Buckhead residents who have organized and wish to secede from Atlanta said this week that they are diverse and their ties to that larger city bring crime and one horror story after.
Members of this group, the Buckhead Exploratory Committee (BEOC), also said they are serious about wanting to leave.
Group spokesman Sam Lenaeus told The Georgia Star News in a statement this week that “even after paying a lot in taxes, we were still expected to solve our own problems and pour more private money into them.” Businesses and families, they went on to say, are leaving.
“We learned that there are a lot of people wondering why we have not done this sooner. The stories we hear from some of our neighbors are terrifying: emergency services that don’t show up, elderly couples that are too afraid to go to the store, moms that are afraid to go to a gas station with their children in the car for fear of car-jacking, permits that take longer than six months to rebuild houses damaged by weather, and the list goes on. We heard from one couple that went to a park and came back to find out that both vehicles parked in separate areas of the park were stolen at the same time. The latest are carjackings on children’s carpool lines,” Lenaeus said.
“We also heard from many parents who were very unhappy with the leadership at the Atlanta Public Schools. We are hearing about serious mental health issues and a complete lack of support for children with special needs during the pandemic, all caused by APS leadership. We know the city can do better for our children and the hundreds of working parents out there.”
BEOC members also said that past cityhood movements have come and gone, but living conditions continue to deteriorate. This initiative they said, differs from previous ones.
Critics have said that racism, wealth and a desire to exclude other people motivate BEOC group members. BEOC members deny that.
“We are proud of our diversity, and our numbers keep trending up year over year. The feeling of unsafety affects everyone on our streets regardless of race,” Lenaeus said.
“We want to protect all our community members. I said this before, and no 7-year old should die on the streets regardless of race. Not in Buckhead. Not anywhere. We work for every member of our community regardless of race, and we take that honor seriously.”
As The Star News reported last month, Buckhead residents have formed the group to study whether their upscale commercial and residential district should formally break off from Atlanta.
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