Category: Politics

Fulton County aims to end throwaway plastic items in its facilities; hopes cities follow suit

Plastic straws, foam cups and other throwaway plastic items would disappear from Fulton County-operated facilities by Jan. 1, 2020 under legislation approved April 17 by the Board of Commissioners. And the county will actively encourage local cities to follow suit. The order to end the use of “single-use plastics” is a partly aspirational item, as it asks for industry definitions of such items and orders vendors to seek “viable” non-plastic alternatives, which may or may not be available. “Fulton County is joining so many other municipalities, states and counties in doing our part to drive down plastic pollution by...

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Lt. Gov. Duncan says ‘policy over politics’ succeeded during legislative session

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan praised this year’s legislative session as a successful one where “policy over politics” was the name of the game in passing laws focused on education, health care and technology. Duncan made the comments April 16 during a 15-minute speech at a Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber of Commerce luncheon held at the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center hotel with approximately 30 people attending. Duncan did not mention in his comments to the crowd the controversial House Bill 481 bill, known as the “heartbeat bill,” that was approved this year and essentially bans abortion in the state. In a...

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Brookhaven Mayor Ernst discusses electric police cars, rock festival and parks

Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst says his city’s future includes electric police cars, bigger festivals and an improved park system. Ernst spoke about the topics in the latest episode of “3 Questions,” a Reporter Extra podcast. Brookhaven is testing a Tesla electric car as a police cruiser in a pilot program. Ernst said the city currently spends about a quarter-million dollars a year just on gas for police cars, while an electric fleet would have negligible costs and less maintenance. He said that unlike a few other cities that have used electric cop cars as “greenwashing” publicity items, the city...

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Dunwoody Mayor Shortal announces he won’t seek reelection

Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal announced April 11 at the 10th annual State of the City event that he is not seeking reelection, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. The decision means Shortal’s tenure of serving on the City Council since the city’s incorporation a decade ago will come to a close. “On Dec. 31, 2019, Denny Shortal will retire as your mayor,” he said toward the end of his State of the City address to a surprised crowd. “No!” shouted someone from the back, and Shortal joked to laughter he paid the person 5 bucks...

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Rep. Silcox reviews legislative session; talks abortion, healthcare

State Rep. Deborah Silcox briefed Sandy Springs’ High Point Civic Association at its April 10 annual meeting on the legislative session, discussing her vote against the controversial abortion restrictions and her support for the many other healthcare bills that passed. Silcox represents House District 52, which includes parts of Buckhead and Sandy Springs, and is serving her second term in office. She passed six bills this session, but one of her most prominent moments was a speech about her opposition to the abortion bill, which would ban abortions after a heartbeat could be detected. She said making a decision...

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Lt. Gov. Duncan to give legislative wrap up at Dunwoody Chamber event

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan will be giving a wrap up of the General Assembly’s session during an April 16 luncheon hosted by the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber of Commerce. The event begins at 10:45 a.m. and is being held at the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center, 246 Perimeter Center Parkway. Advanced registration is required. Tickets are $45 for Chamber members and $55 for non-members. Sponsorship tables are also available. Email Britney Hardware at britney@perimeterchamber.com for more information. Duncan was elected lieutenant governor in November. He served in the state House of Representatives from 2012 to 2017, when he resigned his seat...

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Atlanta mayor names former Rep. Wilkinson to ethics task force

Former state Rep. Joe Wilkinson, a Republican who represented parts of Buckhead and Sandy Springs for 16 years, has been named to Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ new ethics and transparency task force. Wilkinson, who once chaired the House Ethics Committee, was among five people Bottoms named to the new Task Force for the Promotion of Public Trust, pending City Council approval. During his time as chair, Wilkinson drew controversy for comments likening claims of ethics problems in the state legislature to the Easter Bunny and later declined to release an internal report about government transparency, citing the body’s...

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U.S. Rep. McBath visits Sandy Springs, talks transportation with mayors

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath paid local mayors a visit in March to see local government in action and discuss transit and transportation. McBath toured the Sandy Springs with Mayor Rusty Paul and attended the March 19 City Council meeting, where she made brief comments. She also held a transportation roundtable with elected officials, including Paul and Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst, according to a city of Brookhaven newsletter. McBath, a Democrat, represents the 6th Congressional District, which includes parts of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. State Sen. Brandon Beach and former 6th District Rep. Karen Handel, both Republicans, have announced...

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Dunwoody businesses confront sudden boost in property taxes

A big boost in commercial assessments has led some local Republican leaders to say DeKalb County officials are targeting Dunwoody businesses unfairly. But the county tax assessor says Dunwoody’s properties are simply much more valuable in the current thriving real estate market and noted many commercial properties have not been assessed in as much as a decade. The fever pitch of allegations that DeKalb County discriminated against Dunwoody even led state Rep. Mike Wilensky, a freshman Democrat from Dunwoody, to usher through a bill this session to change the assessment method. “We went to other commissioners and chiefs of...

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DeKalb County officials create charter review commission

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond signed an executive order this week to create a DeKalb Charter Review Commission to analyze the county’s form of government. The county has faced ongoing criticism for its CEO form of government in which voters elect the top county official. “The signing of the executive order is evidence that DeKalb is ready to work with our local leaders and stakeholders to thoroughly examine the county’s current form of governance and improve the delivery of services to all of our citizens,” Thurmond said in a press release. The executive order was also signed by Commissioner...

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Harris announces bid for Dunwoody City Council

Stacey Harris, a longtime civic activist and current member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, has announced she is running for Dunwoody City Council. Harris said in the written announcement she is running for the seat currently held by Councilmember Terry Nall. Nall has announced he is running for mayor. “I am committed to making Dunwoody a community for everyone through new ideas, smart planning and transparency of actions. I want people and businesses to be proud of our city,” Harris said. Harris has served as chair of the city’s Sustainability Committee and is a past president of the...

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Handel announces campaign to regain 6th Congressional District seat

Karen Handel announced March 25 she is running for the 6th Congressional District seat, months after losing it narrowly in a historic loss to Lucy McBath that flipped the Republican stronghold to a Democrat in a movement to “flip the Sixth.” Handel, a Republican from Roswell, announced her bid Monday morning for the seat in a video and press release “to take back Georgia’s 6th” in next year’s election. The district includes parts of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs as well as other sections of north Fulton and Cobb counties. Brandon Beach, a Republican state senator from Alpharetta, previously...

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