Kasim Reed: 'We have a lot of problems’

City pensions

... In 2005, they provided a robust pension that the city could not then and cannot now afford.

The metrics ... as it relates to the pension are going to involve a ... review of moving our city into the social security system.

You’re going to see a change in vesting period ... .

I will also work with other mayors that are facing the same challenge to lobby the federal government.

City finances

I think the major revenue stream we’re missing the opportunity on is ... working with the president’s administration in identifying projects that are appropriate for us to compete for ... while the government has been investing more money than it ever has in the history of the country.

City management

I know the finances and budget process ... as well as anyone. I was the person who introduced Bain & Co. to the city of Atlanta ... to start the reform and reporting we’ve now watched for 7 years.

Public safety

The things that are happening in our city did not happen when I was growing up. They are damaging Atlanta’s national and international reputation. People are being hurt in ways they were not before.

We have to have a comprehensive approach, but I have ... no tolerance for a person who will harm or hurt another person.

I consider my desire to open every recreation center ... as part of my crime strategy. By closing recreation centers, we have recruited a pipeline from schools into gangs. I don’t think we have adequately acknowledged the gang problem that we have.

If we don’t make sure that felons who emerge from jail ... have gainful employment, or have skills that are necessary for gainful employment, they’ll re-offend.

Development

I intend to take advantage of the collapse of the real estate market to actually acquire property at the appropriate time, when the city is capable financially of doing that.

There are opportunities out here now that we will never see again, and I don’t believe that it’s just south of I-20.

Transportation/MARTA

The first thing I think Atlanta needs to do is stay focused on the regional TSPLOST approach, which I co-sponsored in the (state) senate for two years. For example, If Fulton County and DeKalb partnered (on the tax), they would yield somewhere between $7 and $9 billion. ... that would be the most significant investment into the heart of this region that we’ve had.

Region and state

If I were mayor right now, I would have a schedule that would probably take me to nine cities in the state of Georgia. ... you go and see people where they are. That may seem like a small or trivial matter to people who don’t understand how the rural part of this state works with the urban part, but I do, and I’m unique in that sense.

I think the big story ... is that there are a new generation and a new cadre of legislators that are doing things that are more progressive for Atlanta than is readily apparent to the public and the media.

What I learned from my friends in other parts of the state is you can’t get them beaten (in elections) and you have to present legislation in a way that is thoughtful enough that they can justify it back home.