That much is clear.
And whoever is elected mayor -- Gloria Bromell-Tinubu, Shirley Franklin or Robb Pitts -- will have to deal with those hard realities.
But what about creating more parks, managing development and controlling spending? What about police salaries and the police shortage? What about the basic issue of ethics and the lack of trust people have in the city's government? How do the candidates differ in terms of style, leadership and priorities?
In short, what kind of mayor would each of the candidates be?
One way to answer that is to look at their campaigns. It's easy to get carried away with sound trucks and sound bites, fund raising and television spots. But campaigning tells us more than how a candidate thinks he or she will beat their opponent. It can make clear which strengths and weaknesses that will stick to the candidate from office hopeful to office holder.
Another clue lies in looking closely at how each candidate has handled past challenges. With a little more than two weeks to go before Atlanta's Nov. 6 election, just about everything the candidates can say about what they will do as mayor has been said. Barring some unforeseen immolation, what you've seen is what you'll elect.
So here's what you have to choose from: Franklin, the candidate who has experience running the city but who also is most closely associated with Atlanta's wobbly political machine and therefore the least likely to make dramatic changes; Pitts, the go-it-alone campaigner and the candidate most closely aligned with northside developers; and Bromell-Tinubu, who is associated with just about no one, so she's the one most likely to try to shake up the way government works -- if she can get anyone to listen to her.
The change agent
Bromell-Tinubu would do the most to try to radically change the way city services are delivered and the way city government works. That means she'd change the way developers are regulated and the way schools and businesses interact. She's proposed creating work crews throughout the city to tackle infrastructure problems neighborhood by neighborhood, and boards in each area that would bring government closer to the people.
Bromell-Tinubu's strength is her vision for changing the established culture at City Hall. An academic, she is serious about making democracy in Atlanta more direct, about boiling local government down to its textbook definition.
Like the other candidates, she intends to improve public safety by filling police vacancies. Bromell-Tinubu says she could attract and retain recruits by improving pay, benefits and equipment, though she argues that the city only needs to fill 200 positions and not the full 400 that currently are vacant.
To pay for her initiatives, she proposes cutting management jobs from City Hall -- not the $35,000-per-year employees the city's current Chief Financial Officer David Corbin suggests eliminating, but their $50,000-per-year supervisors.
It's unclear, however, how many jobs Bromell-Tinubu has in mind and how much money it would save. None of the candidates seriously address how they'd match lower revenue projections with the scores of new initiatives they'd like funded. Bromell-Tinubu's answer to that question is a little less vague than other's: She'd cut waste, and there's a possibility of tax hikes.
But the Spelman College economic professor, who spent one term as a city councilwoman in the 1990s, also is proposing ideas that might have a difficult time coming to fruition in the real world. She has toyed with the idea of commuter taxes to help generate money for the city and free-ride zones on MARTA to encourage people to take public transportation. Proposals like that face legal and political hurdles, which Bromell-Tinubu -- who lacks the readymade support of the elite -- might have trouble jumping.
Such radical departures from the status quo would be a challenge for any mayor, particularly one who truly views herself as representing the little people -- and not powerful business interests. The hard fact is that she'll have to compromise, or she'll run the risk of the city grinding to a halt in a spasm of political gridlock. In the classroom and on the debate circuit, you never have to bend. If elected, Bromell-Tinubu will have to prove she can form relationships and alliances with people who ignored her campaign -- from business leaders like Charlie Loudermilk to powerful black preachers like Timothy McDonald, the head of Concerned Black Clergy.
different city parks do different things, I think keeping the fulton county diamond, or the…
"The Coming Medicaid Cost Explosion" _______________________________ Right has been running around like Chicken Little for…
QM, you have commandment 5 wrong. It should read: Thou shalt not kill except it…
yeah, because Grant Park is miles away and isn't a park
""She admitted that she was drinking and driving,' attorney Jackie Patterson told reporters following her…