Thursday, September 6, 2007

Even Satan hates developers and McMansion dwellers

Greased palms keep the gears of capitalism turning and all of us know that. To think otherwise, that big political donations don’t have a positive effect for the givers of such contributions, is foolish, deceitful and naive. Does big business give money away to politicians as though they were charity, just to be nice? No, they do not. Do they do it simply because they “like” someone’s political stance? No, they do not. They do it to buy favor even if favors are not explicitly promised since such a promise would make the contribution a bribe and illegal.

We rarely get to see this process exposed to the light of day. Even with campaign laws written so that we can search for political contributions, sometimes online, we rarely look to see who is giving money to whom. I fall into that category as well, and when I have searched I mostly do not recognize the names of the contributors. Occasionally our media will expose some of this and we are left to consider the ramifications. Today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a story that lays out how a major developer is greasing the palms of DeKalb county officials to get what they want.

I cannot say these county officials have taken bribes by the developer, but I can say that this smells fishy and the appearance of improper conditions for campaign contributions are the first thing I think of. Can they really maintain integrity and an unbiased view when they vote for this thing? I can’t say that the developer has given them bribes, but I will say that it certainly smells fishy to me that a Florida based developer, who is facing a major downturn in the Florida real estate market, would donate thousands upon thousands of dollars to county officials in DeKalb County, Georgia; who just happen to hold the yes or no vote on a project that will make millions for them and contribute nothing positive to the quality of life in the area they wish to redevelop. It will in fact turn an already busy and thriving area, which suffers from horrible traffic gridlock, into an even larger traffic nightmare and it will destroy and transform yet another former suburban district into the new Mecca for the greedy and tasteless of Atlanta.

The North Druid Hills corridor that they wish to redevelop is an area I am highly familiar with, in fact I will be moving back to Decatur in a few weeks, away from the worst mistake I ever made which was moving to Sandy Springs in 2002. I will in fact be living on North Druid Hills Road, and their project will indeed effect me. I am intimately familiar with the area targeted for redevelopment and I already have a major experience dealing with a similar development to which is planned by the Sembler Co.

I live a little more than a mile from the Perimeter Place development in Dunwoody and that development has totally fucked the area in terms of traffic and quality of life. Before that development was begun, driving through the connector roads that slice across the northern side of Perimeter was the perfect means of getting around the plug of traffic associated with the mall and the many office towers that are clustered in the area. Now the area is hopelessly plugged with traffic, the task of running errands is useless, as the development has created a third bottleneck for the flow of traffic. The other bottlenecks are the location and heavy traffic of Perimeter Mall and the layout of the cross connecting roads themselves as they were designed in an “S” shape for their entire length and not as straight thoroughfares.

The Perimeter Place development will be nothing when compared to the monstrosity that is planned for the area between I-85 and Briarcliff on North Druid Hills Road. The Sembler development will destroy affordable housing in the form of apartments on Briarcliff. Affordably priced apartments within a few mile radius of the development will suddenly become “fashionable” and the average working man and woman will have to move to yet another affordable apartment complex. The neighborhoods of the area, which have been shattered by the trashy infill buyers and developers will finally be ruined as the last of the greedy with no tastes will want to scoop up the remaining ranch house properties to make them McMansion hell.

Sembler will in effect, destroy the final vestiges of a neighborhood and a district all for their profit. The average citizen is being chased away by greedy and tasteless fucks who have a shitload of money and absolutely no common sense, human decency or good taste. Sembler is not interested in the common good for the citizens of DeKalb County, it is not interested in the community itself and it is not interested in the long-term quality of life for the residents of DeKalb County. Sembler is only concerned with one fucking thing, making a bigger pile of cash and fuck anyone who stands in their way.

Sembler has no interest in the fair and honest workings of the local government, they do not give a shit who takes their money all they want is for those who accept their money to vote in their favor. Sembler is the epitome of what is fucking wrong in this country as whole, the greedy want more and the average citizen who is in their way gets trampled over and to ease their way through the system they give fucking cold hard cash to politicians as their means of exercising their first amendment rights.

If DeKalb County officials allow this travesty to happen, we can say without doubt that mere trinkets and baubles distracted them into selling the rest of us out; and the price was just a few grand. I wonder how easy it is for the Sembler execs to blow through the same amount of money that they have already donated to the Dekalb officials. Their monthly greens fees are probably cost more than what they slid into the pockets of these officials.

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