Friday, October 14, 2005

Get your $20 ID from the bus, Gus

Ok, that was interesting, but for God's sake people, we had to start a new post sometime. So here goes. Relevant to the initial previous post topic (which is more than I can say for 90% of the 51 comments following it; but's that ok, it was entertaining) is ABH's report today that the "Georgia Licensing on Wheels" bus is coming to Athens on Saturday. The GLOW bus will be in the iron triangle from noon to 3. It's actually free to "indigent" voters (I'm not sure how they determine indigency for this purpose), or $25 for a 5 yr ID or $35 for a 10 yr ID for those who "can afford" it, according to the article. If you know someone who needs an ID, get em out there on Saturday.

Meanwhile, back in LPDSland, Margaret Johnston's letter grossly mischaracterizes the zoning issues. First, she states that Stuart Cofer wants "another bite of the rezoning apple". The request is as much, if not more, Bruno's that Stuart's. Next, she states that the rezoning would allow mixed-use, as if that's a bad thing. Then she suggests that LPDS's submitted plans were short of what is required for planned developments. Oh really? So the Planning Commission approved LPDS unanimously, even though the submitted plans didn't even meet their guidelines for consideration? Curious. She then suggests that LPDS will somehow "open the way for other property owners along Cedar Shoals Drive to obtain zoning permits even for strip malls, of which the eastside has an ample supply". Margaret, Margaret, Margaret. That's the everloving point! LPDS is MIXED-USE!!!!! NOT A STRIP MALL!!! Ahem, Sorry. If anything, LPDS will make it much more likely that you'll never see a new strip mall on the east side again. Instead, you'll probably see more and more of the very mixed-use development that you seem to deplore for some reason. For her last point, she does what I knew it wouldn't take long for some opponent to do: she uses Bruno's other lease issues as a reason he shouldn't get LPDS. I'll leave the debate on what's going on with those other leases to others, but saying he shouldn't get LPDS because of that is like saying...well, I don't know what's it's like saying, but it's ridiculous. The two things are apples and plaintains.

T to the I to the P to the S, yo.


RandomThoughts said...

In reference to the GLOW bus. I have two problems: 1) how about those who do not have ABH service? Either they cannot afford it, can't read or the print is too small. How are they being notified? 2) Two forms of ID are required. Many older persons are not going to have the second forms needed. I work with older citizens and many were born at home and have no birth certificate and most of the women were not members of the military. Passport? Really now.

This may look good on paper but folks it's still leaving out the same people.

Buck Laughlin said...

Good, Lord.

Baby, meet bathwater. You're about to be tossed out together.

I will admit: you win. There is no system we can ever devise that will make voting hassle-free for every single soul who wants--or who you think wants--to cast a ballot. Every time we solve one set of problems ("We'll pay for the cards and even bring a bus to your town to give you the cards, now shut up and vote") you anticipate more problems, ie "What about people who don't read the newspaper?"

The best we can do is the best we can do.

Meantime, without intending snarkiness, I'm driven to ask: is the Democratic party so desperate for voters that is now spending all its time and energy soliciting support from people who have no money and don't read newspapers? At the risk of insensitivity, we call those folks losers. And I mean the real losers, not the folks who step up to the plate and swing and miss. You're getting down with people who never even pick up a bat.

Thanks, but no thanks. You can have 'em. Fact is, they don't vote anyway.

hillary said...

God yeah. To hell with those people who don't have money. It's not like they deserve representation.

Publius said...

Disenfranchise the poor and poorly educated. You heard it here first, folks.

Buck Laughlin said...

They disenfranchise themselves.

Voters will risk death to cast ballots this weekend in Iraq.

And I'm supposed to worry about some schlub who can't find his way to the bus?

Publius said...

Nope. Fortunately, you have folks like us, the US Constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and (at least we used to have) the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to worry about these things, so that you can ramble on about how poor people shouldn't be allowed to vote.

Enjoying our First Amendment rights today are we?

But seriously, why do you hate the Constitution?

Buck Laughlin said...

I'm a big fan of the Constitution. I especially like the part where it says I get to keep my gun.

The courts will decide what, if anything, is unconstitutional about requiring voters to prove they are who they claim they are.

RandomThoughts said...

This is so off the wall I don't know what to say. Yes, I do. You are a perfect example of Republican thinking and the reason so many people - loyal Republicans - are trying to find an alternate way to vote. They don't really want to vote Democratic, but they are thinking about it and looking hard at Democratic candidates.

My point was that this bus is smoke and mirrors. Looks good but is an illusion. The people it claims to benefit are still left out in the cold. Is there going to be someone on that bus who can help these people who do not have the identification papers they need? It seems that should be a first step. THEN let's talk about requiring photo ID.

I agree with the idea of voter identification (although if it isn't a problem why did Republicans decide to "fix" it - Oh, to keep certain folks from being able to vote.) but before we require ID can we make sure that everyone entitled to vote has the proper ID? Just a thought.

hillary said...

How's that rock doing at keeping the bears away?

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

I'm not really going to contribute very much substance of the debate here; you guys have that covered. I just want to clarify that my encouragement of folks to utilize the bus was by no means an endorsement of it or the voter ID bill. As my co-crack editor said, the bus is pretty much a bs, "look, we're trying not to piss all over the poor, at least" smokescreen. However, it is there, and to the extent anybody who can't make to the DMV can manage to find a way to the bus, I encourage them to get the ID if they need it.

I agree we need someway to monitor voting fraud. I agree that some people simply don't vote because they simply don't care (I can't imagine what gave them the idea that their vote wouldn't change anything...oh yeah...maybe it's because politicians of both parties have been screwing them with their pants on for years). Neither of those things necessarily leads to the conclusion that this is the answer.

Jmac said...

Can I ask why Republicans only seem to love the Second Amendment? Granted, I've got no problem with it either, but I also like the rest of the damn thing as well.

Publius said...

When I grow up, I want to be a champion for Third Amendment rights.

RandomThoughts said...

I never thought anyone at AP didn't see through the bus deal. I wouldn't be spending my time and energy here if I thought you were that dumb. It's just that working with older citizens, I'm very much atune to their unique problems that younger people might not even think about.

Keep up the good work. And thanks for your support of the disabled veterans mileage thing.

Anonymous said...

Uh, so, when was that Supreme Court decision that determined that the Second Amendment gives an individual, not a collective, right to bear arms?
Go read the text of the Amendment, Bucky, then find me that Supreme Court decision that says, "well, the Amendment say 'militia' and seems to be talking about community rights, but really it give every individual the right to bear arms." What's the name of that decision?

Publius said...

Such a huge can or worms to open up on such a pleasant Friday afternoon...

monticello_pres said...

I am amazed that we are so upset about requiring photo ID to vote. I just returned a birthday gift to Wal-Mart (no editorial comments about the generosity of my relatives, please). No receipt meant 2 things. First, I had to get a gift card for Sam's place. Second, I had to show photo ID.

So are we really saying that we should require less formality to vote than to return a gift to Wal-Mart?

Come on, folks. There is a least-common-denominator factor that simply requires some effort and some individual responsibility to capitalize on the privledge of voting. It's not like we are requiring landownership again.

As for the LPDS article today, Margaret was right on. It was well said and relays the thoughts of most of the east side. Let's remove the PD that was granted to Stuart and let him sell the land as he bought it - zoned C-O. With logical thoughts like hers, we may be able to overcome the overzealousness (is that a word) of States and a select few others.

And to say that the request is Bruno's not Stuart's is as ridiculous as saying the NAACP is non-partisan.

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

Heh..ok..a few things...

1)The ability to be able to exchange a birthday gift for something else at Wally World is not a constitutionally guaranteed right. And only Wal-Mart, not the government, is restricting your right to do so without a photo ID.

2)While you may agree with Margaret's position, can you honestly say it "well said" with "logical thoughts"? Her letter contained out-and-out factual inaccuracies, the most blatant of which was that the development plan was not "what was usually required". While many may agree with her that the original Cofer's rezoning should never have happened (I'm not sure how many, really), as we've detailed many times on here, it's kinda late for that.

3) What's ridiculous about saying the request is Bruno's too? Matt Casey, his representative, gave half of the official 10 minute presentation to the Commission. Bruno wants to buy the site as much as Stuart wants to sell it. Do you think all of those people at the Commission meeting were wearing those yellow t-shirts because they're so passionate about bailing out Stuart Cofer?

Jmac said...

Good points ... all of 'em.

monticello_pres said...

Assuming that this acceptable compared to what is "usually required", which is admittedly a point that I have only heard States and one other Cedar Creek resident (who is a former Planning Commission member) mention, then that point is not correct.

And while 2 wrongs do not make a right and Tit /=/ Tat, I suppose Margaret's inaccuracy simply matches those mentioned in previous discussions here. The most blatant which stated that Cofers received a "spot zone" and determined that by simply allowing the property to revert to its previous zoning would take care of the issues at hand. That's just not true.

Here are the quotes from Out, Out Damned Spot (Zoning)!!

"Opponents of LPDS will tell you that spot zoning is necessary in order for Bruno Rubio to develop the land. This isn’t actually the case.

The Cofer’s property, which we’d like to see made into LPDS, is actually already spot-zoned. LPDS merely seeks to reverse that existing spot zoning, and to return the property to its original zoning, under the existing land-use plan."

As you review the zoning of the Cofers property prior to the (PD) designation, you realize that it was not C-N or its equivalent. So this is just not true. Again, as I've offered, let's allow this to revert to the original C-O zone and let Stuart-Little sell the property as it was zoned previously.

Of course, when we are managing our world with polarized spin, what do the facts really matter?

Publius said...

A couple of new points to consider on LPDS.

First of all, if LPDS doesn't pass, I would be surprised if anyone wants to develop this site for any purpose. While there have been some well-argued positions taken aginst LPDS, the majority of the rhetoric from the opposition makes it seem as though the east side is violently opposed to any type of commercial development at the site. Again, there are those out there (some of whom post here) who offer well-reasoned and passionate opposition, and had there been more of that coming from the opposition, then I, for one, might not have made up my mind on this one yet. As it is, what voices of sanity there are are being drowned out. And one result of that is that, if LPDS doesn't pass, other potential developers just might be scared off.

Additionally, it isn't as though there's been a whole lot of interest in the site prior to this. That property has been vacant for how many years now?

In the spirit of looking rationally at this, I'd like to ask a few questions, for folks on both sides of the issue to think over.

1. For people in the neighborhood, which would you rather see on the property, LPDS or a vacant lot? Those are the only two options right now. As far as I know, there are no other developments, proposed or potential for the site right now. Are the residents of the east side ready and willing to keep the land fallow, as it were, for two more years or more?

2. For people on both sides of the issue, would your opinion change if LPDS were looking to build in Boulevard, Five Points, or Cobbham? Or in your neighborhood? (Personal note: I had to think this one over for quite awhile, I hope you will too.)

These are just a few things I've been mulling over lately.

One final note, because once again, the dreaded s-word ("spin") has reared its ugly head. Now, being a political junkie (and one who has worked a good bit in the world of professional politics), "spin" isn't necessarily a bad thing to me. Heck, we spin all the time, all of us, politician or average Joe. Spin, done correctly, is just presenting the strongest points of your side. Nothing more, nothing less. And when you've got what is arguably the most powerful homeowner's association in the county and a powerful elected official bringing their weight to bear against a guy who, frankly, didn't give a damn about politics before all of this blew up, sometimes a little spin is your best friend.

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

Look, contrary to what you apparently believe, I do care about the facts. That's one of the things that's bothered me about this debate. So let's parse this out.

So far as I understand it, the whole thing was originally was C-0, Cofer's got a rezone (whether or not to call either rezone a "spot zone" is a side argument that I could quite frankly do without, because it's all a matter of semantics and degree; but we had to address it because that was one of the main arguments of the opposition), the designation of which I'm not sure of, but which allowed the gardening center. The LPDS request would rezone the site to C-N, which, as you say, is not the original designation. So strictly speaking, the earlier post was incorrect when it said that. I think the idea was that this rezone puts the site back in line with the overall land use plan.

The point is that virtually nothing can be put into the Cofer's site other than a gardening center without a rezone. Whether that's to C-N, C-O, or something else is open to debate. Currently the only proposal is LPDS's to C-N. Clearly you want it to go back to C-O, and perhaps others do too, but nobody's proposed that until suddenly this massive opposition to LPDS arose.

And the thing about the sufficiency of the LPDS plans was certainly not Margaret's only inaccuracy, just the only one I mentioned. How does a grant of this rezone in any way make it easier for to put a "strip mall" on Cedars Shoals Drive, for example?

As I said, I do care about facts, and if you feel we've missed the mark anywhere else, please tell us, because I want to be right because I'm right, not because I scream it louder.

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

And by the way, I should have said "supposedly massive" opposition to LPDS, because I'm still not convinced that the actual opposition is that great.

Publius said...

My word, DiDDY! You are up late!

monticello_pres said...

Mornin all. Can't say I was conscious for the 1:00 am posts. With 2 elementary aged kids, bed time is a welcome event for all of us. But I applaud your stamina.

As for your accuracy, I have no complaints. The previous zoning (of this site) issue was one of the only things that I have taken real issue with - only because there are folks on both sides of this issue who aren't researching for themselves. They are either lemmings or following their emotions. Because of this, they will be easily led. So I can only hope they are led by accuracies rather than inaccuracies. Otherwise, though, you and the LPDS supporters here appear to be making rational considerations (except for the claim that the NAACP is non-partisan).

I do agree that Bruno may not have cared about politics to this point. But Matt, Ken, and the other folks driving this issue do. While there are always 2 sides to every story, there were times early on when they had a chance (or chances) to present their ideas directly to several HOA boards - not just CCCA - and chose instead to go the community party route. Looking back, I think this spawned a growth of opposition as it was a slap in the face of the folks who passionately care about this area and who understand the perils and pitfalls of zoning. That's not to say there wasn't opposition before this move, there was. But I can't recall it as passionate as it has become. At that point, it was simlpy... no, we really would not support a petition to rezone this site to a C-N. After their move, it was apparent (or perceived) that the LPDS folks did not really mean "we won't develop this site if the neighbors don't want it". It was apparent (or perceived) that they wanted to fight their way in.

I enjoy the debate here and appreciate the logic, thought, and energy you have put into this issue. Just because we sit on different sides of the fence doesn't mean that I am right and you are wrong. You know what they say about opinions, afterall.

As for Margaret's point about the "strip malls", it's probably a bit overstated. But there is no doubt that precedent matters in zoning. Either the AHB Editorial staff or Don Nelson, I can't remember, said that precedent doesn't matter. That's hogwash. Once there is a C-N then the property next door claims they can go C-N as it is no longer out of character with the surrounding area. Then the next property, then the next, then the next...

Many East Side folks were active in planning an "overlay" for a stretch of Gaines School Road. This allowed for commmercial development in a pre-defined manner. This has allowed Gaines School Road, in my opinion and the opinion of many others, to develop in a much more beneficial way that Barnett Shoals Road (in front of Kroger) or GSR near Lexington. If you ask my opinion, a possible solution that could come of this debate is a "no" to the current rezone request (to C-N) but a subsequent overlay creation for CSD. Then there is no doubt about what would be required, requested, or approved. Again, just one man's thoughts.

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

Thank you for you last post; those are some interesting points that I'm not sure I've heard anyone on your side make previously. If the entire debate/discussion on this rezoning had taken place with the same tone, we'd probably all be better off Who's to blame for it not being so? I think both sides to some extent, and I will concede that at times my own rhetoric has taken an inflammatory tone, mostly in response to what I perceived as ridiculous statements and behavior by States et. al.

At any rate, I hope that no matter what happens with the vote, the reasonable folks on both sides of this issue can get together to figure out the best way to go forward with developing the east side. Because ultimately, as Comm. Dodson said, that's what this is about. While we may disagree about whether LPDS is beneficial or not, I think we agree that we want development on the east side (and everywhere in Athens for that matter) to happen in a thought-out, sustainable manner. I happen to think that mixed-use development is the way to go in that regard, and LPDS therefore fits in perfectly.

Anonymous said...


In all this debate, I have never seen the ~real~ issue raised, at least the one about which so many of my Eastside neighbors are concerned.

On LPDS' own web site, they show that the nearest residences are less than 250 feet away. Mr. Rubio has repeatly stated that he will shut off the music at 11 PM.

I have read at least one post here from an individual that has elementary school-age children. How will live, amplified outdoor music 200 or 300 feet from your house at 10:30 PM assist you in geetting your children ready for the next school day?

If Mr. Rubio intends to keep the noise confined to his property, he should state that in his public forums, or in the newspaper.

If he does not intend to keep his music from being heard in the surrounding neighborhoods, then don't you think those people have a valid reason to object to the idea?

Publius said...


As of last count, the crack editorial staff have written no less than 11,778 words on the subject of La Puerta del Sol. We're humbled and embarrassed to admit that we've never addressed the subject of noise.

Oh wait, yeah we have.

"Tough to tell which side this guy is on, since he also points out that the arguments against LPDS based on traffic and noise are bogus too. " [LPDS: The ABH Mailbag - 10/13/05]

"The Planning Commission, much like the residents, carefully considered the problems of traffic and noise, and found those concerns to be negligible."
[Out, Out, Damned Spot (Zoning)!! - 10/12/05]

These issues are similar to the alcohol one, except that they have a higher degree of merit under these particular facts. If LPDS created substantial burdens in these areas, each would be a valid reason to oppose it. The problem is, for the most part these concerns have been addressed in the Planning Commission, and the reality is that LPDS is not likely to cause even a noticeable increase in any of these areas, except for those directly adjacent to the property. Those are NOT the neighborhoods making so much noise against LPDS; rather those are apartment complexes, like Tivoli across the street. Having no concrete evidence either way, I'm going to engage in speculation and suggest that the occupants of those apartment complexes would overwhelmingly support this dining and entertainment option within walking distance. Having also lived in Tivoli, I'll also suggest that those in the apartments are used to the noise and traffic, thank you very much. A very modest increase will likely not be noticed." [LPDS Redux - 10/05/05]

Those are a handful of examples from October. The fact is, as you say, that the nearest resident is 250 feet. Those residents also live in an apartment complex, and let's be perfectly honest. It ain't Barrington and Tivoli who are raising a fuss about LPDS, in fact, as we've mentioned here before, most of the apartment dwellers seem to support this, based on out own (admittedly anecdotal) evidence.
The folks raising a fuss are homeowners, and the nearest one of those is almost three football fields away.
Additionally, while I'll concede that Bruno should probably acknowledge the noise thing head on, I also believe that the fact that the Athens Clarke County Planning Commission has done just that (calling the noise and traffic increases negligible) is much more credible than Bruno saying it. Why don't you agree?
Also, I've heard mention of outdoor music, yes, but not "live, amplified outdoor music," as you put it. According to Bruno, the outdoor music concept is going to be much more for ambience (meaning strolling guitarists) than loud raucous salsa bands.

Anonymous said...

Well, you have written 11,778 (whoops, make that 12,045) words, but I can't find anything quotingg Mr. Rubio saying that the music won't be a problem in Cedar Creek.

I read the Planning Comission package, and watched the PowerPoint(tm) presentation, but I saw nothing about live music - only the P.C.'s recommendation that "outside musical performances be allowed only from 11 AM and 11 PM" (I ~think they meant >until< 11 PM, but I could be wrong, right?)

Most of the people I've talked to who actually live on the Eastside are in favor of Mr. Rubio building a restaurant in the area - even at Cofer's site. Their objection is to loud music seven night a week until 11 PM. I have heard this objection from almost every resident I've talked to, so it can't be a secret from Mr. Rubio or the Athens Banner-Herald. I have yet to see it addressed by either one. Or by this blog. But I just found you today, so give me time to read all 11,778 (I mean 12,045) words....

You know how rumors start - some anonymous poster puts a comment on somebody's blog, and the next thing you know, everybody in town thinks the football team is being dropped in favor of water polo, or some enterprising restauranteur is going to be hosting Sabado Gigante in your back yard seven nights a week. In your heart, you know it's probably not true, but there might be a kernel of truth in it, or there might be the whole ear. If it's your back yard, can you afford to take the chance?

All I'm asking is for the developer to state what kind of noise he expects to eminate from his property, and answer the neighbor's concerns. Until he does that, I can't say I'm in favor of the idea as it is now perceived. I would hope I'm wrong, and something that is an asset to this side of town can be created.

Come on, Mr. Rubio. Clear the air...

Publius said...

(Initially posted as a comment on the wrong thread. My bad.)

Sabado Gigante on the east side! Now that's funny! You know, I try to bring the funny, but you just trumped me for the night.

Tell you what I'll do. I'll shoot Bruno and Matt an email, and put their response up on AP for all to see. Fair?

Of course, given how open and transparent they've been, you could also email them too. I swear, I really think these guys are in it for the right reasons and really want to hear and respond to questions, comments, etc about LPDS.

Fishplate said...

Fair. Glad to read this, and I've put further comments on that thread.

(Note that I've come out and revealed my true identity. No more hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.)