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Kasim Reed

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

While the United States is pulling out of the Paris climate accord, dozens of cities, including Atlanta, say they're committed to it.

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Al Such / WABE

Atlanta's annual Resident Satisfaction survey is now taking comments from the public.

Most of the questions on the survey focus on development, infrastructure and safety.

According to a press release on Mayor Kasim Reed's web page, the results are confidential and will be used to help make future decisions on matters like economic development and government efficiency.

Gabrielle Mecca has spent her whole life around the metro, moving inside the city limits two years ago.

City Lights: Kasim Reed; Improv Classes; And More

Mar 27, 2017
Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Kim Kenney / Atlanta Ballet

A proposed sales tax to create a steady stream of funding for the arts in Atlanta appears to be dead.

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Mayor Kasim Reed needed Georgia lawmakers to sign off on the plan in order to put it before voters as a referendum in November. The idea was to let constituents decide whether they wanted to pay a one-tenth of a penny tax to support music, dance, theater or other artistic ventures in the city.

Mayor Kasim Reed has given United Consulting until this upcoming Monday evening to make a decision.
Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

City officials say Mayor Kasim Reed stands by his letter asking United Consulting, one of the city's vendors, to address what Reed calls Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter's "unacceptable" behavior.

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In January, Hunter called Rep. John Lewis a "racist pig" on social media. Now Hunter faces a county ethics complaint and he's stopped attending public comment at commission meetings because his constituents keep calling for his resignation.

Al Such / WABE

The firing this week of the city of Atlanta’s chief procurement officer is the latest dramatic event at a City Hall currently embroiled in a bribery scandal over the awarding of city contracts.

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On Tuesday, Adam Smith was dismissed after the city received a subpoena. The FBI seized an office computer and phone from his department at City Hall.

Courtesy of Atlanta City Council

If there's a new proposed sales tax on the ballot in Atlanta this year, City Council member Felicia Moore wants to make sure some of the money goes to public safety.

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At the State of the City address last month, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed proposed a one-tenth of a penny sales tax specifically to fund the arts.  The tax could potentially raise $10 million-$15 million.

The Atlanta City Hall bribery scandal is bringing new names to the headlines.

E.R. “Elvin” Mitchell Jr. pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges for paying bribes to get city contracts; Charles Richards Jr. is charged with the same offense.

Another new name: Mitzi Bickers.

Bickers has not been charged with a crime, but she is evidently a focus of the federal bribery investigation. Hundreds of boxes of documents released by the city yesterday have her name on them. The documents are those the U.S. Justice Department requested as part of its probe.

Lisa George / WABE

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed released more than 1.4 million pieces of paper to the media and the public Thursday. They are the documents the city gave the U.S. Justice Department as officials investigate bribery for city contracts.

About 425 boxes of paper now fill City Hall's Old City Council Chambers. Reed said in a news conference today that hard copies were the quickest way to respond to media requests for the information.

Image from the Gene Patterson papers, Rose Library at Emory University

Thursday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed delivered his final State of the City address today.

The mayor trumpeted the economic gains Atlanta's made since he took office.

Among the different ways Atlanta's improved under his watch, the mayor listed a lower unemployment rate, a surge in construction permits and a better credit rating.

He said the city's grown its cash reserves by more than $100 million.

"Because of our efforts, Atlanta is in the strongest financial condition that it's been in in more than a generation,” Reed said.

Closer Look: Ready For Super Bowl 51; ACLU; And More

Feb 2, 2017
Atlantans packed City Hall on Friday, Jan. 27 sporting red, white and black.
Alison Guillory / WABE

Thursday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Charity White came to Hartsfield-Jackson on Saturday, Jan. 28 to protest President Donald Trump's immigration order. ''I don’t believe in bans on people. I don’t think people are illegal.''
Molly Samuel / WABE

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, at least 11 people were detained on Saturday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. 

It led to a confusing and frustrating day, with families at the airport waiting to pick people up. Georgia Congressmen John Lewis and Hank Johnson later joined the families at Hartsfield-Jackson, and immigration attorneys were also on hand to intervene.

Closer Look: Trump's First Week; Beer Bill; And More

Jan 29, 2017
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Sunday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

The City of Atlanta is handing over 10 out of 44 property deeds to Atlanta Public Schools.
Stephanie M. Lennox / WABE

A battle over property deeds continues between Atlanta Public Schools and the city of Atlanta.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says he's currently working to hand over one property deed to the school system. 

But according to APS board Chairman Courtney English, there's a problem. Not only does APS want all 44 deeds, but English says "the properties belong to us [APS]. So there's no question who owns the properties."

Reed doesn't deny that, but he says there's a reason the city's held onto the deeds.

Closer Look: ChooseATL; State Of MARTA; And More

Jan 10, 2017
Courtesy of ChooseATL

Tuesday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

David Tulis, File / Associated Press

In Atlanta, where memories of a catastrophic snow and ice storm in 2014 are still fresh, city leaders were pleading with motorists not to venture out onto slick highways.

"Our goal, including the goal of the state, is to have everyone off metropolitan Atlanta roadways by 4 p.m.," said Mayor Kasim Reed at a news conference. "We need you home by 4, we need you to leave the city in an orderly fashion."

The earlier storm brought traffic to a standstill on major freeways in metro Atlanta, and office workers were forced to spend the night in their cars, stuck in the gridlock.

Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

Tuesday on "Closer look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Tasnim Shamma / WABE

A new police chief has been named for the city of Atlanta.

Mayor Kasim Reed announced Thursday that deputy chief Erika Shields was appointed the position as the city's 24th police chief. She is replacing George Turner, who is retiring.

Shields will start Dec. 28.

She is a 21-year-old veteran of the Atlanta Police Department serving as patrol officer, sergeant, lieutenant, major and deputy chief of the Field Operations Division.

Atlanta native and rapper T.I. donated 600 turkeys to seniors in West Atlanta on Wednesday, focusing on grandparents raising their grandchildren.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Hundreds of seniors packed the Adamsville Recreation Center in West Atlanta on Wednesday to pick up turkey and trimmings donated by the rapper Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., also known as T.I.

Mayor Kasim Reed and several city council members were at the event. Atlanta City Council member C.T. Martin has been volunteering at the event for the past 14 years.

"A lot of people need these turkeys, greens and potatoes,” Martin said. “We just want everybody to have a happy Thanksgiving dinner to feed their families on the day of love."

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the city will continue to be a welcoming place for immigrants despite President-elect Donald Trump's plans to deport millions of those without legal status.

Trump has vowed to withhold federal funding from “sanctuary cities,” – jurisdictions that limit law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration officials.

“I’m not prepared to make a judgment about us being a sanctuary city, but we are going to be a welcoming city and we’re going to continue all of our outreach efforts to foreign-born individuals,” Reed said.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Atlanta airport officials have announced plans for a new hotel and conference center that would be connected to Hartsfield-Jackson International.

The 440-room hotel and meeting space will be built near the airport’s Domestic Terminal. Officials said construction will start in 2018, for the hotel to be completed by 2020.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the idea builds upon former mayor and UN Ambassador Andrew Young’s vision for a hotel at the airport.

Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

National action on climate change is likely out the window with Donald Trump's win, but Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says the city will keep up its own work.

Atlanta has green requirements for city buildings and is putting solar panels on some of them. It's adding electric vehicles to its fleet. And it requires large commercial buildings to track their energy and water use.    

Johnny Kauffman / WABE

Mayor Kasim Reed says he spent some time in the fetal position after Donald Trump won the election.

“I think the appropriate joke for me would be, I slept like a baby,” he said. “Sleep, get up cry a little bit, then go back to sleep, sleep get up cry a little bit. So it was tough.”

Reed was one of Hillary Clinton's most visible supporters in Georgia.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Atlanta, you're getting a chief resilience officer. The city's sustainability director, Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, is taking on the role.

So what will she do? The short answer is: a lot.

Mayor Kasim Reed said Benfield will come up with a city-wide resilience strategy. That means figuring out a way to tackle the big problems facing Atlanta in the future, he said.

"Such as aging infrastructure and an overloaded transportation network,” Reed said.

Reed also mentioned climate change and income inequality as future threats.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announces a deal to renovate Philips Arena alongside Hawks players and officials.
Lisa Hagen / WABE

The home of the Hawks is getting an upgrade. Today Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced the city will contribute $142.5 million to redesign Philips Arena.

The Hawks will pay $50 million.

"We’re so grateful to the team and Steve Koonin, their CEO, for the exemplary way they’ve been handling the Hawks organization, and it's not too bad that they're undefeated right now. So I wanted to get this announcement out,” said Reed, cracking himself up. “I did the Falcons when they were almost undefeated too.”

Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed visited Washington Friday to push Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. Reed met with President Obama and a group of bipartisan politicians and businesspeople, before speaking at a White House podium alongside Ohio’s Republican governor, and former presidential candidate John Kasich.

The TPP is a 12-nation trade deal that seeks to boost growth and trade. Supporters say it protects U.S. trade interests, while critics say it would jeopardize American jobs and funnel power and money to corporations.

Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

Democratic Mayor Kasim Reed isn’t playing sides, at least for now, in a major Georgia election fight over whether the state should be able to take over local schools it deems are failing. Many prominent Democrats, including House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, have loudly opposed Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s “Opportunity School District” (OSD) proposal.

Kasim Reed, Miguel Southwell End Battle Of Words

Sep 7, 2016
Mayor Kasim Reed has given United Consulting until this upcoming Monday evening to make a decision.
Andrew Harnik / AP Photo


Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Miguel Southwell have called a truce, according to a joint statement released Tuesday from lawyers representing both men.

Southwell was the general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport until he was fired by Reed in May.

After the dismissal Reed and Southwell verbally blasted each other. Legal threats were also exchanged.

But, that's in the past.

According to the statement, Reed and Southwell say their differences were "more a matter of style than substance."  

Republican vice presidential candidate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks at the Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016.
Chuck Burton / AP Photo


In the past week, former President Bill Clinton visited Atlanta to raise money for his wife Hillary's presidential campaign. And next week, Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence hits town for a GOP fundraiser.

So Georgia is fulfilling its traditional role as a bank for both parties' campaigns. But with polls showing the state might be winnable for the Democrats, there are signs the Clinton and Trump forces might actually deploy some ground forces here.