Category: Politics

Sandy Springs council member proposes hate crimes law

Sandy Springs Councilmember Andy Bauman is proposing a hate crimes law that would create stronger penalties for local crimes based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion, among others. The proposal, which is up for discussion in the council’s non-voting work session June 18, would also require the Sandy Springs Police Department track and report hate crimes through the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation reporting systems. The ordinance is needed in part of because the state hate crimes law was not passed by the General Assembly in the last session, making it one of...

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U.S. Rep. McBath talks impeachment, gun control at Dunwoody town hall

  U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath stressed the importance of bipartisanship in Washington, D.C., at her June 8 town hall at Dunwoody High School, on everything from gun control to climate change. But she was forced to tackle a very partisan issue when a woman who described herself as a “staunch” McBath supporter asked her why she was not calling for impeachment proceedings against President Trump. “It troubles me to have to stand up and say that I’m concerned about that with you,” the woman said in the second question of the town hall. “All these children dying at the...

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Abortion law will be ‘tough for business,’ movie studio head tells Buckhead group

Georgia’s abortion-restricting “heartbeat bill” is putting stress on the state’s booming filmmaking industry and will be “tough for business,” a movie studio head told the Buckhead Business Association at a June 6 breakfast. “This heartbeat bill has put some stress on the industry in ways that I’ve never seen before,” said Dan Rosenfelt, president of Doraville’s Third Rail Studios, which regularly rents its stages and facilities to major Hollywood productions. “…This year will be tough for business… I’m sure there will be a percentage of [film productions] that we don’t even hear about that just don’t show up.” The...

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McBath holding June 8 town hall at Dunwoody High School

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) is holding a town hall on Saturday, June 8, at Dunwoody High School. The event is from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. McBath is expected give an update on health care legislation, legislation to help veterans and their families facing financial difficulties and legislation on gun control. The town hall is also an opportunity for residents of Georgia’s 6th District to discuss their priorities and the issues that matter to them, according to a press release. The 6th District includes portions of Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and...

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Buckhead Council chair proposes county takeover of City Jail; Mayor’s Office blasts idea

The proposed transformation of the Atlanta City Jail into a social services center – a key piece of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ agenda – should be reconsidered in favor of making it a county jail, says Mary Norwood, the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods chair and former mayoral race rival. A Mayor’s Office spokesperson blasted that idea – and Norwood’s motives — as political “self-aggrandization” and a divisive belief in “locking THEM up.” “There is one mayor at a time,” said Mayor’s Office spokesperson Michael Smith in an email. “The people of Atlanta elected and entrusted the one they chose...

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Questions remain about Sandy Springs city services

Sandy Springs City Council quickly voted May 14 to bring city services in-house rather than continue its landmark use of a public-private partnership. The city says that reversal will be revisited in one year, but questions remain about how city staff members would return to private companies. “It just didn’t work out this year,” Mayor Rusty Paul said. “We’ll come back to this. I think there’s a lot of benefit in using the private sector.” The city launched in 2005 using the public-private partnership model, with leaders saying it allowed them to quickly begin city operations and, due to...

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Dunwoody set to quietly approve LGBTQ anti-bias ordinance

Dunwoody is expected this month to become the latest city in metro Atlanta to approve an ordinance that bans privately owned businesses from discriminating against minority groups including LGBTQ people. The ordinance also puts in place a process for people to report alleged discrimination to the city with city-appointed mediators and hearing officers investigating such claims. Additionally, the ordinance formalizes that the police department will receive training on hate crimes and report hate crimes to the FBI. A second and final reading of the nondiscrimination ordinance was assigned to be on the consent agenda for the June 10 City...

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Ethics complaint filed against McBath for free office space at Brookhaven community center

A conservative-leaning government watchdog group has filed a complaint against U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) alleging her use early this year of free temporary office space at a Brookhaven community center violated Congressional ethics rules about accepting gifts. The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, or FACT, filed the complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics on May 29. The complaint says that House members are not allowed to solicit a gift. If McBath is found to have violated House ethics rules, she faces the possibility of censure, reprimand or fine. A two-thirds vote by the House could also...

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Dunwoody mayor: LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance ‘fine by me’

Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal said a proposed city ordinance to ban privately-owned businesses from discriminating against minority groups including LGBTQ people is “fine by me” but said he believes everyone in the city is already treated equally. The City Council considered the first read of the ordinance at its May 20 meeting and a second and final read is set for June 10. If approved, Dunwoody would become the latest in a growing number of metro Atlanta cities passing such ordinances. “First of all, I think we already treat everybody equally here in the city,” Shortal said in a...

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Dunwoody council skips debate on proposed LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance

A proposed city ordinance to ban Dunwoody businesses from discriminating against LGBTQ people and includes a system to investigate allegations was greeted mostly by silence from council members at the May 20 meeting. A final vote is slated for June 10. Councilmembers John Heneghan and Pam Tallmadge have proposed the ordinance that would ban local, privately-owned businesses from discriminating against people based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. They said they researched the subject and introduced the ordinance after a gay constituent reached out to them asking them to do so. The ordinance also prohibits...

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Dunwoody considers LGBTQ nondiscrimination law with reviews, fines

Dunwoody could become the latest metro Atlanta city to ban local businesses from discriminating against LGBTQ people, with a proposed system that includes city-appointed mediators or lawyers where violators could be fined up to $1,000. The ordinance, which is scheduled for a City Council vote May 20, also would put in writing an existing informal practice the city’s police department receiving training on hate crimes and reporting such crimes to federal authorities. The ordinance was proposed by Councilmembers Pam Tallmadge and John Heneghan after they said a gay resident asked them to do so to protect his family after...

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Brookhaven backs down from removing expense account caps from city charter

The Brookhaven City Council voted May 14 to keep expense account caps for the mayor and council members as part of the city charter, reversing course from two weeks ago when they planned to eliminate the restrictions because they said they needed more money to travel to national and international conferences. The council’s decision follows community backlash from residents who said eliminating the caps so soon into the city’s history was fiscally irresponsible, could pave the way for abuse and could lead to a lack of transparency when it comes to open records requests. City officials deny there is...

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