Dear Rep. Carter and Rep. Brockway,
Thank you for leadership on the Governmental Affairs Committee in Georgia. I am a resident of DeKalb County and followed the hearings you conducted in the last session for the cities of Briarcliff, Lakeside and Tucker. At the conclusion of the hearings in March it was determined that none of the bills could proceed. With other bills I have followed, this meant that they were “dead.” Reference: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/2-new-dekalb-cities-dead-until-2015/nfFbK/;
Therefore, there is some confusion among the residents of DeKalb who do not understand why a recent press release spoke to rules for new groups (or at least new names for some of them) when they have not even secured new bills or new bill sponsors. Can you clarify?
Rep. Carter, Rep. Jacobs, Rep. Brockway, Rep. Taylor: this deadline of Nov. 15 is not a fair deadline for Tucker for the following reasons:
1.) The major commissioner for our community for the past 22 years has resigned and admitted to defrauding us as taxpayers. She pled guilty to the FBI. Her seat is currently vacant. Her voice was the only one that was listened to with regard to the Tucker map when meeting with Sen. Millar about the Lakeside boundaries. We now have good reason to question her judgment. Sen. Millar should also be questioning whether or not she was painting the full picture for him about what the residents will or will not approve.
2.) The emergency / special election held to replace Commissioner Boyer did not have a clear winner and is now slated for a runoff on Dec. 2. Your deadline calls for a decision before this date and consequences that will occur as a result if we do not comply. It is a huge set up for failure for whatever person ends up winning that seat on the county commission. That essentially means that you want us to vote on a commissioner who will walk in on Day One to a firestorm of complaints because borders were picked by people outside of our own community, based on how it best serves them, not us.
3.) As we understand it, you are asking our communities’ borders to be negotiated among three individuals who all live OUTSIDE of the known Tucker area or are being led by the recommendations of someone living outside of our Tucker community. This will never be viewed as a good or fair plan no matter what the final map or maps might look like. Tucker has been led down a plank without any other way out than to move forward and jump.
4.) Any agreement that is decided in this manner sets a bad precedent for the next round of cities you will be faced with and it sets a bad example of state government and what it will do to an area of taxpayers who have already suffered the consequences of government betrayal on several levels.
We are being punished when we did not ask for any of this. We are not the ones who caused the housing crisis and the loss of revenue. We are still in our homes, paying our taxes.
We have strayed a long, long way from the spirit of the law that created Sandy Springs, Madam Chair. Forcing a hard working community of taxpayers with historical significance in the state of Georgia into a no-win situation that will lead to creating extra government that we do not need, want or trust is a cruel and unusual punishment.
But, what is our crime? We are not even sure if this punishment is related to the fact that we have voted in a certain way, or if it is because we dared to put up a few candidates in recent years for the school board seat that we must share with Lakeside, or if it is due to our belief in our own rights to free speech or in our community's right to peacefully assemble like we did at Tucker Middle when we asked, just like Emory University asked, to be removed from the Lakeside map.
Why are the voices of Tucker being ignored? We are not asking for much. We are only asking you for what is fair. Please reconsider and revise your deadline.
Please extend your House Deadline by 30 days.
Please announce a new deadline of Dec. 15.
Please give us until Dec. 15 so that a reasonable attempt at meeting your request can be made, but only after the Tucker District 1 (which used to include all of us who live in Tucker) residents have been able to vote in the runoff election Dec. 2.
Whether or not a city is created or supported by voters here is one issue. But when you are talking about taking away land from our clearly defined borders of our zip code and census designation, the impact is not just one that affects those city groups and their quest for a bill’s passage. It impacts history and it will impact how future cities will try to find ways to follow that path as well, undercutting and undermining the existing establishment, taking advantage of political climate and helping some in their quest for personal gain at the expense of the rights of others to be fairly represented.
I don’t believe that is in the best interest of the people, nor what you were aiming to achieve with your deadline. I would be more than happy to discuss this issue with you or anyone from the committee over the phone any time. My number is XXXXXXXX.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
Cheryl Miller, Co-founder of Save Tucker! and lead for the Brockett Heights Community