I. Welcome & Introductions
Tom Tidwell called the meeting to order at about 6:45 PM. A quorum was ultimately present. Reporters from WSB were informed that the church did not permit video cameras.
II. Approval of Minutes
Minutes for the March, April, and May meetings were approved.
III. Admit New Member Neighborhoods
Robert Bush, vice president of a group of condominium developments calling itself the “Buckhead Condo Alliance” neighborhood asked to be admitted to BCN. The BCA group has been meeting for almost a year and recently files articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State. Their members include the Carlisle on Peachtree, the Gallery, Peachtree Residences, etc. representing over 800 family units. They are primarily condominiums on the Peachtree Corridor. Among the issues that concern them is the gathering of motorcycle drivers at Filini’s on Thursday nights. They also want to have a voice regarding developments along the Peachtree Corridor.
In terms of city business, such as land use applications and variances, the BCA reps indicated that those matters would still be handled by the underlying neighborhoods, such as Garden Hills. Considering the issue of whether BCA might be recognized by the City of Atlanta, as Yolanda Adrean said “it was new ground … especially when crisscrossing NPUs and Council Districts”. Peggy McCormick said her neighborhood (Peachtree Heights East) was really working hard to strengthen relationships with the condominiums on their side of Peachtree. She said that they have found that single-family and condo residents have a lot of the same issues and concerns. Gordon Certain reported that North Buckhead treats condominiums as a regular part of the neighborhood and that about 21% of NBCA members were condominium residents. He added that several North Buckhead Civic Association board members have been (or are) high-rise condominium residents and that condominiums are “just part of the neighborhood”. So, different neighborhoods treat condominiums differently.
John Schaffner commented that some neighborhoods want members (including condo residents) to participate in the security patrols, a service condo residents don’t need. He added that in his building’s case, their membership representing 205 families would have one vote, the same as any single-family household.
Ultimately, a motion was approved to admit the Buckhead Condo Alliance to BCN.
IV. Committee and Liaison Updates
- No report.
- No report.
- Did not meet. No report.
- 24 neighborhoods have renewed/joined.
- No report.
- No report.
Transportation, Development and Infrastructure
- No report.
Atlanta Police Department Chief George Turner
Chief Turner reported that our area’s crime was down “pretty significantly”, about 13% for this year, and that Major Van Hobbs was doing an excellent job reducing crime. Overall crime for the city is down 11%. He attributes the declines to effective use of technology, such as software that predicts where the next crime is likely to occur. They have also implemented a system of vehicle tracking, so supervisors know exactly where patrol cars are and what their patrol patterns have been.
About three years ago, APD disbanded the Red Dog team, in part because the city no longer had any housing projects and the murder rate had declined. APD’s focus switched to repeat offenders: individuals who were constantly arrested and were back on the streets again. They focused on the top offenders: 481 individuals who had been arrested more than 7,000 times. He said it was clear “that they were arresting the right people, but the problem is that those folks never did any time”. On analysis it was found that only about 7% of those 481 did any additional time in jail. They were arrested, went to court and got “time served” and were released to continue their activities. One individual had been arrested 92 times in the city for 52 years. Another, a 26-year old had been arrested 14 times and was allowed to be treated as a “first offender” the first six times he was arrested on felonies—he is only in jail now because he murdered someone. Turner said, “At some point, we’ve got to correct that.” Mayor Reed has asked Dave Wilkinson of the Atlanta Police Foundation to chair a commission to look at all of the issues associated with these 481 people and the criminal justice system here in Fulton County. The commission includes the chief judge, the DA, a probation officer and other people involved in the justice system. Turner hopes for great recommendations from the commission and believes “the business community will have to force this situation”. He believes that if we can resolve the problems with the 481 we will be the safest we have been since we have been keeping crime statistics – we are already back to the 1960s levels of crime. He said they need citizens to continue to hold the judiciary system accountable.
APD is conducting a leadership initiative. When recruits come in, they begin the process of learning how to be a leader. The program goes all the way up to the executive levels. The five majors considered to be a possible future APD chief have been selected for a special program, in partnership with the Israel national police, the London police department, as well as Los Angeles and New York. Those Atlanta officers are allowed to have a mentor in each of those departments. APD recently hosted the Israeli delegation; an Atlanta team went to Israel last year.
A thirty minute Q&A session followed, mainly about the 481 and related issues, impact of the new gun law, etc. [Q&A: 30:43 – 1:00:40]
Greg Chevalier of Street Grace
Greg Chevalier, a Pine Hills resident can be contacted at:
Outreach Ministry Chairperson
Brookhaven Christian Church
Greg works with an organization called Street Grace in a program to bring awareness of child sex trafficking to the neighborhood level. Greg also participates in the Governor’s Office Children and Families Task Force. Greg’s presentation was focused on domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) and was very disturbing. Greg quoted sources such as the New York Times that Atlanta’s sex trafficking of minors is very high, if not the highest in the nation. Greg said DMST is a big business and that all parts of the city including our neighborhoods are affected. Greg encourages neighborhoods to get involved — contact Greg as listed above.
Click here to view Greg’s presentation. Because of equipment incompatibilities in our meeting room, Greg was unable to show this presentation, so the attachment should be new even to those who heard him speak. Note that the attachment is protected intellectual property of Street Grace and was reproduced by BCN with permission.
VI. Community Concerns/New Business
Yolanda Adrean reminded attendees that important meetings were being held for the 2015 Infrastructure Bond initiative – click here to see the flyer.
VIII. Next Meeting July 10, 2014
IX. Adjourn – The meeting adjourned at about 8:45 PM.
Note: The opinions expressed by the speakers and individual neighborhood representatives in these minutes do not necessarily represent those of BCN or its member neighborhoods.