Over the past year, the mayor has became an active Tweeter as he's championed his political duties and lashed out at critics. He's also shared personal tidbits about himself that include his sports fandom and his affinity for Thumbs Up Diner.
For those unfamiliar with Reed's tweets, here are 20 of the mayor's 140-character messages that offer a look into his online persona.
June 27, 2008: "Hey guys, I'm on Twitter!"
Busy on the campaign trail!
- Kasim Reed (@KasimReed) June 27, 2008
July 29, 2008: The city too busy to reply to @KasimReed.
Wanting to hear how you think we can change Atlanta, together.
- Kasim Reed (@KasimReed) July 30, 2008
March 19, 2009: Who knew the Fed could be so much fun? ;-)
Headed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to speak in the Leadership Atlanta Debate...Please wish me luck!;-)
- Kasim Reed (@KasimReed) March 19, 2009
April 25, 2009: A dark, harrowing day.
Hey everyone.I'm still looking for more friends on Twitter!My screen name is kasimreed if you haven't found me already.Please help!
- Kasim Reed (@KasimReed) April 25, 2009
See the rest of his memorable tweets after the jump:
"I'm not by myself, over half the states are in the same posture Georgia is in. That includes seven Democrat governor states including the president's home state. They're not doing it either...We've said for a very long time that this was a trainwreck that's about to happen."
- Gov. Deal responds to comments made by President Barack Obama yesterday during a White House press conference, who called out some state leaders for not "properly cooperating" with the Affordable Care Act's rollout. (via Fox News)
To save CL time from painstakingly documenting every comment people say, we've created 'Soundbites' to call attention to their remarks.
The Coalition for Abolition of Marijuana Prohibition filed for injunctive relief after Atlanta rejected the group's permit application asking to assemble in Freedom Park for the Great Atlanta Pot Festival.
City officials say there is a 75-person limit for gatherings in what it defines as a "passive" park, which comes from a lease agreement the city signed with the Georgia Department of Transportation in 1998.
Ralph Goldberg, CAMP's lawyer, told U.S. District Judge Steve Jones that the city refused the permit because the festival was related to marijuana and that there is no legal definition that denotes a "passive" versus and "active" park.
Jones said in his ruling that issuing the permit would be against the public's interest and "could potentially lead to the City losing control of Freedom Park." In addition, he said that past legislation defined Freedom Park as a "roadside park," a designation that only allows for picnicking, hiking, biking and other leisurely activities.
City officials offered CAMP alternative areas to gather, including nearby Delta Park and Springvale Park, but the group's founder Paul Cornwell called those parks "postage stamps" that are not the adequate size for hosting the event. He says he expects as many as 5,000 people to attend the festival.
"If this stands, what it means is that the state can contract with the city to deny constitutional rights by way of a lease," Cornwell told CL after the ruling.
The festival will go on, however. Cornwall says the group will now be forced to set up along Poplar Circle, closing the street off from Euclid Avenue to Hurt Street, for the event on Saturday.
Their latest effort piggybacks off a recent Politifact report that examines allegations state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, made regarding the lack of diversity among Deal's political hires and appointments. The state lawmaker said that "less than 3 percent of appointees, since [Deal had] taken office, by the executive branch have been African-American."
Deal spokesman and Friend of CL Brian Robinson told Politifact, which rated Fort's claims as "half-true," that the governor's office doesn't track racial diversity in its hiring process. He also added:
[M]any agency heads hired by Governor Deal are African-American, and the governor recently appointed the state's first Asian-American woman judge to sit on the Court of Appeals," Robinson said. "The governor's actions in the recent DeKalb County school case also provide a telling example. Our liaisons were a white man and a black man. Our nominating panel was majority African-American, and five of the six board members that he appointed are African-American.
It's not the first time Better Georgia has urged the governor to take action. In October, the group rebuked Deal's alleged involvement in landing former state Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, his current
Golden Parachute Georgia Public Broadcasting job. They also caused a media firestorm after Robinson labeled the group's campaign, which called on Georgia Republicans and the governor to help fund a (already funded) Wilcox County High School integrated prom, a "silly publicity stunt."
"In a state of more than 9 million people, 51% of which are women and 40% of which are non-white, it would be almost impossible for his appointments to be overwhelming white and male unless that was his specific intention," Better Georgia political director Don Weigel tells CL in an email.
Read Better Georgia's petition, which you can sign here, after the jump.
According to American Rivers, the Flint River is "threatened by declining river flows and outdated water management that is drying up the river system."
The river, which starts near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and flows through southwest Georgia and then into Florida, plays an important role in southwest Georgia's agriculture economy, indigenous wildlife, and recreational opportunities. Ben Emanuel of American Rivers, the nonprofit advocacy group that authored the report, says the Flint's water flow has been "exacerbated by drought conditions," which has led to low river levels that have persisted for years.
"What they highlight in their listing of the Flint is certainly not news to us," said Gail Cowie, the the Georgia Environmental Protection Division assistant branch chief who oversees the Chattahoochee, Flint, and Ochlockonee rivers. "We've recognized that the Flint [River] Basin is an area where we need to pay attention to."
The EPD, the authority in charge of regulating and maintaining the quantity and quality of water in the Flint, suspended new permits of water withdrawals for agricultural purposes last July to update its information on how the river's water is used and come up with better methods for evaluating the impacts on the river
The Coalition for the Abolition of Marijuana Prohibition, or CAMP, this morning will ask a federal judge to allow the group's Great Atlanta Pot Festival in the area of the park between the Inman Park and Reynoldstown MARTA station - a patch of land between Waverly and Hurt streets.
According to the lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, CAMP has "endeavored to put on a political demonstration promoting cannabis law reform," for several years in the intown greenspace. The city has rebuffed its efforts each time, saying the park is for "passive use only." CAMP says the city told the group that the event can only be held on the street and sidewalks along Euclid Avenue and Hurt Street.
Freedom Park was dubbed a "passive park" in a 1998 lease agreement between the Georgia Department of Transportation and the city. The agreement prohibits people from building on the 207-acre property.
CAMP's Paul Cornwell told CL that the group has assembled in other greenspaces in the past including Piedmont Park, Woodruff Park, and Centennial Olympic Park. In addition, Cornwall said, the group has assembled a march in that started in Freedom Park and ended in Findley Plaza in Little Five Points. He says there's no "legal definition" to differentiate between a passive or active park.
"The First Amendment doesn't allow for designation of 'passive' or 'active' parks," Cornwell told CL. "They're all active to me ... people have been prevented from using Freedom Park, which is an oxymoron."
A spokeswoman for Mayor Kasim Reed said the city "cannot comment on this active litigation matter at this time."
The hearing for injunctive relief is scheduled to be heard by Judge Steven Jones at 11 a.m.
Read the group's complaint after the jump.
Lobbyists showered state lawmakers in 2013 with $587,000 on food, gifts, and other perks - a third less than they did the previous year. The reductions came as the General Assembly heavily debated and eventually passed House Bills 142 and 143. If signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal, the measures would enact a $75 gift cap and place other limitations on what legislators can accept from political activists.
Despite the decline, the AJC's Aaron Gould Sheinin and Chris Joyner note that lobbyists still threw their money around on the legislative session's most important days:
According to the Southern Center for Human Rights, the Georgia Department of Corrections told the legal nonprofit and the mother of an inmate who was killed while in custody at Trion's Hays State Prison to pay $250,000 - and wait 31,000 business hours - before handing over public documents. The Center has filed a lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court - which you can also read here - to speed up the process and lower that amount. Says SCHR in a release (emphasis not added):
The Complaint alleges that GDC failed to produce public records regarding deaths and security lapses at Hays State Prison and further demanded exorbitant and unreasonable fees for the production of public documents. Specifically, the GDC requested $80,000 before producing public records regarding two inmates; $90,666 before producing records regarding broken locks at Hays State Prison; and a further $80,000 for documents pertaining to security audits.
In total, the GDC demanded over a quarter million dollars for a limited number of records relating to recent deaths and alleged security lapses at the prison. The GDC's inexplicable and outrageous claim that it would take over 31,000 business hours to fulfill these requests - or the equivalent of fifteen years of work for a person working 8 hours per day, 50 weeks per year - is patently unreasonable and in violation of Georgia's open government laws.
SCHR's trying to better understand what's happening behind the barbed-wire fences at the northwest Georgia prison. In its lawsuit, the nonprofit notes that four Hays inmates have been killed since December 2012. In addition, the Chattanooga Times-Free Press has reported that administrators allegedly tipped off prisoners prior to cell searches to improve scores on security audits.
CL contacted the department of corrections for comment and left a message asking about SCHR's claims. Rashad Hollis, a department spokesman, said in a voicemail response that the agency does not comment on active lawsuits.
It was a late night at the Gold Dome as Sine Die ended right around midnight. After a grueling 40th day under the Gold Dome, leaders of both chambers gaveled the legislative session to a close and state lawmakers tossed shreds of proposals, reports, and other paper documents into the air in celebration.
Aside from passing Georgia's $19.3 million budget for fiscal year 2014, which the House OK'ed around 8:30 p.m. last night, state legislators primarily focused on ethics, abortion, and guns.
A small group of lawmakers worked early in the morning of Sine Die to broker a compromise between the state Senate and House of Representatives versions of the dueling ethics bills. A $75 gift cap meant that the Senate conceded $25 while the House caved in on the gift ban originally proposed by House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge.
Unsurprisingly, there are exceptions. Among those are committee dinners and travel expenses. On the positive side, citizen activists won't need to register as lobbyists under the legislation, unless they receive $250 or more in reimbursements.
The bill outlining lobbyist gifts unanimously passed, albeit with some additional loopholes, in the state Senate. Ralston asked his House members to move forward and also approve the ethics proposal.
"By voting for the report, because although not perfect, this measure does for the first time put limitations [on] spending," Ralston said. As the Speaker indicated, the consensus among lawmakers was that something had to pass and that additional ethics reforms could be revisited next year.
"We took a small step in a state that ranks 50th in the nation for ethics laws," William Perry, the executive director of Common Cause of Georgia, said after the session. He said good-government watchdogs would continue the push for ethics reform.
It's official: U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, has stepped into the 2014 Georgia Senate race.
The Cobb County Republican will face off against fellow U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Pit of Hell, and other future candidates over Sen. Saxby Chambliss' vacated seat. Let the race to the right begin!
Gingrey made the announcement to "faithfully serve" Georgians this morning in Augusta:
I will be a Senator who is driven to faithfully serve Georgians across this great state with a sense of urgency. twitter.com/PhilGingreyMD/...
- Phil Gingrey (@PhilGingreyMD) March 27, 2013
He also updated his Facebook page to reflect the news and will apparently be using the slogan "Trusted. Conservative." You read that right - he's using not just one, but two emphatic periods. He also wrote in a post this morning:
I was born and raised in Augusta. I came home today to announce my candidacy for U.S. Senate. It is here my folks instilled in me a strong faith in God, a reverence for family and an unbending respect for traditional, conservative Georgia values. Delivering 5,200 babies as a doctor, I came to realizations that forever called my heart to service for others. But still I felt called to do more. Georgians are frustrated with politics as usual. They are worried about their families and their children's futures. Barack Obama's tax-and-spend policies threaten our opportunity for a better life. But we are Georgians, we are Americans, and we are often at our finest when our back is to the proverbial wall. I will fight for lower taxes, less government intrusion into their lives, and for more opportunities to succeed. I will fight for conservative values. I know if we fight for our conservative principles, America's best days are ahead of us.
Gingrey, an OB-GYN doctor, has slowly backtracked from his comments in support of former Congressman Todd Akin, R-Mo., who asserted that "legitimate rape" is an actual thing. In January, the Georgia politician used his medical background to partially justify Akin's remarks. Despite those disconcerting remarks, he's still got a long way to go before he matches the epic crazy that Broun provides every time he steps near a microphone. Gingrey will make a second announcement regarding his Senate bid at Georgia Tech this afternoon at 2:30 p.m.
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