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

 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 a straight face that they believe their new city will benefit DeKalb as a whole, when they know that they are trying to directly impact many people in the county who are employed by the county and will likely lose  their jobs and be replaced by "for  profit" corporate  groups that will charge more and actually be harder to hold accountable?  (You can't use the Government Transparency Act to gain records from a local company.)

Cityhood supporters dodged questions about the attendee list for weeks. But LaVista Hills is required by law to disclose who has been paying for all the robocalls and mailers as they have waged this campaign. The list of donors went public, one week past the deadline for disclosures.

So who has been 'investing' in creating a new city? Many businesses who contract with and/or benefit from development in cities. These businesses are not only located outside of the LaVista Hills area, but many are not even located in DeKalb County.

 Who are these donors?

The Council for Quality Growth. This group, which was involved in the push to build the Braves stadium in Cobb County, "formulates policy and legislation critical to the development industry."

Lowe Engineers. Jon Drysdale with Lowe Engineers, based in Dunwoody, gave $1000 to LaVista Hills. Lowe Engineers gave more than $2000 to Brookhaven Yes and were promptly named the manager of the city's public works department.

Clark Patterson Lee. Kevin McComber of Suwanee, with the firm of Clark Patterson Lee, gave a $1000 to LaVista Hills. He also gave $1000 to the Brookhaven effort, and was named head of their Community Development Department.

The Collaborative. The Collaborative, based out of Boston, is a for-profit corporation that manages planning and zoning, building inspection, and code enforcement for the city of Sandy Springs.

Moreland Altobelli Associates.  A resident of Duluth who if the Chief Financial Officer for this firm gave $500. Moreland Altobelli is an engineering firm founded by former GDOT chief Tom Moreland. Their client list includes a large number of municipalities  that contracts with many cities. They have been involved in several high-profile road-widening projects.

Riley McClendon Law Firm.  Bill Riley of Marietta gave $1000 to the LaVista Hills Alliance. He has set up the municipal courts for the cities of Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, and Brookhaven, John's Creek, and Chattahoochee Hills. He may be best known for sending a sanitation worker to jail for starting work too early.

Charles Abbott Associates. A Dunwoody resident who is an CEO of California-based Charles Abbott and Associates donated $1000. This is a for-profit company that runs city departments, including Brookhaven's code enforcement department.

Coleman Talley. Thompson Kurrie, former Brookhaven City attorney, left the city after it was found that he had violated state Open Records Act and transparency laws. The Valdosta-based law firm provides city attorneys to many small municipalities in Georgia. Kurrie has given $750 in cash and in-kind legal services to the Alliance.

InterDev. Alpharetta-based InterDev provides services to municipalities seeking to outsource their entire IT departments. Their CEO donated $250 in cash, and the company provided mapping services to LaVista Hills.

When corporations help to create new cities that promptly hire them, often at a greatly inflated cost from what just hiring government employees would cost, taxpyers are stuck footing the bills.

Time is short before the election. Please post and share and let your neighbors know who is behind this effort and how a "no" vote on adding more politicians to the current population here is the only way to truly stop corruption in our county.

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