As an 80-year-old retired banker and a 55-year resident of Buckhead, I appreciate very much the local news produced by the Buckhead Reporter. The August issue has two very interesting articles: “Buckhead cityhood talk reappears; business leaders condemn it” and “Buckhead Coalition rethinks its mission, new president says.”
One theme of both of these articles is to describe the current “unofficial governors” of Buckhead and their focus on maintaining their power while retaining as much secrecy as possible. One way that this can be done is to keep Buckhead in the city of Atlanta but operate a shadow Buckhead government that is not accountable to its residents. Sam Massell, known for years as “the mayor of Buckhead,” was particularly adept at this.
Now we will have a new “mayor,” Jim Durrett, who will have even more power than Massell had by heading both the Buckhead Coalition and the Buckhead Community Improvement District. He is quoted as saying that “meetings do not have to be and will not be open to the public.” In other words, Durrett wants the power of government but not the accountability. If Buckhead were a separate city, Durrett would lose much of his power to newly elected officials that are accountable to the voters.
While I am not strongly in favor of creating a separate city of Buckhead, it is clear that the present governing bodies of both the city of Atlanta and Fulton County have almost totally excluded the approximately 40% of their White population from any representation at the senior level of local government. This is “systemic racism” at its highest level!
If creating a separate city of Buckhead were put to a vote of the people, it would pass overwhelmingly. One of the primary reasons for this is that the Buckhead Coalition and the CID have made no visible effort to correct the systemic racism against Whites in the governments of Atlanta and Fulton County.
My suspicion is that one of the motivations for this lack of effort is that, as long as there are no White representatives at the senior levels of local government, then the leaders of the Buckhead Coalition and the CID remain the only alternative. In other words, the status quo protects the power of these organizations in the Buckhead community.
If the leaders of the Buckhead Coalition and the CID truly wish to keep Buckhead in the city of Atlanta, they will need to closely examine their motives and show a meaningful effort to gain senior representation in local government for our White citizens. Otherwise, the movement to separate will continue to grow.
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