Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is criticizing the leader of the group that wants the Buckhead neighborhood to leave Atlanta to create their own city.
The Buckhead City Committee, led by their CEO Bill White, is advocating for the Republican-led legislation that would let Buckhead residents vote in 2022 to split from the city. White said Buckhead residents are fed up with the city’s declines in police manpower and city services.
The effort would create an overwhelmingly white city with 20% of Atlanta’s population and an estimated $232 million in tax revenue. Mayor-Elect Andre Dickens and four former Atlanta mayors have publicly opposed the idea.
Bottoms said during a media roundtable at City Hall on Monday that Buckhead residents have real, valid concerns about crime. She said Buckhead cityhood is not a new notion. She also questioned White’s motivations for supporting cityhood and said she believes it’s an effort to divide Atlanta while discrediting her administration.
“It’s no secret that I was very vocal on how I felt about Donald Trump and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the man who is leading this movement is new to Atlanta and was a very big Trump supporter,” Bottoms said. “I think the two are very much related.”
The New York Times reported that White and his husband Bryan Eure hosted a $5 million Trump fundraiser in 2018. The newspaper called them “Manhattan’s liberal elite” because they previously hosted fundraisers for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The two men moved to Atlanta three years ago.
White got involved with the cityhood movement in April, a month before Bottoms ended her reelection bid. He criticized Bottoms in a statement Monday night, saying her “failed” policies are driving the movement and called her remarks cheap shots when she could be addressing Buckhead’s issues.
He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this month that he loved Trump and Clinton for helping him raise money to support military veterans.
“I have not talked to Donald Trump in a long time and I love him, he is my friend of 30 years.” White sad Dec. 7. “He and Joe Biden have nothing to do with Buckhead City and neither of them should have anything to do with it.”