May 18, 2022
It's Wednesday. And we're all in this together.
🍳 Today's weather: Sunny and hot. High near 91.
Situational awareness: A Confederate monument in Glynn County was quietly removed yesterday and will be sent to an unknown location, according to the Brunswick News.
- Lawsuits brought by the Sons of Confederate Veterans to prevent the removal have been thrown out of court.
Today's newsletter is 927 words — a 3.5-minute read.
1 big thing: 🚓 Bucks for the blue
The Atlanta Police Department is asking for $235 million to be included in next year’s budget to combat rising crime, hire new cops, and stave off the exodus of officers fleeing for better-paying jobs in the suburbs.
Here’s a peek at how they plan to spend it.
Details: The upcoming fiscal year starts July 1, and APD’s ask is $4 million more than the previous budget. The department’s budget has risen by roughly $30 million over the past three years.
- 86% of the spending plan would go to personnel. As of March, the latest month for which statistics are available, the force has 1,616 sworn officers — well below the roughly 2,000 positions that previous mayors and chiefs have tried to reach.
- APD plans to create a chief operating officer position to boost morale, address equipment shortages and help manage day-to-day operations.
The intrigue: The department’s proposed budget for E-911 is roughly $150,000 less than last year’s spending plan. That drop comes at a time when call volumes are up and staffing is down.
- The division can handle the decrease, APD officials said, thanks to increasing awareness about 311 and new technology that would route lower-priority calls to other departments.
This story is part of Axios Atlanta’s partnership with Atlanta Civic Circle, Capital B, Canopy Atlanta, and the The Center for Civic Innovation to report on the city budget. Follow along at #ATLBudget on Twitter and Instagram.
2. 🚨 "Cop City" crackdown
Activists who built an encampment deep in the woods to protest Atlanta’s proposed $90 million public safety training center squared off yesterday with police.
Details: The AJC reports that police arrested eight people on charges ranging from trespassing to obstruction of law enforcement. Atlanta police say activists have tried to delay the project and yesterday threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at officers.
Catch up quick: Last year, activists who called themselves "forest defenders" set up tents and a small community on the 300-acre property — the former home of the Atlanta Prison Farm — and have occupied the woods since.
- They argue that the proposed 85-acre center — which they’ve dubbed “Cop City” — is a poor use of city resources and would destroy nature.
- The woods are part of Intrenchment Creek Park, a green space envisioned as part of a larger park to preserve metro Atlanta’s tree canopy.
- The property is located in unincorporated DeKalb County, but is owned by the city of Atlanta.
What we saw: Police blocked access to the green space along Key Road and barred Axios Atlanta from accessing the site where officers were arresting protesters.
- Activists had cleared out of one of the encampments, where roughly 20 tents and hammocks dotted the woods, as helicopters hovered overhead.
3. 🗣️ Crossover voters speak out
We asked to hear from Democrats voting in this year's Republican primary, and you all delivered.
What's happening: According to the AJC, thousands of Georgians who have voted Democratic in the past appear to have pulled Republican primary ballots this year.
- Georgia is an open primary state, meaning you can choose any ballot.
The big picture: Most readers who responded to us said they are moderate Democrats or Republicans who started voting Democratic in the Donald Trump era. Almost all said they pulled the Republican ticket to make sure Trump-backed candidates stay off the general election ballot.
What you're saying:
- "Whoever wins the gubernatorial election in November will be my governor regardless of party affiliation. So in the primary...I will vote for the Republican I can best live with," said Elyn M., who identifies as a moderate Democrat.
- "I just can’t live with the thought of Jody Hice being our secretary of state. He’s all but said he would cheat to help his candidates win. Raffensberger is the 'devil we know,'" said Diane L.
- Larry M. voted early in the Republican primary "armed with a list of the relevant endorsements from Trump with the specific intention of voting AGAINST them. My list was shared with friends and family."
Look who’s hiring
4. 🍿 Back to the movies?
A post-pandemic reality is settling in for the movie industry.
Streaming releases are here to stay, and the theatrical window has permanently shrunk, even as blockbuster films try to reignite the box office, write Axios' Sara Fischer and Tim Baysinger.
Why it matters: Theaters have more to lose in Hollywood's new status quo. The box office may have scored a few big hits this year, but it's still down 45% compared to 2019.
Of note: Despite low theater attendance, film and TV shows are still being made, especially in Georgia.
- Georgia awarded $1.2 billion in tax credits and incentives to film and television productions in 2021, the highest number in the country.
- According to the Department of Economic Development, 366 productions were filmed in the state last year, spending a record $4 billion.
We want to know: Are you going back to the movies? Why or why not?
5. Five-ish Points: Music Midtown lineup released
💰A metro Atlanta man says the nonprofit that administered COVID-19 vaccines in Georgia owes him thousands in unpaid overtime. (11 Alive)
🏠Mayor Andre Dickens approved $1.5 million to help Forest Cove residents find new housing. (AJC)
🍌 Meet the Savannah Bananas, the minor league baseball team that has thrown out every boring rule. (LA Times)
🏗️ Affordable housing project construction begins in Sweet Auburn district. (Urbanize Atlanta)
👀 A Delaware college says it will file a federal complaint against a Georgia sheriff's office after a bus search. (Georgia Public Broadcasting)
🎤 Check out the list of artists who will be at Music Midtown in September. (Fox 5 Atlanta)
🧴Thomas wants to hear y’all’s suggestions for a mineral sunscreen that doesn’t make him feel like he’s wearing clown makeup.
🥵 Kristal is not ready for 90-degree weather in May.
💕 Emma loves working with her Axios Atlanta team.