Right now, so-called "Dreamers" like Yovany Diaz must pay out-of-state tuition, according to the policy of the Georgia Board of Regents, which runs the state's public universities. It denies in-state tuition to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen or legal resident. And for that matter, bans the undocumented from Georgia's most selective public universities.
"Dreamers" are undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and have qualified for a temporary work permit and a pause in any deportation hearings as provided by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals federal policy.
"It's not benefiting Georgia" to hand large tuition invoices to longtime residents said Diaz, who was brought to the U.S. as a pre-teen.
Diaz and some two dozen other young people packed the courtroom of DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott on Thursday morning for the first day of court. But the judge put off opening arguments until he's decided the venue question.
Raymond Partolan, a junior scholarship student at Mercer University in Macon and a co-plaintiff, said there's a "discrepancy" between Regents policy and federal Department of Homeland Security policy.
The board considers Dreamers undocumented residents. Dreamers argue that those with the deferred action status announced by President Barack Obama in 2012 should earn them in-state tuition.
"I hope people are willing to have thoughtful and conscious discussion on this," said Partolan.
Starting Jan. 1, Armstrong will replace current Chairman Tad Leithead, who chose not to run for his third term. Armstrong has been a member of the ARC board since 2008 and, once his term begins, will be the commission's second consecutive citizen chairman.
"I think this election shows that the citizen member experiment was a success and that citizen members are uniquely qualified to represent the entire region," said Leithead, a former real estate developer and consultant who serves as chairman of the Cumberland Community Improvement District. "Kerry has tremendous experience in both the business and civic life of metro Atlanta. He is truly committed to collaboration and to the region, both of which will serve ARC well."
Armstrong's election came after an unexpected debate over procedure and questions over whether Leithead would even be allowed to cast a ballot. Following a lengthy debate over Roberts Rules of Order - Maria Saporta has a succinct rundown here - a prolonged election process began between the candidates: Douglas County Chairman Tom Worthan, Rockdale County Chairman Richard Oden, Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson, and Armstrong.
ARC bylaws state that in order for a candidate to win, he or she needs to garner at least 20 votes. Until that agreement is reached, the voting - in today's case, electronic voting by secret ballot - continues. After Worthan withdrew in the early rounds of voting, the votes were split between Oden, Johnson, and Armstrong. While the remaining candidates caucused in the stairwell, board members joked about ordering pizza because "it was going to be a while."
However, after acknowledging his dedication and the "110 percent" he always put into his work, Oden withdrew. Though he trailed Armstrong by only one vote, Johnson ultimately withdrew his candidacy, leaving Armstrong to be elected chairman.
What started out as a routine traffic stop for allegedly having illegally tinted windows, ended up with the Brookhaven police netting over 60 pounds of marijuana, more than $2,200 in cash, and a handgun. Is it an early Christmas miracle or a buzzer-beating Hanukkah gift for the Brookhaven Police Department?
Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused a massive fire to engulf Peachtree Bikes in Buckhead. Eyewitnesses reported explosions when the blaze was first spotted, but the exact cause has yet to be determined.
Fast food workers, union activists, and local politicians protested the low wages and working conditions for fast food workers in Atlanta this morning outside of a Krystal in southeast Atlanta. Today's protest is part of a wave of similar actions that have swept the nation over the past year as fast food workers call for the right to unionize, improved benefits, and a living wage of up to $15 per hour.
In a surprising move, a new report shows that at least 29 of America's largest corporations are charting their financial futures based on the notion that a carbon tax will become an inevitable part of doing business. The tax is one of many proposals to help combat the rising threats associated with global warming. ExxonMobil, Walmart, Chevron, and BP are all included in the group. In a less surprising development, Koch Industries is not included in the group and is accelerating its campaign against the concepts of a carbon tax, global warming, and the Earth being round.
Five main things correlate with economic immobility, said Harvard economics Professor Nathaniel Hendren, speaking at the quarterly meeting of the Atlanta Regional Housing Forum at St. Luke's Episcopal Church. They are: high racial segregation, high income inequality, low civic engagement, high numbers of broken families and poor school quality, according to the Equality of Opportunity Project's 2013 study on economic mobility in areas nationwide, which Hendren co-authored.
"On all five factors Atlanta falls below the national average," he said.
In Salt Lake City, kids from the lowest income bracket have an 11.5 percent chance of growing into the highest, according to an analysis of IRS data in the study. In metro Atlanta, that figure is four percent.
But if equality were perfect, every child born would have an equal chance - 20 percent - of growing into any one of the five income brackets that the study uses.
The "American narrative" since at least the Second World War is that people move up through hard work and that each generation can do better than the last, said Bill Bolling, founder and Executive Director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, who emceed the event.
But when "folks get stuck in place," that affects the work of people like him who are trying to fight poverty, he said.
It's not enough to boast of a new factory that employees a few hundred people, Bolling said, if folks don't have the education to fill the job or a means to get there.
What he called the "long view" that would include education and transportation infrastructure is "tough" for political leaders.
Hendren's study suggested that segregation correlates with sticky poverty, perhaps because the poorest people are isolated by long commutes from good jobs.
In Georgia public policy, "there's a disdain for poor people. Let's just say it," said Deborah Scott, executive director of Georgia Stand-Up, which aims to more broadly spread the gains from economic growth.
The forum came a day after a much grander affair, the Metro Atlanta Chamber's annual meeting, where Reed was among the speakers praising the city's business climate. Separately, a month ago, Gov. Nathan Deal touted Site Selection magazine's choice of Georgia as the number one place to do business.
Economic strength and personal immobility make a tale of two cities, maybe?
MAC Vice President of Economic Development Policy Chuck Meadows was also at the housing forum. He put it this way: "We are a good place to do business. We do well on the economic indicators as far as entrepreneurism and investment and job creation but I think the answer is in that social capital index."
That is, Hendren's measure of things such as church-going, PTA membership, and other ways of connecting with people outside family and work.
A sense of community, a sense of civic engagement, and community building "is where Atlanta's lagging," said Meadows.
1. Jarrod Harris at the Punchline
2. TWINS, Jerome, Jeff Zagers, and more at 529
3. Vodka & Latkes at Shout
4. Holiday Tree Lighting at Town Brookhaven
5. VIBIN featuring Big Cheeko, W.I.C., and more at the Music Room
Buckhead attorney Cynthia Briscoe Brown beat McDaniel, a financial executive, for the at-large seat 8 with 66 percent of the votes in their runoff election on Dec. 3.
Her run was "the natural next step" after years of volunteering in schools, Brown told WSB-TV last night as the final votes were counted.
Attorney and former public school teacher Jason Esteves bested Lori James for the other at-large seat with 71 percent of the votes. Counseling center director Steven Lee won west Atlanta's District 5 and teacher-turned-teacher trainer Eshe' Collins will represent District 6 in the southwest, both winning about 60 percent of the vote, according to the unofficial results from Fulton County.
The four join fellow freshmen Leslie Grant and Matt Westmoreland, who were both elected in November to the nine-member nonpartisan body.
Turnout failed to top five percent in many precincts. But the citizenship award goes to the 21 percent of voters who turned out in west Buckhead's 08F1 precinct, the most in the city.
One of the new board's first jobs will be finding a new boss to replace caretaker superintendent Erroll Davis.
Davis, you'll recall, stepped in amidst charges that teachers helped children cheat on high-stakes tests and that the then-superintendent let it happen. A racketeering trial for the nearly three dozen educators may start soon, for those who don't cop a plea.
Then there's the 51 percent graduation rate, a problem mentioned often during the campaigns.
And the electorate only disappointed Mayor Kasim Reed a little. Via Tweet, Hizzoner had asked voters to join him in supporting McDaniel, Esteves, Lee and Collins.
School board terms last four years.
NOTE: This post, which was originally written last night, has been altered to include updated election results.
Arthur Blank and Major League Soccer are still in talks about an Atlanta soccer franchise. "I am encouraged by the discussions," MLS commissioner Don Garbe told the AJC.
Someone wants Atlanta residents to help "Save the Ted" in a similar fashion to how people once tried to "Save the Fox." Sign up here to join the party.
Is Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Michelle Nunn a Democrat, Republican, or Pragmatist? She says she's a problem solver.
U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, yesterday took part in an hearing held by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary to discuss impeachment of President Barack Obama. "I'm often asked this," he said. "You got to go up there, and you just impeach him."
Bulloch County school officials say they didn't remove Christmas cards from an elementary school on religious grounds, despite reported claims. "They took down the cards so the kids can't see them," one parent told FOX News. "Some of the cards had the word 'Christmas' and some had Nativity scenes."
That's why it's especially nice that this weekend there are some top-notch performances and arts events that have absolutely nothing to do with Christmas. Let's ignore the holiday together, shall we?
1. Hellgoat, Mangled, and Vimur at 529
2. Health Is a Human Right: Race and Place in America continues at the David J. Sencer CDC Museum
3. Cheap Art, Dasher, Predator, and more at Star Bar
4. 2013 Year in Review Geek Trivia at Battle & Brew
5. Hawks, The Big Dirty, and more at the Earl
U.S. Attorney Sally Yates alleges that Davis, a convicted felon, was found last September in possession of a firearm twice over a two-day span.
"On both occasions, Davis displayed the loaded firearm, acted erratically, and made threats to individuals, including police and his attorney," prosecutors said in a statement.
Last month, a federal grand jury indicted the 33-year-old rapper. Prosecutors now say that Davis, who appeared today before Magistrate Judge Linda Walker, will remain in custody until his trial.
Davis has had multiple brushes with the law. In 2009 he served six months of a one-year sentence in Fulton County Jail for violating the terms of his probation, which stemmed from a 2005 incident where he hit a promoter with a pool cue. Earlier this year, the rapper was charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly struck a soldier over the head with a champagne bottle at an Atlanta nightclub.
Each charge of possessing a firearm while a felon carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
CL reached out to Davis' lawyers. If we hear back, we'll post an update.
I miss Stefan's Vintage Clothing!
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