Editorials

Kasim Reed: Atlanta magazine’s annexation story ‘perpetuates a kind of bigotry’

Kasim Reed: Atlanta magazine’s annexation story ‘perpetuates a kind of bigotry’

Kasim ReedOn December 8, we published the article “How less than six square miles could determine Atlanta’s next mayor,” which is featured in our January 2016 issue. The story looks at Atlanta’s efforts to annex Sandtown and Druid Hills, within the context of the city’s shifting demographics. This morning, Mayor Kasim Reed responded to the article in a press release. Read the full statement below.

Max Blau

Transpire as Mayor of Atlanta would be to serve our residents, safeguard its position because the cultural and economic capital from the South and make a powerful reason for way forward for the whole region.

One way of measuring success is really a city full of social-minded and engaged residents. I’m proud that since my inauguration this year, Atlanta’s population has elevated by an believed 36,000 residents. I must see Atlanta achieve a population of 500,000 residents, an objective that may be achieved through organic growth and annexing nearby communities who would like to explore our thriving, vibrant city.

At this time, Sandtown in south Fulton County and Druid Hillsides in DeKalb County are thinking about annexation proposals. Regrettably, inside a recent article, Atlanta Magazine author Max Blau frames my position on these proposals with an ill-informed and albeit, outdated and offensive racial prism. Blau mistakenly argues that my administration’s annexation efforts usually are meant to keep up with the city’s voting census toward favoring an African-American mayoral candidate.

Allow me to immediately set the record straight.

I haven’t favored one community greater than another. I’ve welcomed all communities seeking annexation, whatever the racial and ethnic composition of the residents. A situation in point: We lately welcomed Edmund Park and also the East Lake Club community, each of which annexed in to the city via a unanimous petition. Edmund Park is really a largely white-colored community with housing prices that start at roughly $500,000, based on zillow.com

Blau also will get his math wrong. He quotes one political analyst who states its racial balance has already been near to tipping, yet then quotes another who states the town requires a one-to-one match of Druid Hillsides and Sandtown residents to keep the present balance. You will find 39,000 individuals Druid Hillsides who can become Atlanta residents and just 17,500 in Sandtown. As to purchase into Blau’s argument, we have to also recognize which more than two areas with populations equal to Sandtown’s will have to be annexed to be able to preserve its racial census-in the event that were my ultimate goal. Anybody who’s even vaguely acquainted with this method recognizes that I’ve welcomed both of them enthusiastically.

In fact I have not governed the town inside a racially divisive manner actually, my entire record of public service implies that I champion fairness and inclusion. The annexation of both Sandtown and Druid Hillsides, in my opinion, will be a win-win situation. We’d help eliminate eco and economically crippling sprawl and make up a more connected, different and walkable urban metropolis. The annexation of individuals communities would not present the rare chance to create a global-class teaching and research institution, strong neighborhoods, countless thriving industrial and commercial companies and also the leading national public health institute from the U . s . States in to the town of Atlanta.

It’s important to note that under my leadership along with the support from the Atlanta City Council, the town has transpired six consecutive balanced budgets and stored property taxes flat or folded it well. The town closed earlier this fiscal year with $150 million staying with you and is incorporated in the most powerful budget you’ve seen in additional than 2 decades.

Individuals policy decisions enabled me to provide a ten-year property tax freeze to residents in Sandtown during a period when i was in competition with the development of a brand new town of South Fulton. I’m also dedicated to dealing with parents who’re worried about the outcome of annexation on their own neighborhood schools.

To become obvious, the geographic change I’ve opposed freely may be the incorporation of the new Town of South Fulton, a choice for Sandtown residents. A brand new town would cause Atlanta to become landlocked, restricting future expansions and developing a disproportionate effect on the legal rights of other neighborhoods to select their future.

I’d also reason that a brand new town doesn’t best serve Sandtown residents because Atlanta delivers better services for his or her tax dollars. Atlanta’s fire and public safety officers are across the country recognized but our residents have more powerful and much more effective local representation than individuals who’re exclusively symbolized in the county level.

I frequently say the way forward for politics is performance. Today, that maybe true more than ever before. Nationwide, we view that voters will choose leaders according to their talent, merit and record of accomplishment, not exclusively on their own race. Blau appears to anticipate that black and white-colored voters have and can always select a mayor according to skin tone instead of talent and tenacity. By focusing so carefully about race towards the exclusion of other factors, Blau perpetuates a kind of bigotry that i’m confident its voters will reject.

Our city is ascendant. I extend a wide open invitation to the community that desires to lead to and be part of our success-and call our city home.

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