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Oct 4, 2021

Axios Atlanta

Thank you for subscribing to Axios Atlanta! We're Kristal Dixon and Thomas Wheatley, and we're excited to be in your inbox each weekday to bring you the latest stories shaping Atlanta.

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Situational awareness: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will host a forum today with the five leading candidates running to become the city's next mayor. Tune in at 5pm on the AJC's Facebook or YouTube pages.

Today's newsletter is 872 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Kemp's bonuses aim to keep cops

Gov. Brian Kemp greets a police officer with a fist bump. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

While metro Atlanta law enforcement agencies are praising Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to give $1,000 bonuses to officers and first responders, they say the move is only the first step in addressing long-running issues of recruitment and retention.

Why it matters: Police departments say low morale has put a dent in their efforts to recruit for positions that are under intense scrutiny by the public amid high-profile officer-involved shootings in Atlanta and around the country.

Details: Police departments and sheriff's offices can obtain the bonuses by applying for grant funding through the state's Office of Planning and Budget website through Dec. 31.

  • Personnel eligible for the bonuses include state, local or school police officers; criminal investigators; probation and parole officers; firefighters; EMTs; sheriffs and their deputies; corrections officers; bailiffs; fish and game wardens; and 911 dispatchers.

Context: Facing what's sure to be a stiff re-election battle from presumed Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams, Kemp has made support for law enforcement — and criticism of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for the city’s spike in crime — part of his platform.

  • The governor used $2 million from the state's emergency fund to create a crime suppression unit made up of local police, state troopers and other law enforcement officers to address crime in the area, AJC notes.

Yes, but: While the bonuses could offer a short-term boost in morale, leaders of local public safety agencies say a lot more needs to be done to help hire new and keep seasoned officers.

  • Axios reached out to the Atlanta Police Department, which declined to participate in this story. However, the agency said on its Facebook page that more people are showing an interest in joining its ranks.

Read the full story.

2. 🎸 The show will go on
Data: U.S. Small Business Administration. Chart: Axios Visuals

Atlanta music venues, promoters, museums, theaters and arts and entertainment industry groups big and small impacted by the pandemic received a roughly $85 million dollar lifeline from the federal government's Shuttered Venue Operators Grants.

Why it matters: Metro Atlanta's arts and nonprofit groups generate roughly $720 million for the local economy, according to a 2017 report by Americans for the Arts.

  • Fulton County is home to one-third of the music jobs in Georgia, and the industry generates more than $1 billion in economic impact, according to a study commissioned before the pandemic.
3. 📚 Atlanta E-SPLOST: That other issue on the ballot

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Along with the mayoral and City Council races, Atlanta residents on Nov. 2 will also consider renewing the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for another five years.

  • The current E-SPLOST was approved in 2016 and expires June 30, 2022, Alanta Public Schools said. If approved, the tax is projected to generate $650.8 million over a five-year period.

Why it matters: APS and other districts use sales taxes to fund construction and renovation projects and technology improvements without raising property taxes.

4. 🍖 Quick bites: Kinship Butcher and Sundry

Have you met-a the porchetta? Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

After COVID temporarily closed the doors at Aska — the New York Michelin-star restaurant where Rachael Pack and her partner, Myles Moody, worked — the couple relocated to Moody's hometown of Atlanta.

  • In late August, they opened Kinship Butcher and Sundry in Virginia-Highland, offering lattes, breakfast sandwiches and house-made meats and cheeses. Coffee is provided by Academy Coffee, which is owned by Myles' brother, Connan.

Our thought bubble: Get there early and order a breakfast sandwich with your choice of Edwards bacon or Kinship's house-made sausage, with an organic scrambled egg.

  • Or Thomasville Tomme cheese and the aforementioned egg, topped off with arugula, red onion and a dab of Duke's mayo — all served on a buttery fluffy milk bun.
  • For lunch, there's a Comfort Farms porchetta sandwich (above) combined with Doux South's drunken mustard and pepper relish, capped off with the breakfast toppings. For vegetarians, grab a grilled cheese — made with two Georgia cheeses and one from Vermont — with relish served on grilled Texas milk toast.

Bonus: Coming soon next door is Pielands Sub and Slice, a new restaurant from Nina and Rafi owner Billy Streck.

5. Five Points: Atlanta news roundup

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  • 🔎 The true story of Tomochichi, whose statue now stands in Atlantic Station, is more complex than the legend we tell. (AJC)
  • 🤯Redistricting activists say they're "blindsided" by the Georgia GOP's proposed congressional map. (Atlanta Civic Circle)
  • 🏙Einstein's and Joe's on Juniper prepare to meet the wrecking ball. (Urbanize Atlanta)
  • 🚦Roswell mismanaged a $14 million intersection project, investigation finds. (AJC)
  • 🚨A production company says rapper Boosie committed vandalism during a State Farm Arena concert. (Fox 5 Atlanta)
6. Meet your authors!

At your service (from left): Thomas Wheatley, Emma Hurt and Kristal Dixon. Photo: Emma Hurt

What you need to know about Kristal:

  • Before joining Axios, I was with AJC, where I covered city and county government and education and reported on several Cobb County jail deaths, racial disparities in schools and how COVID-19 affected educators. 
  • When I'm not working, I like to collect houseplants, discover new places to eat and watch international crime dramas.

Some background about Thomas:

  • I'm a native Atlantan and longtime local journalist who's covered city and state politics, housing, transportation and everything else you can imagine at Atlanta Magazine and Creative Loafing.
  • I live in the Westview neighborhood with my bizarre and precious cat, Lorenzo, and was a child actor (that's a story for another day).

What's next: Emma Hurt, a former reporter with WABE, Atlanta's NPR affiliate, will also be joining us soon, rounding out the Axios Atlanta team.

Don't forget: Today is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 2 municipal election.

Before we go:

  • Kristal is wondering if her pasta-making kit is lost in the upside-down world.
  • Thomas is finding zen rewatching Atlanta Postcard, the greatest and strangest tourism video ever made about our wonderful city.

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