27 March 2015

State Rep. Ladawn Jones Says She Won't Run for Re-election in 2016

(Rep. Ladawn Jones says she won't be seeking a third term in 2016. Image courtesy Georgia House of Representatives.)
State Representative Ladawn Blackett Jones (D - Atlanta) announced in an email to constituents that her current term will be her last.

"It is with regret that I must inform my constituents in District 62 that I will not seek re-election as State Representative upon the end of the 2016 Legislative Session," Jones wrote in an email. "I must re-shift my priorities to give my children all the support that my parents gave to me.

"I appreciate your support in this transition and promise to complete my term in 2016 with the same enthusiasm as I started."

Jones was first elected to the Georgia General Assembly in 2012, after emerging from a crowded field in the Democratic primary.

26 March 2015

Atlanta Unanimously Supports Sandtown & Druid Hills Referenda on Joining a World Class City

At its 16 March 2015 meeting, the Atlanta City Council weighed in on a pair of bills that would give two communities the final say on annexation at the ballot box.

House Bill 586 and House Bill 587 lets voters in the Sandtown and Druid Hills communities say yes or no to joining Atlanta in a 3 November 2015 referendum.

Sandtown is located in south Fulton County. Druid Hills is in north DeKalb County.

The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved a resolution supporting the two pieces of legislation, and welcoming "with open arms its prospective new neighbors and residents in the South Fulton and Emory/Druid Hills/central DeKalb communities as we grow together as a world-class city."

The resolution (shown below) was also approved by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, and was forwarded to state lawmakers.

Atlanta City Council Resolution Supporting Annexation Referenda

House Bill 586 and House Bill 587 are currently pending in the House of Representatives.

Oscar-nominated Director Slated to Work on Biopic of Former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson

Auburn Avenue Films, one of Atlanta's newest production companies, is collaborating with an Academy Award-nominated director to produce a theatrical documentary about the life and legacy of Atlanta’s first black Mayor, Maynard Holbrook Jackson Jr.

Samuel D. Pollard, the director behind the 1997 Academy Award-nominated documentary Four Little Girls, was tapped to direct the film titled "Maynard."

Currently in pre-production, "Maynard" offers an introspective look into the life of the political and business titan who served three terms as chief executive of Georgia's capital city.

"Most people only remember the public side of Maynard Jackson, Jr. but they never saw the man who struggled with the loss of his own father at the age of 15, the brother who buried two sisters, the husband who went through divorce, or the father who feared he would lose his only son,” said Maynard H. Jackson, III, son of Mayor Jackson. “In this documentary you will definitely see the giant of a mayor but, more importantly, you see the giant of a real man.”

"MAYNARD" offers an intimate view of Jackson from those who knew him best. The film will include personal family photos and rare interviews with his two former wives, his five children, his siblings as well as many of Jackson’s close associates and confidants.

25 March 2015

Sales of Kia Soul Electric Vehicles to Begin Soon in Georgia

Following the successful launch of the Soul Electric Vehicle (EV) late last year in California, Kia Motors America (KMA) is proud to announce it is expanding availability of its fully charged urban runabout into a new state: Georgia.

(Kia Expands Soul Electric Vehicle Availability to Georgia. Image courtesy Kia Motors of America.)
Electric vehicle demand has been growing in the Peach State, and consumers here have expressed significant interest in Soul EV.

Within Georgia, select Kia retailers will be certified to sell and service the Soul EV, and customers will have access to charging stations installed at these facilities. The Soul EV-authorized Kia dealership locations will be announced closer to the Soul EV's on-sale date later this year. Additional markets are set to come online throughout 2015 and 2016.

"From the inception of the Soul EV program, Kia's sales strategy has been progressive and pragmatic," said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, KMA. "With the level of demand and supporting infrastructure in the state, California was a natural place to start, but we've been carefully studying other markets."

Kia has called Georgia home since the late-2006 groundbreaking for the $1-billion Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) assembly plant in West Point, and it's where the second phase of the Soul EV's expansion will kick off.

"This is a logical – and exciting – next step in our rollout plan," Hedrick continued.

Sales are set to begin during the second quarter in the Peach State.

Following the Soul EV's expansion into Georgia, four other states – Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Texas – are expected to come online in June. Offered in two trims, Base and + (Plus), the 2015 Soul EV MSRP5 is $33,700 (not including federal tax rebate of $7,500) for the Base and $35,700 (not including federal tax rebate of $7,500) for the Plus. A lease price of $249/month for the Soul EV Base6 is also available.

24 March 2015

OUR OPINION: Atlanta's Proposed Annexation of Sandtown is Built on the Rock of Racial Politics

Atlanta, Georgia's capital city, is at its tipping point.

In 2009, three decades after electing its first black Mayor, Atlanta was on the verge of electing its first white female chief executive.

Certain members of Atlanta's black political establishment recoiled at the prospect of someone white leading the so-called "Black Mecca" for the first time in 36 years.

The black establishment even put those fears into words, writing, "Time is of the essence because in order to defeat a [Mary] Norwood (white) mayoral candidacy we have to get out now and work in a manner to defeat her without a runoff, and the key is a significant Black turnout in the general election” [Jonsson (1 September 2009). Was Atlanta's 'black mayor first' memo racist - or just blunt?. Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved on 24 March 2015.].

Mary Norwood was defeated in that 2009 election, but only by the slimmest of margins -- 715 votes.

Norwood might have emerged victorious, six years ago, if it weren't for Atlanta adding roughly 2,000 residents from the Midwest Cascade and Regency Trace communities to the city in 2006. The 2,000 people, predominately black, are widely seen as the ones who gave Kasim Reed the edge in his runoff win over Norwood three years later.

Now, as we speed towards the 2017 Atlanta mayoral election, race looms like a shadow over the entire campaign.

Whites are increasing their numbers in Atlanta, while blacks are fleeing towards the suburbs. Atlanta is at its tipping point, and the right candidate could do what Mary Norwood could not -- become Atlanta's first white mayor in over three decades.

Potential candidates such as state Representative Margaret Kaiser (D - Atlanta) and former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard might succeed in this endeavor, if Atlanta's proposed annexation of the Sandtown community fails.

You see, much like Midwest Cascade and Regency Trace, Sandtown is a majority black community that is very politically active and engaged.

Sandtown votes, and Atlanta knows this; hence the capital city's ravenous interest in annexing Sandtown this year.

In a close contest between the heir of the Maynard Jackson political machine and the great white hope, Sandtown could provide the edge, and keep Atlanta in black hands for four more years.

Atlanta's black political establishment has a tenuous hold on power. And as we know, all those who gain power are afraid to lose it.

The only question left is not if, but when the black political machine of Atlanta will finally break.

23 March 2015

College Park Thumbs Nose at Fulton County, Pushes City Limits to Feldwood Road Via Annexation

Georgia Unfiltered has learned that the south metro city of College Park has annexed 245.505 acres of land, despite Fulton County objecting to the move at its 4 March 2015 Board of Commissioners meeting.

The property, valued at $38,144,300, consists of thirteen parcels along Roosevelt Highway and Naturally Fresh Boulevard in south Fulton County.

Staff in the Fulton County Planning and Community Services Department could not find a valid reason to object to College Park annexing the thirteen parcels.

However, the Fulton County Commission still unanimously opposed the 245.505 acre annexation due to inconsistent zoning on other land parcels that were included in College Park's initial 274.985 acre annexation packet.

Georgia Unfiltered first reported, 20 February 2015, that College Park received requests from south Fulton businesses to join the city.

In a letter to Fulton County, dated 6 February 2015, College Park Mayor Jack Longino wrote, "Please be advised of pending petitions to annex fifteen (15) parcels comprising a total of 274.985 acres into the city limits of College Park."

Mayor Longino included a map (shown below) of the proposed annexation with his letter to county officials.

Proposed College Park Annexation Map by Andre Walker

All but one of the fifteen parcels (shown above) had zoning that matched existing Fulton County zoning provisions. The one parcel, totaling 26.7 acres, was the Commission's basis for rejecting the entire annexation packet of 274.985 acres.

At its 16 March 2015 city council meeting, College Park annexed 13 of the 15 parcels. The south metro municipality left out two other parcels totaling 29.48 acres.

This is a rapidly changing story. Please check back for future updates.

For #MusicMonday, "Mafioso" by Orjan Nilsen (the Mark Sixma remix)

Orjan Nilsen - Mafioso (Mark Sixma Remix)