About a dozen candidates or potential candidates are readying a run to succeed Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed next year, but the biggest unknown is whether his predecessor throws her hat in the ring.
Shirley Franklin and Reed were once stalwart allies – Reed was her campaign manager and Franklin helped Reed succeed her in 2009 – but their relationship went south shortly after his election. And then it went in the toilet after Franklin backed the campaign of Councilman Andre Dickens against a Reed candidate.
Franklin still hasn’t said whether she’ll join the crowded field to replace him – our bet is she won’t – but she used her Blogging While Blue site this week to reflect on their tortured relationship and hammer him for his “bullying outbursts.”
Seven years into the administration of Atlanta mayor Reed, I have marveled at the personal attacks I have garnered from him when we either disagree on the facts or hold different opinions. My son, Cabral and I developed Reed’s winning election strategy in late August 2009, when his top campaign advisors and he were befuddled, flat footed and losing his first mayoral election. Yet, he routinely smears me and disparaged Cabral unnecessarily. We ignored Reed’s bullying tactics to exercise our freedom and independence in politics and in business. Cabral masterminded Atlanta Councilmember Andre Dickens’ first campaign against Reed’s candidate Lamar Willis and he advised Teach for America, Atlanta Public School candidates on how to gain four Board seats (more than any other school board in the country at the time). We never started a fight, Cabral would walk away more than I would or do but neither of us ever felt intimidated by bully tactics regardless of who was bullying.
Reed’s bullying outbursts are not much different from those we have witnessed these last 18 months in president-elect Donald Trump’s despicable behavior. If such behavior and tactics are acceptable by any high ranking elected or appointed official, as Americans we lose because the guarantee of free speech won’t matter. If everyday folks and leaders are intimidated by the possibility of retribution and verbal or physical attacks by their leaders, then fewer will exercise their freedom of speech. When we lose civility in politics and accept bullying from our President or our Mayor, our human rights are weakened.
To which Reed’s spokeswoman, Jenna Garland, responded:
“We wish former Mayor Franklin a Happy Thanksgiving.”
A few hours later, the top aide for Gov. Nathan Deal – Reed’s bipartisan BFF – came to his defense:
We’re told that former Gov. Sonny Perdue is still in the running for Agriculture Secretary. Look for him to visit President-elect Donald Trump sometime next week.
On the same note, don’t count out former Rep. Jack Kingston for some type of administration position. Or at least help from Donald Trump should he bid for higher office.
Happy Thanksgiving, folks.