Bribery Scandals, Demented Public Officials, Wasting Tax Dollars. In DeKalb County, We Call That “Tuesday.”

I miss the DeKalb segment on the Georgia Gang, but just because they don’t have that feature anymore doesn’t mean my County is not trying hard to provide Dick Williams, Phil Kent, Alexis Scott and Martha Zoller Jim Galloway with good comedy material for their show.

First up: DeKalb’s former clerk of Superior Court who resigned because she has “temporary episodes of dementia,” now wants her job back because she has “temporary episodes of dementia.” Linda Carter seeks to use a writ of quo warranto (latin for “do over”) to unseat Debra DeBerry, who Carter accuses of “duping” her into resigning. Let me ask the obvious: If you can be “duped” into resigning a public office you’ve held for more than 10 years, do you think you’re really able to handle that office?

Next: Dale Russell takes a few minutes from harassing Governor Deal’s fundraiser to explain why former DeKalb District Attorney J. Tom Morgan asked current DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gail Flake to recuse herself from a case he had in her courtroom. Seems that 13 years ago, lawyer Morgan led a bribery investigation into then DeKalb Sheriff Pat Jarvis, who is married to Judge Flake. Gail Flake was never named as the target of any investigation, including the one that eventually led to Jarvis pleading guilty to fraud in connection with operations at the DeKalb jail and getting 15 months.  Russell’s a great reporter, but I dock him 2 points for failing to mention Jarvis’ other record -with the Atlanta Braves.

From the “we’ve got to spend this money no matter how much it costs department:” DeKalb County Commissioners Jeff Rader and Kathie Gannon are pushing to purchase parkland for $1.9 million. The catch? DeKalb County appraises the land at $393,000. (Which would get you just one 3 bedroom 2 bath condo near the proposed park.) Question: Are DeKalb property tax appraisals too low, as some are arguing, or is the County Commission just using bond money to bail out a developer? Answer: Yes!

Finally, no mention of DeKalb would be complete without noting the ongoing School Superintendent soap opera, wherein 4 of the 9 school board members have publicly stated their support for a candidate from San Antonio who is qualified, competent and has a track record of improvement. The other 5 members of the board want a superintendent who is black, and have been leaking confidential details of contract negotiations with other candidates to screw up negotiations with any candidate who is not black. The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce is now playing along.

Oh, and that property tax hike? It’s still coming.

You come to DeKalb for the comedy, but you stay for the tragedy. Happy Tuesday.

19 comments

  1. Calypso says:

    There, but for the grace of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, go I (thankfully in Gwinnett County).

    • Calypso says:

      Does that mean you are still a Dekalb resident who is no longer happy, or a happy resident of a county other than Dekalb?

    • elfiii says:

      I used to be, regrettably a Dekalb County resident. Regrettably I am still a Dekalb County Resident.

      Turn off the calypso music and throw away the limbo bar fellas. Nobody can limbo lower than Dekalb, except for maybe Clayton.

  2. Baker says:

    Pat Jarvis really the same as the former pitcher? I know everyone had a great year in 1968, but 15-12 with a 2.6 ERA? A .98 WHIP? Pretty impressive.

  3. Cassandra says:

    Little Mikey hasn’t old any lies and isn’t helping either. Publicly dogging the County in which one resides won’t put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.

    The smart ones have already moved, with the hopeful right behind them.

    • bgsmallz says:

      Shhhh…..Mike! Don’t say anything about anything. Maybe people won’t notice.

      The ‘smart ones’ haven’t already moved. There are plenty of ‘smart ones’ still working towards change in DeKalb. The fact of the matter is that DeKalb has some incredible resources and its proximity to the major employment centers in the region, entertainment centers, medical centers, etc. etc. etc. make it a great and convenient place to live.

      The problem is a county government that plays ‘us vs. them’ politics, is rife with corruption, and is bloated with a glut of county employees doing less and less for the taxpayer that pays them.

      I’m hopeful that this latest rift with the BOE is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s sickening to know that there is someone leaking information from a private selection process in order to submarine qualified candidates purely because they are a different race. Where is the Southern Poverty Law Center on that one? Oh…I forgot that racism is ok when it goes that way and not the other way around.

      1- I really hope the DA is pursuing charges against the board members who are leaking this information. There has to be a criminal charge in there somewhere.
      2- Richard Belcher and the AJC know the leak…just want to make sure I point that out…they know the leak and can’t report it because they traded anonymity for a ‘scoop’ on the selection process. Journalism is dead.

      • Cassandra says:

        At least we have some hopeful ones left. bgsmallz offers location as DeKalb’s prime
        advantage; indubitable, with great food options!

        But don’t your comments speak to the utter intractability that describes what is at the core of DeKalb power and governance? Oh yea, I too, was a believer in making DeKalb a better place for all. I just don’t see that going on right now.

        To my eye, it seems the jobs program that is DCSS, a CEO set upon keeping DeKalb personnel thresholds flush, a Police force that is pensive, and a Board of Commissioners now contemplated the acquisition of costly-to-inside-deal-priced parkland, water costs, and concierge trash service (with fuel costs at an all-time high), form a nexus of ineffective governance. There’s more, Recorders Court, indicted DCSS officials, multiple and material lawsuits, no reserves, and gang violence. What else?

        So, hopeful bgsmallz, yes DeKalb is the low apple with the rotten core, yet easy pickin’s. How to make it better requires reach. I just don’t see that and maintain DeKalb will continue to march in step with the last decade.

      • saltycracker says:

        Got to respect those that hang in there on a post at the incoming tide – they’ll keep there head high the longest and the deserved eulogies will be forthcoming….

  4. hey guys, thanks to Mike for initially including me in this list and linking to marthazoller.com. I’m not sure when I’ll be on the Gang again but I will have some news soon that will bring all this together. As a kid that grew up in DeKalb County, went to Columbia High School, attended church and the Lutheran Church of the Messiah and worked at South DeKalb Mall Rich’s, I am saddened to see the problems in DeKalb. We are in historic economic difficulties and we have to get back to the foundation principles that will get us back on track. Ethics are key and good, transparent decision making.

    Martha Zoller

    • saltycracker says:

      The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.
      Patrick Henry

  5. NoTeabagging says:

    Thanks Mike. I was beginning to miss Cynthia McKinney and Vernon Jones shenanigans, but this list shows I have plenty to keep me entertained.
    About that property tax scheme, could DeKalb be so clever as to create this ‘smoke and mirrors’ scenario?
    1) Lower property taxes for most of the county, cutting some residential taxes in half.
    2) Ask for higher millage rate, hoping most folks won’t mind since we just cut your taxes in half. You’ll still be paying lower taxes.
    3) Ooops, we valued your property too low, so we are going re-appraise, and correct those values. Too bad your taxes will now be higher.

    • Cassandra says:

      You forgot the bit about changing up the land values. This is a typical scenario, been played this way before.

      I DO appreciate Martha’s intriguing cliffhanger remark, c’mon girl, don’t tease us!

  6. NoTeabagging says:

    I stopped watching Georgia Gang years ago. They are too busy being smug and snarky. This distracts from making any credible arguments.

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