Issuu on Google+

Atlanta Daily World Powered by Real Times Media LIVING ADW WELL SPECIAL EDITION October: Bullying Prevention Month Look inside for all your health-related news on page 7 Volume 86 • Issue 13 Oct. 31 - Nov. 6, 2013 Vendors Protest City Ban on Street Sales President Obama Endorses Kasim Reed By Dion Rabouin Mobile billboards made their way around Atlanta for the fourth day in a row this week with the goal of putting pressure on Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to remove the vending ban and other obstructions the Atlanta Vendors Association (AVA) says has kept its members from earning a living for more than seven months. The billboards are the latest blow in a fight that AVA President Larry Miller and his members say they are prepared to take all the way to the Supreme Court. Miller says they have been unable to legally sell food and merchandise at popular public areas around Atlanta like Turner Field and the Five Points MARTA station all year. The mobile billboard features an AVA member and his grandchildren with the caption “Mayor Reed won’t let our grandpa work” on one side and “Mayor Reed: The right to earn a living is a civil right” on the other. The billboard sits on top of a truck that has been running throughout Atlanta’s Midtown and Buckhead neighborhoods and around City Hall from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. since Monday. “I don’t know where his moral consciousness is,” Miller said of Reed in an interview with the Daily World. “When [the stoppage] started, I tried five times to sit down with the mayor. He refused to even acknowledge me. I’ve been in the city for 30 years and I’ve met every mayor but him.” Neither Reed nor City Councilmembers Kwanza Hall, Michael Julian Bond or Cleta Winslow immediately returned calls from the Atlanta Daily World seeking comment. Reed has, however, responded to two separate editorials from the AJC in as many days about the subject. On Monday, the mayor rebutted claims that he was “wrongly keeping street vendors from working” in a Letter to the Editor that the paper chose not to print. Reed also pointed to the Five Points MARTA station as evidence that the program is working and suggested that many of the city’s vendors operate businesses “which are more reminiscent of ‘swap meets’ than places for small business to thrive.” “My administration is committed to developing a best-in- class public vending program in the city of Atlanta that is fair to kiosk vendors, non-kiosk vendors and traditional brick and mortar small businesses in their vicinity,” the mayor added. Miller and fellow AVA vendor Stanley Hambrick have filed and won three separate court battles with the city of Atlanta – a December 2012 decision to strike down the vending agreement the city signed with Chicago-based General Growth Properties that gave the company exclusive vending rights in the city, a July clarification of that court order and an Oct. 8 writ of mandamus from Fulton County Superior Court. A writ of mandamus is an order from a Superior Court to a government official ordering the official to properly fulfill their duties or correct an abuse of discretion. Despite the judicial victories, Miller and Hambrick say court appeals from Reed and the City of Atlanta and the use of the Atlanta Police Department have continued to keep the vendors off of public streets and out of business. Hambrick said the association attempted to file a restraining order against the police and against Reed, but that was denied. No court date has yet been set for the city’s appeal of the Oct. 8 writ of mandamus, but Reed appears poised to meet the association’s challenge to take the case to the Supreme Court. “The bottom line is I’m not going to allow Atlanta to be turned into a swap meet,” Reed said in response to the writ of mandamus. “If you go to Five Points right now and look at it, it is a night-and-day difference than the way that it had looked for the last 20 years. We’re not going back there.” The city council this summer also shelved a proposal that would have allowed the vendors to temporarily return to work throughout the city, except in the area surrounding Five Points MARTA Station, which would have remained off limits. “You don’t shut down the whole industry because a few people are operating out of the ordinary,” Miller said. “What we tend to see [under Reed] is that big businesses get everything and we get nothing.” For now, Miller, Hambrick and other AVA members say they are selling merchandise at flea markets, private businesses and “doing whatever is necessary to stay alive.” President Barack Obama Tuesday made an official endorsement of Kasim Reed for a second term as Mayor of Atlanta. In a statement, Reed’s campaign detailed the president’s praise for Reed’s fiscal stewardship of the city, investment in young people, commitment to public safety, and efforts to improve infrastructure and create well-paying jobs and business opportunities in the city and state for all Georgians. “For nearly four years, Mayor Reed has worked tirelessly to ensure that Atlanta remains one of our nation’s leading cities and a competitive center of commerce and culture in the Southeast,” President Obama said in the release. “He has restored the city’s fiscal condition, reduced crime and implemented after-school programming that serves hundreds of children per week in some of the city’s most challenged neighborhoods. He has earned a second term. I look forward to partnering with him on issues of importance not only to the city of Atlanta, but also our great country.” Reed and President Obama have worked together several times since Reed became mayor of Atlanta in 2009 and Reed has voiced support for Obama’s programs, including most recently the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. This fall, Reed and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal toured the Port of Savannah with Vice President Joseph Biden, who called for expediting port improvement projects on the U.S. East Coast. “I am deeply honored by President Obama’s endorsement,” said Reed. “I wake up every day humbled to serve as mayor of the City of Atlanta. This is my dream job, and if I am fortunate enough to earn the trust of the people for a second term on Nov. 5, I will work hard every day to make our city better. I share President Obama’s vision for a city and nation in which we can improve the lives of working-class families. I will focus on fixing the city’s infrastructure needs, creating more jobs, addressing the challenges faced by our youth and keeping residents and visitors safe. If elected, I am eager to continue working with the president and his Administration on a progressive urban agenda.” In August, Mayor Reed and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner met with Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder at the White House to discuss strategies to reduce youth violence. During the summer of 2012, Mayor Reed met with the president to discuss voting rights.

Atlanta Daily World Digital Edition October 31, 2013

Related publications