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21 Comments

  1. 1

    Hunter Burke

    If the BIA moves into that property through any thought process, for any reason or by any authority, please expect there to be phenomenal public backlash.

    This relationship with the BIA is far too uncomfortable, far too sleazy, far too incestuous. .

  2. 2

    Chad

    Thanks for your openness and honesty, John. I look forward to a more process driven governance under your leadership and mayor elect J.

    With that said, the Georgia Supreme Court invalidated bonds issued by the Greene County Development Authority for the purpose of the Oconee Academy, a state sponsored charter school, in March of this year. Their findings were supported by much case law on the purpose of Development Authority Bonds be used for sound, reasonable and feasible economic development purposes. The City Council nor the Development Authority has created, stated or reported no such purpose.

    http://law.justia.com/cases/georgia/supreme-court/2015/s14a1507.html

    Furthermore, in November of 2014 60% of our voting citizens rejected Redevelopment Powers Law mandating any bonds be put before the citizens before our tax dollars were obligated. We were asking for process then. We are asking for process now. Had the City Manager and city attorney accurately advised you, we might not be having this discussion. Had you been accurately advised, perhaps the City Council and BIA could have created a campaign for ballot referendum that would have appeared on our November ballot. It was requested by me and several others as the deal was making it’s way through the City Council. Our requests were ignored as the City Manager advised the DA in the October 23rd meeting, “you should issue the bond because the electorate wont approve it.”

    Some might think out loud, “Why didn’t you say something this summer?” We did…constantly. Some might say, “If we don’t move forward we’ll lose this fantastic opportunity.” Not our problem. The city manager should have directed the city council to move forward with a campaign so ALL Brookhaven citizens could decide on our tax obligation. I have no hope the annual bond payments of $250K will be paid by ANYONE. Again, it will be easy to prove “unsound, unreasonable and unfeasible.”

    Had the entire citizenry approved a General Obligation Bond that maybe included park dollars and the purchase of Skyland, I would buy rounds at Slice for everyone involved and celebrated a working PROCESS. As it stands, the city managers manipulative actions have opened up the entire city council to the risks of losing $200K in unredeemable closing cost, a lawsuit sure to lose and more distraction over the holidays.

    Good luck in the next 3 weeks. To you Development Authority folks, you can turn this thing around.

  3. 3

    Daniel Proctor

    Thank you John. Two Things here. The higher per square foot price you pay at the Current City Hall includes replacement and/or repair of HVAC, Plumbing, etc. – all things the landlord must provide. The numbers you cite for the Skyland Building do not include those maintenance items.

    Secondly, what in the hell business does the Brookhaven Government have getting in to the real estate business? Are you effing kidding me here? Seriously? Parks, Planning and Police. That’s what we wanted and that’s what I advocated for. Stop playing “big shot” and come back down from the clouds and DO THE BASICS.

    Thirdly, you guys can’t even get your budget straight year after year. And Accounting is deplorable. And Collections is even worse than that. Comcast franchise fees in the amount of $1,000,000 WE PAID went uncollected by your City Manager. Bad money is leaving City Hall by the wheelbarrow load. This crap y’all spew about having reserves – show me the bank account statement that shows where that is.

    Fourthly, the Development Authority is nothing more than a back-door Redevelopment Powers portal. You know it, I know it.

    Lastly, you said it best and admitted it in your letter, Councilman Gebbia and you decided and VOTED on the Skyland School after a discussion y’all had about the BIA paying higher rent while on the bench and just before the vote. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Gebbia is a Councilman who is on the BOARD of the BIA. His first charge as a Board member is to look out for the health and welfare of the BIA. He has the same charge as a City Councilman. But like Bates, he should have recused himself too. But he did not and actively participated in the decision and even made the motion.

    It smells a dirty rat and y’all think we are all too wrapped up in our daily lives to see it. Well you are wrong and I have had just about enough of it.

    Fire the City Manager, fire the City Attorney, boot Bates and Joe off the Council and get with it man (and wo-mans).

    Thank God we now apparently have one board that is dedicated to honesty and legalities, the Zoning Board. And truthfully it is the most important one besides the city council.

    I love my city. I do not love what it is becoming.

    Dropping the mic.

    I’m out.

  4. 4

    MK

    If we want to maintain it for public use, then we should definitely not have a PRIVATE swim club on that land.

  5. 5

    Janine

    Also that deep voice in your head that kept saying – John, go to the dark side, I am your father. This is so messed up.

  6. 6

    tom doolittle

    Its a testiment to the Brook Post that officials feel compelled or (otherwise helpful) to Justify (or explain/educate) their decisions and the terms of debate on the website. Power to the people right on.

  7. 7

    Eddie E.

    Thanks John!
    The only part of your explanation that bears exceptionally close scrutiny is the notion of a ‘private swim club’ and mentions such is not available in the City. I beg to differ, did Capital City Club close? Doesn’t the ADY still exist? In any case, the City needs to stay as far as possible from involvement in such a long-term hornets nest.

  8. 8

    Melissa Smith

    John, I’m seriously disappointed in your decision to dabble in real estate using my tax dollars. Didn’t you learn anything from the OVERWHELMING DEFEAT of Redevelopment Powers last year? I distinctly remember your many posts on FB and emails from your campaign stating how you were the candidate most strongly AGAINST REDEVELOPMENT POWERS!

    https://www.facebook.com/1531451017066776/photos/pb.1531451017066776.-2207520000.1450376339./1571390309739513/?type=3&theater

    And here you are, one year later espousing support for the very thing 60% of your constituents voted against. Shame on you.

  9. 9

    Rob Turner

    The need for John to have to write this piece speaks volumes about the general public’s view of this proposed purchase. I strongly disagree with the purchase/guaranty, it smacks of back-door politicking for the “BIA” – remember Gebbia is a board member, Mattison is the entity’s exec director and Williams was former board member.

    Want to give the citizens the assurances this $3.3 million of easily found $$ will not be used to benefit the school? Condition the purchase/guaranty on that property not being used for a school.

  10. 10

    FedupwithAP

    To be fair Capital City Club isn’t in Ashford Park. Nor is the ADY. But who cares – the people of Ashford Park have spoken and they want a private club! For Ashford Park residents only! Oh, and I guess Drew Valley as well, since, you know, it isn’t actually IN Ashford Park but rather in Drew Valley. But no one else. Wouldn’t want to taint the precious Ashford Park water with people who don’t live in their hood.

  11. 11

    Redevelopment Powers 101

    No one will have to sue. Whatever asset manager buys these bonds, short them. Only fools purchase revenue bonds with no planned revenue. Like a hospital bond in heaven. Port Authority Bond in Nebraska. Toll Bridge bond in the desert. Brookhaven Building bond with no tenant. Interested Ashford Park Swim and Tennis Club? Right.

    Did you think the stated interest rate was the fixed interest rate? Oh no, the market will set that rate. It will be much higher than the “advised” rate. Suckers are born every day. 6 are leading your city.

  12. 12

    Susan

    This is what happens with gentrification. There are several swim and tennis clubs in the greater area that take members regardless of residence. For AP to want a private club shows just how much the neighborhood has changed. It also projects the mindset and developing perception of Brookhaven.

  13. 13

    FedupwithAP

    And at a $3000 initiation fee they are more expensive than any private club around here except Capital City Club and Brittany. No one else in Brookhaven need apply.

  14. 14

    Eddie E.

    Now if we can just remember how GROSSLY INAPPROPRIATE AND ILLEGAL it is for a municipal government to indulge such perceptions!

  15. 15

    Kim

    For what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure DeKalb County School District would love to buy back this property and build Brookhaven a beautiful new school. The best use of this public property would be as a public elementary school to relieve overcrowding at our area elementary schools. Community benefits and interests for this property being discussed are hypothetical while we have immediate and clear needs for our current public schools. When our area elementary schools opened in the 50s and 60s, often it was with donated land from owners who wanted to support public education for all to benefit. Such was the case with Dr. Curtis who supported public schools with land along what is now Curtis Drive. I’m sure he is turning in his grave now. Alas, Brookhaven, we live in a new age that Dr. Curtis would not recognize. Best of luck to all those pursuing their various personal interests related to this property!

  16. 16

    Stan S

    Governance is not always easy and not always popular.

    Whether we agree or not with this decision, Councilman Park did what should be expected of all elected officials, “weighing the risk and potential benefit” and made a tough call.

    Thank you John Park.

  17. 17

    Dean

    Corruption in government has changed the minds of many when it comes to making such generous gifts as occured in the past. I agree that the optimal use of this property would be for a public school. But you know that the self important influentials in Brookhaven would never allow this to happen. It would interfere with their precious BIA. Not only is Dr. Curtis wildly spining in his grave, he is lamenting the divisive fracturing and destruction of his beloved DeKalb County. If he were alive today he would rally the citizenry and demand that it once again become the star county of the state as it once was.

    I fully expect BIA to become a tenant of the old Skyland property.

    If you see an egotistical cockroach in Brookhaven, step on it.

  18. 18

    Chad

    Albeit, completely contrary to the legal hurdle required of a Decelopment Authoruty bond.

  19. 19

    FM

    The current city leadership is tone deaf. The arrogance and lack of accountability on their part is obscene.

  20. 20

    Brittney

    Same dark side you went to after another felony conviction?

  21. 21

    Brittany Mother

    Instead of being a hit and run commenter, how about explaining yourself. That is, if you really have anything important to say.

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