by Robin Kemp
The Presidential election recount continues at 9 a.m. on Monday at the Clayton County Police Headquarters. 50 other counties, including Fulton, have finished their recounts. Clayton County has posted plans to continue through Wednesday at 6 p.m. or until the recount is complete but it’s possible workers could finish before then. We’ll be there.
- The City of Forest Park continues to roll out its new website. It also continues to bar members of the public and the media, including The Clayton Crescent, from attending City Council meetings in person. Attorneys for The Clayton Crescent and the city met Friday to try and work out an agreement. The city continues to claim that it is not in violation of Georgia’s Open Meetings Act. The Clayton Crescent is represented by the University of Georgia Law First Amendment Clinic, with additional assistance from media law attorney S. Derek Bauer of Baker Hostetler and the Georgia First Amendment Foundation. The city has barred the public from council chambers since March, when it declared a COVID-19 emergency. Since the first of the year, the city has been through four city managers, let multiple contracts, replaced many staff and department heads (the latest of which reportedly is Finance Director Ken Thompson, who was brought in to clean up the city’s finances), and faced a federal lawsuit by former police chief Dwayne Hobbs, who alleges the city fired him just before he was to retire because he is white. Many longtime police officers have left the department. The city has not responded to requests for the current number of sworn police officers and has attempted to force The Clayton Crescent to pay over $180 for the results of an Open Records Request that it first claimed it had no way to track. The city has yet to provide a video feed that would allow citizens to see all the proceedings, yet Mayor Angelyne Butler signed a check for almost $19,000 to build and outfit a 4K video production studio in the Hartsfield Community Center that other councilmembers say they are not allowed to use. We’ll update you with next steps.
- Forest Park’s City Council’s work session is Monday at 6 p.m., followed by the regular meeting. On the agenda: adopting a new procurement code book, “enter a contract with Precision Planning Inc. and CROFT and Associates Inc. for on call Architectural and Engineering Services,” “amend Falcon Design Consultants to allow them to serve as Construction Manager and Owner Representative on Capital Improvement Projects,” unfreezing and funding a position for an aide to City Council and a Fire Department assistant, appointing Councilman Hector Gutierrez to the Development Authority Board, amending an agreement with e-Gov to add software for permits, a citywide food and utilities assistance program, accepting a Justice Department award of $11,475 for radios for Forest Park Police patrol vehicles, changing city code to improve post-construction stormwater practices before a Dec. 6 deadline, rename the Senior Center for Mary Ann Connelly, and a change in the URA agreement for the purchase of Fort Gillem that would eliminate a $10.4 million balloon payment and cut the interest rate from 4.8 to 2.6 percent. The URA uses money from Kroger, whose distribution center was the first on site, to pay off the loan.
- Citizen participation in Forest Park City Council public comment has been almost nonexistent since the city declared the ban on public attendance. Many regulars are senior citizens who are less tech-savvy. Few attend using the dial-in or Zoom options.
- To submit a public comment for the Forest Park meeting, you must do so online by 12 noon Monday using www.slido.com and event code 0911200. Include your full name and address.
- To watch the meeting, visit Zoom at https://bit.ly/2IHXIp8 (we’ve shortened the link for you) and enter meeting ID 863 6634 7964 and passcode 101832.
- To listen by phone using one-tap mobile, enter +13126266799,,86366347964#,,,,,,0#,,101832# US (Chicago) or +19292056099,,86366347964#,,,,,,0#,,101832# US (New York)
- Zoom has directions for joining a call by phone only.
- The Lovejoy City Council has cancelled its monthly meeting scheduled for Monday. Please note: citizens must submit public comments via email to LJCITY@CITYOFLOVEJOY.COM by 3 p.m. the Friday before each meeting. The city says, “All comments received will be considered part of the public record and will be documented in the official minutes of the meeting.”
- On Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 6:30 p.m., Morrow’s Planning and Zoning Commission meets at 1500 Morrow Road for a hearing and vote on whether to recommend the City Council approve an application to subdivide 1500 Southlake Circle to establish a retail and service business. The applicant is Henry Broom of It’s Electric. Macy’s owns the property.
- On Thursday at 6:30 p.m., the Forest Park Planning Commission meets. No agenda appears on the department’s website. Call (404) 608-2300 with any questions.
- Also on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., the Lovejoy Development Authority meets at 2296 Talmadge Road. Details (but no agenda) http://cityoflovejoy.com/915/Lovejoy-Development-Authority. Call City Hall at (770) 471-2304.
- Did we miss something? Let us know! E-mail KempWrites@gmail.com.