Political Insider

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As race to succeed Kasim Reed sizzles, two ex-mayors call for big changes

A pair of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s predecessors called for sweeping changes – and fast – in the race to succeed him.

First came ex-Mayor Shirley Franklin, who told our WSB colleague Mark Winne that she supported the calls from several of the candidates to freeze major contract bidding until after the next mayor and new City Council is sworn in, so long as they don’t disrupt legal requirements or day-to-day obligations.

She said city leaders have to go “above and beyond what the expectation is” with their response to the ongoing bribery scandal.

“I know that it is possible not to disrupt government and to reassure the public that everything is fair and that there is no pay for play,” said Franklin, who served two terms before Reed’s 2009 election.

Reed and Franklin have a long and strained history that soured in recent years. In a statement, Reed’s office said it was not rushing to bid contracts before his term was out and was “simply running the city government on a day-to-day basis – as we should be.”

“People who live in glass houses should not throw stones and should invest heavily in curtains,” added the statement.

A message from the Buckhead Coalition, headed by former Mayor Sam Massell, landed in inboxes not long after Winne’s story hit.

In the open letter to the 11 candidates in the race, Massell said the coalition is “seriously concerned over what we detect to be mean-spirited personal overtones” that conflict with the city’s Too Busy To Hate mantra.

“Observing the national political landscape it’s obvious that a negative attitude can decrease a politician’s popularity, so I plead with you to set your sights at a level that will make our city proud,” wrote Massell, whose own re-election campaign in 1973 was marred by a controversial negative ad.

“As a result, we predict that the expected runoff will offer the electorate two candidates who have chosen to avoid the hate-mongering.”

More recent AJC coverage of the mayor's race:

Atlanta mayor race moves into final sprint

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed a force in race to succeed him

A show of political force at Atlanta’s gay pride festival

The Atlanta mayoral race could reshape the region

Endorsements haven't shaped Atlanta mayor's race so far

Business heavyweights weigh in on Atlanta's crowded mayor race

Why Bernie Sanders is plunging into Atlanta's mayoral race

Georgia Democrats attack 'Mary the Republican' in mayoral race


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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.