Leon Stafford

Local government reporter

Local government reporter Leon Stafford, a Tennessee grad, has been at the AJC since 1997. He covers Atlanta city government.

Latest from Leon Stafford

Newly elected Forest Park politician denies trading alcohol for votes
 A newly elected member of the Forest Park City Council is pushing back against allegations she and other candidates traded alcohol for votes in last week’s elections.  Kimberly James told Channel 2 Action News reporter Nicole Carr said charges made by her opponent, former Forest Park Councilman Tommy Smith, that she and the...

Posted: 4 days ago

A newly elected member of the Forest Park City Council is pushing back against allegations she and other candidates traded alcohol for votes in last week’s elections.  Kimberly James told Channel 2 Action News reporter Nicole Carr said charges made by her opponent, former Forest Park Councilman Tommy Smith, that she and the...
Atlanta mayor hopefuls debate over a divided city
 The candidates hoping to succeed Kasim Reed as Atlanta’s next mayor talked about racial issues that divide the city, including gentrification, the lack of jobs in relation to ZIP codes and the so-called “school to jail pipeline.” “The issue of race frames this election,” said former city of Atlanta...

6:31 PM Sunday, Oct. 08, 2017

The candidates hoping to succeed Kasim Reed as Atlanta’s next mayor talked about racial issues that divide the city, including gentrification, the lack of jobs in relation to ZIP codes and the so-called “school to jail pipeline.” “The issue of race frames this election,” said former city of Atlanta...
Atlanta mayoral hopeful Peter Aman to rivals: no fair using city staff
 Peter Aman, the former COO of the city of Atlanta and a candidate to succeed Kasim Reed as mayor, on Wednesday called on Atlanta’s City Council to restrict city staff from working on the campaigns of their bosses. “I’m calling on City Council to enact a resolution, in fact a binding ordinance, prohibiting full-time...

6:48 PM Wednesday, Oct. 04, 2017

Peter Aman, the former COO of the city of Atlanta and a candidate to succeed Kasim Reed as mayor, on Wednesday called on Atlanta’s City Council to restrict city staff from working on the campaigns of their bosses. “I’m calling on City Council to enact a resolution, in fact a binding ordinance, prohibiting full-time...
Atlanta Police Chief Shields: Pot still illegal in city despite change
 You might want to think twice before you light up that joint in Piedmont Park or anywhere else in the city of Atlanta. The drug is still illegal, despite Monday’s move by the Atlanta City Council to eliminate jail time and reduce the penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana, Atlanta Police Chief Erica Shields said Tuesday...

7:21 PM Tuesday, Oct. 03, 2017

You might want to think twice before you light up that joint in Piedmont Park or anywhere else in the city of Atlanta. The drug is still illegal, despite Monday’s move by the Atlanta City Council to eliminate jail time and reduce the penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana, Atlanta Police Chief Erica Shields said Tuesday...
ATL Police Chief Shields: pot still illegal in city despite law change
 Atlanta Police Chief Erica Shields said Tuesday that marijuana possession is still illegal in the city of Atlanta, despite a move by the Atlanta City Council on Monday to lower fines and eliminate jail time for those caught with small quantities of the drug. “In the weeks leading up to this, there has been  all this emphasis on decriminalization...

5:16 PM Tuesday, Oct. 03, 2017

Atlanta Police Chief Erica Shields said Tuesday that marijuana possession is still illegal in the city of Atlanta, despite a move by the Atlanta City Council on Monday to lower fines and eliminate jail time for those caught with small quantities of the drug. “In the weeks leading up to this, there has been all this emphasis on decriminalization...
Atlanta City Council cuts penalties, jail time for some pot possession
Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall and state Sen. Vincent Fort at a Friday rally for changes in marijuana possession laws in Atlanta. The Council on Monday unanimously passed legislation cutting fees, eliminating jail time for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana in the city. LEON STAFFORD/AJC

12:41 AM Tuesday, Oct. 03, 2017

Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall and state Sen. Vincent Fort at a Friday rally for changes in marijuana possession laws in Atlanta. The Council on Monday unanimously passed legislation cutting fees, eliminating jail time for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana in the city. LEON STAFFORD/AJC
Atlanta Mayor Reed to review, sign changes to city marijuana laws
 Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said late Monday he will review and sign new legislation that changes penalties on possession of small amounts of marijuana. “Thank you to @KwanzaHall & @KeishaBottoms for your leadership on marijuana reform. I look forward to reviewing & signing this legislation,” Reed said in a tweet. The Atlanta City...

12:41 AM Tuesday, Oct. 03, 2017

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said late Monday he will review and sign new legislation that changes penalties on possession of small amounts of marijuana. “Thank you to @KwanzaHall & @KeishaBottoms for your leadership on marijuana reform. I look forward to reviewing & signing this legislation,” Reed said in a tweet. The Atlanta City...
Atlanta City Council cuts penalties, jail time for some pot possession
 The Atlanta City Council on Monday unanimously passed legislation eliminating jail time and reducing penalties on possession of small amounts of marijuana, but not before mayoral candidates got into heated debates and backers of the bill became rowdy. The legislation, which was resurrected in September after spending months in committees...

10:53 PM Monday, Oct. 02, 2017

The Atlanta City Council on Monday unanimously passed legislation eliminating jail time and reducing penalties on possession of small amounts of marijuana, but not before mayoral candidates got into heated debates and backers of the bill became rowdy. The legislation, which was resurrected in September after spending months in committees...
Atlanta City Council lessens pot possession law in 15-0 vote
 The Atlanta City Council on Monday unanimously approved legislation that will lower the fine for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, illiciting rousing applause by a packed audience that has been pushing for the vote for months. City Councilman Kwanza Hall, who also is running to succeed Kasim Reed as Atlanta next mayor, has been...

8:58 PM Monday, Oct. 02, 2017

The Atlanta City Council on Monday unanimously approved legislation that will lower the fine for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, illiciting rousing applause by a packed audience that has been pushing for the vote for months. City Councilman Kwanza Hall, who also is running to succeed Kasim Reed as Atlanta next mayor, has been...
ATL Mayor Kasim Reed orders flags at half-staff in Vegas solidarity
 Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Monday ordered flags on city property to be flown at half-staff in respect for the shooting victims in Las Vegas. “We are holding all of the victims, their families and loved ones in our hearts today – hearts that are heavy with sorrow for this unspeakable loss of life, the suffering of those...

5:25 PM Monday, Oct. 02, 2017

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Monday ordered flags on city property to be flown at half-staff in respect for the shooting victims in Las Vegas. “We are holding all of the victims, their families and loved ones in our hearts today – hearts that are heavy with sorrow for this unspeakable loss of life, the suffering of those...
Bernie Sanders stumped for Vincent Fort’s mayoral campaign Saturday
 U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders lent Atlanta mayoral hopeful Vincent Fort some of his star power Saturday in a rousing rally that was part sermon for “the 99 percent” and part call to arms to fight back against Washington. Enthusiasitc Sanders fans — many of them white millennials — crowded into the sanctuary of Saint Philip...

10:31 PM Saturday, Sep. 30, 2017

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders lent Atlanta mayoral hopeful Vincent Fort some of his star power Saturday in a rousing rally that was part sermon for “the 99 percent” and part call to arms to fight back against Washington. Enthusiasitc Sanders fans — many of them white millennials — crowded into the sanctuary of Saint Philip...