Atlanta City Council debates 'drug-free zones'

Image 1 of 8

City council members in Atlanta reject an effort to crack down on drugs in the city, not because they are soft on drug offenders, but because they complain the new rules would be unfairly applied to majority-black neighborhoods.

Cleta Winslow, who is black and a veteran of the council, had her legislation shelved by her colleagues. She barely had a chance to explain what it was all about.

Winslow proposed making entire neighborhoods drug-free zones, much like the rules covering schools and church zones. If someone gets caught and tried for offenses there, the penalties would be harsher.

But when council members got a look at her paper, some asked why there was not one Buckhead neighborhood included.

The opponents said drugs are abused in wealthier communities, but the activity takes place on a deck or in the basement.

Under the Winslow plan, Councilwoman Marci Overstreet's neighborhood would be counted.

"What is my insurance company going to think about that," Overstreet said, believing that such a designation would label her neighborhood a high crime area. "I don't want my rates to go up."

Winslow left the meeting but told a reporter she could bring the measure back up.