The Porch Press

Serving the Historic Atlanta Neighborhoods of Grant Park, Ormewood Park, East Atlanta, Benteen Park, Glenwood Park, and environs

EACA Meeting Minutes

¡  Kevin called meeting to order at 7:09pm
¡  Kevin asked newcomers to introduce themselves
–      Sophia Johnson owns Sokai Salon, business in EAV for three years
–      Marius, lives on Met Place; builds custom furniture
–      Dave & Jane Cramer on Van Epps going on a month
–      Venus works at Sokai Salon
¡  East Atlanta Kids Club – Bike Rally (Jill Sieder, Director)
–      Celebrating 15 years in East Atlanta
–      After-school tutoring and other programs with kids who wouldn’t otherwise have these opportunities
–      Always looking for volunteers to work with kids (sign up at www.eastatlantakids.org)
–      Major spring fundraiser is the bike rally – May 4

  • This year is the 10th bike rally – “Classic”
  • Races and bike “rodeo” for kids; adult races include fun race and more advanced races
  • Food, health screenings, games
  • Need 150 volunteers day-of to help with registration, raffle, bike rodeo
  • Also need additional volunteers to help planàPR / Marketing, Logistics
  • Still taking sponsors

¡  Various levels of sponsorship
¡  In-kind donations

  • Additional info: brownwoodbikerally.com
  • Q&A

¡  Are the events for people who haven’t ridden a bike?
–      Races for kids 5 and up
–      Come and learn; also have an unofficial race for tiny tots
¡  Police report, Zone 6 – Officer Mitchell and Officer Petry (trainee)
–      Q&A:

  • Why all the car thefts?

¡  Crew of juveniles that have been pretty active

  • What should a business owner do if he/she finds a lost item?

¡  Business owner can hold onto the item for a few days
¡  After that, APD can take custody (call 911)

  • April 5th, 780 block of Stokeswood—renter came home to find someone leaving with several laptopsàany update?

¡  Officer Mitchell can find out

  • Lots of glass in Farmer’s Market parking lot – what can adjacent business owners do?

¡  Anyone can call Zone 6 precinct to request “directed patrol” (even at a residence)

  • Is it valuable to call in gunshots?

¡  Yes, definitely worth calling them in; puts APD in the area and may deter activity
–      Kevin thanked the officers for increased presence in the Village
¡  Stacey Abrams, Georgia General Assembly House Minority Leader (84th District)
–      staceyabrams@gmail.com; staceyabrams.com; gahousedems.com; 404-656-5058
–      East Atlanta is newly in Rep. Abrams’ district
–      2012-2013 legislative session (40 days) activity:

  • HB512/SB101 – Gun bill

¡  Didn’t pass this year; but still alive and eligible to be passed
–      Expands gun rights

  • Carry in church, bar, college campus, all public and private schools by school administrators (anonymously, parents can’t know who can carry)

–      Failed at the 11th hour

  • Huge push by multi-faith leaders, leader of Georgia University System

¡  “Nothing more terrifying to a politician than a senior citizen or a parent, because you vote”

  • Marta legislation

¡  Introduced by Mike Jacobs; failed
–      Shift make-up of board membership away from in-town Atlanta to North Fulton / DeKalb
–      Shrink board from 18 to 11 members
–      Privatize certain aspects of operations, even if privatization would increase cost
–      Strip collective bargaining rights away from unionized employees (federal law prohibits this)

  • HB242 – Criminal Justice Reform

¡  Rep. Abrams has worked closely with Gov. Deal on this; passed unanimously in both House and Senate
¡  Reduces designated felonies that juveniles can be convicted of
–      Recidivism between 65-75%
–      $90k/child vs. education is $13-15k
–      Won’t have to put so many juveniles in YDCs (youth detention centers)
¡  Returned greater discretion to judges
–      Getting rid of mandatory minimums, give judges the flexibility to determine best course of action for each child
¡  Increases funding

  • HB78 – Elder Abuse

¡  Previously, crimes that were felonies if committed against children were only misdemeanors if committed against elderly person
¡  Puts in place mandatory reporting for elder abuse

  • HB361 – Right to Work State

¡  Clarifying “Right to work” – benefit from labor union benefits without paying dues
¡  Last minute provision added stating that seasonal workers in education setting would be denied unemployment benefits
–      Unilateral decision by Commissioner of Labor (up for re-election)
–      Working with Dept. of Labor – got it stripped from the bill

  • Dept. of Labor clarified that this is illegal; requires employees who lost benefits to have them reinstated

–      Removing unemployment benefits for seasonal workers would affect 60,000 workers to save $8M

  • HB362 – Outlaws Project Labor Agreements

¡  Project Labor Agreements allow governments/companies to negotiate with labor unions
–      E.g., building stadium, want to higher workers from the community – labor unions will train community members for jobs
–      Bill says these contracts are prohibited
–      Georgia relies on labor unions for training; few vocational schools left
¡  Call Gov. Deal asking him not to sign this bill; 28 days left to sign the bill

  • Passed 2 budgets

¡  Annual fiscal year budget
–      Revenue estimate from economist

  • Gov. Deal fully funded Quality Based Education (QBE) for the first time
  • Put money into multiple universities, including Morehouse School of Medicine

¡  Supplemental budget makes up for gaps in 1st budget
–      Cut expenses by 3% (revenue estimate over by 4%); Gov. Deal minimized cuts to critical services
–      Next year will be re-election year – legislation will suffer
–      In Georgia, miscarriage is coded as a natural abortion

  • Nearly had legislation passed that pulled state funding for all abortions – a woman who has miscarriage would have had to pay $30K

–      Q&A

  • How can we make our voices heard?

¡  Talk to Rep. Abrams
¡  Once legislature is back in session, call Gov. Deal
¡  Contact officials who are up for re-election (in state or up for U.S. election)

  • Ethics legislation was unimpressive

¡  Rep. Abrams doubts there will be much effort going forward
¡  Legislators get uncomfortable with ethics legislation

  • What happened with comprehensive smoking ban?

¡  Won’t make it to the floor

  • What happened with HB127?

¡  Didn’t make it out of the Senate; refused to consider, despite strong bipartisan support

  • Education reform (in light of DeKalb board of education issues)

¡  Background
–      Spending

  • Last 12 years, Georgia has cut over $4B in education. There are 8,500 fewer teachers than in 2008, despite population growth. 66 districts have 100 days per year instead of 180. Georgia has the lowest capita per spending state in the U.S.; collect and spend the least

–      SACS is an independent monitoring group that validates education system to federal government, other entities; however SACS isn’t monitored by the State
–      At the same time, Georgia has some of the strictest recall legislation in the country (politicians are untouchable)
–      If SACS pulls accreditation, a child can never qualify for financial aid; no one else faces repercussions

  • Cobb County was reviewed and put on warning
  • Sumter, Dougherty, DeKalb, APS were all put on probation

–      This is a piecemeal solution because legislators abdicated responsibility for fixing both APS and DeKalb
–      The real solution is to fix recall statutes, SACS criteria
–      Rep. Abrams supported Gov. Deal because it was more important to protect accreditation

  • To get accreditation from organization other than SAX takes time
  • SACS is pegging accreditation to governance of school districts
  • Why was GPA reduced from 3.0 to 2.0 for Hope Grant (technical colleges)?

¡  Lost a lot of quality students when we raised from 2.0 to 3.0 three years ago
–      Students often have jobs at the same time, families, etc. so 3.0 was too strict
¡  One of the best technical college systems in the country; 94% placement rate
–      Elected lifetime member of Council of International Relations; received “Drum Major for Justice Award”
¡  Councilmember Archibong
–      12th Annual Tire Round-up on April 27

  • Michelle Rice is organizing a group to drive around looking for tires
  • Will wrap up with pizza party

–      Giving back to community

  • $1,500 for EACA, $1500 for EASP, $500 for EAV Recycle, $3,000 for NIN, $5000 for BATL, $500 for EAV Farmer’s Market, $500 for Sylvester Cemetery

–      Stadium

  • Councilmember Archibong supported legislation

¡  Funding source is hotel/motel tax, not residents
¡  Existing hotel/motel tax scheduled to be sunsetted in 2015 ($12M/year)
–      Only way to keep that revenue coming is the stadium because State Legislature refused to revise existing law; none of the $12M goes to old stadium
¡  City website has detailed plans around traffic, MARTA, financials
–      Major downside is the walking distance from MARTA (19 minutes)
¡  Elected officials from adjacent communities were fully in support of this plan
–      Q&A

  • Will the stadium be used more for more than football?

¡  Yes; will have retractable roof
¡  Hope to attract Superbowl; continue to have revenues flow to the City

  • Any discussion around Camp Creek Marketplace location for stadium?

¡  No

  • Steve concerned that Atlanta stadiums haven’t created significant benefits for neighboring communities

¡  $45M going to neighborhood assistance fund, administered by Blank Foundation

  • Laird asked about slowing traffic, given vibrancy of EAV
  • Any news from Sidewalk Task Force?

¡  Resuming next Tuesday (4/16)
¡  Saw presentation from company that manufactures pre-fab “planks” that are cheaper and easier to install
¡  Commissioner of Public Works asking for support of $250M bond for unfunded infrastructure needs (fully need may be closer to $1B)

  • Streetscape?

¡  Will let community know as decisions are made
¡  Chef Patrick Bell-Good was scheduled to present; will be on the agenda another time
–      The Basement is hosting benefit event for Justin Graham, who was injured on Flat Shoals pothole plates
¡  Adidas Unite All Originals Public Art Installation
–      Atlanta was the third city for this event (NYC and LA)
–      Adidas offered art to EACA, including installation (~$5K)
–      Installation will have to go through multiple approvals

  • EACA, NPU, several City departments

–      Proposing that the piece will be installed in the location where it was erected for the unveiling

  • Property owner will obtain permit; Adidas will retain ownership

–      Multiple concerns expressed about installing on private property

  • E.g., what happens to art if property owner sells his property?
  • Group proposing that we vote to accept the art tonight, but not confirm currently proposed location

–      Motion to ask Adidas and property owner to prepare application for review by EACA at May meeting

  • Seconded, majority approval

–      Motion to express to Adidas EACA’s support of placement of the art in the Village

  • Seconded, majority approval

¡  Announcements
–      2nd Annual Membership Social, Saturday May 11th, 2-5pm at Midway Pub

  • Same day as EABA’s East Atlanta Roll, May on May
  • Fundraiser, including raffle
  • Sophia offered the parking lot adjacent to her salon

–      Parks & Greenspace

  • Oyster Mushroom class this Saturday, April 13
  • 2nd Brownwood Frolic, Sunday April 21, “East Atlanta Pollination Festival”

¡  Fringe Festival
¡  Games, music, etc.
¡  “Holi”-like celebration

  • Big volunteer day on Saturday, April 27, 10:00am – 2:00pm

¡  Installing micro-berms to help with erosion
¡  Working with Park Pride
–      Adopt-a-Street

  • Councilmember Archibong and Commissioner Mendoza will unveil 1st Adopt-a-Street sign on April 20th at Branan Towers at 1pm
  • Kick-off to Earth Day Festival

–      BATL

  • Saturday, July 20;schedule to be provided later

–      Farmers Market opening April 18

  • Will have cooking demonstrations at each market
  • Georgia Organics sponsoring “my market” program with discounts

¡  Donors/sponsorships/fundraising
–      Thank Councilmember Archibong for her community donations
–      Neighbor in Need poker tournament raised over $2k
–      Adidas gave $2500 to EACA general fund
–      Coffee sleeves advertising EACA will be given out at Joe’s
¡  Other business
–      Considering bringing back (kid friendly) movies in the park this summer, running 8-9 weeks in June-August
¡  Closing
–      March minutes approval

  • Jack noted a few changes:

¡  Transportation Committee put forth list of changes and were passed by NPU-W pending approval by EACA
¡  Jack said the Welcome to East Atlanta sign will be preserved
–      Kevin said the bricks will not be preserved
¡  Jack said he had spelled out alternate traffic plan

  • Motion to approve corrected minutes; seconded and approved

–      Kevin adjourned
 
SEABA Updates