Inside City Hall: Tensions flare over Atlanta’s push to study Fulton jail’s overcrowding

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

A weekly roundup of the most important things you need to know about Atlanta City Hall.

Over at Fulton County, frustration is growing over the county’s inability to immediately move inmates into the city’s mostly empty detention center.

Atlanta and the county have approved a lease agreement to house up to 700 people from Fulton’s jail facilities into the city’s. But under a last-minute City Council amendment, the lease won’t go into effect until a jail population review for Fulton is completed.

Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat is pushing to have inmates moved to the detention center before the full study is conducted. He has provided data that shows a snapshot of who is currently in jail, but activists say historical trend data is needed as well to provide a complete picture of the situation. You can read more here.

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Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

A new poll from the groups in opposition to Buckhead cityhood showed dwindling support for the proposed city.

The Committee for a United Atlanta and Neighbors for a United Atlanta released a poll conducted by Chris Huttman of 20/20 Insight, the left-leaning pollster hired by then-city councilman and mayoral candidate Andre Dickens’ campaign last year.

When voters were asked if they side with “those who want to create a new Buckhead city and leave Atlanta, or “those who want to keep Atlanta whole,” cityhood lost support from whites, Blacks, every age group, both genders, college educated and non-college voters.

Huttman polled 381 likely voters in House District 54 and 773 likely voters in Senate District 6 — the two main legislative districts overlapping the proposed Buckhead City region — from Sept. 6-12.

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Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Last week, the City Council’s transportation committee tabled Councilwoman Mary Norwood’s proposal to change a design for the city’s planned intersection improvement to Moores Mill Road at West Wesley Road in Buckhead.

Voters in 2015 approved plans to expand the intersection into four lanes using T-SPLOST funds. But Norwood said her constituents now want a three-lane intersection. Several councilmembers said they need more information on the impact of Norwood’s resolution before they can vote on it.

Councilmembers Amir Farokhi and Marci Collier Overstreet asked the city if the resolution would affect Atlanta’s other projects. The law department said state law prohibits changes to T-SPLOST projects after voters OK’d any work on the list. However, the department said the project’s design can be altered because the design itself wasn’t explicitly on the list.

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Credit: Christina Matacotta

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens is still planning to establish the city’s first ever department of labor to prioritize job growth. He told us last week that his administration will soon launch a platform called “ATL Works,” which will be the platform prior to the labor department’s creation.

“We have to create a department during the next budget cycle as that’s the only time that we can actually effectuate that change officially,” said Dickens. “Leading up to July you’ll see all the next steps to go into that.”

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Lastly, one important programming note from J.D.:

After four years, I’m leaving the AJC for a new journalism opportunity, so this will be my last edition of Inside City Hall as a contributor.

It’s been a joy to cover my hometown, its successes, its challenges, and the people and communities that make it special. I’m grateful to all the AJC and Inside City Hall readers, and to the residents who trusted me to tell their stories.

Lastly, I’m lucky to have had such a great City Hall reporting partner in Wilborn, who I know will continue to do great work!

Again, thank you.

Send us tips and feedback at Wilborn.Nobles@ajc.com.

WILBORN NOBLES III

Wilborn P. Nobles III covers the Atlanta mayor's policies for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wil (not "Willie" or "William") previously covered Baltimore County government at The Baltimore Sun, but he never finished "The Wire." He also covered education for the Times-Picayune in his hometown of New Orleans, so he tries to avoid discussions about football. Wil used to play tuba for his high school marching band, but he eventually put down his horn to intern at The Washington Post. The Louisiana State University graduate enjoys gardening, comedy, and music.

Wilborn.Nobles@ajc.com

J.D. CAPELOUTO

J.D. Capelouto is a local news reporter covering City Hall and all things intown Atlanta for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His work focuses the City Council, neighborhood issues, public safety, housing and transportation. J.D. was born and raised in Atlanta and has lived in the city all his life, except for four years at Boston University, where he studied journalism and learned how to dress for cold weather. He’s been with the AJC since 2018, and has previously written for The Boston Globe and the Thomson Reuters Foundation. When he’s not reporting or scrolling through Twitter, J.D. enjoys pop culture podcasts, “Survivor” and visiting various pools around Atlanta.

Joseph.Capelouto@ajc.com