To the editor:

When campaigns have little substance, they resort to tactics, get loud, spend money, distort the facts and play on the voters fears.

The “No City” campaign is loud, spending lots of money (think billboards), distorting facts and using fear to advance their agenda.

“No City” is banking on Brookhaven residents being fear driven and they are using these no substance tactics:

  1. FEAR – Scare people so much that they’ll be afraid to vote “YES”.
  2. LOUD MONEY – Repeat the same scary messages loud and often.
  3. DISTORT FACTS – In the absence of substance, take the facts and turn them upside down.

These are age old tactics that work.  So, why not?  “No City” has no facts!

Jim Eyre uses these tactics expertly.  With dramatic flair, he captioned his last commentary in the Brookhaven Reporter with the heart stopping headline . . . “New city brings higher taxes”.   Some folks who read that were “shaking in their boots.”  Kudos to Jim for playing the fear card so well!  And never mind the fact that Mr. Eyre cannot point to a single example that backs up this statement . . . not one!  The people who live in Dunwoody, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs pay the lowest property taxes of anyone in DeKalb and Fulton County.  And their city tax rate has not increased since inception!

Fear is a powerful emotion that controls and drives much of our behavior. Fear keeps us from pursuing a new career path, a bigger dream, starting our own business, or even pursuing a new love interest.   Advertisers leverage FEAR to get us to buy everything from expensive face creams that will halt the aging process, to diet sodas that will keep us from getting fat.  Never mind the fact that the face crèmes never do what they promise and never mind the fact that it’s been proven that diet sodas actually contribute to weight gain.

There is a direct correlation between fear – and irrational behavior.  Since we’re afraid of looking old and gaining weight, as soon as a savvy marketer awakens those fears, we respond with a knee jerk reaction, instead of making an informed decision based on factual evidence.   “No City“ wants us to be afraid and to have a knee jerk reaction every time loud money says  “higher taxes” and “another layer of government”.

“No City” wants you to feel fear and “never mind the facts”.

“No City” wants you to be afraid that your taxes will go up if Brookhaven becomes a city.

  • Never mind the fact that taxes have not gone up in the nearby cities of Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs and Milton.   Just never mind that.
  • And never mind that Brookhaven will have a property tax cap that is lower than Dekalb County’s current tax rate.
  • Also, never mind the fact that when HOST sales tax revenues increase, the city is required by state law to further reduce your property tax rate.

“No City” wants you to be afraid that Brookhaven doesn’t have the commercial tax base to support a city.

  • Never mind the fact that Brookhaven’s commercial tax base at 27 percent is larger than that of unincorporated DeKalb County’s 21 percent commercial base.  So, if Brookhaven is not viable because its commercial base is 27 percent DeKalb County would therefore also not be viable with a 21 percent commercial base – according to the “No City” logic.   But really – never mind that.

No City” wants you to be afraid that you’ll receive less police protection and fewer services.

  • Never mind the fact that each city that has incorporated has more police officers and patrols on the streets than they were receiving from the county police force.
  • Never mind the fact that the vast majority of residents in Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Milton and Johns Creek claim they receive much better services and that they would never rewind the clock and go back to being unincorporated.   Just ask them!

No City” is using loud money and distorted facts to try to make you believe that the majority of people in Brookhaven are against a new city.

  • Never mind the fact that the No City campaign raised $70,000 in campaign donations, and $50,000 of that money came from only TWO people!  Is anyone curious about who they are and what their agenda is?    You should be.  Nothing drives me crazier than when a small handful of people with deep pockets achieve their personal agendas through buying an election.

I urge Brookhaven residents to not fall prey to fear which has been expertly executed by the No City Camp, and paid for by two individuals. Their attempt to unabashedly manipulate our emotions is an insult to all of us.

If you are afraid of higher taxes . . . talk to the people in the surrounding cities and ask them if their taxes have increased.   Then ask about the quality of the services they are receiving.

If another layer of government is what scares you . . . again, talk to residents of those cities and find out if becoming a city has been a good thing or a bad thing.  Just don’t let campaign phrases like “another layer of government”, drive you into a knee jerk reaction.

If the people you speak with echo what the No City camp wants you to believe – then vote no.

If the people you speak with feel they are better off now than they were before – then put your fears to rest and give Brookhaven the opportunity to blossom into a great city.  A city with a beautiful library, more green space, improved parks, better roads, more police protection and quality urban planning.

I’ve spoken to well over 40 people from the surrounding cities, attended many of the town hall meetings, read everything both sides have to say about the new city – and I’m voting yes for Brookhaven.

Kathy Forbes

To the editor:

I am no longer undecided, I am voting “yes” for city of Brookhaven

I have spent a great deal of time listening to both sides of the issues.

The “Brookhaven Yes” group has sent fliers.  The “No City” campaign has sent fliers.

The “Brookhaven Yes” group showed up at the Reporter debate.  The “No City” campaign showed up at the Reporter debate.

The “Brookhaven Yes” group has held two town halls–one at Cross Keys High School and one at Montgomery Elementary.  The “No City” campaign held none.

The “Brookhaven Yes” group has held open and public neighborhood meetings and advertised the meetings with fliers and emails, advertised with local press and posted publicly on their website.  The “No City” campaign has not.

The “Brookhaven Yes” group posts the bios of its members.  As of this writing, the “No City” campaign has posted no bios.

For me, transparency and openness go a long way.

What also goes a long way is family focus. “Brookhaven Yes” recently held a Family Day picnic at Ashford Park (see Brookhaven Patch and Dunwoody Crier for reports).  I attended with my family.  What I saw was hundreds of people engaging in family fun, people actively reaching out to connect with their neighbors and a sense of community that neither DeKalb County nor the “No City” campaign has attempted to foster.

Ever see a “No City” ad for a family picnic?  Ask yourself “why not?”

I know what a “yes” vote is endorsing.  What is a vote for “no” endorsing?  It seems as though a “no” vote is a vote for DeKalb’s inefficient, broken government.

A “yes” vote, based on the “Brookhaven Yes” community focused approach, is a vote for the citizens in our community.

The choice is simple.  Vote “YES” for the City of Brookhaven and build the community  we want.  Vote “NO” for continuing DeKalb’s and the “No City” group’s dysfunctional government.

Alan W. Powell

To the editor:

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.