Kasim Reed warns against ‘backseat quarterbacking’ on TSPLOST

Various number-crunchers tell us that the one place that treated the TSPLOST favorable in metro area was the city of Atlanta itself, which approved the transportation sales tax by a margin of 58 to 42 percent.

See a quick chart here. Other coverage can be found here. As a whole, Fulton County defeated the measure, 70,488 votes to 66,147. The sales tax also lost in DeKalb County, 61,792 to 57,915.

The city results are good news for Mayor Kasim Reed, who became the loudest voice for the referendum in the final weeks of the campaign – and who stands for re-election next year.

Below is a file from my AJC colleague Jeremiah McWilliams, on Reed and the final moments of last night’s doings:

Speaking at a subdued press conference late Tuesday night at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta, Reed was stoic in defeat.

“I’m here to stick out my chin and take the loss, to accept the loss … but to ask in a respectful way that we really do sit down and not wait six or eight or 10 years but work on it right away. Because the future belongs to those who figure it out. … We’re going to have to have politics of cooperation if we’re going to meet these big challenges.”

The first-term mayor embraced Metro Atlanta Chamber president Sam Williams, shook a few hands and walked off stage.

Speaking to reporters moments later, Reed warned against “backseat quarterbacking.” He said early vote totals hurt the campaign, as did the July 31 date and the hemorrhaging of Republican votes in the closing weeks of the campaign.

“Everyone deserves a fair share of responsibility,” Reed said. “We caught a couple of tough breaks…This is not really a time to blame anyone.”

“I think we have to get everyone at the table. I don’t think failing to move forward is an option. Most regions require more than one bite at the apple to achieve this (referendum-based traffic solutions). I wanted us to achieve it on the first try.”

Reed tipped his cap at the opposition.

“I’ve been in this business a long time,” he said. “I respect elections, and I respect results….I congratulate the folks who prevailed. I respect them.”

Reed said another traffic-oriented referendum “has to happen in the future,” calling that approach “the only method to try to fund the traffic improvements you need.”

“(But) I don’t know if it will be tried by me and my colleagues,” he said.

Reed said he believed the campaign failed for deeper reasons than a project list that drew many critics.
“We lost the ‘confidence in government’ argument,” he said. “And the argument around whether our projects are transformational.”

Reed said he felt the need to jump into the campaign in a dramatic way two weeks ago after internal polls showed support slipping. After the business community helped raise $8 million for the pro-tax campaign, backing away “would have sent a terrible national message” about the seriousness of Atlanta’s leadership, he said.
“People took real risks in the process,” Reed said, citing Gov. Nathan Deal and others.

“I did everything I can,” Reed told a television reporter.

It was shortly before midnight. The party had already broken up.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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157 comments Add your comment

midtown dave

August 1st, 2012
11:37 am

Jim, no victory for Kasim in Atlanta. He lost the vote in southwest Atlanta, where he is from and currently lives.

Bubba Smith

August 1st, 2012
11:42 am

That Obama Cabinet position is looking a little tougher for Kasim to get right now…

Irony

August 1st, 2012
11:43 am

From what I can tell, the resounding TSPLOST defeat was in the name of fiscal responsibility – or some derivation of. I’m well aware that victory parties are common; however, it just seems apropo that those in the Pro camp rented out a ballroom at a downtown hotel, which tend to be pricey, only to be told they shouldn’t be trusted stewards of an additional 1%.

Obviously, there are more components to the whole debacle (err..initiative?), but I thought those broad strokes needed to connect the dots.

Class of '98

August 1st, 2012
11:44 am

Once again, it is worth repeating…. when GA 400 is no longer a toll road, I MAY consider voting yes on a referendum like this. Like a majority of voters yesterday, I simply do not trust the government to do what they say they will do.

Jeff A. Taylor

August 1st, 2012
11:54 am

Jim, don’t you think Reed stayed in background far so long precisely to avoid sending a message that this was primarily a by ATL-for ATL deal? Besides, no one on the pro side expected this thing to lose in Fulton and DeKalb.

I appreciate Reed’s candor now and think the pro consultants were exactly wrong to try to bury the reality of this thing. And the reality is that it was a MARTA bailout in drag, dressed up with enough re-development goodies to win the love of the developer-realtor-builder-Chamber cartel. That might not have won either, but at least it would not have insulted the IQ of voters.

Now on to the matters at hand: a) Long-term solvency for MARTA and the extent of state participation in that b) Congestion reducing road improvements for the metro area without any developer-realtor-builder-Chamber input.

Atlantafare.com

August 1st, 2012
11:55 am

Don’t let them fool you by No more Ga 400 Toll news. Once the toll is removed they will add H O T Lanes just like Hwy 85 and folks will be paying a lot more than .50 cents.

joe

August 1st, 2012
11:55 am

“We lost the ‘confidence in government’ argument,” he said. Exactly. Government is not the way out of any problem…they are the problem. Instead of raising taxes, the government needs to turn to the private sector as a way out of our traffic and transportation mess.

Old South

August 1st, 2012
11:56 am

“People took real risks in the process,”

I kind of agree, and that’s what makes me think this defeat will hurt. What the national folks likely conclude is that the extreme political elements can take control, and Atlanta metro is as backward thinking as ever. The town that lucked(bought) Olympics.

AKA “I simply do not trust the government to do what they say they will do.”

@class of '98

August 1st, 2012
11:56 am

You do realize that the 400 toll booth is coming down next year, right?

aka

August 1st, 2012
11:58 am

Down with the government.

Kris

August 1st, 2012
12:00 pm

As Irony pointed out ” shouldn’t be trusted stewards of an additional 1%”… Both Deal and reed need to realize that the tsplost TAX was sent out of town o a RAIL and that they can be put on that same train.

DannyX

August 1st, 2012
12:03 pm

Of course TSPLOST had good support from the city of Atlanta. Atlanta won project list gold.

That gold turned out to be one of the biggest reasons TSPLOST lost. Mayor Reed got too greedy, the Beltline should never have been added to the project list.

Mayor Reed also hurt the cause when he botched the airport concessions bid. State and local politicians lack trust. The airport mess, Ga 400 toll, and lack of ethics were all major factors. Politicians have no one to blame but themselves. Reed is trying to deflect when he says now is not the time to place blame. He is deflecting because he is part of the problem, we don’t trust our politicians, Democrat or Republican, with 7 billion dollars.

A good “Plan B” start would be to enact tough new enforceable ethics laws.

@Midtown Dave

August 1st, 2012
12:05 pm

Stop spreading your falsehoods here’s the vote breakdown of the Tsplost’s resounding victory all over Atlanta!

http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/GA/Fulton/40439/94553/en/md_data.html?cid=1280&

Vote no Tsplost

August 1st, 2012
12:05 pm

I worked hard against the TAX for 2 reasons. Roads need to be paid for by users. Eight year olds and 80 year olds should not pay road taxes

jd

August 1st, 2012
12:14 pm

Here lies Georgia’s Economy.

Killed by a misunderstanding of “Fiscal Responsibility”

Ga Values

August 1st, 2012
12:17 pm

.I can understand why Kasim Reed doesn’t want any”backseat quarterbacking’ , he is largely responsible for the loss. Although I did not vote for him I was hopeful that he would do a good job but when he attacked the APS school board that was trying uncover cheating, I became worried. He then tried to fire the head of public housing, who was 1 of the few in Atlanta actually doing a good job. After promising honest bid selection at the airport, he managed to get his corrupt cronies big contracts. Finally after the Feds pointed out that his corrupt cronies got favorable treatment he refused to disqualify them.In other words we have another Bill Campbell. But that was not enough he has a totally useless Belt Line added to what was to be a congestion relief project. As we say in the south “Pigs get fat , Hogs get slaughtered”.. Hopefully Mr Reed will not run for reelection

AngryVoter

August 1st, 2012
12:18 pm

@class of ‘98…

How adorably naive. You do know the toll came down last year, right? How did that end for us? Why would anyone think the man who shafted us before won’t shaft us again. I’ll believe it when I see it. Meantime, you need to learn – Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!

gnomeboy

August 1st, 2012
12:19 pm

well, I guess since the T-SPLOST went T-SPLAT, Mayor Reed can go back to his usual job and be a cheerleader for PresBO and his failed policies.

DannyX

August 1st, 2012
12:19 pm

Disconnect between politicians and voters,

Republicans and Democrats each had non binding questions asking voters if they support ending the current practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators.

Combined results:

YES…1,244,468…82%
NO…280,166…18%

Get to work on serious ethic reform Georgia politicians, then present your “Plan B.” Admit you are part of the problem.

LMAO

August 1st, 2012
12:22 pm

It is simple our gas tax is too high. In Alabama gas is $3.15 this week. We are paying 30¢ more per gallon in taxes that is not being spent properly. Hell no to paying another penny when the money we’repaying is not spent properly.

Crossover voter

August 1st, 2012
12:33 pm

I think recent opinion pieces in the AJC struck a nerve with many voters. Our elected officials primary responsibility is to effectively and effciciently run our government. This includes prioritizing our collective needs and establishing policies and implementing tax policy to pay for those needs. If every spending decison is turned into a referendum, they are not governign, they are getting paid to be elected to office and run for re-election. We need elected officials that will make the tough decisions in an atmosphere of collective good without regard to influence from any special interest group or party that stands to gain more than the next. The cumilitive effect of poor tax policy (tax breaks) coupled with a lack of leadership has brought us to the position we find ourselves. To those candidates that appear on their way to winning a seat in our local governments or state governments you need to step up to the plate and make a differnce in getting the train back on the track. The failure of the TSPLOST was a failure of leadership over many years through a lack of overisight that includes both planning and execution.

marymac

August 1st, 2012
12:41 pm

I am so glad that crooked KR deal did not win………….did you get the message, KR?

JB

August 1st, 2012
12:41 pm

Joe: No private company is going to want to build a road or transit system unless there is significant profit to be made. So not only would users like you be paying for the cost of road construction and maintenance, but ALSO maintaining profits. How is that cheaper/better for the average citizen? And if roads were such a great money-making investment, why didn’t private companies build them in the first place? Delusional…

Bernie

August 1st, 2012
12:47 pm

Reed – “warned against “backseat quarterbacking.” “People took real risks in the process”, ““I did everything I can”.

Granted their is some truth at least in the last statement. Mayor Reed unfortunately has demonstrated clearly that he is not up to the task of Leadership the People of Atlanta need and require of their Mayor. Mayor Reed is a legislator and not a City Leader. If their is no one to blame and he has an aversion to Monday morning quarterbacking of his decisions, it is time for him to return to his old Job back at the Dome. This vote was not a LOST for confidence in government!

This Vote was a Lost of confidence in LEADERSHIP across the board!

To disregard the concerns of ones constituents over the Corporate community wishes and desires is a recipe for FAILURE every time. Mayor Reed should now remove himself from this already toxic issue and concentrate more on the real issues and needs of Atlanta that has and is still continuing to pile up on his desk this very moment.

Atlanta and its residents will no longer tolerate self serving politicians. You can be rest assured the next Mayor will never repeat this error again! Mayor Reed is damaged goods now! His legacy will be remembered for what he does now from the end of his term and many of us now feel even that will be a disappointment as well.

Daniel

August 1st, 2012
12:49 pm

I don’t believe the TSPLOST loss will have anything to do with Kasim Reed’s Political Future. I did not vote for it, I am definitely NOT a member of the Tea Party. I just did not have confidence that the added revenue from the tax would be spent honestly and correctly. I also did not believe it would benefit Everyone equally.

Feel like a dummy

August 1st, 2012
12:51 pm

Okay, I know this is a stupid quesiton, BUT….where did the money come from the advertise in favor of this? Where did the money come from the rent the ballroom?

Carol

August 1st, 2012
12:51 pm

I liked Kasim Reed when he first took office. I thought he would be a very good Mayor. Now I foresee him being the first one-term Mayor in modern history.

May Reed and all of your business cronies, wake up. Why do you think we would trust the people who gave us these bright ideas:
Peach Pass;
emergency/express lane on GA 400,
continuation of the tolls on GA 400; and
entrance ramp lights

And we’re supposed to hand over our hard earned money to them for more boondoggles?

hammerhead

August 1st, 2012
12:52 pm

Interesting that back to back commenters, which probably think they’re in agreement, lament the likelihood of tolls while proclaiming that the private sector is the answer over a government solution. It’s pretty straight-forward here – there’s no such thing as a free ride… You either pay a tax or you pay a toll. The 7cents/gallon motor fuel tax we have now is not sufficient to cover sorely needed new projects. Debt service on what’s already built and maintenance on the same takes the lion share of the current revenue stream. You can’t have a world class transportation system (which we all should strive for) without funding it someway, somehow.

redweather

August 1st, 2012
12:53 pm

Although I am about as far from being a member of the Tea Party as it is possible to get, I voted against this. It had boondoggle, or boondoggles, writ large all over it. Deal and Reed seem to want to get points for showing leadership. It’s easy “to lead” when you’ve got a huge pot of money.

gm

August 1st, 2012
12:55 pm

Whats amazing is how the AJC is giving credit to tea party for the TSPLOST defeat, all branches of the NAACP and other organizations were out in the streets helping to defeat this.
Reed with his disrespect for John Evans and the NAACP helped doomed him in Dekalb, no one wants to give Deal and the state this type of money, please someone ask Sony Perdue where is all the the millions that was sent from Obama administration?

jd

August 1st, 2012
12:55 pm

If you look at the results by county, 7 out of 10 counties voted it down 70% to 30%. Wondering which counties came the closest to approving Fulton, Dekalb & Clayton . Which counties are the most corrupt, Fulton, Dekalb and Clayton. Worst schools (with some exceptions), Fulton (Atlanta City), Dekalb and Clayton. See a pattern??????? Just remember when the Falcon’s Stadium comes up for a vote, the voters will want a say (but they won’t get one). I live in Gwinnett and remember the Cool Ray Stadium disaster.

Do you think Kasim Reed will go to Chick-Fil-A today?????

hammerhead

August 1st, 2012
12:59 pm

Just read LMAO’s comment – the difference in price between a gallon of gas in Alabama versus what we’re paying Georgia has absolutely nothing to do with the fuel tax. Georgia’s fuel tax is capped at 7 cents per gallon. If a gallon of gas is $5 the tax on that gallon is 7 cents. If a gallon of gas is $1 the tax is 7 cents. Guess which scenario brings in more tax revenue? hint: the cheaper the fuel, the higher the tax revenue and vice versa. It’s a very poor and horribly outdated way to fund transportation. This has to be reformed. Politcians were terrified of attempting to raise motor fuel tax, so they threw it over the wall to the general public to vote on it and, well, without understanding the implications of a referendum people predictably vote against a new tax. NO LEADERSHIP. I applaude Kasim Reed for the stance he took. The tepid endorsement of the Governor is an embarrassment. I would’ve been more impressed if he had opposed it outright.

Bernie

August 1st, 2012
1:02 pm

Jim, I also wanted to state that the article here on AJC that this was a BIG WIN for Georgia’s “TEA PARTY”. I found the title offensive,misleading and not truthful. The Tea Party was just one of many groups to oppose this T-SPLOST plan. In no way was this a affirmation of support in this opposition was a support for this EXTREME Right Wing organization.

Much like the T-SPLOST plan the Tea Party and its supporters represent a mind set
of the thinking of the WHITE CITIZENS COUNCIL of the 40’s & 50’s. As a matter of fact the majority of its supporters were teenagers who witnessed that organization growth and influence through their Parents and neighbors growing up in the deep south.

The Tea Party’s mission and political thinking is an angry voice of Americans who are intolerant and wants to return America to the ” GOOD OLE DAYS”. To many of
US that means to a time when it was okay to discriminate against any group that did not conform to their way of thinking!

I personally reject that misguided mindset as well as many of the readers here!

A reader

August 1st, 2012
1:03 pm

Of course the city of Atlanta wanted the TSPLOST. The projects with ATL city limits got approximately 13% of the funds, including the Beltline boondoggle. As usual, the city of Atlanta wants the rest of the region to pay for their privileges. That is why the cities in North Fulton came into being 5 years ago — the tax payers of North Fulton were getting tired of being sucked dry by Atlanta. And now the city needs another source of free funding.

Cloudodust

August 1st, 2012
1:03 pm

The next attempt (and it will come) to tax, er, extort money from those of us that would benefit little to none for the projects wanted will be forced in some other manner to pay for the goodies for the favored few. I suggest rickshaws.

midtown dave

August 1st, 2012
1:07 pm

Using Jim’s spreadsheet, the TSPLOST lost in southwest Atlanta. Hardly a sign of strength for a mayor of Atlanta who resoundingly won that area in his previous election. Reed won 85% of the votes in that area in the mayoral election and got less than 50% of the vote in TSPLOST. Buyer beware.

hammerhead

August 1st, 2012
1:11 pm

When you meet someone from other parts of the country or even from outside the country, do you tell them you’re from Johns Creek or you’re from Atlanta? My guess is, you tell them Atlanta. So, why would you be against something that’s good for Atlanta? This was a REGIONAL referendum. I grew up in this state (not Atlanta) and no one understands “home rule” better than I do, but unitl we start planning and acting like a region we will continue a steady decline. Atlanta, at one time, was well on its way to becoming a world class city. Until we unify ourselves toward a common cause and agree to help fund things that don’t DIRECTLY impact our daily lives, we’ll continue to gripe about the “free loaders” and get absolutely NOTHING accomplished.

oldfart

August 1st, 2012
1:18 pm

The AJC printing a headline giving credit to the Tea Party for the defeat of the referendum is not only overly simplistic but borders on Hearst-style yellow journalism. The fact that Cox Enterprises backed this with an acknowledged $250k in cash and I suspect a good deal of free advertising both here and on WSB television and radio along with editorial endorsements should not interfere with reporting facts. I suspect the headline chosen is planting a seed in the people’s minds that don’t normally ally themselves politically with the Tea Party to second guess themselves next time. Regardless of what I suspect however the fact is the headline and the story are biased beyond the ethics of journalism.

locdog59

August 1st, 2012
1:18 pm

Sales tax is a bad way to fund transportation,period. TSPLOST was ill-conceived from the beginning. Georgia seems to be clueless on transportation. That is why I have packed my things and will be moving my business elsewhere. No because TSPLOST lost, but because it was the plan to begin with.

Judi

August 1st, 2012
1:30 pm

FYI, this was not a Kasim Reed deal, but a bipartisan deal which was agreed on by representatives from both parties (bi-partisan). Stop calling it a Kasim Reed deal, try a Nathan Deal deal and all the other players that supported it… Sadly I will have to continue to add two extra hours to my daily commute to and from work.. In my opinion the only losers here are the ones who have to navigate Atlanta traffic to get from point A to B..

John Galt

August 1st, 2012
1:32 pm

Is this the same Kasim Reed, who last night stated that he respected the decision of the voters in a democracy, but that he would work to start changing their opinions the very next morning?

Let’s see Reed pass a 1% sales tax on the residents of the city of Atanta and then he can build all the pet projects he desires.

Marlboro Man

August 1st, 2012
1:32 pm

Traffic is killing jobs.

PLAN B---HA!

August 1st, 2012
1:38 pm

Ironically, all you ‘no’ voters have basically guaranteed you will get a worse version of all the things you didn’t like about TSPLOST. LOL.

I’ll spell it out for the no voters who are able to read past 2 sentences.

-You don’t trust government – Your ‘no’ vote just gave more money and control to government with even less oversight.
-You didn’t like the projects developed through years of study and research by traffic professionals – Your ‘no’ vote just put project selection in the hand of somebody who has zero transportation experience. And you won’t know how much they cost. LOL.
-You thought it was too much money at this time in our economy. – Your ‘no’ vote just guaranteed traffic will not get any better and now you’ll waste more time (time = money remember) sitting in traffic and you’ll spend more money on fuel/tolls.

Again, well done. You’ve voted for a worse version of the things you didn’t like about TSPLOST.

Mary

August 1st, 2012
1:38 pm

How dare Mayor Reed act like he was a key player in the TSPLOST vote!! Did everything he could?? I don’t think two weeks of campaigning and promoting yourself counts as doing everything you can! He was just shopping for votes from the MACOC and now I am shopping for a new Mayor! Thanks for nothing Kasim! You are an utter disappointment!

CobbGOPer

August 1st, 2012
1:39 pm

“…the hemorrhaging of Republican votes…”

This makes it sound as if they had lots of Republican votes in the first place. That is highly unlikely.

Darwin

August 1st, 2012
1:41 pm

When do people vote FOR taxes? OK, maybe on a county SPLOST vote. But even those are with small margins today. The Republicans demonstrated a lack of leadership by pushing this tax onto the voters. If it passed, they could shift responsibility of it on the voters. The future for Republican controlled regions will be very interesting.

Puerile Pedant

August 1st, 2012
1:43 pm

Sonny Perdue and the GOP majority under the Dome designed the TSPOLST to fail — that’s why the chose the July 31 vote date (when the great unwashed masses of dems would not be voting).

They succeeded. Congrats GOP. Now go out and show up how the GOP cannot build infrastructure — more HOT lanes anyone? The singular metor Atlanta transportation project of 10 years of GOP rule was turning the I-85 HOV lane into a toll lane (at a cost of $110 million).

Excellent Job

PLAN B---HA!

August 1st, 2012
1:45 pm

I hope good ole boy Nate raises the gas tax by 20 cents and keeps 5 cents for himself. Maybe then you tea bagging dolts will understand how to read a law before you vote on it.

John Galt

August 1st, 2012
1:45 pm

“-You don’t trust government – Your ‘no’ vote just gave more money and control to government with even less oversight.”

So by not voting for a tax increase we gave more control and more money to which government?

KrystalsBalls

August 1st, 2012
1:46 pm

@Hammerhead

Don’t waste your time. You are talking with TOO much sense. You are much too conscious and level-headed in your perspective. There is no room for that in these parts (of the world).