Coalition PAC backs candidates

The Better Community Political Action Committee, which is managed by the Buckhead Coalition, announced contribution Sept. 28 to all Atlanta City Council incumbents seeking re-election, giving each the maximum allowable of $2,400.

In the contested council races, the PAC supported Yolanda Adrean for Dist. 8 and Ceasar Mitchell for council president. It had not yet decided on the candidates in At-Large Post 2. At-Large Post 3 Council member Lamar Willis is in a contested race which also affects Buckhead voters.

The PAC also donated $500 to each unopposed council member to help defray candidacy costs.

In the Atlanta mayoral race, the PAC divided its contributions proportionate to a straw vote members took following appearances by key candidates before the Coalition’s executive committee. As a result, Mary Norwood received $1,344 (56 percent), and Lisa Borders and Kasim Reed each received $528 (22 percent).

City’s under-21 law ruled unconstitutional

Five erotic dancers on Sept. 28 won a major legal victory in their bid to bare it all at Atlanta’s Cheetah Lounge, even though they were between the ages of 18 and 21. But, the unanimous Georgia Supreme Court ruling is not limited to strip clubs.

Winning the case were Deanna Willis, Danielle Barbee, Ashlie Startley, Olivia Almeida and Rachel Haxo. When the Atlanta City Council passed an ordinance in 2007 that banned the dancers from working at strip clubs, they were either 19 or 20 years old.

The court found unconstitutional a city law the forbid anyone under 21 from entering businesses where alcohol is sold for consumption on the premises. The city had allowed exceptions for restaurants and some entertainment venues.

Atlanta lawyer Alan Begner, who represents the dancers, said the ruling means anyone between the ages of 18 and 21 can now work at nightclubs that serve alcohol. They also can serve and sell alcoholic beverages at these establishments, he said.

City officials argued to the state high court that the law was enacted to discourage underage drinking. “Though disappointed with the court’s decision, the city of Atlanta will respect the ruling and abide by it,” acting City Attorney Roger Bhandari said.

The state high court found the city ordinance conflicted with two state laws. When those two laws are read together, Chief Justice Carol Hunstein wrote for the court, “it is clear that the Legislature’s intent is to allow persons who are over the age of 18 but not yet 21 years old to dispense, serve, sell or handle alcoholic beverages as part of their employment.”

Climb a tree for fun and to save trees

The Tree Next Door is holding a fundraiser, called “Climb a Tree With Us,” to support the relatively new organization’s activities to improve enforcement of the city of Atlanta’s Tree Protection Ordinance.

The tree-climbing event will take place Sunday, Oct. 11 from 2-5 p.m. in the willow oak tree near the tennis center in Blackburn Park, 3517 Ashford-Dunwoody Road at Johnson-Ferry Road in Brookhaven.

The family event is hosted by Tree Climbers International and The Tree Next Door. All climbing gear is provided and all ages are welcome. The suggested donation is $20 per person. No reservation is required.

For more information about tree climbing and TCI, visit For more information about the event, call Dr. Jeri Breiner, 770-933-0220.