A fascinating and heated non-debate over the TSPLOST, between Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the president of the DeKalb County NAACP, took place this morning via radio station V-103 and its large African-American audience.
DeKalb has the highest concentration of Democratic voters in Georgia, and is crucial to the formula for passage next week of the transportation sales tax in metro Atlanta. But John Evans, who heads up the DeKalb NAACP chapter, has come out against the TSPLOST, saying it doesn’t do enough for south DeKalb.
Evans and Reed appeared back-to-back on V-103’s “Frank and Wanda Show” to discuss the issue. Evans was first, and said:
“Everybody has a reason they don’t want to pay the tax. They may not all be related to transportation. There are those in these outlying counties who want no part of transportation where we’re going to be bringing black folk and others to their communities. They don’t want it. And so they’ll have their reason for voting.
“The NAACP’s reason for not wanting it is, they have been promising us rail for 20 years, and have not paid the price to do it….They’ve had county commissioners who would support it in Fulton, and wouldn’t support it in DeKalb…They think we’re the weakest folk in the game, and so they think they can get away with it. And when can get certain blacks to fold into that thesis, they think they can influence all of black folk, everywhere….
“First of all, they’re talking about 200,000 jobs. That’s the biggest lie I ever heard. I want a list. That’s an estimate. Even at that, if you’re not secure in contracts in writing, and we may have to end up taking them to court….We can’t afford to play this mealy mouth stuff, accepting everything that the system says.
“When they had the roundtable, they had 21 people. Four of them were black. None of them supported us. None…they tried to buy us off by saying, ‘Okay, you said you wanted rail. We’ll give you $225 million to come up with some jive bus system.’ That’s not it.”
By the time he rolled into the studio, the mayor of Atlanta was plenty steamed. Reed laid into Evans:
”I was listening to that funny fellow you had before I was on. I think he ought to say that to me. When I saw him in the hall, all he did was walk up and shake my hand, and ask me how I was doing. If he’s going to get on the radio and make those kinds of false statements, talk that trash to the people of Atlanta, he ought to do it while we’re both sitting here on ‘V’.
“….That’s what a man would do. This man just got on the radio, said all these false things, used the name of the south DeKalb NAACP, talked about whether I was on the roundtable, talked about this being a rich man’s game. How many people has he ever employed? How many businesses has he brought to the city of Atlanta?….
“He talks that talk because he doesn’t have any responsibility. He doesn’t have a job to do. He doesn’t have to deliver for people every single day. He doesn’t have to look into the eyes of mothers who are trying to get jobs for their kids. He doesn’t have to look at them. He runs around, all day, God knows what he does, talking this talk. Comes on the radio, and then smiles at me in the hall. [To the already departed Evans] Please come on ‘V’ with me…
“MARTA’s getting $600 million in investments. I don’t know how he believes that $600 million is a small amount of money. It’s the biggest investment in MARTA that MARTA has had in 20 years that’s not from the federal government…
“Did you know that right now, folks in Clayton County can’t get on a bus and get into the heart of the city? That’s 1960s, 1970s stuff. If I live in Clayton County, and I’m a working person, I can’t get on public transit and get into downtown or Buckhead or east Atlanta or Cobb or Gwinnett from home? You know what that means? That means I have to take extraordinary steps just to keep a job, just to keep a roof over my head.
“Do you know who put the $225 million in for the south DeKalb line in at all? I did. I did….
“If you all walked out of your front door right now, and put a for sale sign out on your home, you’d be lucky if you broke even. Most of us would have to take a loss. That’s the environment we’re in right now. And John Evans, or whatever the fellow’s name is, see, he doesn’t have to go recruit businesses into Georgia, or recruit businesses into the city of Atlanta.
“The reason I’m working on this is because I sit in those meetings, and we’re losing businesses coming to our town that used to say yes without me even showing up…..
The exchange also caught the ear of political watcher Rob Redding, who filed this.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s statements on job losses in Georgia and metro Atlanta.
Late Tuesday, we reported here that state Rep. Joe Wilkinson, chairman of the House Ethics Committee, had issued a list of 85 House candidate who had signed a pledge to support $100 cap on gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers. Of those 85, Wilkinson identified 49 who he said stood in violation of some aspect of the state’s campaign finance laws.
See the list here. We’ve already heard from two of those candidates. One is Doreen Williams of Conyers, a Democrat in the race for District 92. Another is Republican David Hopper of Augusta, a candidate in District 125. Both are requesting a correction and apology from Wilkinson.
The Marietta Daily Journal today reports that Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers and his GOP primary challenger, Brandon Beach, have both been hit with ethics complaints. The complaint against Rogers appears to be the more serious, and focuses on a supposedly independent committee – set up by the Senate Republican caucus — spending tens of thousands of dollars to assist in the re-election of Senate Republican incumbents.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider