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Monday, December 27, 2010

Someone's got a mancrush on Mayor Kasim Reed

We're not naming names, but it's New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. In his Sunday column, the mustachioed wonk focuses on the new breed of leader he thinks cities and states need if they're to recover after the economic downturn.

Friedman calls these new politicians "'pay-as-you-go progressives' — those who combine fiscal prudence with growth initiatives to make their cities, their states or our country great again." From the column:

One of the best of this new breed of leaders is Atlanta’s inspiring mayor, 41-year-old Kasim Reed. A former Georgia state senator, Reed won Atlanta’s mayoral race in December 2009 by 714 votes. The day he took office, Atlanta had $7.4 million in reserves, an out-of-control budget and was laying off so many firefighters there were only three personnel on a truck, below national standards. A year later, it has $58 million in reserves, and Reed has a 70 percent approval rating — which he earned the hard way.
It's no TIME Magazine cover, but the column is a rather glowing profile of Reed's fiscal initiatives — with a focus on pension reform and the mayor's business-like approach to tightening up City Hall — since taking office. This Reed quote in particular stuck out:

“We are not going to be what we have been for the last 50 years if we don’t change, and everybody in a position to have more than two people listening to them needs to be saying that, because the time we have to make the adjustments is running out. We need to get on with it. Whether it’s the deficit, education or investing in young people or immigration — we are not tackling [them] in the fundamental ways required. We’re just doing it piecemeal. We’re just playing and surviving. And we need to be very clear where just surviving takes you: it takes you to a lifestyle of just survival.”
Worth a read.

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