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: Propping up the boonies, Atlanta’s thankless burden
 A bill proposed in the state House would require city dwellers like myself to pony up extra when watching movies on Netflix so they can run high-speed internet out to the boonies. It turns out that it’s not worth it for companies to deliver broadband out to these far-flung localities. The free market system, the cornerstone of...

Posted: a day ago

A bill proposed in the state House would require city dwellers like myself to pony up extra when watching movies on Netflix so they can run high-speed internet out to the boonies. It turns out that it’s not worth it for companies to deliver broadband out to these far-flung localities. The free market system, the cornerstone of...
Torpy at Large: A push to rebrand MARTA as ‘The ATL’ has me SMH
 Ever since it was envisioned half a century ago, MARTA has always felt hemmed in. Sure, the transit agency has tried to venture out to places such as Cobb and Gwinnett counties. But voters there have summarily smacked the agency back to its Atlanta home, including an ugly racially tinged referendum in 1990. Time has — somewhat &mdash...

Posted: 5 days ago

Ever since it was envisioned half a century ago, MARTA has always felt hemmed in. Sure, the transit agency has tried to venture out to places such as Cobb and Gwinnett counties. But voters there have summarily smacked the agency back to its Atlanta home, including an ugly racially tinged referendum in 1990. Time has — somewhat &mdash...
Torpy at Large: Even arugula can’t offset the ills of gerrymandering
 I took one of those Facebook personality tests the other day to rank my political leanings: I’m a left-leaning centrist, 55 percent lib/45 percent right. The test, I figure, ranked me a bit left because I said I liked arugula. I bring this up because a couple of hours after taking this quiz, I attended a Georgia legislative committee...

Posted: 9 days ago

I took one of those Facebook personality tests the other day to rank my political leanings: I’m a left-leaning centrist, 55 percent lib/45 percent right. The test, I figure, ranked me a bit left because I said I liked arugula. I bring this up because a couple of hours after taking this quiz, I attended a Georgia legislative committee...
Torpy at Large: Carving a city like a turkey to get Eagles Landing
 Imagine if Buckhead residents decided they’d had enough of the city of Atlanta and wanted out. They were tired of the political clout residing elsewhere in the city. Or they wanted to leave behind the city’s poorer, less desirable portions to form their own government. Well, a bill now in the state Legislature would create an...

Posted: 15 days ago

Imagine if Buckhead residents decided they’d had enough of the city of Atlanta and wanted out. They were tired of the political clout residing elsewhere in the city. Or they wanted to leave behind the city’s poorer, less desirable portions to form their own government. Well, a bill now in the state Legislature would create an...
Torpy at Large: Is a Hawks arena in College Park nothing but net loss?
 In late 2016, College Park officials announced a deal to bring the Atlanta Hawks’ minor league basketball team to an arena they planned to build near the airport. The 3,500-seat facility, which would be part of the Georgia International Convention Center, would cost somewhere between $10 million and $40 million, a city official ventured...

Posted: 17 days ago

In late 2016, College Park officials announced a deal to bring the Atlanta Hawks’ minor league basketball team to an arena they planned to build near the airport. The 3,500-seat facility, which would be part of the Georgia International Convention Center, would cost somewhere between $10 million and $40 million, a city official ventured...
Torpy at Large: It takes a big shovel — Amazon — to fill Atlanta’s Gulch
 Atlanta’s Gulch, that gaping hole downtown next to where Arthur Blank plopped his $1.5 billion football stadium, now needs something to fill it up. How about 11.5 million square feet of live-work-play? But mostly work, as in 50,000 Amazon workers. The quest to snag Amazon’s second headquarters, the Great White Whale of Commerce...

Posted: 19 days ago

Atlanta’s Gulch, that gaping hole downtown next to where Arthur Blank plopped his $1.5 billion football stadium, now needs something to fill it up. How about 11.5 million square feet of live-work-play? But mostly work, as in 50,000 Amazon workers. The quest to snag Amazon’s second headquarters, the Great White Whale of Commerce...
Torpy at Large: Racial slurs in online posts? Try this n-word, ‘NO’
 Another week, another college student is toast after dropping a racial slur on social media. In the most recent case, Natalia Martinez, a freshman soccer player at Georgia State University, dropped out of school rather than face the brewing conflict started by her own foolishness. The team had suspended her and a petition circulated...

Posted: 24 days ago

Another week, another college student is toast after dropping a racial slur on social media. In the most recent case, Natalia Martinez, a freshman soccer player at Georgia State University, dropped out of school rather than face the brewing conflict started by her own foolishness. The team had suspended her and a petition circulated...
Torpy at Large: Corruption at City Hall and MARTA: The daily double!
 Tuesday was seemingly Public Corruption Day in the Atlanta courtroom of federal Judge Steve Jones. In the morning, Adam Smith, the disgraced Atlanta procurement director, stood before Jones, dabbed his eyes and was sentenced to 27 months in prison  for taking more than 40 bribes — $1,000 a pop — over a two-year period...

Posted: 29 days ago

Tuesday was seemingly Public Corruption Day in the Atlanta courtroom of federal Judge Steve Jones. In the morning, Adam Smith, the disgraced Atlanta procurement director, stood before Jones, dabbed his eyes and was sentenced to 27 months in prison  for taking more than 40 bribes — $1,000 a pop — over a two-year period...
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...

11:19 AM Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018

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...

11:00 AM Monday, Jan. 15, 2018

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...

11:00 AM Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018

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...