Tag: Kasim Reed

Kasim Reed picks Uber to win over taxicabs

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed recently told The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf that Uber’s fight against an antiquated taxicab industry isn’t going to be easy, but he’s picking the app-based hailing service to win:

I think they’re going to fight a 15 round fight, and I think that Uber’s going to win. And the taxicab industry is going to have to change and get more flexible.

But in the interim, they’re going to flat out fight it out, and mayors are going to be in the middle of it, because the taxicab industry is so old and staid and never had real competition, and now it’s being forced to innovate.

Uber has a real challenge. Uber has to maintain the level of quality that made Uber the brand it is today. And I think that at this point in the life cycle of that business, and that space, they haven’t had time to go out there and do 5 years and 7 years and 8 years to see, is your Uber experience the same. Because I had one the other day that was pretty close to a cab. So they’re going to have to fight that out. I know that I’m going to get a mean letter, Uber.

I love you.

Some House members proposed a measure targeting Uber and Lyft during the most legislative session, but the measure never went to the floor for a vote.

Good Marks For Kasim Reed Navigating Through Occupy Atlanta

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

It can’t be that easy being Mayor. Mayors, like Governors and Presidents, are chief executives. They are popularly elected by their constituents, but are in a role that has ultimate accountability. Legislators, by contrast, can be perpetually for or against something without ever being burdened with developing and implementing workable solutions. Executives, by contrast, take the brunt of competing forces of public will and must make some attempt at balancing the interests of various factions into one reasonable scheme of governance.

Presidents and Governors, likewise, have it a bit easier. By being higher on the political food chain, they enjoy a bit more separation from their constituents and their opinions of how things are going than can Mayors. Mayors must live among those they serve, and the feedback is both immediate and constant.

I say the above as a preamble to this: It could not have been easy to be Mayor Kasim Reed over the past three weeks. As Occupy Atlanta staged their protest, Reed had to answer to a variety of competing constituencies as he attempted to monitor the situation, explore a suitable end game, and ultimately ensure a peaceful and safe ending for all concerned. Read more

Mayor Reed Acts; Protesters Ordered to Leave Park

– Estimated 50 OWS-Atlanta Protesters Remain for Possible Arrest –

The large majority occupying Atlanta’s Woodruff Park left hurriedly, but a small group remained behind to be arrested late Tuesday evening. At this time, there is no notice that any arrests have been made.

Check out the excellent Atlanta Journal-Constitution article by Christian Boone and Rhonda Cook for more details. Here is an excerpt of the piece:

Deputy Police Chief Calvin Moss announced at 11:52 p.m. that the executive order allowing protesters to stay in the park has been revoked. Protesters were told to leave the park and any belongings left behind would be treated as abandoned property.

At 10:45 p.m., Tim Franzen, an Occupy Atlanta leader, told participants who wanted to be arrested to gather in a circle in the middle of the park where there was the best lighting for the media to see. He advised people who had been drinking, using drugs or were on probation not to take part. Those who did not want to be arrested but wanted to continue the occupation were told to circle the park until 6 a.m. and then return.

Some of the people waiting to be arrested waved small American flags. About 50 remained in the park at midnight. Several hundred people were outside the park.

Franzen said arrangement already had been made to cover the bail of group members who were arrested. They are expected to be charged with violating a city ordinance, a misdemeanor.

Based upon previous reports, protesters had worked out a plan to have members return to the public park at 6:00 AM the day following arrests. Members of the group left open the possibility that another venue within the city might also be chosen for future protests.

(Cue the creepy organ music in a minor key and the deep-voiced, overly dramatic, off-screen narrator) So, will the APD make arrests? Will the OWS squatters return at 6 AM? If they do, does the City of Atlanta have a plan to counter? If not, will this soap opera continue forever? (Cut organ and narrator)

In the meantime, congratulations to Mayor Reed for taking some action. He showed patience and now he is showing leadership. That pesky Rule of Law thing really does need to be respected.

Reed to Revoke Exec Order Allowing OWS-Atlanta in Park

At a press conference on Monday, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced that he would revoke the executive order allowing OWS-Atlanta protesters to remain legally in Woodruff Park through November 7th.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution story:

Reed said the turning point occurred over the weekend, when, he said, protestors tried to organize a two-day hip-hip concert without proper security plan or personnel. Reed said the concert, which attracted about 600 people, had been wrongly advertised as featuring rapper Ludacris, who didn’t show up.

Protestors also used an unauthorized generator and put people on top of it to prevent police from removing it, Reed said. The city would have been liable if the machine had combusted, he said.

“I believe they placed lives at risk this weekend,” he said. “The nature of the relationship has changed.”

Reed acknowledged that there were no incidents of violence from the concert. But he said that was because of an expanded police presence that cost the city roughly $100,000 on Saturday alone. Police have worked 12-hour shifts near the park since the weekend, which is presumably costing the city overtime pay.

Alleged OWS-Atlanta spokesmen say that the real danger is from the presence of police and that they remain undeterred.

I’m glad to see Mayor Reed reign this in before November 5th, just to be safe. After all, that date is a famous anniversary in the life of anarchist folk hero Guy Fawkes. Come to think of it, it may be a good thing for the OWS-Atlanta protesters, as well. Just where, do you suppose, the anarchists will be on November 5, 2011?

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot ;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
‘Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God’s providence he was catch’d,
With a dark lantern and burning match

Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let the bells ring
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, God save the King!

Hip hip Hoorah !
Hip hip Hoorah !
– Guy Fawkes Day Poem – English Traditional

Atlanta TSPLOST On Track To Be Roadkill

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

Governor Nathan Deal pulled the plug Wednesday on efforts to move the state’s various regional referendums to fund localized lists of transportation projects. While the bill would have affected all votes statewide, the bill was designed to spur participation in the Atlanta region. The 10 county area contains roughly half the state’s population and a gridlocked transportation infrastructure. It also casts the future of North Georgia’s transportation future in doubt, a region which has lacked a coherent growth plan since Governor Purdue killed the northern Arc to fulfill one of his earliest campaign promises.

Local polling suggests that the proposal may have as little as 30% support in the Atlanta region, though most were taken prior to developing the targeted projects list or before the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce has initiated an expected campaign to promote the benefits of infrastructure improvements to both the region and the state as a whole.

Opponents, however, have wasted no time in launching opposition to an extra one percent sales tax, with Georgia’s TEA Party Patriots and Atlanta TEA Party leaders mobilizing efforts to persuade legislators to block the measure. A compromise was reached on moving the TSPLOSTs to November 2012 by the Governor agreeing to push for all other future local referendums to be held on the November general election date as opposed to either special elections or summer primaries with thin participation. While Senate leaders signed on to the compromise, House Speaker David Ralston indicated his members feared that stepped on the concept of local control, and that they would need more time to reflect on the issue.
They now have plenty of time, as the bill has been suspended from further consideration. Legislators will now try to finish their work on passing new Congressional district maps by Saturday, and then adjourn until January.

What’s next for the transportation referendums is less than certain. Read more

Discouragement in D.C. Versus Optimism in Georgia

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

One of the oldest axioms of government is that “all politics is local.” Elections are generally won or lost on issues that directly affect voters where they live, work, and spend. The more recent trend, however, is to “nationalize” elections, moving politics at every level to a team sport. Voters are told they either want Hope and Change or must put their Country First. They either support radical socialism or TEA Party extremism.

Partisanship now trumps policy, and the politics in Washington D.C. sets the tone for most political races all the way down the chain to the local level. There was hardly a Georgia Republican candidate that could afford direct mail during the last election who didn’t link his Democratic opponent to Barack Obama. It’s always interesting watching a candidate for county tax commissioner discuss how he’s going to stop Obamacare, or to defend his pro-life views. Yet voters identify with these issues as litmus tests, and choose to judge the character of those seeking office based on core issues they understand. It is, after all, easier than actually learning what a tax commissioner or clerk of court actually does, or how the individuals running for these offices have capabilities to perform these functions.

A problem exists within this form of identity politics in that Washington is famous for great speeches, full of sound and fury, which signify nothing. An entire D.C. career can be made by being against anyone and everything without ever crafting a single piece of legislation. The legislative branch of government requires only strong opinions, without even a hint of skill required to implement policy as is required by the executive branch.

In Washington, we have now witnessed the culmination of hyper-partisanship combined with a lack of executive experience. The two parties are gridlocked on every major issue of the day, and it now appears whatever “compromise” will be worked out, it may be too little to avert a downgrade of U.S. debt. The unquestionable full faith and credit of the United States Government is about to be questioned.

Larry Sabato, the political guru from the University of Virginia, summed up the situation this weekend saying “For anybody who teaches the American system & believes in it, this has been an extremely discouraging week.” And, in all realities, it has. Read more

Pensions, Ports, And Pennies

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed appears to have won perhaps the largest victory in his early tenure as Mayor of Atlanta. The Atlanta City Council and the city’s major employee unions have signed on to a deal to overhaul the city’s pension plans, with the details to be drafted into legislation for a vote expected next week.

City Council members had originally balked at most of Reed’s proposal, though Reed had systematically increased council support for acknowledging that pensions, already underfunded, were on an unsustainable path. A few council members began crafting alternative plans, and yesterday, the two sides came together on a framework. Newer employees will be transitioned to a retirement system that is comprised mostly of a defined contribution plan (think 401K), while existing employees will keep the current defined benefit plans(think lifetime of increasing payments), though they will contribute more of their current salary to fund the programs. Retirement ages for new employees will also be raised.

Reed’s ability to deliver pension reform builds on credibility he has established with regional and state leaders as a man who will fix structural problems within City of Atlanta government. As both the state capitol and population center of the state, what happens with Atlanta government impacts Georgian’s statewide, yet is only directly controlled by the approximately 400,000 residents who live within the official city limits. Reed’s ability to harness the political will to rein in spending on city employees – a large voting bloc within the city’s political machine – will be viewed by outside leaders as a sign that he is both a man that can get things done, and someone who can be a trusted partner on fiscal issues. Read more

Mayor Reed Introduces His Pension Reform Plan

Not all the action today is Crossover fun at the Gold Dome.  Down the street, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has released his pension reform proposal to reform city employee pensions and fix the under-funded pension plan.  From WXIA-11 Alive news:

The first part of the proposal commits the city to pay off its debt over the next 30 years. The city’s current pay-off plan will result in the pension liability almost doubling in 30 years without any debt being paid off. The city currently pays only interest on its unfunded pension liability, while the principal continues to grow — an untenable financial arrangement, Reed’s office noted. Read more

Mayor Kasim Reed Scheduled for “Meet The Press” This Sunday

According to Jim Galloway, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will be on Sunday’s “Meet The Press” on NBC:

The topic is federal spending cuts, and their impact on big cities. Reed will be on a roundtable that includes Rep. Bobby Schilling, R- Ill., a tea party-supported freshman; Dee Dee Myers, former Clinton White House press secretary; David Brooks, columnist for the New York Times; and Mark Halperin of Time magazine.

Be sure to set your DVRs for Sunday’s broadcast at 10a.

Kasim Reed: Mayor Of Georgia

My column from this morning’s Courier Herald:

While speaking to the Atlanta Press Club yesterday, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed spoke on a variety of topics with a somewhat common theme: Working with various other state leaders to “reduce the notion of two Georgias”. 

A Couple of weeks ago, I wrote for PeachPundit.com that Kasim Reed is the man with political clout in Georgia.  He has been the point man to work with President Obama’s Democratic administration in an attempt to secure funding for expanding the Port of Savannah on behalf of a solidly Republican state.  He has become the key negotiator in solving the Atlanta regions’ transportation plan in preparation for an upcoming regional transportation sales tax vote.  And he has stood shoulder to shoulder with the Governor to announce the two would use every means necessary to ensure that Atlanta Public Schools do not lose accreditation.

As mayor of the capitol city, Reed has influence far beyond his half million constituents.  His frequent references to “unprecedented cooperation” with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, and Congressional delegation underscored the symbiotic relationship the various parts of the state have, and the abilities of Reed and the others to bring Georgians together. Read more

This Is What Clout Looks Like

Looking at his expression, and listening to his tone, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed wasn’t having a good day yesterday.  But once again, it was Reed who was providing the daily message on Georgia’s crisis dejour, this time over the Atlanta Public Schools new probationary status from their accreditation agency.  Listen to Reed’s remarks (starting about the 5:30 mark) in the following clip which will also provide any background you may need on the APS mess:

One could say that a Mayor threatening a school board over which he has no jurisdiction is itself, as he put it, Kabuki Theater. But they would be very wrong. Reed has spent his first year as mayor cultivating the relationships he has not only at City Hall, but with the Atlanta region, state, and Washington D.C. Read more

Bloggers On Ice – On TV

To appease my family By popular request, here is the link to my segment on WXIA/11 Alive news last evening.  I had a polite conversation with SpaceyG regarding our snow/ice event and the Governor, DOT, and Atlanta Mayor’s response to the crisis.

I appreciate WXIA’s invitation, and enjoyed their hospitality before and after the live shot.  It was clear they’ve been working nearly around the clock, and there a lot of us who want normal schedules back.

As for the roads, well, it should be in the 40’s on Saturday.  10 day weekend!

: We now have video of Buzz Brockway’s interview with Doug Richards here.

And let’s extend this discussion beyond “Hey, I’m on the Tee-vee” to Buzz’s question. Should Georgia and local governements invest more in snow readiness, or should we accept that the opportunity cost is too high in a shrinking budget environment?

Would High Speed Rail Money Rejected By Red States Spend Green In Georgia?

Georgia missed out on a round of $8 Billion in Federal dollars granted to states earlier this year.  Our neighbor to the Northeast, North Carolina, received over a half billion in real construction dollars.  We eventually were awarded $4.4 Million to keep some consultants busy with a study.

The City of Atlanta was slightly more sucessful with funding for their proposed streetcar.  After initially being snubbed, Mayor Kasim Reed went to D.C. to essentially tell the Obama administration, “Hey, we’re not all anti-transit exurban Republicans down here, you know?  His trip was rewarded by a $47.6 Million dollar federal transportation grant that all stakeholders agree will do nada for the regions traffic woes.

And then, there was an election a week ago, and suddenly, some of those “winners” (of our tax money) in other states no longer want the money

 High-speed rail projects in Wisconsin and Ohio appear close to derailment, with Wisconsin’s outgoing governor saying Monday he’ll leave the future of his state’s project to his Republican successor, who has vowed to kill it, and Ohio’s incoming governor saying again he plans scrap his state’s project.

Read more

State Senator Kasim Reed’s “increased taxes for Atlanta” bandwagon

Atlanta mayoral candidate, partner at Holland and Knight and state Senator Kasim Reed (D-Atlanta) introduced legislation yesterday to let city voters determine in November if they want to raise property taxes to allegedly pay for more police and firefighters. At a press conference which aired on Thursday’s edition of Lawmakers, and flanked by liberal tax-o-crats and state Senators Vincent Fort and Nan Orrock, Reed said that the additional money was needed to fund public safety.

Reed’s legislation would increase the city’s property tax rate by 1 mill, which he estimates will raise as much as $24 million. He estimates the property tax increase will cost $6 a month for someone whose property is assessed at $250,000. The average home in Atlanta is valued at about $240,000.

“This would be the first step to increase the number of sworn officers and make the citizens of Atlanta safer and more secure,” said Reed, who has suggested the city needs an additional 750 police officers.

Why can’t Reed realize that Atlantans already pay too much in taxes and there is still much fat to cut from the government of his favorite girl who he seeks to replace? Let’s quickly review a super piece from 2007 from Creative Loafing’s John Sugg regarding this very issue.

Read more