Greetings from the Upside Down, or aka Atlanta, the current epicenter of police-led oppression with headlines that I would normally see gracing the Babylon Bee! In the preface to our bought and sold City Council and Mayor leading a tax-sponsored budget boon next week for the money-making scheme of our Atlanta Police Foundation, the City of Atlanta couldn’t just reduce public comment times on our budget, (to 15 seconds, as was discussed on the podcast) NO! The Atlanta Police Dept. rolled up into Edgewood (a residential neighborhood) with (kid you NOT) the SWAT team and long guns to arrest three people on *checks notes* financial fraud charges for mismanagement of funds. The SWAT team….for finance charges.
This is not to be misconstrued with the statements from Attorney General, Chris Carr, who identifies that these people were arrested because of connection to “violence”.
For anyone who may not be aware, these three people are part of an organization that raises funds to pay bail for protestors. You know, like Herman Russell did for civil rights advocates some 60 years ago. While annoying, never fear about the ability to raise funds- the National Bail Fund Network has stepped up to receive funds for this purpose. Here’s a link in case you’d like to donate funds as well.
Now aside from the PR fiasco this is currently, this amps up, rather than deescalates the upcoming Council meeting in ways I personally had not anticipated. The hubs asked me to take my gas mask the next time I head to sit in on city Council budget briefings, in case they go sideways. If the SWAT team is who’s knocking over financial charges God only knows how they’ll manhandle those of us who just wish to speak to the Council!
This police state dystopia didn’t have to happen, but, thanks to the complete and utter disregard for citizen input, I think the Mayor and Attorney General have taken what could have been a potential dip in the polls for Mayor Dickens to an 11 when it only needed a 6. The two have now destroyed any trust the public had left and have (unfortunately) probably sealed Mayor Dickens fate for not returning to office.
Let me say this- I have generally been pleased to see the improvements within the City of Atlanta systems. It’s obvious Dickens and his team are trying to update things that have gone beyond repair and updates that should have happened 30 years ago. Hell, I can even agree that the APD needed new training facilities- but in this location, this size, and at this cost, it really wasn’t necessary. And at this point, I see Mayor Dickens as a one-trick pony. I don’t know why he’s chosen Cop City as his trick, but I don’t see this latest development as something he can walk back. Killing someone (and doing the absolute MOST to be disrespectful to his family) was egregious, but take it from someone who the city regularly tries to stymie…
…these things don’t make people retreat, it galvanizes us.
And there’s more of me than of folks within the city who are in favor of Cop City. Earlier this week, @mappingATL created a great map to demonstrate where Cop City’s boosters exist within (and largely without) the city’s limits. Take a look for yourself. Cop City is that little dot from which all the rays are coming, down on the right. There are other maps on the website, and numeric tables of comparisons, but I like this one the best.
Now, Imma need y’all to look at this other map, from 2021, which demonstrates which neighborhoods Moore took vs. Dickens in the run-off. See how those purple dots that Felicia took overlap with the Cop City boosters? See how all those green dots in Midtown and South that voted previously for Dickens don’t? This is why I’m confident Dickens won’t make it to a second term unless he corrects course. Here’s a link to the Atlanta Civic Circle/ Saporta Report map, if you want to play around with it more. It’s interactive!
Now I’m sure the Mayor is under the impression that he could bring the city together. I hope he’s right and I’m wrong. He has been calling for that for the past 2 years, after all. But I will say I think he has grossly miscalculated. Maybe Atlantans in the past can overlook some corruption and ugly dealings they don’t like, but the fact that this Cop City thing is going to be DOUBLE the cost of what was projected (aside from the $41,500/ day security costs), a protestor was killed in a bungling raid of our body-camera-absent State Troopers, and now they’ve used the SWAT team to come after some charity do-gooders. Yo, we’ve gone faaaaarrrrr past the line anyone here can hold their nose. I think the further miscalculation is that he has aligned himself with a Republican Governor who may have a chance for a higher office (good ‘ol boys always do in the South, sadly) while sacrificing his own higher office ambitions.
TBH- that isn’t something I’d like to see happen. I take no joy in this prediction. I’m just looking at the maps, listening to the conversations around me, and recognizing the 30ish set of folks who are voting are not willing to overlook these costs and corruption. Atlanta is changing- folks could have fooled the electorate in the past, but the folks moving here now have higher expectations and aren’t going to settle for the way things have been done before. They’re also dramatically more progressive. I look right-wing in comparison to some. Atlantans now watch their government more closely and I’d bet there are increasing numbers of voting across the city, although I haven’t looked. It’s just a hunch I have.
My bet is this will also carry over to Council and the names that have been able to occupy seats riding on their fathers’ legacies will be ousted soon enough. It’s not that the Boomers who keep them elected aren’t still voting, there are just fewer and fewer of them each year. The areas of town that are increasing in population are also in Midtown, the Westside, and the Southside of the city. These aren’t the neighborhoods that support Cop City, and my bet is, their numbers will eventually be the determining force in both the Mayoral and some Council elections. In the meantime, please don’t miss your chance to comment on the city’s budget, even if it’s only for 15 seconds. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments and questions will also be received through voicemail by dialing 404-330-6043. The deadline for these submissions is Friday, June 2. If you’re around City Hall on 6/5, my husband recommends packing a snack and a gas mask, juuuuuust in case the APD and GBI call the SWAT team again.