It's obvious there is only one rational solution to the aspirations of north metro Atlanta suburbanites for their very own governments. I'm speaking, of course, of the movement to incorporate every single-family home as a "city." Apartment buildings and homes on a single block would become "counties."
Indeed, truly creative minds in the Confederate ... er, Republican Party should find ways to make the new cities and counties grand expressions of Georgia's never-dying secessionist fervor.
Each new "city" would be entitled to collect taxes, build roads, deport illegal aliens (such as the neighbor's dog), impose capital punishment and, in the spirit of the Second Amendment, wage armed warfare.
OK, I confess. I made that up. As of this date, no legislator has proposed "single-family cities." But they're getting close.
First we had Sandy Springs, an unincorporated patch of land that has long been aggrieved by being in the same county with so many poor Atlantans (commonly called "black," although this has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with race, according to secessionists). The new city immediately privatized itself, a concept inspired by the Halliburtonizing of both Washington, D.C., and Baghdad.
Then, last December, the burgs of Johns Creek and Milton were born. It appears that Johns Creek's entire purpose is to keep people from renting naughty videos from a place called the Love Shack. With my uncanny instincts as an investigative reporter, I visited the Love Shack recently, and noted a parking lot full of Beemers and Benzes. I'm sure they were all there for the non-porn items in the store. No God-fearing Johns Creekian would countenance such, ugh, filth.
And the oh-so-Republican Legislature -- just to prove they know there are non-white folks in Georgia -- later this year will let south Fulton County areas called South Fulton (isn't it amazing those Gold Dome guys discovered South Fulton is in south Fulton?) and Chattahoochee Hill Country vote on incorporation.
That's just the beginning. In the spirit of our noble Southern secessionist heritage (do-dah do-dah), any part of north Fulton that isn't in the cities of Sandy Springs, Johns Creek or Milton would come under the jurisdiction of a new county called Milton. I guess the intellectual struggle to devise new names finally overwhelmed the suburban rebels.
DeKalb County residents, meanwhile, have hoisted their rebel banners and declared that Dunwoody must become a city. A bill was introduced last week in the Legislature to do just that.
Also, in an exercise social scientists describe as "balkanizing the already ridiculously balkanized," the trust-fund and backdated-stock-option clan along West Paces Ferry wants to revolt from the city of Atlanta and become the Nearly All White and Entirely Filthy Rich Grand Duchy of Buckhead. The city's proposed motto: "We Keep What We Plunder."
Speaking of that last case of what is commonly called "really, really stupid thinking," former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell had a few words that are applicable to all of the northern secessions. "It is ill-conceived, racially motivated and bad government," says Massell, who heads the Buckhead Coalition and who is perfectly happy to be part of Atlanta.
Massell notes that if north Fulton is carved into new cities and a new county, what it leaves behind will be perhaps the poorest county in the nation. Which is exactly the plan of the hate-Atlanta, rural neo-Confederates in the Georgia Legislature.
Milton County has run into an obstacle, that silly old state Constitution, which limits the number of counties to 159. So, either the legislators must start the process for an amendment, or (and I'm not making this up) find two rural counties whose officials are so abysmally moronic they'd agree to consolidate. I'm sure there's no shortage of sheriffs and county commissioners willing to give up all of their bribes, graft and cronyism to benefit Atlanta suburbanites who in all likelihood are Yankees by birth.
It's a given that the Atlanta metro area -- especially Fulton County -- is honest-to-God screwed up. But this has a lot more to do with so many tiny governments and agencies -- each a fiefdom for self-important, often-corrupt officials -- than it does with the straw tiger of "big gummint." The solution isn't to starve Fulton and Atlanta by stripping away all of the affluent suburbs. If folks don't like being associated with an urban area with all of its cultural and economic benefits -- and, true, problems -- then maybe they should move. Perhaps to the 18th century. Because in 21st-century Atlanta, we need regional government and regional thinking for transportation, water, law enforcement, health care and many other issues.
There are voices of reason, not many, but a few. One is state Sen. David Adelman, D-Atlanta, who has proposed a constitutional amendment allowing "townships." These city-lite enclaves would be limited to allowing residents to decide zoning and planning for their neighborhoods. They wouldn't stand in the way of regionalization. "Developers are a source of money for county commissioners," Adelman says. "This would balance the power of developers with the interests of local areas."
Balancing interests is part of government. Secession, however, isn't a balance. It's merely larceny of public resources.
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