Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Could it be? Or is it just a dream...

CEO Burrell Ellis is inviting us to a gathering of DeKalb County community and neighborhood leaders who are "working together to strengthen our neighborhoods". This event is billed as "a roundtable discussion on developing a new vision for neighborhood empowerment in DeKalb County". Personally, I'm not sure what this means, but I hope they will include a discussion about our schools. The event will be held on Saturday, November 14, from 8:30 am- noon. If you're interested in attending, you must register at www.OneDeKalb.com.


Cerebration said...

In addition, we've received notice about a meeting regarding Kittredge Park - in the Druid Hills area (the property the Sembler Co was interested in purchasing from DCSS) --

Development of Master Plan for Park to be Discussed

International Student Center
2383 North Druid Hills Road
Atlanta, GA 30329
678-676-0902 (School Office)

6:30 PM

1. Welcome and Introductions: DeKalb County Parks and Recreation Department
2. Remarks and brief description of project: Commissioner Gannon
3. Presentation: Jon Hart, MACTEC
a. Housekeeping: sign-in sheets, comment forms, cell-phones, etc.
b. Overall Master Plan Process: Inventory/Analysis, Conceptual Plan Alternatives, Final Master Plan with Public Input at each milestone
c. Existing Conditions Exhibit
d. Site Analysis Exhibit
e. ‘Area’ Exhibit
f. Opportunities & Constraints Exhibit

4. Public Input: Jon Hart, Marti Watts, John Bateman (facilitators)

What do you like about Kittredge Park?
What don’t you like about Kittredge Park?
What programs/activities/facilities would you like to be available at Kittredge Park?
What programs/activities/facilities don’t you want?

For more information, please contact John Bateman, Project Manager at 404.687.3542.

Kim Gokce said...

I registered last week and haven't received any confirmation or details. I was contacted by phone the previous week because I serve as our civic association president. Apparently, CEO Ellis has staff hurriedly updating their list of neighborhood leaders to send out invites.

Someone smarter than me pointed out that we need more than neighborhoods represented and I agree. Many HOAs or civics are very isolated from their actual community members - many residents do not even know the civic exists or how to contact them. We need folks who operate small businesses and those who are active in their school communities.

I think until proven otherwise this has to be viewed as a way to make busy-bodies like myself feel important and to therefore reflect positively on the administration while they take informal polling.

But because I'm an optimist I'm attending with hopes of some actionable items coming out of it and you can rest assured I will be bringing up school system planning.

Cerebration said...

It looks pretty vague so far... hopefully there will be some "meat" to it by the time the meeting happens. To me, this sounds more like a safety initiative than anything... let us know, Kim.

Cerebration said...

I mean, it's pretty mysterious really -- a "Neighborhood Empowerment Initiative" with the theme, "Shaping our destiny together!" and one detail line stating, "A New Vision for Neighborhood Empowerment in DeKalb County" (which is a repeat of the headline). But - after all, it's a "Save the Date" email, so hopefully, they will follow up soon with more detailed promotion as one would expect.

Kim Gokce said...

Well I think it echoes the CEO's campaign themes and I assume he'll be looking to attendees to articulate what they would like to see managed differently at the County. I'm viewing it as the mother of all County Govt focus groups and a great email mailing list builder until I find out otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Son of awcomeonnow wishes at least one neighborhood would show up and say
ENOUGH with multifamily!
( And that includes zoning in more cheezy townhomes.).
Dekalb will never progress if it continues to build oceans of crap around little islands of viable neighborhoods.
Dekalb has an opportunity being presented to it on a silver platter: large amounts of commercial residential foreclosures are getting ready to appear in the pipeline.
Community leaders need to stress that we're watching to see if our leadership continues to do business as usual with these foreclosed properties. Business as usual is to give tax credits to your buddies who buy them up on the cheap and let them turn back into slums.
Neighborhoods can never improve if we don't begin to weed out the garden. Dump the dumps!

Anonymous said...


Kim Gokce said...

I personally handed a copy of my CKHS talking points presentation to Burrell Ellis last month. I will ask him test questions in November to see if he read it :)

you said: "Tell the CEO: HELP SAVE CROSS KEYS!"

Anonymous said...

The CEO, the Board of Commissioners...none of them has a lick to do with the school board. Now, it may be useful to ask CEO Ellis and the board to become better partners. My understanding is that they have not played well together.

Kim Gokce said...

@Son of awcomeonnow ... I think you have hit on what has been on my mind but with a more concrete description. I don't like "neighborhood empowerment" ... I like community empowerment. My fundamental premise with CommunityRadar.com (shameless plug!) is to leap over the neighborhood boundaries and let all of us benefit from each other's knowledge in civic and community affairs while still keeping it localized (based on zip code and geocoding).

It has worked very, very well and I run into folks all over DeKalb who say how much more informed they are after subscribing. I think neighborhoods are insular by nature and not a great way to look at the "needs of community." Your comment about zoning is a manifestation of this the way I see it.

If an application notice sign is posted by your neighborhood, you might care. Otherwise, it rolls off our backs. That's crazy - we should be at least collaborating in clusters of neighborhoods on these types of issues.

But I digress ... good point Son of!

Kim Gokce said...

@Anon 11:51: "The CEO, the Board of Commissioners...none of them has a lick to do with the school board"

That is precisely my complaint. The two bodies have been oil and water for all time as far as I can tell. That has to change.

At DCPC, I was very fired up to hear Pat Pope say she had hired a dedicated planning resource and part of their duties would be attending the Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners meetings.

That'd be a good 1st step but I am looking for a much more committed collaboration and that would take great courage and leadership by the CEO and the Superintendent.

Anonymous said...

Kim- this is son of back at ya.
To be able to truly have a community, some geography needs to be studied. Cere might be an assist
County residents that are truly concerned need to stay plugged into information COUNTY WIDE on where new (and ultimately
harmful) zoning proposals are being
A few years ago, I attended a standing rooom only zoning protest for an apartment development. With 250 persons present, only one spoke on the harmful impact on the local schools the development would have. There were actually persons there that thought that the complex would be "Singles only" !
Single only complexes haven't been legal anywhere in the US since 1986!
Know what elementary and middle schools feed into your local high school. Better yet, pick 3 or 5 high school attendance areas within a 5 to 7 mile radius of your area, and know their feeder schools and attendance area.
Knowledge is power. Our leadershiop counts on the electorate on being apathetic and uninformed. Collectively, we seldom dissappoint them.
Those reading this blog- A challenge. When you hear a development is being made in a nearby area, find out what school it's going to affect. Don't breathe too easy if it doesn't happen to be in YOUR elementary attendance area. It can still come back to bite you when your child gets to middle or high school.
I see LOTS of dekalb parents
go looking for private schools once their child is out of say, Livsey or Oak Grove. Both schools have golden attendance areas. The high schools they feed into have 4 other feeder schools that don't have that luxury.
Wrapping it up: on another thread I stressed how important it might be to bring some pressure on Clarkston's leadership to correct some of their 3 decades worth of shousing snafus. One little 'ol town of 1 square mile literally helps poison the well for three elementaries, three middle schools, and three high schools.
Poor zoning decisions in that
square mile shouldn't adversely affect persons living off of Midvale, Idlewood, directly south
of Memorial on Indian Creek Road South, and clear over by Fernbank elementary, but it does.
Know what school goes to what high school. Know what the attendance areas are. Pay some attention on what's being built
(or refinanced and given tax credits ) in the area. And start making some arrogant individuals
uncomfortable for the havoc they've created. I won't name names, but we have some persons in leadership or behind the scenes that have beeen poisoning the pot for 30-40 years.

Anonymous said...

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit scam actually pre-dates Vernon Jones. Yes, he was the worst elected official in DeKalb County history, with convicted felon John Evans in second place, but the very shady tax credits for slumloard apartment complex owners all started with Liane Levetan. And she has the phoniest southern accent in the history of southern accents.

A hole lot of Liane's campaign contributors were slumlord apartment complex owners who greatly benefitted from LIHTC's, and some of them continue to benefits to this day.

Anonymous said...

Son of awcomeonnow signing back on. There's a valuable resource that was right under my nose that I missed until this morning.
Go to the Enrollment by the numbers thread, and scroll down to the school attendance zones. Fire up your printers, and keep the maps nearby to study. You might go
through one other step: get a raod map of Dekalb, so that you can look up major thoroughfares when a rezoning appears in the paper.
By having this information close at hand, you can have advance knowledge of what school will be adversely affected by boneheaded zoning decisions.
PS: You might also want to go to the bottom map that shows the schools, then compare it to the map above it. Why? Look how little area the City of Clarkston covers on the bottom map.
Go to the map above it and see how much area The Clarkston, Tucker, and Druid Hills High School attendance areas cover. As mentioned before, Clarkston dumps into all of these school feeds.
There's no other municipality in Dekalb that affects such a scattered school area as lil 'ol Clarkston.

Anonymous said...

I did not know where to put this post. Talking about improving our schools-

According to the National Center for Education Statistics the result of NCLB has not been higher standards in many states. They (NCES) compared test results in reading and math to see if student proficiency in one state was equal to student proficiency in another state. In Georgia there is a mixed result. Georgia, of course, ranks near the bottom in both math and reading performance. The variation in Georgia over time for fourth and eight grade score results for both math and reading are questionable. However, Georgia did show some improve in some areas of making standards more rigorous-this is balanced by the fact that Georgia proficiency test show higher score than national normed tests. In other words, our end of course tests are not rigorous compared to other states.



Dan Magee said...

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