While Rome Burns – Installment #459

UPDATE!!!! According to Creative Loafing’s Scott Henry, the Atlanta City Council has just passed a slasher of an amended 2009 budget! One that will eliminate the need to raise taxes. Wow! Watch CL’s Fresh Loaf blog throughout the day for up-to-the-minute news. Duck, flying pigs overhead! 

While the City of Atlanta prepares to up our property taxes as a means to scramble together our now-infamous $140 million 2009 budget shortfall, the City (the one with the 11% increase in crime too) is busy spending 2008 budgeted bucks frivolously on pointless PR campaigns to promote a one day football and cheerleading camp – and a fully-funded U.S. Congressmen’s appearance at such. A cheerleading camp? (WTF’s up with that? But hey, it’s an election year, right? Ra-Ra-Ra, Go Team Lewis!)

Besides, this cheerleading/football camp is a charity program that seems fully funded by private and corporate sponsorship in the first place. Why not let the deep-pocketed sponsors do the PR and publicity, for chrissake? They’ve got money. We City of Atlanta homeowners do not. We’re paying out the you-know-what for our water alone. We’re broke too!

Don’t get me wrong, I love sports, and feel it’s critical for any kid’s healthy development to participate in team sports. But let’s take a look at yet another of the City’s poorly-written press releases du jour about what exactly they’re doing with our money this time:

On June 28, 2008, Leigh Torrence, Washington Redskin Cornerback will host nearly 500 campers (including 100 cheerleading campers) at Atlanta’s Anderson Park for the Third Annual 4th Down Fundamentals Football and Cheerleading Camp. Congressman John Lewis will be at the camp to welcome participants and guests to the camp. During the 2007 off-season, Leigh Torrence was a congressional intern for Congressman Lewis who represents the 5th District, his home district.

By partnering with the Police Athletic League and with funding from the SWAY Foundation, Make A Difference Foundation, the NFL, and Mercedes Benz of Buckhead, the campers will enjoy the day concentrating on developing key football and cheerleading fundamentals while being introduced to life skill concepts. They will receive hands on guidance from NFL players, a professional cheerleading group, a number of knowledgeable coaches, and more than 100 volunteers! Leigh Torrence takes mentorship and giving back to his community to a new level.

“It is my privilege and honor to have Leigh once again offering this camp to the youth of our community,” said Atlanta City Councilman Ivory Lee Young, Jr, who recognized Torrence in 2007 for this community service work. “Leigh Torrence Jr. is an example of a community leader and role model who believes strongly in giving back to his hometown in many ways.”

Well that’s all just great. Only thing is, right now we’re a city that’s dead broke and struggling. Nice-nice summer camps (ones that also make city council suits and Congresspersons look great for a day for the local TV news cams during an election cycle) for kids are not exactly what I’d be promoting to the media in these hard economic times.

And maybe the City never budgeted a ton of PR and publicity dough on this summer camp/re-elect John Lewis thing in the first place. But one day of cheerleading camp here, another day of some other nice-nice camera-op program there… it all adds up to frivolous spending in what should be extreme belt-tightening times for the City of Atlanta.

Note to the City of Atlanta’s PR shoppe, at least spend OUR money cranking-out longwinded press releases that give the appearance of fiscal responsibility and attention to a city under seige by crime. It’s not like anyone expects any of you to actually do something. Other than raise our taxes again that is.


  1. Rogue109 says:

    The Rapture is imminent; SpaceyG and I are in 100% agreement.

    I imagine that the only difference between us on this issue is that I also think the City shouldn’t be paying for such programs in good budget times, either.

    Side note: the word from one of the City Solicitors is that 40% cuts to that department are coming Monday.

  2. Icarus says:

    Thank god it’s just a post about wasteful spending. (100% about GA politics, btw) I read the headline and thought Spacey had finally gone midevil on her nemisis.

  3. SpaceyG says:

    My PR people do NOT want this 100% agreement with Rogue thing to get out to the media. Least they, the media, detect a pattern. Then again, it’s local media. Like they’d have half a clue. I tell my peeps not to worry their pretty little heads so. (They’re so precious, how they look out for me!)

  4. Rogue109 says:

    My PR people do NOT want this 100% agreement with Rogue thing to get out to the media.

    Scary, isn’t it? BTW, we also agree that you are, in fact, a female (grin).

  5. EAVDad says:

    Wait a second — are you sure the city is paying for the camp? It doesn’t look that way to me. What am I missing?

  6. RuralDem says:

    “with funding from the SWAY Foundation, Make A Difference Foundation, the NFL, and Mercedes Benz of Buckhead,”


  7. SpaceyG says:

    I’m not saying the City is funding the event itself. (Although there could be some city money allocated towards the actual event, but finding out stuff like that takes a genuine reporter with a paycheck of her own, not just some random blogger on PP.)

    Rather, the City’s PR office is publicizing it, for the benefit of a specific council person and a specific Congressperson. Publicity and PR ain’t free, hon. That I know. That I know.

    Check where the release is coming from. (The City’s PR office.) Posting to Atlanta Daybook ain’t cheap. That I know too.

  8. Ms_midtown says:

    >the City’s PR office is publicizing it, for the >benefit of a specific council person and a >specific Congressperson

    I’ll give you the Daybook should not be used with tax dollars, we don’t know who’s Daybook account paid for the post.
    The publicity harm is a fallacy, every day in this city and state there are events where elected members are present. Press releases come out with elected officials and departments at everything from Boy Scout honors to a tomato safety conference.
    There is no harm in this practice.

  9. EAVDad says:

    Spacey, as an Atlanta resident, I know there’s plenty to be ticked off about. And believe me, I am.

    But, in this case, I agree with Ms. Midtown. There’s no harm in publicizing a very positive event that is run by one of Atlanta’s success stories. It doesn’t appear that there is any money spent on this event except maybe the electricity of a few keystrokes for a PR guy to push out a press release.

    And advertising the appearance of a Congressman and a City Councilman is certainly S.O.P. for these types of things (election year or not). And even if Atlanta does pay to post on the daybook, my guess is that they have an account that gives them unlimited access.

    Again — plenty to be mad about in Atlanta. But, I think you’re off base here.

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