Kasim Reed to Legislature: ‘It’s time for a cease-fire’

Last year witnessed several loud, knock-down-drag-out fights between the Legislature and elements associated with the city of Atlanta. Usually, the city lost.

But in an effective appearance before the state House this morning, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed essentially promised that – while the situation may be even more dire this year – there won’t be a repeat.

“It’s time for us to have a cease-fire. We can deal with the stuff between us later. But right now, Georgia’s dominance as the capital of the South is threatened,” the mayor said.

Note that Reed identified Georgia as the capital of the South. Not Atlanta.

Reed’s invitation to speak was recognition that the House had served as the starting point for his political career – though Reed actually spent more years in the Senate. So the mayor understands that his former colleagues can be a prickly bunch. If Reed used the word “humble” once, he used it five times — before House members and in interviews afterwards.

His language, if employed outside the state Capitol, might even have raised some eyebrows.

Said Reed to the House:

“I’m also clear on one thing. I’m a rookie member on this team, and I’m quite comfortable with that. The speaker, the governor, the lieutenant governor, the House and the Senate are the captains of this team. You all are the captains of this ship. I want you to know you’ve got a rookie member who’s ready to do my part, whatever it is. I’m ready to go get the water, wash the laundry, clean the towels, whatever it takes.

“But I also want you to know you have a capital city that is a humble city that wants to work with you – in every way that I can. I want to make sure that the city is safe, that the water that flows downstream to your communities is clean, and that when you read the papers – the Atlanta Journal and all of the rest – that you feel a sense of pride.”

Blogger Andre Walker of Georgia Politics Unfiltered has helpfully posted Reed’s speech on YouTube:

After addressing the House, Reed went to the chamber’s anteroom, where a line formed of House members wanting their photo snapped with him. A line of 10 grew to 15, then grew to 20 – then 25. Not a normal reception at all.

In interviews with reporters, Reed summarized his approach. “Now is not the time for us to be turning on one another. We need to work on problem-solving. People don’t want to hear about anything else. They want to know what are you doing to help me keep my job,” the mayor said.

Reed said transportation will be his focus in the Legislature:

“If we don’t change things, we’re going to be a transient city and a transient state. We’re going to be a stopover, as opposed to the place that people make home. And we can’t do it without one another. Georgia will not thrive if Atlanta does not do well. But at the same time, you have to have a capital city that is respectful of the state and its traditions, and cooperates in that fashion.”

Again, the language is remarkable.

Reed’s strategy became most clear when asked about MARTA. State law dictates that the transit agency can use only half of the proceeds from sales taxes on operation. The rest must go toward capital projects. Last session, MARTA chief Beverly Scott made several trips to the Legislature, to argue that the transit agency is on life support when it comes to funding.

Here’s what Reed said:

“My sense is that MARTA is a work in progress, that you cannot force it, and that you can’t get into a situation where you’re making hard statements about MARTA.

“I think everyone understands the gravity of the situation. I think everyone understands that, without any change in MARTA’s funding, it goes broke in about 18 months. That can’t stand from a competitive standpoint. It would devastate the [state-owned] Georgia World Congress Center. So there are multiple competitive reasons that MARTA needs to function well.

“If MARTA cuts service in a serious way, or reduces its weekend service, we will lose convention business to Orlando and other cities immediately. It’s a fact. So we’ve got to get the emotional components out, which is what my message was about. We can get back to point-scoring when things are good. When you’ve got surpluses, we can play these games. But everybody that I know is broke.”

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

95 comments Add your comment

devildawg

January 28th, 2010
12:42 pm

Wow, that sounds like a mature, thought-out statement. Please be as good of a mayor as you sound.

Our District...

January 28th, 2010
12:43 pm

Thanks Mayor Reed. Make us proud and tell them whatever they need to hear to get the job done.

Intown Lib

January 28th, 2010
12:49 pm

Dear Georgia:

The hand has been extended. Don’t bite it or we are guaranteed that Georgia will be the southern version of Michigan.

Sincerely,

City of Atlanta

Reed is Doomed

January 28th, 2010
12:56 pm

Reed’s office was bought with cash from outside the State of Georgia. 50% of Atlantans do not support his office.One speech will not remove the need for real change in the mayor’s office.

Art Vandalay

January 28th, 2010
12:57 pm

The problem with that is those state senators from Deliverence don’t want the convention business here. Thier response to losing conventions to Orlando “good let all those business yankees go down there and clog their streets and take up their parkin’ we don’t like ‘em here anyhow” they want dirt roads and farms there is no compromising with those incapable of having visions of progress

No Change At All

January 28th, 2010
1:03 pm

Lip service from a thug bought and paid for by out of state political interests.

Change you can really count on

January 28th, 2010
1:10 pm

Well one thing for sure. Reed has his work cut out for him because there has not been a mayor of Atlanta that has ever done a good job for the city or the people living in it. If hes out to make good changes then I applaude him in the biggest way.

Time will tell what kind of leader he is but my guess is there are many many elected officials still in office that will fight him all the way. Good luck to you Mayer Reed. I wish you all the luck in the world.

Real Georgia

January 28th, 2010
1:12 pm

With comments like Art Vandalay’s and Intown Lib, its hard to understand why people from outside of Atlanta don’t think much of them.

Art Vandalay

January 28th, 2010
1:15 pm

well “Real Georgia” then answer it right now, what are your thoughts on mass transit, tourists from other states vacationing here, conventions bringing large crowds here, people and businesses relocating here from other places. Because it is fact that the majority of Georgians don’t want any of those things here.

Bitter is Never Attractive

January 28th, 2010
1:16 pm

Amazing to see people take issue with the election that they lost after leading so handily. Get over your bitterness and allow this man his attempt to lead this city back from grave. Atlanta is nearly dead, surrounding subs have worked hard and deliberately toward that purpose!

Michael Johnson

January 28th, 2010
1:18 pm

For the statement made by No Change At All at 1:03 PM. What a irresponsible backwards statement which probadly reflect the level of your education. It’s comments like yours that prevents unity and progress. Kasim Reed is far from a thug. I admire his choice of words, as he tries to bridge the gap between Atlanta and Georgia.

Art Vandalay

January 28th, 2010
1:19 pm

The funniest thing is the suburbs that were so dead set on keeping things exactly as they were are now the undesirable locations. Their lack of progress have led to laughably low land values while intowns vision(at least what they could get done while working around the state) have led to some amazing neighborhoods that are among the fastest growing in Georgia.

Art Vandalay

January 28th, 2010
1:23 pm

look at what the midtown alliance has been able to do over the last 20 years Midtown Atlanta is now THE premier neighborhood of the southeast

doug

January 28th, 2010
1:24 pm

anybody can give a good speech…WE, WHO LIVE IN ATLANTA, AS IN THE CITY LIMITS, WANT THINGS TO CHANGE. NO MORE TAXES. LET’S CLEAN UP THE CITY. NO MORE TAXES. LET’S CHANGE POLOTICS AS USUAL. FRANKLIN LET THE PENSIONS FOR CITY WORKERS GET OUT OF CONTROL, NOW WE HAVE TO PAY. PAY WE WILL. GET IT TOGETHER REED. WE ARE WATCHING. IF YOU TAX US MORE AND DO NOTHING, WE WILL TAKE OUR MONEY AND LEAVE.

nan

January 28th, 2010
1:24 pm

Enter your comments here

Michael Johnson

January 28th, 2010
1:25 pm

Art Vandalay speak for yourself. The majority of Georgia will prefer jobs rather than unemployment. With mass transit, tourist, and conventions that mean more jobs. So please just say what you think personally, and not speak for GA as a whole.

Art Vandalay

January 28th, 2010
1:28 pm

If nothing changes keep your eyes on Tampa and Charlotte one of them will be the new Capital of the South. I would say Orlando but they have the same can’t get out of their own way problem regarding transportation.

Tim

January 28th, 2010
1:28 pm

An analogy of Atlanta and Georgia is like Israel in the middle of the Middle East. Atlanta is a big, glitzy, cosmpolitan city/culture connected to the global economy, culture and marketplace. Georgia is mostly a rigid, backwards thinking populace “stuck” in its beliefs about how they think the world actually works.

Duluth, GA

January 28th, 2010
1:28 pm

I am so proud of Mayor Reed. Instead of bickering or arguing with the incompetent leaders of GA he took a whole new approach which is very commendable. I only hope that the new Governor will care more about Atlanta than the outgoing governor does. If Atlanta dies, so will the state of Georgia. Why is it so hard for the rest of the state to understand that?

Art Vandalay

January 28th, 2010
1:30 pm

The problem is Micheal that those who do want that envy Atlanta for being where they are located, sorry but Macon and Augusta don’t have the national appeal, the state needs to embrace Atlanta as the place where their convention, business, and tourism industry exist not envy it and try to steal it away.

Art Vandalay

January 28th, 2010
1:31 pm

Georgia needs to realize it is lucky to have an intenational city like Atlanta instead they despise it

Intown Lib

January 28th, 2010
1:38 pm

These anti-Franklin and anti-Reed comments are pretty absurd. Franklin moved several balls down the field of positive change. A short list: (1) sewer projects getting done; (2) modernized the City’s accouting system; (3) expanded the airport – 5th runway, rental car facility, etc.; (4) facilitated visionary transportation/economic development projects such as BeltLine & Peachtree Streetcar and a helluva lot more.

All Reed needs to do is consolidate these victories and shore up the weak spots that Franklin couldn’t get to (public perception of crime; pension reform; relations with the State). City Hall didn’t & still doesn’t need the kind of chaotic and misinformed “change” that Mary Norwood would have inflicted upon Atlanta’s residents.

Let’s give Reed a chance to use his skills and assets to move Atlanta and Georgia forward. The trouble our state will be in if Atlanta and the rest of Georgia cannot properly handle the budget, water, transportation and more is quite imminent. We are closer to being the next Michigan (a dying state) than most people realize.

2by8

January 28th, 2010
1:40 pm

Atlanta better get it right. Without transportation this will never be a major city in case the (country folks who do not want to sit next to a person of color don’t realize), you go to any major city in the world you have ample means of transportation. I remember when I first moved to Atlanta in 1997 I was talkng to a gentleman on the train and he stated that transportation brings high crime. Well look you have 10% unempolyment and business are not willing to come to Atlanta because of traffic.
The Transportation system should not focus on Atlanta alone the surronding communities need to be included you should have trains runing to Savannah, Athen,s cummings and conyers so people that live in those area can still commute to Atlanta.
If you want to be the Leader in the South EAST Transporation is the way out. So stop the silly fussy and fighting and get on with it.

White Boy

January 28th, 2010
1:42 pm

No Change At All’s statement represents he or she well…can you say “deliverance” (1972). I love backwards people, they are so funny! I mean it, they truly keep me entertained. They are like little mentally challenged kids, you can’t but feel sorry for them!

thetruth

January 28th, 2010
1:44 pm

Kasim, you seem to spew the same rhetoric as all the others. This statement especially rings home==
“My sense is that MARTA is a work in progress, that you cannot force it, and that you can’t get into a situation where you’re making hard statements about MARTA.

“I think everyone understands the gravity of the situation.”

A work in progress……my god after 25 years of consistant underperforming, scandels, crime, and wasted taxpayers money…it is my opinion that MARTA is completely broken. If you really want to fix it alone, everyone…and I mean almost if not everyone that makes ANY decisions need to be fired and replaced. Trust me when I say that there are many many people looking for work!

Try Me

January 28th, 2010
1:46 pm

Those who characterize everyone outside of Atlanta as backward deliverance folks do neither any service. It’s unfortunate that Atlanta is so often characterized and even defined by those with the most arrogance and the least reason.

mc

January 28th, 2010
1:47 pm

ATL – will never be an international city – been on peachtree at 12 midnight – thugville! Paris – it is not! And Paris it will never be.
Never Reed for this intown lib.

Jeffrey

January 28th, 2010
1:49 pm

Re: “Reed is Doomed”—I’m sure there was lots of outside cash coming into Reed’s campaign. That is not an anomaly in politics today, trust me! That’s a whole other issue to talk about. But while I didn’t vote for Reed, he is my mayor, and I will support him during his tenure in that office. If I don’t (or we all don’t), then he’ll fail, and if he fails, so do we.

Susan Atkins

January 28th, 2010
2:02 pm

Reed is the Devil incarnate.

DJ Sniper

January 28th, 2010
2:05 pm

Great speech by Mayor Reed. The longer I live here, the more I’m amazed at how backwards this state is. First of all, our elected officials, led by the inept Sonny Perdue, have done absolutely nothing to improve public transportation in this city. His solution was to keep building more roads. More roads leads to more traffic, and the cycle just continues. Of course, Perdue was in bed with the Concrete Mafia, so as long as his pockets were lined, he really didn’t care about public transportation.

The other issue is the people who live here(particularly in the suburban counties) who have continued to vote against MARTA for the wrong reason, and that reason is race. Even in 2010, there are people in Gwinnett, Cobb, Forsyth, and other counties who don’t want MARTA in their neck of the woods because they think the “undesirables” from Atlanta will invade. Um, do these people actually think that there is no crime in these areas? Gwinnett County is one of the largest drug hubs in the Southeast, but people are worried about criminals from Atlanta riding the train up to the ‘burbs to rob them blind? Get a clue people!!!!

Justin

January 28th, 2010
2:08 pm

Thank you Mayor Reed.

Justin

January 28th, 2010
2:08 pm

Enter your comments here

Arrogant City-Dwellers

January 28th, 2010
2:33 pm

Wow. It’s really nice to hear some of you arrogant Intown folks call people like me rural, “Deliverance”-type, and backwards…….even though I work for the man you are all praising right now. Get over yourselves. The City isn’t that great. Oh, I know you all REALLY wish this city was like New York with its truly posh neighborhoods, but when I can stand on the porch of a new house and throw a rock at a ghetto slum house, New York, it is not. You can take all of the nice, posh, and SAFE parts of Atlanta and fit it on one of my rural, “Deliverance”-type, and backwards farms. It already smells like manure here anyway.

Falcon Fan

January 28th, 2010
2:33 pm

mc why would you even compare Atlanta to Paris?

Observer

January 28th, 2010
2:34 pm

I am a life long resident of Georgia. It is quite obvious that the state representatives are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. We haven’t overcome the racial divide, and many caucasians do not see black people as human, let alone intelligent. Taking into consideration, we will continue talking at each other rather than to each other, thereby solving nothing. It is obvious that transportation issues have to be solved if we are to survive economically. This is not rocket science.This state, as well as the country, is DOOMED TO OBLIVION if we continue to have no respect for the views of each other!

jm

January 28th, 2010
2:35 pm

Great speech Mayor Reed. Please keep up the good work of rebuilding relations with the State. Hopefully it will be easier next year with Barnes at the helm, instead of the previous “do-nothings” running the show.

lol

January 28th, 2010
2:37 pm

he is smooth talker… just like somebody else in office.

and just like somebody else in office, he can only talk

Ruined Art...

January 28th, 2010
2:37 pm

Hey Art Vandelay, you have now ruined a perfectly good fake name. And my favorite burrito. Go back to the northeast and let the real folks from Georgia deal with Georgia’s problems. You have obviously never spent any time outside the perimeter to see what people actually think about Atlanta. I am sure all your info comes from the morons (yes I guess I am in moron mode since I am writing) who spend countless hours on these blogs.
And by outside the perimeter I don’t mean Dunwoody or Marietta. Head to south Georgia, or the mountains, or the coast. This is an awesome state and we are lucky to have Atlanta, ya’ll just need to get your act together and quit acting like you are the only game in the state. Sounds like Mr. Reed has taken a good first step towards it.

lol

January 28th, 2010
2:38 pm

oh and purdue is a disgrace to this state… at least we can agree on something

White Boy

January 28th, 2010
2:38 pm

Thanks for proving my point “Arrogant City-Dwellers”. Be the first the in your trailer park to read a book…please. Also, thank the 8 year old that typed your response.

DirtyDawg

January 28th, 2010
2:38 pm

Hopefully Mayor Reed’s ‘yassa-massa’ approach to the Republican, OTP-dominated Legislature will produce some better results when it comes to a sensible sharing of transportation funding. We’ll see. There was a time when MARTA was the envy of the country when it came to metropolitan transit systems, but years of underfunding and lack of support from an increasingly hostile Legislature – one driven primarily by prejudice – has taken its toll.

Frankly, the only hope I see is if, by some miracle, Roy Barnes will be returned to the Governors office to try and finish the work he started back before the nitwits handed the office over to, arguably, the dumbest peckerwood ever to have held it.

JohnAtl

January 28th, 2010
2:39 pm

DJ Sniper – Check your facts, please. There has not been an actual MARTA vote in the suburbs since 1990. You are remembering a straw vote in Gwinnett – it meant nothing, and it was very close.

I commend Mayor Reed for reaching out. Just imagine how much we can get done when Roy Barnes returns to office.

If “the Ox” happens to win, it’s over for Atlanta and this formerly great State. You can count on it.

mc

January 28th, 2010
2:39 pm

Falcon Fan: exactly it is not! It does not even compare with Chicago, or Seatlle as far as that goes;

Falcon Fan

January 28th, 2010
2:42 pm

If you vote down Marta coming into your county, don’t complain about traffic! Again why would people put New York, Paris, Boston, Chicago, or any other older American European city to Atlanta. Atlanta was a R.R. hub while these other cities were booming. Charlotte will do it right by learning from Atlanta’s mistakes and backward politics.

mitch

January 28th, 2010
2:45 pm

MC- Please tell me why you are here?

White Boy

January 28th, 2010
2:46 pm

mc-Shouldn’t you be out looking for a new trailer hitch?

Arrogant City-Dwellers

January 28th, 2010
2:46 pm

And thank you White Boy for proving my thoughts about City Dwellers who think all of us who live outside of the Perimeter live in trailer parks and can’t read.

TP4U

January 28th, 2010
2:49 pm

Mayor Reed is on the right track. Let all Georgians pray our legislators and constitutional officers get how desperately we need a transportation system. We are losing companies wanting to relocate in the South to Charlotte and other cities because of our lack of transportation. We don’t need anymore roads. We need a rail system that will move people to jobs. Until we make transportation a priority we will lose more jobs, more homeowners will lose their homes and the crime issue will continue to increase. I have lived in metro Atlanta for 20 years and we have been stuck on stupid no matter who has been in charge. When the gubernatorial candidates ask for your vote==the questions should be, “Will you support and vigorously work toward a rail system?”

White Boy

January 28th, 2010
2:51 pm

“Arrogant City-Dwellers” You are too stupid to own a house. Shouldn’t you also be out looking for a new trailer hitch? Or is it not your responsibility because you don’t own the trailer either?!

professional skeptic

January 28th, 2010
2:52 pm

Kudos, Mayor Reed, for extending the olive branch. For the sake of all Georgians, I wish you the best in your efforts to reach common ground with the rural legislators.