APN Celebrates “Sweet Sixteen” Years of Publication
Welp! If the corporation to which I gave birth were an actual child, they would now be old enough to get legally emancipated in the State of Georgia.
Atlanta Progressive News – sixteen years and counting!
That really is a long time in this industry. APN has definitely moved into the historical institution status, which is to say, we’ve been around for a hot minute!
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The story of APN’s founding is that I had just been displaced from New Orleans as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
I had already resolved to launch a city-focused news publication that was supposed to be called New Orleans Street News. But I relocated here and, instead, founded Atlanta Progressive News. Progressive News because, of course, Atlanta’s downtown streets lack the sense of community that would have justified an “Atlanta Street News”.
Nov. 23, 2005 – that was when we published our very first article online, on a pitiful, static Network Solutions template; and sent out our first e-newsletter to ten people using Gmail!
There is something to be said for, after all these years, us to be still standing; and to be one of the ones left standing from the media ecosystem that existed in Atlanta when we were founded, in 2005.
I guess you could say I don’t like to let things go. So essentially, APN is likely to just keep going like this.
One exciting development is that we have agreed to donate a copy of our website archives to Georgia State University Library, where they will electronically store our three thousand-plus articles and posts as part of their Social Change Collections, part of their Special Collections and Archives.
Of course, all of our posts will remain available for free on our website, http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com
This last year has been an incredible year for our coverage, especially of City of Atlanta Municipal Elections. We provided in-depth coverage of all the races and published articles highlighting each of the candidates for City Council – not just the presumed frontrunners.
With our questionnaire, which we developed with the assistance of News Writer Adrian Paulette Coleman in Google Forms, we leveraged the forum of our publication to secure the support of dozens of candidates for Atlanta City Council on specific progressive policy proposals.
And we continue to provide ongoing coverage of our focus areas: affordable housing, the environment, and democracy.
As some of you may recall, I am currently obtaining an advanced degree in Environmental Law and Energy Law, called an LLM, currently through Lewis & Clark online. So far, I’ve been taking courses like Environmental Law, Energy Law, Renewable Energy, Natural Resources Law, Food and Agriculture, Administrative Law, and Legislation and Regulation.
My hope is that APN Readers will benefit from even more environmental coverage in APN over the coming months and years, to help you all understand the issues and policy debates that will only become more prevalent.
And, relatedly, what is the City of Atlanta doing to solarize its public buildings and properties, now that the price of solar energy has become competitive?
In the early tens (yes, that’s what the decade is apparently to be called), we covered how the Reed Administration opposed solar energy because of its cost. But the costs have now come down, so what now?
In addition, APN’s News Editor and APN are carrying on an extraordinary campaign for transparency, open records, and open meetings in the City of Atlanta, that includes multiple lawsuits against the City of Atlanta and against specific Atlanta officials.
Georgia’s current and prior Attorney Generals may have rolled over and played incapable. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper and WSBTV Channel 2 television news apparently don’t care that the City of Atlanta is violating their settlement agreement.
But that’s okay – we’ve got this!
In Feb. 2020, two Atlanta City Council Committees went into a closed meeting to discuss an ordinance they wanted to pass that appeared to be illegal under state law.
APN, through an extensive investigation, determined there appeared to be no threat of litigation to justify closing the meeting.
Councilmembers Matt Westmoreland (Post 2-at-large) and Jennifer N. Ide (District 6) have argued–with taxpayer dollars and against the public interest–that they can lawfully close their meetings when they want to conspire in private to pass illegal laws simply because the laws they want to pass are likely illegal.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kelly Lee Ellerbe rejected that argument on Aug. 31, 2021.
Also in Feb. 2020, Councilman Westmoreland called the vote to go into Executive Session and its results in less than one second without anyone actually having voted.
APN’s News Editor obtained a declaratory judgment on May 20, 2021 that the minutes of the meeting falsely state that a vote occurred, in violation of the right to access minutes that truly and accurately reflect what transpired at the meeting.
The City is still fighting that ruling.
APN is currently challenging the unlawfulness of several meeting minutes that omit the movers, seconders, yeas, nays, abstainers, and absences for several votes.
Currently, the City of Atlanta is arguing, once again, that secret votes are lawful.
Now, the City is arguing that secret votes are legal as long as it is not alleged that the votes were split.
Atlanta has attacked the basic definition of records custodian; has attacked the civil penalty provisions of the Georgia Open Records Act; and is employing a variety of schemes to avoid transparency, including the “keyword” game in which they insist they cannot process records requests without keywords.
Now-former Mayor Kasim Reed’s spokeswoman Jenna Garland was recently convicted for open records violations – for suggesting that the City drag out their response as long as possible and put the records in the most difficult format possible.
The City is still doing that today, in our view. Garland only suggested they do it; today, the City is still carrying out her instructions.
And from what we can see, at this point, our efforts through the judicial branch of government, in public interest litigation, are the public’s only hope in doing something about it.
We need your help to not only continue APN, but your contribution will help cover various court costs and legal expenses in support of our valiant and persistent efforts to fight Goliath and their endless train of resources.
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We want to thank you for your readership and your support, for your emails and your comments, for your financial support and your friendship.
Here’s to another sixteen years!