Published on June 16th, 2015 |3
Councilwoman Felicia Moore: The city’s good comes first to her
I am proud of Felicia Moore because she is a champion for her constituents, but she never loses sight of right and wrong when it comes to city budgeting and spending, operating within the
law and making sure that Council actions are not putting the city in legal jeopardy.
Once again, Councilwoman Moore proved her dedication and loyalty to the residents of Atlanta—not just her District 9 constituents, but all Atlantans—in her votes during the Monday meeting of the Atlanta City Council and in an email she sent out late Tuesday afternoon.
The issue was the redevelopment of the abandoned, derelict Moores Mill Shopping Center in northwest Atlanta, her district. It is a project she has championed for more than a decade. It would bring a Publix supermarket to an area that is a food dessert, with no real grocery store for residents within miles of their homes.
(The closest real grocery store—even to residents in the northwest tip of Buckhead—is a Kroger in Cobb County. Cobb collects the sales taxes that should come to Atlanta and Fulton.)
South Carolina developer Edens has agreed to a $40 million redevelopment of the center, but it requires extending Moores Mill Road through the shopping Center to Marietta Boulevard or the deal could die.
Fully understanding what is required, Councilwoman Moore has tried to get Invest Atlanta to fund the road extension so that its TAD support of the shopping center project could proceed. That did not happen. But Invest Atlanta has committed $500,000 to the road extension project.
Moore decided to seek $800,000 from the Transportation Impact Fees fund of the city to fund the rest of the road cost. Those funds were approved by City Council on Monday, but with a major hitch.
After approving the $800,000 allocation from the Transportation Impact Fees fund, which is about $9.7 million total, the City Council members got greedy and decided to amend the legislation so that the remainder of the fund would be split and allocated equally among each of the 12 City Council districts. (See that news story here.)
Moore understood, with the support of the city’s Legal Department, that this action by City Council likely violated state law. So, she was forced to vote against the amendment and her ordinance as amended—thus voting against the $800,000 so needed to move this project forward after more than a decade.
Why did she vote against it? Because the amendment put the city at jeopardy of a long list of lawsuits and what the amendment did was just plain wrong.
Integrity, ethics, commitment to serving her city properly, within the law and protecting the rights and finances of its residents….that is what Councilwoman Felicia Moore is all about, every day.
But I would be remiss if I did not also give credit to fellow Council members Yolanda Adrean, Howard Shook, Alex Wan and Natalyn Archibond, who not only gave their support to Moore’s initial legislation, but also supported her when she refused to support the amendment that put the city in jeopardy. They all are heroes for standing up for our interests.
But now, I want to let Felicia Moore’s own words tell the story of what she does and how she talks to her constituents. This is an email she sent out late Tuesday afternoon:
“First, I must tell you all how proud I am to be your Council Representative! You expressed your feelings in over 250 emails, numerous calls and close to 100 in attendance at the Council meeting.
“Yesterday, the Council approved the $800,000 in Transportation Impact Fees for the extension of Moores Mill Road. Unfortunately, members were insistent on putting a legally fragile amendment on the paper that would divide the remaining Impact Fee dollars among all council districts.
“This is problematic on many levels, and caused me and four others to vote against the paper in the end. It now goes to the Mayor’s desk for signature, veto, or approval by operation of law. We will know his decision by Tuesday.
“Nevertheless, I am formulating our next steps. There remain two options left for funding this extension within the timeframe set by Edens.
“They (Edens) are working to finalize the option of not building the entire road, but an entrance to the shopping center with Invest Atlanta. This will leave the rest of the road extension subject to future funding. I believe this is not a good option, and I will be trying to get the funding in other ways.
“Stay tuned for updates. I will let you know how we should proceed after Tuesday. I will keep you updated.”
Council Member Felicia A. Moore
Atlanta City Council, District 9
This is my type of public servant. And, I am proud to also call her a true friend. As for those other “greedy” members of City Council, they should be impeached or recalled.
John Schaffner, editor