Principles Set in Stone: What LaVista Hills Can’t See


There was just one thing the House sub-committee said was “set in stone” and Senator Fran Millar of Dunwoody decided to show them it didn’t matter by pushing that stone further into Tucker and all the way down Livsey Road. He didn’t express a drop of concern for the House agreement. It was as if it didn’t apply.

It was the same with Representative Tom Taylor also of Dunwoody and the sponsor of the bill in the House. Taylor sat next to Senator Millar, in front of the Senate Committee, and agreed to the amendment expanding into even more of Tucker.

Did Representative Taylor forget that between sessions he and Representative Mike Jacobs designed and implemented the plan for a fixed border solution between two independent bills? A plan whose staying power was pinned on trust, between all parties, that neither group would endorse crossing the agreed upon boundary in the legislative process.

Yet sitting before the State and Local Governmental Operations committee (SLOGO) in the Senate there was little hint of internal conflict in Representative Taylor’s smiling endorsement ignoring the no trespassing signs he helped put up. Was this the real plan all along?

It will be interesting to see what Representative Scott Holcomb, the co-sponsor of the LaVista Hills bill, says about the amendment passing. He was not at the meeting.

Despite nuanced language implying otherwise, it appears the LaVista Hills leadership was not the least bit ignorant of the coming changes revealed in the meeting. Key leaders knew. One, a political consultant by profession, was called in front of the Committee to answer questions about changes to the map. Another knew enough in advance to have a prepared written statement to read in favor of the changes.

When asked by the SLOGO Committee Chairman, Senator John Albers, how many LaVista Hills supporters in the room supported the changes breaking the agreement made in the House, without hesitation the hand of every LaVista Hills leader in the room went up.

Some in the LaVista Hills leadership may be able to say truthfully that they had not seen the map until the day of but seeing the finalized map and knowing that your bill sponsor, acting in your behalf, is going to ignore the agreement you accepted are two different things.

An agreement that was essential to move the LaVista Hills bill forward in the House.

Attempting to distance one’s self from that decision by saying you hadn’t seen the map, while at the same raising your hand in favor of it, rings a little hollow. If anything it reveals that those who made ‘good faith’ statements of not knowing, formally to the committee and to others, knew that what happened was wrong.

It would have been better to speak out against the change than to hide behind a claim of ignorance. And why not speak against the new map if you’re just learning of it for the first time? Especially if you think it may harm your bill just as House leadership said it would.

The bill would have still passed and integrity would have been maintained. Perhaps the encroachment into Tucker would have passed too. That’s politics.

But now if the LaVista Hills bill passes in the Legislature there is yet another wound in the armor for potential voters to question. Do those at the helm have the ability not to yield to the temptation of short term power and gain? The same temptation that has enticed more than a few in DeKalb County government? Basically the entire reason for the LaVista Hills platform?

Can they not see that they just took another bite from the same apple they are claiming has corrupted the County? The answer appears to be an unqualified and bitter tasting “No.”

This should be the biggest concern for those in the LaVista Hills map. If the same kind of decisions are being made in the process of creating a city that the hopeful city creators are complaining about with the County, what hope is there for that city? It may not be an exchange of money but it is an exchange of power and dominance over trust and good will.

It may weigh on their conscience differently but until we hear otherwise what tastes sweet to Lakeside leaders now appears to taste just as sweet to what remains of the Briarcliff team. Will they admit to error? Time will tell. Right now the hunger for a city appears to be blinding.

Whatever the reasoning it’s clear that LaVista Hills leaders and at least two of the legislative sponsors knew what was coming and while there is nothing wrong with wanting a bigger map, how one goes about it really does matter. Some principles are worth setting in stone.

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