A conceptual illustration of tree plantings at the main buildings of the proposed public safety training center. (Image by Atlanta Police Foundation.)

The Atlanta Municipal Clerk’s office has approved the petition authorizing signature collection for the “Vote to Stop Cop City” referendum effort.

Interim Municipal Clerk A. Vanessa Waldon said in an email to an attorney for the referendum organizers, which she provided to SaportaReport, that the petition forms required for signature-gathering likely would be available to them no later than 2 p.m. on June 22.

Kurt Kastorf, one attorney for the referendum organizers, said that as of the afternoon of June 21, organizers had not yet received the petition form. He said it also remained to be seen if the approval satisfied the organizers’ demands in a court challenge that alleged the clerk’s office was unreasonably delaying the approval. “I’m sure our team would like to review that form before we decide whether our pending litigation has been mooted in full,” he said.

Waldon declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. In the letter about the petition approval — sent to Wingo Smith, another attorney for the organizers — she denied any wrongdoing.

“Without comment on or agreement with the various characterizations and allegations in your email, the revised petition now sufficiently reflects applicable legal requirements that I may approve it as to form,” she wrote. “As previously stated, this approval as to form does not reflect any judgment or agreement by anyone at the City as to the lawfulness or substantive validity of the petition itself.”

The referendum effort seeks to put the City’s lease of land to the private Atlanta Police Foundation for its controversial public safety training center on the Nov. 7 ballot for a binding yes-or-no vote. Killing the lease would essentially kill the project as currently planned, which is currently in a site-preparation, pre-construction phase. The referendum effort was announced earlier this month, immediately after the Atlanta City Council voted to approve public funding for the project.

Getting the question on the ballot requires roughly 75,000 voter signatures. Even then, there may be other legal challenges.

Once the organizers receive the official petition form, a clock begins ticking on a 60-day period in which to collect the necessary signatures. The “Stop Cop City” organizers claim that Waldon initially denied the petition for failing to include language she was supposed to include herself, then unreasonably delayed the review of a corrected version while the signature-gathering clock ticks. On June 19, Kastorf filed a petition in Fulton County Superior Court asking a judge to order Waldon to approve an official referendum form via what is known as a writ of mandamus.

“One concern we have is the clerk required us to include material on the form that is not required by law and will make signature collection more difficult than is envisioned by the statute,” said Kastorf. “While I hope our mandamus petition has been mooted, we’re committed to making sure that the signature collection process proceeds smoothly and in accordance with the law.”

Update: This story has been updated with information from Interim Municipal Clerk Waldon.

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  1. I doubt those against “Cop City” have ever intervened to stop an altercation between individuals possessing guns, knives, or even fighting old style with their fists. With millions of illegals pouring into the country there are certainly some criminals and deranged individuals in the mix, so be thankful we have open and concealed carry in Georgia if the effort to kill Cop City is successful.

    1. To answer your question – No. I’ve never had to stop any altercations of armed people. I have never needed the police to stop an altercation. I’ve never needed the police for protection from any illegal immigrant, but I do appreciate the work they have done on my property. In fact I have never needed the police. My only interaction with the police has been unnecessary and cost me money. I didn’t need the police to tell me the sticker on my car tag was expired, I already knew and the fact that I hadn’t gotten around to getting it yet wasn’t hurting anyone. I’m not seeing the need for any increase in police presence. Where the hell do you live that you’re in gun and knife fights needing protection from your Guatemalan housekeeper? We must live in different countries. I’m in the ATL metro area and your concerns seem kind of delusional. I recommend spending less time watching Fox News. The only thing that scares me in what you wrote is the idea of my children being in a city with people like you carrying a gun. Here in the real world, my gun stays in my safe unless I’m going to the range which by the way is the only time I need it.

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