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Senate Committee Declares Tucker Unconstitutional

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt on Decaturish.com.
December 16, 2015

The new city of Tucker, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters on Nov. 3, has an unconstitutional provision in its charter, a new report says.

Additionally the report finds that while charters for new cities may provide a cap on tax rates, there’s nothing that requires cities to seek voter approval before raising taxes.

The Senate Annexation, Deannexation and Incorporation Study Committee met this summer to review how the state handles creating new cities and how existing cities annex new territory. The committee’s report was released on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Tucker was approved as a “city lite” concept, meaning it is providing a limited number of services compared with a traditional city. In Tucker’s case, the city will provide Planning and Zoning, Code Enforcement, and Parks and Recreation services. The city lite concept isn’t unique to Tucker. It is currently being used by the city of Peachtree Corners.

Under the cit…

Where is the Benefit? County Says Reduced Services or Increased Taxes Result From New Cities

DeKalb CEO Lee May: New cities strain DeKalb budgetPosted: 5:08 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015

By Mark Niesse - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 
As money and power shifts to newly created cities, DeKalb County’s government is feeling the pinch.

Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May warned Wednesday that the county will soon have to reduce services or raise taxes because incorporations and annexations have strained budgets.            

Credit:  MARK NIESSE DeKalb CEO Lee May: New cities strain DeKalb budget
Taxes generated by cities are projected to exceed revenue from unincorporated areas for the first time next year, even though less than one-third of people in DeKalb live within city borders.
“These new cities and these annexed areas are being drawn around the most valuable assets of the county,” May said. “It’s a reality we have to deal …

Yet Another Way to Fund a New City in Georgia ... Parking Fines

We recently learned the hard way about the various fines, fees and penalties that the new cities like to charge the public to help pay for their expensive layer of bureaucracy.  

  Sandy Springs has something they call "Citizens on Patrol."  It is a group of volunteers who take a short course on specific traffic violations that occur in their city on a regular basis.  These citizens are then equipped to write tickets in the name of safety and provide your new city with the added revenue it needs to fund its own growing need for more ... more power, more committees, more ways to tax you without calling it a tax.

  One great way to get your money is through parking violation tickets.  Isn't that what you asked Santa to bring you this year?  

 Just in case you receive a ticket in a city near you, it helps to understand the laws in Georgia that you might be accused of breaking before deciding what to do next, so here they are:


Georgia Parking Laws
The majority of Georgia par…

Secretary of State Investigates the Nov. 3 City Vote in DeKalb County, GA

OUR COMPLAINTS TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE:  Save Tucker! spoke with investigators today regarding the Nov. 3 election that resulted in the formation of the new city of Tucker. 
Our complaints about the boundary changes and resulting confusion at the voter precincts were heard, but we were told that the boundary issue is mainly a "political" process and the elections office is bound by the legal descriptions provided in HB 520 for Lavista Hills and HB 515 for Tucker
Changes that may have been suggested after the final bills were approved were nothing more than that ... suggested changes.  They did not impact the boundaries in the legal descriptions that were approved in the legislature. 
For maps that show detailed renderings of the Tucker boundaries and the local city precincts, we must now contact the county GIS department. 
QUESTION:  Why is it so difficult to get an actual map or accurate description?  Does it seem fair to you that the public has this much trouble trying…

AJC Reports Candidates for Tucker's New Government Must Qualify Next Week

According to the AJC: Candidates seeking to become the new city of Tucker’s first elected leaders must file papers to run for office next week. Elections will be held March 1, 2016, to choose a mayor and six city council members. Tucker’s mayor will be paid $20,000, while each council member will earn $14,000 per year. About 74 percent of voters approving creating the city of Tucker during a Nov. 3 referendum. Candidates may qualify for the election from Dec. 7 to Dec. 11 at the DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections Office at 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300.

Metro Atlanta City Votes, 2005 - Present

Sandy Springs (2005) … 94%
Milton (2006) … 86%
Johns Creek (2006) … 84%
Chattahoochee Hills (2007) … 84%
Dunwoody (2008) … 81%
Tucker (2015) … 74%
Peachtree Corners (2011) … 57%
Brookhaven (2012) … 55%

Lavista Hills (2015) … 49.5%
South Fulton (2007) … 15%

Source: County Election Offices.

Peach Pundit Website, Linked to Tucker 2015, Refuses to Return Voter Data Disk

According to ABC News, an audit will be conducted to review the voter files and data in the Georgia Secretary of State's office.

Save Tucker! notes that the website in questions is also connected with the consulting firm said to have worked with the Tucker 2015 group in securing their recent victory in the cityhood referendum.  Read the admission at the end of the article, "Lavista Hills: Doomed from the Start" by Mike Hassinger:  here

The company Apache Consulting worked on the Tucker campaign, but the owner says he lives and works in the Lavista Hills proposed city limits. The Peach Pundit reported that it "threw away" the disk that had the voter data on it, which they had received sometime in October, prior to the city vote for both Tucker and Lavista Hills. 

Georgia to Hire Auditing Firm After Voters' Data Released
ATLANTA — Nov 20, 2015, 8:41 PM ET ( By Kathleen Foody, Associated Press )

Georgia's secretary of state said Friday that he will hire…

Report Possible Voter Fraud to the Proper Authorities

Lavista Hills Alliance wants  you to report potential fraud to them and then they will tell the proper authorities. That's:

YOU ------->    LAVISTA HILLS ALLIANCE ==>  PROPER AUTHORITIES


The County Interim CEO wanted employees to blow their whistles for Mike Bowers and then he would alert the proper authorities if he found anything.   That is: 


WHISTLEBLOWERS --------------->  MIKE BOWERS ------------> PROPER AUTHORITIES

Do you see the potential for problems with the above scenarios? 
Save Tucker! would like to recommend another approach.  It would go something like this:

YOU ---------------->  PROPER AUTHORITIES


or

WHISTLEBLOWERS ===============> PROPER AUTHORITIES



In the current scenario with the "unsecured memory card" being located and then checked for possible fraud, however, we don't really see where there is a need for anyone to be contacting any authority other than the ones already working on the issue.
The "proper authorities" in this pa…

Dunwoody Warns Tucker: Cities Not Local; Out of Control

Twenty Five Til Three The vote for yet another round of cities in DeKalb comes up on Three November this year. And twenty five? Well that is the number of holes lining Dunwoody Parkway awaiting the much ballyhooed renewable resource otherwise known as "trees."
What does that have to do with the Tucker and Cliffside votes? Well, it is just another symbol of "be careful what you wish for." There is much irony and no small amount of hypocrisy in these fledgling cities.
See, we got ourselves an incredibly expensive teardown and rebuild when what we asked for was a simple re-furb. The original parkway plan called for some serious repaving and restriping but there are those in this here locally controlled city what would have none of that. It was Complete Streets and nothing else. Bear in mind these are Torpy's One Percenters who are demanding that any pavement touched be retouched with bike lanes even they won't use. As mentioned earlier, the protests over loss o…

Congratulations to Tucker!

The three year battle is over and a new chapter begins for the residents and future politicians who live here in Tucker, GA.  The community that was almost completely divided by the efforts of a neighboring community and hindered by the antics of its own county commissioner is now the official city that many people already thought it was.

 What will change?  Who will run for office?  Will the outsourcing companies that wanted to work with Lavista Hills now start courting the Tucker leadership?  If so, will Tucker listen or go its own way?  There are many questions to be answered but the biggest one has been settled.

Is Tucker ready to become a city?  We hope so because voters have now given it the power and authority to do so. 

Save Tucker! was never an anti-city effort.  In fact, it was our members who asked for the original placeholder bill, so we started out as a group wanting to know what we could do to protect our boundaries.

When the first map was presente…

Lavista Hills Election Investigated for Tampering

According to the AJC and a Channel 2 Action News Report: Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and the GBI opened an investigation Thursday into alleged voting irregularities – including a stray voting machine memory card – in the referendum that narrowly defeated the proposed city of LaVista Hills.

A DeKalb election supervisor alleged that he found an unsecured memory card Wednesday that contained results from the Briarlake Elementary precinct, according to Channel 2 Action News. It’s unknown whether the votes on the memory card were counted in the precinct’s totals, where voters supported LaVista Hills 378-313.

“As Secretary of State I take any allegation of elections fraud seriously,” Kemp said. “Our office has opened an official investigation of possible criminal activity during the Nov. 3 elections in DeKalb County.”
Leonard Piazza, the second in command at DeKalb County’s Office of Voter Registration and Elections, says there were serious irregularities regarding the LaVista vote…

Tucker 2015 Misleads Audience by Suggesting Forced Annexation is a Realistic Fear

VOTE TODAY!

Residents in North / Central DeKalb County will vote today at their regular polling locations.  Voting will include referendum questions regarding the incorporation of the city of Lavista Hills or the city of Tucker if you live inside the designated boundary areas.

Please review this blog site and other sources of information so you can make an informed decision.  Thank you for paying attention to this important issue!

Save Tucker! 

Wrong Map.  Wrong Leaders.
No New Cities. 
Not Now.  Not Like This.


For the latest video from Save Tucker,
click here:  https://youtu.be/Zu9gioH4peo

Save Tucker! from the Mega-City Plan of Lavista Hills

We Don't Recall Seeing a "Profit Margin" in the Feasibility Reports - Do You?

Lavista Hills Donors Revealed
 Save Tucker! edited this story slightly from its original text submitted by DeKalb Strong, a group opposed to the incorporation of new cities in DeKalb County, GA.

Lavista Hills raised eyebrows back in August by holding a $500 'suggested minimum donation' event, where they actively solicited money from vendors who do businesses with cities.

Mary Kay Woodworth was quoted as saying, "We think it is great that they want to invest in us before we invest in them."  But, handing over government contracts to vendors simply because they "paid in advance" to receive them is exactly the kind of system that we have in DeKalb already.  No request for proposals.  No bids.  Just good old fashioned "wink-wink. nudge-nudge." deals made among business buddies. 
How does one justify running a campaign all about "local control" while accepting money from companies that are not even located in our county?  How does one say with …

All You Need to Know to Vote No on New Cities

The new cities of Lavista Hills and Tucker will be voted on this November 3, 2015.  Residents who say they hope to escape from county problems will be disappointed to learn that the same people who have been accused of corruption in the county are behind these new cities and have pitted the two areas against each other intentionally.  Otherwise, the residents would have no reason to incorporate unless they feared "takeover" from the other side or surrounding cities.  Those fear tactics should not be tolerated and are, in fact, illegal under federal law. 
Don't vote for a city if you are not sure who will be leading it and what they intend to do.  We can continue to get along with our neighbors and stop the fighting and destructive competition that keeps most people's focus on each other rather than the true thieves funneling money to their own friends and family networks. 
DON'T JOIN THEM by approving the ridiculous boundaries and poor service offerings that w…

What the State Constitution Says About Cities - Read Before You Vote!

The state House of Representatives Committee on Cities and Annexations was formed at the end of the last legislative session.  They are actually working on that "better process" that DeKalb County residents have been asking for. 

The only problem - it won't come in time to help you if your property is in Central DeKalb because you get to vote on the last two cities that were okayed by the legislature to move forward without a clear process that protects taxpayers from the problems that we have already encountered.

That committee also brought up something new that was not discussed during the legislative hearings.  The concept of a 'city lite' (a limited city government that can only add services if approved by voters in a referendum) is something that Tucker has indicated that it will be, may actually be unconstitutional in the state of Georgia.

Therefore, Tucker's charter may actually be unconstitutional in the state of Georgia.   That leaves us with two opti…

Why Do Tucker and Lavista Hills Leaders Keep Backing Out?

Do they really want a city? Do you recall how the issue of cities for Central DeKalb County first came about? It was right on the coattails of the Brookhaven cityhood victory (a narrow margin victory with some areas claiming they voted even though they don't live in the city limits, but that's another story.). There were some leaders from that movement who were thrilled with the victory and ready to move on down the 285 loop so they could start it all up again. So, next stop ... Lakeside, where the groundwork had already been laid as much as possible, thanks to school board member and vice-chair Paul Womack and Lakeside's former principal and their "at-large" board member, Dr. Eugene Walker. Except they aren't even involved in the whole city thing any longer. 

Come to think of it... neither is Steve Schultz - the man who once claimed the city of Lakeside was his bright idea.  He later faded into silence when his personal connection to the politici…

What the Charter Says About a Milege Cap Doesn't Really Matter

Just a reminder for those who have felt "at ease" with the proposed cities of Lavista Hills and Tucker because they have something in their charter that says you will get a vote if they ever decide to take on more services or a higher tax rate. 

That might be what the charter says.  But, that's not what the city councils have to do.  If they want to take on a larger amount of your tax dollars, all they have to do is ask the legislature for an amendment to the original charter.  It can be written, passed and signed into law without ever gaining your input or consent. 

In fact, we don't have to look very far back to find an example of how the new cities that have started in Georgia have already betrayed the voters on this seemingly simple concept.

In Dunwoody, July  16, 2013, Reporter Kiri Walton described this situation:
Dunwoody Residents Demand Public Vote on Proposed Fire Dept. Funding   Dunwoody citizens are speaking out about concerns their public vote would b…

Proposed Cities Have Not Disclosed Real Costs, Attorney Says

This letter was posted on the Decaturish site, under the title "Just Say No to New Cities."  It is true for both the city of Lavista Hills as well as the city of Tucker.  Dear Decaturish, It is my understanding that the LaVista Hills movement is upset with the AJC article that the proposed revenue will be less than anticipated. I am more concerned about other misrepresentations to the community by the pro-city movement. The pro-LaVista Hills group in public meetings contends that court functions will remain in DeKalb County despite the fact that they are going to duplicate services. LaVista Hills residents will have to support the County Court system whether there is a new city or not. However, LaVista Hills will also unnecessarily duplicate services for municipal court functions. Municipal taxes will be used to support a Municipal Court, judge, public defender, solicitor, court clerk (and staff) and city attorney. (All these functions are currently run by the county.) Of course …

City and County Meetings in Tucker, DeKalb

Tucker 2015 will host a Q&A format meeting for Tucker and Smoke Rise residents:
Tuesday, October 13, at 7 p. m.  (Doors open at 6:45 p.m.) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 1947 Brockett Road, Tucker,30084

Save Tucker! will also be on hand after the meeting for anyone who would like to pick up a "VOTE NO" yard sign.  Please display your signs at least 20' from the curb on private property and not in the "rights of way" next to the road or near street signs.
*******************************************************************************

The DeKalb County / Lee May “Up Close and Personal” meeting schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, Oct 13, 6:30-8 p.m. Lou Walker Senior Center2538 Panola RoadLithonia, GA 30058Thursday, Oct. 15, 6:30-8 p.m. Tucker – Reid Cofer Library5234 LaVista RoadTucker, GA 30084Tuesday, Oct 20, 6:30-8 p.m. Derwin Brown Memorial South Precinct2842 H.F. Shepherd DriveDecatur, GA 30032Thursday, Oct. 22, 6:30-8 p.m. Welcome Friend Baptist …

Commissioner Jeff Raider Says DeKalb Voters Get What They Deserve

We ran across a narrative published online by Jeff Raider on the "Reporter Newspapers" website.  In it, he offered some words of advice to DeKalb voters:


(this is a partial reprint of text from longer article, found here.)


"The most recent election to fill the vacant District 5 Commission seat attracted less than 6 percent turnout. It can be reasonably argued that DeKalb voters are getting the representation they deserve.

What does that mean? Often we are represented by figures that seem superficially attractive, but have no substance. With no track record of success in their private lives, they depend too much on their offices for income, or see their offices as private property, not a public trust. They make bad decisions, and they discourage others from service.

What can be done?  First, the voters must understand and vote their interests. Educate and motivate yourself, your family and friends. There is a growing network of local news sources and bloggers who work to i…

This guy? AGAIN??

Do you remember when Save Tucker! called your attention to a random guy  who appeared to be a "super fan" of cities in DeKalb County, GA?   He was pictured as one of the "citizens" in the "grass roots" movements for BOTH Lakeside City AND Stonecrest.  Here is our original post:   titled, "Lakeside and Stonecrest are More than Just Friends." BUT, now we have learned something NEW. "THIS GUY" from the Lakeside City and Stonecrest groups is ALSO the same as "THIS GUY" from Brookhaven!   Yes, that's right... take a look for yourself....

AND NOW, WE HAVE LOCATED "THIS GUY" AGAIN, INVOLVED IN A THIRD CITY MOVEMENT....
You can see his appearance in the Brookhaven City Council meeting of 2014 by clicking this link to the Brookhaven Post.

So, does anyone know who "THIS GUY" is and why he is so involved in THREE of our new cities (or proposed cities).  Who is he?  What does he do?  What exactly is he doing in …