Monday, February 06, 2006

Last Call for LPDS

As many of our dedicated readers already know, the ACC Mayor and Commission is getting together for its regular monthly hootenanny tomorrow.  Among the items on the agenda is one that you haven’t heard too much about lately – La Puerta del Sol.  (It’s issue number 12, if you’re keeping score at home.)

Back in the old days, LPDS was the story, but the vitriol and anger has died down on both sides lately.  Our sources who are all up in the Commission’s shizzle tell us that the volume of phone calls, emails, and for all we know, carrier pigeon deliveries to the individual commissioners is significantly lower than it was back in September and October.  One source estimates the volume as being about 10% of what it was back when LPDS was being discussed daily on this blog and others.  Heck, the ABH hasn’t even done anything on it lately, with the exception of Don Nelson’s column Sunday.  (He supports it.)

Why the dampening of the LPDS parade?  Well, there are a number of factors at play here.  First of all, there’s probably an element of confidence on the part of the LPDS opponents.  They figure (rightly, in our opinion) that their side has the votes.  If they’re right, then making a big ol’ stink would probably have negative repercussions, like stirring up the hornet’s nest of LPDS supporters around town.  The result: even if it doesn’t change a single vote (and it probably wouldn’t), it would still stir up the same kind of mudslinging and acrimony that we were seeing back in October, and that kind of acrimony should really be reserved for other political battles – for instance, when Ralph Hudgens decides to introduce legislation to make himself Defender of the Faith and Lord Protector of Oglethorpe County.

You’ve also got the fact that people are just plain tired of the issue.  Heaven knows, we trumpeted the gospel of LPDS from the highest rooftops, but as you may have noticed, we’re kind of tired of the issue too.  

And, unlike this time a few months ago, there are (gasp!) actually other things to talk about.  You’ve got wacky Republican hijinks under the Gold Dome, and wacky Chamber of Commerce hijinks here at home.  And, if that’s not enough, more people are starting to pay attention to the Mayor’s race.

The real question is this: has the relative silence on LPDS given any of the Commissioners enough political cover to vote for it?

Honestly, probably not.  The problem with LPDS - the problem that existed from the very beginning – is that the people who oppose it wield much more political power in ACC than the people who support it.  The opponents of the zoning reversal control the neighborhood associations.  Many of them have the time and interest to be regular communicants with their elected officials.  Some of them go even farther in the political process and write checks or volunteer their time.  Agree with them or not, you can’t fault them for taking part in the process.  

None of that is to say proponents of LPDS are apolitical or uninvolved.  Many are.  For instance, your crack editorial staff often emails their Commissioners (everyone has two, just like boobies) about the pressing issues of the day.  It should be noted in the interests of snarkiness that your humble author’s representatives have yet to bother to write back.  (We’re talking to you, Mr. Bow Tie.)

But a neighborhood association is a powerful and many-splendored thing.  Sure they don’t control the votes of everyone in the barrio, but they do control a bigger bloc than you might think, just because neighborhoods tend to attract a fairly homogenous group of folks.  And in any reasonably homogenous group of folks, there are going to be people who are political, and people who aren’t.  And they talk, and the apolitical types tend to be influenced by the political types.  (“Hey, Gary has a minivan and 2.3 kids.  So do I.  Well, Gary thinks Tom Chasteen is a pretty stand up guy, so I guess I’ll vote for him too.)

More importantly, the neighborhood associations offer a candidate a means of reaching a large number of voters in a more efficient fashion, as well as the credibility of having neighbor Gary driving you door-to-door in the minivan with his 2.3 kids.  If the neighborhood association likes you, that is.  Without their imprimatur, that entry is exceedingly more difficult.  Ask Bruno Rubio and Matt Casey.  

So it isn’t in any politician’s best interests to hack off the neighborhood associations.  And, it’s out speculation that the neighborhood associations are perhaps the only interested parties still paying very close attention to this matter.  And pay attention they will.  And woe betide the commissioner who votes against them.

If you want a prediction, heck we don’t know from predicting.  Ah, what the hell?  We’ll say it fails 6-4.  For what it’s worth, we think that there are actually enough votes to pass it, but those commissioners, while they support it, will yield to the probably unanimous opposition among the two commissioners directly concerned.  (At this point, we feel it’s safe to speculate on “no” votes from both States McCarter and Elton Dodson.)


ned said...

What is sad is that I rarely went to the East Side to eat, but I would go there every few months if LPDS was there. Bruno Rubio makes good food and it would do a lot of good to have a place like that on the East Side which can attract people from downtown/west side. I bet of college students living on the east side would love it too.

Jmac said...

I'm calling Chasteen, Maxwell, Sims and Carter with the no votes. If Lynn or Jordan can be swayed, Heidi's got a tough decision to make.

Anonymous said...

just for fun, I think it goes down like this:
No - Chasteen, Dodson, Sims, McCarter
Yes - Carter, Maxwell, Kinman, Lynn, Jordan, Hoard

but Carter, Sims, or Kinman could go the other way and Jordan and Maxwell are always wild cards

I hope all the commissioners are bigger people than I am on this because I think McCarter and his gang of bullies and thugs should lose this one just because of their strong arm behavior. That's a poor reason to make a decision but I hate to see this kind of thuggery rewarded.

Jmac said...

I meant 'yes' votes on my earlier pick. Unless I'm getting really screwy.

Dawg Corleone said...

I'm rooting for 5-5.

Don't think it'll happen; I think it goes down 6-4 or even 7-3. But this is one time I'd love to see the mayor vote.

Publius said...

You know, you might get your wish. The question marks are Lynn and Jordan, maybe Kinman.

I understand that Jordan was, at least initially, in favor of the project.

Here's one interesting thing to consider for anyone who wants to weigh in. How does the dynamic in the Commission change if this does pass, despite "no" votes from Dodson and McCarter, being the two Commissioners directly representing the area? That would be fairly rare, although not unheard of. (For instance, I think both Lynn and Dodson were in favor of three-laning Prince, although I'm too lazy to look that up right now.)

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

Lynn and Dodson were, along with Jordan and Kinman. (leave it to me to look stuff up)

What effect, if any, passage under the circumstances you described would have is unclear. I don't think Dodson would really care; it's probably what he really wants anyway, and he'd just be voting no out of respect for his constituents. McCarter would obviously be pissed, but I'm not sure it would cause any rifts that don't already exist.

monticello_pres said...

As a member of D-8 (and D-10), and as one of the "bullies and thugs" irrationally referenced by a brave writer named anonymous, I would agree it appears it will be close. I am out of town but trying to make it back for the events.

Until recently, I had some info that made it a 9-1 with Carter being the only "yes". But it appears at least 4 of the "no" may not be locks. And, wow, what would Heidi do in a 5-5? That would be worth the price of admission right there.

And excellent research work about the 3-laning of Prince. That was going to be my question - as it pertains to the M&C going against the will/wish of the local commissioners.

I will add that regardless of the hype and misinformation and emotion, the neighborhood opposition really began (and remained with the majority of folks) a zoning issue. We were asked whether we would support a rezoning of that site. And based on the concerns of a C-N (which may not forever be LPDS) across the street from CSHS and among other properties that would likely then piggy back requests to C-N, we were not supportive. Afterall, no one wants another Broad St or Atlanta Hwy. Lexington Rd is designed for that.

The potential/proposed SDO on CSD would alleviate the slippery slope arguement. It would not, however, alleviate the C-N and restaurant across the street from CSHS.

At this point, though, I think everyone is pleased that tonight is the end of the line. Unless I am wrong, and I hope that I am not, there are no actions that could drag this into the future.

monticello_pres said...

One additional observation.

If it does go 5-5 and Heidi breaks that with a "yes" vote, there is another case of politics making strange bed fellows. The Chamber has been supportive of this, yet Heidi and Lynn and Kinman and Jordan could be on the same side this time. Yet I have been in opposition to it - and am a Chamber member and typical "R" voter.

I guess a label or letter really doesn't summarize all of our actions, huh?

Publius said...

Holy acronyms, MP!

Seriously, I never heard the 9-1 passing rumor, but I've been hearing today that this thing might well pass. There is precedent in the three-laning thing.

I'm kind of keeping my fingers crossed for a 5-5, just to see how the Mayor breaks it, although I imagine that the Mayor would prefer that not happen.

On the other hand, though - entertainment politics aside - I hope the vote goes at least 7 - 3 one way or the other, so that there will be enough of a slant to hopefully put the ire behind us.

hillary said...

Well, Heidi needs the votes back from the young folk, doesn't she? That's who's all ticked off with all the downtown stuff. Getting the chance to vote yes on this (in addition to her ballsiness on the redistricting) might gain her back a few people she's lost.

monticello_pres said...

I'm happy that you called me out on the acronyms. I thought as I typed that was becoming an obvious trend. But from a laptop in a car, I had no alternatives.

I'm back in town and have tuned into the meeting with a cold beer and bag of peanuts. We'll see how the chips fall. If we can move beyond these Commerce Blvd and/or Mitchell Bridge Rd proposals, we have a chance at a 1:00 am bed time.

As for the 7-3 vote or 5-5 vote, I hope any ire is gone regardless of the score. We all state our case and let the votes occur. And, I for one, will support LPDS if it is approved. Afterall, a defunct restaurant does the Eastside no good.

monticello_pres said...

Item 12 - or anything productive - may simply never arrive tonight thanks to Commissioner Jordan.

I ask a favor of this communtiy (regardless of your stance on LPDS). If I stab myself through the throat with my ballpoint pen, someone should help my wife and kids for prosecuting Carl Jordan for assisted suicide.

I appreciate, in advance, your assistance.

Dawg Corleone said...

Carl Jordan is quite possibly the single most annoying person I have ever seen in public life. And friends, that is saying something.

He's a wonderful, warm, engaging person in private. But behind the rail he turns into the Incredible Moving Mouth.

There were only 3 items on tonight's consent agenda. He pulled 2 of them, and was then the 1 in a pair of 9-1 votes. If you ask him, he says it's about speaking for his constituents. If you ask me, it's about unbridled arrogance.