Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed did not mince words when asked about the chances of a government watch dog group derailing the new $1 billion stadium deal.
The deal uses more than $200 million in public funds from Atlanta's hotel/motel tax, paid mostly by visitors to the city. Common Cause is challenging the move, filing paperwork to start a petition for the issue to land in voters’ hands. The City Council would vote for the public funding issue to be put on the ballot in November.
“I couldn't be more disappointed in the organization. Common Cause has never engaged in the kind of behavior and tactics against any other mayor,” Reed said Friday.
Common Cause believes the community is on its side.
“We're in for the fight. We know a lot of neighborhoods are with us,” Common Cause Executive Director William Perry said.
Perry insists this is nothing personal against Reed. He said it's about giving people a voice.
“When our politicians are so out of line with what the people want, I think people should step up and demand to make the decisions themselves,” Perry said.
Perry said he knows he has a tough task ahead.
It will take 35,000 signatures from registered Atlanta voters to get the issue on the ballot.
“I think getting the required number of signatures is a daunting task, particularly in 60 days,” City Councilwoman Felicia Moore said.
She was one of four “no” votes on the stadium deal, wanting more time to analyze the details. She said citizens have a right to petition their government.
“What it's a part of is a frustration from people who may be not supportive of the effort, that they didn't get the opportunity to have their voices heard before the council vote,” she said.