Reed Denies Recruiting Candidates; Bottoms Mum on 2013


(APN) ATLANTA — This week Mayor Kasim Reed circulated a statement to Members of the City Council of Atlanta, and perhaps to others, denying a report in the Atlanta Progressive News that he had been recruiting Councilman Lamar Willis (Post 3-at-large) or Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms (District 11) to run against Council President Ceasar Mitchell in the 2013 Municipal Elections.

“Mayor Reed has not asked any person to challenge Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell and is focused solely on his own re-election campaign,” Sonji Jacobs Dade, a spokeswoman for Mayor Reed, said in a statement.

On Tuesday, January 22, 2013, Michael Sterling, a Senior Advisor to the Mayor, circulated the statement to all Members of the City Council in an email, a copy of which was obtained by APN.

Dade, on behalf of Reed, attacked APN in the statement because, according to the statement, APN did not contact the “Office of the Mayor” for comment.  

However, it is not immediately clear why the City of Atlanta believes it would be appropriate for communications staff whose salaries are paid for with taxpayers dollars, to answer questions related to political campaigns in connection with the 2013 Municipal Elections.

As for why APN did not contact Reed’s reelection campaign, as previously reported by APN, the campaign has been historically unresponsive to APN, dating back to 2009, when APN reported that the Reed campaign had apparently stolen Mary Norwood yard signs.

“The January 19, 2013 article, ‘Mayor Pushing Willis or Bottoms to Challenge Mitchell, Sources Say,’ by Atlanta Progressive News writer Matthew Cardinale is false and misleading,” the statement said.

“Mr. Cardinale failed to call the Office of the Mayor to check the veracity of his claims or ask for comment, actions which are dishonest and show a blatant lack of regard for the truth.  The article, which relies solely on anonymous sources, violates the most basic rules of credible news reporting,” the statement said.

However, the article did not solely rely on anonymous sources; APN interviewed Mitchell via text message.  In addition, APN emailed both Councilmembers Willis and Bottoms–via their personal email accounts seeing as how it was campaign-related–seeking comment.

To the extent that APN relied on three anonymous sources in the article, APN was transparent about that fact, including by making “Sources Say,” part of the title.

APN reported that according to one source, Willis had already told Mitchell that he would not challenge Mitchell in 2013 but that the Mayor had been pressuring him to do so.  However, APN knows of no response by Bottoms.

Bottoms has continued to stay quiet about her plans for 2013 and has not responded to an email from APN seeking comment.  In addition, Dave Walker, an announced candidate for Council President for 2013, asked Bottoms publicly about her plans for 2013, during public comment made before the Full Council earlier this month, and Bottoms issued no response.