East Point celebrates city's birthday on the public dime

12:21 AM, Aug 12, 2012   |    comments
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EAST POINT, GA -- The city of East Point celebrated its 125th birthday Saturday. It had ample reason to throw a party with public money to mark the occasion, says its mayor, Ernestine Pittman. "What people get from this is a sense of unity, coming together, intermingling and all," said Pittman. "It's priceless."

Over the years, East Point has gotten a reputation as one of the most politically dysfunctional towns in metro Atlanta.

"Chaotic is how I would describe it," said East Point resident Barbara Collins.

"Silly. Unbelievable," said resident Beverly Jones, who attended the birthday celebration.

"They fight a little bit sometimes," said Antonio Arnold, referring to the mayor and city council. Arnold was at the celebration with his family.

East Point's nearly nonstop political strife extended to its modestly attended birthday party. The city spent $8,000 on the event, Pittman said. Asked about the expense, Pittman said: "There comes a time - there's some things - you should not afford not to have. Should not afford not to have."

"Many of the citizens said, we don't want a birthday party celebration," retorted Collins. "We want some things done with our tax money" liking upgrading parks and sidewalks, she said.

Last week, Collins and another East Point resident filed a lawsuit asking a court to remove Pittman as mayor, accusing her of malfeasance, malpractice and misconduct. Pittman says she is unconcerned. She describes the politics in East Point as "normal."

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