Mike Kenn 

For ripping off taxpayers

When the going gets tough, Mike Kenn walks off the playing field. That'll be a fair attack theme should the former Falcon lineman run again for public office.

Kenn quit as Fulton County Commission chairman last week, a scant eight months after barely winning re-election. The reason? It's too hard to lead the commission when his party's in the minority. Besides, he was offered a six-figure job as a road lobbyist.

The AJC has tripped all over itself trumpeting Kenn's looks, his size (he's big -- we'll give you that) and the fact that "his deep voice commands purpose and presence." The paper even managed to suggest that taking a dump on voters (our description, not theirs) was some sort of noble "risk" in his inevitable quest for higher office.

Puh-leez. Kenn's five years as chairman were marked by his failure to build consensus on a foundering commission, as well as by an aloofness inappropriate for any public official. He leaves as the county faces a financial crisis.

Kenn practiced poor campaign ethics -- breaking a 1998 campaign promise to back domestic partner benefits and appealing in a backhanded way last fall to racial division. At least twice, his actions raised questions about conflicts of interest involving his restaurant. The best thing he did -- drawing attention to the unfair funding formula for MARTA -- seemed at times rooted in a desire to simply undermine the transit system.

His latest move will cost taxpayers around a million bucks to hold a special election -- more if a domino effect causes other seats to empty. And that's not counting whatever damage the upheaval will have on county government.

Last week, we gave him another Scalawag; he's now the first guy to go on a Scalawag winning streak.

After five days of adoring testimonials, the AJC bounced back this week with a rather tepid editorial, meekly suggesting that Kenn had "a contract" with voters. No shit.

Mike Kenn perpetrated a fraud on Fulton County voters.

Kenn at least should have the good grace to pony up his own money to pay for the special election. Either way, he deserves to be benched forever.

The Weekly Scalawag is now accepting nominations. E-mail scott.henry@creativeloafing.com.

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