Mayor, police union taking swipes at each other again

Atlanta police union head Sgt. Scott Kreher was speaking at a City Council meeting in late May, detailing grievances about how the city has mistreated five severely disabled officers by withholding money due them, when he said sometimes he would like to hit Mayor Shirley Franklin in the head with a baseball bat.

First the mayor’s staff and then the mayor herself fired back, calling the comments “reprehensible.” The mayor asked state and U.S. prosecutors to investigate the matter.

Kreher said his frustration at how the city is treating those officers got the best of him. He wrote a letter of apology to the mayor and publicly apologized. But he was suspended.

That didn’t sit well with the International Brotherhood of Police Officers’ national president, David Holway, who came to Atlanta to fire back at Franklin, saying she is using the flap to distract from the treatment of the officers.

This is not the first rift between Kreher and the mayor. In 2004, shortly after Kreher took over the union, he had billboards erected around the city that read: “Welcome to Atlanta: Protected by some of the lowest paid police officers in the country.”

Kreher and Franklin have sniped at each other ever since — over pay, number of officers, furloughs, etc.

And Kreher is not the first police union leader to clash with an Atlanta mayor.

In 1988, 200 sign-carrying union officers marched on City Hall, chanting, “Money talks, low pay walks.” Mayor Andrew Young’s chief administrative officer fired off a letter to union leaders, calling the march “irresponsible and insensitive.” The Young aide was Shirley Franklin.

Suit against PATH might affect BeltLine

A DeKalb County organization has filed a lawsuit against the PATH Foundation, seeking to recover almost $8 million alleged to have been paid illegally through unbid public works contracts, which some say could impact the PATH Foundation’s contract to build a BeltLine-associated path through north Atlanta, including Tanyard Creek Park in Buckhead.

Three Forks Heritage Alliance has been immersed in a battle with DeKalb and the PATH Foundation over a “multiuse” trail through Mason-Mill/Medlock Park that the Superior Court held in August was constructed illegally. The alliance suit filed May 19 claims that money paid to PATH on this and at least seven other projects should be returned, in whole, to DeKalb County, which faces a $64 million deficit.

Heritage group wants to save cemetery

The Buckhead Heritage Society objects to a pending application to remove a historic African-American cemetery from Buckhead’s Frankie Allen Park

An application has been made to the Urban Design Commission by Community Renewal LLC to remove graves from the Mount Olive Cemetery at 431 Pharr Road NE, adjacent to the park.

Mount Olive Cemetery is all that remains of the Macedonia Park neighborhood, which was one of Buckhead’s few historic black communities. A public hearing on the application was scheduled to be held June 10, the day the Buckhead Reporter went to press.

“Buckhead Heritage is saddened to learn of an attempt to remove one of the last remnants of African-American history in Buckhead,” said Christine McCauley, the executive director of the Buckhead Heritage Society. “We hope the landowner will be amenable to finding some alternative solution that will not negatively affect the Mount Olive Cemetery.”

The area, known as Macedonia, was settled by freed slaves after the Civil War. In 1921 developer John Owens created an African-American subdivision named Macedonia Park. Macedonia was a thriving community and included 400 residents, three churches, two grocery stores, barbers, a blacksmith and restaurants. In the 1940s Fulton County began to systematically remove residents by condemning and purchasing the properties in Macedonia to make way for a park.

Located at the entrance to Frankie Allen Park, the 0.22-acre cemetery contains approximately 45 marked and unmarked African-American graves.

City allocates $16.2M to fight foreclosures

The Atlanta City Council has approved the allocation of $16.2 million as part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) to 18 agencies that will address foreclosed and abandoned residential properties in neighborhoods that have been devastated by foreclosures.

The NSP, part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, provides targeted emergency assistance to state and local governments to acquire and redevelop foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment in communities.

According to the Equity Depot, a foreclosure listing service, from January 2006 to April 2009, 37,883 homes in Atlanta were listed in foreclosure.

Atlanta has allocated its funds to acquire property, demolish or rehabilitate abandoned properties, and to offer down payment and closing cost assistance to home buyers.

“It will take much more work and funding to completely turn around the city of Atlanta’s housing crisis, especially in the most devastated neighborhoods,” Mayor Shirley Franklin said. “Through the NSP, however, we will act quickly to stabilize and redevelop these properties that might otherwise serve as a source of growing blight.”

St. Philip’s names music head

The Cathedral of St. Philip has hired Dale Adelmann to be its canon for music, cathedral Dean Samuel Candler announced last month.

The calling of Adelmann concluded a yearlong search. He will officially take his post in August.

Adelmann has served as the director of music at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, Calif., since 2003. There he has supervised and conducted three choirs: the All Saints’ Choir, the Parish Choir and the children’s choristers program.

From 1991 to 2003, he was the organist-choirmaster at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Buffalo, N.Y., leading a variety of choirs. He also was the music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus from 2001 to 2003.

Adelmann earned his bachelor’s from the University of Michigan, his master’s from the Yale University School of Music and the Institute of Sacred Music, and his doctorate from St. John’s College at the University of Cambridge, England.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Dale Adelmann in our (long!) search process, and I am eager for him to join this outstanding cathedral staff,” Candler wrote to congregants. “He will add steady energy, wisdom and care to our musical community as well as our entire cathedral community.”