The DC-based political magazine Governing, most of whose readership works in government, has chosen our very own Kasim Reed as one of their favorite American elected officials of 2011. As often happens, I learned about this first from Creative Loafing, who, as many recall, have been some of his biggest fans since the 2009 mayoral election went into a runoff.
I hardly even notice anymore when Mayor Reed is praised in media. Of course, whenever it happens, I'm reminded of the ample praise given to Shirley Franklin during her first term in office. That began to subside once she lent her voice to a racially incendiary radio ad for current Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves. That same year, 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston was shot and killed by police, who then planted evidence to cover themselves; Mayor Franklin's appointed Chief of Police, Richard Pennington, was not so remorseful, and neither was the mayor. In 2009, the last full year of her mayorship, violent crime catapulted to new heights, and to more affluent and unprepared neighborhoods. It is worth mentioning that her campaign manager, both times, was Kasim Reed.
I grant, of course, that all signs point to Reed being a much better mayor than his predecessor. Keep in mind, however, that Mayor Franklin was similarly praised for cleaning up after the previous administration, forging alliances with the business community, and similar efforts. The sourness and ineptitude of her City Hall snuck up on us over time, and the same could happen if Mayor Reed sees a second term. He certainly knows how to win an election.
By the way, take a look in that map at Bunche Middle School, where Reed voted. The turnout is suspiciously high, isn't it? I distinctly remember it being much lower in the earlier general election, by about two-thirds, but I have yet to reencounter proof of this online. If I do, I will edit this post accordingly.
He's also friends with Bill Campbell. Enough said.