In This Episode
- Hundreds of people crowded Atlanta’s City Hall yesterday to give public comment ahead of a city council vote over the proposed police training facility that activists call “Cop City.” The vote would decide whether or not to allocate $31 million in public funds to help build the facility, which has drawn widespread opposition.
- Another group of Latin American migrants arrived in Sacramento on a chartered jet Monday morning – the second flight of migrants to land at the state’s capital in the past three days. While no one has publicly taken responsibility, California officials believe Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is behind the unannounced flights.
- And in headlines: military officials have an explanation for the sonic boom heard across the Washington, D.C. area over the weekend, hundreds of journalists working for the largest newspaper chain in the country walked off the job, and Spotify announced a new round of layoffs.
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Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, June 6th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson. And this is What A Day where we are happy to report that it’s now safe to completely forget Matty Healy’s name.
Josie Duffy Rice: Fortunately for me, I never even bothered to learn it, so.
Tre’vell Anderson: Sorry to this man, but I still don’t know who he is either.
Josie Duffy Rice: No clue.
Tre’vell Anderson: He’ll be fine. [music break] On today’s show, military officials have an explanation for the sonic boom heard across the D.C. area over the weekend. Plus, hundreds of journalists working for the largest newspaper chain in the country walked off the job.
Josie Duffy Rice: But first, yesterday, the Atlanta City Council was set to vote on whether or not to allocate $30 million dollars to building Cop City, a massive police training facility outside of Atlanta. That vote comes after years of active pushback and opposition from activists and many in the community. It also comes amidst a number of recent concerning incidents involving Atlanta police and city officials. As of record time on Monday. The vote had not yet happened because public comment from the community was still going strong.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, I’ve been seeing all of the tweets, the IG lives from the public comment section. Tell us a little bit more about this facility, Josie. We’ve talked about it on the show, but what are the basics here?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, so Cop City would be an 85 acre police training facility. Large, a big one, the proposed site of the facility is Weelaunee forest, which is what it sounds like, a forested area of Atlanta. That would be, of course, at least partially destroyed to build this facility. It’s in a largely Black, largely poorer part of town. And the pushback against the facility has existed for years, ever since it was proposed. But in recent months, the swell has really grown. As we covered on the show back in January, an environmental activist protesting Cop City named Tortuguita was shot 57 times and killed by cops. The cops initially claim they shot at them first. However, a report by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation found that they had been sitting with their hands up when they were killed. That killing came in the midst of increased police aggression, including arresting about 40 protesters for domestic terrorism.
Tre’vell Anderson: We’ve already stated on the show how this claim of domestic terrorism is wild–
Josie Duffy Rice: Wild.
Tre’vell Anderson: –here, does not–
Josie Duffy Rice: Wild.
Tre’vell Anderson: –even make sense.
Josie Duffy Rice: None. It’s a very aggressive move by a, you know, historically aggressive police department. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s been more bad behavior by city officials more recently. Last week, residents learned that Cop City is actually expected to cost taxpayers a total of $60 million dollars, double what officials had claimed. That’s in addition to the $60 million dollars funded by “philanthropic and corporate donations,” quote unquote, which is police unions, police foundations, you know, some others, but lots of cops in there. Then, as we covered on the show last Wednesday, a SWAT team showed up to the door of three Atlanta organizers with the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, a mutual aid and bail fund. The officers had their guns drawn. They proceeded to raid the home, and then they eventually arrested the three activists for charity fraud and money laundering. It’s a very normal thing to do to show up to someone’s house dressed in full tactical gear with guns to raid their home. Like many cops when they’re accused of charity fraud. That’s normal, right?
Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. No, it’s giving excessive is is what it’s giving.
Josie Duffy Rice: Hmm.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s giving excessive. This is part of a series of many questionable choices on the part of law enforcement and public officials in the city. If I’m being generous, I’d say we’re seeing a lot of incompetence. If I’m being realistic and being honest. It’s seems like explicit attempts to silence pushback. And in fact, at the end of last week, audio leaked of a couple of police officers discussing the raid and the officer said, quote, “They had to send a message” and stated, quote, “At some point they’ve got to give up,” talking about the protesters.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yikes. It’s always–
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: –interesting when these folks are caught on tape–
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: –telling us their true feelings.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right like y’all don’t even use code words. They’ll just say it.
Tre’vell Anderson: You don’t even use code words anymore. So you mentioned that as we go to record, the vote hasn’t happened yet. But what’s likely going to happen?
Josie Duffy Rice: The vote will likely be pushed to later today given that public comment is expected to last into the night. Um. The expectation has long been that the city council would vote for the facility. That’s what most people are expecting. But I guess there’s always a chance that they decide to surprise us. But no matter what, it’s clear that it’s a very, very unpopular decision for local officials. And I would not be surprised if local elected officials really pay a price at the ballot box for deciding to vote for Cop City. On Monday, the line for public comment trailed outside of City Hall and down the block, according to people in attendance. And it lasted from morning into the evening. Resident after resident spoke about the other ways that Atlanta could desperately use that money. As of record time, public comment is still going. So here’s a clip from Robell Awake speaking to the city council about Cop City.
[clip of Robell Awake] On our way to day care in the morning, we sing songs as I try to avoid the potholes that have been there for years. I drive by neighbors waiting at bus stops with no benches, no shelters from the rain. We see unhoused neighbors and community members sleeping under makeshift shelters, and we see cop cars cruising our neighborhood all day, every day. I’ve been harassed on more than one occasion by the cops in my neighborhood. They make me feel the opposite of safe. [applause] Spending $60 million dollars, $60 million taxpayer dollars on a new police training facility is the most [bell dings] heartbreaking, reckless and, quite frankly, anti-Black thing this city has ever proposed in my lifetime.
Josie Duffy Rice: Had to keep in the anti-Black.
Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. You know, you got to call it like it is honey.
Josie Duffy Rice: You gotta say it.
Tre’vell Anderson: Well, thanks for that, Josie. Now on to an update to a story mentioned on yesterday’s show about the flight of migrants that showed up in Sacramento over the weekend. A quick refresher, 16 South American migrants ended up on the doorstep of a local church without any advance notice. They were first transported to New Mexico from Texas before arriving in California, where there has now been a second flight carrying migrants to arrive in California’s capital. This one touched down Monday morning with about 20 people on board.
Josie Duffy Rice: All right. I bet I can guess. But do we know for a fact who is responsible for this?
Tre’vell Anderson: So no one has publicly taken responsibility yet. But California officials are blaming Florida’s governor, Ron DeSanctimonious. Okay. And they have good reasons to. As you well know, DeSantis has been a major pain in the ass regarding a number of social issues, but especially immigration. And here’s some quick background for folks, earlier this year, he signed off on a bill that earmarks another $12 million dollars for a program that specifically relocates undocumented migrants from Florida to other states. That’s how those flights carrying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts last year happened, if you remember those. And when people called him out for using this money to send migrants in other states. Right, folks, not even in Florida, two Democratic ones. DeSantis had Republican legislators in his state create this program in his office specifically dedicated to migrant relocation. With the express permission to transport folks from locations anywhere in the country. And one of the three vendors DeSantis’s administration selected to carry out these relocations was Vertol Systems, a Florida based aviation company.
Josie Duffy Rice: I bet I know where this is going.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. Now, that’s important info, because the two flights that ended up in Sacramento appear to have been arranged by Vertol Systems. And that’s according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office.
Josie Duffy Rice: Well, well, well, [laughter] if there isn’t anything less surprising on Earth.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right.
Josie Duffy Rice: Than Ron DeSantis spending money to do this. I also think it’s a little crazy that the fiscal conservative is spending $12 million dollars for this program, which is basically a huge troll and lot of cruelty. But anyway, what does California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, have to say about all of this? I know that they have a pretty contentious relationship.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. He and DeSantis have been, you know, trading barbs for years at this point, so much so that Newsom had no qualms about calling DeSantis a, quote, “small, pathetic man” yesterday on the Twitters. And he also basically implied that he might pursue kidnapping charges over the matter, especially as many of these migrants do not seem like they expected to end up in California. Some of them who are seeking asylum even have immigration court dates in the coming days in cities as far as New York and Chicago. So it’s looking like that might be the case. Nonetheless, I’m sure that this story is not over, especially with DeSantis running for president. Everybody gird your loins now. So we will be here to keep you all updated throughout it all. But that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break].
Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s get to some headlines.
Josie Duffy Rice: If you were in the Washington, D.C. area Sunday afternoon, you may have been jolted by a loud sonic boom. It happened as military F-16 fighter jets scrambled to intercept a small private plane that flew over restricted airspace. According to officials, the business jet took off from eastern Tennessee and was originally bound for Long Island, New York. But for some reason, it abruptly turned around and ended up flying over D.C. At least one of the fighter pilots sent to intercept the plane reportedly saw the civilian pilot slumped over in his seat and he appeared unresponsive. The plane, which was carrying four people, later crashed into a remote part of Virginia and there were no survivors. The victims include the pilot, the plane owner’s adult daughter, his two year old granddaughter and the child’s nanny. Investigators are still looking into what caused the crash. So sad.
Tre’vell Anderson: Education officials in Afghanistan said on Sunday that nearly 80 young girls at two primary schools were poisoned and are now hospitalized. Both schools are located right next to each other in Afghanistan’s northern Sancharak district. The girls were enrolled in grades one through six. Under the Taliban regime, girls and women are banned from pursuing education beyond those grade levels. Officials told the Associated Press that the girls are, quote unquote, “all fine now” and that they’re still investigating the matter. But they gave no details on how they were poisoned and who may be responsible. If this sounds familiar, you’ll remember that we told you about a similar rash of poisonings in Iran last November when thousands of schoolgirls were poisoned by noxious fumes in their classrooms. To this day, there’s no confirmation as to who was behind those attacks in Iran or what chemicals were used to carry them out.
Josie Duffy Rice: Haunting, I mean, just so awful. Hundreds of journalists at Gannett, the country’s largest newspaper chain, walked off the job yesterday. The strike included workers from two dozen newsrooms across the country, and it’s said to be the largest collective labor action in Gannett’s 100 year history. Yesterday’s walkout was planned on the same day as the company’s annual shareholder meeting. The News Guild, the union representing Gannett journalists, sent a letter to shareholders last month urging them to cast a vote of no confidence against CEO Mike Reed. In that letter, the union criticized Reed for slashing newsroom staff, reducing the salaries of its remaining employees and cutting the amount of local news content its papers run. The net shareholders instead ultimately approved a new compensation package for its executives, including Reed, who made about $11 million dollars between 2021 and 2022. Susan DeCarava, the president of the News Guild of New York, called the move, quote, “a slap in the face to the hundreds of Gannett journalists who are on strike.” Look, first of all, we hear about journalists at Gannett getting fired left and right who are not making that much money. So I have questions about this $11 million dollars. And also, you could pay me $11 million dollars to run news organizations into the ground.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] I’d do it for half. Okay. And I don’t even need the $11 million. I’d do it for half. Okay.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’ll do it for half. I’m like, this is someone who has contributed directly to the complete decimation of local media. He is rewarded with $11 million dollars, and I think that is $11 million dollars that we could split and be very happy.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Also, a great PSA for folks to support your local newspaper.
Josie Duffy Rice: Support your local newspaper. That’s correct.
Tre’vell Anderson: And in yet another round of layoffs, Spotify announced yesterday that the streaming company is cutting about 200 employees or 2% of its workforce. The company also plans to merge its podcast networks Gimlet and Parcast into a, quote, “renewed Spotify Studios operation.” The news came to Spotify staff in a memo sent yesterday morning by the head of the company’s podcast division, who called the move a, quote, “fundamental pivot that will allow us to support the creator community better.” They love talking about pivots when people are losing jobs.
Josie Duffy Rice: Why do they always go to the word pivot? Don’t say that anymore. It’s not working for you.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s not great.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s not great.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yesterday’s cuts come after Spotify announced earlier this year in January that it was laying off 6% of its global workforce. And last October, the company cancelled 11 of its original podcasts.
Josie Duffy Rice: According to a federal lawsuit filed on Thursday. A new Mississippi law could restrict free speech by requiring residents to get a permit if they want to protest near government buildings in the city of Jackson. The lawsuit was filed by the Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign and several other advocacy groups in the state in an effort to block the rule from going into effect on July 1st. It is the latest legal challenge filed against several new laws passed by the state’s GOP led legislature that essentially expand the state’s power over policing in Jackson, a city that residents say is already aggressively policed. Earlier this year, the NAACP successfully sued to block state officials from unilaterally appointing four state court judges in Jackson County, a move that drew widespread outrage and protests from residents. The state’s majority white and Republican legislature claims that it’s just trying to lower crime in the state’s majority Black capital. But Jackson residents have repeatedly protested these new proposed rules, as well as the state’s unwillingness to invest in the real issues the Jackson community faces, like repairing the city’s struggling water system. Somehow I’m just suspicious that they care about Jackson residents. I don’t know what it is.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, they don’t care. They just want to police their ability to protest.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know? You have to ask–
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: –for permission to exercise–
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: –your right to assemble. Huh yi yi.
Josie Duffy Rice: In government buildings, it’s like that’s the whole point of protesting.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right, right.
Josie Duffy Rice: We’re protesting you all.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] Now we have to ask–
Josie Duffy Rice: Do you not understand that?
Tre’vell Anderson: –you permission to protest you?
Josie Duffy Rice: Now we have to ask you permission to protest you? We’re not going to do that? Right?
Tre’vell Anderson: Huh yi yi yi yi yi.
Josie Duffy Rice: Also just another example of a state disinvesting in Black communities over and over and over again. And then claiming they really care about their safety. You don’t. You don’t care about their safety.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right.
Josie Duffy Rice: And we know that. [sigh] And those are the headlines.
Josie Duffy Rice: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, call out an overpaid CEO and tell your friends to listen.
Tre’vell Anderson: And if you are into reading and not just the hard work of local journalists like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
[spoken together] And stop saying the word pivot.
Josie Duffy Rice: So annoying.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s annoying and it’s actually kind of disrespectful right? Like–
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s extremely disrespectful.
Tre’vell Anderson: –you gonna pivot away from my job? Right.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: Like, what do you mean?
Josie Duffy Rice: I didn’t sign up for this pivot.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] Right.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s like breaking up with someone and saying you’re pivoting. [laugh]
Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] Actually–
Josie Duffy Rice: That’s not a way to communicate.
Tre’vell Anderson: –gonna use that now.
Josie Duffy Rice: Don’t do it. [laughter] [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media, it’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz, our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers, and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.