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Monday, June 1, 2009

Atlanta breathlessly awaits Pitts' decision on mayor's race

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Alright, that's not exactly true. OK, OK, so it's not even remotely true. But it is true that Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts sent out a press release announcing that on July 3 he would announce to the world his decision on whether to run for Atlanta mayor. He says he's been urged to run "by a cross-section of citizens":

"I am flattered by the encouragement and must agree that the city needs an experienced hand. It's not the time for on-the-job training. The city needs a mayor who can hit the ground running and build on Mayor Franklin's positive initiatives."

Actually, Pitts released that nugget on May 26 — nearly a week ago and while I was on vacation — yet I haven't been able to Google up any evidence that his missive has been reported by so much as a neighborhood e-newsletter. I take this as confirmation that nobody, with the possible exception of Pitts' immediate family, gives a cold shit whether or not he runs for mayor.

This is nothing against Pitts personally. I've always found him to be gracious and reasonably responsive. And, as Bill Campbell's chief opponent on City Council, he was on the right side of that battle. But Pitts has seen his star sink as a county commissioner — and for good reason. As the swing vote on a seven-member board, Pitts has dithered, delayed, ducked out of the room and generally tried to avoid having to make decisions. Several of the commissioners hate one another because of their differing viewpoints, but nobody likes Robb because he doesn't seem to possess the guts to take a viewpoint — he's constantly weighing each vote on its political implications.

Say what you will about Franklin, she's not afraid to make tough choices and stare down her critics. I have yet to meet anyone who still regrets that Pitts wasn't able to defeat her in the 2001 election. I attribute this to a general desire for a mayor who's hard-working, strong-willed and decisive — qualities Pitts appears to lack.

Pitt's press release is what politicos call a "trial balloon." Come July 3, expect Pitts to have realized his balloon is full of hot air but still can't float.

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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