Thomas Porter proudly displays his anti-city sentiments with yard signs in front of his Brookhaven home.

New yard signs have sprouted in front of houses spread from Dresden Drive to Harts Mill Road. Neighbors are gathering over Cokes and coffee to chat about arcane matters: tax millage, police protection, community identity.

As summer nears, the campaign for and against the proposed new city of Brookhaven is gaining steam.

“Interest is picking up,” said J. Max Davis, president of BrookhavenYES, a group organized to promote the new city. “We’re executing our strategy. We’re going door to door.”

Brookhaven voters go to the polls July 31 to decide whether to turn the area from Ashford Park to Murphey Candler Park into the most populous city in DeKalb County. The legislative process to call for the vote began more than a year ago. After Memorial Day, the campaign starts a 10-week sprint to a decision.

Davis said his group has distributed 600-700 brightly colored yard signs and plans to distribute 600 to 700 more in the coming weeks. They’re also been holding informal meetings neighborhood by neighborhood to get their message out. And they’ve set up a website, www.BrookhavenYES.org.

Meanwhile, opponents of the proposed new city have been busy, too. When BrookhavenYES put out red-white-and-blue signs with a large check mark, opponents responded with a bright red-and-white sign marked with an X.

Opponents have set up their own websites to debate issues surrounding creation of the new city. Ashford Neighbors maintains a website at www.ashfordneighbors.org. Another opposition group maintains a website at www.nocityBrookhaven.com.

A Brookhaven YES sign signals a vote in favor of cityhood.

Chuck Konas, co-chairman of No City Brookhaven, said the group is formulating plans for the campaign. The group is distributing signs and bumper stickers through its website, he said.

Laurenthia Mesh of Ashford Neighbors said that group also is distributing yard signs. The group offers signs of various designs, from simple black-and-white ones to larger, colorful designs.

Two of those black-and-white “No city!” signs cropped up in the yard of Thomas Porter a short drive off Dresden.

“I am against the city most fervently,” he said. “I only think that it can result in more government, not less.”

But miles away, off Harts Mill, John Banna had a pair of pro-city signs in his yard. “We’re going to vote for it,” he said.

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.