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The Reed Administration's Response to Bill Torpy's Column in Today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Post Date:09/22/2017 4:26 PM

 Mayor’s Office of Communications
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500 • Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Anne Torres, Director
404-330-6423, office
404-904-2618, cell
amtorres@atlantaga.gov

Jenna Garland, Press Secretary
404-330-6612, office
404-357-5579, cell
jgarland@atlantaga.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2017

News Release

The Reed Administration's Response to Bill Torpy's Column in Today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Statement from Tom Sabulis

ATLANTA - "Every time the City of Atlanta responds to Bill Torpy, it is done with the sole intention of correcting the record. It has nothing to do with political campaigns; it has everything to do with the fact that Torpy’s obsessive columns about Mayor Reed – now 41 in number – are invariably riddled with errors, inconsistencies and innuendoes. The City of Atlanta takes its responsibility to truth and transparency very seriously. A lie printed in Atlanta’s newspaper of record that’s left unanswered invariably becomes truth. Accordingly, we will continue to respond and correct the record each and every time.

In this case, Torpy has now dedicated three columns to a policy dispute between the Mayor and the Atlanta City Council President; unfortunately, neither Torpy nor the news desk at the AJC have sought to go beyond surface-level reporting on a potentially disastrous proposal and the motivations behind it.

Council President Ceasar Mitchell announced his proposal to pause city contracting on August 24. Multiple city leaders responded and roundly condemned his proposal as foolhardy and an unacceptable impediment to moving forward with multiple essential city projects.

Mitchell then held a press conference in his City office – at City Hall – to defend his proposal and attack the Mayor late in the morning on August 31.

The Mayor’s office had already planned on holding a press conference to announce plans to sell the Civic Center to the Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) and Invest Atlanta in order to build a major new affordable housing development in Midtown. During the press conference, Mayor Reed did not bring up Mr. Mitchell’s proposal or insulting comments. Journalist Maria Saporta asked Mayor Reed to respond, which he did. This is all clearly captured on video, as are the presence of multiple councilmembers who are not running for Mayor, but are strong supporters of affordable housing and are supportive of the plan to sell the Civic Center to AHA.

Mayor Reed has argued that Ceasar Mitchell’s policy proposal is not driven by any legitimate concern about the city’s contracting practices. Rather, his proposal is driven by his desire to control contracting under what he believes will be the future Mitchell Administration. One of every two major donors who have given $1,000 or more to Mitchell’s mayoral campaign are businesses or current employees of businesses who have existing city contracts or who have competed for city contracts. He also formed a Super PAC, but has repeatedly declined to reveal its donors, many of whom could benefit from the legislation he proposed. Let these facts sink in for a moment. Any reasonable person should be highly concerned and immediately recognize their relevance when evaluating Mitchell’s proposal.

Similarly, releasing tax returns has long been considered the gold standard of transparency during political campaigns. During the August 31 press conference, Mayor Reed challenged Mitchell to release ten years of tax returns, as he did when running for Mayor. It has now been 22 days since Mayor Reed made this challenge; yet according to WSB-TV’s Dave Huddleston, Mitchell has refused to provide these income tax returns.

In an indictment of the ongoing failures of local press to cover the current mayoral campaign effectively, we must point out that it was the Mayor who provided this information, and to date, the city’s major press outlets have not sought to verify this information or conduct their own investigation of Mitchell’s donors.

These are far more important issues than the back and forth between the Mayor and Mitchell.

Yet the AJC’s Bill Torpy has chosen not to cover these matters, and is instead spending his time writing fiction. Torpy, who uses the tagline, “What’s really going on? I’m all over it,” has decided that he is a political prognosticator of the highest order and apparently, also, a mind reader.

In reality, with today’s column Torpy is continuing to do what he has done all along: attack Ceasar Mitchell and Mayor Reed in order to prop up Mary Norwood, who in a run-off would spend 30 days hammering Mitchell with each of these irrefutable facts."

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For more information about the City of Atlanta, please visit http://www.atlantaga.gov or watch City Channel 26. Follow the City of Atlanta on Facebook and Twitter @CityofAtlanta. Follow Mayor Reed on Facebook and Twitter @Kasim Reed

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