Sep 15, 2023 - News

Atlanta leaders could vote on training center referendum

Keyanna Jones, an activist with Community Movement Builders, speaks during Thursday's press conference calling on Atlanta to allow residents to vote on the Public Safety Training Center project. Photo: Kristal Dixon/Axios

The Atlanta City Council could vote as early as Monday on legislation calling for a referendum on the Public Safety Training Center.

Driving the news: City Council member Liliana Bakhtiari confirmed to Axios that they are considering introducing the legislation during Monday's meeting.

Why it matters: If approved by the Council, the question of whether the city should fund its portion of the project would go to voters on Nov. 7.

Context: A petition calling for such a referendum is currently tied up in federal court, and there's no sign as to whether it could be resolved in time to put the issue on the ballot for Election Day — or at all. Bakhtiari's legislation could be a way around that hang-up.

  • Council member Keisha Sean Waites said this week she would also support legislation calling for a referendum on the training center.

What they're saying: Several activists from civil rights organizations gathered Thursday at City Hall to call on Atlanta to allow residents to vote to fund the project.

  • "It is frustrating to know that in the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, the home of the late Congressman John Lewis, we are seeing voter suppression visited upon the Black Mecca," said Wanda Mosley, national field director with Black Voters Matter Fund.

The other side: The city of Atlanta said in a statement on Wednesday that it "has repeatedly and steadfastly supported the right of those opposed to peacefully speak and organize."

  • "We believe it is time for all sides to begin to have solution-focused conversations informed by the facts and not clouded by misinformation or unnecessary divisive language so we can come together and find common ground," the city said.

What we're watching: Unless it's introduced for immediate consideration, the legislation would be assigned to a committee where it will be vetted before coming back to the full City Council for a vote.


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