Shortly after a Black mayor and all-Black city council took office in the Atlanta-area city of Stockbridge, residents of one community got a measure on their midterm ballots that would have authorized secession from the city, CityLab reports.
Eagle's Landing bills itself as a "country club community." It is wealthy and mostly white, while the rest of Stockbridge is middle and working class and mostly Black. Eagle's Landing exiting the city would have left Stockbridge with a depleted tax base, placing the city in dire financial straits.
Residents of the wealthy community claim the proposition had nothing at all to do with racism. Instead, proponents of the plan said the split was necessary so residents of Eagle's Landing could get something they'd always wanted: a Cheesecake Factory.
“I serve on the Henry County zoning board, and so I kept seeing all of these places like Bojangles, Waffle Houses, dollar stores and all this going up in our county,” Vikki Consiglio, the chair of the Committee for the City of Eagle’s Landing, said. “And I was like, why can’t we get a Cheesecake Factory or a P.F. Chang’s or a Houston’s? We have areas that have high incomes, so what’s the deal?”
Advocates for the split said Cheesecake Factory repeatedly denied their requests as Stockbridge's median income of $55,000 was deemed too low by the restaurant's executives. Cheesecake Factory has neither confirmed nor denied taking median income into account when deciding where it opens a restaurant.
Despite the best efforts of the Eagle's Landing exit committee, it failed to secure the necessary votes on Election Day. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the secession plan received 3,473 votes in favor and 4,545 votes in opposition.
Bojangles will have to do for now.
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