Intelligent Traffic Lights: Not as Advertised

Wow! After attending Council meetings for 3.5 years, City Council has FINALLY decided to discuss the Traffic Lights (thanks to Councilwoman Stephanie Endres) and staff has dedicated a WHOPPING 15 mins for Monday’s Work Session meeting.

There is a myriad of 5 programs all working with and against each other. No wonder there is so much traffic dysfunction within the City.

Of the 75 traffic lights within the City, ONLY 14 are on the intelligent traffic system!

Just 3 lights are listed as Full Adaptive, and 11 are listed as Adaptive. Less than 19% are under some level of Adaptive control by the ITS system.

An astonishing 40 lights are on a timed system, called “Time of Day”. These traffic lights are preprogrammed on general traffic patterns.

The light on McGinnis Ferry rd & Jones Bridge Rd has this timed system. Identified as one of the worst intersections on that main road, it is SHOCKING & disappointing this traffic light hasn’t been upgraded.

Currently, Forsyth County is on track to spend $30million to widen the road to the dismay of the local residents, and yet, no one from Johns Creek or Forsyth thought to improve the intersection for $30k first, to see if that provides the needed relief.

18 Lights are on another lighting program called “Traffic Responsive” with timing patterns based on traffic conditions.

Without some form of coordination between the different light management systems, chances are that the overall traffic management effort will be overcome by congestion or timing that cannot be adjusted in alignment with other changes made in the attempt to relieve traffic backups.
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Couple this with the quick light cycles at the major intersections, it is hard to get cars moving efficiently through the intersections, let alone the City.
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Source: City of Johns Creek

Letter to the Editor: Reflections on the Johns Creek City Council Election

The Special Election to fill the Johns Creek City Council Post vacated by Bob Gray is now complete, and the results have been finalized.  Chris Coughlin handily won the support of 63.81% of voters in an election that saw strong voter turnout.

With over 10,000 votes in his favor, Coughlin won more votes in a single election than any other candidate in Johns Creek’s ten-year history.  That is a remarkable achievement, particularly in light of the fact that this was a Special Election held in April.

So what drove the high level of voter participation and delivered a nearly 2-to-1 victory to Coughlin’s campaign?  I would suggest that four factors contributed to this outcome.

  • House District 6 Special Election Interest
  • Coughlin’s Preparation
  • Grassroots Support
  • Dissatisfaction with Current Johns Creek Leadership

Let’s take them one at a time.

Special Election Interest

There is no denying the fact that there was a groundswell of interest in the Special Election to replace Tom Price’s District 6 seat in the House of Representatives.  Democrat funds poured into the race in an attempt to wrest control of this seat that Republicans have held for decades, spurred by the strategy of uniting behind a Democrat candidate while Republicans conducted the equivalent of a Primary Election.  Both sides pushed a Get Out The Vote effort in order to achieve their objectives (the Democrats seeking to exceed 50% in order to avoid a runoff election, and the Republicans seeking to deny that threshold to their opponent).  The interest in that race certainly brought more people to the polls.

Coughlin’s Preparation

Chris Coughlin is not a newcomer to Johns Creek politics.  He ran for and won an election to complete a stub term in 2015, and narrowly lost the election for the subsequent term while being outspent by the eventual victor who spent nearly 14 times as much money as Coughlin did for his campaign.  In the interim between the completion of his stub term and his election win this past week, Coughlin has remained highly engaged in local issues and has continually advocated his brand of fiscally conservative solutions to the issues our city must address.  This level of continued engagement resonated clearly with residents who met with and attended the various candidate forums as well as meet-and-greet opportunities leading up to the election.

Grassroots Support

There is a growing level of grassroots involvement in Johns Creek.  Some recent developments have heightened the awareness of residents who have been disappointed, or even angered by events such as the proposals to erect a 400 foot tall cell phone tower in close proximity to schools and residential neighborhoods, the arrival of invasive billboards, proposals to widen roads that have far-reaching impacts on residents and private property, the delegation of decision-making authority for eminent domain seizure of private property to unaccountable officials in Forsyth County, failure to adequately address the ever-present and growing traffic congestion in Johns Creek, advocacy for increased urbanization, proposed development of “The District”, and the ongoing promotion of high density housing development despite a majority of residents’ opposition.  The result has been a growing groundswell of grassroots support for candidates who will put the interests of Johns Creek residents first, rather than those of special interests, or in pursuit of a future vision for the city that is anathema to the suburban residential character that most moved here to enjoy.  Chris Coughlin’s platform aligned with that grassroots development.

Dissatisfaction with Johns Creek Leadership

The previous point highlights the growing perception of a disconnect between Johns Creek residents and some of our city elected officials.  To be more specific, Mayor Mike Bodker made this Special Election a referendum on his leadership when he came out in strong support of John Flores, officially endorsing Coughlin’s opponent.  He is quoted in The Johns Creek Herald as stating, “While council is making perfectly fine short-term decisions, they lead to bad long-term consequences.  Meanwhile, what has been lost is a vision for the future of the city.”  The article makes that statement, “Bodker said he is tired of people talking about Johns Creek as if it were a city that was fundamentally broken.”

By jumping into the election and endorsing one candidate while talking down another, the Mayor put a stake in the ground.  He was joined in his endorsement by three City Council Members: Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Broadbent, Councilman Jay Lin (Chris Coughlin’s opponent in 2015), and Councilwoman Cori Davenport.  Those familiar with the workings of John Creek City Council will recognize that the Mayor and three Council Members vote in support of each other the vast majority of the time.  What the Mayor was attempting to accomplish was to add another member to the Council who he thought would be more likely to align with his vision for the city of Johns Creek.  There is a strong case to be made that in their block endorsement of Chris Coughlin’s opponent, the Mayor and three fellow Council Members actually hurt John Flores’ campaign because the voters recognized it for what it was: an attempt to stack the deck with a perceived ally, providing the Mayor ample support to pursue an agenda that is not aligned with the voters.

Despite what was a serious strategic error, Mayor Bodker is an excellent politician.  He is in equal parts persuasive, knowledgeable, hard-working, and dedicated to his job.  There is also an impression that he can overly authoritarian and vindictive.  He certainly has a vision for Johns Creek.  However, the development of grassroots opposition to several of his positions, and the overwhelming success of Chris Coughlin’s election despite the Mayor’s and three City Council Member’s endorsement, there is clear evidence that we have significant dissatisfaction with the leadership in Johns Creek.

Summary

The Special Election is now behind us.  The voting residents of Johns Creek made a bold statement in their overwhelming support for Chris Coughlin, and they sent a message of rebuke to the Mayor and fellow endorsers of Coughlin’s opponent.  The Mayor’s seat and Councilwoman Davenport’s seat are both up for election in November.  Will they learn a lesson from this week’s events, and will they adjust their positions to better align with the will and desires of Johns Creek residents?  The tide is changing and time will tell.

HUD Projects in Johns Creek: Deemed INELIGIBLE

In an interesting turn of events since Cityhood, Fulton County has enacted strict policies regarding spending and has deemed Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) money the City of Johns Creek sought to spend on proposed projects are ineligible.

City staff spent many hours working on “ADA accessible fishing pier” for Shakerag park. The project included a wooden 30-foot-by-20-foot fishing dock and a 30-foot-by-40-foot wildlife observation deck at the lake.

Historically, HUD money grants are for “blighted” areas, not for mismanagement by the wealthiest City in Georgia. Fulton County saw the logic there, and “now requires income surveys to prove that those benefiting from a project are below the income thresholds”.

City Staff is recommending the HUD money be spent on “housing rehabilitation program in which homeowners apply for projects (typically in the $1,000 – $15,000 range such as replacement of a roof or HVAC system).” After the income eligibility is verified, a grant is provided.

Mayor Bodker has been the biggest advocate for the Federal HUD dollars. Councilwoman Stephanie Endres and Councilman Chris Coughlin both have campaigned against the City taking HUD dollars, in an effort to cut any strings attached or unknown compliance requirements.

There has been much controversy nationally over the HUD money and the strings attached, forcing urbanization and a regulatory nightmare for local governments. President Trump is considering canceling the program to save the federal government $6Billion annually, this would not be retroactive and impact the funds the City has already earmarked.

We previously wrote about HUD in our series, “Social Engineering and Federal Overreach Coming to Johns Creek?” Read them here:

Part 1Part 2Part 3

What are your thoughts on the City seeking, advocating, and spending HUD money?

Source: City of Johns Creek

Ossoff WINS Big in Johns Creek

The GA6 race the nation was watching, had an eventful turn within the Creek.

What use to be solid Republican, has changed to lean more Democratic.

Below are the numbers of votes the top candidates got within Johns Creek.

Jon Ossoff: 9,034

Karen Handel: 3,480

Bob Gray: 3,153

Dan Moody: 2,057

Ossoff got more votes than the 3 candidates below him combined, 8,690.

Of interest is former Councilman Bob Gray. He littered the City with his yard signs for FOUR Months and had fewer voters from Johns Creek then expected. He received slightly more votes (3,153) than his 2014 City Council election (2,905), even though record turnout.

The only voting precincts Bob Gray won, were those that covered Country Club of South, where he resides. Jon Ossoff won the rest of the precincts handily. Karen Handel came in second for many of the precincts, earning her the coveted second place.

Source: Fulton County Elections

Letter to Editor: Chris Coughlin’s Victory Can Be a Very Positive Change for Johns Creek

Congratulations Chris Coughlin.  While I know that you cannot of your own accord change the direction of the City Council, I do know that you can move the conversation into the directions we need it to proceed. 
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While the majority does still lie with the FOUR who endorsed Coughlin’s opponent, the Council conversations during the Work Sessions and City Council meetings are in the eyes of the Public.  I hope that the right questions are asked so that we can get the answers on the record before us.  We will be watching. One of the FOUR, if they are listening to the points of view presented, will hopefully change their perspective and vote accordingly. 

I look forward to the discussions on traffic, our so called Intelligent Traffic Lights, actual traffic data, why we cannot work to improve the performance of underperforming intersections, as well as other opportunities within the world of transportation and commuting in and around Johns Creek.  

I look forward to an honest and frank discussion on business taxes, and the reduction of taxes for ALL Johns Creek businesses, as well as the reduction in regulations that do not add anything but challenges to business operations.  This is a conversation Coughlin started in 2015 and unfortunately, has not gone very far without Coughlin, despite the efforts of Council Member Endres. 

Johns Creek is indeed a great City, and I know Coughlin believes this.  Coughlin’s  approach to problem solving is not a product of Group Think, but a product of Critical Thinking.  I look forward to seeing the results of that Critical Thinking because defining the problems first and then pursuing the best solutions will yield better solutions than what we have been doing in the past: Starting with a solution preferred by a few on the Council and then working backwards to justify it. 

To the Four that endorsed Coughlin’s opponent- Are you listening?  You represent the same electorate that overwhelmingly voted Chris Coughlin to join you on the Council.  Coughlin did  not run a negative campaign.  Coughlin ran on the issues and offered solutions. Coughlin’s policies and principles for good governance were stated and discussed. Solving traffic issues, protecting the residents against higher density developments, reducing business taxes for all businesses, and doing it at the lowest possible cost to residents(even if they could afford to pay more) are the types of Council decisions we seek. 

What are you going to do with that information the voters have just provided to you?  Work against Coughlin’s clearly successful campaign based on ideas and supported by the voters of Johns Creek?  Or join with him and others and help keep Johns Creek the great city it is for the residents of Johns Creek?  I encourage you to each take a step back, and truly listen to the conversations and discussions that we will see occur during the work sessions and the City Council meetings.  Challenge your own beliefs on what is going on in Johns Creek and where we are heading. 

If you can have your beliefs challenged and at the end of the conversation, you still believe that is what best, then so be it.  But if you have your beliefs challenged and discover a better way, then I hope you take that opportunity and change your mind.  By doing so, all of Johns Creek will benefit, including yourselves.  

The choice is yours.  We are watching.

Chris Coughlin LANDSLIDES into VICTORY

Chris Coughlin easily defeated John Flores, 2 to 1.

We will post the final numbers in the comments when they come in.

Congrats Mr. Coughlin, on your RESOUNDING Victory!

 

Urgent Update: Polling Locations CHANGED!

We are getting reports from Residents that 2 Polling Locations that have changed. Another location had a machine outage.

1- Medlock Bridge Elementary School polling location has moved to Wilson Creek elementary School.

2- My Pisgah Church Polling moved to Prince of Peace Lutheran church on Haynes bridge Rd.

3- Johns Creek Environmental Center (Jc19 ) will be open til 7:55 pm, 55 mins later after 7 pm, due to machine outage early this morning.

4- Centennial H.S. will be open till 7:35pm.

Find Your Polling Location HERE!

 

Click here to find your Polling Location. (Type in your address) 

Two Faces of Mayor Bodker

Mayor Bodker must struggle making decisions on a daily basis because he frequently communicates mixed messages. Take his position on City Council Candidate, Chris Coughlin.

Here is a 30-second video snippet of Mayor Bodker offering praise and accolades for Chris Coughlin.

Most recently, Mayor Bodker got FREE advertising on the front page of the JC Herald, endorsing City Council Candidate John Flores. He chose Flores after meeting him JUST ONCE, stating that he appeared “positive and grateful to live in the city”.

Ironically, Chris Coughlin is running today on the identical campaign platform with which he won the Stub Term in 2015, and that he pursued while seated on the Council.  It would seem that the only thing that has changed is Mayor Bodker’s point of view.

The Mayor went on to criticize the current council for making good short-term decisions that lead to bad long-term consequences as well as losing the vision for the future of the city. All said from the man that has been leading the city since its inception 10 years ago.

Ask the Candidates: What is your perspective on term limits? Why?

*Although John Flores did not respond to the questionnaire, we included his name and photo to show he is on the ballot and was not omitted on our part.

City Council Campaign Disclosures for April 2017

Chris Coughlin’s Campaign Disclosure: Donations & Expenses

Click image to see full size


John Flores’ Campaign Disclosure: Donations & Expenses

Click image to see full size

37 Main: What Went Wrong & Lawsuits Filed & NEW LOCATION

Johns Creek’s favorite nighttime destination closed, and a LOT of people got angry, and bored! What went wrong?

The City should have inspected the building’s sound retention prior to the business opening.

After initial complaints within weeks of  37 Main opening, from nearby residents, the City should have addressed the noise violations and pulled business licenses if necessary, instead of waiting 2 years to so. Nipping the problem in the bud, would have validated the issue to the business owners and nearby residents alike, rather than ignoring for two years and then the knee-jerk reaction.

After viable lawsuits were threatened, the City instituted a strict noise ordinance, which essentially closed the business down.

Lawsuits were filed Nov 2, 2016  against the City by Joseph White and David White, owners of 37 Main. Although David White’s case was dismissed, Joseph White’s case is still open.

All in all, the City failed to utilize Johns Creek Advantage(JCA) to retain the 37 Main business in Johns Creek. JCA is sponsored by the City and is considered the “economic development engine” of our local government. JCA’s goal is to “recruit and retain” businesses within Johns Creek.

  • Form volunteer “Rapid Response Team” to intervene in critical situations involving a company’s possible expansion or potential departure from Johns Creek. – Johns Creek Advantage
  • Johns Creek economic development professionals (JCA) work diligently with local, state and federal professionals to develop a competitive incentive package that makes doing business in our community the right choice. – Johns Creek Advantage

Why didn’t Johns Creek Advantage deploy to stop 37 Main from leaving the City? They fund-raised over a million dollars for economic development. Surely some of it could have been used to assist 37 Main to soundproof the building, and keep them in Johns Creek.

Months ago, the JCP reached out to 37 Main about their departure, and they were unaware of the JCA and its role within the City. So much for reaching out to local businesses to help them remain within the City.

So the Rock n Roll train moves on…

 37 Main is in the process of relocating to Gainsville and plan to open June 1st.

Oh, the former 37 Main location in Johns Creek is still vacant.

Jay Lin: Where are you? Not at City Meetings!

Jay Lin continues to be neglectful when it comes to his duties as a City Councilman. We’ve reported about his numerous absences here, here and here.

He was appointed by Mayor Bodker to be on the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), along with Lenny Zaprowski and Bob Gray, who recently resigned to run for Congress.

 Councilman Jay Lin has missed 4 of the 8 CAC meetings. The most recent meeting, he left early.

The CAC, is the most significant event for Johns Creek. It determines the blueprint for future development, and how the City will be for the next twenty years.

Jay Lin is missing the important discussions and presentations and the opportunity to dialog with the other residents.

This leaves only Councilman Lenny Zaprowski to provide sole representation and feedback to the City Council.

Jay Lin, where are you?

You still collect a paycheck from City Hall.

Bob Gray Wants to Drain the Swamp: Why didn’t he on the Local Level?

Bob Gray who recently resigned from Johns Creek City Council to run for U.S. Congress, has put out a commercial vowing to “Drain The Swamp”.

Well, why does he feel moved to go all the way to D.C to remove career politicians?

Why didn’t Bob Gray focus on cleaning up the swamp in Johns Creek?

Bob Gray skipped the crucial February 13th Council Meeting, where “Term Limits” were discussed. Had he been present for the conversation, another voice in favor could have changed the outcome of the discussion.

Bob Gray also missed 5 City meetings since announcing his Congress candidacy, and still collected a City Council paycheck.

How will he create term limits in Congress with 435 people, when he didn’t even do so among a City Council of 6?

Yes, Bob Gray has done some good things for Johns Creek.

The question is why did he limit himself from doing good within Johns Creek and chose NOT to advocate for Term Limits here?

Steve Broadbent, Mayor Bodker, Cori Davenport & Jay Lin: Endorse John Flores

 
Friends –

Johns Creek has an important election next Tuesday, April 18th. In addition to voting for your next Representative to Congress, you will also vote for a new member of the Johns Creek City Council.  I am asking you to vote for John Flores.

John and his opponent have fundamentally different views of our city. John and I both believe Johns Creek is a fantastic place to live and raise a family. However, like any city, we have our challenges.

These challenges include traffic, maintaining Johns Creek as a premier residential community, focusing on low density housing, green space expansion and improvement, fiscal responsibility of our city budget, and improved communications with the residents.

John is the only candidate who is talking about ideas and solutions that can work. He does his homework and listens to everyone.

John has experience in both private business as well as non-profit organizations.  This combination will be a real advantage in guiding government, and will be an asset while serving on Council.

John is a solid conservative Republican who works for Ralph Reed at the Faith and Freedom Coalition. His family are members of North Point Community Church, and he has a child at Perimeter Church school.

John is the only candidate who supports the expansion of the city’s parks and greenspace.  His opponent voted against the parks bond which received overwhelming support across Johns Creek.

John supports the city’s economic development plans which will bring new jobs and businesses to Johns Creek. According to a Johns Creek Herald interview, his opponent said the city should not be involved in attracting and retaining businesses.

John is a strong homeowner advocate and will oppose overcrowding and overdevelopment.  He is accessible and believes in bringing people together.

Along with Mayor Mike Bodker, Council Member Cori Davenport, and Council Member Jay Lin, I am proud to endorse and stand with John Flores.

Vote next Tuesday for John Flores.

Thank you,

Steve Broadbent

Dean Gardens: FOR SALE!

As we EXCLUSIVELY reported in February, Dean Gardens Subdivision: Construction STOPPED

We now have an update that Lennar wants to SELL Dean Gardens.

JCP breaks down 3 possible scenarios…

1 A Developer buys the land for large custom estates. This would be a bit pricey, compared to other developments in Johns Creek and less feasible. Multiple lots would have to be combined to allure buyers.

2 Another developer buys it on the contingent of rezoning for higher density. This could be a likely option with the current leadership. As the Mayor stated in the rezoning of Dean Gardens, he wanted the project to be “Financially Viable” to Lennar with the rezoning of  70 houses. Would he be concerned about the financial viability for other developers?

3 The city of Johns Creek buys the land. The most favorable option for the residents, the question is for what price? Lennar will want to recoup their expenses and make a profit. The City will have to invest millions in landscaping and hardscaping to restore what was destroyed by Lennar.

As the City passed up Dean Gardens when Mr. Dean and Tyler Perry both sold it, will 3rd time be a charm?

Priorities: Politicking over the People: Broadbent Hosts Flores Meet & Greet

Actions speak louder than words.

While over a hundred people gathered for a meeting regarding the Seven Oaks widening, three Councilpersons (Steve Broadbent, Cori Davenport, & Jay Lin) hosted a meet and greet for City Council Candidate John Flores at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

This was even AFTER hundreds of residents showed up at City Council meeting the prior week and requested that City Council attends these very same meetings in order to answer questions and concerns.  Attendees at the Seven Oaks widening meeting questioned the priorities of those Council members who chose to attend a campaign event over a scheduled meeting to address residents.

Not all was fallen on deaf ears. Councilwoman Stephanie Endres & Councilman Lenny Zaprowski attended the Seven Oaks meeting, along with City Council candidate Chris Coughlin.

Source: Steve Broadbent’s Facebook page

I-85 Update: How Johns Creek Could Be Impacted

“Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results” -Margaret Atwood

GDOT exhibited their negligence by utilizing the area under a bridge as a permanent storage for large amount of combustibles next to structural members of a critical piece of infrastructure. The plastic conduit made from petroleum was surrounded by wooden spools, which acted as a “wick” in the fire.

Concrete cracks when exposed to high heat and the steel gets soft causing failure, as what happened last week.

GDOT called in C.W. Matthews to rebuild the bridge. They are the construction company that took 1.5 years to widen Old Alabama Rd a measly 1/2 mile.

C.W. Matthews is also currently widening Abbotts Bridge Rd, and this project may slow down, as workers could be reassigned to the I-85 project.

Johns Creek could also be impacted by the I-85 fire, as commuters who traversed 400, could use 141 to go in-town.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is calling on all those that reside North of Atlanta to have a full tank of gas, before driving downtown.

Ernest Moosa: Videotorials

Ernest Moosa compares and contrasts the City Council Candidates: Chris Coughlin & John Flores, from the JCCA debate.

Video Editorial on Traffic

Video Editorial on Business Taxes

 

Video Editorial on Property Taxes: Millage Rate

Johns Creek Gymasts: Top Winners!

Over the weekend of March 17th, 2016, the USAG Level 6 Gymnastics World of Georgia team garnered many accomplishments at the Georgia USAG Level 6 State Meet.  The team members are Kelsey Dixon, Camryn Gillespie, Kendall Malvin, Hayden Mazur, Amelia McEwan, Avery Moss, Mackenzie Osbourne, Kendall Rockwell, and Lilah Sell.  They all reside in Johns Creek and they all attend local elementary schools in the area.

Kendall Malvin was All-Around Champion for her age group with 1st place finishes on vault, bars and beam.  Hayden Mazur was All-Around Champion for her age group with 1st place finishes on bars, beam and floor.  Mackenzie Osbourne was All-Around Champion for her age group with strong 1st place finishes on bars and floor.  Kendall Rockwell was also All-Around Champion for her age group with 1st place finishes on vault and bars and a nice 2nd place showing on beam.  Lilah Sell capped off a great season with a 2nd place finish on bars and a 3rd place finish on vault.  Avery Moss finished 2nd All-Around with a great 1st place beam routine.  Amelia McEwan landed a strong state showing with a 4th place All-Around finish with 3rd on vault and beam.  Kelsey Dixon had a strong season finale complete with a 4th place finish on bars and 10th All-Around.  Camryn Gillespie, who was unfortunately out with an injury at state, was the team’s biggest cheerleader and provided fantastic support throughout the weekend.

These collective individual accomplishments earned the team the honor of the state of Georgia Level 6 USAG Team Co-Championship.  They tied for the highest team score in the state alongside a gym with a much larger and older team!

Kendall Malvin, Hayden Mazur, and Mackenzie Osbourne were honored to be named to the eight-member state team representing Georgia at Regional Competition the weekend of April 21st.  Their scores were in the top eight out of over 300 competitors in the entire state. Amelia McEwan, Avery Moss and Kendall Rockwell scored high enough to qualify for individual competition at Regionals.

The Gymnastics World of Georgia Level 6 team is coached by DeAvera Todd, former Boise State and University of Illinois at Chicago gymnast, and Briaunna Louison, former Level 10 Elite gymnast and TOPS National Qualifier.

Source: Brandi Mazur

Photo Credit: Starr Petronella