DeKalb County, GA, May 11, 2015 – by The Post – DeKalb County resident of 22 years, Steve Bradshaw, provides the following Letter to the Editor.
DeKalb County’s Story Needs to Change
And the hits just keep on coming…
I don’t know if the recently reported probes into DeKalb County will amount to anything. In fact I will not even speculate one way or the other.
However, I will say that this is just one more story that underscores the negative narrative that has evolved about DeKalb County in recent times. In essence it is just another log on the fire. Make no mistake about it, DeKalb is burning.
At this point recounting all of the negative stories about DeKalb County would only serve to distress me further. We know the story, and the story shameful. The story needs to change.
In case there are those who regard the current situation as merely an embarrassment with no tangible consequences I ask you to consider the following:
In my business development roles I have called on executive level business people all over this country so I have a pretty good sense of their thought process. When presented with the opportunity to open or relocate a plant, or distribution center or regional office company CEO’s have an array of choices globally, nationally and locally. Each time I read about some new facility going up in Fulton or Gwinnett or Cobb or anywhere else in the metro Atlanta area it not only makes me sad. It makes me mad.
So, why don’t company CEO’s choose DeKalb County? Because they do their research and they read. Honestly, if you were a company CEO would you seriously consider locating your business here in this hotbed of controversy when you can literally go anywhere else in the world?
This continuing negative narrative translates into the lack of a significantly growing commercial tax base in DeKalb. Over time for you and me this will mean stagnant or decreasing property values and higher taxes. With a few exceptions, if you live south of Highway 78 consider what has occurred with the value of your property in recent years.
Of course there are those who will continue to make excuses no matter happens. However, until we come to terms with the fact that the majority of these problems lie at our doorstep things will not significantly improve. We have to own these issues and work to resolve them. This means holding our elected leadership accountable. No one in power has put themselves into elective office. Somebody voted for them.
The good people of DeKalb County work every day, pay taxes and obey the laws. We don’t just have to accept controversy and corruption. We don’t just have to accept the lack of new business development and jobs in our county. We should expect better. We demand more.
In the business world results matter: make your goals, receive the rewards and look forward to new goals. If you consistently fail to meet your goals you are asked to move on so that you can be replaced with someone who will get the job done. Holding people accountable works.
With so much at stake we need to wise up. We need to stop bestowing vast political power upon people who are just nice, good-hearted, well-meaning and put on a good show for us. This is not enough. They have had their chance and they have failed. We need to start taking a serious look at people who are intelligent, competent, and ethical and motivated to serve in public office for the right reasons. Let’s get some new blood into these positions and see if they perform as promised.
My biggest fear, in light of all that has occurred is that the good people of DeKalb County – the great “silent majority” of people “who work hard and play by the rules” will simply retreat into their own personal worlds and just hope for things to get better. That would be the worst of all possible outcomes, because hope is not a strategy.
Please don’t retreat. ENGAGE! ENGAGE! ENGAGE! Take a serious look at those who seek political power. Take ownership of what’s yours. This government belongs to you.
DeKalb’s story is bad right now. But, it does not have to stay this way. We have the ultimate power to change that story.
However, the story will not change until there is a leadership change. The only people who can make that change are you the voters.
– Steve Bradshaw