Mayor’s Office of Communications
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500 • Atlanta, Georgia 30303
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 7, 2017
The Reed Administration’s Response to Bill Torpy’s November 6 Column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Statement by Tom Sabulis
ATLANTA - "It was not surprising to see the predictable and pedestrian Bill Torpy write an Election Eve campaign ad for so-called Independent candidate Mary Norwood, using a racial narrative built on innuendoes, assumptions and unfortunate stereotypes.
In Torpy’s mind, minority businesswomen and men only participate in the political process to gain advantage, whereas majority-owned firms, or the dozens of legal and professional services firms, write large checks for some other, more pure reason. Or perhaps, because they are giving to candidates like Mary Norwood and Peter Aman, their donations are not worthy of scrutiny.
Torpy’s entire column is a clear demonstration of how he and the AJC have one set of standards for certain candidates and elected officials, and a higher, more stringent set of standards for Mayor Kasim Reed, the City of Atlanta and now Keisha Lance Bottoms.
In an attempt to deflect from his discomfort with minority business owners engaging in the political process, Torpy uses a broad brush to link anyone working at City Hall, or who has done business with the City, to the federal bribery investigation. In Torpy’s mind, Mayor Kasim Reed and everyone connected to him -- including the 9,000 hardworking employees of the City of Atlanta – are guilty by association, regardless of the facts.
No one has taken the federal investigation more seriously than Mayor Reed. He has dreamed of being Mayor of the City of Atlanta since he was thirteen years old. He has spoken about how disappointed he is that illegal activity took place under his Administration, because he has worked day and night to be the best possible Mayor he could be for our city.
And most residents are pleased with his performance: The City has a 69 percent 'right track' approval rating, and Mayor Reed’s performance after eight years in office has 65 percent approval.
But don’t expect to hear that from Torpy or the AJC, which continues to curtail its balanced coverage of the City in favor of a cartoon narrative designed to appease its suburban readers.
He and his AJC employers must be frustrated: After all, this was Torpy’s 43rd attack on Mayor Reed in the last three years, a time in which the City of Atlanta continues to build upon unprecedented growth, fiscal stability and international respect. How angry and impotent Torpy must feel that, after 43 negative columns, none of his charges have stuck. Not one.
Nonetheless, Torpy indulges his deep and personal bias against Mayor Reed and minority contractors whom he feels should not be allowed to compete for business or – heaven forbid – make political contributions to one of the two leading Mayoral candidates.
He also fails to note that Mary Norwood accepted significant political contributions from the same airport vendors during her last race for Mayor in 2009.
Torpy attacks Ms. Bottoms for receiving donations from associates of the PRAD Group, a contracting, engineering and architecture firm that has done work for NASA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Navy, among other clients. The AJC describes the firm only as a ‘city contractor,’ and criticizes Councilmember Bottoms for doing what any politician of stature does when a problematic source of campaign funding is discovered: She returned it. Torpy conveniently leaves that point out, preferring to insult Ms. Bottoms ('a coat holder') and ignore her professional qualifications.
This points to more than suspect motivation, it borders on pathological obsession. Most disappointingly, it’s a dogwhistle.
The picture is becoming clear: The consequences of the AJC’s pandering to its suburban audience are coming home to roost. Its right-wing agenda that favors only negative news about the City of Atlanta is backfiring: Its handpicked candidate for Mayor is not rising to the top like they thought she would. So, Torpy continues to smear the Mayor and Keisha Lance Bottoms, and instead completely avoids any scrutiny of former frontrunner Norwood in this campaign.
This Administration respects the local media. We also expect balance and fairness, and so do voters.
The City of Atlanta is ascendant in just about any metric you employ. Atlanta residents are happy with an unmatched portfolio of rising property values, a 37 percent drop in crime, a $2.6 billion expansion of MARTA, $550 million in infrastructure improvements through Renew Atlanta and the TSPLOST, eight consecutive credit-rating increases, $200 million in cash reserves, and not one property tax increase in eight years.
That’s a record anyone should be proud to run on."
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