Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Ever-Shifting Sands of Tucker2014...2015...

The tortuous path that has led the Tucker "cityhood" groups on its quixotic quest to occupy Northlake has been remarkable.

Initially, the Tucker groups put forth the argument that Tucker was defined by something called a Census Designated Place (CDP), which is defined as "a concentration of population identified by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes." Yep, that's what a CDP is: a statistic. Not a city, not a town, just a statistic.

Then came the problems. First, one of chief spokespeople for the Tucker group as well well as all the people in the Smokerise Community (including a DeKalb County commissioner) were outside of the CDP and, according to the groups' territorial claim, outside of the Tucker community.

Second problem: the CDP does not include any territory inside I-285, dispelling the already specious claim of the group that Northlake is somehow part of Tucker.

So then came the zip code argument, my personal favorite. Tucker is entitled to Northlake, the rationale goes, because there are "Tucker" zip codes in the area.

By this logic, Northlake Mall, with its "Atlanta" zip code, should belong to Mayor Reed & Co., and the city of Decatur might be surprised to learn that the Oak Grove United Methodist Church, located 5 miles from its northernmost city border is nonetheless part of that city. And the aforementioned commissioner and Tucker spokesperson? They reside in a Stone Mountain zip code and, thus, the city of Stone Mountain.

Take a look below at how much the proposed city of Tucker falls in zip codes with names of other cities. [Note: the map on the right is an older version of the Tucker map, but almost all of the areas depicted remain part of its proposed boundaries]:


Using the Tucker zip code as a boundary-defining line, Tucker's latest map includes the road that runs right along the Briarlake Baptist Church, the site of tomorrow's Northlake Community Alliance meeting. I wonder if area residents will be surprised at the meeting tomorrow to learn that if they look out a window, at the adjacent side street, they will--in Tucker's eyes anyway--be looking at Tucker property.

They're baaaaack--Part 1: Continuing Obstinately to Behave Irrationally, the Return of COBI

The 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly ended without a DeKalb cityhood bill passing out of the Legislature.  The city of Lakeside bill, which passed the Senate, was the only northern DeKalb cityhood bill to get so much as a committee vote this year.

One of the factors contributing to this outcome was the existence of two "cityhood" (really, anti-cityhood) movements whose main objectives were to stop the city of Lakeside.  Anti-city forces outside of these groups salivated at the opportunity to use these antagonists to sow doubt in the minds of legislators.  Although other factors played larger in the final result (see, the obstruction and obfuscation of these other groups should not be minimized.  In addition, they helped to divide our community and to pit neighbor against neighbor.  

Well, they're baaaaaack.

Let's begin with the group that refers to itself as COBI.  Over the last year, this group proposed a map that overlapped with Lakeside and included substantial additional territory, such Emory University and the Druid Hills community.  Moreover, the map contained boundary lines that encroached on the borders of existing cities, all of which opposed COBI's proposal.  The map was, as drawn, doomed from the start.

Despite having no traction at the Legislature, being left out of legislative negotiations at the Capitol, having its bill sponsor betray it and having to substantially reduce its footprint, COBI is "back" and insisting that it is relevant.  It is not.  [Note: I can hear it now: "we are relevant, or you wouldn't be saying we're not relevant ."  Get over it.  You're not relevant.]

Emory officials stated publicly--at a recent COBI meeting, no less--that the University is not interested in being part of the COBI plan, despite it being the centerpiece of the COBI proposal.  COBI's Druid Hills representation has quit their board, and rumors of annexation into Atlanta for both Emory and Druid Hills have been swirling for months.

So where does that leave the COBI group?  With a decision to make.  Does the group wish to continue to help delay the opportunity for our area to vote on self-rule, or does it want instead to work towards its expressed goal of supporting cityhood by folding itself into the Lakeside group?

COBI could serve the very limited role of remaining a hindrance to passage of a cityhood bill at the Capitol, which is precisely what anti-city forces hope will happen again.  I hope it chooses the wiser and more neighborly path of removing itself as an obstacle.