Thursday, January 24, 2013

First Slice 1/24/13: City of Atlanta receives an 'F' in spending transparency

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 8:38 AM

1. Police collected more than 30 fliers urging people to join the Ku Klux Klan from the driveways of a Newton County neighborhood over MLK Day weekend. CBS Atlanta called the phone number on the flier, and a man claiming to be an Imperial Wizard with the KKK said the group had started a recruitment drive, dropping fliers from Florida to New York in an effort to counteract the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., whom he said was a communist. It's not clear why the group targeted that particular neighborhood.

2. Dozens of construction workers are crying foul after a Marietta staffing company, Everything Staffing, promised them a two-year gig with a construction firm in Missouri. Robert Harris and his wife Tamara spent the last bit of savings they had to make the trip out there, but after they arrived they said it became clear the company didn't want them. The couple ended up selling their wedding rings to fund their return trip to Georgia.

3. The City of Atlanta has landed an "F" grade in a study looking at spending transparency in America's 30 largest cities. According to the AJC:

The 57-page report follows a year in which lack of trust in government was cited for tanking a metro-wide transportation sales tax referendum - although it passed in Atlanta. A breakdown of trust also underpins voters' demands for tougher ethics rules at the state Capitol and residents' resistance to using public money to partially fund a new Atlanta Falcons stadium. Transparency also became an issue in a contentious round of airport concessions contract awards.

4. Nearly 700 people signed up for a gun safety seminar this evening in Marietta, eclipsing the average 100 people that usually register for the event. Marietta Police, which organizes the event, says it usually holds two or three such classes each year.

5. An Atlanta man has filed the first lawsuit against Georgia's Department of Driver Services over its decision to reject certain vanity license plates. Cyrus Gilbert, who is gay, submitted four variations of custom license plates highlighting his sexuality, but all were denied. Gilbert's attorney said he should be entitled to express his beliefs.

6. R&B singer Bobby Valentino was carjacked in Midtown Tuesday night, police say. An off-duty detective found his red 2013 Bentley abandoned a short time later at the Arts Center MARTA Station. Police made one arrest, but have yet to release more details.

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