By: Steve Richards, President LVPCA
Disclaimer: To follow is a brief synopsis of what I am hearing from various sources and contacts as I represent LVPCA in meetings and conversations, both formal and informal, as well as what I am reading in local publications. There are very few facts and a ton of speculation and opinion involved with this situation. People tell you one thing one day, and the complete opposite the next.
Per Mary Margaret Oliver’s e-newsletter, the legislature has complete 23 of their 40 day session. (I guess the amount of damage they can do is beginning to be limited by the clock and the calendar.) You can subscribe to MMO’s newsletter on her website: http://marymargaretoliver.org. Click on “Join MMOsList” at the top of the page. As most of you know, Mary Margaret is your state representative if you live on the west and north side of Citadel. Howard Mosby is your representative if you live on the east or south side of Citadel.
This from MMO’s most recent newsletter:
Representative Tom Taylor, who represents no part of the proposed LaVista Hills new city, plans to introduce the LaVista Hills bill, and it will be assigned to the Governmental Affairs Committee. I also anticipate that legislation for new cities of Tucker and South Fulton will also proceed to a vote, but none have been filed with the House clerk as of February 26. Possible annexation bills by Atlanta, Decatur, and Avondale are under act and negotiation between city councils and delegation members are ongoing, and represent possible border disputes with proposed new cities.
Stay tuned. All Government Affairs committee meetings may be viewed online and live.
A month ago I was told that Representative Taylor was actually opposed to LaVista Hills. Not because he does not favor new cities, he is actually somewhat of a champion of new cities. He reportedly opposed LaVista Hills because of the disputed borders, overall controversy, and possibility of defeat at the ballot box. He has apparently changed his mind, and has decided to actually “drop” (introduce) the LaVista Hills bill, perhaps as early as tomorrow, March 2. Everyone can draw their own conclusions as to Mr. Taylor’s apparent change of heart on the matter. One might ask the question, how does the formation of LaVista Hills benefit the people he represents given that none of them live in the proposed boundaries of LaVista Hills.
It is interesting that NONE of the state representatives whose districts include any portions of the LaVista Hills map have offered to introduce the legislation to create the city. It has become apparent that there is significant lack of agreement in the Georgia General Assembly as to a vision for our neighborhood, county, and metropolitan area. Those disagreements, as they often do, seem to be playing out along ideological lines rather than in accordance with the expressed preferences of those directly impacted.
As a reminder, the surveys conducted by LVPCA indicated our neighborhood’s preference to remain unincorporated DeKalb. Those survey results have been shared repeatedly with our elected officials (Mary Margaret Oliver, Howard Mosby, Elena Parent) influential elected officials (members of the House Governmental Affairs Committee), organizers of LaVista Hills and Together in Atlanta, as well as other members of the DeKalb delegation to the Georgia General Assembly such as Scott Holcomb and Tom Taylor.
According to the LaVista Hills website, LaVista Park is still included in the map for LaVista Hills. According to the Together In Atlanta website, LaVista Park is still included in their map. If a bill is introduced for the Atlanta annexation, and their map includes neighborhoods also in the in the LaVista Hills map, one would assume the Assembly and/or subcommittees within each chamber will resolve such border “disputes.”
If the bills for LaVista Hills and / or Atlanta annexation are introduced prior to the end of this legislative sessions, it doesn’t automatically mean we’ll be voting for one initiative or another next fall. The bills will still have to get through a committee or local delegation, and will have to be approved by the Assembly as a whole. There is still time to make your opinion known to your elected officials. As has been noted on Leaf Talk many times, the representatives for LaVista Park, Mary Margaret Oliver and Howard Mosby, are BOTH on the House Governmental Affairs Committee which reviews new city legislation. Additionally, they are both part of the DeKalb Delegation (to the General Assembly) which is likely to have significant input on the Atlanta annexation legislation if it is introduced. Contact information for all these folks has been posted to Leaf Talk previously. Please refer to those prior posts. We have members in favor of LaVista Hills, members in favor of annexation into Atlanta, and members preferring to be left out of both and remain unincorporated. I would encourage all to contact the decision makers as soon as possible.