Congressional District Lines
the redrawing of congressional lines and legislature lines will take center stage this summer. In August, a special session will begin the process of redrawing district lines to accommodate this states increase in population. As it stands the legislature will have 14 districts to draw as oppose to 13. Since republicans control all three branches of state government, you can expect Democrats to fare poorly during this once a decade redrawing. I for one hope the legislature looks at how DeKalb is carved up. DeKalb, with a population around 750 thousand has 4 congressional districts. That’s more than Fulton or Gwinnett. The legislature should bring all of DeKalb that is not in the 6th district or in the city of Atlanta back into the fourth. See a possible district breakdown here. DeKalb is basically an urban county with issues that more align with the central city than with more rural areas like Rockdale, or Henry, or South Fulton county. It is going to be interesting to see how the legislature deals with DeKalb. Aside from the congressional redrawing, what could have a greater impact on DeKalb is the representation in the statehouse. As the AJC has reported on several occasions, DeKalb, along with Fulton has not kept pace in terms of growth with its exurban counterparts. In the state legislature DeKalb could lose a seat or two, weakening its delegation in the statehouse. That weakening would be a strengthening for a county like Forsyth wich has only a fraction of the population of DeKalb. If DeKalb does lose a seat or two, we all can guess where those seats will come from. If you want more info on the redrawing, check out this Google search
In the fall people all across the Metro area will vote whether or not to tax themselves an additional penny to fund transportation infrastructure throughout the region. By late August we should know exactly wich projects voters will be asked to fund. Many projects will affect South DeKalb. Things like mass transit, road improvements and interchange improvements are all on the list for DeKalb. I have stated in a prior post that I am not against a self-imposed tax for better transportation service throughout the metro. What I fear is that DeKalb residents will pay more and receive less. Rail service has been talked about in South DeKalb for decades, but none has materialized. The state DOT has already nixed the idea of rail service to Conyers, and rightfully so. The density of the population that far out just doesn’t warrant it just yet. But some sort of rail service to South DeKalb is long overdue. Two options benefitting South DeKalb could be placed on the final list for voters to approve. One is rail transit from downtown to Candler Road and the other is an extension of the Blue Line to Wesley Chapel. The cynic in me says neither will get the needed support from the roundtable that is tasked with providing the final list. If the final list comes out, and all we get in DeKalb are interchange improvements and other areas get more options, I would be inclined to say no to a new tax. But I will keep an open mind about the whole thing.
A friend of mine had his home broken into recently. The police responded and we started talking about police coverage where he lives. What he told me was astonishing. He said on any given night there are four cars patrolling an area from Moreland Avenue to Wesley Chapel/Flakes Mill Rd south of I-20. Yea that’s a huge area. I was shocked that an area that is so huge would have only four cars. My first instinct was to think the officer was exaggerating, but when a second car showed up, he said the same thing without knowing what we and the previous officer had spoken about. After a little bit of searching, I found this map of the South Precinct. If these divisions represent individual beats within the precinct, then I can see how its possible for only four cars to patrol the area. But even worse is that these same areas are becoming crime-ridden but a surge in police coverage has not kept pace. It seems to me that the police are in a respond to incidents stage than proactively policing areas that are vulnerable to criminal activity.
For those of you who have driven in South DeKalb for the last few weekends has probably notice the increased presence of DeKalb police especially in the Glenwood and Candler Road areas. I attend church on Glenwood, and have gotten used to seeing a large presence there to counteract what some call ‘Glenwood Day” which typically happens sometime in April. This year seems a bit different though. DeKalb has seemed to stretch their presence much further out than the Glenwood road area. Every weekend in April of this year, I have seen them in large numbers on up and down Columbia, Memorial, Candler and some of the side streets in the area. I myself was pulled over After my wife undid her buckle to check on our son who was in his car seat in the back. The officer questioned us for a minute or so and sent us on our way. (He was unusually polite, must have been my church clothes) Zero tolerance seems to mean zero tolerance right now. Now we know where the officers who used to patrol Dunwoody ended up. I for one am glad to see the police being proactive and possibly removing violent men and women off the streets of South DeKalb. I do have to wonder though, with the budget mess and other issues in the county, How long will this show of force last. A long and sustained show of force, along with residents doing their part, would make the area a much more pleasant place to be. If this thing is short lived, then I have to wonder why do it at all.
This is an idea that should be looked into. When I read the story in the AJC about the county eliminating, or curtailing private security at county owned buildings, I gasped. What the heck are they doing. You are going to take security away from areas that need it, then you are going to go public as to which buildings would not be staffed with security personnel. You are begging for a rise in criminal activity. Then I read the blog at DeKalb Officers. If the county could do this it would make sense. No officers have to be pulled from the street, yet you still get the professionalism that comes with reserve officers. I don’t know what the cost would be, or if there are liability issues to deal with, but there seems to be very little, if any downside to this Idea
Tooling around the counties march meeting agenda, I ran across the above little nugget. It seems the county took a wire transfer of some half a million dollars from seized drug assets. According to the PDF the money is supposed to be used for law enforcement. I wonder how many of these monies the county gets on a yearly basis. Seized drug profits and the sales of confiscated property would plug a few holes in the Public Safety department, Don’t you think.
The following is a comment from the DeKalb officers speaks blog.
As I said before, and as “DeKalb Officers” point out, I will be there for you DeKalb. It’s in my “core being”. I’m just probably going to be grumpy as hell. Nothing to smile about anymore. Sorry, but can you blame me?
A grumpy police officer is a scary thought. The idea that an entire department is running around with a chip on its shoulder does not inspire confidence in me. I know not every DeKalb officer has these sentiments, but if enough do that can be a problem. check this comment:
To all of the officers with several years in. I don’t know how you made it. All of the turmoil you have been through, all the chaos, broken promises, paybacks, favorites and revenge. So let me say Thank you. Thank you for staying strong, for persevering, and for taking it one shift at a time. I cant go around saying it in person without looking like a serious a## kisser, so guys and gals I’ll say it here; I’m proud to be part of an agency that is still standing after all this crap.
and thanks DeKalb Officers blogsters, y’all are gangsta.
But BOC, CEO, and DeKalb Citizens, you could make it just a little bit easier for us….
What have we citizens done to DeKalb Police. Most citizens want a satisfied and professional police force. Many citizens including myself have said tax us just a bit more to keep public safety a number one priority. I have argued in the past that public safety should be the sacred cow of the county budget. Police officers saying they may respond a little slower to an emergency or be a little bit grumpy on the job is really scary and a bit unprofessional. A grumpy, angry, and upset man with a gun and a badge is not what I want to see the next time I get that speeding ticket on Candler.
This is going to be interesting. You have a budget that is 80 plus million short, a commission that says it will not raise taxes, and a CEO who has the stones to fight for a tax increase. I think in the end, the CEO will come out of this with his tax increase. In this day and age no one wants to hear of their police or firefighters being cut. That is something that you do not want playing out in the media day after day. Look what it did to Atlanta when then-Mayor Shirley Franklin decided to furlough cops. Every crime was magnified by the media, and every citizen blamed, right or wrong, the furloughs. The CEO knows that he ain’t gonna cut cops from the force, especially the numbers floating around. And the commission, try as they may, will not come up with enough cuts to fill the budget shortfall. Right now everyone is saving face, but in the end we all will be stuck with larger tax bills. A tax increase is something where the anger will spike for a while but will settle back over time. Cut cops and firefighters, and you will relive that decision every time a body shows up on the news, or fire brings loss of life or property.
This stinks to high hell. There isn’t much I can say other than had this been you or I, we would still be fighting to get out of jail. I can’t for the life of me understand why DeKalb Police would allow a person with warrants to leave the scene. The GBI, and a former prosecutor both said the same thing; she should have been hauled off to jail. This scandal may cost Barnes Sutton her position on the DeKalb Commission. This coupled with other financial problems being reported, should be enough to do her in. Then again crazier things have happened