Buckhead City Committee says it will continue cityhood fight despite legislation’s freeze
By John Ruch
The BCC acknowledged in a Feb. 12 letter to supporters that Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) indicated they will block cityhood legislation this session, but said it is not giving up. The BCC promised more information at a Feb. 16 press conference.
“We are not stopping or slowing down at all,” the statement said in part. “…We will be making a major announcement that Buckhead City is NEVER going away, and we will continue until we are given our right to vote.”
The statement noted Ralston’s comments to the media about wanting progress on the crime concerns that are the political driver of the movement, which included a hint that he could let cityhood legislation revive next session. The BCC interprets that as an opening for saving the legislation either this session or next. The group encouraged its supporters to continue contacting state elected officials.
New Mayor Andre Dickens has not eased the BCC’s crime concerns, the statement said — not surprisingly, as the group declared him fundamentally incompetent even before the election. The statement cites a citywide increase in the homicide rate and the photo-op nature of Dickens’ announcement of a Buckhead mini-precinct for the Atlanta Police Department that was already planned by former Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and is not yet open. The BCC also repeated a claim that APD lacks enough instructors for a new class of police officers, which is based on a news report that APD previously said is untrue.
The BCC had been focused on getting legislative approval for a cityhood referendum on the November ballot, but in its statement the organization shifted the goalposts a bit by noting that other cityhood efforts have taken two General Assembly sessions to win approval. The statement noted that legislation for four Cobb County cityhood proposals recently moved ahead and grumbled, “But they declined to save Buckhead and give us our God-given right to vote.”
While Duncan and Ralston’s ability to control Senate and House legislation is undoubted, it indeed to remains to be seen if and when they will freeze Buckhead cityhood legislation. Nail-in-the-coffin moments would be “Crossover Day” on March 15, when bills must win approval from one of the chambers and move to the other or die, and the end of session on April 4.