Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fran Millar wastes everyone's time; Medlock appeals to House to rectify La Vista Hills boundary

MANA President Lynn Ganim sent the following letter to Representative  Rex Brockaway.
Dear Representative Brockway, 
Recently, Senator Fran Millar showed his contempt for the House by ignoring the agreed-upon northern border of LaVista Hills with Tucker.  Yesterday he showed his complete disregard for openly and fairly-agreed-upon changes in the southern border of LaVista Hills.  I was part of a group representing the Medlock and Mason Mill neighborhoods of DeKalb who met with a representative of LaVista Hills and staff for Senator Elena Parent and Representative May Margaret Oliver.  We were told that Senator Millar would incorporate our requests to have parts of our neighborhoods removed from the LVH map if the LVH representative agreed. These areas had never been on the LVH map before, and LVH does not even want them. As a result, we spent several hours with the map and amicably agreed on relatively minor changes which would have restored the wholeness of our neighborhoods and would, we thought, satisfy Senator Millar’s requirements. 
However, he changed his requirements and proceeded to run roughshod over our agreement for no understandable reason. This dishonorable behavior reinforces the public cynicism and distrust of government.  It’s as if he were a cat playing with a mouse, and we are outraged. There is no acceptable excuse for his actions.
Please defeat the Senate version of the LaVista Hills map, which reaches into Medlock and Mason Mill, and return to the original map agreed upon by your Governmental Affairs sub-committee or the map recently sent to you by Senator Parent. Doing so would be to take one small step towards restoring integrity to this process and the faith of citizens in their elected representatives. 
Thank you.

Lynn Ganim
Medlock Area Neighborhood Association (MANA)


Mary Hinkel, President, Mason Mill Civic Association
maryhinkel at comcast
Lynn Ganim, President, Medlock Area Neighborhood Association (MANA) lganim at bellsouth 404.735.2510

March 26, 2015


In spite of the fact that neighborhood leaders from Mason Mill and Medlock reached boundary agreements with LaVista Hills prior to the Senate's adoption of HB520 on March 25th, Senator Fran Millar (R-40th district) refused to delay action on the bill, thus splitting two neighborhoods in two for no apparent reason.
According to Mary Hinkel, President of the Mason Mill Civic Association: "We acted in good faith, following Senator Millar's instructions to Senator Parent on Monday, March 23rd, that he would make any changes LaVista Hills representative Steve Schultz agreed to.  We met the following morning and essentially agreed to the map that had already been approved in the House, with minor modifications.  The next step was to write the legal description of the boundary for inclusion in an amendment to be proposed by Senator Millar.  As it turns out, while we were meeting, Senator Millar was moving forward on his own.  I am shocked by his heavy-handed and cavalier approach."
While the Mason Mill and Medlock neighborhoods remained intact in the original House-drawn map, Senator Millar presented a new map to the Senate created by the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office.  The office relies on census-block mapping techniques, rather than more up-to-date geographic information software.  As a result, in order to draw the commercial areas of Toco Hills and North DeKalb mall into the new LaVista Hills map, the office also had to include the residential properties in the same census blocks, thus splitting the neighborhoods.  
Legislative Counsel for the House and Senate assured Senator Parent's staff on Monday that a map could be used that included a boundary described by "metes and bounds" and not census-block mapping.
"We want to keep our neighborhoods unified.  To be thwarted by an antiquated mapping technique is outrageous in a time when every smart phone can create a highly detailed map." says Lynn Ganim, President, Medlock Area Neighborhood Association (MANA). "We ask the legislature to convene a conference committee to fix the southern borders as agreed, using metes and bounds."