Opinion piece by William Perry
Local ethics boards all over Georgia punish politicians for bad behavior, but Atlanta seems to have it backward–with politicians trying to punish the ethics board.
Why? Because they want free tickets to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The trouble started a few weeks ago when Invest Atlanta, a public agency, asked the ethics board to overturn its established ban on free tickets for the development authority and city leaders, including the mayor and city council.
Invest Atlanta is chaired by Mayor Reed, and several city council members are on its board of directors. The ethics board sidelined the request for further consideration, which didn’t sit well with the politicians since football season is here.
The word on the street is that Invest Atlanta was so peeved it considered a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the ethics board, but someone came up with a much quicker way to score.
Council Member Cleta Winslow had the nerve to introduce legislation that would replace the current ethics board with one appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council. And she did it on Eclipse Day, when all of us were looking up.
Council Member Winslow is no stranger to ethics issues. She’s been fined more times and has paid the highest dollar amount in fines than anyone since Mayor Shirley Franklin created this ethics board.
So you have the most punished politician attempting to punish the ethics board. You just can't make this stuff up!
Now, they may have a valid point about the constitutionality of this ethics board. A judge recently declared DeKalb County's ethics board unconstitutional. But that case is on appeal, and Atlanta should not take any action until that case is settled.
Winslow wants her legislation approved by the committee, followed by a floor vote on the same day. And that could happen as early as September 4!
What’s the rush, sports fans?
The good news is you can help stop them! Contact your council member, or better yet, call and email the entire Atlanta City Council and tell them to vote against any changes to the ethics board at this time.
Let's make sure that Invest Atlanta and our Atlanta politicians pay for their own Falcons tickets, just like you and me.