Brookhaven, GA, November 3, 2014 – by The Post – Brookhaven Resident Kathy Forbes offers the following Letter to the Editor.
From Ms. Forbes: Redevelopment Authority can be a very useful tool for “Place Making”. Creative Place Making is all about creating cities, towns and villages where people want to come to live, to work, to play and to learn. Think Hilton Head, downtown Greenville, Decatur Square, Seaside, Reston, VA, Rockville, MD etc. Personally, I would love to live in a pedestrian friendly community where bike and walking paths are abundant and there is a gathering area with green spaces and beautiful architectural features, where residents could meet, mingle, dine and enjoy a real feeling of community. Those are the kinds of places people are naturally drawn to and go out of their way to visit.
HOWEVER . . . in the wrong hands, redevelopment powers are dangerous. When we cannot trust our elected officials to represent us, redevelopment powers could lead to backroom deals, decisions driven by political/personal agendas, not to mention ego and the building of one’s own legacy.
The Pink Pony is the most glaring example of how our elected officials have breached the trust of those who placed them in office. It has taken City Hall almost two years to act upon the “will of the people” in regards to the Pink Pony, and they are doing so now (err, attempting to do so), on the heels of an election. I’m sorry, that is not what I consider a responsive government. That is a reactive government that takes action only when their own future agenda is at stake.
A recent example of dubious behavior on the part of our elected officials is the Redevelopment Powers Educational Forum being hosted by the City of Brookhaven on November 3, 2014. This appears to be nothing more than a thinly disguised sales pitch and last ditch, desperate effort to win support for Redevelopment Powers.
By the way, Kenneth Bleakly Jr. (the person hired to “educate” the community) makes his living implementing municipal financing and assisting in the creation of revenue bonds and tax allocation districts. None of this passes the smell test.
For the record, I voted YES for cityhood and wrote a couple of letters to the editor in support of the movement. When the city opened for business, I came out of the gate full of enthusiasm and hope for Brookhaven’s future. In less than two months, our elected officials broke their two most important campaign promises . . . they promised to represent their constituents and they promised transparency.
First I was stunned by their behavior, then heartbroken. Now I’m simply frightened. It truly scares me to think that the future of Brookhaven rests in the hands of 5 people who have no problem ignoring their constituents.
When the “will of elected officials” trumps the “will of the people” that’s no time to grant City Hall additional powers. This is a time for rebuilding trust and “walking the talk” in regards to transparency and representation.
I’m voting NO for Redevelopment Powers.
In the future, when trust is restored and I have faith in our elected leaders, it will be a different story.
If we give up hope for a better Brookhaven, then we have nothing to work towards or build upon.