A proposal currently being reviewed by the Georgia General Assembly to tax services like haircuts, car repair, shoe repair, auto detailing, dry cleaning, veterinary care, tire installation and a host of others, is part of a sprawling tax reform package recommended by the 11-member Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness.
That particular aspect of the package is causing anxiety among Georgia’s small businesses which are represented, theoretically at least, on the council by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
Mayor Kasim Reed will be riding around in a new Denali, courtesy of Atlanta’s taxpayers, while some Atlanta Police officers are driving cars with slipping transmissions and no working laptops.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that the mayor has upgraded his ride because, according to COO Peter Aman, the GMC Yukon Denali is safer than the sedan the mayor was driving. The AJC quotes a security specialist in Dallas, Texas saying that an assassin would have an easier time bumping off the mayor in the Ford Taurus previously allotted to him.
Yesterday, WSB-TV reported on a U.S. Department of Justice audit that showed alarming mismanagement of federal funds by the Atlanta Police Department. The federal audit report used by WSB stated: “We are concerned that the City of Atlanta may not be able to properly manage the $16.9 million it has been awarded under the 2009 Recovery Act.”
It was, Mayor Kasim Reed reminded Councilwoman Carla Smith, one week until Valentine’s Day.
The remark was not made in a discussion of roses and candy, but instead in one of sewer sludge and solid waste.
In late January, the mayor had vetoed the Atlanta City Council’s approval of three waste management contracts valued at a total of about $9 million because, he said, they had not been reviewed by his chief of staff, Candace Byrd, or Chief Operating Officer Peter Aman.
The mayoral veto has been used but rarely in Atlanta City Hall, in part because the council has had a track record, over successive mayoral tenures, of rubber-stamping whatever the mayor says. Reed’s use of it, which was underlined by his attendance at the City Council meeting on Feb. 7, set off shockwaves through the usually complicit council. Continue reading MAYOR REED AND THE CURIOUS CASE OF ATLANTA’S GARBAGE CONTRACTS→
The “Battle for the Bottle” continues at the Gold Dome on Wednesday as Georgians for Sunday Sales holds a press conference and rally to urge passage of a bill to allow local communities to decide whether retailers should sell alcohol on Sunday.
UPDATE: The Atlanta Police Dept. has postponed the Buckhead meeting on its proposed redesign for Zone 2, the first of six such meetings to get public input on a citywide redesign of zones and beats. The redesign seeks to use more than 200 new officers to decrease the size of beats–the geographic areas patrolled by one (and sometimes two) officers on a given shift–in order to hasten police response times. Zone and Beat Redesign Overview Powerpoint Presentation (DRAFT 11 09 2010) APD Spokesman Carlos Campos says in a statement: “The Atlanta Police Department will need to postpone the informational meeting on beat redesign scheduled for next Thursday, Feb. 24th, due to a scheduling conflict. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to those who had planned to attend. However, this meeting – and others in each zone – will be scheduled and held. Notice will be sent when dates are set.”
As stated earlier, the Fulton County Taxpayer’s Association will host a seminar with Mike Bell, a former chief financial officer with the City of Atlanta and, more recently, with DeKalb County, to explore tax reform possibilities for Fulton County. Among items to be discussed is the Homestead Option Sales Tax which the association believes will save property owners as much as 46 percent.
Experts have said an additional sales tax would have a disproportionate impact on those with less income, and, on another front, DeKalb has been embroiled in a more-than-decade-long Georgia Supreme Court lawsuit over the way it splits HOST revenue with cities like Decatur, so this should be an interesting meeting.
An Atlanta Police officer charged with possession of marijuana, DUI and speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour all while driving a car that belonged to the FBI, has been suspended without pay.
According to a statement by the APD, Chief George Turner conducted a hearing with Investigator Bennie Evett Bridges today and decided to suspend him without pay pending the outcome of the criminal charges against him. Continue reading ATLANTA POLICE SUSPEND OFFICER ARRESTED ON MARIJUANA CHARGE WHILE DRIVING FBI CAR→
Whoever this driver is, he apparently thought he was too important to abide by the law or stop when an Atlanta Police officer told him to. The APD released video footage today of a Jan. 31 hit-and-run at Lenox Mall in hopes that the public can help catch the guy who drove off after an officer tried to ticket him for illegal parking, then hit the APD car (you’ll notice a little shakeup to the camera after the Corvette comes toward the APD car on the right, after they’re out on the street) and fled.
Here’s the video:
If anyone has any information on the driver or the vehicle, please have them contact the Atlanta Police Hit & Run Unit at 404-765-2808.
According to a statement by APD: An Atlanta Police Officer was patrolling around Lenox Mall. The officer noticed a vehicle parked in the fire lane & pulled behind the vehicle to investigate. When the officer exited his vehicle, the driver of the Corvette came out of the mall. The officer attempted to ascertain why the driver was parked there but the driver got in the vehicle, locked the door & left the parking lot. The officer began to follow the vehicle but lost sight of it once he got to the entrance of the parking deck. The Corvette then reappeared, struck the sidewalk & then struck the officer’s vehicle & fled the location.
Here’s a story I did in August 2009, “Atlanta’s Combat Zone,”. I wanted to offer it to readers because the press should offer a review of history, a chance to look back and measure progress or decline. We journalists are supposed to be the chroniclers of our eras. That’s why it’s so important that reporters, columnists and editors have a history with the areas they cover. If journalism is the rough draft of history—and it is—how can one possibly hope to make that draft as accurate as possible if one has no clue about what has come before? It’s that background that gives media the power to influence change. It would be impossible for us to say “Look at this—years of neglect and grinding poverty and filth, despite millions in public investment” unless we knew that were indeed the case. When newspapers began behaving like every other business, parachuting in anyone with a keyboard in a lame attempt to provide coverage without knowledge, they lost credibility and market share. The same is true for TV news. How often have we seen some poor newbie reporter standing on the scene in Virginia Highland and saying “Reporting live from Midtown”? They literally don’t know where they are. Why would any of us trust these people to tell us what’s going on? Continue reading WHY NEWS HASN’T CHANGED AND SHOULDN’T→