Candy, Apples and Gum

31 10 2008

The best cartoon monologue of all time.

Happy Halloween!

Oakhurst Village Haunted House

31 10 2008

Karen points to an announcement on the Oakhurst Message Board about a Haunted House in the parking lot of the now defunct Mulligan’s tonight.

Tonight is the night! Doors open around 6. Please remember to bring a
cash donation and/or a can food donation for entry. All donations
from tonight will go towards Seniors helping Seniors.

A lot of people in our community have worked hard to put this together
so please come out for a spooky night.

Special Thanks to Vision Properties, Coldwell Banker ( Melissa Stratton), Mojo Pizza, Universal Joint, Steinbeck’s, Snap Fitness, Taj Ma- Hound, Cooking for Monkeys (Pam Galenkamp), Oakhurst Realty, Matador Cantina, The Hop -N-Shop, My Favorite Mechanic, and Kavarna.

Plus all the volunteers that have been working all this week and the donations of materials from everyone in the neighborhood!

Bad Wreck On Scott?

30 10 2008

MG reported a “seemingly bad wreck” on Scott in front of Westchester Elementary around 8:45p this evening.

It couldn’t have happened much earlier because I drove down that stretch not 15 minutes prior to that.  UPDATE: Sounds like it took place around 7:30p

Anyone have additional info?

A Smart Growth Discussion

30 10 2008

Decatur resident David Goldberg recently sat down for an interview with Mother Jones in his capacity as communications director for Smart Growth America.   Its an extensive discussion, but as TW pointed out over on the Loaf (h/t!  h/t! phew!), its a good overview of the movement’s philosophies (just in case you choose to skim Scott’s posts.  I kid Scott, I kid).

There’s a couple quotes I wanted to highlight.  The first kind of ties into a question that “taxus” asked about developers a few days back.

MJ: Have private developers been getting on board with smart growth projects increasingly? Are they actually seeing this as something that can help their bottom line?

DG: Absolutely. The difficulty is that it is more complex to do these projects. It still takes multiple variances in the zoning codes. You often have to put together two or three different developers to do the different components: One is better versed in multifamily, the other one is single family, another one might do retail, although more and more developers are starting to get all those components in house. They’re starting to get better at it. Whey they succeed, they are more profitable. They hold their value better. And they offer a hedge against trouble in a particular market segment-you’re more diverse, so if people aren’t buying condos, they may rent your apartments. So that diversity helps. But the thing is, first of all, you need the expertise and you need a little bit of staying power, because the up-front costs can be more in terms of the planning and the approvals and in some cases installing the infrastructure.

The other talks about making residents feel like they have a vested interest in the project.

DG:…But now [transit hubs] are starting to be really hot spots for development. Communities are trying to plan for them. Neighbors look at it and they say, “That’s not what it was like when I came here, and I don’t really want it to change,” and it makes them very nervous. So in some cases, people are made more comfortable just by being involved in the planning process from the outset. Not being like they used to do, where they would present you with “Oh, look at this project, what do you think, give us comment.” Now they do these basically community design processes called charrettes-collaborative design processes where you bring in people from the community, the developer, the developer’s team, architect, planners; people come in and they get shown the parameters of what the project might be, an initial idea about it. People say, “Well, what I’m really concerned about is preserving this little green space over here,” or “I’d want a park that my kids can walk to,” or “I’m concerned that this particular intersection already has too much traffic; what are we going to do about that?” You put those concerns on the table and you address them in the design process.

Obviously this approach has been tried with 315.  And I’m sure each involved party would give reasons why this tried and true method hasn’t been a smooth process.

But I’m beginning to think that maybe the project currently just doesn’t have enough carrots for the neighborhood to get on board.  Filling in a parking lot and the promise of greater city density is a huge carrot to some, but for those that also fear the potential threat of that density, the developer might need to go a bit further.  The promise of courtyards and street-parking on Montgomery might not be enough.  And its not like they can build us sidewalks…the city has already given us them in spades!  Its almost like because Decatur is already so ahead of the curve, you have to expect to give a little more, especially since we’re talking C2 next to R60.

Give the residents a real improvement/gift…compromise on density a little and build a small park or playground or commit to one lower rent retail space for a local grocery or co-op (see how I always find ways to include it?) or SOMETHING.

If the developer were to go beyond simply mitigating fears that things will get worse and give a little something back to the community, perhaps we might finally see resolution.

AJC Picks Up Crescent Moon’s Tale of Woe and Rebirth

30 10 2008

Here it is.

Frequent DM readers will find both old and new info.  Probably most important, Rob says they should reopen as Thumbs Up in two to three weeks.

S. Columbia/E. College Construction

30 10 2008

A note from CSD Mom this morning asking about construction at the intersection of South Columbia and East College is the fourth I’ve received over the past 4 or 5 months, so I thought I should throw it up on the board with an answer.

Unfortunately its not the most detailed answer.  I believe I was told its a 2-story office building.  I think.

Perhaps the city could dig up the details for us when they have a free moment?  Or a resident could scurry on down to city hall and look at their permit and then report back to us!

Mingei Signs New Lease and Celebrates Five Year Anniversary

30 10 2008

Mingei World Arts sends in this announcement about its 5-Year Anniversary and Day of the Dead specials/events…

Mingei’s Fifth Anniversary in Decatur!
Saturday, November 1, 10am- 7pm

Yes, we’ve been here five years!  (and yes, have signed a new lease-)

Please join us for 5% off on regularly priced merchandise all day, 25% off Dewali oil lanterns, clearance tables, other sneaky sales around the store, treats and surprises!

Yoga mini-lesson and consultations, 2-4pm. Fortunetelling. Cool “Dialog”, activism you can wear T-shirts! Goodies at 5:00pm!  (Oh– and it is Day of the Dead!  We’ll be building an altar, too. Bring your contributions!)

Decatur Cited For Its Conflict Resolution

30 10 2008

This shout-out in a Kittery Point, ME article is kinda funny…

While asking for ideas and specific issues from all involved, Abercrombie also gave examples of what he called “classic mistakes” residents and town officials make, such as not trusting the town’s process or assuming that a small number of residents turning out for a meeting means the citizenry at large is happy.

Abercrombie also said that some conflict can be a good thing. As an example, he spoke of a number of divisive projects in the town of Decatur, Ga., where residents brought energy and passion based on their individual viewpoints and eventually poured that same energy into improving the community.

Sometimes in the midst of these conflicts, its easy to lose sight of previous accomplishments.

Moey Goes Global

30 10 2008

Since first being featured on Decatur Metro, human candy voting booth, Moey, has become a Halloween sensation.  First it was a feature spread in AccessAtlanta; now his mom Mindy (a.k.a “altmod”) directs us back to, where there are links to interviews Moey has done with both XM Satellite Radio POTUS ’08 and XM Kids. (He’s one smart cookie!)

If that wasn’t enough, there’s even talk that 11Alive might cover Moey’s canvasing of Ponce Heights on Halloween night AND a potential segment on CNN Headline News.

We’ll keep you updated!

Oh…and let me throw one more humorous, “I’m so clever!” costume suggestion on the pile:  Have a 6 hour line of voters trail along behind him…sort of like those Verizon network commercials.

Pay-By-Cell Parking Meters Installed on Square

29 10 2008

The Decatur Minute announces the installation of pay-by-cell parking meters on N. McDonough and E. Court House Square and is asking for feedback from those that have used it.

To be honest, the process sounds kind of complicated.  You gotta sign up online and then carry around a user number and password (The Decatur Minute has a step-by-step flyer, which I can’t link to) But I guess if you’ve left all your change in the dryer, or you need to recharge the meter and your miles away, it could come in handy.

There’s also a 25 cent service charge for each transaction,  so those that use change are, in effect, rewarded.  Shouldn’t there be incentive to try the new method as opposed to stick with the old?

UPDATE: Just to prove I’m not a recreational griper, I did a Google search of “Pay-by-Cell” parking meters.  From what I’ve seen, areas of San Fran, Vancouver, Oklahoma City, Houston, Coral Gables and Boston have already adopted or tested the technology.

However, I can’t find much that talks about the success/failures of the system.  Here’s an April ’08 article about San Francisco’s system saying that response has been “tepid” and a conversation on Portland Transport from the same month saying that their version of this system hasn’t caught on. Different articles talk about a city’s ability to now vary the rate for parking depending on the time of day and the obvious benefit of eventually doing away with meter maids if the system were universally accepted or adopted.