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City politics – Lakeside chair ‘disappointed’ in Sen. Carter

Annexation, new cities campaign coverage Metro ATL

City politics – Lakeside chair ‘disappointed’ in Sen. Carter

State Sen. Jason Carter
State Sen. Jason Carter

State Sen. Jason Carter

Lakeside may be the only proposed new city to win approval by a chamber of the State Legislature, but state Sen. Jason Carter made it clear he’s not happy about the way it was approved.

Sen. Jason Carter, who is running for governor against incumbent Nathan Deal, gave a passionate speech about the vote to create the new city, which would include parts of his district, Senate District 42 and District 40, represented by Sen. Fran Millar. Mary Kay Woodworth, chairwoman of the Lakeside City Alliance, said Sen. Carter’s statements about the new city have been divisive.

“He made a very passionate speech,” she said. “I was very disappointed in Senator Carter and the other senator that spoke who brought in elements of racism and partisanship and divisiveness. Our efforts have nothing to do with leaving DeKalb County. It’s to make the county better by creating communities that can have local control.”

Carter said the process for approving the Lakeside bill excluded the voices of voters in his district.

“This is an example of one of those times where this place is just broken,” Carter said. “I heard the senator from the 40th talk about, ‘Imagine if these people lived in your district.’ Well let me tell you what. These people live in my district. More than half of the precincts in this map are in my district and all of the people who live in unincorporated DeKalb between this proposed map and the cities that are there now, are in my district, and at the end of the day the pen that has drawn this map belongs to one person who does not represent my district and who does not represent the people who live there, and who has not been to those places to talk to those people about whether they want to be in or out. ”

Millar has said his bill is about giving people who live in the proposed cities a right to determine their future. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Carter slipped out of the chamber prior to the Lakeside vote. Carter recorded a “No” vote on the bill.

“I also find it interesting that Senator Carter did not officially vote on record against the bill,” Woodworth said. “He left the room.”

Carter sent out a statement to supporters on March 4 elaborating on his positions about new cities in DeKalb County.

“I have heard from a number of people who are concerned about the cityhood initiatives that are plowing ahead in central DeKalb County,” Carter wrote. “I have heard from many people who are frustrated with the DeKalb County government. And I understand the frustration. I am frustrated too.

“However, I personally believe that we need an economically viable and sound county government in DeKalb County. To that end, rather than new cities, I would like to see us focus on (1) changing the form of government to eliminate the CEO position; (2) establishing a transparent procurement code; and (3) putting in place a workable ethics commission to rebuild public trust that has been lost. Once we’ve stabilized the county government, we can take up the issue of new cities.”

Lakeside is in competition with proposals for a city of Briarcliff and a city of Tucker. Maps for the three cities overlap around the Northlake Mall area, a source of tax revenue for any potential new city. The House will hold hearings about the proposed cities of Lakeside and Briarcliff on March 6 beginning at 1 pm. The hearings will take place in the Coverdell Legislative Building, 18 Capitol Square SW, Room 606.

Members of the Briarcliff Initiative have sent numerous emails asking for supporters to show up to the hearing in support of Briarcliff and in opposition to Lakeside.

“This is not a fire drill,” one of the Briarcliff emails said. “Citizen help needed.”