2002 -- It was a very good year (we hope) 

Taking a look back at a year that hasn't happened yet

Page 2 of 3

April
Hunt still on for racist dogs

Larry Wallace, friend of Bill Campbell and the city's former chief operating officer, made a small splash after he was indicted last December when he publicly called federal prosecutors in the City Hall corruption case "racist dogs." So far, though, Wallace has had trouble tracking down his bigoted canine persecutors. What he's finding instead is an investigation led primarily by African-Americans, including Ted Jackson of the FBI, Andre Martin of the IRS and Richard Deane, who headed the U.S. Attorney's Office through the bulk of the long investigation until being replaced in November by admittedly Caucasoid G-man Bill Duffey.

Indeed, as this courtroom drama shapes up, it's looking to be less about black and white and more about green. Meaning, defendants such as Wallace -- and Spectronics Corp. vice president Vertis McManus -- are banking that their big-ticket lawyers, with their extensive connections and trial resources, will give them a better chance at skating.

May
MARTA tracks make comeback

Just in time for smog season, the tracks on the now-defunct MARTA rail system have been replaced with asphalt lanes for the region's seven Segway drivers, all of whom are white, near-sighted traffic engineers who work for the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority.

June
Teachers vs. education reformers

Both teacher unions hold a joint press conference on the steps of the Capitol to announce their support for any gubernatorial candidate other than Roy Barnes or state school Superintendent Linda Schrenko, in order to spare themselves further headaches from ham-fisted reform edicts.

July
Atlantans stunned to meet cable guy

When the notoriously customer-unfriendly AT&T Broadband merged its operations with Comcast in December 2001, it did a huge favor to all Atlanta TV viewers without a satellite dish. Atlanta residents who report a problem with their cable now are astonished to have an actual repairman show up to their door, rather than cable cops ready to bust them for stealing Cinemax.

Closing the Barnes door

Gov. Roy Barnes' campaign disclosure forms reveal a war chest of $13 million, a full $10 million more than his closest competitor. Barnes also unveils a new corporate sponsorship fund-raising strategy in which he sells the naming rights to his campaign -- it changes from "Barnes for Georgia" to "Friends of the Northern Arc Presents Barnes for Georgia."

In the Republican gubernatorial primaries, former state Sen. Sonny Perdue edges out a pair of loose-cannons with steamer trunks of political baggage -- state school Superintendent Linda Schrenko and Cobb County Commission Chairman Bill Byrne.

August
Actual cop count revealed

During the 2001 mayoral campaign, candidates routinely groused that no one seemed to know how many police officers are on the Atlanta force, with vacancy estimates ranging between 400 and 600 officers, and openly questioned how a vital city agency can't keep track of the people it employs.

After completing yet another audit, Mayor Franklin announces there actually are only 100 cops on the street. The other 1,500 are hanging out at Manuel's Tavern and Daddy D'z Bar-B-Q. Crime rates remain unchanged.

October
Atlanta No. 1 in U.S.

After being dissed in 2001 by Bicycling Magazine as one of the worst cities in America in which to ride a bike and generally derided by environmentalists as a breeding ground for sewer overflows and asthma attacks, Atlanta lands a "Best City" citation from the American Bar Association.

It takes oodles of unsavories to keep a city's lawyers in Armani suits, and this litigation wonderland certainly doesn't disappoint. While the Gold Club case sputtered to a close in the summer of 2001, the next gravy trains are up and running in 2002: the City Hall corruption scandal, Sidney Dorsey's murder trial, the Jamil Al-Amin trial.

Still no word about whether the Chamber of Commerce will include the distinction in it brochures.

First real clean air commute

After signing legislation designating the metro area as the first Segway Safe Zone in the country, Barnes takes his life into his hands to produce the ultimate photo op, riding a candy-apple red scooter around the entire Perimeter.

November
Survivor: Election Day edition

Because his flag-change sleight-of-hand turned out to be a savvy political move -- snaring votes from black Georgians and campaign money from the rich, white business community -- Barnes handily defeats former state Sen. Sonny Perdue to win a second term as king, er, governor.

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