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: Atlanta garbage crews sick of being treated like trash
 The man in the gray work uniform with reflective orange stripes was a welcome respite at a recent Atlanta City Council meeting. After hours of droning public debate over the Gulch Tax Giveaway project, Stober Davis walked to the mic and in a deep voice grabbed the crowd’s attention: “I’m gonna say rats. I’m gonna...

Posted: 2 days ago

The man in the gray work uniform with reflective orange stripes was a welcome respite at a recent Atlanta City Council meeting. After hours of droning public debate over the Gulch Tax Giveaway project, Stober Davis walked to the mic and in a deep voice grabbed the crowd’s attention: “I’m gonna say rats. I’m gonna...
Torpy at Large: Lawmakers in crosswalk may be dimmer than they appear
 Drivers in downtown Atlanta are being forced to take a bothersome detour. The Georgia Legislature is back in town for a special session. Mitchell Street, which runs on the south side of the state Capitol, has been closed. A Capitol police squad car, lights a-flashing, blocked the road Tuesday as Georgia Department of Transportation crews...

Posted: 4 days ago

Drivers in downtown Atlanta are being forced to take a bothersome detour. The Georgia Legislature is back in town for a special session. Mitchell Street, which runs on the south side of the state Capitol, has been closed. A Capitol police squad car, lights a-flashing, blocked the road Tuesday as Georgia Department of Transportation crews...
Torpy at Large: Glad that voters clipped the Eagle wannabe-city’s wings
 Sometimes, the voters really get one right. On Tuesday, some in Henry County killed a nasty little piece of legislation that would have created the city of Eagle’s Landing and made no Georgia city safe. A “yes” vote in favor of forming the new city would have pulled some 9,000 residents out of the existing city of Stockbridge...

Posted: 9 days ago

Sometimes, the voters really get one right. On Tuesday, some in Henry County killed a nasty little piece of legislation that would have created the city of Eagle’s Landing and made no Georgia city safe. A “yes” vote in favor of forming the new city would have pulled some 9,000 residents out of the existing city of Stockbridge...
Torpy at Large: How the 10-hour slog to a Gulch win leaves us spent
 In the end, Big Money won out. I thought Atlanta City Council members opposed to the Outrageous Gulch Giveaway might make a heroic last stand. But they never had a chance. You remember how it worked out for Custer. The $1.9 billion taxpayer subsidy to build a gleaming mini-city in the weedy railroad gulch where Falcon fans tailgate was narrowly ...

Posted: 10 days ago

In the end, Big Money won out. I thought Atlanta City Council members opposed to the Outrageous Gulch Giveaway might make a heroic last stand. But they never had a chance. You remember how it worked out for Custer. The $1.9 billion taxpayer subsidy to build a gleaming mini-city in the weedy railroad gulch where Falcon fans tailgate was narrowly ...
Torpy at Large: If you get the vapors, GA governor’s race isn’t for you
 Last year, after progressive activists shouted down Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Evans at a convention, I wrote about the left eating its own and had one thought: Hello, Governor Cagle. Tells you what I know. My point at the time was that left-wing activists denigrating centrist candidates and party members was short-sighted...

Posted: 13 days ago

Last year, after progressive activists shouted down Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Evans at a convention, I wrote about the left eating its own and had one thought: Hello, Governor Cagle. Tells you what I know. My point at the time was that left-wing activists denigrating centrist candidates and party members was short-sighted...
Torpy at Large: Who says MARTA West End doesn’t need Abernathy name?
 It seemed like a fine idea, an effort by MARTA officials to honor Juanita Abernathy, wife of a civil rights leader and a civic treasure herself. It also sounds like a mouthful: The Juanita Jones and Ralph David Abernathy at West End Station. In January, MARTA’s board voted unanimously — and quietly — to honor Mrs. Abernathy...

Posted: 18 days ago

It seemed like a fine idea, an effort by MARTA officials to honor Juanita Abernathy, wife of a civil rights leader and a civic treasure herself. It also sounds like a mouthful: The Juanita Jones and Ralph David Abernathy at West End Station. In January, MARTA’s board voted unanimously — and quietly — to honor Mrs. Abernathy...
Torpy at Large: The Atlanta Gulch question as a lesson in stressin’
 There’s an old saying: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” I’ve been thinking about that since Tuesday, when opponents of the Big Tax Giveaway in the Gulch stood on the steps of Atlanta City Hall and trotted out the opinions of four learned professors who all thought badly of the deal. The plan...

Posted: 23 days ago

There’s an old saying: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” I’ve been thinking about that since Tuesday, when opponents of the Big Tax Giveaway in the Gulch stood on the steps of Atlanta City Hall and trotted out the opinions of four learned professors who all thought badly of the deal. The plan...
Torpy at Large: Another ‘chance of a lifetime’ awaits South Downtown
 Morris Habif seems to be a visionary when it comes to Atlanta real estate. Or maybe it’s just that if you hang around long enough, you’ll look smart. In 1968 — half a century ago, mind you — The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution, the AJC’s predecessors, both ran an article about Habif headlined, &ldquo...

Posted: 25 days ago

Morris Habif seems to be a visionary when it comes to Atlanta real estate. Or maybe it’s just that if you hang around long enough, you’ll look smart. In 1968 — half a century ago, mind you — The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution, the AJC’s predecessors, both ran an article about Habif headlined, &ldquo...
Torpy at Large: A visit to ‘holy hell,’ aka south downtown Atlanta
 The area south of Five Points is downtown Atlanta’s unmade bed. Actually, Councilwoman Cleta Winslow says it’s worse than that. “I’m ashamed of how we look; south of Marietta Street looks like holy hell,” she said at a recent council meeting. “We have two sides of downtown Atlanta. That needs to stop.&rdquo...

10:00 AM Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018

The area south of Five Points is downtown Atlanta’s unmade bed. Actually, Councilwoman Cleta Winslow says it’s worse than that. “I’m ashamed of how we look; south of Marietta Street looks like holy hell,” she said at a recent council meeting. “We have two sides of downtown Atlanta. That needs to stop.&rdquo...
Torpy at Large: Black man, white kids, and our arrested development
 See something, say something. That has become the rallying cry for a hyper-alert nation on edge, a paranoid population caught in perpetual dread about the next horror that will befall us. A young black man with a couple of white kids?!? Call the cops! Quick! There must be something twisted going on here. That’s what happened last...

10:00 AM Friday, Oct. 12, 2018

See something, say something. That has become the rallying cry for a hyper-alert nation on edge, a paranoid population caught in perpetual dread about the next horror that will befall us. A young black man with a couple of white kids?!? Call the cops! Quick! There must be something twisted going on here. That’s what happened last...
Torpy at Large: When bail reform means you bail on returning to court
 The city of Atlanta this year allowed a lot more low-level offenders to be released on their own signature rather than having to scrounge up cash for bail. But preliminary figures show many defendants aren’t worth their John Hancocks. Numbers mustered up by Atlanta Municipal Court Chief Judge Christopher Portis for a limited snapshot...

10:21 AM Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018

The city of Atlanta this year allowed a lot more low-level offenders to be released on their own signature rather than having to scrounge up cash for bail. But preliminary figures show many defendants aren’t worth their John Hancocks. Numbers mustered up by Atlanta Municipal Court Chief Judge Christopher Portis for a limited snapshot...