Tucker: The Prize of DeKalb County

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Both the Lakeside City Alliance (LCA) and the Tucker2014 cityhood studies tell us what we already know. Tucker is the place to be.

A one-line synopsis of the LCA study might as well read, “LCA funded Study Indicates Tucker is a Great Place to Live” or “Study Says Lakeside City Viable – If it Includes Tucker.” Remove Tucker from the proposal and it doesn’t work. Without Tucker, the resources the LCA needs to support a city dry up.

The City of Briarcliff Initiative (COBI) relies less on Tucker in their proposal, but in recent weeks they’ve increased their efforts to incorrectly define Tucker as only existing outside I-285, and their characteristic good will seems to be fading.

Some are complaining that Tucker’s advocacy group, Tucker2014, isn’t compromising on boundaries. Whether this is true or not, it’s difficult to call it “compromise” when the only group asked to give anything up is Tucker. Tucker is a physical reality. The communities proposed by the LCA and the COBI only exist on paper.

The message both groups are now sending is that they need Tucker for their plans to work. If Tucker won’t let goSenator Fran Millar and the LCA have proven that they are not ashamed to lay claim to what they want.

Can a City of Tucker thrive without Northlake within its city limits? Possibly. That’s not the question because Northlake – all of Northlake – is already in Tucker.

Asking Tucker to let go of Northlake or Montreal is a bit like asking someone to have his or her arm amputated simply because someone else thinks it’s a nice arm. Can a person live a fulfilling life with only one arm? Yes, but why let someone take an arm without resistance? Claiming that the person has a great arm on the other side of his or her body is not a reasonable argument.

To carry the analogy further, in the case of the LCA, more than the arm is wanted. It doesn’t take a physician to see that the map reaches deep into the heart of Tucker to excise Henderson Park and more.

The recently modified LCA map drops the awkward jog across I-285 encapsulating medical practices in Tucker on Montreal Road. Yet the parasitic hunger continues to lunge forward, this time within 60 feet of Tucker High School.

Something powerful is fueling the desire to cannibalize Tucker and Frankenstein together a new community. If not, why are Senator Millar and the LCA working so hard to take half of it?

What about the $30,000.00 incorporation studies the State required each group to fund? Do the results no longer matter? The studies took months to complete, each determining economic feasibility based on geography, but with Senator Millar’s assistance the LCA presented a different map to the State and Local Governmental Operations Committee. A map that was not part of the State approved University of Georgia study and, after a quick bathroom break, senate committee memberMike Crane,Hunter HillChuck Hufstetler, and William T. Ligon, Jr. approved it.

Not a good week for the integrity of the Republican Party in Georgia. The home field advantage should not encourage one to take advantage of his or her neighbor. A friend and Tucker resident said, “This reminds me of Chicago politics. I should move back, at least then I could have good pizza.”

Critics may read this and think, ‘No one is taking anything from Tucker, everything belongs to DeKalb County.’ That would be a fine argument if those same critics proposed keeping everything in the hands of the County, but the majority do not. They want to take it for themselves. If there were a zip code, census county division, expressway exit signs, etc. bearing the name Lakeside for the past 50 years the LCA would be claiming the area belongs to the community of Lakeside. Problem is, there are no such signs and no such community.

It must be irritating to see the name “Tucker” written predominately in so many places at the county, state, and federal level.

This whole endeavor is more than a bit embarrassing to many living in the Lakeside and Druid Hills high school districts and, according to LCA straw polls, it doesn’t reflect the desires of the people inside the Perimeter. Perhaps that is why fears related to “what if” questions about high school feeder districts changing, concerns about crime, and real estate values have held such sway in LCA discussions outside of I-285. Why try and sell a bill of goods in Poland if no one is buying it in the motherland? That the motherland isn’t buying in bulk ought to mean something.

There is something magnetic within Tucker that both groups want, but haven’t created on their own.  From the outside, it must look easier to divide and conquer than to build.

Thankfully, the Legislature is frozen out this week, keeping slippery ideas off the senate floor. Hopefully, this short cooling down period will motivate those in positions of authority to consider the wider consequences of “winning” the prize.

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(Originally posted in the Tucker Patch, February 13, 2014.)

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Power Vs. Authority

It appears that far too many accept the idea that power and authority are synonymous. It seems to be an underlying assumption that those who possess authority also possess power, or that mortal authority grants power. From my perspective these assumptions are faulty.

Having the physical and mental power to drive a car does not grant authority from the state to do so. Having authority to step to the plate during a Major League baseball game does not guarantee the batter will have the power to hit a home run. You may have the power to go into your neighbor’s home and do as you please but without proper authority, your display of power may make you a criminal.

Believing authority grants power can also bring disappointment when those in authority are unable to work the miracles we assumed their roles implied. We may be even more disappointed when we find ourselves in positions of authority. A new title may grant us expanded access but it does not necessarily endow us with additional skill or wisdom. In the absence of active power, authority is all but void.

On the other hand, power alone is not enough to govern anything. Those who use their power to demand authority, that is not rightfully theirs, or those who attempt to take it by force eventually fall. Power is slippery in the hands of those who want it most.

Those who seek power unlawfully often put themselves on a course to gain a little authority and not long after they begin to drift (or sprint) off course. Sometimes the drift is subtle and sometimes it’s surprisingly bold. In the end, if they haven’t made adjustments, they lose the power and authority they prized most not only at great personal expense but sadly, and more importantly, at the expense of others.

Most simply, authority is a gift of trust and power is ability. How the two are obtained makes all the difference.

“Permanently Suspicious of Myself

Below is a quote from Václav Havel on the importance of self evaluation for those in possession of power. 

Being in power makes me permanently suspicious of myself. What is more, I suddenly have a greater understanding of those who are starting to lose their battle with the temptations of power. In attempting to persuade themselves that they are still merely serving their [organization], they increasingly persuade themselves of nothing more than their own excellence, and begin to take their privileges for granted.

Honest, regular self evaluation is extremely important.