Polls aren’t the only means of judging the imprint that crime is making on season’s race for mayor of Atlanta.
Newspaper headlines are one additional gauge, though they carry the disadvantage of self-reference.
We’ve had the murder of a boxer, the carjacking of a councilman, the home invasion of a city council president (and mayoral candidate), and a spate of robberies around Georgia Tech.
That says something.
But music can be another measure. And an Atlanta politician might find meaning in the fact that one of the more popular songs by one of the more popular bands in Atlanta is a paean to murder, mayhem and neighborhood shopping.
By day, Mack Williams, 28, is an animator who works on the edge of the Georgia Tech district. He’s familiar with the string of assaults around the campus.
He lives in the Ponce de Leon Avenue area near the local Kroger. Monday, on his Twitter account, he described a chase by police of some culprit from the grocery store to his street.
“Back yard is all clear! I am locking the doors and arming myself with a big maglite,” he typed.
“They found him hiding in my neighbor’s garage,” Williams said Tuesday. “There’s a lot of scary stuff going on.”
By night, the animator shape-shifts to another persona. He’s Phoebe Cates, Charismatic Frontman for Attractive Eighties Women. A band. (Film reference alert: See “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”)
Two years ago, Williams/Cates wrote the lyrics for “Murder Kroger.”
“It’s without a doubt one our more talked about songs,” he said.
Listen to it here for free, but be warned that Sinatra fans aren’t part of the band’s demographic strategy.
“We were having a conversation about all the different Krogers in town and how they all had different nicknames.” The “Disco Kroger” in Buckhead, for instance.
Fair or not, the homicidal nickname was attached to the Ponce de Leon store sometime in the late ’90s, local denizens say.
Cates/Williams confessed he doesn’t know of any deaths that occurred store property. But he says the entire area is pretty sketchy. “Bad things can happen to you very quickly if you’re not aware.”
Thus the lyrics:
down on ponce where the call girls roam
and the homeless trannies won’t leave you alone
just a block or so past the Clermont lounge
sits the deadliest grocery store in town
it’s a good place to go if you wanna buy crack
but if you go there for groceries you may never come back
As for statistics showing that crime is down, Williams/Cates says he doesn’t believe the numbers. “Property crime is, like, crazy right now,” he said.
But animator/songwriter is not political. The only communication Williams/Cates has had with City Hall has been a suggestion that a system of sky buckets link Little Five Points to east Atlanta. To allow residents to rise above the mean streets.
— The Wall Street Journal has been chasing an initiative born in the U.S. House to buy new executive jets for government officials. The purchases have been pared down significantly in “a chorus of opposition” that includes President Barack Obama.
But the newspaper today addresses the Georgia birth of the purchases:
The origins of the big order stretch back to early April. Lawmakers from Georgia asked Congress to increase the number of passenger jets to include an additional Gulfstream plane. Their reasoning: The Gulfstream V has “transcontinental range, exceptional performance capabilities” and would best support the Air Force, said Democratic Rep. John Barrow, in a statement requesting the extra funds.
The Gulfstream planes also are built in Mr. Barrow’s district at a Savannah, Ga., plant that employs about 5,000 people.
Georgia Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop posted a similar statement on his Web site, to satisfy a new House rule governing disclosure of earmarks.
A third Georgia lawmaker, Republican Rep. Jack Kingston, didn’t ask for additional funds, but posted a statement on his Web site touting the funds. “Gulfstream brought the project to us,” said Chris Crawford, a spokesman for Mr. Kingston.
While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:
Audits shine harsh light on Georgia bank failures. July shows a 10 percent drop in state revenue. Swastika painted outside congressman’s office. Metro Atlanta schools wrestle with budget cuts. Longer days, shorter year for Fulton County schools? Gwinnett County to bid out property appraisals. McDonough officials probing theft of funds; police chief’s wife accused. Thousands turn out for immediate mortgage help. Workers race to clear Piedmont Park lake before McCartney concert. Fulton County asked to pay back $750,000 for Brian Nichols defense. House panel votes to send road planner’s nomination to full committee.
Your Luckovich fix. Cynthia Tucker on protestors who hate Medicare: Part II Jay Bookman argues that a new Afghan strategy should be given time to be tested. Newt Gingrich thinks citizens just want the truth on health care. Coca Cola’s CEO says businesses can promote better health for American workers. Bob Barr bemoans the sophomoric tone of the debate over health care.
WP: Harriet Miers told a House panel that an “agitated” Karl Rove called ousted U.S. attorney a “serious problem.” NYT: Shiites in Iraq show restraint as Sunnis keep attacking. WSJ: A president as micromanager: How much detail is enough?
For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.