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The state of the State of the State

Governor taps the oldies to talk about Georgia's present and future

Gov. Nathan Deal says he plans to push state lawmakers over the next 40 days to give pay raises to some state workers, renew a controversial tax on hospitals, and reform education, along with investing in cybersecurity.

Per tradition, Georgia representatives and senators gathered on Wednesday to hear Deal's annual "State of the State" address to outline his policy agenda. Deal, who's halfway through his second and final term in the governor's office, also urged lawmakers not to make any major changes to healthcare policy — for example,  expanding Medicaid — because of potential changes from the incoming Donald Trump administration. Here's his full speech

Deal's speech was framed around Georgia songwriter Johnny Mercer's 1944 hit "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," which considering the upcoming presidential administration, is about as good as any advice we're gonna get. CL Photographer Joeff Davis was on hand to document the festivities. 

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Image Gov. Nathan Deal during his annual address to lawmakers.Joeff Davis



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  string(60) "A night of political parties, dashed hopes, and major change"
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  string(13459) "Well, this is it. After more than a year of vicious campaigning, exposes, and missteps, we have come to the end of the 2016 presidential campaign. Georgia polls close at 7 p.m. Other states will stop collecting ballots as the night progresses. The votes will be counted and eventually, the next president will be decided.

CL staffers and contributors will be covering what's happening in Atlanta and sending reports from the craziness. Sean Keenan will be hobnobbing with Democrats at the Hyatt Regency. I'll be at the Georgia Republican Party soiree in Buckhead because I enjoy awkward social situations. Joeff Davis will be roaming the city and sending photos from such spots as Manuel's Tavern, Mary's, and elsewhere. 

Check in often, or just refresh every once in a while, for updates. Please note we're dealing with very spotty Wi-Fi. And really spotty cell service. The tech gods are not smiling on us tonight. 

***********

Nov. 9

Here's a quick rundown on who won and lost and what ballot measures passed or failed. 

- Obviously, you heard about the presidential race.

- Atlantans overwhelmingly approved a 0.5-percent sales tax to fund MARTA expansion inside the city limits. A slightly smaller percentage approved a 0.4-percent sales tax to build bridges, streetscapes, and the Atlanta Beltline.

- Voters approved a controversial Constitutional amendment to give state lawmakers a say in an agency that investigates judge's misbehavior and a fee on strip clubs to help sex-trafficking victims. They also shot down Gov. Nathan Deal's push to allow the state to take over failing schools. 

- Say hello to the City of South Fulton.

Nov. 8

2:09 a.m. 

The Democrats have exited the building. And roughly 250 Republicans are still in Buckhead, booing John Podesta as they watch the Clinton advisor urge the Democratic nominee's supporters to "go home and get some sleep." We will continue monitoring the craziness that's continuing to unfold.

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12:35 a.m.

There are still a few precincts left to be counted, but it's safe to say that the MARTA sales tax referendum has passed. Officials say the 0.5-percent sales tax will raise at least $2.5 billion over 40 years to fund the expansion of the agency's rail and bus network inside the City of Atlanta. Here's a breakdown of the votes in Fulton, where the majority of Atlanta is located:

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And here's TSPLOST for the same part of Atlanta:

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12:08 a.m.

Porter hopped atop the stage once more to say, although the Democrats didn’t claim a Clinton win for Georgia, they’re still picking up state Senate and House seats. “When this election began not everyone believed that Georgia would be a toss up, but we did; you did,” he said to the few dozen people remaining in the nearly silent ballroom. “Our party is stronger. Our party is better. Our party will elect a Democratic governor in 2018. We have put Republicans on notice: We’re better than divisive politics, than the dark days of our past.”



CNN’s feed shows Trump leading by nearly 30 electoral votes, as Americans await “cliff-hangers” such as Michigan. Custodial staff of the Hyatt Regency have begun cleaning up around the few people remaining. — SK

11:42 p.m.

The crowd went silent when Wolf Blitzer called the national competition “a real nail-biter” as he pointed out that Trump had taken the electoral lead by seven points. Then, as the energy in the room drained, CNN anchors announced that Trump had taken Georgia. Less-than-enthusiastic boos could be faintly heard throughout the ballroom. — SK

Fox News — that's what we're tuned to at the GOP party in Buckhead — called Georgia a Trump win and the crowd erupted with chants of "USA, USA, USA" and "Trump! Trump! Trump!" People posed with an oversized sign declaring "Georgia is Trump Country" and elected officials, including state Sen. Rene Unterman, R-Buford, the architect behind the Constitutional amendment to fine strip clubs to raise money for sex-trafficking victims, applauded and hugged. — TW 

11:30 p.m.

Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman DuBose Porter took the stage for at least the second time of the evening — maybe third; it’s been a long night — to announce that a few Georgia Democrats, Tonya Anderson and Bill McGowan, had claimed some wins for the minority party. Anderson will take the District 43 state Senate seat from its incumbent, Janice Van Ness. McGowan will fill the state House of Representatives spot previously held by Mike Cheokas of District 183.



Porter also announced that Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District plan, which would have allowed the state to take over failing schools, had been shot down. “We’ve already got some wins on the board,” he said to the still-rowdy, yet dwindling ballroom population. “Let’s keep watchin’.”

11:20 p.m.

Outside of Manuel's Tavern:

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11:00 p.m.

CL's Joeff Davis stopped by Mary's in East Atlanta Village, where bartenders are serving red- or blue-colored shots depending on which way the vote appears to be heading.

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Meanwhile, back in Downtown's Hyatt Regency, Keenan writes:

The ballroom crowd raised a cheerful ruckus when CNN reported that Clinton had claimed the California vote, but they shuddered and booed when the screen showed Trump had taken Hawaii. Cheers erupted again seconds later when CNN flashed the electoral score showing the Democratic candidate ahead by 19 points.



10:45 p.m.

Standing in the hallway outside a private, upper-floor suite, MARTA Board Chairman Robbie Ashe told CL he thinks all three referenda to boost transportation infrastructure — Atlanta's and Fulton's separate TSPLOST and the MARTA referendum — will be OK'ed by voters. Soon after the interview, polling results showed Atlanta’s MARTA and TSPLOST referenda each won more than 65 percent of the vote, with almost 90 percent of precincts tallied. Fulton’s TSPLOST vote had claimed support from about 53 percent of voters at that time.



“The results so far are a sign of Atlanta’s desire for more transit and more transportation options,” Ashe said. “In Atlanta, these referenda results mean that we now have the resources in place to be able to reshape Atlanta’s transportation future.” — SK

10:15 p.m.

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Mayor Kasim Reed says he was “receiving too many texts from folks who were nervous” about Hillary Clinton’s numbers in Georgia. “I think it’s gonna be tight all night,” he says. When asked, he told reporters he has no intention of joining Clinton’s cabinet if she ekes out a win. “I’m going to be in Atlanta. There’s too much going on in Atlanta; I just want to finish the work that I have,” Reed says.

“The closeness of this election is going to change Georgia’s position in national politics. We are making a constant argument that Georgia was winnable for Clinton, and people didn’t believe," he says. "The election results tonight show that, with the right set of circumstances, we can win.”



He also thanked voters for pushing the TSPLOST and MARTA referenda toward success. He added that Clinton “believes in cities and infrastructure building. Georgia has substantial infrastructure needs that are more likely to be fulfilled under a Clinton presidency.” He said the centerpiece of “Don Trump’s” campaign is a multi-trillion dollar tax cut. — SK 



10 p.m.

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Jim Barksdale makes a quick sweep through the Hyatt Regency’s now-packed ballroom. He takes the stage to reiterate his congratulations of Johnny Isakson, the incumbent U.S. Senator who had claimed the win about a half hour prior.

Eaves told CL that he commends Barksdale for his bravery to run against Isakson. Barksdale said he found inspiration in the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “He found that it wasn’t so important that he realized his dreams,” he told the crowd. “What’s important is that he tried.”

Barksdale said he’s proud of all the Democrats who’ve been running for office and all his staff who’ve been hustling to “bring these dreams to fruition.” — SK

9:34 p.m.

The Associated Press have called the U.S. Senate race for Johnny Isakson, the Republican incumbent, against Democrat Jim Barksdale and Libertarian Allen Buckley. He's scheduled to speak with the press here in Buckhead at 9:45 p.m. — TW

9:17 p.m.

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9:06 p.m.

With roughly one-third of counties reporting, the Constitutional amendment to raise cash for sex-trafficking victims by taxing strip clubs has strong support. — TW

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8:47 p.m. 

After changing into Buckhead-appropriate clothes, braving traffic, and finding a spot on the crowded WiFi network, I’m now at the Grand Hyatt. The crowd is... let’s just say the Republican Party’s minority outreach effort is not immediately seen in this ballroom. Room to grow! 

Mixed among the crowd are U.S. Sen. David Perdue, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, all Republicans. We’ve yet to see Gov. Nathan Deal, House Speaker David Ralston, or Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. Congressman Barry Loudermilk is also talking with supporters. 

With each annonucement that Trump has gained even a little traction in contested states — especially Florida — you hear crowds from the crowd. And now Georgia Public Service Commissioner Lauren "Bubba" McDonald, the first statewide GOP official to endorse Trump, is taking the stage. — TW

7:45 p.m

Around 7 p.m. left-leaning Georgians began filing into a ballroom at Downtown's Hyatt Regency Hotel to sip cocktails and chomp charcuterie while awaiting the results of arguably the most embattled presidential election in modern times.

Hillary Clinton supporters, some in black ties, some in white tees, roared their praise when ABC anchors announced projected wins for the Democratic hopeful — and when a state was still "too close to call" — and growled boos when Republican candidate Donald Trump was suspected of claiming a state’s vote.

Some of Georgia’s Democratic leaders also milled around the ballroom, spouting endorsements for Clinton as well as other measures on the 2016 ballots. Fulton County Chairman John Eaves could be seen chatting up reporters, supporters, and the self-proclaimed leader of Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta, Sir Maejor Page, among others. He said the local measures on the ballot might be as impactful, if not more so, than the results of the commander in chief race. 

U.S. Senate candidate Jim Barksdale’s people worked the crowd, and he’s rumored to be swinging through for some quick handshakes, although they said he won’t have much time for interviews.

Nearly two dozen floors above the ballroom, MARTA advocates hosted a “Citizens for Better Transportation” party, where the transit agency’s CEO Keith Parker talked with backers of transit infrastructure expansion. 

Meanwhile, a flank of journalists tapped their feet awaiting Mayor Kasim Reed’s arrival. — SK

 

7:30 p.m.

The Opportunity School District, the Gov. Nathan Deal-backed Constitutional amendment that would allow the state to take over failing schools, is showing relatively little support at the moment. 

Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, speaking by telephone, says the OSD ballot question and 0.5-percent sales tax to expand MARTA were the biggest issues on the ballot.

“There’s a lot of serious discontent about OSD,” says Hall, who says he voted against it. “Our children are always number one and there’s a need for a revolution in our education system... It’d be better to reinvent education system from the inside out than to have people come from the outside and bear down on groups, but there is a need for internal revolution, and it needs to happen now.

He says if he could have voted for the MARTA sales tax and the TSPLOST, a 0.4-percent tax to fund streetscapes, bridges, and Atlanta Beltline construction, a "thousand times yes, I would've." He's cautiously optimistic that both will pass. — SK

7:14 p.m.

If you were thinking about heading to Manuel's Tavern to watch, prepare to join a large crowd. CL's Chad Radford is there and sends along evidence that the Poncey-Highland bar is a packed house."I've never seen so many people at Manuel's!" he says via text. — TW

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7:00 p.m.

Save for a few locations that experienced difficulties during the day, polls in Georgia are now closed. — TW

6:42 p.m.

Congressman John Lewis, D-Atlanta, speaking by phone, says he thinks the contest between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump is the most important item on the ballot. 

"This election will determine the future of America, maybe even the future of our planet," Lewis says. "My belief is that Hillary Clinton is better prepared to be president of the United States on day one than anyone I know in America today... I think the election of Hillary Clinton will move our country in the right direction, Trump would be a step backwards."

Lewis is facing Republican Douglas Bell in his own re-election effort. When asked about the race, Lewis says he feels "more than sure that the people of Georgia will reward me and send me back to congress." — SK"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(15951) "Well, this is it. After more than a year of vicious campaigning, exposes, and missteps, we have come to the end of the 2016 presidential campaign. Georgia polls close at 7 p.m. Other states will stop collecting ballots as the night progresses. The votes will be counted and eventually, the next president will be decided.

''CL'' staffers and contributors will be covering what's happening in Atlanta and sending reports from the craziness. Sean Keenan will be hobnobbing with Democrats at the Hyatt Regency. I'll be at the Georgia Republican Party soiree in Buckhead because I enjoy awkward social situations. Joeff Davis will be roaming the city and sending photos from such spots as Manuel's Tavern, Mary's, and elsewhere. 

Check in often, or just refresh every once in a while, for updates. Please note we're dealing with ''very'' spotty Wi-Fi. And ''really'' spotty cell service. The tech gods are not smiling on us tonight. 

***********

__===Nov. 9===__

Here's a quick rundown on who won and lost and what ballot measures passed or failed. 

- [http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/09/us/politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-president.html|Obviously, you heard about the presidential race].

- Atlantans overwhelmingly [http://news.wabe.org/post/sales-taxes-marta-and-beltline-expansion-pass|approved] a 0.5-percent sales tax to fund MARTA expansion inside the city limits. A slightly smaller percentage approved a 0.4-percent sales tax to build bridges, streetscapes, and the Atlanta Beltline.

- Voters [http://news.wabe.org/post/georgia-voters-approve-amendment-three|approved] a controversial Constitutional amendment to give state lawmakers a say in an agency that investigates judge's misbehavior and a fee on strip clubs to help sex-trafficking victims. They also [http://news.wabe.org/post/georgia-voters-reject-gov-deals-school-takeover-plan|shot down] Gov. Nathan Deal's push to allow the state to take over failing schools. 

- [http://www.11alive.com/news/politics/elections/fulton-county-approves-t-splost-creation-of-new-city/350263220|Say hello to the City of South Fulton].

__===Nov. 8===__

__2:09 a.m.__ 

The Democrats have exited the building. And roughly 250 Republicans are still in Buckhead, booing John Podesta as they watch the Clinton advisor urge the Democratic nominee's supporters to "go home and get some sleep." We will continue monitoring the craziness that's continuing to unfold.

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__12:35 a.m.__

There are still a few precincts left to be counted, but it's safe to say that the MARTA sales tax referendum has passed. Officials say the 0.5-percent sales tax will raise at least $2.5 billion over 40 years to fund the expansion of the agency's rail and bus network inside the City of Atlanta. Here's a breakdown of the votes in Fulton, where the majority of Atlanta is located:

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5822b78157ab4631758563d8" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%____

And here's TSPLOST for the same part of Atlanta:

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5822b78239ab463f1485639c" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%____

__12:08 a.m.__

Porter hopped atop the stage once more to say, although the Democrats didn’t claim a Clinton win for Georgia, they’re still picking up state Senate and House seats. “When this election began not everyone believed that Georgia would be a toss up, but we did; you did,” he said to the few dozen people remaining in the nearly silent ballroom. “Our party is stronger. Our party is better. Our party will elect a Democratic governor in 2018. We have put Republicans on notice: We’re better than divisive politics, than the dark days of our past.”



CNN’s feed shows Trump leading by nearly 30 electoral votes, as Americans await “cliff-hangers” such as Michigan. Custodial staff of the Hyatt Regency have begun cleaning up around the few people remaining. — SK

__11:42 p.m.__

The crowd went silent when Wolf Blitzer called the national competition “a real nail-biter” as he pointed out that Trump had taken the electoral lead by seven points. Then, as the energy in the room drained, CNN anchors announced that Trump had taken Georgia. Less-than-enthusiastic boos could be faintly heard throughout the ballroom. — SK

Fox News — that's what we're tuned to at the GOP party in Buckhead — called Georgia a Trump win and the crowd erupted with chants of "USA, USA, USA" and "Trump! Trump! Trump!" People posed with an oversized sign declaring "Georgia is Trump Country" and elected officials, including state Sen. Rene Unterman, R-Buford, the architect behind the Constitutional amendment to fine strip clubs to raise money for sex-trafficking victims, applauded and hugged. — TW 

__11:30 p.m.__

Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman DuBose Porter took the stage for at least the second time of the evening — maybe third; it’s been a long night — to announce that a few Georgia Democrats, Tonya Anderson and Bill McGowan, had claimed some wins for the minority party. Anderson will take the District 43 state Senate seat from its incumbent, Janice Van Ness. McGowan will fill the state House of Representatives spot previously held by Mike Cheokas of District 183.



Porter also announced that Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District plan, which would have allowed the state to take over failing schools, had been shot down. “We’ve already got some wins on the board,” he said to the still-rowdy, yet dwindling ballroom population. “Let’s keep watchin’.”

__11:20 p.m.__

Outside of Manuel's Tavern:

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5822a53839ab462a5d85639b" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%

__11:00 p.m.__

''CL'''s Joeff Davis stopped by Mary's in East Atlanta Village, where bartenders are serving red- or blue-colored shots depending on which way the vote appears to be heading.

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5822a3ed39ab46f44e5dc4c5" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%

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__Meanwhile, back in Downtown's Hyatt Regency, Keenan writes:__

The ballroom crowd raised a cheerful ruckus when CNN reported that Clinton had claimed the California vote, but they shuddered and booed when the screen showed Trump had taken Hawaii. Cheers erupted again seconds later when CNN flashed the electoral score showing the Democratic candidate ahead by 19 points.

____

__10:45 p.m.__

Standing in the hallway outside a private, upper-floor suite, MARTA Board Chairman Robbie Ashe told ''CL'' he thinks all three referenda to boost transportation infrastructure — Atlanta's and Fulton's separate TSPLOST and the MARTA referendum — will be OK'ed by voters. Soon after the interview, polling results showed Atlanta’s MARTA and TSPLOST referenda each won more than 65 percent of the vote, with almost 90 percent of precincts tallied. Fulton’s TSPLOST vote had claimed support from about 53 percent of voters at that time.



“The results so far are a sign of Atlanta’s desire for more transit and more transportation options,” Ashe said. “In Atlanta, these referenda results mean that we now have the resources in place to be able to reshape Atlanta’s transportation future.” — SK

__10:15 p.m.__

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5822a2666cdeeaef3a10f9e0" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%

Mayor Kasim Reed says he was “receiving too many texts from folks who were nervous” about Hillary Clinton’s numbers in Georgia. “I think it’s gonna be tight all night,” he says. When asked, he told reporters he has no intention of joining Clinton’s cabinet if she ekes out a win. “I’m going to be in Atlanta. There’s too much going on in Atlanta; I just want to finish the work that I have,” Reed says.

“The closeness of this election is going to change Georgia’s position in national politics. We are making a constant argument that Georgia was winnable [for Clinton], and people didn’t believe," he says. "The election results tonight show that, with the right set of circumstances, we can win.”



He also thanked voters for pushing the TSPLOST and MARTA referenda toward success. He added that Clinton “believes in cities and infrastructure building. Georgia has substantial infrastructure needs that are more likely to be fulfilled under a Clinton presidency.” He said the centerpiece of “Don Trump’s” campaign is a multi-trillion dollar tax cut. — SK 

____

__10 p.m.__

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5822a26638ab463d2f10f9d1" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%

Jim Barksdale makes a quick sweep through the Hyatt Regency’s now-packed ballroom. He takes the stage to reiterate his congratulations of Johnny Isakson, the incumbent U.S. Senator who had claimed the win about a half hour prior.

Eaves told ''CL'' that he commends Barksdale for his bravery to run against Isakson. Barksdale said he found inspiration in the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “He found that it wasn’t so important that he realized his dreams,” he told the crowd. “What’s important is that he tried.”

Barksdale said he’s proud of all the Democrats who’ve been running for office and all his staff who’ve been hustling to “bring these dreams to fruition.” — SK

__9:34 p.m.__

The Associated Press have called the U.S. Senate race for Johnny Isakson, the Republican incumbent, against Democrat Jim Barksdale and Libertarian Allen Buckley. He's scheduled to speak with the press here in Buckhead at 9:45 p.m. — TW

__9:17 p.m.__

%{[ data-embed-type="oembed" data-embed-id="https://twitter.com/yfreemark/status/796174067283951617" data-embed-element="aside" ]}%
__9:06 p.m.__

With roughly one-third of counties reporting, the Constitutional amendment to raise cash for sex-trafficking victims by taxing strip clubs has strong support. — TW

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="582284d138ab46c0075dc4d8" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%

__8:47 p.m. __

After changing into Buckhead-appropriate clothes, braving traffic, and finding a spot on the crowded WiFi network, I’m now at the Grand Hyatt. The crowd is... let’s just say the Republican Party’s minority outreach effort is not immediately seen in this ballroom. Room to grow! 

Mixed among the crowd are U.S. Sen. David Perdue, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, all Republicans. We’ve yet to see Gov. Nathan Deal, House Speaker David Ralston, or Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. Congressman Barry Loudermilk is also talking with supporters. 

With each annonucement that Trump has gained even a little traction in contested states — especially Florida — you hear crowds from the crowd. And now Georgia Public Service Commissioner Lauren "Bubba" McDonald, the first statewide GOP official to endorse Trump, is taking the stage. — TW

__7:45 p.m__

Around 7 p.m. left-leaning Georgians began filing into a ballroom at Downtown's Hyatt Regency Hotel to sip cocktails and chomp charcuterie while awaiting the results of arguably the most embattled presidential election in modern times.

Hillary Clinton supporters, some in black ties, some in white tees, roared their praise when ABC anchors announced projected wins for the Democratic hopeful — and when a state was still "too close to call" — and growled boos when Republican candidate Donald Trump was suspected of claiming a state’s vote.

Some of Georgia’s Democratic leaders also milled around the ballroom, spouting endorsements for Clinton as well as other measures on the 2016 ballots. Fulton County Chairman John Eaves could be seen chatting up reporters, supporters, and the self-proclaimed leader of Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta, Sir Maejor Page, among others. He said the local measures on the ballot might be as impactful, if not more so, than the results of the commander in chief race. 

U.S. Senate candidate Jim Barksdale’s people worked the crowd, and he’s rumored to be swinging through for some quick handshakes, although they said he won’t have much time for interviews.

Nearly two dozen floors above the ballroom, MARTA advocates hosted a “Citizens for Better Transportation” party, where the transit agency’s CEO Keith Parker talked with backers of transit infrastructure expansion. 

Meanwhile, a flank of journalists tapped their feet awaiting Mayor Kasim Reed’s arrival. — SK

 

__7:30 p.m.__

The Opportunity School District, the Gov. Nathan Deal-backed Constitutional amendment that would allow the state to take over failing schools, is showing relatively little support at the moment. 

Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, speaking by telephone, says the OSD ballot question and 0.5-percent sales tax to expand MARTA were the biggest issues on the ballot.

“There’s a lot of serious discontent about OSD,” says Hall, who says he voted against it. “Our children are always number one and there’s a need for a revolution in our education system... It’d be better to reinvent [education system] from the inside out than to have people come from the outside and bear down on groups, but there is a need for internal revolution, and it needs to happen now.

He says if he could have voted for the MARTA sales tax and the TSPLOST, a 0.4-percent tax to fund streetscapes, bridges, and Atlanta Beltline construction, a "thousand times yes, I would've." He's cautiously optimistic that both will pass. — SK

__7:14 p.m.__

If you were thinking about heading to Manuel's Tavern to watch, prepare to join a large crowd. CL's Chad Radford is there and sends along evidence that the Poncey-Highland bar is a packed house."I've never seen so many people at Manuel's!" he says via text. — TW

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58226b4335ab46ef22f8c46d" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58226b436cdeea320af8c426" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%

__7:00 p.m.__

Save for a few locations that experienced difficulties during the day, polls in Georgia are now closed. — TW

__6:42 p.m.__

Congressman John Lewis, D-Atlanta, speaking by phone, says he thinks the contest between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump is the most important item on the ballot. 

"This election will determine the future of America, maybe even the future of our planet," Lewis says. "My belief is that Hillary Clinton is better prepared to be president of the United States [on] day one than anyone I know in America today... I think the election of Hillary Clinton will move our country in the right direction, [Trump] would be a step backwards."

Lewis is facing Republican Douglas Bell in his own re-election effort. When asked about the race, Lewis says he feels "more than sure that the people of Georgia will reward me and send me back to congress." — SK"
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  string(13809) "    A night of political parties, dashed hopes, and major change   2016-11-09T04:52:00+00:00 CL's 2016 Election Night coverage   Thomas Wheatley|Joeff Davis|Sean Keenan  2016-11-09T04:52:00+00:00  Well, this is it. After more than a year of vicious campaigning, exposes, and missteps, we have come to the end of the 2016 presidential campaign. Georgia polls close at 7 p.m. Other states will stop collecting ballots as the night progresses. The votes will be counted and eventually, the next president will be decided.

CL staffers and contributors will be covering what's happening in Atlanta and sending reports from the craziness. Sean Keenan will be hobnobbing with Democrats at the Hyatt Regency. I'll be at the Georgia Republican Party soiree in Buckhead because I enjoy awkward social situations. Joeff Davis will be roaming the city and sending photos from such spots as Manuel's Tavern, Mary's, and elsewhere. 

Check in often, or just refresh every once in a while, for updates. Please note we're dealing with very spotty Wi-Fi. And really spotty cell service. The tech gods are not smiling on us tonight. 

***********

Nov. 9

Here's a quick rundown on who won and lost and what ballot measures passed or failed. 

- Obviously, you heard about the presidential race.

- Atlantans overwhelmingly approved a 0.5-percent sales tax to fund MARTA expansion inside the city limits. A slightly smaller percentage approved a 0.4-percent sales tax to build bridges, streetscapes, and the Atlanta Beltline.

- Voters approved a controversial Constitutional amendment to give state lawmakers a say in an agency that investigates judge's misbehavior and a fee on strip clubs to help sex-trafficking victims. They also shot down Gov. Nathan Deal's push to allow the state to take over failing schools. 

- Say hello to the City of South Fulton.

Nov. 8

2:09 a.m. 

The Democrats have exited the building. And roughly 250 Republicans are still in Buckhead, booing John Podesta as they watch the Clinton advisor urge the Democratic nominee's supporters to "go home and get some sleep." We will continue monitoring the craziness that's continuing to unfold.

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12:35 a.m.

There are still a few precincts left to be counted, but it's safe to say that the MARTA sales tax referendum has passed. Officials say the 0.5-percent sales tax will raise at least $2.5 billion over 40 years to fund the expansion of the agency's rail and bus network inside the City of Atlanta. Here's a breakdown of the votes in Fulton, where the majority of Atlanta is located:

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And here's TSPLOST for the same part of Atlanta:

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12:08 a.m.

Porter hopped atop the stage once more to say, although the Democrats didn’t claim a Clinton win for Georgia, they’re still picking up state Senate and House seats. “When this election began not everyone believed that Georgia would be a toss up, but we did; you did,” he said to the few dozen people remaining in the nearly silent ballroom. “Our party is stronger. Our party is better. Our party will elect a Democratic governor in 2018. We have put Republicans on notice: We’re better than divisive politics, than the dark days of our past.”



CNN’s feed shows Trump leading by nearly 30 electoral votes, as Americans await “cliff-hangers” such as Michigan. Custodial staff of the Hyatt Regency have begun cleaning up around the few people remaining. — SK

11:42 p.m.

The crowd went silent when Wolf Blitzer called the national competition “a real nail-biter” as he pointed out that Trump had taken the electoral lead by seven points. Then, as the energy in the room drained, CNN anchors announced that Trump had taken Georgia. Less-than-enthusiastic boos could be faintly heard throughout the ballroom. — SK

Fox News — that's what we're tuned to at the GOP party in Buckhead — called Georgia a Trump win and the crowd erupted with chants of "USA, USA, USA" and "Trump! Trump! Trump!" People posed with an oversized sign declaring "Georgia is Trump Country" and elected officials, including state Sen. Rene Unterman, R-Buford, the architect behind the Constitutional amendment to fine strip clubs to raise money for sex-trafficking victims, applauded and hugged. — TW 

11:30 p.m.

Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman DuBose Porter took the stage for at least the second time of the evening — maybe third; it’s been a long night — to announce that a few Georgia Democrats, Tonya Anderson and Bill McGowan, had claimed some wins for the minority party. Anderson will take the District 43 state Senate seat from its incumbent, Janice Van Ness. McGowan will fill the state House of Representatives spot previously held by Mike Cheokas of District 183.



Porter also announced that Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District plan, which would have allowed the state to take over failing schools, had been shot down. “We’ve already got some wins on the board,” he said to the still-rowdy, yet dwindling ballroom population. “Let’s keep watchin’.”

11:20 p.m.

Outside of Manuel's Tavern:

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11:00 p.m.

CL's Joeff Davis stopped by Mary's in East Atlanta Village, where bartenders are serving red- or blue-colored shots depending on which way the vote appears to be heading.

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Meanwhile, back in Downtown's Hyatt Regency, Keenan writes:

The ballroom crowd raised a cheerful ruckus when CNN reported that Clinton had claimed the California vote, but they shuddered and booed when the screen showed Trump had taken Hawaii. Cheers erupted again seconds later when CNN flashed the electoral score showing the Democratic candidate ahead by 19 points.



10:45 p.m.

Standing in the hallway outside a private, upper-floor suite, MARTA Board Chairman Robbie Ashe told CL he thinks all three referenda to boost transportation infrastructure — Atlanta's and Fulton's separate TSPLOST and the MARTA referendum — will be OK'ed by voters. Soon after the interview, polling results showed Atlanta’s MARTA and TSPLOST referenda each won more than 65 percent of the vote, with almost 90 percent of precincts tallied. Fulton’s TSPLOST vote had claimed support from about 53 percent of voters at that time.



“The results so far are a sign of Atlanta’s desire for more transit and more transportation options,” Ashe said. “In Atlanta, these referenda results mean that we now have the resources in place to be able to reshape Atlanta’s transportation future.” — SK

10:15 p.m.

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Mayor Kasim Reed says he was “receiving too many texts from folks who were nervous” about Hillary Clinton’s numbers in Georgia. “I think it’s gonna be tight all night,” he says. When asked, he told reporters he has no intention of joining Clinton’s cabinet if she ekes out a win. “I’m going to be in Atlanta. There’s too much going on in Atlanta; I just want to finish the work that I have,” Reed says.

“The closeness of this election is going to change Georgia’s position in national politics. We are making a constant argument that Georgia was winnable for Clinton, and people didn’t believe," he says. "The election results tonight show that, with the right set of circumstances, we can win.”



He also thanked voters for pushing the TSPLOST and MARTA referenda toward success. He added that Clinton “believes in cities and infrastructure building. Georgia has substantial infrastructure needs that are more likely to be fulfilled under a Clinton presidency.” He said the centerpiece of “Don Trump’s” campaign is a multi-trillion dollar tax cut. — SK 



10 p.m.

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Jim Barksdale makes a quick sweep through the Hyatt Regency’s now-packed ballroom. He takes the stage to reiterate his congratulations of Johnny Isakson, the incumbent U.S. Senator who had claimed the win about a half hour prior.

Eaves told CL that he commends Barksdale for his bravery to run against Isakson. Barksdale said he found inspiration in the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “He found that it wasn’t so important that he realized his dreams,” he told the crowd. “What’s important is that he tried.”

Barksdale said he’s proud of all the Democrats who’ve been running for office and all his staff who’ve been hustling to “bring these dreams to fruition.” — SK

9:34 p.m.

The Associated Press have called the U.S. Senate race for Johnny Isakson, the Republican incumbent, against Democrat Jim Barksdale and Libertarian Allen Buckley. He's scheduled to speak with the press here in Buckhead at 9:45 p.m. — TW

9:17 p.m.

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9:06 p.m.

With roughly one-third of counties reporting, the Constitutional amendment to raise cash for sex-trafficking victims by taxing strip clubs has strong support. — TW

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8:47 p.m. 

After changing into Buckhead-appropriate clothes, braving traffic, and finding a spot on the crowded WiFi network, I’m now at the Grand Hyatt. The crowd is... let’s just say the Republican Party’s minority outreach effort is not immediately seen in this ballroom. Room to grow! 

Mixed among the crowd are U.S. Sen. David Perdue, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, all Republicans. We’ve yet to see Gov. Nathan Deal, House Speaker David Ralston, or Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. Congressman Barry Loudermilk is also talking with supporters. 

With each annonucement that Trump has gained even a little traction in contested states — especially Florida — you hear crowds from the crowd. And now Georgia Public Service Commissioner Lauren "Bubba" McDonald, the first statewide GOP official to endorse Trump, is taking the stage. — TW

7:45 p.m

Around 7 p.m. left-leaning Georgians began filing into a ballroom at Downtown's Hyatt Regency Hotel to sip cocktails and chomp charcuterie while awaiting the results of arguably the most embattled presidential election in modern times.

Hillary Clinton supporters, some in black ties, some in white tees, roared their praise when ABC anchors announced projected wins for the Democratic hopeful — and when a state was still "too close to call" — and growled boos when Republican candidate Donald Trump was suspected of claiming a state’s vote.

Some of Georgia’s Democratic leaders also milled around the ballroom, spouting endorsements for Clinton as well as other measures on the 2016 ballots. Fulton County Chairman John Eaves could be seen chatting up reporters, supporters, and the self-proclaimed leader of Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta, Sir Maejor Page, among others. He said the local measures on the ballot might be as impactful, if not more so, than the results of the commander in chief race. 

U.S. Senate candidate Jim Barksdale’s people worked the crowd, and he’s rumored to be swinging through for some quick handshakes, although they said he won’t have much time for interviews.

Nearly two dozen floors above the ballroom, MARTA advocates hosted a “Citizens for Better Transportation” party, where the transit agency’s CEO Keith Parker talked with backers of transit infrastructure expansion. 

Meanwhile, a flank of journalists tapped their feet awaiting Mayor Kasim Reed’s arrival. — SK

 

7:30 p.m.

The Opportunity School District, the Gov. Nathan Deal-backed Constitutional amendment that would allow the state to take over failing schools, is showing relatively little support at the moment. 

Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, speaking by telephone, says the OSD ballot question and 0.5-percent sales tax to expand MARTA were the biggest issues on the ballot.

“There’s a lot of serious discontent about OSD,” says Hall, who says he voted against it. “Our children are always number one and there’s a need for a revolution in our education system... It’d be better to reinvent education system from the inside out than to have people come from the outside and bear down on groups, but there is a need for internal revolution, and it needs to happen now.

He says if he could have voted for the MARTA sales tax and the TSPLOST, a 0.4-percent tax to fund streetscapes, bridges, and Atlanta Beltline construction, a "thousand times yes, I would've." He's cautiously optimistic that both will pass. — SK

7:14 p.m.

If you were thinking about heading to Manuel's Tavern to watch, prepare to join a large crowd. CL's Chad Radford is there and sends along evidence that the Poncey-Highland bar is a packed house."I've never seen so many people at Manuel's!" he says via text. — TW

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7:00 p.m.

Save for a few locations that experienced difficulties during the day, polls in Georgia are now closed. — TW

6:42 p.m.

Congressman John Lewis, D-Atlanta, speaking by phone, says he thinks the contest between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump is the most important item on the ballot. 

"This election will determine the future of America, maybe even the future of our planet," Lewis says. "My belief is that Hillary Clinton is better prepared to be president of the United States on day one than anyone I know in America today... I think the election of Hillary Clinton will move our country in the right direction, Trump would be a step backwards."

Lewis is facing Republican Douglas Bell in his own re-election effort. When asked about the race, Lewis says he feels "more than sure that the people of Georgia will reward me and send me back to congress." — SK             20841375         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/11/DSC_0454.5822d32eb49e5.png                  CL's 2016 Election Night coverage "
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Article

Tuesday November 8, 2016 11:52 pm EST
A night of political parties, dashed hopes, and major change | more...
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  ["title"]=>
  string(63) "City Council votes to start talks to buy Peachtree-Pine shelter"
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  string(81) "Protesters pack chamber in one of Council's most heated meetings in recent memory"
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Over loud objections from supporters and activists, the Atlanta City Council signaled its growing interest in taking over the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless' controversial homeless shelter at the corner of Peachtree and Pine streets .

By a 13-1 vote, councilmembers approved a resolution that authorized the city to negotiate with owners for properties at three addresses including the shelter. If talks fail, the City Council can move ahead with condemnation. 

Supporters of the Peachtree-Pine shelter feared the original draft resolution meant condemnation — a forced sale to the city. But the legislation does start the legal process for the city to take ownership of the facility that offers resources to hundreds of people but has also been beset with criticisms about its management and model.

Mayor Kasim Reed says he wants to use the property, which is surrounded by several vacant parcels and down the street from a proposed $300 million mixed-use redevelopment of the Atlanta Civic Center, as a headquarters for firefighters and the city SWAT team. 

Activists and task force supporters, including some people who had stayed there, packed Council chambers to ask what is supposed to happen to the 500 or so people who stay at the massive shelter every night. 

Marshall Rancifer, a longtime advocate for the homeless, told council, "I don't understand why you're trying to rush to close down the Task Force when you don't have a viable plan in place to house these folks. Where are you going to put the poor folks that have been refused entrance into any other shelter in the city because of their mental health issues, their addiction issues? Where are those folks supposed to go?"

The shelter has had plenty of critics. Reed is probably only the most prominent one. He has long talked about closing Peachtree-Pine and opening smaller shelters that link residents to services, like help finding jobs. He's said the shelter now is not changing peoples' lives for the better. He's accused it of being a hub for tuberculosis activity, of damaging the city, and the quality of life of people who live in that part of the city.

The shelter is also scheduled for a long-awaited day in court this month: it accuses several organizations of conspiring to drive away donors. 

No value assigned

But faced with sometimes rowdy Peachtree-Pine supporters, council took up a piece of legislation that the city's lawyers said did not authorize condemnation, only to start talks over purchasing the property. 

In one of the more heated meetings in Council chambers in the last 10 years, activists called for Reed to appear and questioned where Councilman Kwanza Hall, who signed on to the resolution, had gone during public comment. (Hall was discovered by one protester getting a bag of popcorn from the City Hall cafe. He apologized.)

Hall defended the legislation. The bill "does not allow anything to happen except for a negotiation. We do this on a regular basis," Hall said. Hall, who is expected to run for mayor in 2017, said he thinks there are better ways to address homelessness and the bill is just one more thing that needs to be put on the table. Speaking after the meeting, he said the city should explore other ways to reduce homelessness, such as employing people to fix blighted houses and potentially live in them.

Toward the beginning of the hearing, Councilwoman Felicia Moore said she had yet to see either a plan for the people who are now in Peachtree-Pine, nor any study on the feasibility of a public safety facility on the site. She said she wouldn't be supportive of the legislation because she believed in having the information at the beginning of the process, not the end.

Anita Beaty, the executive director of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, which runs the Downtown shelter, used her few minutes of testimony before council not to plead for the shelter itself, but to accuse Atlanta of driving people to homelessness in the first place.

No value assigned

"The policy of the city right now is gentrification," she said. "There is no proactive affordable housing policy to develop housing that targets ... people who work at minimum wage. We have to target the workers who are serving you, serving all of us. Wherever we go, we are being served by people who make slave wages in this city and they are hanging on by their teeth," said Beatty.

Critics of the bill brought heat for more than an hour. They accused Atlanta of being being too busy to care and of rushing to close a shelter in a city that doesn't have enough shelters just as the weather's getting cold. Tiffany Roberts, a Black Lives Matter Atlanta activist, asked the council members how they can take months to decide on things like body cameras for police but quickly hear a bill that she said could put vulnerable people on the street.

"With it closed may the blood of every one brutalized by the police because they're not indoors be on your hands," Roberts said.

After Council approved the resolution, protesters continued chanting "shame" and interrupting proceedings, prompting Council President Ceasar Mitchell, who had allowed protest during public meeting but warned activists about cursing, to request officers to remove them. Speaking after the resolution was approved, Mitchell told CL that some of the concern could have been addressed if the city had better communicated details about the negotiation and plans for the shelter. 

"We've got to close the gap between this issue of what may happen with Peachtree-Pine and what the alternative service arrangement will be for homeless men and women who use this shelter," he said.

No value assignedOne protester whose name could not immediately be confirmed was arrested outside the Council chamber and charged with violating the rules of conduct in City Hall. Task force supporters faced off with Hall and police after the man was detained and, according to protesters, transported to the city jail. 

During the meeting, Councilman Alex Wan said a bill was being drafted at that moment that would address transitions for people now in Peachtree-Pine. At the end of the meeting, council passed a resolution saying that if negotiations are successful, then prior to a sale, the city will adopt a transition plan for "eligible" residents and patrons of Peachtree-Pine. 

However, a spokeswoman for Reed said during the meeting that there's a plan in place to help people in Peachtree-Pine and council's action was simply formalizing it.

"United Way of Greater Atlanta and the community of homeless service providers in the city have already established a plan to serve the individuals and families staying in the shelter, which includes to triage individuals and families to the most appropriate housing intervention," said Jewanna Gaither in a written statement. She said the assistance would include immediate shelter, longer-term housing and "responsible family reunification." Gaither also said the little shelters were not a "replacement" for Peachtree-Pine: "It’s not a model we want to replicate or replace."

Reed has said he's thinking about financing through a "homeless opportunity bond" — that is, taking on debt and using the money for homeless facilities or services. Details about any bond have yet to be publicized. Gaither on Monday said it was "too preliminary to discuss funding options."

 

 
The city has proposed redoing a building on Metropolitan Avenue in Pittsburgh as transitional housing, a plan that's unpopular with plenty of residents. That property "is still being considered for a small, supportive interim emergency shelter for families, particularly with a preference for Pittsburgh homeless families," said Gaither.

If any of this is to be part of Reed's legacy, time is running out. He's term-limited, and a new mayor will be elected next November. A city attorney told councilmembers on Monday that negotiations regarding Peachtree-Pine are expected to last from 30 to 60 days. Beaty, speaking after the meeting, said she put that timeframe more at "years." "
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Over loud objections from supporters and activists, the Atlanta City Council signaled its growing interest in taking over the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless' controversial homeless shelter at the corner of Peachtree and Pine streets .

By a 13-1 vote, councilmembers approved a resolution that authorized the city to negotiate with owners for properties at three addresses including the shelter. If talks fail, the City Council can move ahead with condemnation. 

Supporters of the Peachtree-Pine shelter feared the [http://atlantacityga.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?MeetingID=1691&ID=10479|original draft resolution] meant condemnation — a forced sale to the city. But the legislation does start the legal process for the city to take ownership of the facility that offers resources to hundreds of people but has also been beset with criticisms about its management and model.

Mayor Kasim Reed says he wants to use the property, which is surrounded by several vacant parcels and down the street from a proposed $300 million mixed-use redevelopment of the Atlanta Civic Center, as a headquarters for firefighters and the city SWAT team. 

Activists and task force supporters, including some people who had stayed there, packed Council chambers to ask what is supposed to happen to the 500 or so people who stay at the massive shelter every night. 

Marshall Rancifer, a longtime advocate for the homeless, told council, "I don't understand why you're trying to rush to close down the Task Force when you don't have a viable plan in place to house these folks. Where are you going to put the poor folks that have been refused entrance into any other shelter in the city because of their mental health issues, their addiction issues? Where are those folks supposed to go?"

The shelter has had plenty of critics. Reed is probably only the most prominent one. He has long talked about closing Peachtree-Pine and opening smaller shelters that link residents to services, like help finding jobs. He's said the shelter now [http://www.atlantamagazine.com/news-culture-articles/kasim-reed-on-peachtree-pine-homeless-shelter-people-want-it-gone/|is not changing peoples' lives for the better]. He's accused it of [http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/reed-wants-to-seize-peachtree-pine-by-eminent-doma/nnHm3/|being a hub for tuberculosis activity, of damaging the city, and the quality of life of people who live in that part of the city].

The shelter is also scheduled for a long-awaited day in court this month: [http://www.clatl.com/news/article/13085690/georgia-supremes-grant-peachtreepine-a-day-in-court|it accuses several organizations of conspiring to drive away donors]. 

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But faced with sometimes rowdy Peachtree-Pine supporters, council took up a piece of legislation that the city's lawyers said did not authorize condemnation, only to start talks over purchasing the property. 

In one of the more heated meetings in Council chambers in the last 10 years, activists called for Reed to appear and questioned where Councilman Kwanza Hall, who signed on to the resolution, had gone during public comment. (Hall was discovered by one protester getting a bag of popcorn from the City Hall cafe. He apologized.)

Hall defended the legislation. The bill "does not allow anything to happen except for a negotiation. We do this on a regular basis," Hall said. Hall, who is expected to run for mayor in 2017, said he thinks there are better ways to address homelessness and the bill is just one more thing that needs to be put on the table. Speaking after the meeting, he said the city should explore other ways to reduce homelessness, such as employing people to fix blighted houses and potentially live in them.

Toward the beginning of the hearing, Councilwoman Felicia Moore said she had yet to see either a plan for the people who are now in Peachtree-Pine, nor any study on the feasibility of a public safety facility on the site. She said she wouldn't be supportive of the legislation because she believed in having the information at the beginning of the process, not the end.

Anita Beaty, the executive director of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, which runs the Downtown shelter, used her few minutes of testimony before council not to plead for the shelter itself, but to accuse Atlanta of driving people to homelessness in the first place.

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="57f3353739ab46fa6b2d5ff9" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%

"The policy of the city right now is gentrification," she said. "There is no proactive affordable housing policy to develop housing that targets ... people who work at minimum wage. We have to target the workers who are serving you, serving all of us. Wherever we go, we are being served by people who make slave wages in this city and they are hanging on by their teeth," said Beatty.

Critics of the bill brought heat for more than an hour. They accused Atlanta of being being too busy to care and of rushing to close a shelter in a city that doesn't have enough shelters just as the weather's getting cold. Tiffany Roberts, a Black Lives Matter Atlanta activist, asked the council members how they can take months to decide on things like body cameras for police but quickly hear a bill that she said could put vulnerable people on the street.

"With it closed may the blood of every one brutalized by the police because they're not indoors be on your hands," Roberts said.

After Council approved the resolution, protesters continued chanting "shame" and interrupting proceedings, prompting Council President Ceasar Mitchell, who had allowed protest during public meeting but warned activists about cursing, to request officers to remove them. Speaking after the resolution was approved, Mitchell told ''CL'' that some of the concern could have been addressed if the city had better communicated details about the negotiation and plans for the shelter. 

"We've got to close the gap between this issue of what may happen with Peachtree-Pine and what the alternative service arrangement will be for homeless men and women who use this shelter," he said.

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="57f335386cdeea986812709f" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%One protester whose name could not immediately be confirmed was arrested outside the Council chamber and charged with violating the rules of conduct in City Hall. Task force supporters faced off with Hall and police after the man was detained and, according to protesters, transported to the city jail. 

During the meeting, Councilman Alex Wan said a bill was being drafted at that moment that would address transitions for people now in Peachtree-Pine. At the end of the meeting, council passed a resolution saying that if negotiations are successful, then prior to a sale, the city will adopt a transition plan for "eligible" residents and patrons of Peachtree-Pine. 

However, a spokeswoman for Reed said during the meeting that there's a plan in place to help people in Peachtree-Pine and council's action was simply formalizing it.

"United Way of Greater Atlanta and the community of homeless service providers in the city have already established a plan to serve the individuals and families staying in the shelter, which includes to triage individuals and families to the most appropriate housing intervention," said Jewanna Gaither in a written statement. She said the assistance would include immediate shelter, longer-term housing and "responsible family reunification." Gaither also said the little shelters were not a "replacement" for Peachtree-Pine: "It’s not a model we want to replicate or replace."

Reed has said he's thinking about financing through a "homeless opportunity bond" — that is, taking on debt and using the money for homeless facilities or services. Details about any bond have yet to be publicized. Gaither on Monday said it was "too preliminary to discuss funding options."

 

 
The city [http://www.clatl.com/news/article/20830520/pittsburgh-adair-park-residents-raise-concerns-about-proposed-shelter|has proposed redoing a building on Metropolitan Avenue in Pittsburgh as transitional housing], a plan that's [http://news.wabe.org/post/atlanta-residents-push-back-against-citys-shelter-plan|unpopular with plenty of residents]. That property "is still being considered for a small, supportive interim emergency shelter for families, particularly with a preference for Pittsburgh homeless families," said Gaither.

If any of this is to be part of Reed's legacy, time is running out. He's term-limited, and a new mayor will be elected next November. A city attorney told councilmembers on Monday that negotiations regarding Peachtree-Pine are expected to last from 30 to 60 days. Beaty, speaking after the meeting, said she put that timeframe more at "years." "
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  string(8722) "    Protesters pack chamber in one of Council's most heated meetings in recent memory   2016-10-04T19:32:00+00:00 City Council votes to start talks to buy Peachtree-Pine shelter   Joeff Davis|Maggie Lee|Thomas Wheatley  2016-10-04T19:32:00+00:00  %{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%2257f3368736ab46421c127098%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%

Over loud objections from supporters and activists, the Atlanta City Council signaled its growing interest in taking over the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless' controversial homeless shelter at the corner of Peachtree and Pine streets .

By a 13-1 vote, councilmembers approved a resolution that authorized the city to negotiate with owners for properties at three addresses including the shelter. If talks fail, the City Council can move ahead with condemnation. 

Supporters of the Peachtree-Pine shelter feared the original draft resolution meant condemnation — a forced sale to the city. But the legislation does start the legal process for the city to take ownership of the facility that offers resources to hundreds of people but has also been beset with criticisms about its management and model.

Mayor Kasim Reed says he wants to use the property, which is surrounded by several vacant parcels and down the street from a proposed $300 million mixed-use redevelopment of the Atlanta Civic Center, as a headquarters for firefighters and the city SWAT team. 

Activists and task force supporters, including some people who had stayed there, packed Council chambers to ask what is supposed to happen to the 500 or so people who stay at the massive shelter every night. 

Marshall Rancifer, a longtime advocate for the homeless, told council, "I don't understand why you're trying to rush to close down the Task Force when you don't have a viable plan in place to house these folks. Where are you going to put the poor folks that have been refused entrance into any other shelter in the city because of their mental health issues, their addiction issues? Where are those folks supposed to go?"

The shelter has had plenty of critics. Reed is probably only the most prominent one. He has long talked about closing Peachtree-Pine and opening smaller shelters that link residents to services, like help finding jobs. He's said the shelter now is not changing peoples' lives for the better. He's accused it of being a hub for tuberculosis activity, of damaging the city, and the quality of life of people who live in that part of the city.

The shelter is also scheduled for a long-awaited day in court this month: it accuses several organizations of conspiring to drive away donors. 

No value assigned

But faced with sometimes rowdy Peachtree-Pine supporters, council took up a piece of legislation that the city's lawyers said did not authorize condemnation, only to start talks over purchasing the property. 

In one of the more heated meetings in Council chambers in the last 10 years, activists called for Reed to appear and questioned where Councilman Kwanza Hall, who signed on to the resolution, had gone during public comment. (Hall was discovered by one protester getting a bag of popcorn from the City Hall cafe. He apologized.)

Hall defended the legislation. The bill "does not allow anything to happen except for a negotiation. We do this on a regular basis," Hall said. Hall, who is expected to run for mayor in 2017, said he thinks there are better ways to address homelessness and the bill is just one more thing that needs to be put on the table. Speaking after the meeting, he said the city should explore other ways to reduce homelessness, such as employing people to fix blighted houses and potentially live in them.

Toward the beginning of the hearing, Councilwoman Felicia Moore said she had yet to see either a plan for the people who are now in Peachtree-Pine, nor any study on the feasibility of a public safety facility on the site. She said she wouldn't be supportive of the legislation because she believed in having the information at the beginning of the process, not the end.

Anita Beaty, the executive director of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, which runs the Downtown shelter, used her few minutes of testimony before council not to plead for the shelter itself, but to accuse Atlanta of driving people to homelessness in the first place.

No value assigned

"The policy of the city right now is gentrification," she said. "There is no proactive affordable housing policy to develop housing that targets ... people who work at minimum wage. We have to target the workers who are serving you, serving all of us. Wherever we go, we are being served by people who make slave wages in this city and they are hanging on by their teeth," said Beatty.

Critics of the bill brought heat for more than an hour. They accused Atlanta of being being too busy to care and of rushing to close a shelter in a city that doesn't have enough shelters just as the weather's getting cold. Tiffany Roberts, a Black Lives Matter Atlanta activist, asked the council members how they can take months to decide on things like body cameras for police but quickly hear a bill that she said could put vulnerable people on the street.

"With it closed may the blood of every one brutalized by the police because they're not indoors be on your hands," Roberts said.

After Council approved the resolution, protesters continued chanting "shame" and interrupting proceedings, prompting Council President Ceasar Mitchell, who had allowed protest during public meeting but warned activists about cursing, to request officers to remove them. Speaking after the resolution was approved, Mitchell told CL that some of the concern could have been addressed if the city had better communicated details about the negotiation and plans for the shelter. 

"We've got to close the gap between this issue of what may happen with Peachtree-Pine and what the alternative service arrangement will be for homeless men and women who use this shelter," he said.

No value assignedOne protester whose name could not immediately be confirmed was arrested outside the Council chamber and charged with violating the rules of conduct in City Hall. Task force supporters faced off with Hall and police after the man was detained and, according to protesters, transported to the city jail. 

During the meeting, Councilman Alex Wan said a bill was being drafted at that moment that would address transitions for people now in Peachtree-Pine. At the end of the meeting, council passed a resolution saying that if negotiations are successful, then prior to a sale, the city will adopt a transition plan for "eligible" residents and patrons of Peachtree-Pine. 

However, a spokeswoman for Reed said during the meeting that there's a plan in place to help people in Peachtree-Pine and council's action was simply formalizing it.

"United Way of Greater Atlanta and the community of homeless service providers in the city have already established a plan to serve the individuals and families staying in the shelter, which includes to triage individuals and families to the most appropriate housing intervention," said Jewanna Gaither in a written statement. She said the assistance would include immediate shelter, longer-term housing and "responsible family reunification." Gaither also said the little shelters were not a "replacement" for Peachtree-Pine: "It’s not a model we want to replicate or replace."

Reed has said he's thinking about financing through a "homeless opportunity bond" — that is, taking on debt and using the money for homeless facilities or services. Details about any bond have yet to be publicized. Gaither on Monday said it was "too preliminary to discuss funding options."

 

 
The city has proposed redoing a building on Metropolitan Avenue in Pittsburgh as transitional housing, a plan that's unpopular with plenty of residents. That property "is still being considered for a small, supportive interim emergency shelter for families, particularly with a preference for Pittsburgh homeless families," said Gaither.

If any of this is to be part of Reed's legacy, time is running out. He's term-limited, and a new mayor will be elected next November. A city attorney told councilmembers on Monday that negotiations regarding Peachtree-Pine are expected to last from 30 to 60 days. Beaty, speaking after the meeting, said she put that timeframe more at "years."              20835664         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/10/City_Council_Hearing_Protest_132.57f33685867f8.png                  City Council votes to start talks to buy Peachtree-Pine shelter "
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Article

Tuesday October 4, 2016 03:32 pm EDT
Protesters pack chamber in one of Council's most heated meetings in recent memory | more...
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  ["title"]=>
  string(46) "Voting irregularities reported in Candler Park"
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*Joeff Davis
*Voters this morning at Epwoth United Methodist Church in Candler Park


Some voters in Candler Park, home to some of the city's most civically active and engaged voters, are receiving the wrong ballots, adding a wrinkle to what many had hoped to be a relatively smoother Election Day than in past years. 

Kate Sandhaus of the Candler Park Neighborhood Organization tells us that some voters who arrive at Epwoth United Methodist Church are being given ballots listing races for different Atlanta City Council and Atlanta Public Schools board districts. 

She's heard from numerous Candler Park voters who typically vote at the church who say they were given ballots asking them to decide the APS District 3 race, in which Matt Westmoreland is running unopposed, and the heated City Council District 5 race between incumbent Natalyn Archibong, Christian Enterkin, Matt Rinker, and J.P. Michalik. 

The only problem: those voters are supposed to actually decide the APS District 1 race between incumbent Brenda Muhammad and Leslie Grant. City Councilman Kwanza Hall, who represents the district, is running unopposed.

?      ?        jump?        
It appears that Lake Claire residents who vote at the church and people who normally cast ballots at Mary Lin Elementary, which is undergoing renovations and unable to serve today as a polling location, are not affected. 

Sandhaus says poll workers were notified around 7:40 a.m. about the problem. She claims that some told the ballot casters to contact the Fulton County Elections Office, which is handling the municipal and APS elections. She says she contacted the Elections Office and was told someone would get back to her later today, but she insisted that she speak with someone. A county elections official is now at the church. 

It's unclear how many people might have cast ballots in the wrong races. Sandhaus says she's received "several dozen" emails from people who were given the wrong ballot. 

"We are going to be assembling a list of names of people who got the wrong ballot and mistakenly voted or who had to ask the poll workers for help," she says.

Some candidates have also swarmed the polling place. 

"It's very unfortunate that people can't rely on the process," says City Councilman Aaron Watson.

Enterkin, who is running in a heated four-way race for the seat that represents Lake Claire, East Atlanta, and Kirkwood, is also the church. She's demanding a new election.

"I question this entire election," she said. " You have voters who can't find my name on the ballot... I want a full investigation why my name was not on some ballots. I want a new election. I demand a new election."

Sandhaus says that some voters, as of around 10:45 a.m., were still being handed incorrect ballots. State Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, who lives in the neighborhood, was handed one of them. He tells CL that he had to vote with a provisional ballot. 


*Joeff Davis
*State Senator Jason Carter seals his provisional ballot this morning in Candler Park.


"We walked in to vote together, gave poll workers our information, and we recognized we were about to vote in the wrong school board and city council races," he says.  

There's a reason, aside from the serious issues of voting irregularities, that people are paying very close attention to the issue. In local elections, every vote counts. And the race between Muhammad and Grant has been heated and is expected to be close.  


*Joeff Davis
*Suzanne Mitchell, campaign manager for Atlanta Public Schools board District 1 candidate Leslie Grant, speaks with election officials


"This is not an isolated case of one or two people getting the wrong ballot," Sandhaus says. "It's basically people at Candler Park who typically vote at Epworth."

"This particular precinct is high turnout. We will have to see at the end of the day what happened."

The CPNO is urging voters to visit the polls later in the day if possible. Those who do come to the polls are reminded to check and be sure their ballot lists the correct races. If that's not the case, poll workers should be immediately notified.

If you notice problems at the polls, immediately tell the poll workers or contact Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office at (877) 725-9797. Or send us a line.

Additional reporting by Joeff Davis"
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*[http://clatl.com/atlanta/ImageArchives?by=1224161|Joeff Davis]
*Voters this morning at Epwoth United Methodist Church in Candler Park


Some voters in Candler Park, home to some of the city's most civically active and engaged voters, are receiving the wrong ballots, adding a wrinkle to what many had hoped to be a relatively smoother Election Day than in past years. 

Kate Sandhaus of the Candler Park Neighborhood Organization tells us that some voters who arrive at Epwoth United Methodist Church are being given ballots listing races for different Atlanta City Council and Atlanta Public Schools board districts. 

She's heard from numerous Candler Park voters who typically vote at the church who say they were given ballots asking them to decide the APS District 3 race, in which Matt Westmoreland is running unopposed, and the heated City Council District 5 race between incumbent Natalyn Archibong, Christian Enterkin, Matt Rinker, and J.P. Michalik. 

The only problem: those voters are supposed to actually decide the APS District 1 race between incumbent Brenda Muhammad and Leslie Grant. City Councilman Kwanza Hall, who represents the district, is running unopposed.

?      ?        [jump]?        
It appears that Lake Claire residents who vote at the church and people who normally cast ballots at Mary Lin Elementary, which is undergoing renovations and unable to serve today as a polling location, are not affected. 

Sandhaus says poll workers were notified around 7:40 a.m. about the problem. She claims that some told the ballot casters to contact the Fulton County Elections Office, which is handling the municipal and APS elections. She says she contacted the Elections Office and was told someone would get back to her later today, but she insisted that she speak with someone. A county elections official is now at the church. 

It's unclear how many people might have cast ballots in the wrong races. Sandhaus says she's received "several dozen" emails from people who were given the wrong ballot. 

"We are going to be assembling a list of names of people who got the wrong ballot and mistakenly voted or who had to ask the poll workers for help," she says.

Some candidates have also swarmed the polling place. 

"It's very unfortunate that people can't rely on the process," says City Councilman Aaron Watson.

Enterkin, who is running in a heated four-way race for the seat that represents Lake Claire, East Atlanta, and Kirkwood, is also the church. She's demanding a new election.

"I question this entire election," she said. " You have voters who can't find my name on the ballot... I want a full investigation why my name was not on some ballots. I want a new election. I demand a new election."

Sandhaus says that some voters, as of around 10:45 a.m., were still being handed incorrect ballots. State Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, who lives in the neighborhood, was handed one of them. He tells ''CL'' that he had to vote with a provisional ballot. 

{img src="https://media1.fdncms.com/atlanta/imager/state-senator-jason-carter-seals-his-provi/u/original/9650032/1383679268-jason_carter_5197.jpg"}
*[http://clatl.com/atlanta/ImageArchives?by=1224161|Joeff Davis]
*State Senator Jason Carter seals his provisional ballot this morning in Candler Park.


"We walked in to vote together, gave poll workers our information, and we recognized we were about to vote in the wrong school board and city council races," he says.  

There's a reason, aside from the serious issues of voting irregularities, that people are paying very close attention to the issue. In local elections, every vote counts. And the race between Muhammad and Grant has been heated and is expected to be close.  

{img src="https://media2.fdncms.com/atlanta/imager/suzanne-mitchell-campaing-manager-for-atl/u/original/9649540/1383669672-photo_2_.jpg"}
*[http://clatl.com/atlanta/ImageArchives?by=1224161|Joeff Davis]
*Suzanne Mitchell, campaign manager for Atlanta Public Schools board District 1 candidate Leslie Grant, speaks with election officials


"This is not an isolated case of one or two people getting the wrong ballot," Sandhaus says. "It's basically people at Candler Park who typically vote at Epworth."

"This particular precinct is high turnout. We will have to see at the end of the day what happened."

The CPNO is [http://www.candlerpark.org/content/voting-problems-epworth-church-polling-location|urging] voters to visit the polls later in the day if possible. Those who do come to the polls are reminded to check and be sure their ballot lists the correct races. If that's not the case, poll workers should be immediately notified.

If you notice problems at the polls, immediately tell the poll workers or contact Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office at (877) 725-9797. [mailto:thomas.wheatley@creativeloafing.com|Or send us a line].

''Additional reporting by Joeff Davis''"
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  string(4690) "   voting    2013-11-05T16:42:00+00:00 Voting irregularities reported in Candler Park ben.eason@creativeloafing.com Ben Eason Thomas Wheatley and Joeff Davis 3634920 2013-11-05T16:42:00+00:00  
*Joeff Davis
*Voters this morning at Epwoth United Methodist Church in Candler Park


Some voters in Candler Park, home to some of the city's most civically active and engaged voters, are receiving the wrong ballots, adding a wrinkle to what many had hoped to be a relatively smoother Election Day than in past years. 

Kate Sandhaus of the Candler Park Neighborhood Organization tells us that some voters who arrive at Epwoth United Methodist Church are being given ballots listing races for different Atlanta City Council and Atlanta Public Schools board districts. 

She's heard from numerous Candler Park voters who typically vote at the church who say they were given ballots asking them to decide the APS District 3 race, in which Matt Westmoreland is running unopposed, and the heated City Council District 5 race between incumbent Natalyn Archibong, Christian Enterkin, Matt Rinker, and J.P. Michalik. 

The only problem: those voters are supposed to actually decide the APS District 1 race between incumbent Brenda Muhammad and Leslie Grant. City Councilman Kwanza Hall, who represents the district, is running unopposed.

?      ?        jump?        
It appears that Lake Claire residents who vote at the church and people who normally cast ballots at Mary Lin Elementary, which is undergoing renovations and unable to serve today as a polling location, are not affected. 

Sandhaus says poll workers were notified around 7:40 a.m. about the problem. She claims that some told the ballot casters to contact the Fulton County Elections Office, which is handling the municipal and APS elections. She says she contacted the Elections Office and was told someone would get back to her later today, but she insisted that she speak with someone. A county elections official is now at the church. 

It's unclear how many people might have cast ballots in the wrong races. Sandhaus says she's received "several dozen" emails from people who were given the wrong ballot. 

"We are going to be assembling a list of names of people who got the wrong ballot and mistakenly voted or who had to ask the poll workers for help," she says.

Some candidates have also swarmed the polling place. 

"It's very unfortunate that people can't rely on the process," says City Councilman Aaron Watson.

Enterkin, who is running in a heated four-way race for the seat that represents Lake Claire, East Atlanta, and Kirkwood, is also the church. She's demanding a new election.

"I question this entire election," she said. " You have voters who can't find my name on the ballot... I want a full investigation why my name was not on some ballots. I want a new election. I demand a new election."

Sandhaus says that some voters, as of around 10:45 a.m., were still being handed incorrect ballots. State Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, who lives in the neighborhood, was handed one of them. He tells CL that he had to vote with a provisional ballot. 


*Joeff Davis
*State Senator Jason Carter seals his provisional ballot this morning in Candler Park.


"We walked in to vote together, gave poll workers our information, and we recognized we were about to vote in the wrong school board and city council races," he says.  

There's a reason, aside from the serious issues of voting irregularities, that people are paying very close attention to the issue. In local elections, every vote counts. And the race between Muhammad and Grant has been heated and is expected to be close.  


*Joeff Davis
*Suzanne Mitchell, campaign manager for Atlanta Public Schools board District 1 candidate Leslie Grant, speaks with election officials


"This is not an isolated case of one or two people getting the wrong ballot," Sandhaus says. "It's basically people at Candler Park who typically vote at Epworth."

"This particular precinct is high turnout. We will have to see at the end of the day what happened."

The CPNO is urging voters to visit the polls later in the day if possible. Those who do come to the polls are reminded to check and be sure their ballot lists the correct races. If that's not the case, poll workers should be immediately notified.

If you notice problems at the polls, immediately tell the poll workers or contact Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office at (877) 725-9797. Or send us a line.

Additional reporting by Joeff Davis           voting  13076268 9649150                          Voting irregularities reported in Candler Park "
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Article

Tuesday November 5, 2013 11:42 am EST

  • Joeff Davis
  • Voters this morning at Epwoth United Methodist Church in Candler Park



Some voters in Candler Park, home to some of the city's most civically active and engaged voters, are receiving the wrong ballots, adding a wrinkle to what many had hoped to be a relatively smoother Election Day than in past years.

Kate Sandhaus of the Candler Park Neighborhood Organization tells us...

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