Without representation

The current composition of Alpharetta City Council does not reflect the values of the people that actually live here.

A few weeks ago the current Mayor of Alpharetta, Arthur Letchas, and all six City Council members unanimously approved another high density mixed use project while entire shopping centers sit vacant and a decade’s worth of condomiums sit idle. While there are people in Alpharetta that support this urbanization only a charlatan would believe all 50,000+ residents are unanimous in that support so it is indisputable that the Alpharetta City Council does not reflect the values of the people that live here.

The feedback I receive from this blog and my other community involvement runs about 4-1 against the city’s densification and urbanization plans. That number is probably high but even if the actual number were half of that it would mean Alpharetta’s voters overwhelmingly oppose what their elected officials are doing. That kind of disconnect cannot continue forever.

City Council members cannot run on a platform of “no more development until empty spaces are filled” and then vote for high density mixed use projects forever. City Council members cannot serve as the developer’s engineer for the largest failed project in the city’s history and still get elected by voters who were kept in the dark forever. City Council members cannot approve densely packed housing projects in an effort to attract MARTA without bothering to tell constituents forever.

Eventually the voters will notice. And every day more voters in Alpharetta are starting to notice. Below is a screenshot of a video created by an Alpharetta resident to raise awareness of the City’s disconnect from voters. I wish I had posted it before Tuesday’s land use plan meeting but it is still powerful and you can watch the whole thing at this link.

Voters that are adequately represented by their elected officials don’t feel compelled to create videos like that to make sure their neighbors know what is going on. Voters that are adequately represented don’t spend dozens of hours each week writing blogs, emails and newsletters to make sure their neighbors see what is happening around them while they’re busy working to support families or volunteering in schools. Even more importantly, voters that are adequately represented don’t take time out of their busy day to write notes of appreciation to the neighbors that do keep them informed.

Predicting the future is a fool’s game but there are two things I know for certain about Alpharetta politics:

1) The current composition of Alpharetta City Council does not reflect the values of the people that actually live here.

2) That kind of disconnect cannot continue forever.

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One thought on “Without representation

  1. Not only do they not represent the community, some are downright smug about it. Go check the comments section in the local blogs and newspapers to see how and what current, has-beens, and wannabe councilmen say. The rest of them will blow sunshine into your face and proceed with their wrecking ball voting habits.

    IMO, there are people who have conflicts of interests both on and off council who wield the power of directing political contributions of the business community and developers. Not to mention the top-down pressure for all this smart growth nonsense. It takes men with spines of steel to stand up to this and few among us today possess that grit.

    Not much will change amidst this backdrop but they are foolish to think that the debate won’t get more and more shrill until they start listening. And I don’t mean contrived split votes, but honest representation.

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