Today on the steps of Atlanta's city hall organized labor joined community groups on the Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr to appeal to the Mayor and other city leaders who often invoke the name of Dr King but pursue policies and projects(Like the Gulch project) that continue to widen the gap between rich and poor in Atlanta.
Today was significant because the Redlight the Gulch Coalition, which is made up of several community groups, was joined by a number of labor unions including International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 77, Laborers International Union of America, Local 515, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Local 33
United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers, Local 136, Unite Here, and Teamsters local 728.
Our Communities can no longer survive this approach to development that sees our city leaders cutting billion dollar welfare checks to the super rich to develop luxury developments with little to no affordable housing, community benefits, and workforce agreements. The money we are spending on the Gulch isn't monopoly money, it's real, which means public funds are being diverted from other public needs in order to help billionaire Slum lords from LA(CIM group) to build a city within a city. CIM will own the sidewalks and the streets. Where is that money coming from? A very large chunk(over 500 million) will come from a Tax Allocation District(TAD) that would otherwise go to our already struggling public schools in Atlanta. The cruel irony is that we are being forced to pay for our own gentrification through projects like the Gulch.
What adds insult to injury is the fact that our current Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms made a promise to the community when she was running for mayor. She committed to support legally binding community benefits agreements between developers and the communities they seek to profit off of whenever public funds were involved. It would appear that she was either lying, or that she very quickly changed her mind after winning the election.
Tomorrow at 9am at the Fulton County Superior Court in courtroom 9G the Redlight the Gulch coalition goes back to court. Members of the Coalition have intervened on the bond validation process in order to get in the way of this 2 billion dollar welfare check set to help fund the luxury development. The legal fight is likely to go to appeal and the Redlight the Gulch coalition is raising money through crowdsourcing to cover the hefty legal costs.
The current City of Atlanta’s Gulch proposals DO NOT include:
Community benefits agreements
Community workforce agreements
Real affordable housing
Certified apprenticeship program
Community planning process