Subcommittee members, left to right, Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), Rep. Mark Hamilton (R-Cumming) and Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Lawrenceville) listen to residents during a hearing Dec. 3 on the border between the proposed cities of Tucker and LaVista Hills.

When drawing new city borders, which matters more: history or police protection?

State lawmakers met with residents Dec. 3 to hear their concerns about where to draw the line between the proposed cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker and much of the discussion focused on those two topics.

Proponents of a proposed city of Tucker argued the map they submitted for their town reflected the area’s history. “Tucker is a well-known place,” Frank Auman of Tucker 2015 said, showing how the name “Tucker” appeared in Census areas and road names and even had its own ZIP code.

But a portion of Tucker’s map overlaps areas that LaVista Hills proponents want included in their planned new city. Those areas are both east and west of I-285.

About 23,000 residents live in the disputed areas, Auman said, so putting them in LaVista Hills would increase the population of that city to about 72,000 while cutting Tucker’s population to about 30,000. If the residents are placed in Tucker, both cities would be roughly the same size, Tucker’s proponents said.

The area also includes a number of businesses in and around Northlake Mall, which could provide taxes needed to support the new city governments.

Dan Chapman, a volunteer for LaVista Hills Yes, said that city’s plan “would show equal revenue per capita.” Auman responded that’s because LaVista Hill’s plan calls for more people in that city than in Tucker, not because it provides for an even division of tax revenues

Despite Tucker’s historic claims, some residents of the area told the lawmakers they were attracted to LaVista Hills because the plans for that new city include a new police department.

“I want to be in LaVista Hills and not in Tucker because they don’t public safety as part of their plan,” said Greg Holcomb, who lives in the disputed area just outside the Perimeter in a community called Northcrest. “To me, that’s the purpose of government. They want to be a ‘city light’ and ‘city light’ isn’t right for Northcrest.”

Proponents of the Tucker plan said they could add police later. They said they were taking a financially conservative approach to starting the city.

A standing-room-only crowd of about 100 residents filled a meeting room at the Capitol to voice support for one or another of the new cities and to argue over which should claim the disputed territory. Some residents objected to creation of either city, saying carving new cities would harm DeKalb County services or schools.

LaVista Hills advocates Dan Chapman, foreground right, and Mary Kay Woodworth, second from right, await a chance to make the case for their proposed city during the three-hour meeting Dec. 3 at the state Capitol.

Although the subcommittee hearing was scheduled to last 90 minutes, it went on for three hours. The five lawmakers on the special DeKalb County Cityhood Subcommittee – Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Lawrenceville), Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem), Rep. Mark Hamilton (R-Cumming), Rep. Howard Mosby (D-Atlanta) and Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) – are to see if they can agree on a map show one or both cities that the Legislature could consider next year, the lawmakers said.

“I’m not happy to be here. This goes outside our rules,” Hamilton said.

Several members of the subcommittee asked for revenue estimates to show what effect the location of the disputed area would have on each city’s tax revenues.

The subcommittee was appointed after proponents of the two cities were unable to reach agreement on a map. Originally, three groups proposed cities in the area, but two – ones proposing cities named Briarcliff and Lakeside – merged to create the LaVista Hills plan.

“Both LaVista Hills and Tucker were very disappointed and we regret we had to hand this to you,” Mary Kay Woodworth, co-chair of the LaVista Hills group told the legislators.

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.

51 replies on “Dispute over boundary between two proposed DeKalb cities draws a crowd to the Capitol”

  1. I appreciate the article’s prompt coverage of this important topic. However, the question that opens the piece suggests that the important issues of history and police protection need be mutually exclusive. Indeed they need NOT be. I attended yesterday’s hearing. For some reason, Tucker’s emphasis on its history and identity as a community is being interpreted as a disregard for police protection. As a resident of Tucker and a supporter of Tucker cityhood, I maintain that this notion could not be further from the truth. Adequate police protection of my property and neighborhood are SUPREMELY important to me. The real issue here is whether it’s wise and prudent for a fledgling city to take on, AT ITS INCEPTION, one of the most expensive, revenue-consuming services to provide: policing. The Tucker leaders think that it is not a wise to BEGIN with such an expensive venture, which as we’ve seen with other new cities, burdens with debt at the outset. I can appreciate the fact that Tucker is taking a more measured approach in its efforts and beginning with important services that are not as costly. Why repeat the same cityhood model over and over again? How about take a different approach? Having one’s own police department may provide a sense of “comfort”, but it doesn’t on its own deter crime. I work in the heart of the new city of Brookhaven, which has its own PD. From my vantage point, the police stay pretty busy. In other words, crime didn’t disappear just because Brookhaven entered cityhood with a PD. Equally important, the Tucker charter leaves the space wide open to add policing at any point in the future…at the will of the residents. If Tucker residents agree down the line to foot the bill for a police department, then we’ll have one. I would love for my neighbors in the disputed “overlap” area OTP to digest this fact and assuage their concerns a bit. At the end of the day, we all want the same basic things. It’s only our approach getting there that differs. Finally, I hope that the subcommittee that will decide on the Tucker-LaVista Hills boundary will in no way assume that Tucker’s focus on its rich history Implies a lack of concern for the essential nuts and bolts of city. I’m confident that the Tucker leadership gets it, and what they get makes “sense.”

    1. I agree with you that the way that the police issue is being presented is very much lacking in proper nuance. The “choice” for those of us in the disputed area (insomuch as we have a choice… the committee will decide our fate) is between having police services provided by Dekalb County or by the newly created LaVista city council when they create a LaVista PD.

      Of course, one of the (many) reasons that the whole citihood movement started was displeasure with Dekalb County in general. I think that there’s a sense (true or not) that Dekalb County doesn’t do a good job policing around the disputed area and that tax dollars are diverted to (ahem) “other” areas. For all we know, the LaVista PD might end up being an amazing crime fighting force worthy of its own TV show. They might be worse than Dekalb. No one knows.

      You are correct that a city having its own police force does not eliminate crime, although I doubt anyone thinks it will. They likely want to see a few more patrol cars driving around and a quicker response time when they do call the police, which they very well might get. It’ll make them feel better, and might — might — even reduce crime. That seems reasonable, although you could certainly make the case that it will concentrate police resources in an area where they won’t do as much to reduce crime overall. Dekalb County would lose tax revenue and have fewer cops available to work in the rest of the county.

      Tucker’s claim to history I found to be sort of silly. Just admit that you want the Northlake area for the tax base. (Same for LaVista!) Presenting information on how things were 50 years is ago is lovely for history buffs, but not a good way to make policy.

      1. Tucker did not present a history lesson. Tucker did what the Legislative Panel requested – present a rationale that supports your map boundaries. Tucker showed the extensive amount of research and background it used to draw its map. Services were specifically stated as not part of the intent of the hearing since Legislators don’t decide on services. However because LaVista Hills has no rationale for their boundaries, their strategy is to focus on services. I do no oppose the City of LaVista Hills and I wish them the best. But as a residential property taxpayer OTP I do not wish to be the “deep pockets” for a primarily residential ITP focused city. I would encourage you to read the City of Tucker feasibility study. Tucker has extensive commercial and industrial areas around the Mountain Industrial corridor and other areas that more than make for a viable city. Of course Tucker would like to include Northlake, and not only because the area has traditionally been viewed as Tucker – the Tucker-Northlake Community Improvement District (CID) and other commercial linkages create a powerful message for economic development. It was sad and painful to watch Allen Venet of the LaVista Hills leadership struggle to locate Northlake Festival on their map when asked by the Legislators. I would bet a living wage that he and others can count on one hand how many times they’ve ventured OTP to the area they are staking claim to. I live within 2 miles of a Police Precinct. The LaVista Hills map cuts me off from that meaning I’d rely on response from a precinct buried deep ITP. MaryKay Woodworth herself argued the case against providing services to “outlier” areas when she urged Brookhaven to let LaVista Hills have Executive Park. Her quote included how difficult it will be to cross an interstate and cover an area that is not in the heart of the city…that describes my neighborhood perfectly.

  2. I know that you as a journalist want to ensure accurate information is transmitted. Please offer a follow up article to correct the misinformation you’ve provided about services for the City of Tucker. MAC explained it best. I will add that the Legislators specifically stated in advance that the hearing was NOT about services but justifications for why each map makes sense. Because LaVista Hills lacks a rationale for their meandering and constantly changing map, their strategy is to focus on services. They presented a small group of voices yesterday to support that. What the committee did not hear was from the VAST majority of Tucker citizens who have stated emphatically from the beginning that they do not want to start with big government but rather stand up a city on 3 services that will have a tremendous bang for our buck and then add services if the money is there. LaVista is betting its bank on Northlake Mall – as a homeowner I do want to be part of a city that is relying on a failing mall to fund ALL these services they’ve promised with NO new taxes. As was pointed out yesterday, their Feasibility Study is now highly suspect because it was not based on the current map and includes commercial areas such as Executive Park which is going to Brookhaven. Here’s the irony – the LaVista Hills effort is being led by a bunch of Republicans. Isn’t fiscal conservatism a basic Ronald Reagan principle of the party?? Yet Tucker is being attacked for embracing this philosophy. That makes their motives even more transparent. The truth is LaVista Hills does not have the votes ITP to support their referendum. They must have the largely Republican voting districts OTP to have any hope of success. Residents ITP should be quaking in their boots – you’re going to lose your schools (via Druid Hills annexation into Atlanta) AND have to bear the burden for city services you can’t afford with insufficient commercial tax base – and for what?

  3. I would like to see the task force suggest giving those of us in the overlap area an opportunity to vote for either LaVista Hills, Tucker or none of the above. That would really give us the opportunity to democratic about it.

  4. I have to disagree with MAC and Mark. As a long time resident and real estate consultant, the drive for cityhood is driven by the long-term dissolution of the benefits of the entire area.

    Tucker, which should have the best leg for city hood has been a waste for decades and this is easily seen when you look at the impact on the residential areas. Just look at the surrounding area of the high school even though the county school system invested millions in building stellar looking facilities. The lack of younger (or at least middle aged) leadership has created a low-end retirement community in Tucker with few options for younger home buyers who would look to settle there long term. The only attraction to the area are the low housing prices and costs. Without better schools and more viable and vibrant communities, there is not a good outlook. This hurts my business because Tucker has the GREATEST amount of inventory in the local area, but it is the hardest to sell. Even when I pitch the quaint Main Street activities, it doesn’t compare to the offerings in Oak Grove, which sadly, many cannot afford.

    I live in the contested Northcrest area that has never been Tucker, but has all of the sudden been deemed Tucker. The number of people who spoke on behalf of LaVista Hills came from the contested areas because folks like myself live and operate in an area that has and is traditionally Lakeside. I was curious as to Tucker’s claim that Holy Cross was in Tucker because it is in Doraville and in my 30340, not Tucker’s. Tucker did not seem to know its history or its own map, which is not surprising given its strange and convoluted map.

    What I did find interesting is that there were few, if any, residents from the contested area in FAVOR of Tucker. Almost all speakers for LaVista Hills were in the contested area because they are appalled at Tucker’s overreach and voiced strong support for LaVista Hills for several reasons – not just safety. I applaud the people who could make it down there to let the panel hear loud and clear that the contested area is in favor of LaVista Hills. I have had a record number of young families move into this Northcrest and Embry Hills area because we have the best of all worlds – Lakeside school cluster, affordable homes, and great access to anywhere in Atlanta. If you are a young growing family, Northcrest is the place to be because we are moving forward and look to grow. Just check out some of the amazing remodels spotlighted in the AJC.

    Tucker’s presentation was as expected – droning on about history with unabashed inaccuracy. There was little that their presentation offered to residents and taxpayers. Attaching God, religion and a church in the presentation was another faux pas in a governmental setting in my opinion. All of the communities in play are in front of this panel because the ENTIRE AREA is UNINCORPORATED. The only definitive area of Tucker is Main Street, and that is not a big draw. Tucker has had many chances to do something, but has done better siphoning county funds than taking ownership for its own areas. Tucker residents need to understand that their lack of investment in their area is reaping these results. Why are any Tucker residents surprised that their “well established community” is at risk when it is not well established at all and is sad and overrun with vacant properties, zoning catastrophes and nothing in the way of decent family restaurants?

    Finally, ITP – there is support ITP for those in DeKalb County. The County’s issues are becoming systemic failures on several fronts, not just safety. ITPers are seeking to preserve what they have. Just look at the atrocious handrails that have been put up along the Ponderosa neighborhood. The communities do want a voice. Druid Hills and the failure of the school cluster was another slap in the face to residents from the county. Everyone knows that we need better representation than what we are getting from the county.

    Just talk to a realtor to get the real skinny on the area!!!

    1. Nothing in the way of decent family restaurants?

      Off the top of my head, and not including any restaurants in the disputed area:

      Shorty’s
      Taqueria Los Hermanos
      Aldo’s
      Longhorn
      Yum Yum Thai
      L’Thai
      Local 7
      Matthews Cafeteria
      Papi’s
      Las Colina’s
      Colossus
      Mai Tai
      El Tapatio

    2. As a resident of Northcrest, I couldn’t agree more. I have never considered myself part of Tucker (nor do any of my neighbors). I always describe Northcrest as “sandwiched between Doraville and Tucker”, not “part of Tucker”. But also, let me add that I cannot get behind any idea that, with respect to the police force, has a “we’ll deal with that later” attitude. This is government, and we all SHOULD know what “later” means (for those who are unclear, it means “never”). That is not a waiting game I’m willing to play.

  5. Mark, excellent summary of the situation. You’ve articulated the heart of the matter quite well. And you’ve also picked up on the political irony whereby Tucker is taking a far more fiscally responsible approach that’s being rejected and derided by the very people who pride themselves on fiscal conservatism. In addition, while attending yesterday’s hearing, I marveled over the lack of ITP voices in support of LH. While LH is hitching their wagons on Northlake and Tucker OTP, the bulk of the residents on LH’s map comes from ITP, a distance away from the contentious “hot zone.” Couple the lack of ITP support with annexations endangering the LH map, and it will be curious to see the outcome and how the Legislators rule. As for Russell’s earlier comments, I only wish to say that binary arguments are the most simplistic ones. It was stated that Tucker’s claim to history is “silly” because its ulterior motive is “Northlake.” No Tucker supporter would deny the importance of Northlake to their equation, but admitting that importance in no way discounts the value of Tucker’s history to its supporters. There’s no hidden ulterior motive. Tucker’s history is a selling point. The American way is to play up your strengths and tell/sell your story. Tucker has a unique story that sets it apart quite distinctly from the Lakeside-Briarcliff-to-LH metamorphosis. Raised on a diet of cookie-cutter /”McWorld” homes, neighborhoods, and malls that all look, feel, and function the same, the value of history and unique “character” is lost and unappreciated. But a unique face and feel are refreshing. And a unique story can be used to create a “brand” for attracting visitors, businesses, and new residents. That’s not about being “history buffs,” nor is it about being stuck in the past. It’s really about using what you have, and your creativity, to forge a future. That’s what the cityhood movement is all about: communities forging their own future in the way that its citizens see fit. I’m a Tucker supporter, but I don’t scoff at or criticize the city vision that LH supports want. The problem is that there are two competing visions in one contested area. The Legislators’ charge was for each group to argue why their map, their vision “makes sense.” Tucker’s demographic, geographic, business, social, and civic HISTORY make their map make sense…for an objective observer or at very least for someone who knows how to recognize and to appreciate the value in distinction, what Tucker wants and why they want it would be crystal clear…

  6. I appreciate North West’s contribution to this discussion, as well as his/her real estate expertise. However, I have to disagree with many of the points raised by North. I will address each point by point. This is the REAL real skinny:

    First, it is said that the major drive for cityhood is a dissolution of benefits. If applied to all of the cityhood movements, past and present, this is probably true. However, with the LH folks, there’s added (and erroneous) undercurrent (generated in large part by promises that the LH leadership absolutely cannot keep) that a LH will be able to control/influence influence school feeder patterns within its designated map. Many LH supporters are blind to the fact that the DeKalb County School Board controls attendance and feeder lines. Only a change in Georgia’s Constitution can change this fact.

    Second, we see in North’s comments the same strategy of making public statements that attempt to convince the public (or themselves) that there is “overwhelming” support in the contested area for LH. I interact as much daily (as recently as last night, in fact) with people who live in the contested area who support Tucker, as I’m sure North with strident LH supporters. At the hearing, it was stated that there were between 1000-1300 petitioners for LH in the contested area. Sounds impressive except for the fact that over 23,000 people live in the contested overlap area! For the sake of argument, let’s give 2000 petioned on record LH supporters to be generous. That’s still less than 1% of the disputed area’s population speaking for the true “overwhelming” majority, the 99%. To Marv’s point, hardly democratic.

    Third, North sounds like a pretty smart and informed person, which is why I’m surprised that he/she reduces the Tucker presentation at the hearing to a droning on about history with no substance or basis in fact. The Tucker presentation was extraordinarily organized and informative compared to the LH presentation that had ZERO substance and amounted essentially to a funneling of anecdotal testimonies that in no way advanced the conversation…nor, more important, did LH fulfill the original charge of the subcommittee, which was that each group state clearly why their map was functionally and logically the best map. The Tucker folks achieved that charge. A major player of the LH leadership wasn’t even familiar enough with the map to locate on it Northlake a Festival on LaVista Rd., an area (with a truly Tucker address TODAY) that LH claims in its map. What a painfully awkward moment! Think I’m biased in my assessment or exaggerating? The beauty here is that the hearing was live streamed and archived. No need to accept my editorializing…or anyone else’s. Pull up the hearing online, and judge for own yourself.

    Fourth, North states that Tucker’s “only definitive” area is Main Steet. What an odd and inaccurate statement to make. First, Tucker even outside of the disputed area, is a vast space of neighborshoods, commercial zones, and plenty of industrial property to boot extending from 285 and flanking a size able length of Gwinnett County boundary. North criticizes what he sees as a drab look and feel of some areas of Tucker (certainly not all). In some ways, I grant Tucker’s PRESENT lack of wide city “sex” appeal, but that’s the WHOLE point of cityhood! Incorporation incentivizes an area to take social, geographic, and developmental “ownership” for DEVELOPING the type of city that it wants to be. Unincorporated Tucker cannot be expected to look like Dunwoody. It takes time. Look at the shape that Brookhaven has taken in the short run of its cityhood. The three services with which Tucker will begin is a stong indication that its priority is growth and fiscally responsible development for the future.

    Finally, the arguments used in a dialogue often reveal the true sentiments behind the voice. I have no bad words nor wish ill of LH. If LH is to become a city, I wish them all the success in the world because a healthy neighbor keeps me healthy. That said, LH has some issues in its own backyard that it might wish to focus on rather than spending its energy attacking the Tucker movement. Between neighborhoods that have issued strong public statements saying that they DON’T wish to be a part of the LH map (Laurel Ridge) and a handful of SERIOUS ITP annexation efforts that chip away at prime residential and commercial areas that LH counts on for feasibility (Druid Hills), I’d say LH should be more concerned about its own survival than about Tucker’s ambitions and aspirations, but then again, with LH ITP seriously threatened, a battle position might be crucial to LH’s survival. Understood…we get it…

    1. You are certainly correct that the school feeder lines are controlled by the county and that LVH (particularly back when it was “Lakeside”) was subtly trying to rally support by implying otherwise. At the time this whole thing started, I think the plan was to incorporate around the Lakeside boundaries (plus some other choice morsels), and then to either try to get some sort of blessing to form an independent school district, either through pushing for a Constitutional amendment or by trying something like the Druid Hills Cluster (which later failed, but at the time was still being debated.) If nothing else, cityhood could be a last ditch defense if Dekalb County Schools started breaking out the re-districting pen. (You can’t do that! There’s a natural city border here that you’re disrespecting!) That was the plan. Obviously, several pieces of it have fallen apart in the interim.

      Irony of ironies, the LVH movement seems to have pushed North Druid Hills to speed up their pleas to Atlanta for annexation, which would take Druid Hills High School out of Dekalb County and most certainly would require that lines be re-drawn. If the plan was to keep the map intact, the best bet for LVH might actually be to fold up their tent and go home and hope that Atlanta continues to ignore Druid Hills.

      Concerning percentages (and yes, I saw your math correction…) and speaking as someone who lives in the DMZ, I find the statements concerning the “overwhelming” support for one side or the other funny. Driving through my neighborhood, I see lawn signs for both. I get that some people identify with Tucker and some with LVH. (The “I only ever turn right out of my subdivision” stuff was a little overdone.) There’s a bunch of us that really don’t care. I shop at Northlake. I go to the Tucker Farmer’s Market. I take my kids to playgrounds all over the place. We go to church in Norcross. I assume that no matter the outcome, there will not be a wall built to keep me from any of that?

      Don’t kid yourself on Tucker’s presentation. It was a collection of anecdotes and cherry picked church bulletins. (I agree LVH was similarly vapid… basically, the boundaries are Lakeside HS, which is about as valid as using the 30384 ZIP code as the basis for the map.) Tucker mostly based their presentation on a historical sense of place, which is fine for most of their map. But they mostly focused on their historical claim to the DMZ for their presentation, which if you pretend that I-285 is not actually part of history, makes sense. For good or ill, people now use 285 as a marker and have since shortly after it was built. People know what ITP and OTP stand for. That is how place is defined now. So, if you’re going to use history, you have to use all of history.

      Why won’t anyone just say “We want Northlake because we think it will mean a lot of tax revenue for us.” (Caveat emptor!)

      Not being able to find Northlake Festival was supremely awkward!

      The critique of Tucker as “run down” is a low blow and smacks of elitism. As if the LVH folks couldn’t bear to be seen with… “those people.” (cf. “I only ever turn right out of my subdivision.”)

      1. Russell, your post is very important on many levels. It demonstrates that there are many sensible voices in the mix, voices of reason that need to be heard, voices that remind all of us that no matter how this cityhood business plays out in are area, we’ll still crisscross those arbitrary and artificial boundaries daily to work, to live, to eat, and to entertain regardless of where those boundaries fall. All the more reason why we must stand together and reject any elitist undercurrent (on either side) that strives, throughout this process and beyond, to devalue our neighbors because their house is less emmaculate, their neighborhood less pristine, their lawn less manicured, their school less privileged. That’s not what this is about for me at all. NO ONE succeeds if our neighbors, our school system, or our county fails…

        Now, back to the Tucker presentation, I know you’ve made clear that you were unimpressed. I can respect your viewpoint. I just think that it’s far easier fo critique that which we don’t have to do ourselves. I’m saying this as a layman, not a leader. I’m just a regular, average Joe. So, 20 minutes to tell why your map, a map that has no firmly set parameters, is the better map. That was the charge. Jeesh, where could you begin? Whatever argument you use to make your case will be criticized for one reason or the other by virtue of the fact that there is simply no firm substance of what you’re arguing for to begin with. Because THAT’S the very thing that you’re asking the subcommittee to decide: to create a REAL boundary, the substance that’s missing at this point in the process. So what do you do say? Do you say, “dammit, I want Northlake!” Not the wisest or most strategic move with people who are deciding your fate. So when I hear people saying that the group’s aren’t being honest about their desire for Northlake, I’m left scratching my head. Of course the groups are honest with themselves and their supporters on the matter! They need not be honest with their rivals because their rivals already know their ambitions and why they want the same thing. Diplomacy is the name of the politics game. Pure and simple…

        If I had to make such a presentions in 20 minutes, personally, my strategy would be to tell my story. If I could, I’d frame my map in history to the best of my ability in order to illustrate long-standing connections (not entitlement, mind you) to the area, and by extension, distinguish myself clearly from my rival who have no similar connections whatsoever. That’s what Tucker did. Second, I’d try to illustrate how my proposed map including the overlap created a more equally balanced population for BOTH maps (roughly 50+ thousand each) distinguishing it from my rivals’ map, which including the overlap in theirs gives them a whopping 73+ population! I would argue that that imbalance is potentially problematic for both sides. That’s what Tucker argued. Third, I would try to illustrate that my rivals’ map has illogical and very problematic boundaries in the overlap whereby Henderson Park is in Tucker, but the entrance gate to the same park is in LH. Problem. Or neighborhoods in the LH map overlap are literally divided between the two cities, a nightmare and hazard for police and service response, all the more when the two cities would have different police departments. I would illustrate that my map, avoiding those illogical forays, and having settled all annexation conflicts within my proposed map prior to showing up simply put, makes an awful lot more sense. That’s what the Tucker presentation demonstrated to me, a casual and untrained observer attending the hearing. And really, that’s all each group had the burden to do–not to present a scientific treatise or mathematical proof–but rather to present a simple argument of which map is more practical and has less baggage attached. We can only wait and see what the lawmakers think…

  7. SELF CORRECTION:

    Please allow me to correct my 6am-rushing-for-work arithmetic.

    2000 LH petitioners out of a population of 23,000 residents in the overlap would constitute about 8.6% of the population (less than 10%, rather than the 1% that I stated in error).

    The numbers still reinforce my point:

    90% of the population either supports Tucker, are not stating an opinion, or are uninformed about what’s happening (which is probably a bulk of the population). However you slice it, it’s a HUGE chunk of people whose voices may or may not align with either side.

    Apologies for my miscalculation. What’s certain when the dust settles is that I won’t become Tucker’s city accountant (LOL).

    1. All of those 23,000 residents are not old enough to vote.

      And RE: an earlier post by MAC – LH didn’t bring any folks from ITP areas such as Oak Grove because the discussion is not about the middle portion that’s been solidly in both the Briarcliff and Lakeside areas, but to resolve the issue with Tucker.

      Hindsight is great, and it would have been nice to hear from more Tucker residents of the “hotbed” of LH support, and perhaps from some residents of Merry Hills, who after gaining a place in Lakeside’s final map, now find themselves in line to be annexed into the city of Atlanta, which was never one of their choices.

      Is the committee only going to resolve the Tucker/LaVista Hills issue, or are they going to tidy up the newest annexation announcements, such as the TIA movement and the Stone Mountain plan?

  8. Great comments. It’s certainly easy to pick apart a presentation and often fun. As someone stated, both groups are doing their best to push their agenda. Without officially asking every single homeowner and business owner which city they’d prefer, at some point you just gotta draw a line to get the conversation started. Also, not sure why this small statement is calling me to respond, but it was said that not a lot of ITP LH supporters showed up at the meeting. My guess is that for them it’s an easy equation – either the city passes or it doesn’t. On the other hand, the OTP folks are being pulled between two different movements, so there’s a lot more at stake. Makes sense to me that mostly OTP folks would be in attendance.

    I have a few questions for the group b/c I’m not sure of the answers:

    1) 8.6% of 23,000 residents prefer LH. What % of these same 23,000 residents officially signed a petition for City of Tucker?

    2) Several of my neighbors told me over a year ago that the Tucker city-hood movement has been attempted a few times in the past to no avail. …and that the current attempt is in response to the Lakeside initiative. Is there some truth to these two statements? Assuming yes, why did the early Tucker city-hood movements fail to gain traction?

    3) I believe I read a comment that OTP residents should not have to foot the bill for the wants of ITP residents. Did I read that correctly? If so, I need some help b/c my understanding is that property values ITP are generally higher and therefore most likely paying higher property taxes.

    That’s all for now. I think it’s great that folks are having these conversations about such an important topic.

    1. why did the early Tucker city-hood movements fail to gain traction?

      In my opinion, earlier efforts failed because the demographics of Tucker were older then, and the leadershiop of the cityhood efforts did a poor job. plus, Dekalb wasn’t in as much of a shambles at that time.

    2. 1) Tucker didn’t bring petition numbers, so we don’t know. If yard signs are an indicator (I’m in the DMZ), there’s a smattering of both. There are probably plenty of people who don’t have much of an opinion.

      2) From what I understand, Tucker has tried cityhood before. Let’s be honest. We all thought it was already a city. I’m guessing that the movement died for want of any urgency. Why bother?

      When Lakeside drew its original map, it included Northlake Mall, Northlake Festival (which is around here somewhere…), Henderson Park, the Montreal industrial area, and the Wal-Mart Plaza at LaVista/Lawrenceville. If that map had become reality, then Tucker would basically never be able to become a city. It will need some of that property to prop up a tax base. So, there’s probably always been low-level support for cityhood in Tucker and this put a bit of urgency on it. So, yes and no that Tucker’s cityhood initiative is a reaction.

      3) I did a double take on the ITP vs. OTP comment. I remember when I was house shopping a few years ago that similar houses that were a mile from each other differed by 20-30k, just because they happened to be tucked just inside 285. I remember chuckling about that.

  9. Here’s what it comes down to. Evansdale and Pleasantdale feed into Lakeside HS. In a county that for years has had NO identity, people have identified with the school system. And people have purchased homes with the school system in mind.
    Dunwoody is pushing to take over their schools. This scares the crap out of Evansdale and Pleasantdale people because a) Lakeside is a better school than Tucker and b) because of that, home prices are propped a little higher in the Lakeside cluster. Remove Lakeside, see home prices fall. That’s the worry. That won’t happen now with the city movement, but it could in the future if Dunwoody is successful.
    The key to me in all this is why Tucker wants neighborhoods (Evansdale and Pleasantdale) that don’t want them. Other than to just grab land and dollars.

  10. Hey Fresh and Bob, thanks for chiming in. (And also to Huh? for providing that list of great Tucker restaurants–indeed, excellent Thai spots in Tucker as well as Aldo’s Fine Italian, and Papi’s splendid Cuban. No restaurants??

    I digress, I’d like to add a few comments to your posts. In attempting to answer your questions, Fresh, I admit on the outset that I’m a relatively new resident to the area, so I don’t have enough history to talk about Tucker cityhood movements going decades ago (if they existed). The most that I know is that both Tucker and Lakeside presented simultaneous cityhood bills that failed in last year’s session–the failure was due to the land dispute.

    I think that it is true that Tucker’s serious recent push to cityhood was influenced by the Lakeside movement, whose map made serious incursions in Tucker territory. For self preservation, the Tucker movement was kicked in gear. That’s how I understand it.

    I don’t know if it’s accurate that OTP LaVista Hills people fear for having the foot the bill for ITP LaVista Hills because the reality is that the bulk of commercial property that would support LH is ITP (like Northlake). It sounds quite the opposite. As I see it, ITP business revenue will be needed to help support the whole of LH, OTP included.

    On property values, most studies demonstrate that property values increase in new cities IN GENERAL. Both proposed cities would probably benefit equally in that department…

    Finally, to Bob’s point. I hear the concern and frustration in his post. He asks why Tucker wants the Evansdale and Pleasantdale neighborhoods that don’t want Tucker. We’re back to the original point, that being that it is impossible to conclude that EVERY member of those neighborhoods don’t want to be in Tucker. I know and have communicated at meetings with residents in both neighborhoods that want to be in Tucker. Finally, if the will of the neighborhood is all that should matter, I’ve stated before (and anyone at the hearing will confirm)…Laurel Ridge is in the LaVista Hills map, and they said emphatically (and even gave a press release) to the effect that they DO NOT want to be in the LaVista Hills map. Will LH bow to the will of Laurel Ridge? Probably not. It’s not personal. It’s all about the need to have the right ratio of residential and commercial property to make the city thing work…

    1. You really must be very new – the proposed City of Tucker did not have a bill in the hopper!!! but the proposed City of Lakeside did. The ex-district 1 commissioner, Elaine Boyer,’s staff stayed at the capital fighting the Lakeside bill. The Tucker leaders gathered support of other significant legislators and killed the Lakeside bill in a very ugly manner. Their actions have left a ‘bitter taste in my mouth’. My observations over the last 40 years of Tucker’s leadership is that they are master manipulators and very self-serving. I shutter to think of being incorporated under their control.

      Mac you seem to be dominating the comments. Why?

      1. B simmons, your 40-year grudge with the Tucker leadership has absolutely nothing to do with me or my support for Tucker cityhood. How frequently I’ve posted on this blog is not an issue of any relevance to anything being discussed or debated. Let’s try to stick to the issue…rather than attempting to stifle your neighbors’ contributions.

      2. B. Simmons – The Tucker proposal had a bill. HB 677. It’s part of the legislative record.

        Senator Fran Millar withdrew the Lakeside bill (SB270) and the process that led to the decision is public record.

        Can you name the “Tucker leadership” you’ve observed for the last 40 years? Please name yourself too.

        1. Matthew for general edification, 100s of bills are formulated and given a number each year but very few are ‘acted upon’. Any legislator can write a bill.
          The Tucker bill did not meet mandatory deadlines to be eligible for further consideration.

          The term ‘hopper’ generally references active bills.

  11. It sounds like Huh’s? explanation is right on target. A younger, more organized Tucker leadership seems to be at the helm of their movement, which probably wasn’t the case in years past. In addition, (and this is to add on to Russell’s comment about Tucker’s lack of petitions at the hearing), it seems to me that the Tucker folks relied more on e-mail-based petitions in their polling. I now recall at the hearing that the Tucker leader, Frank Auman, did indeed submit to the subcommittee what he described as “thousands of e-mails” from Tucker supporters OTP and ITP. And it is true that Tucker 2015’s website has an area that invites and directs comments to a storehouse dedicated to the subcommittee. Online/e-mail petitions are indeed the trend in political activity, and I would wager that that method attracts, in addition to traditional supporters, a younger, more tech savvy, activist type…

  12. I live in the Evansdale / Lakeside High School area and DO NOT want to be part of a city of Tucker. Want to be part of a City of Lakeside / LaVista Hills…I have given up on DeKalb. The leadership of DeKalb is more concerned with promoting “Black People’s” so called interests than being competent at governing. Remember the dismissed former Chairman of the DeKalb Scholl system..Dr. Eugene Walker? He said Ï see color” and INSISTED on seeing pictures of prospective Superintendents!!! We almost lost our accreditation for crying out loud. DeKalb is the laughing stock of GA. If you want to talk about Tucker History, why don’t we talk about how they used to be a city but agreed to become incorporated into DeKalb County and take advantage of DeKalb County when it was being well ran and growing. Now they want to be a city again. Lavista Hills will not allow the Lakeside High school area to gain control of our school…YET. But it is a first step in that direction.

    1. Really? You went there?

      I get the endgame for those in Evansdale and Pleasantdale is to keep the Lakeside feeder pattern. There seem to be three possible routes for that to happen. One is a cluster charter like Druid Hills tried. They were turned down (by Dekalb Schools). Basically, you’re asking the school district to tie its own hands there. In a few years, the population might shift and the county might need to shift one school into a different feeder pattern to keep the schools from over-crowding. If Druid Hills (or Lakeside) were its own chartered cluster, then the school district would have to shuffle things around that cluster, even if that creates logistical problems. It’s not likely that they’ll do that, especially because if Lakeside is granted such a cluster, Druid Hills would want one, and perhaps a couple others.

      Another route would be for a newly created city of LVH to somehow overturn the Georgia constitutional prohibition on starting new school systems (either through amendment or lawsuit). The amendment has been proposed recently, but didn’t pass. The lawsuit would be costly and probably fail, but stranger things have happened.

      The last one would be to hope that the Dekalb school board simply leaves the map as is right now. I know hope isn’t much of a strategy, but it might be the best one available. Even if Evansdale/Pleasantdale are drawn into LVH, if LVH becomes a city, that could spark Druid Hills to really push to annex into Atlanta, taking Druid Hills High School, although not all of its feeder elementaries with it. Those elementary schools will have to be re-assigned to another HS (Lakeside and Cross Keys are the two most obvious options). Lakeside is already feeling a bit of an overcrowding pinch (and the district may try re-drawing the lines anyway because of this, even if all the cityhood initiatives fail), and it would probably mean that a Lakeside district elementary school would be pushed into another feeder, probably Tucker. Guess which of the current Lakeside schools is geographically closest to Tucker HS. Yep, Evansdale.

      I know that there’s a desire to do “something.” It’s very possible that all of these avenues are doomed and that Evansdale being pushed into the Tucker system is simply a matter of when rather than if. Cityhood, especially when the city is (formerly) named after the high school that you are hoping to retain, seems like a way to stave that off, but it’s one piece among a bunch of moving parts and you have to understand how all the parts fit together.

      Be really careful what you wish for here. If you are pro-cityhood specifically because you want to keep Lakeside, supporting cityhood might just completely backfire on you.

  13. I’m laughing out loud by the absurdity and ignorance of the “No Thank You” comment, the first on this blog to insert race into the discussion. It’s funny that minorities get accused all the time of playing the race card, but let it be clear for all reasonable-minded readers who was the first to race bait in this conversation. First off, no matter the outcome in the Tucker-LaVista Hills line drawing, both new cities will CONTINUE to be in and a part of DeKalb County. Cityhood won’t change that fact. Given this reality, what’s the point of trashing the county that you will continue to be a part of and that will STILL be linked to your home, whether Tucker or LaVista Hills? This sort of attitude (usually spewing from the mouths of LH supporters) reinforces a cityhood agenda that is grounded in backwards ways of looking at our collective reality, which makes it that much more challenging to solve our collective problems. Will we ever learn? Let’s see how many LH supporters stand up and condemn what was said by their cheerleader. Little wonder ITP folks in LH’s sites are pulling away with all deliberate speed…and justifiably so. Scary and sad. Final point, the last time I checked, REPUBLICAN ex-DeKalb County Commissioner, Elaine Boyer, a WHITE woman who had the public’s trust for over 20 years, resigned from her post in disgrace and is right now awaiting word of her fate for stealing at least $100,000 in taxpayer money on personal trips, car rentals airline tickets, cell phone bills, meals, etc. Used DeKalb taxpayer money as her personal slush fund. This crook will probably do less than 2 years. Race baiting? Please! I’m a Tucker cityhood supporter, and I’m also fed up with DeKalb County mismanagement, incompetence, and corruption, but the moment that I attempt to inject race into my frustration, I do more harm than good and make myself look like an antiquated ignoramus to boot…

  14. Tucker wants to be a city only to prevent another city from forming. Their desire to keep their borders intact are completely insincere. Although Wikipedia is often described as a inaccurate encyclopedia, take a few moments to read on the Tucker, Georgia entry. Within that entry there is an editing revisions history. You will notice that the majority of entries have been created or edited within the past two years by a resident of Tucker. Mostly by Matthew R Lee. When looking at previous versions of the Tucker page, you will notice that starting in 2013 references to Northlake and other disputed areas were added to the page…I guess as a method to show some history of the areas. If given the opportunity to ask Mr. Lee about why all of these changes have happened on Wikipedia within the past couple of years, please ask. Should be an interesting question to answer. Wikipedia has been around for nearly 15 years. One of the more notable entries explain the current cityhood timeline, which clearly shows Tucker’s entry into the cityhood realm is reactive, not proactive. Here is the quote from the entry explaining the history:

    “In February 2013, in response to concerns over crime, zoning, and self-determination a newly formed organization, the Lakeside City Alliance (LCA), announced a proposal to investigate the creation a new city in DeKalb County, including portions within the Tucker zip code, on both sides of I-285, and began fundraising for the state required viability study[citation needed]. On March 25, 2013 State Senator Fran Millar submitted an ‘’Act to incorporate the City of Lakeside in DeKalb County’’ to the Georgia General Assembly.[40][41][42][43]

    The same day, State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver submitted an additional act, preemptively, to form a new municipality, affording residents inside I-285 affected by the Lakeside proposal the opportunity to pursue the option of incorporation.[44] The following day, March 26, in order to secure Tucker a seat at the table during the 2014 legislative session, State Representatives Billy Mitchell, Michele Henson, and ‘’Coach’’ Earnest Williams submitted an additional act to incorporate a new municipality.[45]

    In response to the time line set by Senator Millar, residents of Tucker formed Tucker Together to evaluate options to preserve Tucker as an existing community and raise funds for an incorporation study. Tucker2014 organized in June 2013 as an advocacy group in favor of incorporation.[46][47] In May 2013, the City of Briarcliff Initiative, Inc. (COBI) announced plans for a city proposal that include Tucker west of I-285. The Briarcliff map includes the entire Lakeside City map west of I-285 and additional unincorporated areas of DeKalb County.[48][49]”

    End of Quoted Wikipedia Article.

    The cities are creating places where people want to live again inside DeKalb County. As a recent annexation resident into Chamblee, I have seen great changes in our area after almost a year into the services provided by Chamblee. Our annexation into Chamblee was socio-economically similar to what Chamblee already had. We fit in well with our annexation into an existing city. LaVista Hills drew their map based off of similar socio-economic communities as well as keeping the school lines intact. If cities are allowed in the future to run their own school system, LaVista Hills wants to be prepared. I know it sounds kind of cheap, but property values are lower in some parts of Tucker….and some of the lower valued properties are included in the LaVista Hills map. If LaVista Hills is created, there will be a benefit to the County as a whole because of increased property values. See Brookhaven as an example of property value increases after their incorporation.

    I have lived all of my life in DeKalb County and have seen the downward trend. Until the County realizes that they must change from within to regain the prestige that it once had, new cities and annexations will continue until the County is starved to providing basic services. In an ideal world, jobs will not be lost, they will simply be transferred to the cities. Recent annexations and city creations have not resulted in significant jobs lost from the County, although it should have. Once of the many reasons why the County is dysfunctional. Income to the county will only be lost if the County fails to reduce headcount after losing territory to serve that is now taken care of new cities and annexations. The County has yet to recognize this fact, and it is not likely they ever will.

    A few pieces of advice if that is possible—Include the annexations and new city creations on the same ballot. Those that wish to be annexed into Atlanta can choose yes to annex or no to annex. Those that wish to be in LaVista Hills can choose to create a new city or not. Those that are in contested areas, can choose Yes to Tucker, or Yes to LaVista Hills, or no to both.

    Put a five year moratorium on those two areas after the vote….so when the County lovers get their City of DeKalb, there will then be a sanity refuge city created.

  15. “If you want to talk about Tucker History, why don’t we talk about how they used to be a city but agreed to become incorporated into DeKalb County and take advantage of DeKalb County when it was being well ran and growing.”

    I believe this is false. Can you provide a citation? To my knowledge, Tucker has never been a city.

  16. The “Truth, Lies, Wikipedia” comment deserves some response. I hope that other sensible-minded citizens will chime in as well. Here’s the angle of my response:

    The opening comment is itself a falsehood. The commentator begins: “Tucker wants to be a city only to prevent another city from forming.” First, not only is this statement totally untrue, it is also absurd. EVERY Tucker supporter that I personally know is prepared for (and has no problem whatsoever) with a likely “two-city” solution to this conflict: Tucker AND LaVista Hills. The issue is what the boundaries of each city will look like given the disputed overlap territory, not whether one or the other is more worthy of existence. And second, this commentator speaks of “Tucker” as if it’s some nebulous imaginary entity floating about in DeKalb’s stratosphere. The Tucker movement is composed of PEOPLE, REAL people: moms, dads, husbands, wives, blue-collar and white-collar, hard working folk that want the same as any and everyone else: safe & functional neighborhoods, the ability to have more control over local circumstances, and greater accountability from leaders.

    In case there is any doubt, let me say for the record: I am a Tucker supporter AND I am totally okay with the existence of a neighboring city of LaVista Hills. Why does support for one have to discount the existence of the other? Many of us criticize DeKalb’s dysfunction, but we ourselves perpetuate our own brand of dysfunction in unnecessary divisiveness and social polarity on the basis of race, political affiliation, and classist attitudes. The commentator says that he/she doesn’t want their property values to be lowered by affiliation with Tucker. That’s ridiculous. As if the LaVista Hills that the LH map proposes (the would be LARGEST city in DeKalb County) will somehow circumvent any and all neighborhoods that don’t pass their “snobometer”…or miraculously eliminate from their idyllic city, all racial, ethnic, and social economic groups that don’t pass the “lily white” litmus test. Tell me: how will such isolation and insolation be achieved in a DeKalb County city composed of 70+ thousand people, a population that would dwarf Brookhaven’s 42+ thousand or Dunwoody’s 46+ thousand?? How will such a Stepford fiction be achieved in DeKalb County, Georgia except in the imagination??

    To close, I won’t say much about the Tucker on Wikipedia comment because I don’t think that it’s relevant to the issue at all. It’s a red herring; it’s totally beside the point. Which group wanted to become a city first is totally irrelevant to the fact that there are two groups that want to be a city NOW, right now, today. Moreover, Tucker gets accused of being “reactive” to the LH movement. Why is that an issue? Cityhood as a movement is REACTIVE in general: reactive to borders, reactive to boundaries, reactive to the status quo, reactive to mismanagement…it’s all reactive. Indeed, we’re ALL reacting. No doubt I’m reacting to the unbelievable things that I hear people saying in this conversation, things that reveal people’s true feelings, their fears, their insecurities that make them build walls rather than bridges. At very least this conversation is exposing clearly which group sees cityhood as a tool of exclusion and separation. Please keep the ridiculous comments coming. Excellent evidence to show the unique mindset of each group. Even after the lines are drawn, the next big hurdle is to get the citizens within your boundaries on board with your vision of city. Most elitist comments that I hear from LH is coming from the hotspots OTP. I look forward to seeing to what degree LH ITP citizens swallow that exclusionary ideology and rhetoric. May Tucker keep the high road…

  17. “Truth, Lies, and Wikipedia” – It’s a simple question to answer. You’re right, Wikipedia has been around for 15 years and I’ve been contributing on a variety of subjects for the last eight.

    It only takes one click to see my name and another to find all my contributions, including those made to the “Tucker, Georgia” article. Every comma or word I’ve added or removed is in the edit history. No investigative skills needed. I don’t use pseudonyms.

    Although grateful for the work of individual contributors, I updated the Tucker article because the previous version, as a whole, wasn’t very good. The content I added meets Wikipedia standards for sources and neutrality. Several Lakeside/LaVista Hills supporters have made edits (if that helpful to know?). I look forward to adding more as time permits.

  18. A wise friend and fellow Tucker resident is fond of saying “Slow and steady wins the race.” No matter how you draw the map there are no short cuts to successful community building. And that’s the real issue at hand – the map and what’s in it.

    The governmental affairs subcommittee asked both groups to make a presentation on the merits of their map in the overlapping areas. That what Tucker 2015 presented. Evidence for why the Tucker map within the overlap makes sense at the federal, state, county, business, and community level on both sides of 285. Not just in the past but squarely in the present.

    Real-estate agents are fond of saying, “location, location, location” and the answer keeps coming back that the location is “Tucker, Tucker, Tucker.”

    LaVista Hills wants sections of Tucker. Makes sense to me. The greater business wealth is in the Tucker zip code. The commercial and retail base are predominately in Tucker. The area is a good balance of commercial, industrial, and residential. It’s the kind of place that can logically develop into a successful city.

    In many ways, it’s already there. Just hand over the keys. But will one key to Tucker be given to the Tucker community and another key to Tucker given to the LaVista Hills proposal? That is the pending question.

  19. So here are my Wikipedia questions for you, Matthew: why is the map attached to the article not the CDP, Census Designated Place, map? CDPs are considered to be communities of interest. Why use the CCD map, which is a larger area, but not a community of interest? CCD maps are simply for statistical purposes and are named for a nearby landmark– which could be as simple as a big rock. It does not indicate in any way that an area was or is a part of the named place.

    I sincerely found much of Tucker’s defense of its map at the hearing to be intellectually dishonest. The Tucker Civic Association map was not the Association’s longtime map. It was an expanded version instituted very recently –AFTER the cityhoid movement started. The original nap us easy to find as the local library

    I respect Tucker’s long-standing borders. I wish the leaders of Tucker’s cityhood movement would do the same.

  20. Barbara, I’ll let Matthew respond to you on the Wikipedia questions. He’s more than capable of replying to those details. Where I’d like to chime in is your description of Tucker’s defense of its map as “intellectually dishonest.” The presentations were not asked or required by the subcommittee to be Ph.D. dissertations or peer-reviewed pieces of academic scholarship. They were 20 minute presentations arguing connections to the area for which each group was advocating at THAT point in the dispute. There was no requirement that the groups advocate for previous iterations maps. If that requirement were necessary, LH would have to go back to their respective Briarcliff/Lakeside maps. ALL of the maps have undergone transformations as changing circumstances and situations have evolved. And that’s the nature of maps! They change for all sorts of political, social, historical, and disputed reasons. Ever seen a map of the colony of Georgia? Or Virginia? Virtually unrecognizable from the states that they would become. It is precisely because Tucker (though it has never been a city in the official definition) has a general geographical presence that FEELS like a city, that its opponents want to use that presence against Tucker to restrict and confine it. But fact is Tucker is NOT a city (yet), so it is no less entitled to make a case and a claim for un-citied territory within its reach than any of the other players on the chessboard. Not liking Tucker’s claim is not the same as saying that Tucker is “wrong” or “dishonest” in making it. Any objective observer would have to agree that Tucker’s claim, despite the strong feelings of the neighbors who don’t want to be in it, encompasses boundaries that make sense and situates itself full in an area is familiar to the existence and presence of Tucker. In all honesty, Tucker is far less foreign to Northcrest or Evansdale than the truly unknown entity called LaVista Hills. What’s dishonest is to deny the friend that you’ve always played with at the sandbox because a SEEMINGLY cooler guy shows up with more shiny marbles. (And I stress “seemingly”)…

    1. ‘Tucker is far less foreign to Northcrest or Evansdale than the truly unknown entity called LaVista Hills.’

      You are correct with that statement – that is why we want no part of Tuckerites such as you represent.

      I hope you don’t work for someone else as you author your dissertations during business hours.

      MAC, you belittle others for not staying on the issue yet you see fit to write:

      ‘What’s dishonest is to deny the friend that you’ve always played with at the sandbox because a SEEMINGLY cooler guy shows up with more shiny marbles.’

      Then you have to entertain us with when you purchased your quaint home and all your personal emotions that erupted.

      How does this contribute to the issue at hand?

      1. Hey b simmons, I don’t take your venom personally. After all, you don’t know me as a person. It’s clear to all which voices here are constructive and which are destructive, which voices add value, and which take away. Carrying the weight of spite for nearly a half a century has to be a heavy and tiresome burden…

  21. MAC, it’s the usage of recent maps that I find intellectually dishonest. No Ph.D required to be straight up and honest. I neither like nor dislike Tucker’s claim, but they certainly do seem to be suddenly BFFs 4-Ever with the kids they wouldn’t let into their sandbox just a year and a half ago, bless their hearts. Beware of fair-weather friends, as the old saying goes.

  22. Barbara, all kids on the playground metaphors and jokes aside, I hear you and I want to understand you. Would you mind sharing one specific dishonesty that came through in the Tucker presentation? I’m not asking defensively. I really want to know. You see I’m new to Tucker. I scouted out and bought my simple, quaint little home in Tucker just this past summer among a number of Metro Atlanta options that were before me because I fell in love with the area and the immediate sense of place that I felt in my chosen neighborhood. I was also drawn to the capacity to be involved in and to contribute to molding and shaping a new city from a beautiful lump of clay with a lot of potential. So for me, seeing the Tucker presentation was a fresh event. I could appreciate the content without any bias or baggage. I had never met the Tucker presenter in my life. I found the historical data fascinating, but all that aside, the simplicity of the proposed boundaries and population distribution made a great deal of sense, despite the disputed area controversy. My motives for supporting cityhood in Tucker are as pure and as simple as they come. They are not shrouded in politics or in response to past slights or bad blood because, like I said, I’m new to Tucker. What I’m trying to express is in this dispute and especially in the absence of face-to-face dialogues between neighbors (not the leaders), it’s easy to dehumanize each other in us-vs-them rhetoric. I can’t speak for others. I’m only speaking for myself. Just remember that there are many Tucker supporters out there that are in it for the SAME basic grassroots hopes and desires of many who stand up and push for cityhood. I am not your enemy. Nor am I the enemy to my neighbors in Northcrest and Evansdale. Believe me, if I had my druthers, I’d like to see us pull together and make Tucker happen together. At the end of the day, there’s no reason why we couldn’t build a great OTC city + Northlake that we can all be proud of and get from it the things that we want and need to feel secure. It’s our pride and pettiness getting in the way, which is unfortunate…

  23. I agree with MAC and here is my perspective.

    Tucker 2015 presented several maps to the committee and none of them align perfectly with the proposed City of Tucker map. That was part of the point. There isn’t one map that defines perfectly where Tucker is and isn’t. Hence the need for one, if it’s going to be a city. Yet the maps presented, and many more, have a central area that is difficult to dispute.

    The purpose of the meeting was, as Representative Brockway stated to both groups, show the strength of your map. It’s a strange thing that Tucker is being held by some to a limited geography and yet LaVista Hills, because it’s a completely new concept, is permitted to be as expansive as it wants. From the Fulton County line to the Gwinnett County line.

    There is no question that Tucker includes areas within its map that are not historically Tucker. You’ll get no argument from Tucker 2015 on that point. Some of the places that are in federal designations labeled “Tucker” are clearly not Tucker. That was mentioned in the presentation.

    In creating boundaries for a proposed city, Tucker proponents did as instructed and chose boundaries that did not create islands, recognized established communities and annexation plans, and yes Tucker looked at history as a factor.

    Both groups were given 20 minutes to explain why they had the better map. Tucker 2015 focused on the established area with in the overlap. Odd as it sounds, Tucker had to point out the obvious that Tucker exists well beyond Main Street. Yes, the past plays a part but what’s happening today is what matters most.

    Please remember that just because Tucker has a history, this isn’t a historical preservation campaign. This is about the present and progressing forward as a city.

    LaVista Hills used their 20 minutes for several very sincere supporters to share their views. I think they did a great job. I don’t question their sincerity or desires to improve the community. I would very much like to see them, those in the overlap, join with Tucker in continuing to build the community rather than contributing to division. Not because all who spoke are divisive people, I don’t think they are, but because there is no need to have two competing groups in the same area.

    This is where things get sticky.

    For those who bought homes outside the Perimeter and want an in town feel, perhaps moving closer into town is the thing to do. The answer is not creating a city that touches Fulton on one end and Gwinnett on the other.

    I disagree, as some have stated, that the main reason for the request for annexation into Atlanta is a result of the Lakeside and Briarcliff proposals but it can’t be denied as a significant factor in the timing. It put residents in the Druid Hills cluster in a position where if they don’t act, they will be out of options. The door of possibilities to join with Decatur or Atlanta City schools will forever close as soon LaVista Hills incorporates.

    I don’t see Merry Hills or Oak Grove having any desire to be in a city with residents along Chamblee-Tucker Road in Tucker. Nothing against the residents of those areas, but it’s very much a stretch to create a community with those geographic extremes. We can talk about mileage “as the crow flies” but no one will be hopping on a crow to answer a 911 call on a dead end street that requires traveling the long border of a city to reach.

    Briarcliff has now been dragged across I-285 because they want a city. Had the two groups been able to draw the line at I-285, as painful as that would be for many, I think the chances would have been much higher that LaVista Hills could have succeeded at winning the hearts and minds of voters. It was working for Briarcliff. Tucker made that offer in the Senate last winter and Lakeside said no. At the time Lakeside had no need to accept it and likely would not accept it now. So here we are, soon to be a year later, with little progress.

    Those who participated in the negotiations between the yet to be name LaVista Hills and Tucker in late October and the first half of November, agreed to terms of confidently. All involved know, and I think all parties have said, that offers were made on both sides of the table. That part is public. So I think it’s unfortunately that the LaVista Hills press release made it look like Tucker was the cog in the wheel slowing down progress and that LaVista Hills was forced to release the map they wanted.

    I say a map that “LaVista Hills” wanted, but clearly it’s a map that Lakeside wanted and one Briarcliff felt it could live with because, from the beginning Briarcliff held the line at I-285. That was part of their appeal. They were being reasonable. They were the ITP voice in the mix. I appreciated Allen Venet saying at the meeting that the lack of an agreement represented a failure on all sides. That’s the forthright meekness that I’m used to seeing from Briarcliff and it was part of their appeal. There were the “every” resident proposal while Lakeside was very much an exclusive offer. A concept that seemed to speak well to those east of I-285, but not so much closer to home. Closer to Lakeside High School.

    Yet at this point, it may be an error to say that the “heart” of Lakeside is somewhere near Oak Grove. Perhaps Lakeside has been an “around” Northlake and Embry Hills proposal all along. Not hearing much of a plea from inside the Perimeter to be in LaVista Hills. The debate continues focus on who wants to be out, except for those outside the Perimeter who want to be in. It’s beginning to seem like a page from The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss. Are you ITP or OTP? As the Lakeside signs say, “Don’t get left out.”

    Wherever the center of LaVista Hills will be, the current condition is a huge mess. Executive Park is out and everything west of North Druid Hills is likely out. If the subcommittee draws a line at I-285, LaVista Hills supporters outside the Perimeter will be somewhere between heart broken and livid. I’m reminded of the scene from the film Gandhi at the formation of Pakistan and groups filing past each other with contempt.

    If they draw lines along the Lakeside High School district, I think some parents will be happy for a while, until they are redistricted because Druid Hills High School will be in the City of Atlanta. The DeKalb County School Board’s hand will be forced. What else can they do? It will have nothing to do with Tucker as a city but much to do with the impact of LaVista Hills as a proposal.

    Ironic that the very city residents are working hard to get on the ballot, in false hopes for some that it will protect them from being redistricted, may be the very thing that causes them to be redistricted to none other than, dare I say it, Tucker High School.

    Again, a complete mess and rather than looking at the roots of those issues – we spend our time debating what is and what isn’t Tucker.

    The Tucker zip code? No, that’s not Tucker. The Tucker Census Designated Place? No that’s not Tucker either because it has too many LaVista Hills supporters living in it, we can’t accept than as Tucker. Business and community organizations named Tucker? No those don’t count. People saying they live, work, and worship in Tucker? No, that doesn’t count. Tucker gets to be whatever LaVista Hills supporters say it is and not an inch more. That seems to be the only acceptable answer.

    Ignore everything labeled Tucker, dismiss it as quaint “history,” and focus on crime outside the Perimeter. Appeal to home owners in the Pleasantdale School district, who were intentionally not in the first two Lakeside maps, so they can speak to issues of crime and a lack of connection with Tucker supporters. Dismiss the lower crime rates this past year (18-20% reduction in property crime), the improvements in the DeKalb County Police Department’s response, and ignore those living inside I-285 in the LaVista Hills map who are not all that displeased with public safety.

    Next, blame Tucker for not being enough of a ‘city’ without recognizing the tremendous reality that everything Tucker is, and all of its successes, have happened without a city government. It’s not a city, Remember? Over $1.3 billion in annual payroll in the Tucker zip code and it’s not a city. Not bad. That’s three times as much as the in 30345 zip code including the portion west of I-85.

    Can anyone find another area in metro Atlanta that has been as successful as Tucker without being with a city? Once you’ve found that community then I think it’s reasonable to come back and compare and point out the problems with unincorporated Tucker.

    Can LaVista Hills be a city without portions of the Tucker zip code and portions of the Tucker CDP? Yes, but it will require a reworking of their entire plan. I think it’s worth the effort. Take Northcrest if that’s where the hearts of the people are, but I think it will be difficult to convince voters living along Willivee Drive that it makes for a wise community.

    As Allen Venet said, the LaVista Hills map may suffer death by a thousand cuts. The way to prevent that is to simply put the Lakeside cutlery away and join with neighbors at existing tables. Split Lakeside not Tucker. One is concept and the other is a community. Let the subcommittee know they don’t have to do the dirty work because the best community identity to have is one that gets along well with others. It will require courage and some self-sacrifice, but the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. No one is being asking to play Spock in the engine room but to be a different kind of hero. That’s what the subcommittee wants before Christmas. It’s what we should all want.

  24. Barbara – To your question about the Tucker, Georgia article in Wikipedia. It has eight maps showing various aspects of Tucker and the surrounding area. One of them, towards the middle of the article, identifies the Tucker Census Designated Place (CDP) within the Tucker Census County Division (CCD) with a link to Wikipedia’s article on each. The map is also labeled identifying the difference between the two.

    The primary map at the top right of the article, and the one that comes up in Google searches of Tucker, marks the smaller CDP in red. I think including a map later in the article showing both as a reference is fine. There is no intent to deceive. But if you feel otherwise you’re welcome to make changes. That’s how Wikipedia works. It’s an open forum and changes are made all the time. I haven’t made any changes to the article since March.

    You’re right, the CCD could have been named after a big rock. The one covering Stone Mountain was.

  25. Matthew, thank you for an extraordinarily thorough post that provides much needed texture to this conversation. I truly hope that readers on both sides will take the time to DIGEST each point that you laid out with care, delicateness, and skill. You keenly capture and articulate important nuances at play, nuances that are escaping the gaze of most, such as competing motives and interests within LaVista Hills’ very framework, a horrible place to be when implementing a new vision, and one whose sincere addressing could fix the impasse with Tucker: if Lakeside’s consideration of the sacrifices of their “partner” (Briarcliff) for once trumped their wide-reaching ambitions across the midsection of DeKalb County, we might have a workable solution without the intervention of the subcommittee. You also make crystal clear that in this debate, most of us have been narrowly focused on and reacting to a plethora of inconsequential symptoms rather than on the root causes of where we are in this dilemma and why. Understanding root causes requires a perspective of the history of things. I know you know this very well. Problem is once you bring up history, someone accuses you of being stuck in the past…may we think it through and use reason…

  26. I think saying that the police won’t respond quickly if you’re on the fringe of a city is kind of irrelevant b/c not everyone can be at the center of police coverage. Some folks have to be outliers. Check out the City of Brookhaven map.

    I also don’t see 285 as an issue in terms of any city boundary crossing it. When you take Henderson Road to Henderson Mill Road, one hardly notices that you’re crossing a major freeway. I cross it every day. I work ITP. My kid goes to school on Lavista ITP. We frequent the Oak Grove restaurants. We have plenty of friends ITP and OTP.

    I’m not against Tucker in any way, but I will say that in the six years that I’ve lived in the area, I believe maybe twice has someone suggested we eat somewhere in the Main Street area. Again, no slam. I’m just saying that I’ve never gotten the sense of community. Clearly, it just depends what you make of it. If you work, worship or send your kids to school in a certain area of town, that’s probably where you will build your community.

    Everyone can keep talking in circles about history vs. no history, old vs. new maps, zip codes, crime stats, etc. Clearly, it pretty much comes down to who gets the revenue from the mall and surrounding commercial area. Regarding the neighborhoods caught in the crossfire, as stated by others, it sure would be nice if folks could simply vote.

    In an ideal world, I wish DeKalb would just get “fixed” and my hood stay unincorporated! But alas, that ain’t gonna happen any time soon.

  27. Hey D Fresh, appreciate your input, and I absolutely hear where you’re coming from. I’d simply add on the police issue, that it’s not so much that police wouldn’t respond between the far ends of a city, but rather the degree to which a NEW city proposal (LH) is balancing its selling point on law enforcement with the complex contours (and extension) of its proposed boundaries.

    Agreed, 285 is porous (and really an imaginary separator between ITP and OTP), but it’s a solid boundary for the safe and efficient passage of law enforcement and service personnel, which is crucial. How many tragic nightmares have we heard about around the country where 911 can’t dispatch the nearest responder because across the street is “out of jurisdiction” based on poor city planning?

    Finally, on restaurants, I live in Tucker, and dine with my family all over metro Atlanta as frequently as I dine on or near Main Street (Tucker). As true “foodies,” it totally depends on our cravings on any given outing day. Still, I do sense in Tucker the presence of a “community of interest” anchored on location, history, landmarks, and a collective passion about those things. As with anything, not everyone identifies with a particular community for all sorts of reasons, which (1) isn’t a bad thing at all, and (2) doesn’t negate the existence of said community. Like you, I’m looking forward to the chance to vote…and gaining a better view of where my neighbors stand on the issue.

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