Meltdown

On Wednesday, October 31, 2012, Flagpole printed a comment by Melissa Link concerning the proposed designation of the Buena Vista Historic District.See the article here. Below is a reprint of the comment section from that article. Blake Aued subsequently deleted all the comments without a clear reason. You can see the screen capture here.

minorityrules 1 week, 5 days ago

this article is so absurd i had to create an account to comment. the author sure is ready to judge. i happen to know some of the homeowners in the “McMansions” she mentions and they are very nice people who love the neighborhoood. i’m sure they feel so welcome thanks to Melissa. i’ve noticed a few “pro” signs here and there (there aren’t many) and they happen to be in front of houses that are just as large as the “McMansions”. i must be missing something. Probably due to all the “hysteria” clouding my senses (thanks again Melissa i was not sure what the problem was).

i’m not in favor of the Buena Vista historic designation. most of the homes do not meet historic standards and i see it as being that simple. if the proposal had majority support from the neighborhood that would be something i could accept, but it doesn’t. again, that simple. i for one love the growth thats happened up and down Pulaski in Pulaski Heights which would not be possible with stricter controls. current zoning addresses scale and the smart folks down at planning have worked hard to come up with a master plan for the intown neighborhoods. Love to the Boulevard Neighborhood, all of it! Say no to the Buena Vista HIstoric District.

Normaltown 1 week, 3 days ago

I found the article objectionable enough to create an account as well, but moderator must be taking weekend off? It’s been a day since I posted, though since I’m new to this online site, so perhaps this is the normal delay time for a post to be approved? It does make having a meaningful discussion difficult if this is the norm for the site….

Normaltown 1 week, 3 days ago

But, but, but…..I thought the same group that strives to maintain affordability by using Historic Preservation designation as a govt imposed tool, espouse that historic designations have been proven to raise property values. If so, seems like Melissa should be against this, right? This whole letter is full of flaws and hyperbole.

The bottom line is that even after 3 years of lobbying property owners for support of a historic designation, when the County sent out surveys to see what neighborhood wanted, only 10% of neighborhood support a historic designation. I think that says it all, and really should end this discussion. Mayor and Commissioners, are you listening to the majority voice of the neighborhood?

On another note, if Melissa and others are truly committed to keeping property values down and ensuring it’s future affordability, would they be the first to cap future profits on their own properties when they sell? Maybe taking no profit, or limiting at say 10%? This would ensure others could affordably nove into the area, without burdening their neighbors rights. Somehow I doubt they want their value lessened, but may not have same concern for other folks property values.

Normaltown 1 week, 3 days ago

Melissa,
Can you elaborate on what you mean by ‘market manipulation’ and ‘shell games’ being played in the neighborhood? I live in Normaltown, and would like to have a concrete idea of what you are referring to. Those are bold assertions in a public forum, so I’m hoping you will support thes claims publicly.

Also, why do you only imply realtors, developers, and builders oppose this? That very untrue and highly manipulative. The government only sent surveys to the property owners in the neighborhood, and only 10% of property owners supported this, even after 3 years of supporters actively lobbying property owners to endorse this. I don’t think you are being fair to the majority of property owners when you make such claims, especially when you don’t live in this neighborhood. There have been plenty of folks on both sides of this issue weigh in on their feelings, who also don’t live in the neighborhood, but supporters only want to point out those who oppose and live outside this neighborhood, while legitimizing outside support. I guess this must be the only way to create a more compelling voice of support, when it’s clear the vast majority of affected property owners don’t want this govt control imposed upon them.

I’m wondering when you criticize the notion of large additions to existing houses, how the few actual supporters there are, who live in historic homes in this neighborhood, that have done large additions, which doubled or tripled the values of their homes, now must feel about their support of this proposal. You basically just dissed them, right? If their support is removed, there may only be about 5 supporting homeowners left, if I do my math correctly. I wonder if you care how many of your neighbors you have offended with your comments?

What I’m seeing is not student housing pressures, but families that are seeking housing to be within walking distance of Chase Street school, and a movement back toward this being a more family-centric, kid-friendly neighborhood, which seems positive, I’ve seen no houses torn down in over 10 years, & largest house I’ve seen built in last 5 yrs is under 2500, maybe 2300′. Also, regarding affordability, 3 houses in neighborhood went under contract in last week under 150k, two under 125k. Your rhetoric could use a bit of moderation. Thanks.

Crazytown 4 days, 21 hours ago

Normaltown,

I think I can help Melissa answer your first question. I’ll give you one example of these questionable deals. If you would like more, I think we should ask Stella Smith to do a series. So, the wife of a local Realtor buys a plot of land in town at approximately .54 acres in 2009 for 70K. A year and a half later, the wife of this Realtor carves a .22 acre portion of this land off and sells it for 65K to a builder with whom this Realtor often works. In addition, this Realtor represents this builder in the sale of this land with a custom house to be built by this builder. This land is now for sale with the custom house for just under 400K. So let’s do some math. .22 is about 2/5 of the original .54. So if 2/5 is worth 65K the remaining 3/5 must be worth about 98K (assuming that it’s all equally usable land, which it appears to be). This means that the total value of the land is now about 163K. Astounding investment. In a year and a half, this Realtor’s wife turned a 70K investment into 163K. Now what could account for this amazing increase in value? The Realtor would have you have you believe that in-town property values have simply risen that much in a year and a half. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to support that except for these non-arms-length transactions among land investors, Realtors, builders, and their myriad holding companies and trusts. So what is likely happening? There is no way to know for sure, but there is definitely the appearance of impropriety. One theory is that when the Realtor sells this 400K property, he will forgo the normal 3% commission (around 12K) because he already extracted it from the inflated price of the land. So now, a sale that would have been recorded as 53K (still an astounding return on investment) is recorded as 65K. He can do this because the builder is essentially his partner in this whole transaction. Now, why would the Realtor do this? Simple, this inflated price is now public record. He can tell clients that the land next door, his wife’s, is worth more because of this prior sale. And if this Realtor happens to represent or own homes or land in the area, he can say the same about them. This is just the sketchy possibility. There are certainly other more sinister explanations that involve tax evasion and under-the-table cash transactions. So, Normaltown, this is just one example of many. I encourage you to continue to challenge Melissa and the Flagpole to prove that these shady transactions are taking place. Let’s see what floats to the surface.

Yours Truly,
Crazytown

Normaltown 3 days, 21 hours ago

Crazy town, please do investigate further. That land purchase is mine and my wife’s. I’m glad to discuss this openly with u or anyone else. Your numbers are absurd, you speculate inappropriately. My wife and I had that property under contract for 3 years while waiting for a title issue to be cleared up. We are considering the lot as a possible site where we may custom build our retirement home on. We have only lived in historic homes, and the idea of a new, energy-efficient, green-built home is very appealing to us. Given we wouldn’t need to retain the whole lot, we decided to subdivide the lot and let it be known we would sell one of the lots. It was made public. We attached a high price to it so we could make sure it was not appealing to investors and could ensure something nice would get built on the lot. I actually had someone offer me 90k, but turned it down because I wasn’t keen on their plan. I know 4 lots on Pulaski, a block away all sold for 85k, so our selling our lot for 65k makes very little sense if we were looking to max our economic return. Does that dispel your notion, or Melissa’s, or Stella’s that something nefarious underlies this lot sale. How silly it all sounds! We sold that lot to Jared York with the condition we would get to participate in the design of a house we would feel good about possibly living next to one day. FYI….it may soon be under contract to an artist who plays piano, and the design of house it likely to be by award winning architect, Lori Bork, who live a few door down. Does that allay your misconceptions about that lot, and our personal affairs?

By the way, if we sold both lots for the same 65k, which is less than what anyone else in the area has been selling lots for, after capital gains taxes, we might make 40K on a 4-5 year investment. YOur numbers are pretty absurd. I’d be glad to speak further with u if you’d like to come out from your position of anonymity.

Further, why would you choose me as an example? Why not one of the many homeowners who in the neighbohood sho provides much better examples of land speculation? I can give you a ton of examples, but don’t find them nefarious. What is your agenda?

By the way, for clarification, this is the only ‘lot’ that either my wife have ever bought, and I have lived in Athens for 5 decades.

P.S. crazy town, please find some better examples; I’d really like to see something that has some real substance behins Melissa’s bold accusations. Are you Melissa?

Normaltown 3 days, 21 hours ago

Crazy town,

I just read your email to my wife, and if you do foreclose your name, which I’m sure you won’t, be aware I just read your comments to my wife, and she is livid. You need to get your facts straight before you make supposition about tax evasion and under the table cash transactions. That’s really libelous stuff., and in this case completely false. Please, please, please let us know who you are! I’d suggest you might want to withdraw your comment. Also, in the future, it might be prudent to pick up the phone, and call the folks you are suspicious of, and at least attempt to get your facts straight, especially before posting publicly. You have crossed the boundary of being either appropriate or neighborly.

Normaltown 3 days, 15 hours ago

Crazy town,

I asked for concrete examples of unethical manipulation of real estate, and you come back with one example, and it’s not even valid. Again, do you have any fact-based examples? There was nothing that wasn’t completely transparent in that lot exchange, which you imply resides somewhere between the realm of ‘sketchy’ and ‘nefarious’. Without any evidence, you come on a public site and seem to suggest there may be ‘tax evasion and under the table cash transactions’; do you not feel you may be exposing yourself to libel? If you have questions about that transaction, why not call my wife or i to fact check first. We’re pretty open peopke. What makes you seem so angry?

As for values, your awareness of value seems limited. I believe a woman who lives in Boulevard purchased a .3 acre lot on Pulaski, 2 blocks from this lot, and flipped it, selling the lot for 240k in 2008. Another woman in Beuna Vista bought a house in 2000 for 85k and in 2005 cut out a lot that is .21 acres and she sold it for $70,500. Recently, a fellow wanting to buy in Pulaski Hts bought 3 parcels on Pulaski for 158k, then proceeded to sell 2 lots for 80k each, leaving him with a large .89 acre tract of land to build his own home on. To my awareness, all of these transactions were done without assistance of realtors or builders, yet they have set market highs for lot prices. To say my wife selling what some would argue is in some ways a better lot for 65k, far below these other lots (and I can name more) is somehow representative of something nefarious (evil) is unfathomable, especially in a public forum.

Again, we turned down higher offers for this lot, so this isn’t an example of how much we could have made. And honestly, is that anyone’s business anyway; do you think profit should be capped, and that the folks who owned the lots mentioned above are somehow practicing evil?
Also, when you speculate on the value of the lot we’ve kept, the way you’ve assigned value doesn’t work like that in real life. Also, though we’ve been approached by many folks asking us to sell it, I’ve explained to them, if my wife and I decide not to build a custom, green-minded home there to retire to, I’d be glad to keep them in mind, but I don’t think I’ve ever given anyone a price.
With all that said, I would like to think you might like to retract some of your hostilities and accusations? I’d like to think any conversation had might be a civil one. We dont have to agree, but I’d like to think the discourse could be civil and grounded in fact, without harsh conjecture and unfounded accusation. Is that possible?

Normaltown 3 days, 14 hours ago

PS….in you words, the best possibility is only that the lot transaction could at best be ‘sketchy’, why would realtor want to point to the lot selling for 65k, to support value, when within 2 blocks there have been lot sals of; 230k, 158k, 81k, & 80k? Your condemnation doesn’t make much sense. Also, the lot directly across the street was listed for 85k, was an extremely challenging lot to build on, and had interested buyer before it was withdrawn from the market. You need to understand that a 65k lot in this area is well below market value, and will not likely be seen again. I think you need to retract your aspersions, which are full of misdirected anger.
By the way, since we are probably neighbors, what is your real name? Would you like to have an honest conversation?

Normaltown 2 days, 13 hours ago

So Crazytown, let’s see if I have this right; I ask for concrete examples to support claims of shell games and implied illegality, and you reply with one very bad example where you further imply something ranging from sketchy to sinister has occured, but acknowledge; ‘there is no evidence’, and ‘there is no way to know for sure, but there is the appearance of impropriety’. So really what have you provided insight to? Nothing, except to then go on and and continue with further, pure conjecture, that implies there may/must be tax evasion or illegal, under the table cash transactions, with no proof whatsoever. Given you have provided enough info on who was involved in this transaction for a reasonable person to deduce who your referring to, I believe your assertions fall in the category of libelous.

I’m still wondering if you, or Melissa, assuming you aren’t Melissa, have any substance to support your claims? If not, will you please responsibly drop your hateful, libelous rhetoric? It is not only not productive to a meaningful dialogue, it’s also highly divisive for the neighborhood.

hastalabuenavista 1 week, 1 day ago

First off, I am not sure how this could be up to anybody outside the district? How does one who lives outside of this district have any say in what happens to the values of the homes in the proposed district? How is it not simply put to a majority vote of the “owners” in the district, if the majority of owners within the proposed district decide it’s best for their neighborhood then so say we all. How does somebody outside the district have any say in the future of an investment that I am making?

I am a single young professional that has lived in town for a decade and has always wanted to own a house in the Boulevard neighborhood. It wasn’t until recently in my life where buying a home was actually an option. I have worked hard my entire life, paving my own way (not seeking pity because a lot of people have done this as well), but was brought up under the mentality of “if you want it bad enough”…. This being said, I am currently under contract with a home in the proposed district (affordable 125k) and am very concerned with what this might mean to me as a homeowner if this passes. This will be my primary residence. The house that I am trying to buy is a small cottage style home built in the 40’s with lot’s of character, but as with most older homes need’s some updating. I know that the value I am getting for this home is far superior than what I could get half a mile closer to town in the BLVD historic district. So there goes your affordability argument. I am walking proof that Buena Vista is still appealing to “the traditional resident”. (young, creative, community centric, local minded, positive, etc) Lastly, certainly there is some middle ground that could be found on the issue. We are Athenians, we are supposed to be creative. Is there no solution that could be found that takes into account both sides views? Maybe not make it a Historical district, but a Conservationist district? Protecting the integrity of the neighborhood while simultaneously promoting creative growth?

SouthernMan 2 days, 12 hours ago

Crazytown

As a concerned attorney and former real estate professional who has been following this ridiculous Buena Vista mess, I advise you to familiarize yourself with the definition (and law) on “libel.” And you and those who allowed your screed to be published in this forum should hope and pray that Normaltown and his wife do not do the same.

Tzedakah 1 day, 21 hours ago

Nefarious, sinister, unethical… I don’t know what Littleton’s motivations are, and Normaltown’s rambling responses don’t make them clear. But let’s go back to the title of Melissa Link’s article. “Middle-class priced out of in-town neighborhoods.” One thing is clear. Littleton’s land is a prime example of this title. I can sympathize with his desire for his future neighbor’s house to be green-minded and special. Fine. But by green-minded, it seems he is referring to money. If he just wanted something environmentally-friendly and special, it wouldn’t come at a price tag that “prices out the middle-class.” To see what I mean by this, check out this link:

http://www.fullcircleathens.com/listings/view/474

This property, proposed for Littleton’s lot, has the asking price of 380. A month ago, they were asking 350. The house plans are unchanged, so did the price of building materials go up? Or did people become more “green-minded?” A house with that price tag is not attainable to most Athens families and piano players.

Normaltown 1 day, 17 hours ago

Anonymous poster, does libelous commentary, without substance not bother you? The earlier post was pointing out that when asking Melissa Link for tangible examples of her accusation of impropriety br realtors/builders/developers, Crazytown, whoever that is decided to answer for Melissa, since Melissa wont support her wild accusations. Crazytown then proceeds to issue a threatening screed, and infers that a tansaction may have been sinister, including tax evasion and ubder the table cash transactions, but makes it clear they have no evidence to support such dangerous accusations. Is that something you condone. That’s libel.

Mr Littleton is not personally selling any lots, though represents many people who are. You can buy 12 acres w pond for a reasonable 150k, you can buy several in town lots for as low as 30-40k thru him, which may be the cheapest lots in town. That said, why do you too jump on the hating on realtors, builders, and developers, when I pointed out that within 2 blocks of the lot being discussed, private property owners have sold lots for far more, even 2-4 times the price of this 65k lot. Do you selectively chose to noy understand this dynamic of appreciation of lots cannot be cast upon any one group, and that the 5-6 highest priced lot sales were by individuals? Is it easier to vilify a realtor or builder responding to market demand than to shine your same spotlight on your neighbors who sold lots for far higher prices. What is your agenda? Do you think we need to eradicate the free market, capitalist system? (perhaps you dont, and thats your perogative, but you do live in a free market economomy) do you feel it Is even any of your business what any homeowner sells their property for? Bottom line, if someone wants to buy something, what right do you have to judge either the buyer or seller, if both end up happy?

Normaltown 1 day, 15 hours ago

To address your concern about why the price of house on Hendrix went up, have you bothered calling to ask anyone? Why do you, like crazy town and others only want to leave open the possibility of thinking the worst? As I understand it, the lot development costs have exceeded what was anticipated, given it is on a fairly steep slope. Also, my understanding is that both material and labor costs to build a home have increased over the last year, since house first went on the market. Does that help provide you useful insight.

That said, what exactly is your point, other than that property on the West side of Downtown has been appreciating for years, due to an increased demand? This is happening all over the country. Also, why single out this one property, when there are $500,000-800,000 homes recently built within 1-2 blocks of this ‘proposed’ home? Did you read my comments that point out how many lots in this neighborhood have been sold by homeowners at 80-230k? Why are you focusing on a lot that has sold for so much less, and could have been sold for more? Melissa link even says that the tax assessors are valuing Buena Vista lots for 80k. I guess I’m not understanding why you are so keenly focused on this lot? Are you not interested in taking a more holistic view of what’s happening?

My view is that values are rising due to laws of supply and demand. There are an array of practical reasons, not the least of which is, due to the desirability to live in the Chase Street school, one of the few public schools in the County held in high regard. This is attracting families, often with 2 incomes, who are seeking houses large enough for families. Some of our in-town neighborhoods only wish they had more families interested in them. Also, I’m seeing a trend of folks who would rather pay more money to custom design and build a new, often green-conscious home, and recoup the money spent on lower energy bills. I get that, as I live in a 100 yr old home, and they can be much more expensive to heat/cool, and maintenance costs tend to be significantly higher. I suspect we will only continue to see more, green measures being retrofitted into our historic homes, and that expense will inevitably have to be passed along to the consumer. This is all part of a changing World, and in itself isn’t inherently bad.

Maybe I’m missing the point. Are you suggesting we eliminate the market driven economy? Are you suggesting people should cede property rights, and rights to profit, or that they be capped? Would you like to see the government come in and establish affordable housing? What is it you are seeking?

Crazytown 1 day, 21 hours ago

Normaltown and SouthernMan,

I believe a public forum like this is an ideal place to discuss real estate transactions in Athens. Nothing I said in my comment was untrue or inaccurate (“The truth of the charge made may always be proved in justification of an alleged libel or slander,” See O.C.G.A. § 51-5-6). But, I am sorry I can not reveal my identity because I have now been threatened by two people (or 1 person with two accounts) with libel. Though, SouthernMan, I do commend you for creating an account just to defend the honor of Normaltown. I think this would be a great topic for a newspaper series on real estate transactions in Athens. Maybe we just need a little more sunshine on real estate practice in general in this town to avoid spiraling us back into the pit of property speculation that destroys communities and national economies.

Crazytown

Normaltown 1 day, 15 hours ago

Crazy town,

I have no idea who Southern Man is, but if you are so adamant you have not libeled anyone, what would prevent you from revealing your identity? That makes no sense at all.

Would you be willing to call the wife of said realtor and discuss the facts you claim to know?

I do need to ask you, unless you either work at the Flagpole, or someone at Flagpole has shared Southern Man’s personal information, how would you know what that person’s IP address is? I thought that was confidential information? Can the Flagpole moderator please explain if it’s possible? Crazy town, do you work at the Flagpole?

Crazytown 19 hours, 22 minutes ago

Even frivolous litigation costs time and money.

Normaltown 1 day, 14 hours ago

PS……it sounds like you inferred I may have set up a 2nd account, as Southern Man; is that a correct interpretation of what you wrote above? If so, that is another wrong assumption on your part; I don’t know anything about who may have posted that, but am glad they did. You need to be considerably more thoughtful with your words. Almost everything you said in your original post is untrue, other than what you’ve taken from public record. Everything else is inappropriate and libelous conjecture. It also does nothing toward creating or furthering a healthy discussion of what may be worth exploring in terms of creating an even healthier neighborhood fabric.

Crazytown 23 hours, 6 minutes ago

I’m pretty sure “libelous conjecture” is an oxymoron.

mlink 1 day, 20 hours ago

I usually don’t chime in on these things, but since Normaltown’s panties have become so thoroughly wadded in this thread, I thought I’d clear the air. I’ve no idea who Crazytown is, but his/her detailed account of the recent sales history & price inflation of one particular in-town lot is just a single example of similar transactions that are occurring in in-town neighborhoods throughout Athens–Boulevard, Buena Vista, Normaltown, Newtown, and East Athens. Anecdotal evidence abounds among property shoppers and a cursory search of tax records reveals all manner of seemingly irrationally inflated sales and frequent deed transfers. Apparently there’s nothing illegal about any of it, but it does bring to light a certain degree of avarice among realtors/developers/investors that is making it increasingly difficult for folks of modest means to settle down in in-town neighborhoods. I do find Normaltown’s hypocrisy in this matter to be particularly ironic. He claims he turned down one offer “because I wasn’t keen on their plan” and he sold another lot “with the condition we would get to participate in the design of a house we would feel good about possibly living next to one day.” If only the residents of Buena Vista could exercise some influence in new construction in their neighborhood! If historic designation passes, they will be able to do just that via opportunities for public input that are required as part of the Historic Preservation Commission approval process.

Normaltown 1 day, 17 hours ago

Melissa,

Are you going to ignore all my posts that document the highest priced sales of lots have not had anything to do with realtors, but by various residents within the neighborhood, some who have lived in neighborhood far longer than you or I? If you are going to document what’s unfolding, please try to be more objective, and stop with your selective vilification. You have friends and acquaintances who have sold lots in the neighborhood for more than I did, which was under market value.
Also, my choosing to buy land and have control over what gets built on it, and asking the government to come in and control what’s allowed to be built on other peoples land are two entirely different things, and doesn’t reflect hypocrisy on my part. If you can’t see the difference, I’m not sure we will agree. Honestly, I think we both have positive intentions, though I suspect we have very different perspectives. By the way, how you spin greed/avarice out of selling a lot well below what others within 1-2 blocks is beyond me. Wouldn’t greed dictate having sold lot for 90k rather than 65k? Again, could you perhaps shine your critical light on the 80-230k deals by your friends and neighbors, and frame your public opinion out in a more fair way?

Normaltown 1 day, 15 hours ago

Thanks Melissa. I’m glad you’ve clarified you aren’t suggesting what you are unhappy with is illegal.
Greed. Hmmmmmm…..hard to say what are the boundaries for acceptable profit. Many people have run to tech bubble, stock market bubble, real estate bubble over the years and some who have taken risks do well, and most do not. I’ve believe in the 1600s there was market investment/speculation over tulip bulbs that got out of hand. At it’s peak, some bulbs for 10 times the annual wages of a skilled worker of that time. I guess it’s always difficult to definitively say what represents just the right amount of profit, but not too much for the person motivated to take risks? I’m not really sure how to address your topic of greed. I will state that words of judgement of people who are sometimes your neighbors can be damaging. I continue to see you, and others on this site want to categorically say damaging and defaming things about professionals in the field of real estate, but selectively omitting the property owners. Is everyone not all a participant, that owns property? How many altruistic property owners can you site, who live in our neighborhood, who have put up their hand, and said ‘no’ I don’t want to receive that much property for my land or house. I’ve not found that to be the case. Typically, everyone asks to get as much from their property as possible. I provided many examples of lot sales by private individuals in the neighborhood, where no realtor was involved, that set the new benchmark for lot values. There are currently houses for sale in both historic Cobbham and Boulevard that are priced in the 800-900k range. Would you say that these homeowners are greedy. I’m just curious?

Whatever your response, I hope this can remain a civil discourse. There are indeed important discussions to be had as our town grows in population and size, and our neighborhoods are challenged to evolve.

SouthernMan 1 day, 12 hours ago

The real issue here is a familiar one, and, as has become increasingly clear, it is not so much about preserving history as it is about class, and the complimentary issue of gentrification. How does a community grow and prosper, in a free market democracy, assuming that’s a good thing, while at the same time helping those of more modest means stay in place in neighborhoods, where they may have lived for decades or generations, that are becoming increasingly desirable and thus expensive? How do local governments and communities work together to protect neighborhood character, history and identity, while allowing for growth, prosperity and an expanding tax base to support much needed services and infra-structure? Has there not been any fore-thought to the problem of “gentrification” in Athens? Is the very same conflict not likely to increase in frequency all over Athens in the coming years? Is it not already happening in other neighborhoods? Have other communities similar to Athens not come up with creative and sustainable solutions we could use as models? I’m not so sure the right solution is to designate a historic district out of a preponderance of non-historic structures, and to give a few, well-meaning, but non-elected citizens such sway over the future and property rights of those in a neighborhood which clearly does not desire such designation. I am sure, however, regardless of the passions, that the answer to any issue is unlikely to be found in personal attacks and defamation.

Crazytown 22 hours, 47 minutes ago

You are certainly throwing around words like defamation and libel pretty loosely. You suggest that both I and the Flagpole are now in danger of being successfully sued for libel by Michael Littleton and his wife. As an attorney, licensed I assume, do you not feel that once you provide such unsolicited legal advice on a public forum, you should at least identify what statements you find libelous? Such blankets implications have a chilling effect on what is otherwise an important topic. It introduces an element of threat to the conversation.

Normaltown 22 hours, 4 minutes ago

Well articulated Southern Man. Those are thoughtful observations and questions. I hope any further dialogue will strive to be civil. The issue being discussed is systemic in nature, and is part of a movement in culture, being experienced in cities everywhere. It really merits honest consideration. Isolating and bullying any one, or several people, doesn’t really do justice to creating appropriate and meaningful solutions.

BlakeAued 16 hours, 8 minutes ago

It looks like things are getting back on track here, but I just want to remind everyone to please be civil. Thanks.

[Something mysterious happened here]

BlakeAued 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Since you all can’t play nice, I took the comments down and won’t approve any more. Get it together. This isn’t the Banner-Herald.