Bill Torpy

Columnist

Bill Torpy, who writes about metro Atlanta for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, joined the newspaper in 1990. He has covered politics, government and countless stories about police, courts and the justice system. The Chicago native graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., and previously worked for the Daily Southtown in Chicago

Latest from Bill Torpy

Torpy at Large: Feds send message in Atlanta bribery case: Own up. Or else.
 Adam L. Smith graduated from Morehouse, Yale and Georgetown Law, so we can stipulate that he’s no dummy.  Crooked, yes. But not stupid. Smith was the city of Atlanta’s corrupt procurement director, specializing in the procurement of bribes from people wanting to do business with the city. When he got a whiff of a federal...

Posted: a day ago

Adam L. Smith graduated from Morehouse, Yale and Georgetown Law, so we can stipulate that he’s no dummy.  Crooked, yes. But not stupid. Smith was the city of Atlanta’s corrupt procurement director, specializing in the procurement of bribes from people wanting to do business with the city. When he got a whiff of a federal...
Torpy at Large: Yet again, GA war on drugs shoots itself in the foot
 Every now and again, the war on drugs gives us a flash of good old-fashioned absurdity and even some ham-handed hostility. For the latest chapter in that saga, let’s go to Cartersville, where scores of people at a house party were arrested and charged with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. COLLECTIVELY, that is. A houseful...

Posted: 3 days ago

Every now and again, the war on drugs gives us a flash of good old-fashioned absurdity and even some ham-handed hostility. For the latest chapter in that saga, let’s go to Cartersville, where scores of people at a house party were arrested and charged with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. COLLECTIVELY, that is. A houseful...
Torpy at Large: What Reynoldstown’s 50-50 split says about ‘One Atlanta’
 During and after the mayoral election, one kept hearing references to “One Atlanta,” a sense that no matter how divided we are as a city and a society, we can all pull together with one common purpose. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms mentioned it in her inaugural address, a reference to a divisive, yet extremely close, campaign that...

Posted: 7 days ago

During and after the mayoral election, one kept hearing references to “One Atlanta,” a sense that no matter how divided we are as a city and a society, we can all pull together with one common purpose. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms mentioned it in her inaugural address, a reference to a divisive, yet extremely close, campaign that...
Torpy at Large: DeKalb grabs Atlanta’s unwanted murder crown
 For the first time in history, DeKalb County has taken the lead in something it sure as heck doesn’t want. It has registered more homicides than the city of Atlanta. In 2017, there were 98 killings compared to 79 in Atlanta, which indicates what we’ve all known for years — that DeKalb has become more urban. The county has...

Posted: 13 days ago

For the first time in history, DeKalb County has taken the lead in something it sure as heck doesn’t want. It has registered more homicides than the city of Atlanta. In 2017, there were 98 killings compared to 79 in Atlanta, which indicates what we’ve all known for years — that DeKalb has become more urban. The county has...
Torpy at Large: New mayor, new council prez, new independence? Hope so
 Inauguration day is kind of like opening day in baseball — no matter how good, or bad, a team is, they all sit there at 0-0 with hope springing eternal. On a brisk Tuesday afternoon, Keisha Lance Bottoms was sworn in as Atlanta’s 60th mayor, a woman who evokes the power of Black Girl Magic as a victory theme, a force that...

Posted: 15 days ago

Inauguration day is kind of like opening day in baseball — no matter how good, or bad, a team is, they all sit there at 0-0 with hope springing eternal. On a brisk Tuesday afternoon, Keisha Lance Bottoms was sworn in as Atlanta’s 60th mayor, a woman who evokes the power of Black Girl Magic as a victory theme, a force that...
Torpy at Large: ATL ‘Transportation Mayor’ rolls off into the dark
 Last weekend was the Mayor’s Masked Ball, the gala fund-raising event and last one hosted by outgoing Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. It was an occasion for Hizzoner to bask in his own glowingness and pass the baton to his mentee, Keisha Lance Bottoms, who will become Atlanta’s 60th mayor. But such a joyous celebration couldn&rsquo...

Posted: 27 days ago

Last weekend was the Mayor’s Masked Ball, the gala fund-raising event and last one hosted by outgoing Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. It was an occasion for Hizzoner to bask in his own glowingness and pass the baton to his mentee, Keisha Lance Bottoms, who will become Atlanta’s 60th mayor. But such a joyous celebration couldn&rsquo...
Torpy at Large: Assembling ATL’s long-delayed south downtown dream
 The future of downtown Atlanta is at the intersection of Mitchell and Broad streets. Or it will be if German money has any say. It doesn’t look like much right now. Currently, the corner consists of a barber supply store, an incense shop and a vacant lot next to a candle distributor. In July 2016, a baby-faced development exec walked...

Posted: 29 days ago

The future of downtown Atlanta is at the intersection of Mitchell and Broad streets. Or it will be if German money has any say. It doesn’t look like much right now. Currently, the corner consists of a barber supply store, an incense shop and a vacant lot next to a candle distributor. In July 2016, a baby-faced development exec walked...
Torpy at Large: ‘Druid Hill’ is a state of mind — and fighting words
 Clark Ashton’s eyes get big with theatrical and maniacal glee. “I’ve seized the high ground,” he says with a cackle concerning his ongoing fight for federal recognition. Ashton has raised a flag. He’s even erected an official-looking historical marker: “The Battle for Druid Hill.” He wants the U.S...

11:00 AM Monday, Dec. 18, 2017

Clark Ashton’s eyes get big with theatrical and maniacal glee. “I’ve seized the high ground,” he says with a cackle concerning his ongoing fight for federal recognition. Ashton has raised a flag. He’s even erected an official-looking historical marker: “The Battle for Druid Hill.” He wants the U.S...
Torpy at Large: Snowballs and mischief my kind of wintry mix
 Every now and then you see a sliver of sunshine and know there’s hope for humanity. Last weekend on our local Google group, a lady warned the neighborhood that “three teenage boys are throwing snow balls at passing cars and people. Including older women.” A self-identified “older woman” chimed in, saying she&rsquo...

11:00 AM Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017

Every now and then you see a sliver of sunshine and know there’s hope for humanity. Last weekend on our local Google group, a lady warned the neighborhood that “three teenage boys are throwing snow balls at passing cars and people. Including older women.” A self-identified “older woman” chimed in, saying she&rsquo...
Torpy at Large: Now, 1 mayor must somehow bridge Atlanta’s 2 sides
 A Keisha Lance Bottoms supporter was teasing (sort of) that the Great White Hope went down in flames during the mayoral election Tuesday. I responded that flags were at half-staff in mourning along West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead, where three precincts went 92, 93 and 95 percent for Mary Norwood, who lost by 759 votes out of 92...

11:00 AM Friday, Dec. 08, 2017

A Keisha Lance Bottoms supporter was teasing (sort of) that the Great White Hope went down in flames during the mayoral election Tuesday. I responded that flags were at half-staff in mourning along West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead, where three precincts went 92, 93 and 95 percent for Mary Norwood, who lost by 759 votes out of 92...
Torpy at Large: City Council high jinks reflect roughshod Reed era
 The Atlanta City Council’s last regular meeting during the reign of Mayor Kasim Reed demonstrated what Atlanta has become — confident, successful, chaotic and a bit of a bully. When time is short, there’s a sense of urgency. Legislation must get rammed or even sneaked through. First, though, the council had to endure the...

11:00 AM Wednesday, Dec. 06, 2017

The Atlanta City Council’s last regular meeting during the reign of Mayor Kasim Reed demonstrated what Atlanta has become — confident, successful, chaotic and a bit of a bully. When time is short, there’s a sense of urgency. Legislation must get rammed or even sneaked through. First, though, the council had to endure the...