Decision Time

It’s the fourth quarter with almost five minutes left in the game. You’re five points down. Your team is starting to mesh after a shaky time. It’s fourth and 2, 14 yards from the goal.

Do you decide to take the easy three points, trust your defense to get the ball back, and put your team in position so that all they need is another field goal to win?

Or do you decide to take a chance and go for broke now?

Classic risk/reward time!


There’s some of that going on right now in the cityhood question.  Let’s say you’re in Tucker and thinking that you can create enough argument and confusion that the whole city question will go away. Then maybe in a few years you can come back on your terms and do what you want. Well, maybe!

What can go wrong? Maybe the confusion you create just makes legislators fall back to a default party line. Then you lose everything you were arguing about; and a year later you lose Northlake Parkway and parts of Midvale by annexations. Then you might have the possibility of creating another Pine Lake or Clarkston.


On the other hand, maybe you can say “We may not get everything we want; what’s going to put is in the best possible situation for the future?”  Getting most of what we want puts us in a great position for the future. What’s the most feasible outcome?


We all need to stop thinking about what the “best” possible outcome might be.  We need to concentrate on WINNING.  The only relevant question is:  WHAT WILL SELL IN THE LEGISLATURE! What is the winning strategy?


Think about selling a complicated products or service when the customer would prefer that you go away. If you can convince the potential customer in one paragraph, you have a chance. If you have to waste any of your time explaining why you’re not doing the obvious thing, forget about it. No sale.


That’s where we are.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim Tackett January 06, 2014 at 05:17 PM
RWF, saying that all of our areas pre-date the Civil War is NOT saying that Tucker doesn't have a history. That's randy/cheryl logic right there. The disrespect is in fact coming from you. You folks keep saying our area doesn't have a history, but you do, and because your block of historic buildings remain and ours don't, our area is somehow inferior or doesn't have the same value. That's pointless provocation against folks who actually are on your side. I am a COBI supporter, partly *because* I love and respect Tucker, not despite it. Go attack an LCA supporter if you have a grudge, but please stop saying we don't shop at N'lake, or that my area (2 miles from you) is not historic like you are. What are you trying to accomplish?
rwf January 06, 2014 at 05:32 PM
Jim, when you refer to another's arguments as being 'weak' and 'inane', without any further justification, you're going to get some blowback. Perhaps you should reevaluate your choice of words.
RandyRand January 06, 2014 at 05:45 PM
Rwf, are you now solely responsible for producing all the smoke in Smoke Rise? I have seen community, I grew up in a suburban community and a small town, Smoke Rise is a community but Tucker is not a community or a town. Rather Tucker is a group of misaligned committees all who spend more time boasting about what they have done than actually doing anything. 100 years of almost nothingness speaks for itself. And when other than just six months ago did Smoke Rise residents begin to believe they should hitch their high fluting wagons to the faux community of Tucker. Smoke Rise and Tucker are different clans with whole different agendas but are now portrayed somehow as united. Really? The one thing Smoke Rise needs more than anything is a Local Police Force and everyone knows it! Does Smoke Rise really need zoning control, or code adherence, isn’t that already covered by it’s massive HOA rules and regulations and if not why not? And unless Tucker’s Dollar General intends on becoming a full time shooting gallery, doesn’t it and many other Tucker business need a greater police presence? How in the world did this critical Local Police need get dropped from the cityhood effort? A focused police presence is exactly what Northlake Mall needs too! But they need more, they need a new brand, a new city with an economic stability and new identity to be paired with and re-energized by, and that’s not something the 100 year old hayseed brand of Tucker could deliver today or in short order.
Jim Tackett January 06, 2014 at 06:00 PM
I'm sorry that that term offended you. But a "weak" argument means there is little value that particular point adds to your case. No one --not even LCA--is arguing that Tucker's main street isn't cool, ok? It's awesome. But there is no value in continuing to point out that you are 120 years old. I live in Decatur area and it is.... 191 years old! So please stop dissing our side of the fence--it's the same fence. We have history too, and yes we all shop at the same shops. (You guys probably shop at Perimeter more than I do, you're closer.) We should be united in the fact that we all see Lakeside as a bad idea, and a slap in the face to those whose neighborhoods are getting split by them (yours AND mine.)
rwf January 06, 2014 at 06:09 PM
Jim, here is inanity at its best. Throwing your two cents in where its not wanted, and particularly when you have nothing to contribute to the conversation. You wanted me to take on a LCA supporter? Well, RandyRand was one of the easiest. The LCA's loudest proponent at his worst was a walk in the park. ------- Randy: How are you, man? Still licking your wounds? I'd like to say I've missed you, but I don't want to lie. I keep looking for you at all the meetings, but they tell me you never go. Oh well. Randy, perhaps you would appreciate hearing that when I find myself negotiating Northlake with the COBI folks, first thing I do is offer them your neighborhood, but they just won't bite. Can't imagine why not.
Jim Tackett January 06, 2014 at 06:20 PM
Tucker and Briarcliff need to be allies, not foes. If you don't see that as a valuable point to contribute, well then...it's your potential loss, and best of luck to you guys. You don't seem to understand that many of us are COBI fans because we are supportive of both areas, pulling for Tucker AND Briarcliff, not one over the other. Some of us see our areas as the same-- symbiotic in fact. Even though my area has 191 years of history and yours only 120. (See how that comes off? We can make better arguments than that, right?)
rwf January 06, 2014 at 07:04 PM
I have had many conversations with Herman, COBI's provocateur-in-chief, and have come to value his opinions and respect his positions. I consider him a friend and ally, and he and I seem to work together well. However, when COBI seeks to negotiate with Tucker 2014 (of which I am NOT a part) with regard to a mutual and respectful border, they seem to have taken a page from the Republicans in Congress - they are happy to 'negotiate' as long as you do it their way, or else! They offer nothing in return. COBI's insistence on adhering to a 5th graders reading of a map - "Put the border on this big old highway, and ignore the best interests of the affected communities! But it's so obvious!" - does not respect Tucker's interest and concerns over Northlake. The fact is that Northlake is not critical to Tucker's success, but it is even less critical to Briarcliff. (Of course, it is absolutely critical to Lakeside, which is why they don't even pretend to be willing to negotiate.) My goal in negotiating a border with COBI would be to convince them to drop this specious argument re: I-285, and replace it with a mutual effort to determine what would be in the best interests of the entire Northlake commercial/industrial district, which, in my view, would be placing all of Northlake in one CID, in one city, and under one economic development authority. Both Herman and Don, at various times in the past, have agreed with my position privately, but in public, not so much. So my alternative solution is to place the border on Lavista Road from I-285 to Montreal Road, and then south on Montreal to Lawrenceville Highway. This would keep most of the Norhtlake CID area and roads in Tucker, and allow Briarcliff to keep Briarcliff Plaza and Northlake Mall (which is a separate entity unto itself.) This splits the baby without killing it. It also has the added advantage of keeping RandyRand in Briarcliff. But will anyone listen to me? Hardly. Everyone else in T14 and COBI seems to know best, and I am but a lonely voice in the wilderness.
Longerthanu January 06, 2014 at 08:05 PM
ITP Northlake looks, financially and physically, light years better than OTP Northlake. I suspect the Tucker- Northlake CID will benefit Main Street, not Northlake.
Brian January 06, 2014 at 08:08 PM
I agree with rwf. The COBI supporters on this board seem to be good enough people. However, there is an attitude approaching "we're your benevolent neighbor, you better appreciate us and take what we give you", especially when it comes to the Northlake area. Well, it's my belief that COBI needs Tucker just as badly. If Tucker and COBI go to the legislature with overlapping maps, it's my opinion that either Lakeside gets approved or they punt. COBI can crow all they want about their study numbers being superior, but that alone won't overcome Lakeside. I simply feel that Tucker should fight for a fair compromise and what's best for their potential constituents down the road, and not just fall in line with this artificial I-285 boundary. I'll be the first to admit I don't know what compromise is in the making, but I hope they're sticking to their guns.
Longerthanu January 06, 2014 at 08:30 PM
Everyone should be looking at what's best for Northlake, not what's best for Tucker or Briarcliff. Who will have the resources and vision to fix Northlake's considerable problems? What behooves Northlake behooves the area. What is each group's vision? What is each plan? I don't see one from any group. Enough b.s. and buzzwords. The studies are in. What's the vision for our area? Who's really gonna step up?
Todd Chester January 06, 2014 at 11:03 PM
I'm with rwf on this one. The Northlake area is in need of some serious economic redevelopment. I think that the Tucker COMMUNITY has a proven track record for this type of redevelopment based on COMMUNITY involvement. I emphasize the word community because I feel that it is something Tucker has that both Lakeside and Briarcliff lack. This happens when you try to lump 100,000+ people with no central common theme into a city using "Logical Boundaries" or when you draw city lines based on the addresses of 3-4 board members, cities that cannot boast a sense of community. I would hazard a guess that if you questioned people in from all parts of the Tucker map whether Northlake was a part of Tucker, those questioned would respond with the affirmative. I wonder what response you would get from people in the prospective city of Braircliff? I actually wonder how many of them would even know the actual location of Northlake Mall!?! I also tend to think that Briarcliff is "holding onto" Northlake due to the lack of commercial property located in their map. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the current Braircliff map has only 10% commercial property, thus placing heavy stress on the residential tax base within their city limits. While Northlake may not be a huge revenue booster to their numbers, it certainly helps relieve some of the pressure from the residential base. While "splitting the baby" may make some sense, I will argue that is will hamper redevelopment plans for both cities. Ultimately the fight over commercial redevelopment will end up hurting both cities in the long run. I would argue that the boundary of 285 will create immediate bad blood between these two potential cities at both the Northlake site as well as the Embry Hills site. Finally, back to the argument regarding redevelopment. If Northlake stays with Briarcliff, I would recognize at least three areas inside the Briarcliff map that would require immediate attentian via economic redevelopment. While I realize this cannot occur overnight, it may become a protracted redevelopement plan under Briarcliff if they elect to focus their attention on lets say North Dekalb Mall, or Scottdale, or even Toco Hills prior to putting any efforts into the Northlake area. I for one would like to see something occur sooner than later, preferably with the City of Tucker at the helm.
Frannie D. January 06, 2014 at 11:35 PM
Ref. You may have missed it, but for months i've been advocating the exact same borders you describe. It is so sensible I dont even see it as a compromise. It's just reality.
newsydon January 07, 2014 at 03:47 PM
everyone agrees that tucker is a community. i think everyone agrees that northlake is a community. what's the point of talking about communities? the tucker folks have one principal priority -- tucker. northlake is just their cash cow.
Herman Lorenz January 07, 2014 at 03:52 PM
rwf: perhaps you should ask your tucker folks how they would view "splitting the baby". That has been Allen Venet's expression.
FredS January 07, 2014 at 04:19 PM
I am in multiple maps and have attended meetings for all three cities. My question is how is the Northlake issue getting solved between COBI and Tucker? Does one city need it more than the other? My thought is that it would be best for all of the two could work it out. Herman, you seem to be in the know and you told RWF to ask Tucker how they feel about splitting the baby. My question to you is the same and I wonder what each has offered in compromise?
FredS January 07, 2014 at 04:21 PM
Because it seems like you aren't offering anything. You say Tucker needs to wake up and not drop the ball but from an outsider it seems COBI needs Tucker more than Tucker needs COBI
rwf January 07, 2014 at 05:22 PM
Herman - I have taken your case to the 'Tucker folks' as best as I can. As you know, I am not formally associated with T14 and have limited influence. I am putting my personal position on these blogs in the expectation that the folks at T14, COBI and LCA will read them and that my arguments may influence them in some small way. (Though they may not participate in these blogs, other than COBI, I am sure they all read them.) I have personal relationships with major players in all four incorporation groups such that they all know who I am and, I hope, respect my opinions. T14 certainly has things going on that they have not shared with me, so I do not expect any reaction from them to the concept of splitting the baby. I have already advised you of T14's biggest concern over COBI. So with regard to splitting the baby, you will have to contact them yourself. Maybe they've been listening. Maybe not. As of today, I have no idea. Perhaps you should make them an offer they can't refuse. As others have noted, as far as I can tell, you've offered them nothing beyond 'My way or the highway!' and that approach doesn't seem to be working. Oh well.
Cheryl Miller January 08, 2014 at 09:26 AM
You can't cut off Northlake at Lawrenceville Highway or you are taking commercial and dumping the residential that surrounds it, just like everyone was so appalled at Brookhaven for trying to do with Century Center. You would be splitting Rehobooth Church from its own cemetary as well as splitting it from the neighborhood that its pastor (a builder) built for its congregation. You're trying to say that Northlake Hospital (now called Emory Spine Center) was never in Northlake. Or, Northlake Baptist is not in Northlake, on Northlake Parkway (later renamed to Cooledge Road). You would be creating an "island" between L'ville Highway and I-78. You would be cutting off the residents who probably frequent the commercial area more than anyone else and who are the reason it has grown large enough for you to salivate over. The area doesn't "belong" to anyone here to be negotiating on behalf of the people who live in this area. Smoke Rise is a nice area with nice homes and nice people. Northlake has its own business alliance group that has been working on city concepts for years and recognized that the voters would not approve it so they have been working with the county for ways to improve the area. The plan you all want to see is already in the works. Have you not noticed the new paving along Briarcliff Road? Surely, if you visit the mall you have noticed the improvements to the lighting, landscaping and overall appearance that has taken place. The utility upgrades are already in place... they just need someone to start collecting those franchise fees, don't they? Sorry, fighting over turf is ridiculous when you haven't convinced the public that any city is needed at all. The biggest problem in our area is the school system. If you can't talk about THAT, then there is a basic element of truth that is clearly missing from all the groups. Fix the schools and we will fix our problems.
rwf January 08, 2014 at 10:03 AM
@Cheryl - Once AGAIN you're going off on something you don't fully comprehend.
Brian January 08, 2014 at 10:22 AM
Not sure what you're talking about Cheryl (as usual), but the Northlake split that's been thrown around the Patch would go down LaVista from 285 to Montreal Road South, down the Lville Hwy again. Once you cross back over 285 at Lville Hwy, the area to the south of Lville Hwy to Hwy 78 would still be in Tucker, therefore not leaving out the hospital, cemetery, church, or anything outside 285 and north of 78. But, I'm sure you'll find problems with that too since you're against city-hood, and that's fine.
Cheryl Miller January 08, 2014 at 10:36 AM
A contact page for those concerned to reach out to the state legislators who will be voting is located at www.GETtheCELLoutATL.org. Then click "Save Tucker" from the Right hand column.
doddave January 08, 2014 at 11:37 AM
Brian, based on some of the earlier comments on this page, it sounds like you should bring that up the the Tucker 2014 folks. From the earliest posts on this blog, Herman said that there were multiple ways of looking at how to design a city, neither right nor wrong, and the only thing that remained was people agreeing on an reasonable line. Earlier on this thread he responded that Allen Venet had actually used the term "split the baby". Hint Hint. If Allen suggested that for COBI, then where is Tucker?
Brian January 08, 2014 at 02:38 PM
DOD - I've e-mailed T2014 to inquire just this morning as a matter of fact. I haven't yet received a response, and I'm not sure if I will or not. Between my e-mail and posts here they are aware of my viewpoint. On a COBI note however, I realize that Herman is connected with them but I'm not sure in what capacity. However, Keith Hanks is on the board and had this to say yesterday: "This messaging is a side of COBI many people are not used too and having the best financial results from the feasibility study has given COBI the confidence and justification to keep the border inside of 285. Take this comment however you want. No speculation, no hype -- this is the 1/7/14 reality." So, unless Herman is in a position to over-ride Keith, I'm not sure if T2014's position on splitting the baby matters. So, DOD - maybe you should bring it up to Keith if it's something you could support as well. I'd sure like to see a compromise, it's the only chance COBI and Tucker have in my opinion.
Herman Lorenz January 08, 2014 at 06:55 PM
Brian: We'd love to hear about your reaction from T2014 (that abbreviation always makes me think it's a new Terminator movie). FYI Keith and I are both in the Exec Committee of COBI. As has been said many times, splitting the baby may be the best possible outcome of the city design efforts. You can read my comments about "Designing the Geography of a City" for my general views. The other post about Northlake being Ground Zero has some more thoughts (although my guess at some of the numbers was not very precisely accurate). We're all looking forward to two successful cities. We say "potato"; Tucker says "potahto". They both make great french fries.
FredS January 08, 2014 at 08:05 PM
Herman-good to know you are on the Board. I asked you above what you have offered Tucker in compromise. Have you offered this split? Or have you only offered what Brian said Keith wrote...which is nothing?
Cheryl Miller January 08, 2014 at 09:44 PM
Brian, thanks for the clarification. I thought the suggestion was what portion to GIVE to Briarcliff organizers. I understand you are now trying to negotiate to KEEP what already is a part of Tucker, essentially you are naming off to Herman what is already in the Tucker zip code and offering to him that we keep it. Is that right?
Cheryl Miller January 08, 2014 at 09:58 PM
Let me just reiterate. ... ... . Something that is already called Tucker today, has Tucker written all over it, stamped on every letter, marked on every business card and used on every holiday card this year (even postmarked at its own post office) .... you are suggesting that Tucker keep that, right? And that's your FIRST offer? So, most likely he will talk to his people and come back with a counter offer that is something a little less, right? Isn't that how the car guys do it? Please tell me you have at least negotiated the purchase of a car at some point in your life, right? SO, then what geniuses? Then you are faced with accepting less than what Tucker has already in its own name right now. And you are making zero attempt to gain the mall (even though Briarcliff already has N. DeKalb Mall). And THIS is the plan you are going to email to Santa Claus to gain his approval??
Brian January 09, 2014 at 11:45 AM
Cheryl, both groups claimed all of Northlake on the their original maps. The suggestion above IS a compromise position, for both sides. It's coming down to the wire on this if you haven't noticed. Legislature takes it up next week unless I'm mistaken. Please continue with the hysterics though, they're quite amusing.
Brian January 09, 2014 at 11:59 AM
Herman, if you and Keith are on the Exec Committee- why are you asking a random poster (me) on a message board where T2014 stands on a compromise? Shouldn't you be communicating with them directly? What am I missing here? For the record, they did respond, "I don't believe I am at liberty to speak candidly about the negotiations at this point. We need to respect the verbal agreement between all involved parties." Which I completely understand and respect. As much as all of us keyboard quarterbacks would like to know every detail of every conversation, I understand that's not how you carry on an effective negotiation. (Cue Cheryl Hysterics) As for whatever verbal agreement was reached between the groups about not talking about negotiations in public, I'm a little confused as to how Keith's comments from Tuesday abide by that agreement. You'll be glad to know T2014 is apparently living up to their end of the deal.
newsydon January 10, 2014 at 05:26 PM
brian i think there have been a couple comments about the fact that the briarcliff folks had made proposals to the tucker folks, with no result. but you're right about the subsequent negotiations. probably nobody talking about nothin. just so lakeside's not involved in the discussion.


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