HomeRights, Justice, and Culture NewsNeighborhood’s Bid to Secede from Atlanta Fails in Georgia Senate

Neighborhood’s Bid to Secede from Atlanta Fails in Georgia Senate

Neighborhood’s bid to secede from Atlanta fails in Georgia Senate vote on a bill to allow a Buckhead City referendum.

By Eileen Griffin

A neighborhood’s bid to secede from Atlanta failed in the Georgia state Senate.

The Georgia Senate voted 33 to 23 against a bill to allow a referendum on establishing Buckhead City, with all Democrats and 10 Republicans in opposition, WSB-TV reports.

Buckhead is an affluent neighborhood within the city of Atlanta.

More Police, Surplus

Secession supporters cite crime as major problem, says Christian Bryant, host of the On the Loop podcast for Scripps News

“Supporters of the split list crime rates across greater Atlanta as one reason for wanting to separate,” Bryant said. “In 2021, the city saw a 60 percent increase in murders from pre-pandemic levels. The increase was consistent with the year before.”

The new city would direct more resources to law enforcement, Bill White, CEO of the Buckhead City Committee told News Nation.

“If we are in control of the money we currently send to Atlanta, we will be able to hire 250 police officers,” White said. “Currently with that money we send, we get 90 police officers. So, three times the amount of police officers and then we show a $100 million surplus.”

Crime at ‘Tipping Point’

the city has failed to deter petty crime, as well as more violent crime. Buckhead City supporter Kelly Rodts told a Senate committee meeting prior to the vote.

“This violence has reached a tipping point, and that is why we are all here today,” Rodts said. “Buckhead is a target. We’re a target for criminals in the city, and Atlanta has not been able to protect us.”

Buckhead resident Shanna Gikonyo-Waweru said in a Buckhead campaign video that she was very concerned about crime.

“There has been a lot of crime and it’s scary to think about,” Gikonyo-Waweru said. “It’s harming not just people but children, younger teens, people that have their entire future ahead of them. I think all of that should be considered in regards to the crime, public safety, and the overall mission of Buckhead City being a safe and inclusive place.”

Officials Opposed

Republican Governor Brian Kemp did not support the Buckhead City secession effort, the New York Post reported.

Most elected officials opposed breaking apart Atlanta, but Lt. Gov. Burt Jones (R) supported the secession bill as a state senator, and allowed the vote on the bill, the Associated Press reported.

As one of the wealthiest communities, Atlanta would lose a significant source of tax revenue if the affluent families and businesses of Buckhead left the city. Buckhead encompasses 20 percent of the population of Atlanta, but produces 40 percent of the city’s tax revenues, the Associated Press reported.

“If we jerk the heart out of the city of Atlanta, which is Buckhead, I know our capital city will die,” said state Sen. Frank Ginn (R), who voted against secession.

Impact on Atlanta

Many Democrat-run cities have seen an explosion in crime in the last few years, as the Heartland Daily News has reported.

Residents in a growing number of jurisdictions are considering secession as an escape from crime, high tax rates, and other policies.

“The state of Georgia has approved dozens of these small cities,” said White. “We would be just another one.”

Buckhead residents vow to continue their fight. A separate vote on cityhood is still in the works.

“There is a lot of pride in this community,” Gikonyo-Waweru said.

Eileen Griffin
Eileen Griffin
Eileen Griffin writes from Richland, Washington.


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