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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 politicians was made publically clear.  His company will surely profit from more politicians  - they are a robocalling consultant group working behind the scenes for most conservatives in the North and Central DeKalb region. 

So, who were the "leaders" when this city stuff started?  Well, the "alliance" at the time was refusing to give names of all their board members and when pushed to reveal them, those unknowns simply chose to step down instead.

But, the ones who were willing to put their name behind their own claims of wanting things more "urban" and "walkable" in the Lakeside / Oak Grove included:

  • Kevin Levitas, a former Lakeside  City Alliance Co-Chairman.   He once said in a state hearing that the idea for a new city was started by the few present there that day.   He said, "they" asked themselves, "If not us, then who?"  
Fortunately (or unfortunately) for the pro-city group, they didn't have to count on his leadership alone because he bailed on them sometime at the end of the 2014 legislative session. 
  • Then there is on-again, off-again Mary Kay Woodworth who has taken more breaks and vacations throughout this entire cityhood process than she probably cares to admit.  First she was MIA for a long period of time when she claimed she was hosting "neighborhood meetings."  Then, she simply quits the entire effort earlier this year. (See report here.) 
Later she resurfaces as if nothing has changed, except for the name of the non-profit, going from one that cannot advocate to one that does, only for a city by a different name (but then she doesn't advocate for it at any public meetings).

The same could be said with the Tucker leadership.  We first thought that there were several well known groups working together to bring unbiased information to the community about the pro's and con's of  becoming a city.  Unfortunately, we were all duped at the final meeting when the group introduced a pro-city team read to take your donations without any vote or indication from the community that a city was something they actually wanted. 

Tucker Together made an appearance at Commissioner Boyer's meeting initially.  Main speakers were members of the Tucker Business Association, which was once the  place that Lavista Hills chairman Levitas was calling home. 
  • Honey VandeCreg, beloved business woman most associated with the downtown redevelopment of Tucker's Main Street and the newly formed Tucker CID was cast as a leader, but then dropped out of sight while the less-than-well-known Tucker 2014 newbies gave things a try on their own with little success. 
  • They only recently moved to Tucker and it isn't even clear if they actually plan to stay much longer, either as the President's husband (Ben Subzuski) actually works for a big time developer who is creating new jobs for him in Cobb County.
  • So, they called in a heavy hitter, Frank Auman, who spoke up as the voice of Tucker 2015, only to drop into low profile mode once his status as a paid lobbyist was made public. 
  • Michelle Penkava, who has repeatedly dropped the ball with regard to gaining any action on school related issues as Tucker Parent Council President has been the name on most legal documents, but sat quietly by as Auman talked about the community of Tucker, where he does not presently live.  And then there is the little thing she doesn't want you to know ... she has a very strong political connection to the  pro-Lakeside City effort. 
She's even listed as the Financial person on the campaign for Lakeside's Jim McMahan, something that's clearly against the rules for non-profits like the PTA and Parent Council.   But, before she would get in trouble for that, she would have to actually lead the Parent Council in something, which hasn't happened beyond the "Save Livsey" annual event that's become as expected as a Fall Festival this time of year.

So, before you go out to vote for a new city, ask yourself who will be leading your city and spending your money.  Chances are pretty good that you don't know, or if you think you know, the person you were counting on already has plans to move on without you.

Just look at J. Max Davis and Brookhaven.  He used his position as a stepping stone toward state office and  higher aspirations, only to be thwarted by his own salacious scandal and cover-up. 

The more things change, the more you are still stuck in DeKalb.  A new city won't change anything except for how much money you pay to make these politicians give you the run around.

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