Category: Politics

Commentary: Looking into 2019’s political crystal ball

As 2018 wraps up and a new year looms, we asked a dozen local newsmakers to peek into their crystal balls and see what’s ahead. Here’s are their thoughts on 2018 and their ideas for what’s to come in 2019. Sandy Springs City Councilmember Chris Burnett In 2018, our city, state and nation continued to enjoy the benefits of a strong economy and while I expect some slowdown in 2019, I remain optimistic that Sandy Springs and metro Atlanta will continue to thrive, given the significant desirability of our region. Locally, through top-quality performances and culturally intriguing programs, we...

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Survey seeks input on Renew Atlanta/TSPLOST as shortfalls threaten Buckhead projects

An online survey is letting residents help to set priorities on city-funded transportation projects amid funding shortfalls that are threatening some prominent Buckhead programs. The problem is unexpected shortfalls of roughly $410 million in the Renew Atlanta bond and TSPLOST programs. Buckhead’s PATH400 multiuse trail could lose roughly $11.7 million in direct and interconnected funding, according to Livable Buckhead, the group overseeing the project. And the Buckhead Community Improvement Districts says it could lose $12.8 million in direct and indirect funding for three projects: widening Piedmont Road between Peachtree and Lenox roads; turning the Phipps Boulevard/Wieuca Road intersection into a roundabout; and...

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Buckhead-area city councilmembers get committee spots

Atlanta City Council members have received their committee assignments for 2019 from council President Felicia Moore. The assignments for Buckhead-area councilmembers are as follows: Jennifer Ide (District 6) Committee on Council (chair) Finance/Executive Transportation Zoning Howard Shook (District 7) City Utilities Finance Executive (chair) Public Safety and Legal Administration J.P. Matzigkeit (District 8) City Utilities (chair) Finance/Executive Public Safety and Legal...

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GOP appears to win two state races in Dec. 4 runoff election

The Republican Party appears to have retained power of two statewide offices in the Dec. 4 runoff election, winning the secretary of state office and holding onto a seat on the Public Service Commission, according to unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State Election Office. Republican Brad Raffensperger appears to have defeated Democrat John Barrow as secretary of state with nearly 52 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. Former secretary of state Brian Kemp narrowly defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams in last month’s governor’s race, leading to the open seat. Republican Chuck Eaton of Buckhead appears to...

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One Sandy Springs polling place will stay open until 8 p.m. after error

A polling place in the Sandy Springs panhandle will remain open an extra hour for today’s state runoff election after its manager “misplaced supplies,” according to Fulton County. The poll at Life Center Ministries, 2690 Mount Vernon Road, will now close at 8 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. Any voter in line by 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote. According a county press release, “the poll manager misplaced supplies, which in turn halted voting for one hour while awaiting additional supplies.” It’s one of two Fulton polling places getting extended hours due to management mistakes. The other is...

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Runoff Election Day is Dec. 4

Runoff elections in two state races will be held Tuesday, Dec. 4. For Georgia secretary of state, voters will choose between Democrat John Barrow and Republican Brad Raffensperger. For District 3 of the Public Service Commission, which regulates public utilities, voters will choose between Republican Chuck Eaton and Democrat Lindy Miller. For more information, Brookhaven and Dunwoody voters can see the DeKalb County elections website here, and Buckhead and Sandy Springs voters can see the Fulton County elections website...

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Local leaders react to death of former President George H.W. Bush

Local leaders are sharing their memories and paying tribute to former President George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30 at age 94. Bush, a Republican who served as president from 1989 to 1993, initiated the Gulf War and signing the Americans With Disabilities Act, among other historic actions. He was the father of George W. Bush, who also became a U.S. president. Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul served in Bush’s administration in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “I was honored to be asked to serve in President H.W. Bush’s subcabinet as assistant secretary of HUD,” Paul said...

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City funding shortfalls threaten PATH400, Buckhead road projects

The PATH400 trail and three significant road improvements are among the Buckhead projects that could be jeopardized by unexpected funding shortfalls — to the tune of roughly $410 million — in the Renew Atlanta and TSPLOST programs. With a process to prioritize such projects starting up, Buckhead Community Improvement District officials say they’ll push for the city to stick to its local commitments. At the BCID’s Nov. 28 board meeting, there were some concerns that Buckhead might get lower priority due to the neighborhood’s wealth and the CID’s self-generated tax revenue. District 7 City Councilmember and BCID board member...

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Airbnb banned in city where co-founder’s dad is on City Council

Not even having your father sitting on the Brookhaven City Council will keep your multibillion-dollar business from being outlawed. Joe Gebbia Jr., a co-founder and chief product officer of short-term rental behemoth Airbnb, faced that reality this week. Gebbia Jr.’s father is Joe Gebbia, a Brookhaven City Council member since the city’s incorporation in 2012. The council voted Nov. 27 to completely ban short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods as part of a rewrite of the city’s entire zoning code. The council did agree to allow short-term rentals in apartment complexes, but only through the public process of obtaining a...

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Super Bowl may take away traffic cops, put General Assembly on hold

When the Super Bowl comes to town early next year, it may take traffic cops off Buckhead streets and put the state legislature on hold as out-of-town lawmakers struggle to find hotel rooms. The Buckhead Community Improvement District, which hires off-duty police officers to direct commuters, is bracing for what its chairman called “horrific” traffic for the week of festivities prior to the Feb. 3 NFL football championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium downtown. Those officers likely will be on Super Bowl security duty, BCID officials say. Meanwhile, at the Gold Dome, there is early talk of suspending the General...

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Council retreat to be held at City Springs

The Sandy Springs City Council’s annual retreat, where the city’s policy agenda for the year is set, will be held sometime in January at City Springs rather than a cottage at Lost Corner Park as in recent years. That may provide better public access than in the small cottage, where this year’s retreat set-up may have violated the state open meetings laws, according to one expert. At the January 2018 retreat, officials met in a room with no public seating. Instead, the public was seated in chairs in another room, facing the open doorway of the meeting room, making...

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Republican losses won’t hurt Sandy Springs, local leaders say

Sandy Springs leaders don’t think the loss of longtime Republican legislators will have a major effect on city business. Democrats saw a new wave of support in the suburbs in the Nov. 6 election, flipping three local seats, which experts attribute to national Republican criticism and the area’s changing demographics. “There was a wave that came through here and it didn’t matter how well anyone was doing or how long they had been there,” said Gabe Sterling, a former City Council member and Republican political consultant. Longtime Republicans who will no longer represent Sandy Springs include Sen. Fran Millar,...

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