ATLANTA — There are new developments in the Atlanta Public Training Facility.
The Atlanta City Council voted Monday evening to allow the city clerk to begin the process of scanning the referendum petitions that protestors turned in last week asking to move the issue to the ballot.
This does not mean that the construction of the training center will now make it on the ballot. What this means is that the Atlanta City Council just voted to see if the 116,000 signatures on the petition are valid.
Mayor Andre Dickens said on Monday that he supports the action taken by the City Council.
“I fully support the action taken by City Council today. As I have stated before, I support allowing the process to run its course in an open and transparent manner. Like many, I want to know exactly what is in those boxes and this moves us one step closer,” Dickens said in a statement.
Monday’s council meeting started at 1 p.m. and just before 6 p.m., Councilwoman Liliana Bakhtiari introduced a resolution that would allow the city clerk to start validating the 116,00 signatures on the protestors’ petition.
Last week, the clerk accepted the petition that came in the form of several white boxes but didn’t begin verifying them because city officials were not sure if they legally could.
In addition to that, Bakhtiari and Waites tried to draft legislation to get this on the ballot, but found out they didn’t have the authority.
So, on Monday, two council members found a way to move things forward by getting the council to agree to start the verification process.
“I think we’re all in agreement that we do want the petitions to be counted and seen – and I think that’s where we all are so I prefer we take care of it today,” said Marci Collier Overstreet
Monday night, Atlanta City Council member Keisha Sean Waites released a statement following the discussion around the Public Safety Training Center. She said the petition process has “lacked integrity” from the beginning.
“The petition process surrounding the recent events has lacked integrity from the beginning. The threat to verify signatures is tantamount to voter suppression. These tactics erode public trust and confidence and cause the voters to tune out and believe that the government does not support or work for them,” said Waites. “Today, I had planned to join my colleague in introducing legislation to allow a referendum vote on the public safety training facility issue. However, I was advised the Council lacks jurisdiction and authority.”
Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari released a statement saying the council voted unanimously to start the process of scanning over 100,000 petitions.
“Today, the Atlanta City Council voted unanimously, 15-0, to start the process of unsealing and scanning the over 116,000 petitions we received last Monday to put the Atlanta Public Safety Training Facility to a public vote. I am proud to see the Council use its authority to ensure a victory for good government and democracy proponents alike. By directing the City Clerk to immediately unseal, digitize, and disclose the thousands of public signatures submitted by the Cop City Vote Coalition, we are lifting up the voices of the countless volunteers who organized thousands of registered voters to contribute to the future of our community. If we are serious about our City’s civil rights legacy, then this must be the first of many steps from the Council –– including consideration of the City’s immediate withdrawal of their appeal of Judge Mark Cohen’s June 27th injunction. We must give residents of this City a real opportunity to be heard, which starts with the immediate validation of these historic petitions.”
The Atlanta City Council also issued the following statement after approving legislation to begin scanning forms related to the referendum petition and making them available to the public:
©2023 Cox Media Group