Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Election night festivities and other news nuggets

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 6:44 PM

We almost made it through this important election day without a hiccup. Almost.

A good-ole-fashioned debacle occurred in southeast Atlanta, where Fulton County election officials say a database error affected approximately 300 registered voters' ballots for state House District 58 and 59. Officials said no other races were affected by the glitch and that they plan to regroup tomorrow to see what steps need to be taken. But expect folks to look very closely at this district.

Now! On to the important issue: Election results viewing parties.

* Untie Atlanta, the business community's multi-million dollar campaign to pass the sales tax, will await results at an invite-only gathering — which, if the invitation is correct, is already underway — at the Marriott Marquis.
* Traffic Truth, the grassroots group that staunchly opposed the measure, will gather at Christo's on Terrell Mill Road in Marietta.
* The Livable Communities Coalition's Fast Track Forward Campaign, which rallied transit advocates to support the measure, will party at RiRa Irish Pub in Midtown starting at 8 p.m.
* The Partnership for Southern Equity, which urged for, well, equity during the roundtable process, meets at the Lindbergh Center Taco Mac.

The list of candidate parties is long. If one of your favorites is hosting a shindig, let us know in the comments.

For you left-leaners who prefer more laid-back environments surrounded by political junkies, we highly recommend Manuel's.

We'll be livetweeting and, depending on Internet access, posting on Fresh Loaf throughout the night. Jim Galloway's drawn up a good checklist to keep in mind while you watch results coverage. Results from Fulton County precincts can be seen here. You might also consider testing the secretary of state's new "election night reporting tool," which you should be able to find here when polls close at 7 p.m. Here's a how-to about the new system (PDF) that the state provided to the media.

And if you haven't voted... well, you have about 15 minutes.

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Time and Place: Booted

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 5:08 PM

This week’s Time and Place was shot at 7:31 p.m., July 19, 2012 at 985 Monroe Drive. The photo shows a man arguing with a booter after his car was slapped with a wheel clamp in a Midtown parking lot.

It seems like this kind of scene — driver parks car, steps outside parking lot, booter appears, and paralyzes vehicle — is becoming more and more common in Atlanta. To me, parking in the city increasingly feels like an unregulated gamble in which the owner of the car has very little power. There's no due process in somebody running up to my car and putting a boot on it as soon as I turn my back and then demanding as much as $100 to have it removed. What can a person do if they think their car is unfairly booted?

I tried to called Jodaco, Inc. the company listed on a sign as the lot's owner and operator and contact for “resolution of any disputes,” to ask. The firm's phone number on the sign is obscured by a screw, rendering it virtually impossible to see what it says. (We've posted a photo of the sign after the jump.) I tried dialing a few phone numbers. One person told me I dialed the wrong number and another was answered by a generic message service. I left a voicemail but haven't received a response. I'll update this post if I do.

Continue reading »

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APD releases surveillance footage related to Grant Park homicide

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Atlanta Police have released store surveillance footage of three young men wanted for questioning in the July 26 shooting death of David McReynolds, 54, in Grant Park.

Residents in the area reported hearing at least one gun shot and saw three men running from the area. According to police, McReynolds was shot in the chest after he refused to give his attackers money.

Family members said they believed he was targeted.

Continue reading »

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Gather Atlanta super-sizes its 2012 event

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 1:14 PM


Gather Atlanta is growing.

A tripartite production between WonderRoot, MINT Gallery, and Burnaway, Gather Atlanta is expanding out of the day-long spot it’s occupied for the past three years. Now the event will cover not one day but three, from Thursday to Saturday, Aug. 2-4, and stretch from the High to the Hammonds House to Georgia Tech.

There will be discussions about public and private arts funding; about Atlanta’s geography and Atlanta as an urban space. There’ll be a film screening and a tour of a two-story house made entirely from paper. There will be networking.

Formed, according to its website, to “encourage, empower and facilitate partnership and collaboration amongst Atlanta’s disparate arts organizations,” it makes sense that Gather Atlanta’s growth is the result of more collaboration, not less, with added participation from the Plaza Theatre, Lucky Penny, and Atlanta Art Now.

CL spoke with Chris Appleton, Gather Atlanta organizer and WonderRoot executive director, and Atlanta Art Now’s Oronike Odeleye about what the changes mean for this year and the years to come.

With the expansion, the new panels and the new perspectives, was there anything you felt that Gather Atlanta was missing in years past, or was this just an opportunity to include more voices where there hadn’t been that chance before?

Chris Appleton: The answer is yes to both of those questions. We, after the last of couple of years, had heard from people that they wanted more educational opportunities, more symposia, and they wanted us to include organizations — they wanted to have a presence of organizations that weren’t just small and emerging organizations. This year, we’ve opened it wider, we’ve opened it up to organizations of any size and any age, which I think is great. It’s in the spirit of Gather Atlanta, I mean, Gather was founded to increase collaboration and partnerships between disparate arts organization. The more that we can get disparate arts organizations, regardless of size, in the room then the more successful we’ll be.

Oronike, what’s your involvement been like with Gather Atlanta?

Oronike Odeleye: They actually approached me this year to kind of help spread the word amongst the diverse arts organizations to see if we could get more participation across genre, size and ethnicity. And coming from Atlanta Art Now, it seemed like a really great partnership.

And as you spread the word, what’s the reception been like in the arts community — especially from organizations who maybe haven’t been a part of Gather Atlanta before?

OO: There’s a lot of curiosity. There’s people who have never heard of this event at all, and so they’re very curious about what it is — [i.e.,] What can I get out of it? I feel like unfortunately there’s a lot of hesitation in the Atlanta arts community amongst organizations as it comes to partnership, as it comes to funding. I feel like we have the mentality that there’s a small pot that we all have to compete for instead of thinking about it in larger terms. And so there has been a lot of questions, a lot of curiosity, a lot of people want to come out and see what this one is about, kind of want to participate a little bit and see if this is good for their organization. And I think that when they do come out and see the spirit in which all of this is done, they see how helpful it is, they see how many collaborations can come out of these meetings, then they’ll become fans for life.

Chris, do you feel like the importance of Gather Atlanta changes with the years?

CA: This year, it’s just very different. It’s been much more narrow in scope. The first three years there was only a single educational component, a single panel discussion the first three years. Over the last year, maybe two years, Atlanta — whether it’s funders, organizations, leadership, whatever that looks like, individual artists even — [is] celebrating collaboration. And so we want to get people to start to think about Gather Atlanta as an initiative that fosters and empowers people to think about all the different components of what that means.

Moving forward, do you see a future in which Gather Atlanta becomes a more permanent clearinghouse for the arts community?

CA: I think we’re still very open — I don’t think we know. One of the nice things about Gather Atlanta is that it’s been this project shared by Burnaway and MINT and WonderRoot and now it’s great to have Oronike from Atlanta Art involved. Because it’s not a sole project, that’s allowed us to have a broad imagination about what it could be and be pretty flexible. I think we’ll, as we have these last couple of years, continue to respond to how the arts community and the arts-interested public shares what they think, how they think, Gather Atlanta can best serve them.

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Olympics spokeswoman: 'No conscious decision' to omit Atlanta from opening ceremony montage

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 11:44 AM

  • Shimelle/Flickr
A spokeswoman for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games says the exclusion of Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Berlin from an opening ceremony montage wasn't an intentional snub.

The film, which aired before filmmaker Danny Boyle's lavish production on Friday night kicking off the 2012 games, included Olympic posters from previous host cities stretching back to 1896.

Writes Joanna Manning-Cooper, the LOC's head of public relations and media, in a Tuesday morning email to CL:

Danny Boyle chose a selection of posters from some, but not all, previous Olympic Games to appear in the film that opened the Ceremony. There was no conscious decision to omit any City, it was simply that not all posters could fit into the time available in the film.

View the video in question, courtesy of SB Nation, and judge for yourself if Atlanta and the other cities could have been squeaked into the montage.

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Go vote, metro Atlanta

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 8:58 AM

No excuses. Even if your local state representative or senator isn't fighting a primary challenger, you surely have an opinion on the regional transportation tax, that referendum being promoted on all those commercials and billboards.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Visit Secretary of State Brian Kemp's website to find your polling place and view a sample ballot. Don't forget to bring an approved form of photo identification. If you don't have a photo ID, request a provisional ballot and follow up with your county registrar’s office within three days. Be sure to thank the kind volunteers working the polling place. If you see a candidate breaking campaign rules and waving vote-for-me signs next to your voting machine, hit them over the head with a tube sock filled with nickels.

The biggest race is the T-SPLOST. If you're just learning about the tax proposal... well, welcome. The Atlanta Regional Commission's produced a website that includes all the road and transit projects in the 10-county metro area that would be funded by the tax. Here's CL's special package about the tax, including our endorsement. Hell, here's (almost) all our T-SPLOST stories from the past 1,437 years. The AJC's produced excellent work. So has WABE. There's also been some interesting debate on the Atlanta subreddit. Props to Curbed Atlanta, Atlanta Magazine, Decatur Metro, Peach Pundit, and many other media outlets. Read opposing views on the tax. Learn about the measure. Just remember to vote.

Here's CL's brief rundown on several local contests for state House and Senate seats, nonbinding ballot questions, and the Brookhaven cityhood vote. Details about other local races — and there are many — can be found in the AJC/League of Women Voters' handy candidate guide. We highly recommend you read up on the Georgia Public Service Commission, the powerful, often overlooked state agency that decides how much you pay to turn on your lights and heat up your home. Two sitting commissioners face primary opposition.

Tweet us photos of your cute little stickers, let us know in the comments how you voted, and send us a line or call the Fulton County Board of Elections at 404-612-7020 if you encountered any problems at the polls. You can also contact the secretary of state's office at 404-656-2871.

Happy voting!

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First slice 7/31/12: How will YOU vote? (Hey, don't forget to vote today.)

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Voting booths at Grady High school this morning
  • Joeff Davis
  • Voting booths at Grady High school this morning

1. Welp, the polls are open folks. Today's the day. To make your voice heard through the democratic process. ISN'T IT EMPOWERING? And maybe mentally and emotionally exhausting? If you're still ambivalent about the T-SPLOST, be sure to read our super swexy package that 'splains the whole thing. I mostly can't wait to see whether or not Brookhaven becomes a city. Nail biter.

2. A mentally disabled Smyrna teen who "fell through the cracks," according to DFCS, was starved to death by her mother. A really horrifying story.

3. You could soon have even more opportunity to cultivate a gambling problem in the name of education! Do your part, lose your hat! I'm trying to break into advertising.

4. Andy Copeland, father of flesh-eating bacteria survivor and amputee Aimee, told CNN of his daughter's rehab, "The regimen that she is under right now is incredible," explaining that she does 200 stomach crunches and 400 leg lifts, each in seven minutes, as well as an 'untold' number of pushups, for 90 minutes every day.

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5 things to do: POP!, YES and Procol Harum

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Jon Arge Firecracker cut paper 5.25 x 5.25 x 1 inches

1. POP! continues at Kai Lin Art Gallery

2. YES and Procol Harum at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

3. The Contortionist at the Masquerade

4. The Return of Triple D's Rock Night featuring Cy Barkley and Acid Freaks at 529

5. Diesel Filling Station's annual pig roast

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Mayor, governor team up for final T-SPLOST push

Posted By on Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Mayor Kasim Reed, one of the transportation taxs biggest advocates, joined Gov. Nathan Deal and dozens of lawmakers from both parties to urge a yes vote
  • Joeff Davis
  • Mayor Kasim Reed, one of the transportation tax's biggest advocates, joined Gov. Nathan Deal and dozens of lawmakers from both parties to urge a 'yes' vote
Less than 24 hours before metro Atlanta voters decide whether to tax themselves to pay for more than $8 billion in new roads and transit projects, Mayor Kasim Reed and Gov. Nathan Deal stood alongside dozens of local, state, and federal elected officials to once again urge voters to pass the T-SPLOST.

Surrounded by such dignitaries as Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, U.S. Reps. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, and Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, and other politicos, Reed thumbed his nose at recent polls showing the tax measure facing an uphill battle with voters.

"I don't know about you but I like politicians who are leaders," the mayor said. "Leaders don't read polls, they change polls... The people of Georgia tomorrow are going to make the decision to be in the future business. We're going to make the decision that treading water and just surviving is not enough. That's not who we are as a region and that's not who we are as Georgia. We didn't get to be the 10th largest state in the union and one of the fastest growing regions by being timid and playing scared."

Deal — who said that if people made all their judgments on polls, he wouldn't be standing in the Gold Dome today — noted that metro Atlantans mobility options would most likely not improve any time soon should voters reject the measure tomorrow.

"The traditional funding options have been unable to keep up with the growing need," he said. "Without this referendum, we simply don't have the resources to ensure that Georgia has an adequate transportation network in the years to come."

And waiting several years to restart the process of selecting projects wouldn't be wise, he said.

"I don't think the state of Georgia can afford the time to wait," Deal said. "The Charlottes and Houstons and other metro regions will be following this vote closely, if not closer, then us. That will be one more bullet in their belt to businesses who are thinking of expanding. 'Don't go to Atlanta. You won't get your employees to work in a timely fashion. You won't get raw materials in a timely fashion.'"

Members of the Transportation Leadership Coalition, a grassroots group fighting the tax, followed the well-attended pro-tax rally with its own, much-smaller press conference on the opposite side of the Gold Dome. Flanked by nearly 20 supporters, TLC Chairman Jack Staver blasted the tax as "another government stimulus program that won't help congestion" and "just another political scheme that leaves taxpayers holding the bag."

Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown, one of the most vocal anti-tax elected officials, used his time at the podium to critique Reed, the measure's biggest advocate and who, in the last few weeks, has become the face of the T-SPLOST. He chided the mayor, whom Brown said "is not the king of the 10-county region," for pushing to include the Atlanta Beltline on the project list rather than fighting for rail into South DeKalb County. He also said Reed wants Atlanta to become Portland, which must subsidize its rail system and still has congestion.

"He's not making bold decisions," said Brown said, who urged more investment in roads. "He's making bad decisions."

A Reed spokesman disagreed with those claims.

"The mayor specifically had $225 million allocated to DeKalb for a bus line," he said, adding that that DeKalb County is also receiving $700 million for a MARTA line between Lindbergh Center and Emory University. "And he feels confident that after this passes he can get the additional funding for rail. The CEO of DeKalb County is in favor of this. Many elected leaders in DeKalb County are in favor of this."

After the jump, more photos from today's dueling press conferences

Continue reading »

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'Safety Not Guaranteed' on theater marquee causes confusion amongst kinda dumb people

Posted By on Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Scene of the Aurora Shooting
OK, maybe it's a shitty coincidence that a film called Safety Not Guaranteed should be in theaters in the wake of a senseless act of violence that resulted in the deaths of a dozen people inside a movie theater. But, perhaps there's a point when local TV news stations are looking so hard for ANY excuse to continue to talk about the Aurora Massacre that they don't think or do research before attempting to report a ridiculously bogus story.

I got an email late last week from the owner of a vintage movie theater in Jacksonville, Fla. (it's called Sun-Ray Cinema — very much like our Plaza Theatre, but with beer and food). Apparently, after they put "Safety Not Guaranteed" on their marquee, a local news station came a'knockin' to talk about the "statement" he was trying to make. Here's what Sun-Ray owner Tim Massett wrote on Facebook:

Small crew was out front just now and they wanted to talk to me about my marquee. I said ... O.K.... why? Well you know the message that you have on it. What message? That we are playing 'Magic Mike' and 'Safety Not Guaranteed?' Oh .. you thought I was making some sort of comment regarding the shootings in Colorado? UM ... NOOO you Sicko. 'Safety Not Guaranteed' is the name of a new comedy we are opening today.

So goofy. I'd say, "Only in Florida," except I'm sure misunderstandings like these are happening lots of places right about now.

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