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Latest from Bill Torpy

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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: 7 hours 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...

Posted: 2 days 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: 4 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: 8 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: 14 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: 16 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: 28 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: 30 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...
Torpy at Large: It’s the end of ‘The Pine,’ but homelessness continues
 Just before noon on Thursday, the last occupants of the homeless shelter at Peachtree and Pine streets in Atlanta carted their belongings to a van and then drove off to their new lives. Anthony Murphy, 68, a six-year resident and a volunteer leader there, carried a painting and a bag and glanced wistfully back at the massive brick fortress...

11:00 AM Monday, Dec. 04, 2017

Just before noon on Thursday, the last occupants of the homeless shelter at Peachtree and Pine streets in Atlanta carted their belongings to a van and then drove off to their new lives. Anthony Murphy, 68, a six-year resident and a volunteer leader there, carried a painting and a bag and glanced wistfully back at the massive brick fortress...
Torpy at Large: Atlanta politics as usual? Not this mayoral runoff
 Former Mayor Shirley Franklin broke ranks this week with Atlanta’s traditional black political alliance and endorsed Mary Norwood, a mayoral candidate who is noticeably white. I called civil rights icon — and former mayor — Andrew Young to see what this means. Is the old Maynard Jackson Machine now dented and in a ditch?...

11:00 AM Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017

Former Mayor Shirley Franklin broke ranks this week with Atlanta’s traditional black political alliance and endorsed Mary Norwood, a mayoral candidate who is noticeably white. I called civil rights icon — and former mayor — Andrew Young to see what this means. Is the old Maynard Jackson Machine now dented and in a ditch?...
Torpy at Large: Reefer Madness still lives in parts of Georgia
 Here’s a dispatch from the ongoing war on drugs that Georgia continues to wage. You keep hearing that nickel-and-dime marijuana cases no longer take place. That law enforcement has moved on to real crimes. Not so. This is one of those throwback cases that the state’s drug-industrial machine can’t seem to let go of, even...

11:00 AM Friday, Nov. 24, 2017

Here’s a dispatch from the ongoing war on drugs that Georgia continues to wage. You keep hearing that nickel-and-dime marijuana cases no longer take place. That law enforcement has moved on to real crimes. Not so. This is one of those throwback cases that the state’s drug-industrial machine can’t seem to let go of, even...
Torpy at Large: Too bad Atlanta’s immigration hypocrisy isn’t illegal
 Earlier this month, Mayor Kasim Reed boasted on his very active Twitter account that his town is immigrant friendly. “Atlanta is proud to be a welcoming city,” he wrote. “Pleased to be a part of the Safe Cities Network offering legal representation for those individuals facing deportation.” Fighting for the rights...

11:00 AM Monday, Nov. 20, 2017

Earlier this month, Mayor Kasim Reed boasted on his very active Twitter account that his town is immigrant friendly. “Atlanta is proud to be a welcoming city,” he wrote. “Pleased to be a part of the Safe Cities Network offering legal representation for those individuals facing deportation.” Fighting for the rights...
Torpy at Large: Why Atlanta’s runoff race can’t simply run on race
 In the 2009 Atlanta mayoral race, a group called the Black Leadership Forum circulated a position paper calling for African-American voters to unite around the most viable black candidate to stave off a challenge by a strong white contender, Mary Norwood. It should be noted that Kasim Reed, then a state senator running for mayor, strongly...

11:00 AM Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017

In the 2009 Atlanta mayoral race, a group called the Black Leadership Forum circulated a position paper calling for African-American voters to unite around the most viable black candidate to stave off a challenge by a strong white contender, Mary Norwood. It should be noted that Kasim Reed, then a state senator running for mayor, strongly...
Torpy at Large: Reed rhetoric hints at a racial runoff strategy
 As we head to a mayoral runoff next month between Atlanta councilwomen Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood, the question often asked is, “Will things get untidy?” The campaign’s homestretch is set up to reveal the division lines in The City Too Busy to Hate — north/south, white/black, although you’ll likely...

11:00 AM Friday, Nov. 10, 2017

As we head to a mayoral runoff next month between Atlanta councilwomen Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood, the question often asked is, “Will things get untidy?” The campaign’s homestretch is set up to reveal the division lines in The City Too Busy to Hate — north/south, white/black, although you’ll likely...
Torpy at Large: The real reason Casey Cagle is on Decatur’s case
 Lt. Governor Casey Cagle this week again tore into Decatur, alleging that the liberal bastion is a hideaway — no, more like a sanctuary — for immigrants who have entered this country without legal permission. Cagle filed a complaint with something called the Immigration Enforcement Review Board, a kangaroo court...

11:00 AM Thursday, Nov. 09, 2017

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle this week again tore into Decatur, alleging that the liberal bastion is a hideaway — no, more like a sanctuary — for immigrants who have entered this country without legal permission. Cagle filed a complaint with something called the Immigration Enforcement Review Board, a kangaroo court...
Torpy at Large: Status quo is the Bottoms line in Atlanta mayor’s race
 As Atlanta voters shuffle to the polls Tuesday to pick a new mayor, some might desire a candidate who wants to clean up City Hall. For two years, the feds have investigated bribery in the city’s contracting process. Two contractors have already ‘fessed up, as did city procurement director Adam Smith, which is a worrisome thing...

11:00 AM Monday, Nov. 06, 2017

As Atlanta voters shuffle to the polls Tuesday to pick a new mayor, some might desire a candidate who wants to clean up City Hall. For two years, the feds have investigated bribery in the city’s contracting process. Two contractors have already ‘fessed up, as did city procurement director Adam Smith, which is a worrisome thing...
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