What Happens When the City of Atlanta Lies?

IDK, honestly… And now Dickens has been elected as the Atlanta Regional Commission Chair.

What I do know is that the City of Atlanta employees seem set on maintaining the lie. That seems like such a hassle, but this seems to be a pattern in Atlanta, with Campbell, Reed, & now the Dickens administration. 

I wonder how this will play out for planning in the region.

Last APAB meeting, alternates from NPU W and S were present and refused to give up their seats at the table (literally) during APAB’s meeting. The meeting took a break, and the APAB President came back after the break and told the crowd that the NPU Chairs and their voting members had been contacted and it was confirmed Mr. Brown was not an alternate for NPU S. Only, I can’t get any records that say they have been. 

What records I do have, say the opposite.

Here’s an image of the text message I was provided by NPU S’s alternate, Chris Brown.


Here’s an image of the text messages I was given by NPU S’s Chair, Nick Hess.



Here’s the video of the APAB meeting where you can see the President clearly saying NPU Chairs have been contacted and the alternate status was confirmed. 

Now I can’t pull the APAB President’s text messages, but I can any City of Atlanta employee’s. NPU S’s alternate also told me the NPU Director said she called the NPU S Chair. So I requested the phone records (calls and texts) of the NPU Director, to whom the above text messages were sent.

If you go back to the video and make comparisons of timing- you can see the NPU Director looks at her phone and engages with it, throughout the meeting, yet never acknowledges receipt of the message nor does she correct the APAB President. 

What neither of them knew was that I sent NPU S’s Chair a list of every APAB member’s cell I could think of and encouraged him to send a text message directly to the other members. So even in the meeting, other members of APAB knew that the APAB President and NPU Director were lying. Here’s a screenshot of that text and its recipients as well

The funny thing is, I didn’t plan this. 

NPU S’s and NPU W’s actions were independent of mine. I just write about what happens in the meetings. The Chair has ruled that I can’t speak, so I just write- it’s a bigger platform anyway. So this is my contribution. I can back them up, and show others just how far the APAB President and the NPU Director will go. 

Here’s the exchange where the PIO of the Dept. of Planning says there are no records, even when I send her the copies of the images I’ve listed here to demonstrate I know they exist. I honestly didn’t think the denial was purposeful initially, more just imprecise language. But I was wrong!  LOL.

Now I know AG Carr is the only AG in Georgia history who has successfully prosecuted a case concerning Georgia’s Open Records Law. He won it against the City of Atlanta

Notice a pattern?

There’s another pattern I want to draw your attention to though, and it has to do with that evergreen topic, Cop City

You see, NPU W, the other alternate who wasn’t recognized is the representation from the NPU neighboring the Cop City site. NPU S’s alternate was the APAB Public Safety Committee Chair until the APAB President slow-walked his appointment (then blamed it on him) and blocked him from serving on the Public Safety Commission. I wrote about that here and here. This latest meeting’s lack of recognition of the EXISTING APAB bylaws means these two NPUs were not recognized to vote. Their NPUs were disenfranchised in deciding issues of process change within the board. 

So effectively, the bylaws are changing around them and their means of being heard was stymied, even to the extent under threat of the meeting being disbanded by an APD officer. 

Throughout the last two years, the NPU Director has led APAB to believe that they cannot have alternates as voting members, even though the code section that defines APAB also clearly defines that APAB can make their own bylaws. From the municipal code:

  • Sec. 6-4003. – Functions.

The Atlanta Planning Advisory Board may:

(1) Prepare its own bylaws, not inconsistent with state law or city ordinance;

(2) Serve as an advisory board to the city on city-wide problems, issues, goals, and objectives relative to the preparation and updating of the comprehensive development plan;

(3) Advise the city on matters relating to citizen organizations and participation in the planning process;

(4) Perform other functions required by federal law relative to citizen participation where federal law does not mandate assignment to a specific agency; and

(5) Perform other duties as assigned by the mayor or the council.

(Code 1977, § 6-4003; Ord. No. 2004-08, § 11, 2-10-04)

This membership and voting member question has haunted the board throughout, and the argument has centered around me, my writing, and my exposure to what happens at this board, and how its leadership misuses their relationship with Planning to be a rubber stamp for much of the City’s poorly staffed and resourced Planning Dept. Meanwhile, the City Design (Dept. of Planning’s work) was cast aside for the Cop City debacle. Easy come, easy go!

I’ve written previously about the APAB President’s ethics challenges with her role on the faux watchdog committee for Cop City, called CSAC. Remember that one lone whistleblower who said the APD was misleading folks because she used her professional knowledge to debunk their lies? Yep, the APAB President was the second to vote to remove her. 

Now CSAC doesn’t exist, but the APAB President’s work to rally faux support for Cop City remains ever present. Recently, she brought in NPU E’s Chair with a letter extolling the virtues of bringing resolutions to NPUs for their votes- totes cool. The part NPU E’s Chair left out, was that she knew for months that her delegate would eventually step down (she was expecting her first child) and our current Parliamentarian, Kyle Kessler, even asked about what the replacement process would look like before it happened. This faux outrage is for the viewers’ benefit. ‘All the world’s a stage’, or so they say?


I called Kenyatta Mitchell last December to give her a heads up that the NPU Director was putting her thumb on the scales in a big way and that the combination of her actions and the APAB President would leave the City of Atlanta at a point of legal exposure. My guess is, she assumed that legal exposure would come from me, not the Attorney General. 

But here we are. 

Now I can’t tell you the AG’s office will pursue this. Maybe this will be a favor for someone that gets swept under yet another rug. I can’t tell you that NPU S will make an ethics complaint. Neither of those choices is in my power. The AG’s Office has been helpful in all of my open records requests, yet I understand this issue of disenfranchisement of a board member may not be something the AG wishes to pursue- particularly when the disenfranchisement of these NPUs benefits the pro-Cop City stance. I can’t promise you that anyone will be held accountable here either, sadly.

What I can tell you is I’ve asked the questions and the lie is maintained, lock, stock, and barrel by City of Atlanta employees and it’s costing certain NPUs their vote. 

Now please remember this is also the NPU Director who wanted to eliminate an entire NPU last year. Right? That was NPU R, neighbor to NPU S. This is also the NPU Director who had a staff member call all NPUs last year to get the names of their “voting member” because she didn’t want a paper trail I could request. Also, the same NPU Director discussed with the Municipal Clerk’s Office the issue of APAB’s membership, and in turn, the Municipal Clerk removed all of the postings of alternates online between February and March- as if the positions didn’t exist, even though APAB’s bylaws haven’t changed.

I haven’t figured out why this NPU Director is shielded so much, but what I do know is when she and the APAB President have no other alternative, they will lie.

Now you all know that as well.

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