City of Atlanta employees, including police officers and firefighters, will see a bump in salary next year, Mayor Kasim Reed said early Friday evening.
As part of the city's proposed spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year, $2.8 million would be allocated towards raises for more than 6,300 city workers. Classified staff would get a 3 percent raise and remaining employees who make less than $60,000, including police officers and firefighters, would receive a 1 percent salary bump.
Earlier this year, Reed proposed giving all city employees raises as a way to move Atlanta "out of a posture of near survival." Today, he said the budget would include enough cash to ensure public employees receive "fair and competitive compensation" for their work when most cities have difficulty balancing their budgets.
"For the past three years, my Administration has worked to restore the overall fiscal health of the city by cutting inefficiencies and increasing our reserves," Mayor Reed said in a statement. "The city's general fund employees - who have not had raises for more than six years - have worked hard to improve services in a number of important areas, such as public safety and public works."
In the statement, Professional Association of City Employees President Gina Pagnotta called today's meeting an "important next step" towards better compensation following organized protests by unionized city employees last week. Initially, the mayor's budget did not include raises for police officers or firefighters.
City Council, who voted to give themselves a 52 percent raise last year, has until July 1 to finalize Atlanta's FY2014 budget.
To save CL time from painstakingly documenting every comment people say, we've created 'Soundbites' to call attention to their remarks.
There's been little talk about street vending in this city since the mayor's office kicked downtown Atlanta street vendors to the curb in March.
But a one-day event this Saturday could put a funky twist on vending in Atlanta. From 2 p.m.-7 p.m. Sat., May 18 (that's tomorrow), a unique vendor experience called Thread Count is set to go down in front of Atlast Clothing Store (493C Flat Shoals Ave.) in East Atlanta Village. The market presented by Creative CompCards will feature clothing, jewelry, art and other wares for sell from local designers and lifestyle brands. It's hosted by the ever-crafty indie maven BOSCO, along with Arbitrary Living, Ashley Rhoden Designs, and Myeshea of the DGSC (that's Dirty Girl Social Club to you). DJs J Sol and Ira G will provide sounds, while Tex Mex Food Truck and King of Pops tend to hunger pangs. (Free PBR.)
In case you're wondering, the legal difference between downtown street vending and the Thread Count vendor market is that the latter will happen on private property unregulated by the city. Street vending is still illegal on public property, ever since the city lost a lawsuit over attempting to enforce a corporate vending takeover. If implemented, that takeover would've increased the annual $250 cost to vend on public property by 580 percent. (No typo.)
Of course, there are obvious socioeconomic differences, too. One carries with it the image of older, working-class self-starters plying their sidewalk hustle; the other represents the cultural cachet of a generation on the come-up. One has drawn civic criticism for being part of the problem around Underground Atlanta; the other is too underground to register on most city officials' lists of possible solutions. One traffics in candy bars, canned sodas, and Braves caps; while the other sells cool, locally crafted goods. And that's not a knock against downtown street vendors who've stayed in business for decades by adapting to the needs of their transient customer base of office workers and Five Points MARTA station riders.
But it might be cool if pop-up vendor markets like Saturday's Thread Count could begin to shape the conversation around ways to inject some freshness into Atlanta's organic street vending culture. Because every world-class city has one - whether its citizens (and tourists) dig it or fear it.
Maybe someone from the mayor's office will drop by and get hip.
Here's the full list of vendors participating in Saturday's market:
Queer "idea collective" John Q take over the Cyclorama this weekend for "The Campaign for Atlanta: An Essay On Queer Migration." We've got more details about the performance, which runs tonight and tomorrow at 6:30 pm.
Originally, Mayor Kasim Reed wanted a WiFi network to cover the entire city. But City Hall couldn't afford to create a 133-square mile network, so now plans are in the works to equip the two parks with free Internet access.
Interim Chief Information Officer Michael Dogan tells CL that many citizens, businesses, and visitors expect Internet access in a city this size. "For a city this size that's called itself the most connected city in the Southeast, we want to be the leaders of that," he says. "It's expected you'll be able to work, play, and enjoy whenever you are."
Piedmont Park's installation is expected to cost "several hundred thousand dollars" to build the necessary infrastructure. Plus, there would be additional maintenance costs once the WiFi up and running. While the city hasn't nailed down a final timeline and are "in the throes" of the project, he thinks some level of WiFi can be expected within the next six months. And yes, the WiFi will be free, in some capacity.
"It's still a conversation, but the charge is free WiFi," says Dogan. "Maintaining free WiFi is a cost that the city is trying to absorb. There are conversations about what sort of speed will a user get if there are charges associated with something greater than that. But at this particular juncture, we're making the entire thing free with what we have to offer."
Dogan says Atlanta will treat Piedmont Park as a pilot program and use it as a "learning experience." Once city officials fully equip the 189-acre Midtown green space, they'll shift their focus towards Grant Park. Both efforts follow Centennial Olympic Park, which was enabled with WiFi earlier this year when the Final Four descended upon Atlanta. He says the Georgia World Congress Center Authority included the feature as part of a recent expansion of the city's surveillance network.
Expanded Internet coverage could be on its ways to other parts of Atlanta. Besides Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Dogan says, WiFi access will eventually cover the city's "Centers of Hope" rec centers. Invest Atlanta has also floated the idea of bringing "gigabit Internet" to the Beltline.
What's more interesting is that the city is talking with Central Atlanta Progress, Midtown Alliance, and Buckhead Community Improvement District about bringing free WiFi to those business districts. There's nothing set in stone yet, he says, as it's "more of a coordinated effort that [Atlanta] needs to consider."
The former Fulton County Commission chairman, Georgia secretary of state, and gubernatorial candidate made her campaign official this morning, hours before the state's Republican convention kicked off today in Athens.
"Georgians want a conservative with the courage to take on the status quo, to fight for them and our constitutional ideals, to be accountable to them - and not Washington," Handel said in a statement.
Handel's name had been tossed around for months as a possible candidate, even long before Chambliss decided to call it quits in January. She's now the fourth official challenger vying for the Senate seat and will face off against U.S. Reps. Paul Broun of Athens, Phil Gingrey of Marietta, and Jack Kingston of Savannah, who have already entered the race.
As the AJC's Jim Galloway notes, Handel's campaign this week indicated that an official announcement wasn't imminent. But she likely decided it was time to enter the race with a 2014 Senate bid after former Dollar General CEO David Perdue decided he would explore a possible run and U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Alpharetta, bowed out of the contest.
Handel resigned from the Susan G. Komen Foundation in February 2012 after insisting that the nonprofit corporation pull its grant to Planned Parenthood. Last December, she went on the offensive and called the cancer fundraiser "a bunch of schoolyard thugs" that wrapped themselves in a pink "cloak of legitimacy."
In addition to her pro-life stance, her platform will also focus on small business and smaller government. "Businesses, especially our small businesses, need government to get off their backs and out of the way, so that they can do what they do best: innovate and create jobs," said Handel.
Meanwhile, Georgia Democrats anxiously await HandsOn Atlanta co-founder and Points of Light CEO Michelle Nunn's decision as to whether she'll take on her Republican foes.
- Monday night, some friends and I spotted Aaron Paul, in town filming Need For Speed, at Antico Pizza (I told you guys, that's where all of the celebrities go!) He was just hanging out, lost in thought waiting for a takeout order, which is when my friend accidentally snapped what turned out to be a Sad Keanu of a picture (I apologize to Aaron for posting this, but it really cracked me up). Eventually one of us went over to say hi, and identified our table as a bunch of fans. He graciously waved, thanked us, and blew a kiss. Swell guy!
- "Necessary Roughness" stars Scott Cohen and Callie Thorne were spotted eating at Wrecking Bar in L5P with Robb Morrow on Saturday night (Thanks Rachel!)
- Yahoo! News covered downtown Atlanta's transformation into 1980 New York City.
- Here's a pic of Paul Rudd being a cool dude on set.
- ... And one of Vince Vaughn, "sporting the leather look" on set.
- Check out another pic of the principle cast filming in Woodruff Park.
- Last one, and it's a bit surreal: "a werewolf-anchor filming stunts."
- Apparently the stars have already left, as production is moving to San Diego to start filming next week. [Waves sadly]
- Need for Speed, starring Aaron Paul, has been filming in Rome and Floyd County this week, including on Cave Spring Road and at Myrtle Hill Cemetery.
This Sunday, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Atlanta Streets Alive will shut down a 2.7 mile section of Peachtree Street for people to use for whatever they want - including but not limited to biking, skating, break dancing, rapping, and pushing cats in strollers. The only stipulation is that people can't operate anything other than human-powered forms of transportation. (Sorry, Segway enthusiasts.) The route runs from Ellis Street, past Ponce de Leon Avenue, and ends at Spring Street.
1. Former city manager Joe Reynolds has filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit against mayor Kasim Reed and Reed's ex-girlfriend after, he says, he was fired for exposing a possible conflict of interest. Before being let go, Reynolds pointed out that the person that formerly held his position with the city had left to work for a company contracted with that department.
2. The City of Atlanta is considering hooking up some ultra-fast 'gigabit Internet' to run the 22-mile loop of the Beltline. I'm no math magician, but that's, like, a kabillion times faster than the speeds you get from cable or DSL connections. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but its fast.
3. Parts of the small northwest Georgia town of Rome will be shut down over the next few days as Dreamworks films "Need For Speed."
4. A Washington Post travel writer ditches the apps and scours Atlanta for odd attractions using only printed guidebooks. The Cyclorama is more than wall paper, you can brace for the heat but not for the traffic, and "may your fridge be stocked with Coke for all eternity."
5. "Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker," a 24-year-old drifter who became Internet famous earlier this year after intervening during an attack in California, has been arrested for the murder of a 73-year-old lawyer in New Jersey.
6. A group of 'ordinary people' has started a fundraising campaign to raise the incredibly large sum of $660 million needed to purchase the Tribune Company, a media conglomerate that owns big name newspapers like the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and others. They hope to 'free the press' and keep the massive company out of the hands of billionaires Rupert Murdoch and/or the Koch brothers. "It's not so much. It's just $22 a piece if ... 30 million Americans step up to the plate." The group has raised more than $50,000 since launching yesterday.
1. The Book Club opens at Horizon Theatre
2. John Q presents The Campaign For Atlanta: An Essay On Queer Migration at the Cyclorama
3. The D.A.I.R. Project presents Shadows of Doubt
4. Wizard Smoke, Liverhearts, and Vincas at 529
5. Neil Asks Lecture at the Woodruff Arts Center
"Let the Wingnut Circular Firing Squad fun begin!"
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I miss Billy McKinney and his switchblade.
Shut up and go home to Plains already.
What an asshole!
thanks for letting us in on your meticulous record of how little you care