Ep. 49: On Atlanta City Council’s will to ignore the people

This week, Aja and Sylvia catch up with city designer and urban thinker Ryan Gravel following Atlanta City Council’s vote to pass a proposal by the Atlanta Police Foundation to build an 85-acre police training facility on the 381-acre forested land in DeKalb County known as the Old Atlanta Prison Farm. In this episode, we discuss the events leading up to the vote, the vote itself, and what could happen next.

Prior to council’s vote, council members sat through 17 hours of public comment in which nearly 70% of voters adamantly opposed the facility. Council deliberated hte proposal for about an hour before passing the legislation, denying any additional amendments, in a 10-4 vote.

The proposal originally sought to build a 150-acre training facility before adjusting following intense public outcry and dissent. Local organizers in Community Movement Builders, Sunrise Atlanta, Atlanta DSA, DARC, and others have been galvanizing in the #StopCopCity movement since the ordinance was introduced in June. Other organizations like the South River Forest Coalition have also been advocating and organizing for preservation of the forest.

This episode plays exactly as it was aired during the Mainline News Hour on WRFG radio in Atlanta on Fri., Sept. 10.

To learn more about the land, which was originally inhabited by the Muscogee Creek Nation before they were forcibly removed. After the Civil War, the land was sold in a land lottery to a plantation owner tho used the land for chattel slavery and forced labor of Black people criminalized by the state: https://itsgoingdown.org/slave-labor-overcrowding-and-unmarked-graves-the-buried-history-of-atlanta-city-prison-farm/

Our full breakdown of the council’s vote and an overview of public opposition among Atlantans: https://www.mainlineatl.com/atlanta-city-council-passes-police-training-facility-legislation/

Our report detailing the arrests made during council’s deliberations: https://www.mainlineatl.com/atlanta-protesters-arrested-council-passes-lease-police-foundation/

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