Archibong Joins CD/HR Cmte; Bond, Wan Join Public Safety Cmte (UPDATE 1)

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(APN) ATLANTA — The Committee assignments for the City Council of Atlanta are out for 2011, and it appears that Council President Ceasar Mitchell has made several changes.

UPDATE: Since this article was published last week, Mitchell put Yolanda Adrean back on PS/LA; took Archibong off PS/LA; and took Adrean off Transportation, according to an updated document obtained by Atlanta Progressive News.  APN also confirmed the second round of changes with Mitchell via text message.  The updated article below reflects the most current information.

ARCHIBONG JOINS CD/HR

Natalyn Archibong (District 5), by Atlanta Progressive News’s estimation the most progressive Member of Council–and the only Member to have a 100 percent progressive voting record in 2010 or cumulatively–has been added to the Community Development/Human Resources Cmte.

This is significant because it adds a pro-affordable housing, pro-working family voice to what has been largely a pro-developer committee with little willingness to perform meaningful oversight.

It is also significant because Archibong is a strong supporter of public comment and input, in a committee where the public has been at odds with Chairwoman Joyce Sheperd (District 12), who has sought to limit public comment.

Sheperd’s rule, limiting public comment to five minutes, and two minutes if someone arrives late, has discouraged some members of the public from speaking out.

Committee Members have spent at least a couple hours, cumulatively, debating, defending, arguing, or negotiating over whether to limit or extend time.

The Committee has several times overruled the Chair and allowed members of the public to speak for additional time, after those individuals requested more time.

The Chairwoman has also granted additional time to a developer who donated to her campaign, Sharon Gay, without any vote by the Cmte.

Bond (Post 1-at-large) has been the leading supporter of public comment in the Cmte. 

Kwanza Hall (District 2) and Cleta Winslow (District 4) have also joined in voting to allow citizens to speak for additional time.

On the other hand, Alex Wan (District 6) has been a staunch opponent of additional or unlimited public comment, except one time when Sharon Gay, a developer’s attorney, wanted to speak.

Ivory Young (District 3), who is on the Committee, has supported limiting public comment, but chooses not to do so in Public Safety/Legal Administration (PS/LA), which he chairs.  He also has at least once supported a time extension in CD/HR.

This brings the number of Cmte Members from 6 to 7.

CHANGES AT PUBLIC SAFETY

Wan and Bond have been added to the PS/LA Cmte.  In addition to Finance/Executive and CD/HR, Public Safety is considered one of the most important committees.

Both Bond and Wan have shown some leadership and concern regarding public safety.  Bond, for example, introduced a resolution apologizing for the Atlanta Eagle raid; he also had proposed a reorganization of police precincts.

Wan has addressed crime in Midtown at town hall meetings and, according to the District 6 newsletter, recently held a meeting with the APD to discuss ways for APD and citizens to work together towards public safety.

Archibong and Lamar Willis (Post 3-at-large) were taken off the Committee.

The removal of Willis is of concern because he was a strong supporter of the Atlanta Citizen Review Board.

COMMITTEE ON COUNCIL

At Committee on Council, Wan and Bond were removed, and Archibong and Adrean were added.

CITY UTILITIES

At City Utilities, Hall was taken off, and Willis was added.

ZONING

Hall was added to Zoning, bringing it from 6 to 7 Members.

TRANSPORTATION

Archibong was removed from Transportation.

REVIEW

There are now five members who serve on both CD/HR and PS/LA Cmte, which run back to back on Tuesdays: Young, Archibong, Wan, Sheperd, and Bond.

CD/HR sometimes runs over, creating pressure on CD/HR Chairwoman Sheperd to rush through the meeting and limit public comment.  Moreover, the Council Members who serve on both seem to be tired and/or distracted by the time PS/LA starts.

However, serving on two important Committees like that is a privilege.

Wan, a new Council Member who serves on CD/HR, PS/LA, and Finance/Executive Cmtes now, has one of the best appointments.

Young, who is on CD/HR and Zoning, and Chairs PS/LA, is also doing quite well.

As is CT Martin (District 10), who serves on PS/LA, Finance, and City Utilities, and chairs Transportation.

Also include Adrean, who serves on PS/LA, City Utilities, and COC, and chairs Finance.

(END / 2010, 2011)

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