Who knew that a motel/hotel tax & performing arts center feasibility study would be a higher priority than addressing traffic congestion.
In the past several months, the Mayor and City Council have spent many hours discussing those items and not the Traffic lights, despite both being on the same agendas.
The Mayor and City Council have NOT discussed the traffic lights and improvements with the CH2 Public Works staff, despite it being on the agenda, meeting after meeting, it gets ignored.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are identified in the budget for these suggestions, the City Council and staff have not discussed. Why isn't this a priority? If this remains in the budget, staff can spend the money on these so-called improvements without City Council input.
Source: City of Johns Creek
Outside of Public Safety, this should be the #1 priority of the City.
This has been stated as a major issue for residents since the City began. How many decades will it take to give it the attention it deserves?
I realize that traffic lights are not as exciting as City Centers and other pursuits. But it is more important to every resident each and every day.
The #1 problem is lack of resident involvement in the JC! We need to fix that first.
In the JCP world we can TALK about Billboards, Transportation, Macedonia Cemetery, ... but until we get homeowners involved city wide, pick any issue, it's like screaming for help in the woods but nobody can hear you.
Each issue, at this point, is just a personal passion for each of us, for Ernest it's transportation. Until we implement ideas like Residential Nodes first to get residential involvement, none of these issues are going to get fixed.
I know I'm in enemy territory here at the JCP among John Bradberry supporters but John's "problem" talk, his smiles when he listens to you, isn't going to solve any of these problems, in particular transportation. He has proposed no ideas. What happened to the Billboards? Still standing. He's playing on your emotions and not addressing the issues, it was evident at the debates.
Candidate - Post 3
That's not the problem Mark. Many residents have been attempting to be involved. They are welcomed when they agree with the administration and are not welcomed when they disagree.
The talk is talk because it is the Council that has the power to take action. They have been turning a deaf ear to the public over and over. It is changing because of Endres and Coughlin but it has been a slow rate of change.
I speak with Bradberry every day on improving traffic within Johns Creek. We have looked at intersections, discussed light timing and more.
On the billboards: John Bradberry and Preserve Johns Creek have fought diligently. The City should have joined the fight, especially the one to protect the Macedonia Cemetery. They didn't.
And we all know that.
By the way this is NOT enemy territory. I've shared my ideas with both Post 1 candidates, and I will share my ideas with anyone running for office or in office.
This blog is about getting information out to the residents and then discussing what is happening in our community. Those that do not like it don't because questions are raised, solutions are suggested that are not their own.
Better analysis of what is happening will lead to better decisions. We cannot leave that responsibility to the City to tell us what is good for us or what the Johns Creek Herald thinks is good for us.
So if you do really want more participation then this is the place to voice your ideas. Some may not like them and that is ok. Others may.
Someone has contacted me and more or less asked if I felt Councilman Zaprowski had turned a deaf ear. The short answer is no.
The longer answer is that he was alone on the council with two vacant seats. On more than one occasion before the City Council I argued that the Charter says they should be filled as soon as possible. Bodker and company asked the lawyers, who said it was ok, and they delayed the election as long as legally possible.
But Zaprowski was a lone voice, which was not his fault.
Personally I think of the Council in terms of Before Endres and with Endres. The character and nature of conversations especially during the work sessions changed for the better.
You think the character and nature of conversations especially during the work sessions changed for the better. But let's take a good look at Zaprowski's voting record. While the guy talks a good talk(MOST of the time, his ignorance on crucial matters really shows)... when it comes time to walk, he wholeheartedly follows Bodker.
Let's dissect this. I wrote:
"The #1 problem is lack of resident involvement in the JC! We need to fix that first."
For this audience, the immediate reaction is that my statement implies that the residents are "choosing" not to get involved. The #1 problem is that there is no communication structure providing homeowners the opportunity to get involved and no other candidate has proposed an actual flowchart/structured solution to fix it.
1 - Homeowners HOA Bill of Rights - Addresses closed monthly HOA Board meetings as an example in St. Ives.
2 - Residential Nodes (RN) - 11 Nodes so residents can participate/address issues in their backyard/local area.
3 - Commercial Nodes - What type of commercial zoning do the RNs want in their specific area where they shop.
All the above is a tiered structure to insure that homeowners are involved of what is happening in their backyards every month with a City Council member, assigned to each RN, coming to monthly RN meetings.
I know how much you care about transportation in the city and you have done a tremendous amount of work/technical analysis BUT John standing at the intersection with just you is not going to solve the problem. We need to fix the "resident involvement" problem first and that is by creating different conduits for the voice of the homeowners and to go to them as outlined above.
John Bradberry is a landscaper. He will listen and agree to get your vote but doesn't have the technical/engineering background or the problem solving capability to come up with the solutions AND, more importantly, to create a compelling argument to win over three more votes to affect the type of change we ALL want.
Take a step back and really digest what I am saying. Think about what your skills are and what you had to do to create a compelling argument to gain traction on the traffic light management issues and light timing. Didn't it require certain skills on your part? Does John have those skills?
Bottom line: Greater Involvement = More Traction
Let's solve that problem first and put the right people on the city council that can win over the other three votes. John just listening in that council seat isn't going to get us anywhere. Then we can solve the problems on at a time.
Candidate - Post 3
I have to say we do not agree on what is the role of the City Council. We have 7 representatives that are supposed to be knowledgeable in what the concerns of the public are BEFORE they tackle them as a body. That is what their job is. If they are not, then they should seek answers from the City Staff. What they should not do is vote to just move the agenda along.
Outsourcing the responsibilities to more and more committees, residential nodes, etc, does only one thing:it allows city officials to point fingers as to who is responsible.
How's the CAC working out? How many months have they been meeting? I cannot even get a straight answer as to who is responsible for the content in the current draft or when we will see the draft that the CAC wants to move forward with. Yet within that draft today are dozens and dozens of policy statements, many of which are nonsense and unproven. Who owns them? The CAC?
On traffic lights: any traction I have gained is because I have not gone away and continued to pursue answers. The City met with me twice this year. My conclusion: it was a way to get me to lay off public criticism while I was speaking to them. Nothing more than that. The intersection at 141 and Grove Point Road still gets blocked by vehicles in the AM. Does that really need a committee of residents to meet, discuss, make proposals to the city, who will then meet and discuss again? No.
We need a Council that says "Fix this now".
We have seven elected officials. They should be asking the questions I am asking before I do on traffic. They should be asking what the priorities are. They should be actually defining the priorities. They should be asking how over capacity the intersections are during rush hour. They should be asking why we have yet to make it three lanes through in each direction at 141 and State Bridge.
Ask yourself why they are not. It's not because we need more resident participation. We need more Council Members willing to challenge what they are being presented.
I have seen Bradberry challenging the City Council time and again. As a citizen activist he has done all that is possible, as have I. Now it's time to put Bradberry on the Council so that he can ask the questions he knows need to be answered on behalf of the citizens.
More committees will never get Council Members to do that.
If you win, that is your strategy? To outsource these issues to residential nodes and wait for their suggestion?
We became a City to have government closer to the public. Residential nodes puts another layer between us and the government. No thank you.
I want representation, not a Council that acts as a clearing house for suggestions.
Outsource? I didn't use the word outsource once in my response. Go check it out. Make sure you understand the my proposal before you talk about it.
A Residential Node committee would be made up of ALL homeowners and an assigned city council member. That is not outsourcing. That is my proposal just so you understand it and it's clear to all reading.
I noticed you didn't comment on John's experience? Where are the ideas? You mention the word "knowledgeable" regarding council members, I agree, so how is a landscaper knowledgeable enough to address that specific concern of yours?
If riding around in a green golf cart gets you elected to council, our standards are way to low.
Let's debate experience. I wait for your response.
Post 3 Candidate
You didn't use the word outsource, but that is what you are doing: The Council represents us. Do not pass their responsibilities back to another committee. Because that is what your nodes are: just more committees.
I'll put it more simply: What your residential nodes would attempt to do are tasks that are the responsibility of our elected officials. Hence the outsourcing.
Additionally, a residential node is not my representation for City issues. I have seven elected officials who are all supposed to be representing and responsive to me.
So do not be assign me to a council member. I vote for my representation. It is NOT assigned for me.
The rest of your comments lack any validity and are not worth responding to.
I am still waiting for the answer about the CAC and the Draft Comp Plan, of which you are a member.
Residential Nodes are basically Districts without city wide at-large voting for council seats.
If residents like yourself prefer Districts instead, as a council member, I would support that.
See what constructive dialogue can do. I'm open to ideas.
"Assigning" a council member is purely a method of getting council members to go to the residents instead of the residents having to go to city hall. Is that really a bad thing? The homeowners can have input to who the council member is, no problem.
As active as you are I'm sure you personally would love the opportunity to serve on that committee made up of various homeowners from different subdivisions, working on backyard issues. For city wide issues of course, input is city wide.
On Sept 15, you thanked me for my response to your CAC questions. You know I'm always willing to respond so here is the rest:
How’s the CAC working out?
Good, as I mentioned on Sept. 15th, now that the consultants are out of the way. This is our best opportunity for to affect changeWe have until Nov. 2018 to affect change.
How many months have they been meeting?
It's been about a year, my detailed answer as to where we are is also on the Sept. 15th response.
I cannot even get a straight answer as to who is responsible for the content in the current draft or when we will see the draft that the CAC wants to move forward with. Yet within that draft today are dozens and dozens of policy statements, many of which are nonsense and unproven. Who owns them? The CAC?
The CAC members only advise, city staff actually creates the draft so from our mouths to their pen, their is interpretation which is the variable. Again, the CAC only advises and collectively we do our best to voice the concerns and desires of the residents.
Regarding your comments about "validity", you have every right to blow off my questions but I'll be happy to answer as many questions that come my way from residents.
I think it's very valid to question a candidates experience, mine, John's and Vicki's for Post 3, and all our candidates running for office. As a resident first, that is my right to question.
Experience of candidates is one of the my biggest concerns and that is one of my biggest reasons why I am running for council. Imagine if someone with no relevant experience were to run for mayor that didn't have a high level of financial accountability as part of their background.
I hope that helps.
Candidate - Post 3
Drop us a list of what professions are qualified for Johns Creek City Council so that we can see how you really think.
And while you do so, explain why you did not fulfill your commitments to the JCCA?
Is there more to your campaign other than playing "attack the opponent"?
Johns Creek voters tired of that game in 2015.
No Tournament Parks,
It's not a list of professions, it's a list of skill sets and experience.
As an example, financial top line revenue, P&L, EBIT and operational budgets of at least $20M would be a good start and accountability to a superior would be a good start.
Regarding JCCA, as a candidate for Post 3 and part of the Board with financial voting authority, I was required to to resign from the JCCA when I decided to run for council, just like Chris Coughlin before me. There are rules that candidates must follow.
As far as the "Attack your opponent" statement, in general the basic concept of competing is to differentiate the value you have over the liabilities of who you are competing against, we are part of that process everyday of our lives when we go make a purchase. We evaluate and decide, an election is no different. It's getting voters to take the time evaluate versus emotionally reacting prior to voting that is the difficult part for a candidate to achieve.
Vicki, John and myself are competing to represent you, given the critical votes coming over the next four years, don't you think skills and experience count?
Like I said before, to get anything passed you need four votes on council, do you really think John will be able to win over three other votes on council. Look at this past Monday's council meeting, it got very heated between two council members that in the past worked together, does that help us get to four votes to keep JC premier residential? Do you think that with John's contentious approach, he will win over three other votes, my opinion, I don't think so, I don't think he has that skill to win over the other three votes in a constructive manner.
By the way, I fully agree with you, no tournament parks. You can do a lot with a fewer number of fields if they are efficiently designed for the residents of JC. The design is key and will also reduce night time use if designed properly.
Candidate - Post 3
@ Mark Venco
Since you seem to have a problem with serial entrepreneurs like John Bradberry, who on top of being a software technical consultant, also has other businesses(past and present), including LANDSCAPING. And he is more than QUALIFIED. If Davenport, Lin and Zaprowski can be on the Council, then John has to be a Congressman(or a Federal Congressman, as Vicki Horton would say), at the least!
So stop the lame excuses, and come up with BETTER ideas.
Like I said above, it's not the title of the profession, I am talking about skills and experience.
Serial entrepreneurs? If an individual can successfully grow multiple active companies and has the experience as I mentioned above, sure ....
but if you mean trying to start a company in one field, then dissolving it and then jump to another field and then another, it doesn't allow the entrepreneur the opportunity to gain the experience and make the tough decisions in continuing to grow an organization to the next level.
In this case, the organization is the City of Johns Creek that has 80,000+ residents that council represents and a budget of nearly $60 million.
My professor in college used to tell me, "Don't try to be good at a lot of things, try to be great at one thing. That is the key to long term success."
I think some of those council members you mentioned have been pretty successful in their lives AND have gained the relevant experience to be a council member throughout the course of their careers. You don't have to like them or their decisions, that is everyone's choice to decide.
Candidate - Post 3
I have been reading John Bradberry's thoughts on Preserve Johns Creek for the last couple of years. For the most part, I have always been impressed with the detail and research that goes into his pieces. I don't know much about his background, but he certainly seems knowledgable. He has support from some people here in St. Ives that I respect. I have asked a couple of people about him before sitting down to write this. They said that he is a very nice young man but is also a very committed individual. Maybe you are mistaking challenging the status quo for contentious. I want to know more about what makes you good not your personal slams.
Well written and I respect your opinion and John may be the write candidate for you.
In an election, I guess it's the nature of the beast that if one candidate questions another candidate they are considered "personal slams". That's not the intent. Both John and Vicki are good people. I'm not questioning their integrity at all.
My questions/responses to others that post on the JCP are just like the basic questions that any candidate would go through in an interview process for a job that requires certain skill sets.
So why me? First thanks for asking the question. Second, as I'm typing the column is very narrow and I will try to keep it short and suggest you go to my website http://www.vencoforjohnscreek.com for full details.
City of Johns Creek Citizens Advisory Council – (20 yr. Comprehensive Planning Committee)
2016/17 Johns Creek Community Association Board Member
City of Johns Creek Noise Ordinance Committee
Corporate Management Experience:
25+ years of corporate management experience leading teams for Fortune 500 companies.
Financial responsibility for revenue, an P&L and operational budgets up to $190MM
It may be relevant to some and not to others, but specific to a St. Ives resident, my Homeowners HOA Bill of Rights would be most relevant to a St. Ives homeowner. See my website for the full details.
I hope that helps. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Candidate - Post 3
It looks like this issue is not important to the City Council. Stephanie Endres asked in Tuesday's meeting to remove all funds related to the the traffic light system from the 2018 budget.
@Stuck in Traffic - thank you so much for raising this issue. Actually, I asked for it to be "discussed" to receive information regarding what problem is being solved with this investment, what benchmarks will be used to determine success and what other information should be considered. As a council, we have a fiduciary responsibility to better document and understand the money outlays as we are accountable for the decisions.
As a city, we have invested millions of dollars in an intelligent lighting system that, as the discussion on May 8th revealed, isn't working as promised. So let's do a better job of investing to solve the problems that plague us. And the budget should include this information.
I am working on implementing strong financial management tools so council today and in the future can make informed decisions. And focus on the questions and investments that really impact all of us.
The goal is to get the system functioning at full capacity and the council should make informed decisions to ensure this.
@Stuck in Traffic, if you bothered to follow this particular topic from slightly before the 5/8 Work Session you would know there was a specific problem statement associated with this budget item. That problem statement had to do with traffic signal timing which does not adapt to off-peak traffic volume. Interestingly, Bodker was able to clearly articulate this problem statement early in the 5/8 WS meeting. Despite the unfocused 5/8 discussion, and several weeks of research later from the Public Works staff, not a single expense recommendation from this budget line item was correlated to that problem statement. Not a single one!! Endres nixed the line item because of this.
Sure the B Man was able to articulate it. Traffic is bad on purpose. You don't think that the lights could be purposefully timed to make us suffer?
How many times has Bodker mentioned the Toronto solution to traffic?