News - Will Atlanta miss Robb Pitts?
Yes. Pitts isn't a lapdog for Atlanta's legacy of public corruption
Robb Pitts isn't charismatic, and he didn't run a good campaign. He started campaigning too late. He balked when asked about corruption in the Campbell administration, even though he's been a ballast against it for years. He didn't articulate his message. And he didn't absent himself from the shameful practice of racially distributed "walking-around money."
But he also didn't pal around with the chronically indicted who dominated Shirley Franklin's campaign and pulled the microphone from her hands the moment she won. Former mayor Maynard Jackson, our homegrown Boss Tweed, didn't even bother with the niceties of illusion as he threw himself between Shirley and the cameras to brag about his victory.
Expect more of the same. Expect more scandals like the Theresa Stanford/Ray McClendon pension scam, the Fred Prewitt contracting scam, the Ronnie Thornton dirt scam. Where Peachtree meets Sweet Auburn is the place where the roots of Atlanta's racial and monied corruption mingle and run deep. Pitts may not be a complete stranger to these interests, but he isn't their lapdog either.
Franklin is. And if Michael Bond wins the Council presidency, there won't be so much as a speed bump to slow the flow of tax dollars into corrupted contracting schemes.
For years, Robb Pitts was that speed bump. With an almost eerie unobtrusiveness, he quietly opposed the pension fund and airport concession scams that lined the pockets of Campbell, Franklin and Jackson. He opposed the type of easy racial divisiveness that permitted such behavior to flourish.
Pitts lost because we're addicted to identity politics. Nearly all the campaign literature I received from Franklin supporters urged me to vote for her just because she's a woman — not because her agenda is better for women, but because she's biologically female. Spare me. Likewise, on black radio and in black neighborhoods, Franklin ran a campaign of barely disguised racial gerrymandering against Pitts' perceived "whiteness."
Pitts didn't do the same — that's reason enough to miss him. In all his years on City Council, he never showed favoritism based on gender or race. Is that why he seemed so invisible?
Pitts did seem lost and awkward in the final days of the election. Good for him.
Those who voted for Franklin shouldn't even pretend to be surprised when the bejeweled finger emerges from behind the curtain to click off that scratchy recording of "Kumbaya" and return to the business of looting the tax rolls in the name of Maynard Jackson's "minority participation." By voting against Pitts, they're certainly asking for more of the same.
Tina Trent is a freelance writer living in Atlanta.??