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Briarcliff or Lakeside? Two Proposals Cut From the Same Cloth

On our Facebook page,, we were recently challenged to prove that there was a connection between the city proposals of Briarcliff and Lakeside.

While a simple Google Search of the two terms together can help anyone who wants to research this issue for themselves, here are a few of the clues that tipped us off about this unholy union:

1.   This article by Briarcliff spokesperson Herman Lorenz  in the North Druid Hills / Briarcliff Patch:

The Briarcliff and Lakeside organizations.

Why are there two organizations in the area talking about a new city?
 The City of Briarcliff Initiative appreciates all of the work being done by the Lakeside City Alliance educating the community about the values and opportunities that come from being a city. We are in agreement with most aspects of Lakeside’s educational discussions, and expect that their educational efforts will carry forward into the actual development of a new city.
LCA announces at all of their meetings that they are not promoting a specific city design or structure, or even proposing that a city be created, because that would make the contributions to their organization not tax deductible.  In compliance with their tax status, they make it clear at all of their meetings that they are not lobbying for, or attempting to create, a city – they are simply educating the community about the values of having a city government.
The City of Briarcliff Initiative, however, is not an “educational” organization, and is not claiming “tax deductible” status for contributions to the cause.  We are advocating a city, including a design and structure. We expect that when the final borders of the city proposal are determined by the Legislature, members and volunteers in the Lakeside and Briarcliff organizations will work together to create the new city.                  

2.   This article by Briarcliff spokesperson Herman Lorenz  in the North Druid Hills / Briarcliff Patch :

It Started With a Whisper

It Started With a Whisper
The Lakeside City Alliance people have said many times in their meetings that they had discussions with “predecessor iterations” of the City of Briarcliff Initiative. I thought it might be useful to relate the history of City proposals in this area.
The idea of creating a city in this part of DeKalb really began in 2008 in a meeting at Manuel’s Tavern with Oliver Porter (of Sandy Springs fame) and a group of people from different areas of central DeKalb County. Out of that meeting came a general map, and a set of principles that defined what made an intelligent design.
Initially there was little support for the creation of a city in the community, and the process remained more or less quiet. When the City of Brookhaven was created, some of the same people – and some new ones – had meetings about starting again. That group became known as the “North Druid Hills Study Group”.  It had people from around the area, including current members of the LCA and COBI Boards.
When Kevin Levitas organized the community meetings at Oak Grove Methodist church, many of us who attended the series of events at OGUMC became a lot more interested in the possibility of a city, and were hopeful that something great would come out of it.
But when the original Lakeside proposed map was made public, many people were disappointed in the proposed design, and offered suggestions for modifications that made more sense. The response was that the members of the Lakeside group had their own ideas of a city design. That design included the homes of all of the members of that organization. There was no desire to take one of them out of the map, or to extend to areas much beyond where they lived.
In March the Sagamore Community Association hosted a meeting in which they invited the Lakeside City Alliance to present their proposal, and asked Don Broussard to discuss other options.  In that meeting Mary Kay Woodworth commented that the LCA didn’t really think Emory and CDC were particularly important to their community.
That comment reenergized the community, and after several discussions in different community groups, Allen Venet asked many of the people who had indicated interest to his house on May 18. Most of them had not previously been involved in any of these organizations. At that meeting, we decided to create the City of Briarcliff Initiative.
So when people talk about discussions with “predecessor organizations”, you should realize that both Lakeside and Briarcliff members were part of that effort. And it’s also important to be aware that there is almost no overlap of membership in the 2008 group that started the discussions and the current COBI group. The only relationship or similarity is the map, and the principle of a logical design. 

3.  The realization that the FIRST and most outspoken person on the LCA Yahoo Group from the very beginning of it was Herman Lorenz.  He even answered questions that were given by some poster commenters as if he were the official spokesperson for Lakeside.  You don't get that excited that early on in a process unless you are part of the team that is already on board and trying to influence opinion.  

4.  This article from City of Tucker Initiative, a blog written by a Smoke Rise resident who thinks he lives in Tucker.  Hmmm... oddly it is called "City of Tucker Initiative" which sounds a lot like "City of Briarcliff Initiative," doesn't it?  

DO you think it's possible these folks ALL know each other? This article makes it clear that there was a lot of camaraderie between the showmen.  That's for sure.  We won't say much about this one because for some reason the blog author has a reported love for Tucker, but insists on name calling and childish behavior whenever it comes to Save Tucker From Lakeside City (this group) which makes no sense whatsoever since we are both on the same side.  OR, at least we should be.

The big difference is that our group was formed by novices to the city process (regular citizens who pay taxes and live in Tucker) who were forced to defend themselves and their community based on a plan that each of the reported leaders of the various city groups all claim to have known about since as far back as 2006-07.  That when the first Tucker feasibility study (a preliminary one) was completed by Georgia Tech. students for a Tucker Civic group and it appeared that Tucker WAS feasible simply based on its own zip code which was also the same as the Census Designation from the last Census of 2000.

Since Tucker is the only existing community with known borders and existing businesses to support a city, the other areas likely began to panic and tried to jump ahead of Tucker in the city pecking order by snatching up whatever commercial was possible, leaving many of Tucker's residents, and the rest of our county, high and dry without enough tax base to support themselves.

That's not exactly starting out for "the right reasons" and a lot of people agree that Central DeKalb will be better off working on its identity rather than handing over more money to the same group of politicians who haven't really been doing any of us any favors lately anyway.

5. The realization when looking at a map that Herman Lorenz (Briarcliff) and Kevin Levitas (Lakeside) are NEIGHBORS.  They can probably have city conversations while checking their mailboxes and not even have to shout at one another.  It does not matter what you call it.  THEY are BOTH advocating the same thing and trying to offer the illusion of choice to you, the concerned voter who is footing the tab via your property taxes for their already freshly paved streets, their different variations of the same bill being entered into different chambers of the legislature by different representatives for the same general tracts of land.   THESE folks already HAVE local control.  They are just mad that they LOST some of it when we called out their corrupt school board member and he did not get returned to office.  They don't need local control over themselves.  

What they want is to control YOUR dollars, change the zoning for YOUR property or speed through that business development or  new apartment complex before YOU try to stop them because it will create traffic and safety issues for everyone! THEY are the same line of politicians who started Brookhaven (exactly the same ones).  They are the same ones who started Dunwoody.  They are ALL working together to draw the various maps and confuse the public about who is doing what and how much of this is actually something we asked for and how much is pure hype based on a politically motivated plan.

Don't be surprised when you hear about the sudden agreement between two foes when city talk starts up again (if it starts up again), like this AJC article claimed in June.  It's very likely that ALL THREE city groups, who have been making the same claims, pushing the same agendas and now are all sitting on the same task force, have been working out the kinks in the same plan this entire time.

No matter what they say or no, the best thing we can do for DeKalb County right now is stay away from what has been getting us into so much trouble - politicians who can't handle their own districts and have to start sticking their noses into other ones.   

While you are doing that Google Search, you might also want to check out the name for "Lakeside YES" and wonder why it is so similar to what happened in Brookhaven with a little known group called "Brookhaven YES."  

We're not like Sandy Springs or Dunwoody.  Here you have the same blueprint,  but less money and that will get you far different results.

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