Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced last week that she would not seek a second term, bid an early farewell during a May 13 Buckhead Business Association meeting.
During the virtual meeting, Bottoms touched on crime-fighting, housing affordability and opposition to the cityhood movement, while still tweaking some of those positions in response to political pressures, many of which come from Buckhead.
“I know we haven’t always been in agreement, but I do hope that I will leave the city of Atlanta certainly better than I found it, for all of us,” Bottoms told the organization, after dismissing Buckhead cityhood as “a terrible idea.”
On that topic of the future of the Atlanta Detention Center, Bottoms indicated a new willingness to compromise on the idea of Fulton County inmates being housed at the city jail, which has been pushed by county Board of Commissioners Chair Robb Pitts, a Buckhead resident, and Sheriff Patrick Labat. She said she recently sent a letter to Pitts offering to house 150 Fulton inmates who are non-violent and nearing release for enrollment in a transitional work program. “I believe that we shouldn’t wait for an all-or-nothing [deal],” said Bottoms. “… We want to be a good partner, recognizing that we have the [jail] space at this time.”
Crime and policing have been major political problems for Bottoms, whose administration has often played catch-up with agitation in Buckhead, where private organizations and businesses late last year launched their own “Security Plan.” Bottoms cited her announcement earlier this week of an “Anti-Violence Advisory Council,” with such members as former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Atlanta Police Chief George Turner and District 8 City Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit. She also noted her proposal to hire 250 more police officers in the next fiscal year and announced a plan to redeploy ShotSpotter gunshot-detection sensors after an unsuccessful pilot program a few years ago.
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