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: Fire sale of Georgia town a sign of desperate times
 It’s after 1 p.m. and I’ve been sitting for 45 minutes on the raised sidewalk outside the old brick bank building at Main and Railroad streets, the historic heart of Toomsboro, Ga. It is quiet. Eerie quiet. The only humans to pass by are the occasional motorist or the drivers of the kaolin trucks that rumble past every couple...

Posted: a minute ago

It’s after 1 p.m. and I’ve been sitting for 45 minutes on the raised sidewalk outside the old brick bank building at Main and Railroad streets, the historic heart of Toomsboro, Ga. It is quiet. Eerie quiet. The only humans to pass by are the occasional motorist or the drivers of the kaolin trucks that rumble past every couple...
Torpy at Large: Gulch Giveaway a wonder of equal-opportunity outrage
 A familiar but amplified voice boomed through Atlanta’s City Hall atrium as I walked toward City Council chambers on Monday. “Don’t sell the city down the drain!” it bellowed. Entering the chambers, I could see Derrick Boazman, a former councilman/rabble rouser at the podium. Boazman, first up for citizen comment,...

Posted: 4 days ago

A familiar but amplified voice boomed through Atlanta’s City Hall atrium as I walked toward City Council chambers on Monday. “Don’t sell the city down the drain!” it bellowed. Entering the chambers, I could see Derrick Boazman, a former councilman/rabble rouser at the podium. Boazman, first up for citizen comment,...
Torpy at Large: Atlanta’s Gulch giveaway a real gulper
 Recently, I wrote about the Georgia Aquarium getting a $7.5 million tax break from the city to build a large addition to house sharks. I called it the Affordable Housing Program for Big, Scary Fish. But you want scary? Forget the sharks and come to Atlanta’s City Hall to watch the massive tax giveaway being heaped upon a Los Angeles...

Posted: 9 days ago

Recently, I wrote about the Georgia Aquarium getting a $7.5 million tax break from the city to build a large addition to house sharks. I called it the Affordable Housing Program for Big, Scary Fish. But you want scary? Forget the sharks and come to Atlanta’s City Hall to watch the massive tax giveaway being heaped upon a Los Angeles...
Torpy at Large: Daggers drawn in fight for bigger slice of MARTA pie
 Gwinnett County just negotiated a great deal from MARTA to come on board. This caused DeKalb County residents, who have paid into the system for decades, to scream bloody murder. Atlanta has a new pile of money for transit because of a new sales tax. This, of course, brings its own problems. In May, MARTA announced a plan to fund a bunch...

Posted: 11 days ago

Gwinnett County just negotiated a great deal from MARTA to come on board. This caused DeKalb County residents, who have paid into the system for decades, to scream bloody murder. Atlanta has a new pile of money for transit because of a new sales tax. This, of course, brings its own problems. In May, MARTA announced a plan to fund a bunch...
Torpy at Large: Law enforcement dithered as crazed cop sought his prey
 An intense GBI investigation found no evidence that a murderous Glynn County cop got help from colleagues in tracking down his estranged wife and her boyfriend. But the voluminous investigative file indicates the justice system there totally failed the doomed woman who had repeatedly — and desperately — warned officials that her...

Posted: 13 days ago

An intense GBI investigation found no evidence that a murderous Glynn County cop got help from colleagues in tracking down his estranged wife and her boyfriend. But the voluminous investigative file indicates the justice system there totally failed the doomed woman who had repeatedly — and desperately — warned officials that her...
Torpy at Large: Welfare for sharks. Aquarium the latest on tax train
 The term “affordable housing” gets tossed around a lot these days as the cost of keeping a roof over one’s head increases faster than most people’s bosses are willing to pay them. So, it’s encouraging to see Invest Atlanta step up to do something about it. The city’s development authority has started its...

Posted: 18 days ago

The term “affordable housing” gets tossed around a lot these days as the cost of keeping a roof over one’s head increases faster than most people’s bosses are willing to pay them. So, it’s encouraging to see Invest Atlanta step up to do something about it. The city’s development authority has started its...
Torpy at Large: The world of street art in Atlanta ain’t for the faint
 Artist Linda Mitchell got a hint she was stepping into a very unfamiliar world when an aging skater dude with tons of ‘tude approached her as she worked on the largest canvas in her career. Mitchell had been commissioned to paint the back of the concrete skateboard ramp at the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark along the Beltline. Mitchell...

Posted: 23 days ago

Artist Linda Mitchell got a hint she was stepping into a very unfamiliar world when an aging skater dude with tons of ‘tude approached her as she worked on the largest canvas in her career. Mitchell had been commissioned to paint the back of the concrete skateboard ramp at the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark along the Beltline. Mitchell...
Torpy at Large: Empty nesting. Or what to do when the hellions leave
 A couple of decades ago, my mother and father were leaving our Atlanta home after dropping off my youngest sister, who had graduated from college and was moving here from Chicago. As they drove away, their mission completed, my dad, who was a taciturn fellow, muffled some sobs. Not only was the task of moving their youngest to Atlanta finished...

Posted: 25 days ago

A couple of decades ago, my mother and father were leaving our Atlanta home after dropping off my youngest sister, who had graduated from college and was moving here from Chicago. As they drove away, their mission completed, my dad, who was a taciturn fellow, muffled some sobs. Not only was the task of moving their youngest to Atlanta finished...
Torpy at Large: When old crimes kill a new man’s career dreams
 Benjamin Paul was thrilled by the opportunity Atlanta afforded. The single father was a career adviser at Miami Dade College and, in June, was offered a similar gig at Georgia Tech. It was a ticket to the big time in an ascendant city. The $50,000 job was not only career advancement, it was a poignant tale of redemption. Paul, a drug-selling...

Posted: 27 days ago

Benjamin Paul was thrilled by the opportunity Atlanta afforded. The single father was a career adviser at Miami Dade College and, in June, was offered a similar gig at Georgia Tech. It was a ticket to the big time in an ascendant city. The $50,000 job was not only career advancement, it was a poignant tale of redemption. Paul, a drug-selling...
Torpy at Large: Is DeKalb church’s plan something devilish in disguise?
 Naturally, there were soccer fields involved in the development dispute in Clarkston, the old Southern town that has become the civic embodiment of immigration in America. A decade ago, the city was made (in)famous by a New York Times article — and a best-selling book — recounting the story of the Fugees, the plucky...

10:49 AM Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018

Naturally, there were soccer fields involved in the development dispute in Clarkston, the old Southern town that has become the civic embodiment of immigration in America. A decade ago, the city was made (in)famous by a New York Times article — and a best-selling book — recounting the story of the Fugees, the plucky...
Torpy at Large: Who’ll get burned next as City Hall scandal steams up?
 Another one bites the dust at Atlanta City Hall. This time, it’s former Mayor Kasim Reed’s deputy chief of staff, a highly educated City Hall veteran who pocketed bribes but insists she didn’t know what they were at the time. Oh well, I suppose the concept of corruption takes a minute to sink in on some people. Katrina Taylor-Parks...

10:00 AM Friday, Aug. 17, 2018

Another one bites the dust at Atlanta City Hall. This time, it’s former Mayor Kasim Reed’s deputy chief of staff, a highly educated City Hall veteran who pocketed bribes but insists she didn’t know what they were at the time. Oh well, I suppose the concept of corruption takes a minute to sink in on some people. Katrina Taylor-Parks...