No Voter Suppression!

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Thanks to many non-profits, churches and community groups, there are efforts to educate and get people to the polls. They include Georgia Stand Up, NAACP, ROSE Pack, and The Peoples Agenda.

Early voting ends in Georgia on Friday, November 2nd.  So, the most important thing you can do is to to vote early so you can help get others to the polls on Tuesday, November 6.

Whether you vote early or on Election Day, print your sample ballot, discuss it with your friends and family and take it with you to the polls. No need to memorize how you want to vote.  It’s two pages of items for which to vote.  Vote the entire ballot.  Do not leave anything blank!!

This Georgia Ballot is pretty simple to vote on because after you do your research, you may come to the same conclusions as I did before I voted last Wednesday:  I voted for all candidates of my party preference and, “NO” on all the ballot initiatives.  While change is needed in some of theses areas, the changes proposed here will have a negative impact on the average resident and may devastate Blacks, Browns, those on fixed incomes, and the poor.

Here are good rules for yes/no questions:

A yes vote supports the proposed change.  A no vote opposed the proposed change.  If you are not sure “how” to vote on yes/no ballot initiatives, vote “no”.  No means no change.  Why would you vote yes or leave blank something you do not fully understand??  Why would you vote yes for something and you do not know “who” (legislator or group) is proposing  the change and funding the ads for the change??  Voting “no” is the safe alternative.  Leaving it blank is not an option!  Leaving it blank is can be detrimental if the change is really bad and you do not understand it.  A “no” vote is safe because it helps to insure the change is not made until you better understand it.

The only way to change how things are being proposed and which things are funded (to get more things funded in your community) is to vote down the entire ballot for ALL the offices and initiatives.  Just as a sports team needs all its’ players on the field, the Governor (like a quarterback) also needs the whole team.  So, PLEASE vote down the entire ballot and select the entire team!!

For more information on voting and to review and print your sample ballot, visit:  www.yourpowerconnection.wordpress.com

For websites to research the 2018 Ballot items, visit:  www.ballotpedia.com

http://www.lwvaf.org

REMEMBER:

1) You can take your sample ballot or any paper notes to the poll with you. However, you cannot share it with anyone inside the polling location.

2) You have to turn off your cell phone inside the polling location.

3) You can vote at any early voting site within your county.

4) Your early voting site may be different than your Election Day voting site or precinct.  Check with your county election office or http://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov for your polling location BEFORE you go to vote. Sometimes polling places get changed and consolidated and you may not be aware.  This is especially true now because several Atlanta-Fulton County Libraries (former polling places) are closed for renovation.

FREE rides to vote are also available on Election Day, call any of the organizations listed above and on the flyer above. While Election Day requests may be honored, calling as far in advance as soon possible allows the organizations to better accommodate your ride request.

Happy voting!!

 

 

 

70 Atlanta Residents Say Bad Gulch Deal

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Yesterday’s Atlants City Council meeting heard over three hours of public hearing from residents on a variety of topics. However, over 80% were appealing to the Council to either slow down or scrap the Gulch Project being proposed by the “Armani suit wearing” development team, CIM Group, from California.

After receiving the 600 page proposal document, myselfnand others have more questions than answers.  As I put on my banker hat to review this complex deal with Georgia Stand Up, the nonprofit for which I am the Public Policy Coordinator, a researcher from Georgia Tech and independent attorneys; I am shocked and embarrassed that this 30 year deal gives away prime Atlanta property with no ownership or financial gain for residents other than inflated projections of jobs and benefits. It reveals $1.7 Billion in tax payer funds being diverted from our schools and desperately needed neighborhood infrastructure projects that includes sidewalks so our kids do not have to walk in the street to get to the library in places like Campbellton Road on the southwest side.

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Senator Vincent Fort warned, “Someone one is going to jail from decisions made three years ago involving the Airport contracts, the BeltLine and the Emory annexation deal so they could get a MARTA station.  And, someone will go to jail three years from now if you approve this deal…which one if you will it be?  Or do you have the guts to represent the people who elected you?

As the Work Session questions by Councilman Amir Farokhi revealed, there are 1,500 construction workers per year. The document as taken 1,500 and multiplied it by some factor of 20 (years) to derive the false number of 35,000 construction jobs. Questions by Council member Matt Westmoreland also sought to get to shed light on what is contained in these 600 pages.  I am both sadden and disappointed that our mayor is pushing a deal by a developer who has a history of bad deals.

You see, the Mayor needs eight votes to pass legislation.  Word on the street is she had six firm votes, possibly seven.  When it was confirmed that Councilman Ivory Young would not be able to attend or vote by phone in yesterday’s meeting due to his stem cell medical treatments, the vote was removed from the agenda.

The diverse group of speakers were clear in their call to not rush this deal through the legisltive process and be more transparent.  The call was so strong that yesterday’s scheduled vote on this deal was cancelled.  And, Mayor Bottoms has called a meeting on Wednesday, September 26, at City Hall at 6pm.

Georgia Stand Up Executive Director Deborah Scott reminded City Council when they ran for Office, none of them, not even the Mayor mentioned the Gulch as an area of importance at any of their debates or in their platform issues.  She went on to say all of them mentioned community development, transparency, and affordable housing and she has tapes of those forums to prove what they said.  “So why is it that this project is all of a sudden so important, …slow this process down!  Give everyone a chance to see what this is all about and be transparent.”

In the words of Sean King, “When we organize we win.”  So thanks the organizations that include Georgia Stand Up and the Housing Justice League.  Thanks also to community leaders who also came to speak against this plan that includes:  Former City Councilman & WAOK Radio Host, Derrick Boazman; Former GA State Senator Vincent Fort; Internation Human Rights Advocate, Joe Beasley; APAB Officer James “Jim” Martin, and NPU-R member Edith Ladipo.

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Joe Beasley warned that this is a volatile situation and residents are tired of their elected officials not representing their best interest.  He went on to warn that it is going to blow up if you do not change who you represent when you vote on issues harm residents.

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Despite this challenging day, City Council President Felicia Moore did a great job to move the speakers along several hours of passionate public comments.

My comments included that as the Jewel of the south, Home of Civil Rights, we have to get the Gulch deal right . Atlanta has an opportunity to set the standard across the state, region, and nation on how to do an economic development deal that is in the best interest of the residents.  If we get this right, even more people will want to move, do business and visit Atlanta. We do not have to do business with the devil, the CIM Group because there are more ethical developers.  And, we definitely do not have to give away the bank!

As Atlanta residents come together to demand that their council members represent their interests and not the interest of the developers, we/they will get a different result than had we remained silent.  This is democracy at its’ finest!!  So, start and continue conversations on your social media and within your circle of friends about The Gulch Project, More MARTA, Fort McPherson, and recent eminent domain issues.  Today’s action or inaction today has massive consequences tomorrow, next year and decades from now, so “stay woke”, stay informed and show up to shape the future.

For more details on this “bad deal”, read today’s (9/18/18) page one story in the AJC:  “Mayor Delays Council Vote on Gulch Deal” by Stephen Deere (sdeere@ajc.com) and J. Scott Trubey (strubey@ajc.com).  In this article, Deere and Trubey outline each aspect of this complicated 600 page proposal in laymen’s terms.

Commuter Needed for Proposed ATL Link Board

After meeting with Tyler Adams, Governor Deal’s Transportation Advisor, MARTOC Chairman Tom Taylor and Stand-Up’s Sherry Williams agree it was a good meeting. They are requesting that the proposed 14 member ATL Link Board add two community commuters so that Public transit riders can have a voice during the planning stages of transit expansion to 10 metro ATL counties as outlined in SB 386 and HB 930. Both bills are expected to go to conference committee and be combined.

 

 

 

 

Celebrate Rosa Parks Birthday During Nat’l Transit Equity Week – Feb. 4-8

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Today is Rosa Parks’ birthday.  And, it was 63 years ago that she sat down in the white section of the bus and refused to get up to protest the injustice.

Across the nation there is a National Transit Equity movement that uses Rosa’s story to raise awareness today about inequities.  So, Monday, February 5 is National Transit Equity Day of Action.  Because transit equity is a social, economic, and environmental justice issue, everyone is affected.  As reported by NPR/WABE 91.5fm, ‘In the 50 cities across the country with the worst traffic, it is $600 billion in transit projects.’

What I am reporting is that $600 billion represents a huge number of “living wage jobs”.  It also represents opportunities for us to be at the table as planning is done, and a chance to hold our elected officials accountable as they propose and enact transit legislation.

So, join the National Transit Equity Day of Action Events on Monday, February 5 and the other events for Transit Equity Week in Atlanta.

 

For more information, use the following links:

https://saportareport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2017-PSE-Opportunity-Deferred4.pdf

https://urbanedge.blogs.rice.edu/2017/02/08/new-study-examines-how-historic-racism-shaped-atlantas-transportation-network/#.WnH0bLynGUk

http://partnershipforsouthernequity.org/images/stories/PSE_MTO.pdf

With several billion dollars being projected cost of the planned expansion of MARTA heavy rail, light rail, expanded bus service, etc, we need to be at the table during these important planning stages.

For more information about these events and Transit Equity in metro Atlanta and across Georgia, contact Georgia Stand Up at:

http://www.georgiastandup.org

info@georgiastandup.org

(404) 581-0061