Photo may have been deleted


An Atlanta city councilman introduced a plan to employ self-proclaimed "water boys" to get them off the streets.

Water boys earn cash to make ends meet by selling bottles of water to motorists in busy intersections.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms attempted to crack down on the illegal practice after residents complained about crimes committed by the enterprising boys selling water on city streets and off-ramps.

Bottoms threatened to arrest the boys amid reports of violent confrontations with motorists.

The youngsters have also been targeted by older boys who assault and rob them. Last June, a water boy was shot to death by a jealous rival during an argument over a lucrative intersection.

Councilman Antonio Brown introduced a plan to employ water boys during Monday's council meeting, CBS 46 News reported.

If approved, the plan would involve the city's water department creating a bottling and distributing program offering mid-wage jobs.

The city would specifically hire water boys to fill the newly created positions.

Meka Pless, the mother of 18-year-old Jalanni, who was killed in a verbal dispute with another boy over $10, thinks Brown's plan is a waste of time.

"It's just entirely too much," Pless exclusively told CBS 46 News. "Who is to say this is going to change anything?," she added.

But some of the water boys welcome the new plan if it will protect them from harm.

CBS 46 News spoke with Bob John, a water boy hawking bottles at the intersection of 17th and Spring Streets in Midtown Atlanta.

John said a few criminals have given Atlanta's water boys a bad reputation.

"If you gon' sell water, sell water," said John. "All that trying to act like you selling then you steal somebody purse, that ain't right."

Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images

The Atlanta City Council committed approved free swimming for low-income children over the objections of the mayor's office.

The city charges $5 per child to swim in Atlanta's 12 city-run pools, but the Atlanta City Council committee approved legislation to eliminate the fee -- despite objections from Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' office.

LaChandra Butler-Burks, the mayor's executive director of the Office of Recreation, fought tooth and nail to keep the swimming fee in place.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an ordinance was introduced by Council members Matt Westmoreland and Marci Overstreet that pointed out the disparities in deaths at city pools.

Roughly 64 percent of Black children can't swim, and the drowning rate is three times higher for Black children.

The ordinance blamed the disparities on unacceptable lack of access to city pools for low-income children.

The mayor's office asked the Council to hold off on the vote to remove the fee because it could increase security costs at the pools significantly. But the Council proceeded with Tuesday's vote.

The city pools generate $54,000 in revenue for the city. The original legislation moved $60,000 from a non-developmental fund to the Parks Department budget to make up the difference.

The city currently provides security at the pools only during free swim hours.

"We are at our best as a city when we are taking care of the people that need it the most," Overstreet said. "There is no reason we shouldn't have free swim in the summer. So we need to work as hard as we can to make sure that happens."