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Op-Ed: A City Is More Than Boundaries

Who are we and what are we looking to preserve?

By a Tucker Citizen

The North DeKalb Cityhood movements are going to change Tucker. Whether we incorporate or stay unincorporated, new economic and social forces will change the dynamic of our community in the coming years. A key question that we need to consider as we engage in our own cityhood discussion is, who are we and what are we looking to preserve? This is important for our future and once we have established goals we can then weigh our options for how to proceed.

The cityhood debate will continue to focus on costs and the delivery of essential services, however Tucker has something else that must be considered. Tucker has a history and identity that is deserving of preservation. This is truly what is at stake and requires an honest discussion.

The cityhood feasibility studies will do a great job at reporting the bottom line, but how do we capture and discuss the effect on the unique culture we have in our area? What will happen to Tucker's identity if we remain unincorporated while our neighbors incorporate? What happens if we incorporate alongside our neighbors? What happens with any of the multitude of other options that have been officially and unofficially proposed?

I don't know the answer and personal perception will dictate if the impending changes to our community will be good are bad. I personally hope our decisions lead to a Tucker that is a lively and laid back community with a thriving small business economy that offers a diverse middle class  a range of affordable housing options; green space for safe outdoor recreation; pedestrian friendly walking and biking paths to connect community members and promote active lifestyles; and an active civil society that works closely with local government to preserve Tucker's identity and serve the people.

While leaving things as they are is an option; doing nothing will not preserve what we have. Whether we incorporate or stay unincorporated it will take work and an involved civil society. Doing nothing may preserve Tucker in history books, but will not preserve Tucker's history as a living component in our future.

Thank you for reading. What do you think?

Marv Peck May 01, 2013 at 01:57 PM
I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I thought you made some good points and without any finger pointing which was refreshing. I don't know about others but I think what is worth preserving is a small town feel near a major city. Kind of vague I guess but it's a thought. You kind of lost me though when you mentioned middle class housing. I think it's important to have housing for folks who can't afford middle class homes. Still, you're right this is about more than a bottom line. There is a sense of community that should be preserved.
RandyRand May 01, 2013 at 03:09 PM
Like a garage full of old National Geographic Magazines, their historic value, their useful purpose, and their next phase is in debate. Ask ten people what should be done with the Old National Geographic’s and you will get twenty different ideas. This metaphorically is the challenge ahead for Tucker. Now that it’s garage clean up day in Tucker, the question of what should be done to save the past will be as confounding as the questions about Tuckers road ahead. It looks like these efforts will be decided by committees. And this is where potential problems ahead begin and end. As Marv demonstrates above, he believes that Tucker should have plenty of low income housing. Is that what is best for Tucker? There will be some who believe Main Street should be nurtured while others think it should be bulldozed. And who knows what is next, will we have someone wanting to rename a Downtown Tucker City street MLK Drive? An LCA type of virtual suburban city with community permeable boundaries looks like a less conflicting approach from my position. (Being currently included in everyone’s map)
Tucker Citizen May 01, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Thank you for your comments, I truly appreciate your feedback on the blog post. I think you pointed out a flaw in what I failed to communicate about the range of middle class housing. This was not a comment that was meant to be exclusive. It was meant to reflect a birds eye view of a communities socioeconomic bell curve. Data suggests that a community who reflects a standard bell curve where most of your population falls within 1-2 standard deviations of a median middle class income tend to be healthier (socially speaking) than a curve were a majority of the population fall with in the tails (majority of people are poor or rich). This curve is a direct reflection of employment opportunities available to the community, and has a lot to do with a local community that values a strong small business anchored economy. This begins to get into cyclic nature of an interdependent community. I agree with you that we should maintain a full range of housing option, but I think we should seek to have a majority of those fall into a range that is affordable for community members who living right above the poverty line to what ever the cut off is for someone who is considered monetarily "wealthy". The hope is that if the community supports a strong local business economy the curve will take shape from local residents vs. an influx of new community members who will displace our current population. Again, thank you again for your comments. I will proofread more critically next time.
Cheryl Miller May 01, 2013 at 10:52 PM
Randy, what is a virtual suburban city? Is that one on the video game you are playing or is it something that the LCA has actually proposed? And I have not heard anyone ever suggest that Main Street be bulldozed. Is that something from the LCA as well? After all, the vision of ALEC is one of big business, not entrepreneurial spirit which is the epitome of Tucker. You can read more about how ALEC members push legislation that will privatize governmental services so they can make a profit: http://www.inthepublicinterest.org/sites/default/files/ALEC_report_FINAL.pdf
Cheryl Miller May 01, 2013 at 10:53 PM
While I agree with Marv that housing is something to consider, what I believe Tucker is not grasping is the importance of the schools in bringing new buyers to the area. Affordable housing for a middle class family, in the form of multi-family dwelling units is most likely the reason LCA wants zoning in their control. And, Evansdale and Henderson Middle will be part of their attractive STEM charter cluster, so it gives families a reason to seek out homes in that area. Tucker is leaving a lot resting on fate and a newly appointed board that could end up being replaced with the former members if Dr. Walker wins his lawsuit. Then where will we be? The small town charm that Marv describes is absolutely one of the things that appeals to home buyers, but the current school plan doesn't mesh with that vision. We're going to be transitioned to min. 900 students per elementary school where we currently hover between 300 - 400.
Cheryl Miller May 01, 2013 at 10:53 PM
I don't know if "city" and "Tucker" go very well together, but if we don't incorporate, we will either be gobbled up or left with the table scraps after the big boys in the game have their feast. I don't know the answer, if there is one, but right now it does not look good for Tucker. I'm not giving up, but we need a bigger, better plan. Fortunately, we are working on that in our closed group. Anyone who wants to remain in the loop with our progress can "Like" us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/SaveTuckerfromLakesideCity
Cheryl Miller May 01, 2013 at 10:58 PM
And we hope to see everyone who loves Tucker at Tucker Day on May 11th!!
rwf May 01, 2013 at 11:45 PM
A new map for the proposed new City of Tucker, issued by Tucker Together, has been posted at: http://tuckertogether.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ProposedTucker-Map-v.1.1.pdf
RandyRand May 01, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Cheryl, You are jabbering again. Start with the topic sentence and build your idea thoughout the paragraph! And remember use facts whenever possible. Your questions or claims: 1The word virtual is used to describe a new efficient approach where many of the tasks are handled online, or through shared service providers. Virtual meetings are online, Virtual office space is flexible and configurable and you should read your ALEC report below because it addresses virtual education and other virtual forms of government services. 2. I personally heard three people at the Tucker Middle School / Cityhood fiasco meeting recommend that Main Street be bulldozed in order to build a Forum like environment, These were all non LCA people and you can add my name to list as well. 3. You are very confused about ALEC and entrepreneurial efforts in general. Government is a monopoly and by definition a Big non competitive business. Privatization is 100% entrepreneurial. Once again you are 180 degrees off in you grasp of the concept. 4. People should read the ALEC report. They should grasp the concepts for themselves without your misguided interpretation.
Laurie Taylor May 02, 2013 at 03:59 AM
With Common Core as the Federally mandated curriculum in our schools it does not really matter about Charter Schools. It does not really matter about any thing that the parents want. We need to focus on the real Agenda in this city hood matter. It is a much greater Agenda at play here. Sustainable? Green? Greenspace? Side walks to where? I read the Tucker Plan........right out of the liberal playbook. When I finished reading it...I hesitated..because it was like a fairy tale. It was all make believe with no real basis in truth or reality. My mother lives in Tucker. I was born there 56 years ago. My Great Great Great Great Grandfather has his signature in the Brownsville courthouse. My mother is 79. She does not drive. She lives on a limited income. She has rhumatoid arthritis. I drive from Mansfield, Ga. three times a week to see her, take her to the doctor and to the grocery store. According to the plans for the great TUCKER...she should be sent a chauffeur to take her where she needs to go..right? If not at the very least a person to push her wheel chair (that she will need soon because of the stress of this out of control government) up the side walk to the new doctor they promise to put on the corner so it will be more convenient for her. Agenda Here? Boy the new language that we have to learn to keep up with the Agenda of ...the Third Way, Inclusive Capitalism.
Georgia May 02, 2013 at 02:46 PM
" Fortunately, we are working on that in our closed group. Anyone who wants to remain in the loop with our progress can "Like" us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/SaveTuckerfromLakesideCity" Have you told Tucker Together about that yet, Cheryl? Open and transparent.l

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