We have a voice…and it’s being heard!

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/atlanta/stories/2008/08/18/fire_station_7.html

Atlanta council defies mayor, votes to reopen Fire Station 7

By ERIC STIRGUS, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution – Monday, August 18, 2008

    RELATED: • PDF: Mayor Shirley Franklin’s position

The Atlanta City Council voted Monday to shift $1.1 million in the budget to reopen what was the city’s oldest fire station, despite Mayor Shirley Franklin’s vow to veto the legislation.

Some council members said they may have to pursue legal means to determine whether they or the mayor have the authority to decide the future of Fire Station 7.

“The only place this ends up getting resolved is in [Fulton County] Superior Court,” said Councilman H. Lamar Willis, an attorney. “The question then becomes are we prepared to spend citizen funds to fight that battle?”

Faced with a $14.6 million budget gap, Franklin last month ordered the closing of the station near West End Mall and the Atlanta University Center. The mayor ultimately cut the budget by $21.6 million, citing concerns from finance officials that the city’s sales tax revenue will fall below expectations.

Council members have argued Fire Station 7 should be reopened because they fear slower response times to fires and medical emergencies. The station, which opened in 1910, had the sixth-highest call volume of the city’s 32 fire stations.

The mayor and fire department officials have said the concerns are unwarranted because there are four other fire stations within three miles of the station. Fire officials also noted Fire Station 7 was the costliest station house to operate.

“In today’s world it is simply not possible to justify the expenditure of funds that have no impact on the delivery of city services,” Franklin said in a letter sent to the council last week.

The station’s closing sparked widespread community outrage. More than two dozen Atlantans spoke Monday in favor of reopening the station.

“You must keep Fire Station 7 open,” said Juanita Gardner, who said she’s lived in the city for 48 years.

Council members debated the issue for about 90 minutes Monday. They approved a plan to take a portion of money from nearly every city agency to come up with the $1.1 million to reopen the station and staff it. Council members did not specify how the cuts should be made. Councilwoman Felicia Moore said her colleagues should specify how to make the cuts.

Anne Fauver was the lone council member who voted against reopening the station, saying she wasn’t sure the numbers used to determine the funding plan are accurate. Fauver said she is also worried how the changes will affect city operations.

Rally To Save No 7 Monday

I’ll be out of town but I’m sure you guys will rumble for me 🙂

As per the WEND president:

The Mayor confirms the closing of fire station No. 7 Monday at 2pm. Rally at the station 11:30-12:30 Major press event.  Be there if at all possible. We have just begun to fight.
 

Carl Nes

President, WEND., Inc
West End Neighborhood Development

Historic West End

Atlanta and the Urban Future

Politics

Atlanta and the Urban Future

 

By ROB GURWITT, GOVERNING MAGAZINE – July 2008

 

A major American city has undergone big demographic changes overnight. Will others follow?

There is going to be a hard-fought campaign for mayor of Atlanta next year, and to understand it better, you might pay a visit to the Lighting Loft on Edgewood Avenue, in the city’s Old Fourth Ward. Not for any whispered political tips, but to look over the sleek and coolly sophisticated fixtures it sells: brushed-steel sconces, lamps in glass of the richest amber, cobalt blue pendants that could light a goat stall with hip urbanity.

 

What’s arresting about all this high-end domicile candy is where it’s located. A few minutes’ walk away, on Auburn Avenue, is the modest home where Martin Luther King Jr. was born; another block and you’re at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King and his father preached. This is a nationally iconic black neighborhood, a fount of African-American culture and creativity through the middle third of the 20th century, but more recently an unsettling symbol of inner-city decay. You can still find small houses in need of repair, older black men hanging out on front porches, the occasional homeless addict wandering the streets. Yet they share space now with cafes, clothing galleries, expensively renovated homes and factories converted into upscale lofts. Almost any day of the week, one finds young white couples pushing baby strollers or checking out the progress of the new Japanese restaurant that’s going in.

 

The Old Fourth Ward is changing at a stunning clip. It has not thrown aside its past, and it is home to plenty of African-American professionals and executives, but it also is filling up with white suburbanites who are tired of two-hour daily commutes and who like the idea of living next to downtown.. Nor is the Old Fourth alone as a symbol of what seems to be Atlanta’s almost day-by-day transformation. White newcomers are picking up houses and condos in Cabbagetown and Midtown, in Edgewood, Kirkwood and Castleberry Hill, up at the new Atlantic Station project and downtown in mixed-income developments that have replaced some of the most legendarily dysfunctional public housing in America. “It has become classy,” says local political consultant Angelo Fuster, “to live in the city.”

 

There is really only one way to put it: Atlanta is becoming whiter, and at a pace that outstrips the rest of the nation. The white share of the city’s population, says Brookings Institution demographer William Frey, grew faster between 2000 and 2006 than that of any other U.S. city. It increased from 31 percent in 2000 to 35 percent in 2006, a numeric gain of 26,000, more than double the increase between 1990 and 2000. The trend seems to be gathering strength with each passing year. Only Washington, D.C., saw a comparable increase in white population share during those years, although several other big cities are starting to see it now.

 

This development is occurring at the same time that race and ethnicity are driving changes every bit as fundamental in Atlanta’s suburbs. For if the city itself is growing whiter, the Atlanta region is growing less white. The Atlanta Regional Commission reports that in 2000, the white, non-Hispanic population of the 20-county Atlanta metro region formed 60 percent of the total population; by 2006, that had shrunk to 54 percent, not so much because whites were leaving — although four counties did see absolute declines in white numbers — but because of the arrival in the suburbs of African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Africans and Caribbeans. Of the 10 counties in the nation with the largest declines in white percentage of the population from 2000 to 2006, six are in the suburbs of Atlanta.

 

Read more: http://www.governing.com/articles/0807atlanta.htm

Philly Offers Mediation Foreclosure Program

A pilot program that will be rolled out soon in Philadelphia as part of Mayor Michael Nutter’s plan to curtail foreclosures will mandate that home owners and lenders engage in mediation.

According to County Judge Annette Rizzo, “It will give people an opportunity to be heard, and give them the opportunity to stay in their homes or gracefully exit.”

Residents will learn of the $2 million program through a public service announcement. The city already imposed a moratorium on sheriff’s sales in April and May to address the foreclosure crisis, which is expected to involve 8,500 homes citywide this year.

Source: Associated Press (06/05/08..)