Recall Effort Underway after Mayor Reed’s Response to Occupy Atlanta
(APN) ATLANTA — Joe Beasley, a veteran activist of the Civil Rights Movement, is organizing an effort to recall Mayor Kasim Reed, after several heated exchanges yesterday between Reed and the Occupy Atlanta Movement.
Since declaring his intent yesterday, Beasley told Atlanta Progressive News, “There’s interest, put it that way.”
“We expressed our intention to recall, and I’ve got a number of calls, suggesting they’d be happy to sign petitions,” Beasley said.
“I need an application. I need one hundred signatures on the application and then I get the petition. Then I need ten percent of the registered voters voting in the last election,” Beasley said, adding that he went down to the Municipal Clerk’s office to meet with Rhonda Dauphin Johnson yesterday. Johnson was not there, but Beasley left a message.
Beasley said his grounds for recalling Reed is “malfeasance in office.”
“It’s gross abuse of power and waste of taxpayers’ money because he mobilized the Atlanta Police, put them on a twelve-hour shift. He’s got them walking around the park in great numbers as if there’s some great threat to public safety,” Beasley said.
Beasley said the actions demonstrated Reed’s “unsuitability to hold office – if he’s got that poor judgement, he shouldn’t be Mayor. There’s no danger whatsoever [from Occupy Atlanta], except in his imagination,” Beasley said.
“The Occupy Atlanta asked me to accomodate, they did not want to meet with the Mayor unless I was with them. I went with them. He was barking like a rabid dog, almost incoherent. I didn’t know what the problem is,” Beasley said.
“Yesterday, he manifested real anger and I don’t know what he’s mad about,” Beasley said.
Over the last several weeks, Reed has flipped the script on numerous occasions related to Occupy Atlanta.
First, he and APD flexed as if they would arrest the protesters on the first night at 11pm, but they backed off.
Then, there was the First Executive Order, which was to expire. Then, there was the Second Executive Order, which was to last until November 08, 2011.
However, things got out of hand when the group organized a hip hip concert over the weekend. The group had applied for a permit, but did not receive it from the City and decided to have the concert anyway.
Reed took issue with an electric generator that the protesters used during the concert. He said that protesters tried to cover the generator with their bodies to prevent APD from removing it from the park.
“A tailgate-style generator which anyone can buy at Home Depot has been described in literally inflammatory terms,” Occupy Atlanta’s Press Committee said in a statement.
“Apparently the Mayor has not been to a Falcons or University of Georgia football game lately, because every other pickup truck has one next to it,” Occupy Atlanta said.
Reed also said he had heard that rap artist Ludacris was to perform at the concert, but that he had spoken with Ludacris and that Ludacris had said he was not going to perform. This, Reed said, could have led to a riot, although it didn’t.
Saturday, Occupy Atlanta said that Reed had indicated they would be evicted from the park that evening. However, Reed’s spokeswoman later denied it. Still, Reed had several port-o-potties removed from the site, apparently in retribution.
On Saturday night, APN observed several police cars and fire engines staged near the park, a large police presence.
Yesterday, October 24, at an afternoon press conference, Reed said that he would be lifting his Executive Order allowing them to stay in the park, at a time of his choosing.
Occupy Atlanta activist Tim Franzen, as well as Beasley, interrupted the press conference.
Around 6pm yesterday, Reed sent city workers to place barricades around the park, although the entrances and exits are not blocked.
At a 9pm press conference last night, State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), former Councilman Derrick Boazman, and Rev. Dr. Richard Cobble, were among those criticizing Reed.
“They ought to be worried about the least of these. People who cannot stand up and speak for themself. That’s why we have Occupy Atlanta… And I would say to Mayor Reed, rethink your policies. Rethink your attitude. Because ultimately, the whole world is watching,” Fort said.
“If somebody’s gonna be arrested tonight, I’m going first. We’ve got to send a message that there’s no jail cell that can hold the spirit of Occupy,” Boazman said.
“People are angry. They are disconnected from our policymakers,” Cobble said.