“This isn’t a competition, loser.”
Imagine for a moment there was an issue of great importance to a community. Several people recognize that something isn’t right and as neighbors do, share their concerns with one another. They learn that they are not alone in being alarmed by events transpiring around them, so they get organized. They hold rallies, press conferences, attend meetings, and make public comment. They plead for relief.
They are ignored by the people elected to serve them. Dismissed, sometimes flippantly.
Who am I describing, the Stop Cop City movement or the Buckhead City movement?
In her latest post here on Peach Pundit the Blog™ regarding Cop City, Scarlet Hawk asks what process? In her post she rightly points out that the decision making process city officials have used regarding the creation of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center has been hard to understand. That lack of understanding comes from the way the elected officials have chosen to operate, which information they are willing to share, and how they arrived at their decision.
And we should not forget that when they approved the project, it was over the objection of many of the voters who live there.
An interlude: I dislike talking about Atlanta Politics. I don’t live there, even if I do make my living there. Atlanta is part of Georgia, but it is not the whole state. There is so much more to our story than Atlanta. I don’t particularly want to write about Atlanta Politics, but I see an act of terrorism happening too close to home. And I see a parallel between Buckhead and Cop City and an answer to the question, “what process,” in how events have unfolded.
I had a few minutes with Senator Randy Robertson today, who I have been working with because he is carrying the Coleman Baker Act in the Senate. He has made headlines for being a State Senator from Columbus who introduced the bill to allow Buckhead City to secede from the City of Atlanta.
Like the Stop Cop City folks, the people of Buckhead have concerns for their community. Both groups have been trying to work with their elected officials and follow the process only to be ignored.
The similarities stop there, though. Because Stop Cop City has seen protests turn violent. Someone has died. A cop was shot. Molotov cocktails were thrown. That’s not the process. Our process. What we, the people, have in our tool box at our disposal.
Buckhead City on the other hand went and found someone willing to listen. It just so happened that he was from a different area of the state. Their effort was not successful if you measure success with the passage of the bill. But it is no coincidence that Buckhead will be getting a new State Trooper post this year.
That is the process. And that is accessible to anyone. The Capitol is open right now, go find someone to listen. Sometimes the person listening is a State Representative or a State Senator. Other times it is a judge in a courtroom. And sometimes, it’s the ballot box. But all these things are easier than what you might think. Come with me to the Gold Dome someday and I will show you how easy it is to engage with elected officials.
No one should be ignored. If disagreement cannot be resolved the people deserve to have a chance to redress their grievances whether it is in opposition to the training center project or to create a new city. Scarlet is absolutely right to call out the lack of communication with the people who the elected officials are supposed to be listening to because even this non-Atlantan can tell the way they are going about their business ain’t it. Explain yourselves, it is the bare minimum required of you.
And if not, then that is an issue to resolve at the ballot box.