OCTOBER 2019 • VOL. 10 — NO. 10
Dunwoody Reporter COMMUNITY
Back to drawing board on public art law P2
TO NOV. 5 CITY ELECTIONS PAGE 13-15
Candidates talk schools, Village and more in forum
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Book festival brings celebrities P10
Starter opera P24
Mayoral candidates Lynn Deutsch, left and Terry Nall faced off at a candidate forum held at Dunwoody High School. The citywide election is Nov. 5 with early voting beginning Oct. 14.
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Law to protect cyclists, pedestrians would be first in state
BY DYANA BAGBY
A proposed Dunwoody ordinance would establish extra protections for cyclists and pedestrians traveling local streets beyond current state law and would make the city the first in Georgia
BY DYANA BAGBY email@example.com
to enact a “vulnerable road user” law. Councilmember Tom Lambert, sponsor of the legislation, made a passionate plea to the council at the Sept. 23 meeting to approve the “VRU” ordinance, saying it would save lives of those who choose to move around the city on bikes
The revitalization of Dunwoody Village, overcrowding at local schools and how to best spend the city’s money dominated the discussions during a Sept. 22 mayoral and City Council candidate forum. More than 50 people attended the forum, held at Dunwoody High School and sponsored by the Dunwoody Homeowners Association and the Dunwoody Reporter. Reporter Managing Editor John Ruch served as the moderator. Lynn Deutsch and Terry Nall, who have served on the City Council for eight years each, are facing off for the mayoral seat. Running for the District 1 at Large seat are Stacey Harris and Robert Miller. Joe Seconder and Heyward Wescott are seeking to fill
See LAW on page 20
See CANDIDATES on page 22
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2 | Community
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City backs off ordinance to restrict public art
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The iconic “Everything Will Be OK” mural at the Spruill Gallery was considered to be a prototype as part of a proposed ordinance to define public art as “black copy against a white background.” The city attorney says the definition is too restrictive.
BY DYANA BAGBY firstname.lastname@example.org
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City officials are going “back to the drawing board” on an ordinance defining public art in the city after an attorney reportedly told them the first version was too restrictive. The City Council pulled the proposed ordinance from its Sept. 9 meeting agenda that would essentially define public art as “black copy against a white background” to imitate the Spruill Center for the Arts’ iconic “Everything Will Be OK” mural. The city attorney told CREATE Dunwoody board members at a Sept. 3 meeting that the proposed ordinance was “too narrow in scope,” said Alan Mothner, president of the board. The volunteer board has been meeting over the past several months to find ways to implement the arts and culture master plan the sssCity Council approved two years ago. “Essentially the message was to slow down … and to come up with a more accurate way to define public art in Dunwoody,” Mothner said. The proposed zoning ordinance defining public art also specifies the black-andwhite sign must be painted directly on or affixed to walls in busy areas where they are visible to the entire community and be only 120 square feet in area. The proposed ordinance further states public art can only be erected after getting permission from the CREATE Dunwoody board. Mothner told the Planning Commission in June the idea was to define public art to separate it from commercial signage and to allow for similar murals as the “Everything Will Be OK” with other positive messages to be located throughout the city. The reason for such a narrow scope in the initial proposed ordinance is due to the City Council’s hesitancy and reluctance in the past to address public art due to fear of controversy. City spokesperson Jennifer Boettcher said after meeting with the CREATE Dunwoody board, city staff is going “back to the drawing board” to find a better way to define public art. “We’re looking at ordinances from surrounding cities, and we’re crafting a mural ordinance that will allow public art to blossom in Dunwoody,” she said. Members of the volunteer CREATE Dunwoody board are: Mothner, Heyward Wescott, Catherine Lautenbacher, Bob Kinsey, Suzanne Huff, Debbie Fuse, Michael Starling, Brent Walker, Katie Williams, Ann Hanlon, David Toolan and Lorna Sherwinter. DUN
Community | 3
Community Briefs D EK A LB F I RE A DDS UN I T TO I M PR O VE MEDI C A L RESP ON SE TIM ES
Dunwoody will be the home to a new DeKalb Fire Rescue Department “rapid response vehicle” as part of the county’s strategy to improve emergency response times in the city and throughout the county. The trucks are staffed by medically certified firefighters who can treat patients with small or life-threatening injuries while also having some capabilities to fight fires. The new truck will be located at Fire Station 21 at 1020 Crown Pointe Parkway in Perimeter Center. Another unit was recently located in Panthersville in south DeKalb. There are three other rapid response vehicles currently stationed in the county. The rapid response vehicles are painted bright red and look like large pickup trucks with a hard-shell cap covering the bed. The trucks include water and pumping capabilities, emergency response equipment and medical supplies. The trucks are staffed by firefighters who are emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or paramedics who can treat those suffering life-threatening injuries with major bleeding. Because a rapid response truck is much smaller size than a fire engine, it can maneuver quicker through traffic to respond emergency calls. The county recently purchased 10 rapid response vehicles for $2 million with money from the special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) approved by voters in 2017. The remaining five vehicles are scheduled to be stationed throughout the county by the end of the year.
D EV ELO P ER WI TH DRAWS C ON TRO VER SIAL R OBERTS DRIVE P ROJECT
A developer who wanted to rezone nearly 3 acres of land across the street from the new Austin Elementary School to make way for a 9-lot subdivision has withdrawn the request after pushback from the City Council and area residents. The council approved Curt Swilley of Rock River Realty’s withdrawal at the Aug. 26 meeting. Swilley was seeking to rezone 5318 and 5328 Roberts Drive from R-100 where two single-family homes now sit to R-50.
dunwoodyga.gov | 4800 Ashford Dunwoody Rd., Dunwoody GA 30338 | 678.382.6700
October Calendar of Events
Food Truck Thursday Brook Run Park, 5-9 p.m.
Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting City Hall, 6-8 p.m.
Spirits for Spruill
Spruill Center for the Arts Live music, food, spirits 6 p.m.
City Council Meeting
Planning Commission Meeting
Art in the Park
Dunwoody Nature Center
Food Truck Thursday
FREE Friday Night Hike
Sustainability Committee Meeting
Brook Run Park, 5-9 p.m.
Volunteer Day Brook Run Park 9 a.m.-noon
Walk With A Doc Brook Run Park 9 a.m.
Dunwoody Community Garden Master Gardener Session — Bees
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Georgia State University Dunwoody Campus 1-4 p.m.
Dunwoody Nature Center 6-8 p.m.
Chattahoochee Handweavers Guild — Loom Maintenance
North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center 10 a.m.
Truck or Treat Food Truck Thursday Brook Run Park 5 p.m.
Dunwoody Nature Center 6-8 p.m.
Spruill Center for the Arts 5-8 p.m.
Halloween Pic in the Park & Community Bike Ride Brook Run Park 6 p.m. “Hocus Pocus” at dusk
Boy Scouts’ Halloween Festival
Brook Run Park Barn, 11 a.m.
Household Hazardous Waste Recycling
Brook Run Park 5-9 p.m.
City Hall, 7:45 a.m.
Food Truck Thursday
City Hall 6-8 p.m.
FREE First Saturday Dunwoody Nature Center 11 a.m.
City Hall 6-8 p.m.
Donaldson-Bannister Farm 3-9 p.m.
City Council Meeting City Hall 6-8 p.m.
Volunteer Day — October 12
Help plant trees or paint rocks for a Brook Run art installation
4 | Community
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sPooky fun aT dunwoody’s Brook run Park
Developers back out of Dunwoody Green food hall concept
Yacht Rock Schooner 6-9 pm
CITY OF DUNWOODY
An early site plan for the Dunwoody Green site at 4600 North Shallowford Road shows several restaurant and retail buildings that totaled 20,000 square feet. City officials say they are considering scaling back the square footage due to difficulty trying to find tenants.
Brook run Park
BY DYANA BAGBY
P Thursday, ocT 24, 5
or Treat! Thursday of 2019 with Truck ch-a-Truck! Celebrate the last Food Truck ce Dunwoody Poli Tou tume contest • Live music •
Food trucks • All-ages cos costume contest. ween 5 and 6 pm to enter the bet t ten dy woo Dun of City Visit the Prince/Princess. t, Most Original, Superhero, and nies Fun st, okie Spo ude incl Categories
ween Pic in the
er k i b y nit
Disney’s “Hocus Pocu s”
Join Dunwoody Parks & Rec & Bike Walk Dunwoody for a FREE Halloween-themed bike ride and movie! Decorate your bike and ride a portion of the #Dunwoody Trailway at Brook Run Park before watching “Hocus Pocus”on a giant scre en! The community bike ride will start at 6pm at the event field- opposite the playground; movie will start at dusk (around 7:15pm). Popcorn, candy and apple cide r will be served during the movie free of charge.
Oct. 26 6 pm
Brook Run Park Ev
ent Field 4770 N. Peachtree Rd .
A proposed food hall for the Dunwoody Green site in Georgetown is no more after developers could not find tenants, forcing city officials to rethink a site where a distinctive restaurant hub once was envisioned. Whatever the future is, the city says it plans to move forward in locating restaurant and retail on the property despite more than a year of unsuccessful attempts to do so. The food hall proposal was believed to be the answer to filling the space rather than the original concept of constructing up to six individual restaurants on the small plot. “We’ve been pushing uphill [to make this] a restaurant site, because we thought with the park [in the center of the project] we could create a unique hub of restaurants,” city Economic Development Director Michael Starling said. “We still believe that, but it’s tough to convince restaurants to move when they see [other sites] on high-traffic roads,” he said. “We’ve always known this was a sec- MICHAEL STARLING ondary [or] tertiary site for retail and res- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR taurants because of low traffic counts.” Owned by the city’s Urban Redevelopment Agency, the parcel is part of the larger public-private Project Renaissance, a plan dating back to 2012 to revitalize the Georgetown area with green space, trails, single-family residential housing and commercial uses. Developing Dunwoody Green, adjacent to Georgetown Park, as a commercial site is the last piece of the Project Renaissance puzzle. Crim & Associates and their partner Ed Hall of Capital Properties Group in May pitched the idea of building a 20,000-square-foot food hall facility with several small restaurants and retail businesses located inside, similar to Ponce City Market in Atlanta. But last month Crim said the deal was a no-go, leaving the city to start over from scratch. A major issue with the site is that it is not on a high-traffic road, a key factor many restauranteurs consider when opening a new business.
...it’s tough to convince restaurants to move when they see [other sites] on high-traffic roads. We’ve always known this was a secondary [or] tertiary site for retail and restaurants because of low traffic counts.
Crim entered into an agreement in February 2018 with the URA to purchase Dunwoody Green at 4600 North Shallowford Road for $900,000. The agreement gave Crim time to finalize its plans before closing on the property. But since that time, Crim has had a difficult time finding tenants and asked for and received several contract extensions from the URA board, including an extension to pursue the food hall concept. Original site plans for Dunwoody Green included five or six restaurants and retail space with a small park at the center. City officials at one time boasted the area would be the location of “chef-driven” restaurants that many Dunwoody residents have been clamoring for. But after no luck finding individual tenants, Crim teamed up with Hall and Capital Properties Group to propose a food hall. That idea did not pan out, either. “The food hall looked very promising, but then they came back and said no,” URA Board Chair Ken Wright said. The URA and Crim mutually agreed to end their contract and the URA is now ready to start anew, he added. “Which, honestly, I’m thrilled about,” Wright said. “I think Crim did everything they could, and they were a good partner. They certainly saw the vision. But they just couldn’t pull the pieces together.” Wright said board members are considering scaling the project back to much
Community | 5 smaller than 20,000 square feet and perhaps reaching out individually to one or two restaurant owners who prefer owner-operated businesses rather than leasing through a developer. “We know this site is challenging, as is the area,” Wright said. “Traffic numbers are terrible on that road … It’s a corner pocket, and then there is parking.” But just down the road a bit, at the North Shallowford Plaza at 4630 North Shallowford Road, such small restaurants as Simply Thai, Sababa and Bay Leaf are thriving. “They are killing it night and day. There is a draw over there,” Wright said. Starling said the city believes Dunwoody Green is still viable as a retail and restaurant site, but plans are to go back to residents living in the area to hear more about what they would like to see. There are no plans to sell the property to a developer because the city wants to control what is built on the site, Starling added. Wright said the board and city staff plan to keep studying and thinking about what to do at Dunwoody Green until the right development is found that fits in with Georgetown and Dunwoody’s comprehensive plans. “I believe in Georgetown,” he said. “No matter what, we’re not going to flip it and have something that’s not good for the community,” he said. That includes no apartments and no banks, he said.
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8 | Commentary
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SCORE helps small businesses for free in Sandy Springs Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the Dunwoody-Sandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire others. Contact her at email@example.com.
Owning a small business is not for the the jewel of SCORE is the free one-to-one faint of heart. According to the U.S. Small mentoring it provides anyone who owns a Business Association, 30 percent of new small business or is even thinking of startbusinesses fail during their first two years, ing one. 50 percent during their first five, and 66 Metro Atlanta has two SCORE chapters: percent during their first 10. Atlanta and North Metro Atlanta. North Despite the risks, for many of us, ownMetro Atlanta has three branches, one of ing our own business theis aAmerican which Fulton, covering Sandy CarolisNiemi marketing consultant who livesisonNorth the DunwoodySandy Springs line and99 writes about people whose lives inspire Roswell, Alpharetta Dream. According to JPMorgan Chase, Springs, Dunwoody, others. Contact herare at firstname.lastname@example.org. percent of America’s 29.7 million firms and Cumming. small businesses, with 88 percent of them Until recently, Sandy Springs had no having 20 or fewer employees. In fact, designated SCORE meeting space, and small businesses drive our economy, proDunwoody had only a part-time space in viding over half of all private-sector jobs. a small shared office. The options were Luckily, since 1964 the SBA has offered long drives to SCORE offices in Atlanta or an amazing free resource to help. Called in Cobb or Gwinnett. But as of August 23, SCORE (Service Core of Retired Executhanks to an agreement between the city tives), it’s a totally volunteer organization of Sandy Springs Economic Development of experienced, mostly retired business exoffice and the North Metro Atlanta Chapecutives and small business owners whose ter of SCORE, the Sandy Springs Library only goal is to give back. now provides a room for mentors and cliWith more than 300 chapters across ents to meet. the country, it has provided free mentoring Sandy Springs Economic Development and advice to more than 11 million entreDirector Andrea Worthy credits SCORE preneurs. Besides its workshops, seminars, mentor Bruce Alterman, former co-owner webinars, courses and library resources, of the much-loved but now closed Brickery
Grill & Bar. Since becoming a SCORE mentor two “He made me aware of the benefits years ago, he figures he’s mentored hunSCORE could offer our small businesses,” dreds of people, some in business looking said Worthy. “The only problem was they to grow and some just starting. He currenthad no place to meet.” ly has 20 regular clients, including a restauAlterman also credits Marc Froemelt, rant. vice chair of the North Fulton Branch of the “Our typical client is a person with a North Metro Atlanta Chapter of SCORE, for passion for something and an ability to starting the discussions, and Carolyn Daimplement but missing the knowledge of vis, who worked with Anhow to run the business,” drea to arrange the deal he said. “Where I can help with the library. is, I’ve got bruises in places In fact, everyone I you’ve never even thought spoke to credited someone of and can offer perspecelse for the deal. Generositive.” ty seems to be in SCORE’s Like other SCORE menDNA. Nobody’s looking for tors, Alterman meets just fame or fortune. They’ve once or twice with some already “been there, done clients. With others, he that” and work for free. maintains a regular onAlterman, owner of a going relationship, often SPECIAL business that enjoyed 24 talking by phone or meetBruce Alterman. years of success, is a prime ing for lunch. He emphaexample of a SCORE mensizes that his goal isn’t to tor. tell anyone how to run their business. “My father was a SCORE mentor. I “I’m not a paid consultant. I don’t tell saw the value he got from it and parked them what to do. I pose questions that it away in the back of my mind. After we make them consider options,” he said. closed the Brickery [in 2015], people asked To learn more about SCORE, research me if I missed it. I always replied, ‘No,’” he mentors or schedule an appointment with said. “We loved what we did, but I was fulone, go to https://northmetroatlanta.score. ly retired. What we did miss was 24 years of org. people coming through our lives.”
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10 | Art & Entertainment
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Book Festival of the MJCCA brings big names to Dunwoody The 28th annual Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) is set for Oct. 26 to Nov. 18, bringing some of the nation’s bestselling authors to Dunwoody. This year’s event features
Atlanta’s Newest Premier Cigar Lounge
nearly 50 authors, including
Open Monday through Saturday Noon until... Late Night Sunday Noon until 10 pm
“Sex and the City” author
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton in an already sold-out appearance Nov. 18. Some other guests include:
Cuban and Latin Cuisine Live Entertainment Jazz – Vocals and Tunes Friday 8 pm – 11 pm Saturday 8 pm – 11 pm New Lunch Specials 7 Days a Week Noon until 6 pm 16oz T-Bone or 12oz Ribeye Steak Special A la Cart $8.00
Candace Bushnell (Oct. 27); actor Henry Winkler and coauthor Lin Oliver with their children’s book “Alien Superstar” (Oct. 30); Jodi Kantor, one of the journalists who broke the story about movie producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault allegations (Nov. 5); novelist Alice Hoffman (Nov. 10); New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss (Nov. 16); and Nikki Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a former South Carolina governor (Nov. 17). Festival co-chair Deena Profis said in a press release that this year’s festival “features everyone from acclaimed actors and renowned political figures, to historians and award-winning novelists, to authors presenting award-winning cookbooks and riveting memoirs. We truly have something for everyone.” Most events will be held at the MJCCA, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Individual tickets and series pass-
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Community | 11
DeKalb CEO wants review after power outages led to boil-water advisory For two days in September, DeKalb County residents and businesses were forced to boil water following brief power outages at the water treatment plant in Dunwoody. Now DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond says he wants a review of the county’s response to the emergency and an evaluation of backup power. “I am committed to making sure our infrastructure is protected and maintained in a manner that will ensure quality service to the citizens of DeKalb County,” Thurmond said in a press release. Heavy storms knocked out the power at the Scott Candler Water Treatment Plant on Winters Chapel Road in Dunwoody late Sept. 13 and during the very early morning hours of Sept. 14. Although back-up generators powered up and restored electricity to the facility within 3 minutes, according to county officials, a countywide boil-water advisory alert was implemented on Sept. 14 because water pressure briefly dropped below the minimum requirements for the system. The advisory was lifted late Sept. 15, except for the city of Dunwoody, which had to wait until Sept. 16. Thirty water sampling tests, including 10 in Dunwoody, determined there was no contamination of water, according to the county. Thurmond said the evaluation he has asked for will be an independent analysis of the county Department of Watershed Management protocols, standard operating procedures and training, according to the release. Findings will be shared with DeKalb County Board of Commissioners and the public. The review will also focus evaluating power backups at the plant as well as other county facilities. — Dyana Bagby
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12 | Community
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A mountain of dirt to be piled in Perimeter Center to fill pond
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The detention pond visible from Ashford-Dunwoody Road in Perimeter Center is soon to be filled with tons of dirt to build a parking lot as part of a redevelopment of the site for the Perimeter Marketplace mixed-use project.
BY DYANA BAGBY email@example.com
A mountain of dirt expected to stand about 30 feet tall could soon be visible to travelers along Ashford-Dunwoody Road in bustling Perimeter Center.
Dunwoody 1221 Ashford Crossing in Perimeter Place
The dirt will be used to fill the detention pond that fronts the busy thoroughfare between Ashford Parkway and Meadow Lane Road in Dunwoody, a short distance
Brookhaven 804 Town Blvd in Town Brookhaven
from Perimeter Mall. Branch Properties recently got the city’s approval to build the
Midtown 1551 Piedmont Ave NE at Monroe Drive
and retail space, a RaceTrac gas station and convenience store and a bank. The proj-
Perimeter Marketplace mixed-use project that includes a grocery store, restaurant ect requires filling the pond to build a surface parking lot.
The developers are getting the dirt from the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Transform 285/400 project and plan to stockpile it on the site, according to Community Development Director Richard McLeod. There are no city rules that prohibit the developer from doing so, he said. In a Sept. 12 email to the mayor and City Council, McLeod said Branch Properties is expected to soon break ground on the project with plans to tear down the for-
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mer McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant and Brio Tuscan Grille restaurant buildings. P.F. Chang’s is expected to remain open until May 1 and then it will also be torn down, he said.
purchase of $25 or more
The tons of dirt needed to fill the pond will be stacked about 30 feet high in the parking lot and where the restaurants now stand, he explained. McLeod said the dirt will be transported via trucks that will drive on Ashford-
Sandy Springs 5975 Roswell Rd, Suite A-103 (404) 236-2114
Dunwoody Road to the property. The first batch of dirt is expected to be about 118,000 cubic yards, which is just half of what is needed to fill the pond, he said. Another round of 100,000 cubic yards of dirt will follow. McLeod said he did not know the timeline for when the demolition would hap-
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pen, when the stockpiling of dirt would begin or how long the dirt would remain. The City Council voted in June to rezone approximately 10 acres at 4720 AshfordDunwoody Road, 1250 Meadow Lane Road and 500-700 Ashwood Parkway to make way for the new commercial development. Branch Properties is also expected to go the city’s Development Authority in November to ask for tax incentives for the project. DUN
Community | 13
VOTERS GUIDE to Nov. 5 City Elections
Dunwoody voters will elect a new mayor and two new City Council members on Nov. 5. The Reporter asked the candidates in those races about their background and positions, which appear below. To see full answers, go to ReporterNewspapers.net. All of the councilmembers on the ballot are elected by citywide votes. City Councilmember John Heneghan, who is running unopposed in District 3, chose to publish his answers elsewhere.
MAYOR LYNN DEUTSCH
LynnforDunwoody.com What is motivating you to run for this office? Since our founding, Dunwoody has established an outstanding police department, completed many infrastructure projects and started building a park system. However, many “Dunwoodians” have told me something is missing. They believe in my vision of a more vibrant, community friendly city that serves all our citizens. I am the type of leader who listens to my constituents, is responsive and flexible as demands change, and able to collaborate in order to accomplish our goals. I am motivated to turn a vision of a great city into reality by building on our successes and taking advantage of our opportunities. What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? Decisions made by outside agencies like DCSD and GDOT have major impacts on our residents’ quality of life. As mayor, I will be a strong advocate for Dunwoody. I don’t take “no” or “we don’t do that” responses lightly. I am already working with legislators, neighboring cities and GDOT to mitigate the impacts of the I-285 managed lanes. For over 20 years, I have advocated for an improved school system. DCSD has avoided accountability by pitting parent against
parent, school against school, and south DeKalb against north DeKalb. As mayor, I will unify county leaders to demand better for students. What is the city’s role in such projects as multiuse path networks and arts centers, and how would you pay for them? The city has primary responsibility for the creation of multiuse paths networks. My plan is for residents to be able to walk or cycle on a network of trails crossing Dunwoody and connecting communities. Using city funds, funds from partners like the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts and the county, and revenue from the hotel-motel tax, I will make expanding our path network a priority. Dunwoody is fortunate to have tremendous nonprofit partners providing residents and visitors arts and cultural opportunities. As mayor, I will continue to support these organiza-
tions as they offer programs for our residents and visitors alike. How would your administration be similar to, or different from, that of current Mayor Denis Shortal? My vision for Dunwoody extends beyond the basics. We must do more than paving, parks and police to satisfy our residents’ needs. Like Mayor Shortal, I will demand we continue to be fiscally responsible and meet the highest ethical standards. As mayor, I intend to make the city government accessible to all. I will have scheduled office hours so I am available to all citizens. Public input meetings will be held at a variety of times and places. I will encourage citizens of all backgrounds to become involved so that the city’s volunteer leadership reflects our entire community.
TerryNallForDunwoody.com What is motivating you to run for this office? Dunwoody is my passion. I think I’ve made a positive contribution over the past two terms and there are challenges ahead that will take strong leadership to address. I will continue to ad-
vocate for a careful balance of fiscal responsibility and our quality of life, just as I have done for the last eight years. I am passionate about hearing the voice of our community through town hall meetings and other forums. What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? Our community’s concerns include overcrowded schools and elevated toll lanes, and our city government’s greatest challenge is our financial resources. Dunwoody’s revenues are in slow growth, as 70% of Dunwoody property is residential with a substantial homestead exemption and valuation freeze. Our new SPLOST funds cannot be used for parks improvements. Operating expenses and construction costs continue to grow with inflation. The proposed 2020 budget is the tightest budget I’ve seen in my eight years on City Council. As mayor, I’ll designate the next City Council retreat as a Financial Summit and explore all solutions to fill the gaps. What is the city’s role in such projects as multiuse path networks and arts centers, and how would you pay for them? Continued on page 14
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14 | Community
Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News Continued from page 13 The city is responsible for nurturing a vibrant, responsive quality of life. Multiuse paths, arts centers, and other cultural and parks facilities enhance our city’s placemaking and future vitality. These and other enhancements are funded through a combination of hotel-motel tax revenues, general funds and SPLOST for qualifying transportation segments. Our next City Council retreat must focus on these needs within our five-year revenue forecast. Decisions will be needed on how to maximize our quality-of-life enhancements within the financial resources we have available.
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How would your administration be similar to, or different from, that of current Mayor Denis Shortal? Mayor Shortal has a passion and love for Dunwoody and quality of life. Every decision or action I make as mayor will be based on whether it adds to A Better Dunwoody. As we work with GDOT to mitigate the impacts of the proposed I-285 elevated lanes and other projects, as we add vibrant placemaking across our city, as we add connectivity with trails and sidewalks, as we enhance parks, as we fix broken intersections, and as we maintain our public safety edge, we must ensure each action adds to our quality of life.
CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1 STACEY HARRIS
staceyfordunwoody.com What is motivating you to run for this office? I truly enjoy working to make our city the best it can be. I’ve dedicated over a decade to working at every level within our community, which has given me detailed knowledge of Dunwoody and the right experience to take on our challenges as a councilperson. Dunwoody has made strides since incorporating and it is now time to prepare for the next chapter with focus on improving transportation, enhancing Dunwoody Village, cultivating relationships for the improvement of our schools and protecting and enhancing our parks and recreation. I would be honored to serve as your city councilperson. What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? I believe the biggest issue facing my district is the balance between develop-
ment and its impact on our quality of life with traffic, schools and residential neighborhoods. We need to use our influence as a city to enact positive change within the school system. Focused intersection improvements will facilitate traffic flow through our city. At the same time, we have to seek sustainable, quality development that brings value to our community. A large share of our tax base stems from the business community.
robertmillertime.com What is motivating you to run for this office? No community can be successful without good schools, but our schools are experiencing a facilities crisis. While the city does not control the school district, the city is responsible to make sure the school facilities are safe. The city must take a more robust and assertive posture with the school district. Specifically, I would start with an ordinance for the permitting of educational trailers. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel enforcing codes on the schools – other jurisdictions do this, and we can learn from their experiences. Enforcing city codes will make our schools safe and stronger. What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? The Perimeter currently handles 130,000 cars a day! And this number is going to increase with the new developments over the next 10 years. The city must communicate, coordinate and advocate for improved access into and out of the city while working to preserve and protect our neighborhoods. We must build strong relationships with our county leaders and the leaders of our neighboring cities to work together to tackle the traffic and transportations challenges that lie ahead of us.
CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 2 JOE SECONDER
Joe4Dunwoody.com What is motivating you to run for this office? I want to put Dunwoody First with new leadership and vision. To help move our city from being reactive and just “good enough” to being a vibrant community with the quality of life, services, and amenities our citizens want and need.
Community | 15
www.ReporterNewspapers.net What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? Schools. I-285 Express Lanes. Managing regional growth while protecting and preserving our residential
neighborhoods. Issues will arise at a moment’s notice. We need new dynamic leadership to be able to address them, with the vision to get us there. I have the skill set to take action and solve these problems. Twenty-three years’ military leadership, including service in a combat zone, Fortune 500 international project management experience, local and regional civic and nonprofit background. As your councilmember, I’ll always be outreaching and listening to residents, collaborating; making sure our city government operates each day Putting Dunwoody First.
HeywardforDunwoody.com What is motivating you to run for this office? My personal love for our city and its future direction is what drives me to run
for office. I have always tried to make Dunwoody a place we are all proud to call home, and I believe my experience, vision and leadership can help us in the next chapter for our city. I would focus on making the Dunwoody Village a more vibrant place to shop, eat and gather for entertainment. We can be the catalyst by adding green space and improving the surrounding infrastructure that makes the area more walkable and appealing. What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? The proposed managed lanes that will affect the Georgetown area and residents along I-285 is one of the biggest issues facing District 2. We need to work diligently with GDOT to mitigate the negative impact that this project will have on our community to ensure the best possible outcomes for safety, noise and appearance. There is also a significant amount of development that is happening in the Perimeter area. We need to ensure that every project is consistent with our master plan and contributes in a positive way towards our vision of placemaking.
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Commentary / Voting against Ethics Act is most ethical choice This November, DeKalb County voters will head to the lation calls for a significantly less-skilled individual, who will polls to vote on revisions to an Ethics Act passed in 2015 by be unqualified to provide ethics education to employees (one 92% of voters. The ballot will have no explanation of the reof the officer’s primary functions), to provide advisory opinvisions, and voters should not be fooled. This legislation does ions to officials and employees seeking advice on ethical matnot revise the Board of Ethics. It guts it. ters, or to investigate complaints. In addition, the ethics adHow? By undermining the board’s independence, putting ministrator does not have the legal responsibility to report up roadblocks for reporting ethics concerns, and compromiscriminal activity to law enforcement. By lowering the educaing the professionalism and efficiency of the board and staff. tional standards and diminishing the role of the ethics offiThere are three key issues with the ethics bill: cer, these revisions make an implicit statement that First, there is the matter of independence. The bill ethics is less important than previously determined. undermines the independence of the ethics board Don’t just take our word for this. DeKalb County by giving the DeKalb County CEO and Commission resident Dr. Paul Wolpe, director of the Emory Cenreview and approval of the ethics board’s policies ter for Ethics and an internationally recognized ethand procedures. No other independent board is reics expert, reviewed the legislation this summer. Dr. quired to compromise its integrity by having those Wolpe’s conclusion? “The bottom line is that this bill under the purview of the board involved in its govis clearly meant to weaken and dilute the excellent ernance. In addition, the CEO will now appoint policy passed in 2015, without any convincing reaone of the members of the ethics board. sons to weaken the bill. DeKalb is slipping back to Second, the revisions create roadblocks for rea former posture that got it in trouble in the first porting ethics violations. The bill requires employ- Mary Hinkel chairs place. I would agree that this bill should be strongthe DeKalb Citizens ees to go through Human Resources before filing ly opposed.” Advocacy Council an ethics complaint against a supervisor, rather While we are respectful of the opinion that the than reporting their concerns directly to the ethproposed revisions are the result of hard work and ics board. Flying in the face of whistleblower protections, this compromise on the part of some DeKalb County’s state legisrequirement puts the decision of whether or not something is lators, we believe they missed the point in their deliberations: an ethics violation into the hands of a department that is unDeKalb citizens want a strong, effective and independent ethqualified to make that decision. This requirement will doubtics board and staff that is not subject to review, approval or less have a chilling effect on employees reporting ethics viointerference by the very individuals who are subject to the lations. Code of Ethics. Third, the legislation promotes a lack of professionalism Why should DeKalb voters care about this issue? The ethin the staff supporting the ethics board. The revisions downics board has been working professionally and efficiently to grade the ethics officer position to that of an “administraroot out DeKalb’s worst offenders and corrupt practices and tor” with no requirement for work experience or legal or ethto help create a culture of strong ethics among DeKalb emics training. It is considered standard for an ethics officer to ployees and elected officials. have a law degree, but not so for an administrator. This legis-
►Letter to the Editor I F TH E 285/400 INTER CHANG E NEED S A N I C K NAM E, CALL IT THE CO R KSCR EW
The September I-285/Ga. 400 interchange nickname commentary in the Reporter was entertaining. It is sad that neither Keith Kalland, who is reputed to have named “Spaghetti Junction,” nor fellow traffic reporter “Captain” Herb Emory are around for this one. A friend and I just spent time in Mineral Bluff and returned down 575 and 75 and through 285 to 400 (whew!), and we concluded that the “Northend Corkscrew” with its double entendre worked for us.
It could be the “Sandy Springs Corkscrew,” appropriately truncated to “the Springs Screw,” would be easier — and pathetically truer. Maybe when the interchange is finished and sound and light walls built (a week after the end of the universe, if you’re a “Hitchhiker’s Guide” fan), the highway department top officials (GDOT? A bad name for the Department of Tree Cutting and Paving) could cut the ribbons and hold hands as the traffic zooms over them. Velvel Travis Sandy Springs
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Commentary | 17
A knife to remember, or forget I was summoned for jury duty over the summer, an occasion which happens with stunning regularity every five years. It reminded me of a situation that occurred decades ago, the first time I appeared for duty. After entering the courthouse with a stream of other ordinary-looking people and falling into the security line, I had put my purse and jacket on the conveyer belt for screening and waited my turn to pass through the metal detector. As I was waiting, I heard one of the security officers say to the other, “This one’s got a knife.” I gasped audibly, thinking to myself, “Who in the world would bring a knife into the courthouse?” Well. It was me. My Swiss Army knife was in my handbag. I used to carry it with me everywhere. I had purchased it while in college during my foreign-study jaunt through Switzerland, as a treasured reminder of cowbells and hot chocolate and train rides through green Alpine pastures to snow-capped mountains. It was a genuine Victorinox: a sleek red body, embossed with the white cross of Switzerland’s flag, that encased a wonderland of tiny tools. I remember deliberating at length over the variety of gizmo combinations available for purchase and finally settling on a nifty version that included two blades, a scissors, a can opener, a bottle opener, a corkscrew, a nail file and a pair of tweezers. Everything was made of quality stainless steel, except for an odd yellowish piece of plastic hidden in Robin Conte lives with her the end that I didn’t figure out was supposed to serve as a husband in an empty nest toothpick until a good 20 years later. in Dunwoody. To contact If you needed an apple peeled or a stick whittled, I was her or to buy her column your girl! If a screw was coming dislodged, I could tightcollection, “The Best of the en it with the top of my can opener! If you were lost in the Nest,” see robinconte.com. woods with nothing but a can of peas and a bottle of wine, I could free them both for you! If you broke a fingernail, I could provide you with a rough-edged piece of stainless steel that would help smooth it out a bit, after 30 minutes of rigorous filing! I think I even used it to carve a jack-o’-lantern once. I walked around with that thing in my purse for years, confident that I was equipped to field-dress an elk at a moment’s notice, should the need arise. It inspired in me an air of self-reliance, and, to be honest, a tinge of superiority, because, let’s face it, how many of my peers were packing such a useful, yet authentic, treasure? None were. That’s how many. It was as natural in my handbag as my lipstick and Tic Tacs. So natural that I hadn’t thought twice about walking into a courtroom with it. So natural that, never having learned my lesson, I forgot to remove it before I boarded a certain flight, and, crestfallen, I was forced to part with it forever. I did replace it, but, detached from the Alpine setting in which the original was purchased, the new knife was more utilitarian and less sentimental. Still, the security lines threatened it wherever I went until I finally removed it from my purse and tucked it into the console of my minivan, where it languishes still, because there aren’t all that many sticks begging to be whittled while sitting in traffic. But one day, that hidden toothpick just might come in handy.
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They’re not exactly the latest thing in movies. Then again, that’s sort of the point. These films show where modern movies came from. And they show what movies used to be. That’s part of the reason Hylda Wilson comes to the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta to watch the movies shown through its Classics Film Club. “I like old movies,” she said. “They’re different. I don’t like the new movies. They’re not fairy tales.” Wilson’s 86 and says she’s been watching movies since 1937 or so. She lives in Sandy Springs now, but remembers going to see “picture shows – they weren’t called movies then” in small-town theaters when she was young. She was born in Atmore, Ala., a small town where her family ran a general store. The family moved to the larger nearby community of Valdosta, Ga., when she was a young girl and when they left, she said with a laugh, the Jewish population of Atmore dropped to zero. Movies were a big deal then. “I used to go to movies all the time when I was young,” Wilson said. “All we had to do was go to the movies.” But movies changed. She remembers seeing “Midnight Cowboy,” a 1969 classic about New York street hustlers, and being turned off. And that was just the beginning. “I don’t like bare butts and bare bosoms,” she said. “I don’t need to see ’em.” But she still like those old movies. She watches some on TV. And last year, she discovered the MJCCA’s Classics Film Club shows. The club started showing classic films in the fall of 2017 and now draws small groups of film buffs to its monthly Sunday afternoon gatherings. Andrew Hibbs puts the shows together. He usually works in the Marcus Center’s membership office, but when he heard that center staff members were thinking about showing classic films as part of the programming for people aged 60 or older, he volunteered to run the series. He’s a big movie fan. He started out wanting to be an actor. He did some acting, he said, “but the life of an actor is pretty tough.” In college, he started looking at movies more deeply, more like a director, he said, and got a deeper understanding of the artform. “Now, I’m more interested in the behind-the-scenes stuff,” he said. He picks the films the club shows and then researches them. He makes a short presentation on each film or on things going on in the industry at the time it was made. After the showing, he leads a discussion on the film. Last year, the club showed serious dramatic films, so this season, he decided to change things up a bit. “I wanted to do comedies,” he said. “I wanted to do something light and fun after having people sit through ‘Wild Strawberries’ and ‘The Bicycle Thief.’” For this round, he scheduled Buster Keaton’s “The General” for August; “Gold Diggers of 1933,” with song-and-dance numbers directed by Busby Berkeley, for September; the Marx Brothers’ “A Night at the Opera” for October; and director Howard Hawks’ “His Girl Friday,” DUN
Commentary | 19
staring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, for December. One recent Sunday, about a half-dozen people, including Wilson and Hibbs’ dad, Stan, got together in the Marcus Center’s computer room for the screening of “Gold Diggers of 1933.” Hibbs used a computer to project the black-and-white film on a screen set against the wall. Although it’s included in the National Film Registry and was a hit in its day, “Gold Diggers of 1933” may be less well known now than the other titles in the Classic Film Club series. The film stars Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell and Ginger Rogers. It included lots of snappy repartee and stuffy rich men being outwitted by worldly, if impoverished, chorus girls. It ends with a song called “The Forgotten Man” set against images of marching World War I veterans being reduced to living on the streets and eating from soup kitchens. “That last piece,” Stan Hibbs said, “was really…” “Dark?” Andrew Hibbs said. “Yeah, dark,” Stan Hibbs agreed. “It was hard times and a lot of films weren’t talking about it,” Andrew said. That’s part of the reason the younger Hibbs chose the film for the program. It speaks of and for its time. And it still has lots of dancing girls covered with coins and singing “We’re In the Money.” “It’s one of those things that a lot of people who love film really love,” he said. “It’s kind of a ‘guilty pleasure’ movie. It does have some interesting things to say… about the Depression. It’s also very specific to its time, to the Busby Berkeley era. You don’t see movies like that anymore.”
Andrew Hibbs watches the screening of “Gold Diggers of 1933 in the computer room of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta.
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Law to protect cyclists, pedestrians would be first in state Continued from page 1 or by walking. Only nine states have VRU laws and all were passed in response to fatalities, he told the council. “The city has never flinched when it comes to public safety,” he said. “We cannot wait until we have blood on our streets.” Currently, only 10% of city roads have bike lanes and only 23% have sidewalks, Lambert said. Georgia reported 130 pedestrian deaths last year. He said there have been several incidents in the city where pedestrians and cyclists have been nearly struck by a speeding car. One local jogger was struck by a car as she ran in a crosswalk and sustained serious injuries, he said. Lambert explained the local ordinance would mirror some of the state laws protecting cyclists and pedestrians, but adds more protections. For example, state law only requires motorists to give cyclists 3 feet of space when passing them. The Dunwoody VRU ordinance would require commercial vehicles to give at least 6 feet of space when passing a cyclist. The ordinance might not apply to incidents where cyclists or pedestrians were violating state law, including not riding in bike lanes or walking on sidewalks where they are available. Several council members balked at the 6-foot requirement for commercial vehicles, saying it would be difficult to inform commercial vehicle drivers of a regulation only applicable in Dunwoody. Several also said 6 feet is too much to ask for those driving on some
of the city’s major thoroughfares and two-lane roads, where traffic is often bumper-to-bumper in both directions. “Six feet takes up more road and there could be unintended consequences on a two-lane road ... with someone going into the other lane and in a headon collision,” Mayor Denis Shortal said. Lambert said he was willing to compromise on the 6 feet to gain support for the ordinance. The proposed VRU prohibits motorists from throwing objects at cyclists; driving too close to try to intimidate them; and of turning right in front of them. The proposed ordinance also moves beyond state law with enhanced penalties. Violators could be sentenced to six months in jail, made to pay up to a $1,000 fine and have their driver’s license suspended. The penalties could be reduced or dropped if the motorist completed a court-mandated driver safety and pedestrian awareness class. Shortal expressed his concern that someone could falsely accuse another person of violating the VRU ordinance and ruin their reputation as part of a “vendetta.” “Your good name is all you’ve got in life,” he said. He said he would like the ordinance to include a provision that if a false accusation were made, then the accuser would face penalties. He said that when he served in the Marine Corps and the military passed a law banning sexual harassment, there
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The city has never flinched when it comes to public safety. We cannot wait until we have blood on our streets. TOM LAMBERT COUNCILMEMBER were many false accusations made due to bitter breakups. Police Chief Billy Grogan said to Shortal that the only way a person would be ticketed for violating the proposed VRU ordinance is if a police officer witnessed the act. A violation can’t just be reported, Grogan said. Shortal said he understood that, but still believed there could be false accusations made. And if the press learned of the accusation and published a story, a person’s name could be ruined, he said.
Lambert acknowledged there is opposition from some in the community and read an email from one resident who said the city should pass a law against cyclists instead of drivers. The resident said cyclists should stay off the city’s busier roads and ride in a park instead. “This is the type of driver that believes they own the road and likely to buzz a bike rider or throw a soda out the window at a jogger to try to send a message,” Lambert said. It is that attitude the VRU ordinance wants to address, he said. The idea behind the proposed law is not to be punitive, but to educate drivers, Lambert said. Resident Cheryl Summers voiced her opposition to the proposed law at a previous meeting, saying existing state law already protects cyclists and pedestrians. “I don’t see the need for this,” she said. “I don’t know of any driver or operator of a vehicle who would deliberately try to run down a pedestrian or one of these others vulnerable road users. I think this is a little ridiculous and redundant to what we already have.” Lambert said he wanted Dunwoody to “blaze a trail” by passing the VRU law to set an example for other municipalities. Some council members suggested Lambert reach out to neighboring cities to see if they want to join in now on passing such an ordinance. There was also discussion about the city supporting a statewide VRU law.
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22 | Community
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Candidates talk schools, Village and more in forum Continued from page 1
PHOTOS BY DYANA BAGBY
Joe Seconder, left, and Heyward Wescott shake hands following their portion of the candidate forum. They are running for the District 2 at Large seat.
the District 2 at Large seat. The winners for the mayoral race and two seats on the City Council will be decided in a citywide election on Nov. 5. Early voting begins Oct. 14. For continuing coverage, see ReporterNewspapers.net.
sleeves and helped our city. So, I don’t have a question.” Seconder said he agreed that all candidates were qualified and helped in the city’s transformation over the decade since it was founded.
Deutsch and Nall agreed the mayor and City Council have no legal jurisdiction over enforcing building codes on public school system properties. Nall said if elected he would appoint a mayoral advisory council made up of parents who would work with the city to raise concerns to the administrators of the DeKalb County School District on issues such as trailers and the condition of facilities. He also said the General Assembly needs to pass a law giving local governments the authority to enforce building codes on public school property. Deutsch said if elected she would convene a meeting within her first 30 days with the mayors of all of DeKalb’s cities and with county commissioners representing unincorporated parts of the county to create a united strategy to force the DeKalb school system to make changes. “DeKalb Schools has long divided us,” she said. “Parent against parent, school against school and north against south, which is the most damaging part of all.”
District 1 Council race
When it came time to ask Deutsch a question, Nall said this is often a tactic used to try to stir up negativity. He refused to do so, he said, and asked Deutsch who she would turn to if elected mayor when faced with a difficult issue. Deutsch said her research skills and finding an expert on any situation are one of her strengths. Nall answered his own question by saying if elected mayor he would go to the
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community and ask for their input on significant issues.
District 2 Council race
Seconder and Wescott differed on whether the city government should give incentives to Dunwoody Village shopping
The city’s proposed 2020 budget showed some “giant red flags,” Miller said when asked if there were items he thought were omitted or underfunded. More than 40% of the city’s revenue comes from property taxes, he said, and over the past five years property taxes have increased significantly but that revenue has plateaued. Expenses have also increased significantly during the past five years and the budget shows expenses are going to continue to rise, he said. Expenses will soon outgrow revenue unless the city makes “some serious adjustments,” Miller said. Harris said it was disappointing the proposed budget only shows funding for
Stacey Harris, right, makes her opening remarks as Robert Miller listens in. Both are running for the District 1 at Large seat.
center owners. Wescott said no, but that he believed the city could make quick improvements in the Dunwoody Village public right-of-way by installing more sidewalks, benches and lighting, like those now on Dunwoody Village Parkway. He said he would also like to find a way to add green space to the area that is currently filled with vast surface parking lots. Seconder said the city can “work around the edges” and he would lobby postal officials to free up some of the U.S. Post Office’s land for green space in the Village He would support the investment of public dollars in Dunwoody Village only if there is a public benefit, he added. When given the chance to ask Seconder a question, Wescott said he wanted to point out there was a “phenomenal slate of candidates” in all races. “We all know each other well,” he said. “Everyone [running] has rolled up their
one intersection improvement when it has been proven such improvements can improve traffic flow. She also noted there was zero funding for what to do with the old Austin Elementary site. Miller asked Harris what specifically she would do to improve schools in Dunwoody, and she said she would work to make sure the schools are given priority to use the new Brook Run Park athletic fields when they are finished. She also said planting trees around the school trailers to try to hide them from view is important. When Harris got to ask Miller a question, she chose to ask him which national park was his favorite. Miller said Yellowstone National Park because of its diverse ecology. He then contrasted the park’s history and diversity to the makeup of Dunwoody City Council, saying a better mix of people was needed. DUN
24 | Art & Entertainment
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‘Frida’ comes to Sandy Springs as perfect show for opera first-timers Where authentic Christian mission and academic excellence aren’t mutually exclusive
Catalina Cuervo as the title character in “Frida.”
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BY JUDITH SCHONBAK If you have thought about going to an opera, but have been hesitant or intimidated by the high art and foreign languages, the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center has your chance to see what it’s all about. The Atlanta Opera’s “Discoveries” series, aimed at first-timers and audiences in search of new types of works, is coming to Sandy Springs Oct. 5-13 with “Frida,” the story of iconic Mexican artist, feminist and activist Frida Kahlo. “‘Frida’ is meant for a smaller venue,” said Catalina Cuervo, who sings the opera’s title role, in a phone interview from her home in Miami. “There is so much acting and it is important to be able to see facial expressions and hear the conversations in the story. Theaters like the Byers Theatre are perfect for this opera, and this venue is perfect for first-time opera-goers.” The series of which “Frida” is a part brings opera to alternative, smaller venues, like the Byers Theatre at the Performing Arts Center. And the Atlanta Opera offers tips to make your initiation into opera a pleasant occasion and, perhaps, a discovery that you really like everything about this genre of theater. First of all, wear something comfortable. There is no dress code. You will see a range of dress from jeans to evening clothes. Most audience members wear something in between, but if you want to strut your style, it’s your opportunity to do so. Operas are usually sung in foreign languages and often have complex plots. But, at virtually all opera venues, you will know what’s going on thanks to supertitles which the singing and action with English translations projected above the stage. One thing that may not be familiar to first-timers: If you arrive late, you’ll have to wait out the first act in the rear of the theater until intermission, when ushers will show you to your seat. The Atlanta Opera also recommends reading a synopsis of the opera beforehand to give you an understanding of the characters and story and what is happening onstage. “Frida” is a straightforward story that portrays the artist’s dramatic life from her youth to her death at 47 years in 1954. Kahlo is considered one of Mexico’s greatest artists, known for her folk art and surrealist style. She is equally known for her dramatic and tragic life, her affairs and her two marriages to famed Mexican artist/muralist Diego Rivera. “Frida was one of my heroes when I was a kid in Colombia,” said Cuervo. “My aunt, who was a painter and an artist in every way, introduced her to me and I learned about this woman, who, back in the 1930s and ’40s was living her life like a modern, independent woman.” With the role comes challenges and responsibility for Cuervo. “So many people
Art & Entertainment | 25
love Frida Kahlo,” Cuervo said. “She is Mexican. She is Mexico. Mexican people own her. Every time I sing this role, I need to be the best I can for Mexican women and for their country.” Cuervo said that when she steps onto the stage, “I am not Catalina. I am Frida, as a strong Latina woman and artist.” Known as the “fiery soprano,” Colombian-born Cuervo, made her Atlanta debut with The Atlanta Opera in 2017 as Maria in Piazzolla’s “Maria de Buenos Aires.” The biographical opera by composer Robert Xavier Rodriguez premiered in April 1991. It gained prominence in its revival in 2015 by Michigan Opera Theater with Cuervo as Frida. She performed the role again in 2017 with Cincinnati Opera. Rave reviews and sold-out shows continued for a number of shows in Florida this year. “Frida was pretty complicated,” said Cuervo. “She was probably bipolar and was very dramatic and intense. She goes against the rhythms of life, and Frida sings against the beat. The music incorporates all her moods and struggles, from love and happiness to confrontations and tensions. [Rodriguez] used all the tools of composition for the audience to feel all of this along with Frida.” Cuervo said she enjoys the musical challenges, too: “I love this opera. Its drama demands two voices for Frida – her romantic soaring soprano, the head voice when I go into ‘soprano-land,’ and her dramatic lower voice, the chest voice when I go into ‘contralto-land’. I sing three octaves during the performance.” But it’s also easy for audiences to enjoy. “This is not opera as you know it,” she said. “It is not Puccini, Verdi or Mozart. I think of it as a cross between opera and Broadway.” Cuervo said that at many performances of “Frida,” as much as 80 percent of the audiences are seeing opera for the first time. “There is big, beautiful opera singing, catchy music, and the story is easy to understand,” she said. “It is mostly sung and spoken in English and some Spanish with English supertitles. It is in an intimate space that allows a good experience. “I am excited to bring ‘Frida’ to new audiences, a new stage and a new city.”
A scene from “Frida.”
ATLANTA OPERA PRESENTS
Oct. 5, 9, 11 & 13 Sandy Springs | Performing Arts Center | Byers Theatre 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs Tickets $28-$68 citysprings.com.
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26 | Art & Entertainment
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Friday, Oct. 18, 6:30-9:30 p.m. A haunted house event across the museum grounds, with gentler Halloween fun for the children in the main building. Tickets: $15 members, $20 non-members. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info: https://www.atlantahistorycenter.com/ programs/haunted-halloween-6
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Friday, Oct. 25, 6:30-10:30 p.m. With live music, costume contest, food trucks, psychic readings, fire pit & s’mores bar, facepainting (6:30-8:30 p.m.), safe trick-or-treating, and screening of the movie “Beetlejuice.” In addition, actors with North Springs Charter High School offer tours of a nearby historic cemetery every 30 minutes. Free; cemetery tours $20. Heritage Green, 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org
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SECOND ANNUAL SANDY SPRINGS OKTOBERFEST
Saturday, Oct. 26, noon-5:30 p.m. Featuring live music and German food, raising funds for the Sandy Springs Education Force STEAM program and treatment of injured veterans at Buckhead’s Shepherd Center. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 children, $4 food tokens. Heritage Park, 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info: sandyspringsoktoberfest.com
PERFORMING ARTS THE MIRACLE WORKER
Thursday, Oct. 3 and Friday, Oct. 4, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, 3 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. The Riverwood Theatre Department presents the classic play about Annie Sullivan and her student, blind and mute Helen Keller. Tickets: $10 Adults, $5 students. Riverwood International Charter School Auditorium, 5900 Raider Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: school.fultonschools.org/hs/riverwood/Pages/DramaTheatre.aspx
THE SAVANNAH SIPPING SOCIETY
Saturday, Oct. 26, 5-7 p.m. Halloween event for younger children, with costumed characters, trick-or-treat stations, face painting and food for purchase. Free. Abernathy Greenway Park, 70 Abernathy Road, Sandy Springs. Info: https://www.visitsandysprings.org/spooky-springs/
Through Sunday, Oct. 13 The Stage Door Players perform the comedy about four Southern women, all needing to escape their day-to-day routines, who find themselves drawn together by fate. Tickets: $34. Stage Door Playhouse, 5539 ChambleeDunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: stagedoorplayers.net
HALLOWEEN PIC IN THE PARK
Saturday, Oct. 26, 6 p.m. Decorate your bike and ride a portion of the Dunwoody Trailway before watching “Hocus Pocus” on the big screen. Bike ride at 6 p.m.; movie at dusk. Free. Brook Run Park, 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodyga.gov
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Saturday, Oct. 19, 10 a.m-6 p.m Sunday, Oct. 20, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The annual festival features a juried show of art from over 140 artists from across the country, a classic car show, children’s art section, live music, food and beverages. Free. Apple Valley Road behind the Brookhaven/ Oglethorpe MARTA Station, Brookhaven. Info: brookhavenartsfestival.com
FALL FUN HEALTH FEST
Saturday, Oct. 26, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; run at 7:45 a.m. The Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce’s Health and Well-Being Council hosts a day of healthy living in the community. At 7:45 a.m., the Sandy Springs Education Force will be hosting the Footprints for the Future 5/10K, followed by health and wellness vendors, fitness demonstrations and other activities. Free. City Green, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info: business.sandyspringsperimeterchamber.com
October 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 8 p.m. October 27, 2 p.m. Oglethorpe Theatre presents Spring Awakening, a groundbreaking, Tony-winning rock musical about adolescent love, the trials of puberty, and the friendships that young people build in the face of an uncomprehending world. Admission: $20. Conant Performing Arts Center, 4484 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven. Info: oglethorpeuniversity.thundertix. com
MUSIC CITY GREEN LIVE MUSIC SERIES
Friday, Oct. 4, 6:30 p.m. The final summer music concert features Joe Gransden and his big band performing music from Sinatra’s songbook. Free, no tickets required. Tables may be reserved starting at $40. City Green, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info: citysprings.com/events.
HARVEST AT THE FARMHOUSE
Saturday, Oct. 5, 6-9 p.m. Sojourner plays American roots music, plus food from local farms and prepared by Chef Chris McDonald of Marlowe’s Tavern Dunwoody. Tickets: $75 per person, advance reservations required. Donaldson-Bannister Farm, 4831 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info and menu: dunwoodypreservationtrust. org/bluegrassfarmtotable
Terry Nall For Mayor For Promises Made. And Kept. For a Vision Backed by Action. For A Better Dunwoody. Dunwoody is a community with a special quality of life that makes us unique in the Atlanta area. We have a low cost of living thanks to our homestead exemption and careful government budgeting, amenities both within our town and close by, and a diverse network of neighbors and neighborhoods. Dunwoody and public service are my passion. Small, efficient, disciplined government with accountability is my principle. I’ve made a positive contribution for the past 8 years, and hope to continue serving our community in the years to come. Working together, we will be on a thoughtful path forward for our city's second decade as “A Better Dunwoody."
Police and EMS Ambulance Services
Expand officer incentives necessary to keep Dunwoody’s reputation as the “police department of choice” to recruits and maintain a leading public safety edge Continue accountability for required response times—accept nothing less for the safety of our residents, businesses, and visitors
Continue working for an independent school system and exploring other options Appoint a Mayor’s Schools Advisory Committee to leverage a united voice for school improvements and stronger relationships with DeKalb County Schools
Continue working with commercial property owners to remove impediments for amenities in our commercial areas Transform Dunwoody Village with a focus on vibrant placemaking Continue seeking public amenities in new commercial zoning requests
Roads, Trails, Sidewalks, and Parks
Connect more segments of the Dunwoody Trailway Extend sidewalks to connect to neighborhood amenities Continue intersection improvements for better traffic flow Expand programming partners for more activities in city facilities Implement the Dunwoody Arts Master Plan
See my vision for A Better Dunwoody at www.TerryNallfor Dunwoody.com
28 | Education
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DHA opposes DeKalb Schools bond referendum BY DYANA BAGBY email@example.com
VICTORIES HAPPEN HERE.
The Dunwoody Homeowners Association has come out publicly against a general obligation bond of up to $265 million being floated by DeKalb County Schools administrators to pay for facilities maintenance and capital projects. In an open letter sent to members of the DeKalb Board of Education, the DHA says the “lack of leadership” at DeKalb Schools, a history of alleged financial mismanagement and widespread confusion over the GO bond process prompted the board to take the stance. “Through the GO bond you have proposed, you plan to increase property taxes for homeowners over the next 15 years,” the letter says. “While we are quite concerned about the state of the facilities in our schools, we are skeptical of the GO bond as a vehicle to successfully address these deferred maintenance problems.” The school district did not respond to a request for comment. DeKalb voters overwhelmingly approved E-SPLOST V, a 1% sales tax increase in 2016, to raise more than $500 million to be spent on school capital projects, such as new construction or expansions. The current E-SPLOST projects are estimated to cost more than $95 million more than originally budgeted due in large part to increasing construction costs, according to school officials. School administrators have been holding public meetings to discuss funding options, including cutting projects to meet the budget. They are also suggesting a GO bond between $222 million and $265 million to be put on the ballot in March. The DeKalb Board of Education is expected to vote in November on whether the GO bond will be put on the ballot. In Dunwoody, parents, activists and city officials have complained to DeKalb Schools for several years about its ongoing use of adding trailers to school campuses to try to alleviate overcrowding as well as what they say is poor financial management of an annual operating budget of more than $1 billion. The school district serves nearly 102,000 students, 140 schools and centers, and has 15,500 employees, including 6,600 teachers, according to its website. Despina Lamas and Michelle Fincher, two of the mothers who started the Facebook page “Educate Dunwoody” due to frustration over trailers and overcrowding, asked the DHA to take a public stance against the GO bond. At the DHA’s Sept. 8 meeting, Fincher said they are also reaching out to parents and school advocacy organizations in south DeKalb County as part of its coalition building. They say they are asking for better accountability from the school district on such issues as spending, making maintenance repairs at schools and finding other ways to address overcrowding besides adding more trailers. DHA President Adrienne Duncan said “reaching across the imaginary line” of north and south DeKalb County is crucial to creating wanted change in the school district. “There has been an inherent mistrust across Memorial Drive,” Duncan said. “That needs to end today.”
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30 | Public Safety
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Police partnerships with doorbell-camera company raise privacy questions BY DYANA BAGBY email@example.com
In February, the Dunwoody Police Department sent out an upbeat press release announcing it was the first in Georgia to team up with doorbell-camera company Ring to access the company’s Neighbors app. The partnership, the department boasted, could help the department crack down on package thieves, stop burglaries and keep neighborhoods safe. “Leveraging today’s technology to help keep our citizens safe is a key focus of our department,” Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan said in the release. “Our partnership with Ring and use of the Neighbors app will definitely help in our crime fighting efforts.” The Brookhaven Police Department followed up a month later with its own press release announcing its alliance with Ring. “Partnering with Ring using the Neighbors app will give officers a technological advantage when investigating crimes,” Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura said in the release. Dunwoody and Brookhaven are two of 10 law enforcement agencies in Georgia to team up with Ring, owned by corporate giant Amazon. Across the nation, more than 400 law enforcement agencies have signed on with Ring to gain free access to surveillance video shared by customers to Ring’s public social network, named “Neighbors.” Through the partnership, law enforcement agencies gain access to the Neighborhood Portal which includes a map of where Ring cameras are located. Other Georgia law enforcement agencies partnering with Ring including police departments and sheriff’s offices in Chamblee, Cobb County, Duluth, Forsyth County, Garden City, Gwinnett County, Sandy Springs and the Savannah Police Department. For some, the rising number of police partnering with Ring is chilling. They say
Ring is creating a nationwide surveillance network that raises serious concerns about privacy and the blurring of police departments with corporations. “Constant surveillance may sound safe for people who have nothing to fear from a biased criminal justice system, but making the decision to extend Amazon and police surveillance to your home is a potential hazard for people who live and work in your community,” said Matthew Gauriglia, policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF is an international nonprofit organization “defending civil liberties in the digital world,” according to its website. Ring says its partnerships with law enforcement are just another way to keep communities safer by allowing police and residents to share crime and safety information through the Neighbors app. “We are proud to work with law enforcement agencies across the country and have taken care to design these programs in a way that keeps users in control,” a spokesperson said in a written statement. The partnerships claim to ensure anonymity to Ring users by requiring police to make a request to the company for footage they saw on the Neighbors app they want for an investigation. Ring then contacts the homeowner to make the actual request. “With each request, customers decide whether to share all relevant videos, review and select certain videos to share, take no action (decline), or opt out of all future requests,” Ring says in a FAQ on its website. Grogan also discounted privacy concerns, saying police are only looking for surveillance footage someone has voluntarily posted to the Neighbors app. “I understand to some degree some concerns about ‘Big Brother,’ but you also have to understand that none of us have the resources or time to really look at video just randomly just see what people are doing,” Grogan said. “We have specific purposes, to investi-
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Publicity photos for Amazon’s Ring system show the doorbell that contains a camera, and the Neighbors app on a cellphone.
gate crimes ... other than that we are not looking at video,” he said. “We have no direct access to anything. It’s all voluntary. Nobody has to share anything with us.” EFF says it’s not as black-and-white as Ring says when it comes to giving their customers the choice to not share video footage with police. Ring acknowledged in a story in Government Technology that if a resident does not want to share their footage, the company will still turn it over if a law enforcement agency has a “valid and binding legal demand.” Yandura did not say his department has made demands for Ring footage, but said when customers post to the Neighbors app, it essentially becomes part of the public domain. “Once someone publishes to the app, it’s out there,” Yandura said.
How Ring and the Neighbors app work Residents can download the free Neighbors app and use it to monitor neighborhood activity, share crime and safety-related videos, photos and text-based posts; and receive real-time safety alerts from their neighbors, local law enforcement and the Ring team, according to a press release. Ring users are alerted when their doorbell-cameras detect motion from as far away as 30 feet; when someone presses the doorbell; or when the user turns on a “Live View” option through the Ring app. Those events begin recording a video file that is streamed to the cloud on Amazon Web Services servers, according to the company’s privacy notice. Those who subscribe for $3 a month to Ring Protect Plans can have their videos stored on the cloud for 60 days to watch them later. Those without a plan will have their videos automatically deleted, according to Ring’s privacy notice. Ring’s terms of service says the company and its licensees have permanent and wide-ranging rights to keep and use the footage from the cameras, including: “an unlimited, irrevocable, fully paid and royalty-free, perpetual, worldwide right to reuse, distribute, store, delete, translate, copy,
modify, display, sell, create derivative works from and otherwise exploit such shared content for any purpose and in any media formats in any media channels without compensation.” This kind of corporate control of homeowner’s video surveillance contributes to what EFF calls a “perfect storm of privacy threats.” “Having a Ring camera may seem like a harmless way to protect your packages, but it is helping to create a large surveillance network within your own community that does more than just thwart the work of criminals,” Gauriglia said. When Ring customers continually post footage to the Neighbors app resulting in constant alerts sent to users, fear is generated in communities, EFF says. That leads to more sales of Ring doorbell-cameras and other security devices, adding to an already massive surveillance network, according to EFF. “With every update, Ring turns the delivery person or census-taker innocently standing on at the door into a potential criminal,” Gauriglia reported in an Aug. 8 EFF story. “Neighborhood watch apps only increase the paranoia.” Yandura said there is nothing threatening about the Ring cameras, saying they are like having a “cop on every corner in the city” 24 hours a day. Grogan said Ring and the Neighbors app are simply keeping communities informed on what is happening in their neighborhoods. “People know their neighborhoods better than anybody,” he said. “They live there and know what is unusual. ... The people that participate are choosing to do that and making the decision to work with police to try to help keep their communities safe.” How many Ring doorbell-camera users live in Dunwoody and Brookhaven is not known by the police departments, according to the chiefs, and Ring wouldn’t say. Yandura did say a Ring representative told him earlier this year that Brookhaven’s 30319 ZIP code had the highest concentration of Ring devices in the state. Both cities have also invested heavily
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in surveillance cameras and license plate readers, or LPRs. Earlier this year, Dunwoody spent about $189,000 to buy 16 LPRs from Georgia Power to post throughout Perimeter Center where most of the city’s crime occurs. In 2017, Brookhaven entered into a $700,000, three-year lease agreement with Georgia Power to place 44 LPRs throughout the city. The LPRs average 4 million “reads” a month of people driving in and out of the city, Yandura said, and are used to get hits on stolen cars and wanted fugitives.
What’s included in the partnership
Grogan said the department reached out to Ring last year after reading about the company partnering with law enforcement through the Neighbors app. Yandura said he learned about Ring and the Neighbors app at a conference for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. After the chiefs agreed their departments would team up with Ring, they were required by the company to sign memorandums of understanding, non-binding agreements that outlined roles and responsibilities. Both cities MOUs stated Ring would provide mutually agreed-upon press releases announcing the partnerships. The agreements included Ring providing the departments a few free Ring doorbell cameras to give out to residents at community events or homeowners’ association meetings.
Yandura said Brookhaven police have also handed out four free Ring cameras at community events and HOA meetings. Emails obtained through the open records request show that Dunwoody Police Department employees were given a special promotion code, “nbdunwoody,” after the MOU was signed in February. The code gave them $50 off any purchase of the Ring Classic, Ring Pro, Ring Video Doorbell 2, Floodlight Cam, Spotlight Cam and Ring Protect. Ring also provided a free webinar to Dunwoody officers to train them on how to use the Neighbors app portal, according to emails. Those requested by Ring to attend online training included the public information officer, the social media coordinator, an investigative coordinator and a community relations coordinator who “oversees the team that interfaces with the community at events, HOAs, Neighborhood Watch meetings, etc.” These kinds of agreements can weaken a police department’s standing in a community where they are supposed to be neutral, Gauriglia said “Ring-police partnerships also undermine our trust in local police departments,” he said. “We know from reporting that almost everything police put out about Ring, from press releases to the answers to potential questions citizens may have, are scripted and approved by Amazon.” Grogan and Yandura denied Amazon or Ring had control over what their departments say.
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