Atlanta Councilmembers Bakhtiari, Dozier on voting against funding training center

Atlanta City Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari speaks earlier in the day in the atrium of Atlanta City Hall. (Matthew Pearson/WABE)

On Thursday’s edition of “Closer Look,” Atlanta City Councilmembers Liliana Bakhtiari and Jason Dozier reflected on Monday’s council meeting that centered on a key funding vote for a controversial public safety training center.

Following a record-breaking 14 hours of public comment, the council voted 11-4 to approve up to $67 million toward the center, referred to by opponents as “Cop City.” Both Bakhtiari and Dozier were among the four votes against the final legislation.

But the two councilmembers split on a separate motion to send the legislation back to committee — a move championed by some opponents during public comment — with Bakhtiari seconding the motion and Dozier voting it down.

“Folks that had questions could still have asked those questions,” Dozier said. “I felt we had been debating this for two years, it was time to make a decision.”

Bakhtiari also responded to Councilmember Matt Westmoreland’s Wednesday interview on “Closer Look,” when he said he felt those looking to send the legislation back to committee also wanted the project abandoned entirely.

“I wasn’t just hearing people saying that they wanted to send it back to kill it,” Bakhtiari said, referring to community members’ concerns over the center’s cost and location. “I was hearing people say to me, they were sending it back because they understood the need for a training facility but there were still too many unanswered questions.”