By Joe Earle

Nancy Duncan said she and her husband, Joe, couldn’t make up their mind until the night before the election. Should they vote to join the city of Chamblee or not?

“We went back and forth,” she said.

They thought the election would be close. When Joe Duncan walked the dogs each evening, his wife said, he could see the yard signs were pretty equally divided between vote “yes” and “no.”

On Nov. 1, the Duncans decided they would vote to join the city of Chamblee. On Nov. 2, about 58 percent of the residents of the area north of Chamblee voted to join the city. About 42 percent voted no.

The annexation covers homes in an area roughly bounded by Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Peachtree Boulevard and I-285. It adds the Huntley Hills community, where the Duncans live, and surrounding communities to the city. City officials have supported the annexation and have said they expect the area to produce about as much in new city taxes as it will require in additional city services.

Nancy Duncan, who heads a disability resource group, said she and her husband decided to vote yes because they wanted to feel more a part of the city. Their house was only “a stones’ throw” — about 1 ½ blocks — from the city limits, she said, and they thought of themselves as part of Chamblee.

“I don’t have anything against DeKalb County,” she said. “but I think we can have more influence on a city that’s smaller. We can have more impact on what Chamblee does than what DeKalb County does. .. I would like to have more impact.”

The chief reason the Duncans considered voting against the annexation, she said, was the damage removing the area from DeKalb County’s tax rolls might do to county revenues. But their final decision was based on the advantages of having a government closer to home.

“I think it’s nice to know your policeman,” she said. “DeKalb County is bigger than some countries. You don’t feel you have connection the way you do in a small town.”

In other elections Nov. 2, long-time Dunwoody state Rep. Fran Millar won a seat in the state Senate that was vacated with the retirement of Sen. Dan Weber. Millar took 63 percent of the vote to defeat Eric Christ.

Former Dunwoody City Councilman Tom Taylor took 66 percent of the vote to defeat Keith A. Kaylor for the House District 79 seat Millar had held.

Incumbent Rep. Mike Jacobs took 65 percent of the vote to stave off a challenge from Democrat Sandy Murray in District 80. But challenger Elena Parent gathered 53 percent of the vote to oust incumbent District 81 Rep. Jill Chambers.

Robert James collected 64 percent of the vote to win the job of DeKalb County District Attorney, defeating Constance Heard.

Courtney Johnson and Michael Rothenberg appeared headed for a run-off election for a Superior Court judgeship. Johnson received 37 percent of the vote and Rothenberg 25 percent.  Denise Warner and Yvonne Hawks received about 18 percent of the vote and were eliminated from the ballot.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.