Kasim Reed blasts gay Atlanta mayoral candidate

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Mayor Kasim Reed blistered Cathy Woolard, the only LGBT candidate for Atlanta mayor, as a “quitter” and “failed” candidate after she tweaked the mayor on blue lights and big taxpayer bucks for a stadium renovation.

Woolard – who made history as the first openly gay member of the Atlanta City Council and later its first-ever LGBT president – is in a crowded field of candidates seeking to replace Reed in 2017. The term-limited Reed can’t run for re-election.

Woolard was among the first to step into the race and quickly raised a hefty sum of campaign cash. Since, she’s poked at the mayor between a flurry of community events and appearances.

Woolard was the first mayoral candidate to criticize Reed over his use of emergency lights and sirens as he travels to non-emergency events across metro Atlanta. Via WSB:

“We have to go back to the premise of the law.  Elected officials can’t use blue lights and sirens unless it’s an emergency,” Woolard said.

“It’s a big example of the kinds of things people look at and say, ‘Hmmm, government is not working.  We’ve got elected officials who are zooming through traffic that is clearly illegal, it’s dangerous.  Why shouldn’t I be able to do that?” Woolard said.

Reed accused critics of slandering him.

On Thursday, Woolard continued her criticism of Reed by knocking his decision to use $142.5 million in taxpayer funds to renovate Philips Arena. Via the AJC:

State Sen. Vincent Fort, who entered the crowded race last week, called the plan to spend $142.5 million in taxpayer funds to renovate the arena a “sweetheart development deal.” And former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard told our AJC colleague Scott Trubey it was “a giveaway to billionaires.”

The two candidates are trying to turn the controversial plan to pony up public money for stadiums into a litmus test in a jam-packed contest. They’re also stepping up their criticism of the two-term mayor, who has far cozier relations with several other contenders running to replace him.

Woolard, who also has slammed Reed’s use of blue lights during routine trips, told Trubey that city lawmakers need to have a “robust and transparent” debate on the proposed deal, which would commit the Hawks to playing downtown through 2046.

“As a city we are assuming all of the risk for these investments and we are getting none of the revenue that comes as a result of that,” she said. “That’s accruing to the business owners. I think that formula needs to be disrupted pretty tremendously.”

Reed, well known for throwing sharp elbows at critics, didn’t hold back at Woolard. Via the AJC:

Reed spokeswoman Jenna Garland sent over a statement Thursday blasting Woolard and said the project is vital to keeping Philips competitive and helping to revitalize downtown.

“Unfortunately, Cathy Woolard is engaged in yet another desperate attempt to draw attention to her failing Mayoral campaign, which follows her failed attempt to run for Congress after quitting on the people of Atlanta when she resigned her seat as City Council President to run for another office.

Ouch.

Woolard became the first openly gay elected official in Georgia when she unseated a longtime incumbent on the Atlanta City Council in 1997. She went on to become the first woman and openly gay City Council President in 2002. Woolard resigned in 2004 to launch a failed bid for Congress.

The harsh rhetoric marks a falling out between Woolard and Reed, who tapped Woolard as part of his transition team when he took office in 2010.

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