Atlanta mayor reviews voting law and crime plan in Wednesday broadcast interviews

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the At-Promise Center on Thursday, April 1, 2021, in the Pittsburgh community in Atlanta. The At-Promise Center will serve as a youth crime diversion and prevention center. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the At-Promise Center on Thursday, April 1, 2021, in the Pittsburgh community in Atlanta. The At-Promise Center will serve as a youth crime diversion and prevention center. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms slammed Georgia’s new voting law and voiced hope in Atlanta Police Department recruiting efforts during separate television appearances Wednesday.

Bottoms told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Georgia’s new voting law “strips” power from the secretary of state, including removal from the election board. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger stood up for the integrity of the state’s 2020 elections, drawing the ire of former President Donald Trump and the two Republican candidates for U.S. Senate.

The mayor also addressed the issue during an interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting.

“I’ve read the 98 pages,” Bottoms said of the state’s new voting law during an interview with Rickey Bevington, the Atlanta-based host of GPB’s “All Things Considered.” On CNN, she criticized Republican leaders like Gov. Brian Kemp for signing it, and questioned if U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had read the legislation.

On Tuesday, Bottoms ordered her Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to work with local community and business leaders to distribute voting information. She told the broadcast reporters Senate Bill 202 will negatively impact Atlanta’s Black voters.

“I’ve seen the multitude of issues inherent in this bill,” Bottoms said to Blitzer.

Bottoms told Bevington that “reparations” for descendants of enslaved people are overdue, but most of that interview focused on the issue of violent crime and homicides.

Bottoms said renewed recruiting efforts will attract police, and that some officers who previously left have asked about returning. She said the bulk of Atlanta’s budget supports a public safety “phased in” effort to increasingly fund salaries over time.

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Atlanta, meanwhile, has committed $3 million to acquiring resources for cameras, drones and helicopters, Bottoms said, adding the city is “exploring every opportunity” to curb gun violence. She’s interacting with the Shotspotter gunshot detection system that previously performed a pilot program with the city, she said.

Bottoms acknowledged the city’s limits, but she said police morale is slowly improving. She continued to attribute violent crimes to the coronavirus pandemic, but advocated for state lawmakers support of a federal assault weapons ban.

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She also said it’s “ludicrous” to think Buckhead cityhood will stop criminals.

Meanwhile, Atlanta operates in phase 2 of reopening amid the pandemic as the city accepts applications for outdoor events with 2,000 or less people. Bottoms said businesses should have the right to ask for vaccination proof.

“This is not a concept that we are comfortable with as adults, Bottoms said, adding that “if you don’t want a vaccine then you should expect that there may be some challenges with your being able to access certain places if there’s a vaccine passport.”

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