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Oglethorpe president weighs in on Brookhaven cityhood
by Bobby Tedder
September 12, 2012 10:35 AM | 2086 views | 3 3 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Freshmen Chase Meadows, 18, left, and Lindsi Bollinger, 17, walk to class at Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven.
Freshmen Chase Meadows, 18, left, and Lindsi Bollinger, 17, walk to class at Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven.
With the reality of impending Brookhaven cityhood setting in, both sides of the referendum debate are looking ahead.

Oglethorpe University President Lawrence Schall, among the more prominent Brookhaven residents on the dissenting side, is no different.

Schall was outspoken in delivering his stance on Brookhaven incorporation — as a resident of the area and not as a representative of the university — via conventional means and the blogosphere.

He conceded that the time has now come to turn the page.

“Now that it’s a reality, I am not sure that [reiterating] my position again serves much purpose,” Schall said. “I do believe there were lots of people on both sides of the issue with good intentions and I hope we will come together to work productively.”

“My view was and remains that our most significant issues are regional and a regional approach will be required to address them,” he added. “That’s harder with more cities, but not impossible.”

Schall did; however, acknowledge his concern that promises made in the time leading up to the referendum by pro-city advocates will not be met — consequently, leading to an “even greater” mistrust of the political system than already exists.

“Time will tell, of course,” Schall said. “As I wrote before the election, the larger and more important issues that we all face won’t be impacted by this election. Education would be at or near the top of the list … we had a failing public school system before and we will still have one after.”

The new city of Brookhaven, home to nearly 50,000 residents, is set to officially begin operations Dec. 17.

Pro-incorporation advocates and pundits rode a wave of momentum — fueled by promises of a lower tax burden and better services — to victory at the polls in late July.

Brookhaven YES, a leading entity in that fight, was a key purveyor of such information in the months leading up to the July 31 vote.

“What is becoming clear to the people who have the facts is that they will be much better off with a smaller, more efficient government that completely replaces five services that DeKalb [County] is currently mismanaging or neglecting in various degrees,” said then-Brookhaven YES President J. Max Davis.

While those services — law enforcement among them — will soon begin functioning under the Brookhaven brand, schools in the area will remain in the county’s purview.

Count Schall as among those warily looking ahead.

“The folks who dreamed up this idea never asked me or my institution what we thought of the plan to become a new city,” he stated in a past blog. “For [Oglethorpe], which would all of a sudden find its home to be the city of Brookhaven instead of Atlanta, I don’t believe this is a good thing.”
Comments-icon Post a Comment
September 12, 2012
This does not sound like someone who is ready to turn the page. It appears he wanted special privileges for himself and his school. Everyone had an opportunity to voice their opinion on July 31st.
September 12, 2012
Shouldn't the president of a higher educational institution know better than any one else that the school system is a function of the county rather than the city?
Thom Shepard
September 20, 2012
An anonymous person said: "...the school system is a function of the county rather than the city?"

This is not an accurate statement. Just one example:

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