It’s been an eventful week in Atlanta and on the midterm campaign trail.
The city of Atlanta moved to evict one Peoplestown neighborhood family after reaching a settlement agreement with another in the latest chapter of the years-long eminent domain battle.
Stacey Abrams discussed her evolving views on abortion during a revealing Washington Post interview.
Raphael Warnock used Herschel Walker’s own words against him in a pointed attack ad before Walker fired back and pressed Warnock on policy disputes.
Here’s what you need to know heading into the weekend.
City moves to evict Peoplestown resident despite mayor’s promise
Peoplestown resident Tanya Washington Hicks and her attorney will spend Monday trying to convince a judge not to boot her family from their home in southeast Atlanta.
The married mother of two represents one of four remaining Black Peoplestown families involved in a decade-long eminent domain dispute with the city.
Since 2012, attorneys for Atlanta have been acquiring homes on a historically Black residential block in Peoplestown to make room for a park containing a retention pond designed to prevent flooding.
Washington Hicks’ recently scheduled Fulton County Superior Court hearing comes nearly seven months after then-mayoral candidate Andre Dickens told reporters that she and the other involved Peoplestown families could keep their homes if he’s elected.
Dickens won his runoff race over former Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore in December.
“We’ll make sure that we design this pond and this park so that these four residents that are actually on the corners can stay because the pond and park can actually go in the middle and they can still stay,” Dickens told WSB-TV in November.
Washington Hicks said she recently rejected an estimated $1 million home purchase offer from the city, which reached an eminent domain settlement agreement earlier this week with Dwayne Adgar, one of her Peoplestown neighbors.
On June 6, Washington Hicks and Bertha Darden appeared at a City Council meeting to emphasize their continued desire to stay put.
Washington Hicks also sought to clear the air about an estimated $128,000 payment the city made to her mortgage lender in October 2016. She told Capital B Atlanta the arrangement was made between her bank and the court and that it didn’t change the fact that she and Darden don’t want to sell their houses.
A day after the council meeting, Washington Hicks said she received a notice through her lawyer informing her of the eviction hearing scheduled for June 13. She questioned if the city’s lawyers are operating without Dickens’ knowledge or consent and emailed Dickens on Wednesday to clarify.
The mayor acknowledged receiving her email on Thursday but didn’t say anything else, she said. The mayor’s office hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment.
“Nothing has changed between the time he made that promise on the campaign trail and now, except that now he’s the mayor and he has the power to rectify this wrong,” Washington Hicks said. “That’s what he promised and that’s what I think he’s going to do. I believe he’s a man of his word. I believe he’s a man of faith.”
Abrams explains shift on abortion
The Democratic gubernatorial candidate on Wednesday revealed that she previously opposed legalized abortion as a teenager growing up in a religious Southern community.
But Abrams’ views on the issue changed over the years, partly due to the influence of a female friend who, during her youth, was debating whether to keep her own baby.
“For me, the conversion was slow, but it was true and it remained,” Abrams told The Washington Post during an interview published Wednesday. “Because fundamentally, the answer is that this is a medical decision and it is a personal decision. And in neither of those two instances should there be any intervention by a politician.”
Abrams said she maintained her anti-abortion position while attending Spellman College during the 1990s, but she said another female friend who worked for Planned Parenthood helped change her mind.
When Abrams first ran to become a state House representative in 2006, she wrote an essay to help sort out her position before ultimately determining she supported abortion rights.
Her views on the matter now mirror those of a majority of Black Americans (61%) who, polls show, support abortion rights in most cases.
“These are communities that understand,” Abrams said. “They understand ectopic pregnancy, they understand not having the choice, not wanting a forced pregnancy. And they want there to be an option. And that does not mean that that would be the choice they would make. But they understand the necessity of the choice and the right to make that decision.”
Warnock and Walker trade jabs over attack ad
Warnock’s campaign released an attack ad last week that drew ire from the Walker’s team on Tuesday.
The 30-second spot shows old Glenn Beck news footage of Walker promoting a body spray he claimed would kill the virus that causes COVID-19. It also accuses Walker of selling “snake oil body spray.”
“You know right now, I have something that can bring you into a building that would clean you from COVID as you walk through this,” Walker in the ad. “As you walk through the door, it will kill any COVID on your body. … They don’t want to talk about that. They don’t want to hear about that.”
Walker fired back with an attack ad of his own this week. This one showed old footage of Warnock criticizing former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler for using attack ads against the Ebenezer Baptist Church pastor and appears to accuse him of hypocrisy for doing to Walker what Loeffler once did to him.
“Five words you didn’t hear in Warnock’s negative attack ad — inflation, gas prices, baby formula,” Walker’s campaign Twitter account tweeted Tuesday. “He’s already slinging mud two weeks into the election because Warnock knows if the race is about issues — he will lose.”
It’s not yet clear what effect these ads have had in the race. The latest WXIA-TV/Service USA poll had Warnock up 5 points over his GOP challenger, but a RealClearPolitics average of polls still has Walker up by half a percentage point, meaning the race is a dead heat right now.