Republicans in the state legislature are up to their same old tricks, using racist tactics to try to save their own hides. They’re currently trying to create a new, very white city in a part of metro Atlanta where people of color make up nearly three-quarters of the population.
Stockbridge is a majority minority city in Henry County, just south of Atlanta. Henry County is on track to become a majority minority county — that is where the majority of the residents are people of color — in the next few years.
Yet Republicans in the state legislature are backing a measure to carve out a city of “Eagle’s Landing” from Stockbridge. Eagle’s Landing, also the name of the local country club, would be home to the major commercial districts in the area, which are the primary source of tax revenue for Stockbridge.
The proposed city would also have a substantially higher population of whites. Forty-three percent of voting-age people would be white in Eagle’s Landing, compared to 32 percent in Stockbridge as it exists today. Meanwhile, the number of voting age blacks would drop. 53 percent of the voting-age population is black in Stockbridge as it exists today; in Eagle’s Landing, 44 percent would be black.
Normally these sorts of cityhood bills are passed as part of a “local agenda,” where all the local state representatives support the measure, so it’s not controversial. However, State Sen. Emanuel Jones, a Democrat who represents nearly all of Stockbridge, opposed the measure, so the entire legislature must vote on it for it to pass.
In a newsletter to residents late last year, Stockbridge Mayor Judy B. Neal wrote to residents:
“One of the most unexpected issues facing the city resulted when a few people devised a plan to create a City of Eagle’s Landing without the benefit of a study to determine the validity of the idea. Since no new city has ever been created in Georgia by taking land and income from another city, we feel confident that our position is strong; but we cannot leave anything to chance,” she said.
Only a year ago, the black residents of South Fulton had to fight tooth and nail to get their own city. Meanwhile when white folks are seeing their voting power change, Republicans are all too eager to carve out a new home for them.
The bill to create Eagle’s Landing already passed in the Senate by a vote of 29 to 23, however there is still time to kill it in the House.
Visit OpenStates.org to find your state representative and tell them to vote ‘No’ on SB 262 and 263.