To the editor:
Recently, the Sandy Springs City Council considered a proposed zoning use permit/petition for Holy Spirit Preparatory School. It dealt with whether to permit the building of a lighted high school stadium and sports facility near Long Island Drive. By a 4-2 vote it was approved. But there is more to the story.
The overwhelming majority of neighbors were against the permit. Their voices were loud and clear. They signed petitions, placed signs by the street, and attended Planning Commission and City Council meetings, providing poignant oratory and written objections to the stadium complex. Regrettably, their voices were ignored by the council majority.
One of the key reasons the citizens of Sandy Springs voted to be an independent city was to have a greater say in the future of our community. Unfortunately, council members Ashley Jenkins, Rusty Paul, Dianne Fries and Tibby DeJulio seem to have adopted the position of our prior governing body.
Those council members forgot two fundamental tenets of democracy: We are a people with a government, not the opposite; and rule by consent of the governed. They also ignored the Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
Jenkins did take time to send me an e-mail defending her position to oppose the will of the neighbors of the property. Incredibly, she quoted from a recent Journal-Constitution article by Cynthia Tucker heralding individuals “opposing constituents” as “political leaders,” while those who do not oppose their constituents are political “hacks.”
Jenkins went on say, “In this country we do not live by mob rule,” an interesting description of our democratic process.
Elected officials should serve as an instrument through which citizens can shape the future of their community, not independent governing bodies who can impose their will on the people they represent. Kudos to council members Karen Meinzen McEnerny and Doug MacGinnitie for recognizing that fact.
It is not the job of the Sandy Springs City Council to determine what they think is best for the citizens. It’s the job of the council to do what the citizens think is best for Sandy Springs. All the studies, lobbying efforts and PR spins should not circumvent the will of the citizens most affected by a proposal. And what good is a Comprehensive Land Use Plan if the council does not follow the guidelines?
Fortunately, as citizens of Sandy Springs we have options. When the next election comes around, we can vote for new representatives who understand the role of elected officials in the democratic process. The role of citizen representative, not an independent cog in a bureaucratic wheel, generating unilateral decrees.