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Supporters of Buckhead cityhood push back after GA legislature tables issue

Last Friday, Speaker David Ralston's office told 11Alive 'the Senate's decision not to take up the measure has effectively ended legislative consideration of this.'

ATLANTA — The "Buckhead City" movement seemed unfazed Wednesday following the issue of cityhood being taken off the table for this year's legislative session last week.

Last Friday, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston's office told 11Alive "the Senate's decision not to take up the measure has effectively ended legislative consideration of this issue for the session."

Previously, Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan assigned a state Senate bill providing for a vote on cityhood to a committee where it would likely be shelved.

In order for Buckhead to vote on whether it wants to be a city or not, it needs for the state legislature, the Georgia General Assembly, to pass a bill providing for a referendum.

At this moment, without the support of Duncan or Ralston, the vote basically doesn't have a path forward.

However, leaders in the movement to make the wealthy Atlanta neighborhood its own city - amid concerns of violent crime - appear determined to keep the fight going.

In attendance at a press conference was Georgia State Sen. Randy Robertson, who continuously stated that the decision of whether or not to let Buckhead citizens determine their own cityhood was a matter of voter rights.

"If we're going to support voter's rights, then we're going to need to support them 100%," he told 11Alive. "We don't get to support voter's rights when it pleases us, and stomp on them when it doesn't."

Robertson added  he came out to show his support and encourage citizens in the area to "stay strong."

The senator also spoke out against those critical of the movement, adding, "I don't know that I've witnessed such a direct and angry campaign as I've witnessed against 'Buckhead City.'"

Robertson also explained he's part of a task force focused on studying crime in the area. He told those present Wednesday that he will continue to be an active participant to figure out how to curb crime in Buckhead.

Also in attendance was Bill White, the outspoken chairman and CEO of the Buckhead City Committee. 

White was asked by at least a couple of reporters about a controversial social media post that highlighted a post from VDARE, an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center says regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists..

However, White offered no real response; simply saying that the most important message of the day was they should have the right to vote on the issue.

When similar questions continued to be pressed, another member of the movement snatched the mic, exclaiming "this is not a racial issue, this is a safety issue," before mentioning the death of a child as the kind of crime they hope to eliminate. However, it was unclear what specific incident she was referring to.

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