Like It or Not: Praise for Mayor Reed

If anyone, even someone you disagree with, steps up and does something well, you ought to say so, and you ought to applaud them for it.
Those are the words of one my mentors, Bob Irvin, who's the former Republican leader of the Georgia House of Representatives. Those words have been ringing so loudly in my head over the last few weeks, I can no longer tune them out. 
I going to have to utter words I never imagined anyone would hear me say:  Mayor Reed has done an excellent job with the Black Lives Matter Protesters.  And here's why:
  1. He stepped up on site during the tensest moments of the first protest and convinced marchers not to shut down the interstate.
  2. He offered to meet with protesters and fulfilled that commitment.
  3. The meeting he held was left open to any citizen who wanted to attend. Now the press was not allowed, but that was at the request of the protesters, not the Mayor.
  4. He hasn't given into "demands", but has listened with an open ear and has committed to some reforms. This is the perfect balance of not satisfying either side, but working for common ground.
I didn't say anything at first because,honestly, I could hardly believe it.  In the past, I’ve criticized how he has handled issues such as the Falcons Stadium, the Atlanta Streetcar, and the airport contracts. I have been critical of his transparency with both the media and the public. As a government watchdog, it’s my job to raise these concerns, and I was ready to do so again. 
But that's what I felt in the past.  With this specific issue, I've seen a true leader. And our other local politicians should learn from what he has accomplished.
So there you have it. I’ve complimented Mayor Kasim Reed. And he really deserves it. 
Now I'm sure the Mayor and I will disagree on future issues. And I'm sure I will critique more of his future decisions.  But how great would it be if, instead, this was the beginning of something new. 
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