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Grant Park fights big-box plan near Beltline
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Grant Park fights big-box plan near Beltline

Grant Park fights big-box plan near Beltline
Hundreds of Grant Park residents attended a zoning hearing at City Hall on Thursday in support of a neighborhood effort to change the zoning classification for a proposed retail development. City Hall officials later moved some residents to an overflow viewing area to accommodate the fire code.

Grant Park fights big-box plan near Beltline

The Grant Park Neighborhood Association and nearby residents filed an appeal Friday aimed at undoing plans for a proposed 19-acre retail redevelopment that connects to the Atlanta Beltline.

They want to reverse the city planning office’s approval of the plan by Atlanta-based Fuqua Development, which includes several parking lots and a 155,000 square-foot big-box retail store. Opponents are concerned Fuqua may sign Walmart as a future tenant.

“Many, many people in Atlanta are very excited about the Beltline, and the proposed development will set an absolutely horrible precedent,” Lauren Rocereta, Grant Park Neighborhood Association president, said in an email. “We have a lot to do, and we’ll do everything we possibly can to preserve the spirit and intent of the Beltline.”

The appeal is part of a two-track fight against the development. On Thursday, the Atlanta Zoning Review Board approved legislation to change the zoning for the Glenwood Avenue site. If the city council approves, the area will be rezoned from heavy industrial to high-density residential with some commercial, which supporters say is closer to the Beltline’s master plan.

That rezoning would only affect future development plans. However, if the community opponents’ appeal succeeds, Fuqua could be forced to resubmit its plan. And if the zoning change also is approved, the plan would have to be modified, said David Marmins, a lawyer for the neighborhood association.

The appeal hearing is slated for October 10 before the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustment.

“We’re for growth, we’re for development in Atlanta, but we’re not in favor of this type of growth,” said Marmins. “Instead of creating a live-work-play environment that would be consistent with Grant Park and Glenwood Park, this would create a huge barrier.”

Concrete supply company Lafarge has owned the contested property for more than a decade. Lafarge will keep fighting the rezoning, said its attorney, Doug Dillard.

“The (rezoning) legislation creates a nonconformity use for our property, which is a taking of a valuable property right,” he said. “It could very well damage us significantly. You can’t retroactively take away somebody’s property rights after they have already been approved.”

The Fuqua development is in basic compliance with Beltline master plan, Dillard said, noting it includes lights, streetscapes, and an extension of the Beltline trail. Fuqua has already obtained a demolotion permit, and is expected to obtain building permit soon.

More than 600 area residents attended the Zoning Board hearing at City Hall in support of the zoning change — the highest turnout in more than 30 years, a city offical managing the crowds said.

“I am pleased with all of the neighbors that came out in support,” said city council member Carla Smith, who sponsored the zoning change. “I have the best people and the best neighborhoods.”

Opponents of the Fuqua plan will continue the fight if the battle moves to court, said Chris Kazakos, a Grant Park resident. “We’ve won the battle, but the war is far from over.”

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  • Charles Manson, the hippie cult leader who became the hypnotic-eyed face of evil across America after orchestrating the gruesome murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others in Los Angeles during the summer of 1969, died Sunday after nearly a half-century in prison. He was 83.Manson, whose name to this day is synonymous with unspeakable violence and madness, died at 8:13 p.m. of natural causes at a Kern County hospital, according to a California Department of Corrections statement.Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, reacted to the death by quoting the late Vincent Bugliosi, the Los Angeles prosecutor who put Manson behind bars. Bugliosi said: 'Manson was an evil, sophisticated con man with twisted and warped moral values.'Today, Manson's victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death,' Hanisee said.California Corrections spokeswoman Vicky Waters said it's 'to be determined' what happens to Manson's body. Prison officials previously said Manson had no known next of kin and state law says that if no relative or legal representative surfaces within 10 days, then it's up to the department to determine whether the body is cremated or buried.It's not known if Manson requested funeral services of any sort. It's also unclear what happens to his property, which is said to include artwork and at least two guitars. State law says the department must maintain his property for up to a year in anticipation there might be legal battles over who can make a legitimate claim to it.A petty criminal who had been in and out of jail since childhood, the charismatic, guru-like Manson surrounded himself in the 1960s with runaways and other lost souls and then sent his disciples to butcher some of L.A.'s rich and famous in what prosecutors said was a bid to trigger a race war — an idea he got from a twisted reading of the Beatles song 'Helter Skelter.'The slayings horrified the world and, together with the deadly violence that erupted later in 1969 during a Rolling Stones concert at California's Altamont Speedway, exposed the dangerous, drugged-out underside of the counterculture movement and seemed to mark the death of the era of peace and love.Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Manson maintained during his tumultuous trial in 1970 that he was innocent and that society itself was guilty.'These children that come at you with knives, they are your children. You taught them; I didn't teach them. I just tried to help them stand up,' he said in a courtroom soliloquy.Linda Deutsch, the longtime courts reporter for The Associated Press who covered the Manson case, said he 'left a legacy of evil and hate and murder.'He was able to take young people who were impressionable and convince them he had the answer to everything and he turned them into killers,' she said. 'It was beyond anything we had ever seen before in this country.'The Manson Family, as his followers were called, slaughtered five of its victims on Aug. 9, 1969, at Tate's home: the actress, who was 8½ months pregnant, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring, Polish movie director Voityck Frykowski and Steven Parent, a friend of the estate's caretaker. Tate's husband, 'Rosemary's Baby' director Roman Polanski, was out of the country at the time.The next night, a wealthy grocer and his wife, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, were stabbed to death in their home across town.The killers scrawled such phrases as 'Pigs' and 'Healter Skelter' (sic) in blood at the crime scenes.Three months later, a Manson follower was jailed on an unrelated charge and told a cellmate about the bloodbath, leading to the cult leader's arrest.In the annals of American crime, Manson became the embodiment of evil, a short, shaggy-haired, bearded figure with a demonic stare and an 'X'' — later turned into a swastika — carved into his forehead.'Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969,' author Joan Didion wrote in her 1979 book 'The White Album.'After a trial that lasted nearly a year, Manson and three followers — Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten — were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Another defendant, Charles 'Tex' Watson, was convicted later. All were spared execution and given life sentences after the California Supreme Court struck down the death penalty in 1972.Atkins died behind bars in 2009. Krenwinkel, Van Houten and Watson remain in prison.Another Manson devotee, Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme, tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975, but her gun jammed. She served 34 years in prison.Manson was born in Cincinnati on Nov. 12, 1934, to a teenager, possibly a prostitute, and was in reform school by the time he was 8. After serving a 10-year sentence for check forgery in the 1960s, Manson was said to have pleaded with authorities not to release him because he considered prison home.'My father is the jailhouse. My father is your system,' he would later say in a monologue on the witness stand. 'I am only what you made me. I am only a reflection of you.'He was set free in San Francisco during the heyday of the hippie movement in the city's Haight-Ashbury section, and though he was in his mid-30s by then, he began collecting followers — mostly women — who likened him to Jesus Christ. Most were teenagers; many came from good homes but were at odds with their parents.The 'family' eventually established a commune-like base at the Spahn Ranch, a ramshackle former movie location outside Los Angeles, where Manson manipulated his followers with drugs, supervised orgies and subjected them to bizarre lectures.He had musical ambitions and befriended rock stars, including Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. He also met Terry Melcher, a music producer who had lived in the same house that Polanski and Tate later rented.By the summer 1969, Manson had failed to sell his songs, and the rejection was later seen as a trigger for the violence. He complained that Wilson took a Manson song called 'Cease to Exist,' revised it into 'Never Learn Not to Love' and recorded it with the Beach Boys without giving Manson credit.Manson was obsessed with Beatles music, particularly 'Piggies' and 'Helter Skelter,' a hard-rocking song that he interpreted as forecasting the end of the world. He told his followers that 'Helter Skelter is coming down' and predicted a race war would destroy the planet.'Everybody attached themselves to us, whether it was our fault or not,' the Beatles' George Harrison, who wrote 'Piggies,' later said of the murders. 'It was upsetting to be associated with something so sleazy as Charles Manson.'According to testimony, Manson sent his devotees out on the night of Tate's murder with instructions to 'do something witchy.' The state's star witness, Linda Kasabian, who was granted immunity, testified that Manson tied up the LaBiancas, then ordered his followers to kill. But Manson insisted: 'I have killed no one, and I have ordered no one to be killed.'His trial was nearly scuttled when President Richard Nixon said Manson was 'guilty, directly or indirectly.' Manson grabbed a newspaper and held up the front-page headline for jurors to read: 'Manson Guilty, Nixon Declares.' Attorneys demanded a mistrial but were turned down.From then on, jurors, sequestered at a hotel for 10 months, traveled to and from the courtroom in buses with blacked-out windows so they could not read the headlines on newsstands.Manson was also later convicted of the slayings of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald 'Shorty' Shea.Over the decades, Manson and his followers appeared sporadically at parole hearings, where their bids for freedom were repeatedly rejected. The women suggested they had been rehabilitated, but Manson himself stopped attending, saying prison had become his home.The killings inspired movies and TV shows, and Bugliosi wrote a best-selling book about the murders, 'Helter Skelter.' The macabre shock rocker Marilyn Manson borrowed part of his stage name from the killer.'The Manson case, to this day, remains one of the most chilling in crime history,' prominent criminal justice reporter Theo Wilson wrote in her 1998 memoir, 'Headline Justice: Inside the Courtroom — The Country's Most Controversial Trials .'Even people who were not yet born when the murders took place,' Wilson wrote, 'know the name Charles Manson, and shudder.'___AP writer Michelle A. Monroe contributed to this report. This story contains biographical information compiled by former AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch. Deutsch covered the Tate-La Bianca killings and the Manson trial for The Associated Press and has written about the Manson family for four decades.
  • Two people wanted in connection to a police shooting were found holed up in a Gainesville home Sunday morning, police said.  Marcos Tovar, 20, and Alondra Rodriguez, 20, were arrested on charges of aggravated assault on a peace officer, Gainesville police spokesman Sgt. Keving Holbrook said.  The couple allegedly opened fire on officers, who responded to a Friday 911 call concerning a domestic dispute at a Burger King restaurant on Athens Street, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. MORE: Manhunt on for 2 accused in shootout with police Officers responded to reports of a man dragging a woman, Holbrook said. When the officers arrived at the scene, Rodriguez allegedly pulled a gun. Those officers, who were not immediately identified, were treated at a hospital and released. Holbrook said they were hurt during the altercation but were not shot.  After the incident, police took out warrants and said the couple should be considered armed and dangerous. 'They actively went after police officers with gunfire, so we know that they are dangerous,' Holbrook told Channel 2 Action News. In other news:
  • Lena Dunham did a major backtrack following backlash from her decision to defend a “Girls” producer who was recently accused of raping a teenage girl. >> Lena Dunham slammed for defending 'Girls' producer accused of rape Actress Aurora Perrineau filed a police report against producer Murray Miller, saying that he raped her in 2012 when she was 17 and he was 35 years old, according to The Wrap. In a statement filed by the now 23-year-old, Perrineau said she woke up in Murray’s bed after drinking alcohol with him in his hotel room and he was “having sexual intercourse with [her].” Murray “categorically and vehemently” denied the allegation. Dunham and “Girls” showrunner Jenni Konner released a joint statement in which they did not simply stand by Murray, but accused Perrineau of lying: >> Read more trending news 'While our first instinct is to listen to every woman’s story, our insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3% of assault cases that are misreported every year. It is a true shame to add to that number, as outside of Hollywood women still struggle to be believed. We stand by Murray and this is all we’ll be saying about this issue.' Many criticized Dunham for her part in the statement, especially considering she once popularly tweeted, “Things women do lie about: what they ate for lunch. Things women don’t lie about: rape.” On Saturday night, Dunham issued an apology on Twitter, saying, “I naively believed it was important to share my perspective on my friend’s situation as it has transpired behind the scenes over the last few months:” >> See the tweet here Dunham added that she understood “it was absolutely the wrong time to come forward with such a statement” and apologized. Her apology was met with more criticism: She was also accused of frequently making tone-deaf apologies: In the initial fallout over Dunham’s statement, actress Asia Argento, who accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, questioned her, writing, “You wrote me an email of support a few weeks ago and now you defend a rapist?' >> On Rare.us: Lena Dunham responds to backlash after she announced she had to give up her dog, Lamby Commentator S.E. Cupp tweeted, “Life comes at you fast @lenadunham,” with a screenshot of Dunham’s statement and an old assertion that women did not lie about rape. One commenter accused Dunham of insinuating that women were to be believed unless they accused personal friends of hers, while another accused her of “conveniently” turning a blind eye “while throwing other women under the bus.”
  • President Donald Trump continued his Twitter roasting of UCLA basketball dad and Big Baller Brand mogul LaVar Ball on Sunday evening, calling him “very ungrateful” for not thanking him for getting his son out of trouble. >> See the tweet here “Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!” Trump tweeted. >> PREVIOUS STORY: Trump fires back after LaVar Ball minimizes role in getting UCLA players released Earlier Sunday, Trump said “I should have left them in jail!,” referring to the three UCLA basketball players arrested in China for shoplifting, one of whom was Ball’s son, LiAngelo. >> See the tweet here “Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!” Trump tweeted. >> LiAngelo Ball, UCLA teammates arrested in China could get 10 years in prison if convicted This was Trump’s response to Ball essentially saying “Trump who?” when asked on Saturday about the president’s role in helping LiAngelo. This all started when Trump tweeted after returning from Asia that the three UCLA basketball players who got in trouble for allegedly shoplifting in China should thank him for saving them from a decade in prison. >> Read the tweet here “Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” he tweeted last Wednesday morning. The players, for their part, did exactly that at an afternoon press conference the same day. “To the three UCLA basketball players I say: You’re welcome, go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made your release possible and, HAVE A GREAT LIFE! Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!” Trump said in reply. LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were returned to the United States after being arrested on charges of shoplifting, in connection with the alleged theft of Louis Vuitton sunglasses in Shanghai. The university later announced that the players would be suspended indefinitely. >> Read more trending news Previously, Rare speculated that it was possible Trump wanted to hear a “thank you” not just from the basketball players, but also from the unapologetic LaVar Ball himself. The president did not end up getting that thank you from the elder Ball. “Who? What was [Trump] over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out,” Ball said, according to ESPN. >> On Rare.us: LaVar Ball on Trump helping his son: 'Who?' “As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine. I’m happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, ‘They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes,’” Ball added, downplaying his son’s alleged mistake. “I’m from L.A. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him.”
  • Washington may not have seen the last of 'The Mooch.'Anthony Scaramucci, the short-lived White House communications chief who was forced out after just 11 days on the job, said in an interview on Monday that he remains in close touch with the White House.He told The Associated Press that although he has not spoken to Donald Trump in over a month, he talks to members of the president's inner circle 'regularly' and sees himself working with Trump again in the future.'I have very good relationships there still, and you have to remember we were a team for 18 months, and so we all had different roles. And so I'm still playing my role frankly. I'm an advocate for the president, media surrogate when I need to be,' Scaramucci said.Scaramucci is in Israel this week as a guest of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, a U.S.-based group that works with professionals, politicians and community leaders to stimulate business opportunities and influence public policy.Scaramucci, a former Wall Street financier and successful entrepreneur, is not Jewish but said he has longstanding ties with members of the group from New York and is scouting out Israel's vibrant high-tech sector for possible future opportunities.While he said he is currently focused on his business dealings, he expects to help Trump on his re-election campaign.'At some point I'll probably be more involved from the outside, but more in a re-election capability than from inside the administration,' he said.Scaramucci, a member of Trump's campaign and transition teams, was appointed White House communications director in July. But he was fired just days into the job after he gave an expletive-laced interview to The New Yorker and made derogatory statements about several members of the Trump administration.In the interview, he was very vocal about unauthorized leaks coming out of the White House. The primary targets of his angry interview, the chief of staff at the time, Reince Priebus, and then-chief strategist Steve Bannon, have since left the administration.Scaramucci, in a dark blue suit, blue tie and crisp white shirt, joked that he had expected his term at the White House to have a longer shelf life than a 'carton of milk.'But he said that is politics and he has no regrets. He even said his term was successful in a way because he helped bring the issue of unauthorized leaks under control.'We identified quickly who many of the leakers were, and they're gone,' he said. 'You and I both know the leaks are down substantially. And that's a positive thing for the president.
  • Star NFL running back Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders was spotted sitting on the sidelines as the U.S. national anthem played before a Sunday afternoon game in Mexico against the New England Patriots. >> Read more trending news Lynch appeared to take his demonstration a step further by standing during the Mexican national anthem, according to reporters at the game: Some social media users responded, claiming that this was “false news' and that Lynch was sitting because his equipment was being worked on. According to Sports Illustrated, it’s not the first time Lynch chose to sit during the anthem. In fact, he’s been doing it all season.  The Bleacher Report said over the summer that Lynch claimed he had been sitting during the anthem for 11 years, and his coach, Jack Del Rio, responded to that by saying, “It’s a non-issue for me.” “On Marshawn, talked to Marshawn trying to make sure we’re on the same page,” Del Rio said. “He said, ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself.’ I said, ‘So you understand how I feel, I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem. But I’m going to respect you as a man, you do your thing. We’ll do ours.’ It’s a non-issue for me.” Earlier on Sunday, Rare covered a retired NFL running back who strongly disagrees with the protests occurring during the national anthem. Former NFL stand-out Herschel Walker blamed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for allowing protests during the national anthem to become routine occurrences during the 2017 season and potentially beyond. Walker said that he finds the protests “upsetting” and that they should have been stopped when they started. “I absolutely think the protests are so upsetting, and I blame the commissioner,” he said, according to the New York Post. “I know people are going to be angry when I say it, but he should have stopped the protests at the very beginning.” Walker said that if people want to protest they should do so in Washington, D.C. “Our flag is very special, and black lives matter, but what we should do is go to Washington after the season and protest there instead. We have young men and women fighting for the flag. And we have to respect the White House,” he added. Previously, Walker said that the NFL should make a rule that says players can only protest while “off the job.” >> On Rare.us: NFL players take a knee on Veterans Day weekend “I do, I think it means making a league-wide rule that if you want to protest, protest off the job. One of the things I want to say about the protests, where was everyone before the season started?” he asked. “I didn’t see anyone protesting in front of the White House, protesting in front of Congress or protesting in front of police officers. Why did we wait until football season started to start this again?”