Wednesday, May 7, 2014

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.  

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