Governor Brian Kemp said Saturday he’s not taking sides on whether Buckhead and Atlanta should formally separate.

Buckhead City Committee CEO Bill White responded to Kemp’s comments and said now is the time for Republican legislators to act.

But Kemp said he wants to give Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens a chance to remedy Atlanta’s recent crime surge.

White talked to The Georgia Star News on Monday.

“We don’t have time to let a mayor who voted to defund the police and who pays lip service to our crisis in Buckhead prove that he can change his well-established views,” White said.

“Republicans have a majority in the legislature, and it is time for them to quit talking and start taking real action. They should not give this mayor a standing ovation while they give the people of Buckhead, who want and deserve the right to vote like they have in four other cities just now, a far less unhelpful reception.”

Kemp told Breitbart News Saturday that he approves of the debate happening over the Buckhead City proposal.

“You’ll be glad to know, we passed a bill last year that doesn’t allow rogue local governments to defund the police, and that’s one of the reasons it’s good this debate’s going on and why I haven’t interfered one way or another, is the mayor needs to feel the pressure on this issue,” Kemp said.

“You know, I’ve spoken to him directly and told him people are fed up. You’ve got to do some police work.”

Kemp later said that Atlanta’s leaders “need to change the policies that the last mayor had that weren’t working.” The governor then said that members of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Attorney General will aggressively go after street gangs.

Georgia General Assembly members have, for this year, written off legislation that would allow Buckhead residents to vote on separating from Atlanta. Members of Buckhead’s city committee, however, aren’t done pursuing the matter and announced new priorities last week.

Committee members then called on Kemp, Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), and other high-ranking GOP legislators to use their clout to push for a vote.

Beth Beskin, who served in the Georgia General Assembly from 2015 to 2019, spoke and posed the following question:

“What good is a Republican majority in the General Assembly if they refuse to take on what has become the best known and most supported issue by Republicans statewide in this legislative session? That issue being giving Buckhead voters the right to determine their future.”

White, last week, direly predicted Georgia legislators’ reluctance to push for a vote this year “will put lives, property, businesses, commerce, and the already vastly diminished quality of life in Buckhead at severe risk.”

White went on to say that the Buckhead City movement will never die.

Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan (R-Cumming) last month assigned the legislation that could help Buckhead incorporate into its own city to a Senate committee seated entirely by Democrats.

State Senator Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) filed the bill, SB 324. Other sponsors include Senator and declared lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Burt Jones (R-Jackson), State Senator Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming), and State Senator Clint Dixon (R-Gwinnett).

Atlanta made national headlines last year after Fox News host Tucker Carlson described, in sometimes graphic terms, how crime rates in Buckhead have soared. Carlson also said certain of Atlanta’s politicians incited that violence.

Carlson said Atlanta leaders have made too many inflammatory remarks about Buckhead, which is wealthy. He said district residents have endured that abuse in silence. Buckhead residents account for a fifth of Atlanta’s entire budget, he said. Carlson said Buckhead residents shouldn’t have to “send huge sums of money to a city that hates them.” He blamed former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for motivating hundreds of Atlanta Police Department officers to exit the force.

Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News. Follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, and GETTR. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Brian Kemp” by Governor Brian Kemp. Background Photo “Buckhead, Georgia” by Kburkha2. CC BY-SA 4.0.