Mayor’s Senior Aide Retraces Statements on Bullhook

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(APN) ATLANTA — As previously reported by Atlanta Progressive News, David Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor to Mayor Kasim Reed and a former reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, made a false statement to the Public Safety/Legal Administration Cmte of the City Council of Atlanta last week.

Now, Bennett has been forced to retrace his statements, even while he continues to avoid answering a Councilwoman’s question truthfully.

At the PS/LA Cmte Meeting on June 12, 2012, Councilwoman Winslow asked Bennett about a proposed ordinance where the City of Atlanta would adopt its own animal control rules.  Currently, Atlanta uses Fulton County’s rules by way of reference.

“What’s the difference between what’s being done now, or is there any difference?… My question is, are these regulations the same as the ones at the county?” Winslow asked.

“The two ordinances are virtually identical,” Bennett said, without noting the obvious difference between the two ordinances, which is the existence of provisions prohibiting elephant torture in Fulton, which are not currently proposed in the Atlanta legislation.

Clearly, Mr. Bennett should have disclosed that to Winslow when asked, as opposed to providing erroneous and deceptive information.

APN emailed the Chairman Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large) and Cmte Members to point out the deceptive statement by Mr. Bennett.

In reply, Bond contacted Bennett by email.

“Can you please reply to Mr. Cardinale’s concern and thoroughly answer the question posed by Councilmember WInslow?” Bond asked.

“I just reread it.  There was no question for anyone to answer.  It was more of an accusation aimed at council.  Certainly anyone at the meeting got a very full explanation from all sides,” Bennett replied.

Now, Bond had not asked Bennett to respond to the present writer’s question, but to the present writer’s concern, which he did not.  In addition, Bond asked Bennett to respond to Winslow’s question, which he did not.

In response, Bond replied to Bennett, “I respectfully request that you address Mr. Cardinale’s email.  He is a constituent and a member of the press.  Although you may not see it as a question, I am asking that you directly respond to his request for an answer to CM Winslow’s question.”

Still not answering Winslow’s question, Bennett attempted to explain why he made a deceptive statement to Winslow.

“Council had the benefit before the meeting of a memo, phone calls and briefings to clarify the one difference precisely.  The sole difference was further discussed at length during the meeting.  It was clear from the full context that it was adopting virtually but not precisely fulton’s [sic] entire code and what the difference was,” Bennett said.

In other words, it is okay to make deceptive statements in public as long as the full truth is provided privately in briefings.

Councilwoman Felicia Moore (District 9) also was concerned about Bennett’s statements.

“I saw the meeting and was concerned as well about the response given.  I am glad that Michael is taking him to task,” Moore said.

Meanwhile, Atlanta Progressive News has learned that the City Council actually approved an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Fulton County for animal control services over nine months ago, on September 06, 2011.

The Council adopted 11-R-1172, “A Resolution by Councilmember C. T. Martin authorizing the Mayor to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement with Fulton County for the provision of Animal Control Services within the City of Atlanta for a period of one year, in an amount not to exceed $1,374,111.94 to be charged to and paid from the FDOA Numbers listed; and for other purposes. ADOPTED ON CONSENT BY A ROLL CALL VOTE OF 11 YEAS; 0 NAYS.”

Prior to that, the Council adopted 10-R-1164 on June 21, 2010, authorizing an animal control IGA with Fulton County as well.

Apparently, the Mayor failed to enter into either of these IGA’s that the Council had authorized.

Therefore, the Mayor has placed the Council and the taxpayers in the current position they are in now because the Mayor apparently wants to ensure that the Ringling Bros. circus can continue abusing elephants with a bullhook each year in Atlanta.

As previously reported by APN, the Council is currently considering legislation to adopt City of Atlanta animal control ordinances.

For the last two years, Fulton County, which since last year has had a bullhook ban, has been performing animal control services for the City of Atlanta without a contract in place.  The County has demanded a contract by June 30, 2012, or else it won’t provide animal control services for Atlanta.

But the fact of the matter is, the reason many Atlantans might lose animal control services is because Mayor Reed has failed to execute the contract the Council has authorized.

The Mayor is now seeking that Atlanta adopt its own animal control ordinances, with no bullhook ban, as a precondition for his entering into a contract with Fulton.  Thus, he’s holding citizens’ animal control hostage in an apparent effort to ensure elephant abuse can continue.

(END/2012)

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