groups want, as they know they benefit from as low a turnout as possible, and are more interested in getting the result they want than in actually hearing the will of the people.

I got this map from Decaturish, which has done a really fantastic job of covering this. Please considering supporting them with a $6 a month subscription (I am not at all affiliated with them, but I have come to rely on them!).

Map released

The map of Tucker/Lavista Hills was released this morning. All I have right now is a photo of the paper map at the hearing; I will post a zoomable/clickable one as soon as I can find one available.


They did what I expected: ignored the wishes of business owners, since they don’t get a vote, anyway. The Northlake business community asked the committee to please not split the business district down the middle, but they did, giving Northlake Festival to Tucker and Northlake Mall to Lavista Hills.

They also pushed back Lavista Hills encroachment on traditional Tucker–the area surrounding Henderon Mill Park. In all, they cut about 8,000 people out of Lavista Hills proposed map.

Other important points from the meeting:

1. This is set in stone. The chairman said any adjustments the the Tucker/Lavista Hills boundary would restart the two-year clock.

2. Except it isn’t. This map does not include the recent annexation of Executive Park, or other annexation plans that have yet to be solidified. So the other boundaries, besides the one between Lavista Hills and Tucker, still need to be hammered out.

3. No one knows the impact on taxes. The Chairman strongly encouraged the cities to redo feasibility studies, but no one yet knows what the boundaries are going to end up being, especially for Lavista Hills. There is still a possibility of a referendum before anyone knows whether or not these cities are feasible.

4. They aren’t pushing for a quick vote. Cityhood supporters have always pushed for a vote as quick as possible, to limit data gathering, public involvement and time for those in the middle to be educated about the consequences of all of this. Chairman Brockway said he believe a May vote would be ill-advised, and that as much time as possible should be allowed so the groups can update feasibility studies.

5. No one inside the Perimeter supports a new city. At the hearing, they presented a map showing where the people who had emailed them in support of a city lived (one color for Tucker, another for Lavista Hills). Almost all of the support for a city of Lavista Hills was based outside the Perimeter, with a small smattering of support ITP.

At ITP public meetings, when asked to show hands who supports a city, the packed rooms are overwhelmingly opposed. Surveys have showed opposition in intown neighborhoods, and some neighborhood associations have officially come out against it. There’s no evidence of support ITP. Every indication is that if this does go to a referendum, it will go down in flames, if people show up to vote. This is why cityhood supporters want the vote during a low turnout primary, NOT during a time when a significant percentage of voters will show up).

6. 50% of local representation opposed it. Four of the five members of the subcommittee showed up to vote–the representative from Harlem was a no show. Mary Margaret Oliver voted for it; Howard Mosby voted against it, saying that the cityhood process is broken. The committee is bending their own rules in order to rush a vote, and in doing so has removed a lot of local control from a process that is supposed to be about local control. Mosby said the communities should be given enough time, no matter how long it takes, to work out their issues themselves, instead of having these maps imposed on them by people outside of the area.

Action items now.

1) This still needs to make it through the legislature. Contact the members of the Governmental Affairs Committee and the DeKalb delegation and tell them you want communities to make boundary decisions and don’t want to have to vote on a map drawn by politicians from elsewhere.

2) Advocate for a general election vote. The actual timing of any referendum is totally up in the air. Write legislators and let them know you want this to be decided by as large a segment of the voting population as possible, after enough time has passed for us to understand what exactly we are voting on. NO VOTES BEFORE NOVEMBER.

If you are interested in being involved or getting a yard sign, please send an email to

DeKalb County Schools releases annexation report, slams potential annexation of Druid Hills by the City of Atlanta

A slide from a DeKalb County Schools presentation about the potential impacts of annexation on the county”s schools.

One of the questions raised by a proposal to annex three DeKalb County Schools into the city of Atlanta is what it would do to the students at the other schools that feed into it.

The proposal from Together In Atlanta would call for a referendum on annexing the neighborhoods around Briar Vista Elementary, Fernbank Elementary and Druid Hills High schools into Atlanta. They are three of seven schools in the Druid Hills High cluster. The proposal also encompasses Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control.

When the three schools move into Atlanta, they will also become part of the city’s public school system. The other four schools will stay in DeKalb County. What happens to students of the other four schools? Will they be allowed to attend school at Druid Hills High with the rest of the cluster? If not, what high school will they go to?

Read more on Decaturish.

They’re Baaaaack! Now called Lavista Hills

As many of you have probably already heard, Lakeside has slightly reorganized, adding one member of Briarcliff to their board and making tweaks to their borders, and have now given themselves the godawful name ‘LaVista Hills’. It appears there is no substantial difference between Lakeside and Lavista Hills, except for some smoke and mirrors to escape the bad taste they left in everyone’s mouth last year. Mary Kay Woodworth is still at the helm, and many of the former Lakeside people, while loudly claiming they are not longer on the board of the effort, are very active behind the scenes trying to get legislators to do their bidding.

The simply ported their old Web site to a new url and changed the names from Lakeside to Lavista Hills–except in all of those places they forgot.

This has always been a bad idea, and they have made no improvements.

Hello! I have all of you on my list of people who have expressed interest in opposing cityhood movements in North DeKalb. The issue has been largely dormant, but groups are now preparing for the next session of the legislature, which begins in January.

As many of you have likely heard, Lakeside has reorganized somewhat (mainly adding one board member from Briarcliff, which is now defunct) and have changed the name to Lavista Hills.

Since the proposed city of LaVista Hills and city of Tucker have not been able to come to an agreement on city boundaries, a House legislative panel of 5 members will set the borders.  This includes two legislators from this area, Howard Mosby and Mary Margaret Oliver, and three representative from elsewhere.

The panel has scheduled a public meeting for Wednesday Dec 3, 1-2:30pm and invited the community to attend. There will also be an opportunity for public comment. There is no guarantee that you will be able to speak if you show up–last session, the Lakeside organizers tried to prevent anti-city people from having a chance to speak. But getting there early will help your chances.

If you come, I strongly recommend taking MARTA , which takes you right to the Capitol (Georgia State Station). The Coverdell Office Building is across Capitol Square SW from the Capitol.


WHO: House DeKalb County Cityhood Subcommittee of Governmental Affairs

Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Lawrenceville), Chair
Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem)
Rep. Mark Hamilton (R-Cumming)
Rep. Howard Mosby (D-Atlanta)
Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur)

WHAT: Public Meeting to hear opinions on cityhood

WHEN: Wednesday, December 3, 2014  1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
WHERE:  Coverdell Legislative Office Building
               Room 506
               18 Capitol Square
     Atlanta, Georgia 30334

PARKING: Public parking is available at several nearby lots for $5-10. Pete Hackney Parking Deck (directions provided below)
162 Jess Hill, Jr. Dr

Steve Polk Parking Plaza
65 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr



Citizen’s group proposes reforms

I received this this morning and am passing it along. I know some of the people involved in this group and have a great deal of respect for them.

DeKalb Citizens Group Calls for Reforms

In the wake of swirling charges of corruption, a group of engaged DeKalb citizens is bringing forth recommendations to reform DeKalb County government. The diverse group of neighborhood leaders has been working since February to draft the Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb County. The Blueprint is a framework for reform – it addresses: procurement policies, ethics, inefficient operations and the stale political environment.   Today the Blueprints Leadership team called a public meeting and launched a website

“The voices of citizens must be heard to change the direction of DeKalb County,” said Patricia Killingsworth, a member of the Blueprints Leadership Team. “We hope citizens from across DeKalb County – north, south, in cities or outside – will use this current crisis as an opportunity to press for meaningful reforms, and that our elected officials will engage and take their responsibility for promoting ethics and transparency in DeKalb County government seriously.”

“DeKalb needs comprehensive solutions that are as big as our problems,” said Gil Turman another member of the Blueprints Leadership Team. “Many levels of government must be involved and our business and private sector leaders must also press for change.” contains:

  • The original Blueprint showing the group’s principles
  • A progress report to the Operations Task Force
  • A survey to obtain feedback from the public
  • Draft position papers written by citizens

The position papers include recommendations to ensure more accountability, transparency and efficiency. Among the recommendations are:

  • An internal audit watchdog that reports to an independent body
  • Ethics reform, including removing Board of Ethics appointments from the CEO and Board of Commissioners
  • Greater transparency in purchasing, budgeting and operations to allow citizens to more carefully monitor County government
  • A straw poll to consider term limits and non-partisan elections

The Blueprints Leadership Team will review these reforms in a community meeting on September 30th at 6:30 PM in the Maloof Auditorium in Decatur. DeKalb citizens are urged to attend.

For more information contact


Blueprints Leadership Team


Ted Daniel

DeKalb resident for 58 years; Community Council District 2   2003-Present (Chair); Leafmore Civic Association-Immediate Past President; Founding Member of Civic Association Network; Community Projects/Studies: Lavista Blueprints, Leafmore Infill Overlay District, Toco Hills Community Alliance, North Druid Hills Corridor Study, DeKalb Traffic Plan,   Zoning Code, Mason Mill Park Master Plan, Oak Groove Festival, Embrace Our Green Space Race


Jana Johnson

20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry Customer Service Supervisor. Owner and founder of an event management company; coordinating and organizing events as well as giving presentations, facilitating workshops, seminars and meetings. Graduate of Leadership DeKalb; Currently on the Board of Directors for I CARE, a non-profit that provides transportation for seniors to their medical appointments, Pride Rings in Stone Mountain (PRISM), the DeKalb County Planning Commission and the DeKalb County Juvenile Court Citizen Review Panel. Past member of the DeKalb County District 4 Community Council. Currently pursuing her Masters in Biblical Counseling.

Robert Glover

Worked for a major telecommunication company for over 30 years leading project teams in developing and implementing new products and services. DeKalb resident for over 25 years. Serves on the DeKalb Board of Equalization hearing real and personal property appeal cases. BoE Chair or Vice Chair for 7 of the 15 years on the board. Served as Vice Chair of Operations for the SCORE (Service Core of Retired Executives) Downtown Atlanta office. Guided entrepreneurs and business owners how to enhance their business, develop a business plan, and how to secure a Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan. Acquired a Paralegal Certificate in 2008 from Kennesaw State University worked part time for a law firm. Presently serving as a Trustee and Financial Secretary for his church preparing financial reports in accordance with GAAP (General Acceptance Accounting Principles) for Non-profits.


Patricia Killingsworth

Attorney and former Chief Judge of the State Board of Workers` Compensation, Member DeKalb County Board of Ethics 1998-2008 and Chair from 2002-2004, Graduate of Leadership DeKalb. Served on the boards of directors of Leadership DeKalb, Youth Leadership DeKalb, Atlanta Young Singers of Callanwolde, and the governance council of Chamblee Charter High School.  A recipient of the Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service, presented by the Georgia Bar Association. Adjunct professor at Georgia State College of Law. Currently serving on the board of directors of Citizens of Victoria Estates. Resident of DeKalb County for the past 30 years.

Beth Nathan

Electronics and information science professional; small business owner; retired. Past state president League of Women Voters; legislative lobbying; legislative aide; past citizen adjunct Georgia Information Technology Policy Council; member DeKalb Future Funding Commission which established priorities for the 2006 Bond Referendum; member DeKalb Parks Bond Greenspace Advisory Committee, member Recreation, Parks  and Cultural Affairs Citizens Advisory Board; past president North Briarcliff Civic Assn; Chair, Friends of Mary Scott Nature Park; leadership team member Civic Association Network; election pollworker for 10 years.

Brenda Pace

State License Navigator for the Affordable Health Care Act. Former Branch Manager/Officer of Bank South,  Assistant Project Manager for Wegman & Associates and Community Outreach for DeKalb County’s Office Of Neighborhood Empowerment. Active in the community for 25 years in the South DeKalb area. Founding board member in 2002 of East Lake Terrace Association & President for 5 years until December, 2013; Past Member of Georgia Sustainable Community Alliance; Assisted with providing guidance that led to the complete re-write of the Code Enforcement Regulations; Serves on the following committees/boards: Habitat of America for DeKalb, Co-Chaired – The Mapp Foundation/Board of Health and currently on the DeKalb Advisory Committee on Code Enforcement.


Martha Pacini

30 years executive in communications, marketing, community, public affairs and civic engagement programs, most recently with Silverman Construction Program Management. Board member for CHRIS Kids, founding member of the Citizens of Victoria Estates, serves on Clifton Community Partnership and the Civic Association Network.  Member of the Leadership DeKalb class of 2015. Business affiliate of the Council of the Great City Schools, an organization comprised of the 60 largest urban school systems in the country.

Calvin Sims

Served as legislative representative for the Amalgamated Transit Union AFL-CIO (MARTA) from 1980-2009. 39 years of community service in DeKalb County, beginning as president of the Gresham Park Community Association in 1975. Founder and board chair of the Chapman’s Mill/Redan Park Community Development Corporation. Recipient of the Community Champion Award for 30 years of community service in DeKalb, and presented a proclamation from DeKalb County Government. Recipient of the DeKalb NAACP Charles C. Albert Award for his work in economic development. Earned an MPA with major research on “The Fiscal Affects of Metropolitan Fragmentation”.



Gil Turman


Retired Area Director and Principal of three DeKalb County High Schools; 35 year resident of DeKalb; Founder, and current president of South DeKalb Neighborhood Coalition; successfully sued to forced the closure of the Live Oak Landfill, an environmental and health hazard; reconstituted an inactive homeowners association; provided guidance that led to the complete re-write of the Code Enforcement Regulations; chairman of DeKalb Advisory Committee on Code Enforcement; coached on the first all-black high school football team to win a state championship.


Dan Wright

Licensed PE serving as the lead design manager with MARTA on a number of projects; current member of the Board of Zoning Appeals, Past President of the Friends of Kittredge Park which has been instrumental in the redevelopment and expansion of the park through volunteer in-kind work, fundraising and interaction with County contractors; additional community work involves serving as a Condo Association Board Member, participation in the development of an LCI Plan and Tax Allocation District for North Druid Hills


Sen. Fran Millar: Only white voters, please

Sen. Fran Millar, the main champion of the Lakeside movement and generic crotchety old white guy, has been working to Balkanize DeKalb for years. He sponsored Dunwoody, Brookhaven, and Lakeside. He pretended he was going to stop after Lakeside failed last year, but that was just a bluff to get his way; it took only a few months before once again he was working to stir up class and racial resentment in the North part of the county and galvanize the latest separatist movement.

The cities, it should come as no surprise, are all majority white, in a majority black county.

So I guess Millar’s comments today should come as no surprise. Millar was upset to learn that DeKalb was planning on allowing Sunday voting at three precincts in DeKalb, including one at South DeKalb Mall. Millar was furious there would be early voting there because the area is, and I quote:

dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches.

He vowed to fight Sunday voting in the next legislative session. No word on how this new priority will balance with his efforts to financially segregate the county with new cities.

Fran Millar’s mantra last session was that he wanted to give people the ‘right of self-determination.’ Apparently, that right only extends to a certain type of people; and NOT the people who shop or go to church near South DeKalb Mall.

Unfortunately, the effort to end Sunday voting–largely as a way to disenfranchise black voters–is nothing new. Sunday voting, when it was first instituted as a way to enfranchise voters, quickly became a great way to mobilize black voters.

And that terrified GOP operatives around the country. Ohio tried to cut early voting, although a federal court found that the Secretary of State was not treating voters equitably and ordered the state to reinstate Sunday hours. North Carolina also cut Sunday voting as a way to suppress votes.

This behavior is sadly not a surprise on the behalf of Lakeside’s biggest legislative supporter.

What will happen with Cityhood?

The 2014 legislative session ended, and Lakeside failed to get their referendum on the ballot. What does the landscape look like now for future cities?

Why Lakeside failed
Lakeside board members thought that since they had the support of a powerful Republican in the legislature, they could get their way regardless of what the public thought.

However, an avalanche of calls and emails came in from a public that did NOT want to be railroaded in a low turn-out election into a ill-conceived ego-trip for local wannabe politicians. The strongest voice came from Tucker, a 100-year old community that did not want to get gutted by a land grab. And the legislature listened (it didn’t hurt that a former DeKalb GOP Chairman with a kick-ass rolodex was a Tucker booster).

The first response of the chairman of the board of Lakeside, Mary Kay Woodworth, was to say that they were throwing in the towel.

“We’re done and we won’t be back,” the AJC quoted her as saying on March 18th. “[T]hese people don’t listen,” she also said.

[An aside: in my experience, those complaining about others 'not listening' are in fact very upset that anyone has the nerve to disagree. It the most common grievance of the children in my house]

Bill sponsor Sen. Fran Millar, also, seemed inclined to throw in the towel in the face of adversity. “I don’t think the Senate has any appetite for any cities anymore, nor I do,” Millar said. He was adamant before the House Committee that he would not sponsor any city bills in the future.

A change of heart – for some, maybe
LCA, at least, appears to have changed it’s tune. Days after saying they were giving up, they announced that they were in fact going to try to come back next year. Lakeside claims they have managed to get Rep. Mike Jacobs, who last year spent half his time supporting Lakeside and half his time claiming he wanted nothing to do with Lakeside. Time will tell whether I-love-you, I-love-you-not Jacobs will actually put some energy into an issue that affects NONE of his own constituents, even as his vanity project, Brookhaven, crumbles into corruption, infighting, incompetence , and wasteful litigation with businesses, neighbors and itself.

There is significant question as to whether Jacobs will make it through his primary, as he is facing stiff competition and an influential Republican Web site has painted a target on him.

Meanwhile, former board member Kevin Levitas posted a slightly unhinged, angry rant on neighborhood listservs in which he claimed he was ‘formerly’ on the board. He is still on their Web site; it is uncertain who may still be on their board, or if they are finally just wrapping up their 501(c)(3) and reorganizing under a legally appropriate structure.

Can’t we all just get along?
No, apparently.

Both Lakeside and Tucker claim any compromise from last session is completely off the table, and they plan to continue slugging it out anew. Who can say who will win? My bets are on Tucker, since they managed to rout Lakeside, even though Lakeside had a headstart and one of the Senate’s battering rams on their side. They have a better justification for cityhood, and they definitely were able to bring some power of their own to bear.

Briarcliff is ever the decent, friendly kid who for some reason no one will be nice to (they are the Butters to LCA’s Cartman). Briarcliff was the target of Levitas’ recent rant, which had a long bulleted list (complete with subdivisions and subparts, a good lawyerly rant) about why everyone should show up to Briarcliff meetings and yell at them.

Briarcliff appears to making genuine, good faith efforts to learn from their mistakes, build consensus, and try to be better and stronger and create a jurisdiction that lifts all boats and doesn’t screw outside communities. Time will tell whether their reasonable, non-partisan effort will bear any fruit; given the nature of the GA Assembly, I am not optimistic about their chances.

And at the end of the day, they have some huge hurdles that I don’t see how they overcome. While LCA wants to make a big deal of their lack of a sponsor, I am confused by that–Lakeside lost their sponsor, not Briarcliff, as Mary Margaret Oliver hasn’t gone anywhere. She is a Democrat, though, in a legislature that won’t give anything to Democrats.

The bigger problem is that they envision a city centered around the Emory area, which sounds lovely, but Emory wants none of it. And Emory, as the largest employment center in DeKalb County, has a heck of a lot of clout. I don’t see how Briarcliff ever gets done when Emory makes it clear they are opposed. Druid Hills and Emory know they would likely be better off annexing into Atlanta.

LCA refuses to participate in any event or meeting that they cannot organize and control themselves. They refused to come to a forum sponsored last week sponsored by Briarcliff, because they might have to answer questions they could not vet in advance. They did not show up at the Civic Association Network’s forum this Sunday. The are, however, going to show up at the Oak Groove Festival Sunday, May 4th from 1to 8 p.m. It’s a rare chance to talk with them in a unscripted moment.

County efforts
There are some in DeKalb County who understand that this issue is going to keep resurfacing, and that maybe they can get ahead of it by municipalizing the whole county–choosing a way to divide up the entire county so every citizen has certain services provided on a more local basis.

One would think that those say that all cities are good would think this is a GREAT idea! Of course, they don’t, because they don’t support cities unless they are tailored to suit specific political agendas.

That said, the county may give us all reason to howl, if they create a city map that looks like their the infamous proposed new School Board Map.

And then we get to the nut of the problem, and why I am skeptical of new city processes, especially ones based around arbitrary lines. Who draws the lines? Whoever is drawing them is probably going to be drawing them in such a way as to push their own agendas and power plays. It is possible to analyze data in such a way that political lines can be drawn that don’t serve personal agendas (such as how california revolutionized their house district lines by taking out gerrymandering, and kicking out 25% of their incumbents in the process.

Anyone who would support that kind of agendaless process for drawing municipal lines would get my vote. Until then, the smartest thing is to say no.

The ‘compromise’

While we believe that new cities are dead for this session, we are watching it closely, as LCA is not yet ready to admit defeat.

A ‘compromise’ was apparently hammered out on Wednesday. Millar said everyone agreed to it; Henson says he did not. Basically, it gives all the commercial south of LaVista Road just inside the Perimeter (i.e., Northlake Festival and industrial along Montreal) to Tucker. No feasibility study was done on these particular boundaries; considering the amount of commercial that was removed, these borders might lead to property tax increases for residents in a City of Lakeside (on top of the fee increases we were already facing).

But: Tucker would not be on the ballot this year, and Lakeside would. A big concern is that there was no legal mechanism to prevent Lakeside from making this deal, incorporating, and then reneging and annexing that commercial area before Tucker could get their cityhood on a ballot. No one trusts LCA (they have spent the last year aggressively burning their bridges), so most Tucker people, though they might agree to these boundaries, don’t want to agree to them unless Tucker has a chance to make them legal this year.

So while Millar said the deal was to accept this boundary for NEXT year, the Tucker people at the meeting say that no, this is a boundary for far into the future.

Interesting, LCA is claiming they don’t even have a copy of the map and that the couldn’t find one. Rep. Scott Holcomb DID find one, though, and posted it.

I believe LCA is hiding the map to stop their strong constituency in the Midvale area from flooding Senators with calls that they no longer want this on the ballot.

On Lakeside’s likely failure

Peach Pundit, which is a conservative site, has an interesting assessment of why Lakeside looks likely to fail. Their presentation seemed so tone-deaf at the Governmental Affairs Hearing because they don’t understand that a potential city needs more than a core of people who would like to run things…it needs an identity. Everyone knew they lived in Dunwoody before it became a city, but no one has ever said they live in ‘Lakeside.’

Excerpting my favorite parts, discussing how the map was expanded out to Tucker because the LCA knew they didn’t have the votes ITP for a new city (if the supposed ‘compromise’ goes before the voters, Tucker will become a city and Lakeside will not), and that the movement is mostly driven by people who think they will personally get a political seat, a job, or some contracting opportunities.

The source of Tucker’s victory? Identity. Tucker has one. Lakeside did not. I might argue today that Tucker’s identity may — after this fight — have a stronger unified sense of community than even the city of Atlanta.

Identity can’t be imposed. It’s an emergent property…Druid Hills is unincorporated DeKalb County, but we all know where it is and who’s likely to live there. The same went for Dunwoody and Sandy Springs before they incorporated.

Tucker knows who it is. Lakeside does not.

I watched Lakeside and Tucker present their incorporation plans to the legislature in January. Of the three competing proposals – Tucker, Lakeside and Briarcliff – only Tucker emphasized its 100-year-old history of civic organizations, community events and activities … because they’re the only ones who have them. Lakeside’s proponents seemed tone deaf, like the folks at Brand Atlanta who thought their sloganeering would seem recognizable to anyone actually living here.

Even the name is fake. “Lakeside is a working name,” the authors of the legislation wrote in frequently asked questions on the proposal website. “We need to know our final boundaries before we can get to the point of naming the city, and we have a great deal of work to do before we get to that point. The name ‘Lakeside’ was an attempt to avoid using names of places that might give the appearance that one area (Oak Grove, Northlake, Briarcliff Woods, Hawthorne, etc.) was more important than the other.”

Tucker doesn’t have this problem. Tucker knows who it is.

Still, the legislature seemed ready to permit a local referendum to create a city of Lakeside in the middle of DeKalb County, one that would have effectively destroyed Tucker by incorporating about half of territory Tucker partisans call their own. Tucker proponents say that Lakeside leaders expanded the footprint all the way to the edge of Tucker High School after learning that they didn’t have enough “yes” votes to win a referendum vote from inside the perimeter. This map was ostensibly changed at the last minute in a deal revealed to legislators moments before the hearing. The backroom machinations appear to have left some Republicans on the committee cold.

I assumed before the vote that Republican legislators believed they could win over Tucker residents in a referendum with stark an all-or-nothing negotiation – join Lakeside or no one gets to incorporate.

That would have been a fundamental mistake to make, borne of a misunderstanding of identity.

Lakeside attacks Tucker’s identity as a community. Identity is not an abstraction. It’s very personal. It’s a survival mechanism.

For most of the people pressing for a city of Lakeside, the issues at play are simply political abstractions around tax rates, the allocation of police resources and “local control,” whatever that means given how little connection people have to one another in the boundaries as drawn. Some people see a chance for personal reward – a mayor and city council seats and the attendant local contracting opportunities.