Here's a part of our response to this discussion. Feel free to join in as well by "liking" our page and following the developments in this city discussion as we also are hearing about them. We are residents of Tucker who have been following this divide in our community for several years. Here's an expanded version of what we think:
If you think about it... if the North thinks they are paying too much and the South is believed to not contribute enough for what they receive, there has to be a middle somewhere, right? That is Tucker.
- Our home values did not spike to the extent that they did in other areas pre-recession so we did not face the widespread foreclosures and most of our homes maintained their value and most of our residents maintained their tax contributions as well.
- We weren't complaining about any of the basic services we were getting from the county and have enjoyed a low crime rate than other areas of the county.
- We had input to the zoning process and were getting grants and other assistances with te parks. Community pride and involvement was great and we had a nice mix of industrial, retail, commercial, office and residential with very few transitional housing units (apartments) which are exactly what Dunwoody is trying to rid itself of right now. Tucker was / is the PERFECT example of what you can build, over time, with community pride and involvement. (WITHOUT THE NEED FOR MORE GOVERNMENT OR HIGHER TAXES!)
- We have a mix of ages, races, income levels and political and religious views.
Here is where there is a problem that Tucker, as a community, SHOULD be addressing, but isn't:
Our schools are the only area that have deteriorated, at least in image, to the point that Tucker residents were some of the most frequent complainers at school board meetings and in front of the media, causing the board to be kicked off and replaced.
- We SHARE a district with Lakeside folks who were in control of that board seat on the BOE for decades. Yet, we do not share a "Parent Council" with them?
Always talked about like he was an advocate of the "South," but Walker was very much in alliance with those who consider themselves to be "the North." Could it be possible that the North and South actually work together to keep the notion of these differences stirred up so that we blame each other instead of those really in charge?
- Until recently we also had different "Super District" BOE members. Ours was Dr. Pam Speaks who was never accused of any wrongdoing and was never mentioned in the SACS report. Theirs was Dr. Eugene Walker, who was thought by many to be one of the most divisive members of the BOE and was the chairman at the time of the SACS decision to replace most of the seated members. He was specifically mentioned as part of the problem and before he ever took his seat on the school board, he was in hot water for working on a controversial project with Sembler, Co. which eventually was built as "Town Brookhaven."
- The Lakeside image improved the entire time that the Tucker image declined. Why is that? Tucker parents have been complaining for a long time (as have Smoke Rise parents, too) that our children are not welcomed at our own schools in our own neighborhoods. We are always met with the same response, "This is not a neighborhood school system, it is a system of school choice." As we try to accept this notion that our child's rightful school is one of the many choices out there, some conveniently located and others not so much, the Lakeside area has built its reputation upon the old fashioned "our kids, our schools" concept, and so has Dunwoody. If our children are not attending our schools in large numbers, where are they going? Or are these families simply being driven away from Tucker completely?
- Now we want to start a city based on a government that runs based on their philosophy? Their talking points? Their influence?
Instead of allowing the Lakeside leaders to push us down a path as part of THEIR plan ... which is complete failure or very limited success to bolster their own image once again. And to continue the trend of "mansion flipping" that is taking place as we speak. Older homes that residents can no longer afford to pay the taxes on are being bought out, torn down, and new homes are going up in their place, often without any signs of actual homeowners moving in. Obviously, there must be some investors in this area who believe that eventually the investment will pay off for them. What exactly do they know that we are not being told??The same has happened with the Lakeside "cluster" and its influence in the Emory / Lavista Parent Council... now Druid Hills High School has its long established community battling against one another and splitting up. If Tucker was going to have a city that was TRULY Tucker, then the boundaries we are all supposed to be okay with would be the boundaries easily identifiable as Tucker. That was not the map approved by the committee and, in fact, it was not the map that Tucker 2014 put out from Day One. That was a map drawn by "unknown" people with "unknown" intentions that they refused to make public and a city funded by "unknown" sources that have not been revealed. Tucker's entire identity has always been "small town" so now we're suddenly going to become the third or fourth largest city in the county based on population and based on land size?
- If Decatur is struggling and needs more commercial, how do we expect to do better with four times as much land and lower taxes with a downtown that isn't nearly as bustling as what they have? Our small business owners can hardly afford to stay in Tucker now with the CID taxes that were imposed on them. How do you think they will survive another increase that adds city taxes and franchise fees as well?
Bad plans, no matter what they are called in name, should not be supported. Nor should "leaders" who won't tell you what they are trying to do and who is backing them. This is a rotten deal for the entire county.