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Number of the Month – Avalon’s Shill Campaign

Around the first of the month I publish the number of the month, a random bit of local trivia.

64% vs 27%

- The percentage of favorable responses to the Avalon plan since the Progress Partners “call to action” on March 21st versus the percentage before.

Online reviews can be great. They can be a powerful tool in a decision making process. It might be a book on Amazon, restaurant on Yelp, an app in the iPhone store or a multimillion dollar mixed-use activity center in Alpharetta. Online reviews can provide great feedback and serve as a proxy for overall public opinion.

But the integrity of online reviews is diminished when a group solicits for reviews with a directed response, aka “shilling.” This is what happened last week when Progress Partners and the Chamber openly told members to give positive reviews of Avalon on the city’s online forum. The results of this action are measurable. Prior to March 21st, when reviews were more organic in nature, only 27% of respondents gave Avalon an “I like it” review, the most favorable choice. After the campaign nearly two thirds of the reviews were most favorable.

Shill campaigns like this undermine the credibility of the entire review process and online forum. It does a disservice to those seeking to use the results as a decision-making tool (planning commissioners and city councilmen). The campaign itself was also unethical, something I wrote about last week.

Number of the Month – Home Invasion Arrests

Around the first of the month I publish the number of the month, a random bit of local trivia.

Eight

The number of arrests made in connection to a home invasion in Roswell targeting an Indian family. Police in Cobb County believe the same suspects were behind a similar home invasion in Mableton.

Both crimes were similar to Alpharetta’s home invasions in September and November. It is my sincere hope that authorities can link the cases and bring these criminals to justice. It would be nice to start the new year knowing that this crime wave is behind us.

Continued kudos to Mike Petchenik at WSB-TV for offering the most timely news on home invasions in north Fulton. I suggest you follow Mike on Twitter at @PetchenikWSB.

Number of the Month – Cash Registers at Fry’s

Around the first of the month I publish the number of the month, a random bit of local trivia.

66

The number of cash registers at Fry’s Electronics in Milton. Compare that to only 28 at the Walmart supercenter next door.

Like any nerdy cubicle dweller, I enjoy strolling through Fry’s over a lunch break. But there is a lot about this retailer and their operations that leaves me scratching my head. Their staggering array of cash registers makes no sense. I doubt they use them all, even on Black Friday. Their cage security structure, large (yet still unhelpful) workforce and odd product pricing also puzzle me.

Photo Credit: MysteriousMystery (creative commons)

Number of the Month – Mattress Stores in Alpharetta

Around the first of the month I publish the number of the month, a random bit of local trivia.

Thirteen

Eat your heart out, Princess and the Pea. This is the number of specialty mattress stores in Alpharetta and Milton. Mattress Giant, Mattress Firm, Original Mattress Factory… They even outnumber Starbucks in our little suburb. I considered only stores that exclusively sold mattresses, omitting places like Rooms-to-go and Macy’s. How these guys stay in business, I’ll never know.

Photo Credit: Jacob.rosen3 (public domain)

Number of the Month – Density in the 2030 Plan

Around the first of the month I publish the number of the month, a random bit of local trivia.

1,334.3

The number of acres that will be classified as high density residential or mixed use by the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

In a few weeks the Alpharetta council will take up the proposed comprehensive plan. It will reclassify a lot of land into either high density residential or mixed use. This will represent 7.7% of the total acreage of the city. The existing land use plan has the city at 5.6% high density residential with mixed use not even getting a mention on the list.

Alpharetta’s current council has a history of approving densities up to the maximum allowed, or ten condos per acre. I’ll leave the rest of the math to my readers.

 

Number of the Month – LCIs in Johns Creek

Around the first of the month I publish the number of the month, a random bit of local trivia.

Zero

The number of Livable Centers Initiative studies in Johns Creek.

Alpharetta has two. Roswell has two. Even south Forsyth has an LCI study. Johns Creek has none. It’s a curious fact considering that mayor Mike Bodker sits on the board of the Atlanta Regional Commission and is so involved in regional planning. The ARC encourages LCI studies and doles out Federal grant money to projects they deem worthy.

Why doesn’t Mike Bodker eat his own cooking?

Number of the Month – Qualifying Fee

Around the first of the month I publish the number of the month, a random bit of local trivia.

$450

The qualifying fee to run for Alpharetta City Council.

This November Alpharetta’s council will have possibly five seats up for grabs (including the mayor’s spot). Chances are good that only two incumbents will run, creating an unprecedented opportunity for new blood in city hall. It is my sincere hope that the field is large, providing Alpharetta voters with an abundance of choice. If you read my blog and have even the slightest curiosity about running for office, please do so this year! Qualifying begins at the end of August.

Number of the Month – GA-400 Crossings

Around the first of the month I publish the number of the month, a random bit of local trivia.

Eight

The number of roads that cross GA-400 in the city of Alpharetta.

I think this is a fact that significantly shapes Alpharetta. Roswell only has two crossings (effectively just Holcomb Bridge Road). This creates an east versus west divide in their city that separates their citizens, politically and in other ways. I don’t see such a geographic divide here in Alpharetta, something which creates a more cohesive and congruent community.

Number of the Month – Closed Restaurants

Around the first of the month I publish the number of the month, a random bit of local trivia.

Nine

The number of restaurants I’ve reviewed which have since closed. Poquito’s Cantina closed yesterday, becoming number nine. Is getting reviewed on Roots in Alpharetta a curse, or is this just a reflection of the restaurant industry in general? I’m hoping for the latter. Nevertheless, I’ve reviewed 34 restaurants, most of them new joints, and better than a quarter have closed.

Number of the Month – MARTA Expansion Costs

Around the first of the month I publish the number of the month, a random bit of local trivia.

$150 Million

The cost, per mile, to extend MARTA’s heavy rail north line. To go the eleven miles from North Springs to Windward Parkway would cost approximately $1.6 Billion. Source: MARTA North Line Transit Oriented Development Study.

Light rail was estimated to cost between $40 and $100 Million per mile. Also keep in mind that these estimates were given five years ago. Just something to consider. I can’t wait for the day when politicians and policy makers attempt to justify this outrageous cost.

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