Feb 14, 2024 - News

Politic-ATL: Councilman's pot, policing, Chattahoochee and housing

Illustration of a podium with a gold seal; the seal has a peach and says "POLITIC-ATL."

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

This week at Atlanta City Hall, we're diving into policing, the Chattahoochee River and housing funds.

🌿 Pot stop: Atlanta City Council member Antonio Lewis is facing charges for driving on a suspended registration and marijuana possession after a Feb. 2 traffic stop, the AJC reports.

  • The AJC reports an officer stopped Lewis around 9:30pm near Peoplestown and smelled marijuana in Lewis' vehicle.
  • The officer asked if there were substances in the car, and Lewis handed over a "blunt containing 4g of raw marijuana," the report says.
  • Yes, but: Atlanta decriminalized marijuana in 2017, and Lewis was allowed to drive home after the stop.

⚖️ Settlement: The Atlanta City Council is considering a resolution to give $6,000 to people who witnessed the fatal police shooting of Rayshard Brooks.

  • Melvin Evans, Jr., Danyel Killion and Michael Perkins alleged in a lawsuit that they were sitting in a vehicle near the Wendy's on 125 University Avenue on June 12, 2020, when they saw Atlanta Police officer Garrett Rolfe shoot Brooks.
  • The witnesses alleged their vehicle was struck by a stray bullet, and resulting in emotional damages, the resolution states.
  • What's next: The council may OK the resolution at Monday's regular meeting.

🚓 Policing: The City Council is considering legislation to accept $250,000 from the Atlanta Regional Commission to buy ballistic helmets for Atlanta police.

  • ARC's funding comes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Urban Area Security Initiative award.
  • According to the ordinance, the federal program funds enhancements in "regional preparedness and capabilities in designated high-threat, high-density areas and encourages regional cooperation in emergency preparedness and response."
  • Quick take: Lawmakers will likely OK this legislation at Monday's meeting.

🧱 Chattahoochee: Atlanta is launching a monthly series of seminars to address its long-term plans for the former Chattahoochee Brick Company site.

  • Atlanta bought the 75-acre site in 2022 to create the city's first park with public access to the Chattahoochee River.
  • The site will also host a memorial for the prisoners who were forced to work at the brick company without pay in grueling conditions in the late 19th and early 20th century.
  • The first seminar starts at 1pm on Saturday at The Carter Presidential Center.

🏠 Housing: U.S. Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff announced Tuesday that the federal government is awarding nearly $1.8 million to Atlanta for housing preservation.

  • The funds come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Healthy Homes Production Grant program to complete home repairs and remediation projects.
  • What they're saying: Sens. Warnock and Ossoff, and Mayor Andre Dickens, said in statements Tuesday that the funds will improve the quality of safe housing for families in Atlanta.
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