Home » Georgia senators reject Buckhead efforts to leave Atlanta

Georgia senators reject Buckhead efforts to leave Atlanta

by The Grio

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia senators torpedoed an effort to let the affluent Buckhead neighborhood secede from Atlanta on Thursday, with 10 Republicans breaking ranks and voting with Democrats to doom the measure after Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration questioned its legality and workability.

“If we jerk the heart out of the city of Atlanta, which is Buckhead, I know our capital city will die,” said Sen. Frank Ginn, a Danielsville Republican who chairs the committee that sent the bill to the full Senate.

The 33-23 vote to reject Senate Bill 114 could end the multiyear movement to create the proposed Buckhead City, driven by conservative residents who claimed the Democratic-run city wasn’t doing enough to fight crime and provide services, especially considering that Buckhead makes up less than 20% of the city’s population of 500,000, but about 40% of its tax revenue.

“These people are being ignored,” Sen. Randy Robertson, a Cataula Republican who sponsored the bill, said just before the bill was defeated. “And I think the response that we’ve seen has been just enough and then they hope it will go away.”

If the bill had succeeded, it would have set up a referendum on creating a new city that could have cast a harsh spotlight on efforts by a richer, majority-white neighborhood to divorce itself from the poorer, Blacker city at the heart of the Deep South’s largest urban area.

“We cannot cavalierly decide when we are united and when we let our divisions break us,” said Sen. Sonya Halpern, an Atlanta Democrat who represents parts of Buckhead.

Atlanta’s overwhelmingly Democratic legislative delegation and the city’s business leadership had long opposed the measure, arguing that not only was it a bad idea, but that it was legally unworkable. Practical arguments revolved around questions of whether a new Buckhead City could still send its students to Atlanta’s…

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