The cityhood fight in Tucker was an easy one for the pro-incorporation team, as nearly 75% of voters checked ‘Yes’ on their ballots. Tucker, which has bandied about the idea of forming its own city in DeKalb County for years, has its own downtown strip and a sense of community that made a yes vote easily palatable for residents.
On the flip side of that coin, neighboring LaVista Hills had a much tougher fight on their hands in their own bid for cityhood. That movement failed Tuesday by the slimmest of margins, less than 200 votes, which you would think would give supporters a great deal of hope for achieving city status in a future election. The new city of Tucker though, might be exactly what foils that plan.
Pro-Tucker supporters were terrified leading up to the election that if their own bid failed, and LaVista Hills’ succeeded, juicy parts of Tucker would quickly be annexed by their new neighboring city, significantly damaging the tax base needed to support a city, (somewhat) independently of Atlanta. On Tuesday though, the exact opposite happened, with Tucker voting yea and LaVista Hills nay. This means that Tucker suddenly has all the power, which is bad news for LaVista Hills’ chances of incorporating going forward. The first target for the newly drawn up Tucker will likely be the area around Northlake Shopping Mall, one of the most lucrative commercial tax bases in the county. Losing that base, and others on the border between the areas, would be devastating for a future LaVista Hills cityhood bid, and likely would end such a movement before it begins, (again).
Tucker started their push for cityhood hoping not to wind up lumped in with neighboring Lakeside or LaVista Hills. Now that they’re the one city left standing, they have the power to grow bigger and faster than anyone would have imagined a year or two ago as the plans to pursue cityhood began to take shape.
On Thursday the LaVista Hills saga took a surprise twist when the Secretary of State’s office announced that it had asked the GBI to look into potential allegations of voter fraud. An official from the DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections Office, Leonard Piazza, was put on administrative leave after complaining about irregularities in the voting. With the final difference in votes only being a total of 136, expect this story to linger on for some time. Voter fraud or election rigging on a cityhood vote sounds may sound far fetched, but when it comes to DeKalb County anything is possible.