Free-For-All Friday 11/3/17

Feel free to use this post to make comments and ask questions about local issues not yet discussed here over the past week.

31 thoughts on “Free-For-All Friday 11/3/17”

  1. OK, will kick things off with a couple of answers to lingering FFAF questions.

    1. It appears the landscaping along McDonough and the new cycle track has been completed on both sides of the road. It seemed the overgrown weeds have been removed, however it was still dark when I passed by. I thought it looked great though.

    2. Ammazza had a sign out front about an upcoming historic preservation meeting. I would assume that means they have resumed plans to open. However, that’s also assuming it’s still Ammazza.

    Happy Friday everyone.

  2. Are polite political discussions allowed here? Any thoughts from smart folks who read DM on the two DeKalb County ballot measures–SPLOST tax and Homestead Exemption?

    If allowed on this blog, I’d also like to hear respectful and constructive comments about the District 1 Commissioner candidates. I’ve been to one forum and watched another online and all the candidates seem to have darn good records and platforms. I’ve looked at their supporter lists and I recognize lots of people I respect on all of them. Anyone have any good, positive suggestions on how to distinguish between these great candidates? (Given the high quality of these candidates, I hope those who lose run again!)

    1. I would also like to read some plain-language takes (from people with differing opinions) on these thangz.

    2. Kelly Walsh has my vote – she’s been involved on so many levels with the Decatur community, from actually volunteering as President of the PTA, is a small business owner and proven diversified community leader. Other candidates are heavy on the business side of community development. The commissioners will be working on the next Comprehensive Strategic Plan (to 2030) which will effect us all, especially the UMCH property. I think a younger more involved candidate will have a better vision than “old guard”. I personally am not interested in making the old residences at the $40 million UMDH property into affordable housing. Just a few things that help me distinguish between candidates.

      1. Does this mean Kelly is against affordable/workforce housing as a possible future use for some of the UMCH buildings? I hadn’t heard that.

        1. Nope, not at all. She’s open to public input and Tim Martin mentions it as a great “possibility” in a piece on Decaturish.

      2. All I know is that Kelly seems to be sending a heck of a lot of political mail for a little ole Decatur City Commission race.

      3. Eileen, I believe some of your statements are untrue or misleading.

        Kelly Walsh’s own website points out her business interests: “Kelly is one of Keller Williams Realty Metro Atlanta’s top 15 individual residential realtor producers.” Kelly has no doubt profited from the skyrocketing price of homes in Decatur.

        On the other hand, Betty Blondeau is retired. She has zero business interests. Her sole interest is to represent us. Betty is appreciative of the efforts of current and past commissioners, but she certainly is not part of the “old guard.” She is for open, inclusive government in which residents of Decatur have a voice in city government.

        I encourage you and others visit to learn more about Betty, her deep roots in Decatur, her extensive involvement in the community, and her stance on important issues, including development and greenspace.

        1. So I’m supposed to vote for the retired person whose “sole interest is to represent us,” instead of a businesswoman who has profited from selling real estate in Decatur. Got it.

          I read this as “vote for the person who has nothing else going on at the moment, versus the evil capitalist who has the temerity to take money from those buying/selling a house here.”

    3. We have several good candidates for the City of Decatur District 1 race but I am in full support of Melissa Manrow. She has come out in full support for an inclusive community and has demonstrated her commitment through her service for many years. She has volunteered on the Planning Committee, among other initiatives, and has worked diligently to ensure that people of all incomes and ages have a place to call home here in our wonderful city. She is in the best position to “start running” when she joins the commission as she has the most experience and understanding of the workings of the commission.

    4. Melissa Manrow is another candidate running for City Commission for District 1, and she has my full support. In the nearly twenty-eight years she has lived in Decatur, Melissa has graduated from Leadership Dekalb, served on the Decatur Infill Task Force, volunteered on the Decatur Heights Neighborhood Association executive committee, been appointed to the Decatur Planning Commission, and worked to update the City’s Unified Development Ordinance. Her long term commitment to this work has resulted in a mastery of local history that is unrivaled. Her policy and management experience make her the BEST choice for District 1.

      If you need more information, check out

    5. I’ll dip my toe in and describe the problem with the existing HOST. HOST was passed 20 years ago and has a dual purpose — homestead property tax relief (80%) and capital project funding (up to 20%). Hmmm…80/”up to 20″, not just 80/20, you ask? Correct — since the homestead relief payments are based on county millage rate, a portion of the 20% each year is paid out to the cities to make up for the inequity resulting from city homeowners paying a lower county millage rate to begin with.

      In the original agreement, these payments were to be made only to the cities of Atlanta, Decatur, and Chamblee. The state supreme court declared this unconstitutional and said the payments must be made to all DeKalb cities, including ones that were newly incorporated or would be incorporated in the future. This has crippled the portion of HOST that goes towards capital projects — in 2010, less than 1/10 of 1% remained to fund projects, in 2014 it was 1.4%. Other years weren’t so severe — last year was 4%. Still, these amounts are both greatly reduced and wildly erratic.

      Certainly there are philosophical issues with funding general infrastructure repair projects with an add-on tax instead of from the general budget. But given that we’ve been doing it for 20 years anyway, at least the proposed changes make a lot more sense from an accounting perspective — E-HOST for property tax relief only, SPLOST for projects only.

    6. @ Home:

      I’m chairing Tim Martin’s campaign and support his focus on smart growth, affordable and workforce housing, taming Scott Blvd and other dangerous traffic corridors, and working effectively with CSD.

      I’ve known Tim for 15 years and appreciate his financial sense (that’s his professional background) and his pragmatic dedication to getting stuff done in an inclusive way.

      Please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] if you have additional questions.

      Best of luck to all the candidates Tuesday. Thank you all for your willingness to serve.

  3. Is that what that lane is for? Bicycles? I’ve been trying to figure it out for a while but have been too lazy to look it up. Is it also for races and parades, or will the street still be blocked for those? Is a dog’s mouth cleaner than a human’s? What’s this lump on my neck?

      1. It is supposed to be a bike/ped lane. I believe it is not complete (I still see work crews at the north end, at least I did last week). And I too have encountered cars driving down it like it is a DHS pickup lane — the design looks to me like sooner or latter bollards will be placed to prevent such acts of (pick one: brazenness, cluelessness)

        1. … and I have been stuck behind bikes traveling uphill at 5 mph in the middle of the “car lane” as I drive north on McDonough and the bike lane is over there looking empty and unnoticed…

  4. Since we are discussing the road in front of the high school, I’d like to bring up the road behind the high school (Commerce), specifically the four way stop. I have seen many drivers not wait for pedestrians to cross at that four way stop and have seen several near misses with cars and DHS students crossing the street—including one with my own kid.
    In most of the incidents I have seen, the car whose turn it is to go actually stops to wait for the pedestrian but another car starts to go out of turn and meanwhile the pedestrian has stepped into the intersection.

    So I would like to remind drivers traveling through that four way stop to please check for pedestrians before preceding.

    1. Speaking of that intersection—and I’m kind of afraid to ask this question—what happened to the waving lady? She always made my day.

  5. Unfortunately it appears that many folks don’t understand that the bicycle lane is, in fact, a bicycle lane. Cars from the high school and construction workers’ trucks are being parked there. As it stands now, the lane is not safe for cyclists or those who choose to drive through or park there. We are hopeful that the word will get out.

    1. On the other hand, if all of the cyclists avoid the unsafe lane, it can rightfully be converted back to a road for automobiles due to lack of use by cyclists.

      1. +1

        I predict the cycle track will be an epic fail – no cyclists will use it because it isn’t straight. Maybe then we can cancel the other proposed cycle tracks before work begins.

        C’mon cyclists – prove me wrong – show me you will actually use the cycle track – especially those of you with $1000+ bikes and fancy outfits who don’t stop at traffic lights.

        1. LOL to “…$1000+ bikes and fancy outfits who don’t stop at traffic lights”. So many…, so many….

        2. I have used it. Once. Needed to turn left to access the trail because I was going towards Winnona Park. Not sure if I will use it on a regular basis.

    2. There’s confusion and parking by construction vehicles because the cycle track’s not really done just yet. It still has to be striped, etc., before its formal grand opening, after which there can be enforcement of blocking, parking, misuse, etc.

  6. Just a reminder : there would not be a runoff for the 4 way contested Commission seat. By City Charter, plurality wins.

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