November 12, 2011
“We need to make sure our children have the highest quality education and our teachers receive a decent pay.”
Unincorporated DeKalb to get shot at Sunday alcohol sales By Mary Swint
Even before the results of the overwhelming approval of Sunday alcohol sales in DeKalb’s nine cities were known Tuesday night, the DeKalb Board of Commissioners had voted to put the issue on the ballot for the March 6, 2012, presidential primary election for its unincorporated areas. The board passed a resolution 5-1 Tuesday morning authorizing the referendum. Citing the high concentration of liquor and convenience stores in his district, Commis-
sioner Larry Johnson cast the lone dissenting vote against the referendum. District 4 Commissioner Elaine Boyer was absent. The issue was not on the Nov. 8 ballot for unincorporated areas because commissioners said it would have been too expensive to do a single-item ballot. They say that putting it on the March ballot will save $330,000. On Tuesday, voters in unincorporated DeKalb County only had an extension of the penny tax for schools, Special Local Option Sales Tax, on their ballot. If the Sunday alcohol referendum passes
in March, retailers in unincorporated DeKalb will be able to sell malt beverages, wine and distilled spirits on Sunday between 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., beginning May 1, 2012. In the Nov. 8 election, voters in all DeKalb cities and Atlanta-in-DeKalb overwhelmingly approved alcohol package sales on Sundays. In unofficial election results Thursday, the Sunday sales referendum passed in Avondale by 85 percent, Chamblee by 84 percent, Clarkston by 77 percent, Decatur by 91 percent, Doraville by 68 percent, Dunwoody by 80 percent, Lithonia by 60 percent, Stone
Mountain by 71 percent, Pine Lake by 93 percent, and Atlanta by 91 percent. Sunday sales will become effective on different dates. It will start in Stone Mountain on Dec. 11, Dunwoody on Dec. 4, and Atlanta on Jan. 1. The Decatur City Council is expected to vote Monday on a Nov. 27 effective date. Clarkston will vote on Dec. 6 on a Dec. 11 effective date, while Chamblee will decide on its date on Dec. 21. At press time, officials in Avondale Estates, Doraville, Pine Lake and Lithonia were not sure when Sunday sales will begin.
Lithonia picks new mayor and four new council members ELECTION,
the school district’s construction programs. Montgomery said more transparency is needed. “The county should have more independent oversight in terms of adhering to budget projections,” he said. “And contractors should definitely bear more responsibility as far as sticking to budget.” Montgomery said he also would like to see the Magnet Program expanded. “Now, it’s like we’re paying for only a few schools to be top-quality when all DeKalb County schools should have comparable accelerated programs.” But Viola Davis of Stone Mountain said she could not support a fourth SPLOST without transparency, ethics and accountability. “As taxpayers and voters, we must hold the ‘powers that be’ accountable for the manner in which our tax money is spent,” said Davis, founder of the watchdog Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter group. “The children and teachers have yet to receive their due with our SPLOST money. When will we hold our elected officials accountable for our SPLOST money? We need to make sure our children have the highest quality education and our teachers receive a decent pay.” District 5 School Board member Jay Cunningham, who was happy that the referendum passed with high margins, said that the board has heard the concerns of the voters and has put checks and balances in place. “We know that the voters are going to hold us accountable,” he said. “They want to see that the dollars are properly used and followed up. The awareness and accountability standards have increased.”
Mayor-elect Deborah Jackson (left) gets a hug from supporter Gene Stephenson at her election party in downtown Lithonia.
Jami Ffrench-Parker / CrossRoadsNews
Lithonia City Council Deborah Jackson, who left her seat on the City Council to seek Lithonia’s top job, won with 45.2 percent of the vote in the fourway mayoral race. She got 93 votes to defeat Pat Miller incumbent Mayor Tonya Shameka Reynolds Drucilla Woods Peterson-Anderson, who garnered 54 votes. place we know it can be,” she said. Jackson told supporters on election night Former Councilman Al T. Franklin got that the easy part was over. 35 votes, and Doreen Carter, whose term “Now the hard work begins,” she said. on the City Council ends in December, got She said that includes bringing the com- 29 votes. munity together. For the City Council, Lithonia voters “We have to identify economic develop- elected funeral director Shameka Reynolds, ment priorities that can bring more services registered nurse Pat Miller, office adminand infrastructure to make Lithonia the great istrator Tracey-Ann Williams, and lifelong
Lithonia resident Drucilla Woods, who was a write-in candidate. Reynolds got 168 votes, or 50.1 percent, to claim one of two four-year terms on the council. Woods, who edged former Mayor Darold Honoré by three votes, claimed the second four-year seat on the council. She got 92, or 25.3 percent, of the votes to Honore’s 89 votes, or 24.5 percent. Woods and Reynolds will replace Carter, whose term ends on Dec. 31, and Kathleen DeCoq, who did not seek re-election.
Swearing in Monday Miller and Williams will complete the unexpired terms of Jackson and Franklin, who both resigned from the City Council in the middle of their terms to run for mayor. Both will be sworn into office on Nov. 14 at a special called meeting of the City Council at 7 p.m. and take office immediately. Miller got 132 votes, or 43.4 percent, and Williams, 101 votes, or 33.2 percent. Among the other results, Avondale Estates retained its mayor, Edward Reiker, in a close race. Reiker got Tracey-Ann Williams 625 votes, or 50.9 percent, to beat back a challenge from former City Council member David Milliron, who got 595, or 48.5 percent, of the votes. Nine DeKalb cities, including Lithonia, Stone Mountain, Avondale Estates, Decatur, Clarkston and Dunwoody, approved Sunday alcohol sales with landslide votes. Benjamin Burton contributed to this report.
CrossRoadsNews, November 12, 2011