Political Notes – Lawmakers start push for City of South Fulton

[private]With Gov. Nathan Deal’s signing of HB 514 this week, there will be a referendum held Nov. 4 on the incorporation of a City of South Fulton.

Atlanta-area lawmakers are starting their push for voter approval of the proposed new city, a stance that puts them directly in opposition to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who’s had his eye on a large chunk of that unincorporated area south of the Atlanta city limits.

“Overwhelmingly, the people of South Fulton have said they want the opportunity to choose their own destiny . . . choose how they want to be governed,” said Rep. Virgil Fludd (D-Tyrone) at a capitol news conference Friday.

There has been talk of the City of Atlanta annexing Sandtown, a community of about 17,500 people in the unincorporated part of the county. Late last year, Reed told Atlanta magazine:

“To be clear, the geographic change I have opposed openly is the incorporation of a new City of South Fulton, an option for Sandtown residents. A new municipality would cause the city of Atlanta to be landlocked, limiting future expansions and creating a disproportionate impact on the rights of other neighborhoods to choose their future.”

Rep. Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta), the chief sponsor of HB 514, wants South Fulton residents to go ahead with the referendum vote anyway.

“I ask you to step back and not look at this new city as an enemy,” Bruce said Friday. “Back off of the annexation efforts and give the people of South Fulton an opportunity to decide their own fate, their own destiny.”

He noted the presence of three Fulton County schools — at the elementary, middle, and high school level — that educate children living in the unincorporated areas of South Fulton. If that property is annexed, control of the schools would be transferred from the Fulton system to the Atlanta system, Bruce said.

“We’re going to interrupt the education of 1,800 children and the only way we can protect those children is to create a City of Fulton,” Bruce said.

There have been discussions for more than a decade about creating a city in South Fulton, and the matter actually was put up for a vote in 2007, where it was resoundingly rejected.

Urging Taylor’s withdrawal

Ethics watchdog William Perry said state Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody), arrested recently on a DUI charge in North Georgia, should withdraw from his upcoming GOP primary race along with his opponent, Tom Owens. That would force the call of a special election and enable other candidates to enter the race.

“I’m all for second chances, but Rep. Taylor should pursue his second chance in an honorable way,” Perry said. “He claims he wants to earn back the trust of his constituents. He can do so by stepping out of the race and reentering it if he wishes. That would allow credible choices for the voters in his district.”

“The people of Dunwoody and surrounding areas need better list of candidates to choose from, beyond a train wreck and an unknown candidate,” Perry added.

Despite Perry’s insistence, neither candidate is going to drop out of the race.

In a letter to constituents earlier this week, Taylor said, “I’m committed to my re-election and continuing to serve you on behalf of our great state and our community.”

EPD plans coal ash meeting

The land protection branch of the state’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has scheduled a stakeholder meeting for May 12 to discuss possible rule changes for the disposal of coal combustion residuals, also known as coal ash.

The meeting will start at 2 p.m. at the Tradeport Training Room, 4244 International Parkway in Atlanta.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: coal ash , EPD , Kasim Reed , Roger Bruce , South Fulton referendum , Tom Taylor , Virgil Fludd , William Perry