Animal Cruelty and Domestic Violence

By Bridget Birchett- November 26, 2016

Abusers of animals are five times as likely to harm humans. Nearly half of the victims who stay in violent households do so because they are afraid for their animals. Countless more never leave the home for this very reason. Companion animals like cats and dogs may be threatened or harmed; the vulnerability of other animals like horses may also make it difficult for victims to escape in emergencies. The “link” between violence against humans and animals is clear. But there are resources that can help.

Understanding the Cycle of Violence

After a violent episode, whether physical, emotional, or sexual, tension builds to a breaking point. The abuser blames the victim and minimizes the violence, then woos the victim back in a honeymoon phase, and the victim hopes the cycle is over. But the cycle repeats itself, almost without fail.

Many victims hope the violence will end or believe they can protect animals in the home. The truth is that a person who harms animals will likely harm humans–and a person who harms humans will almost certainly harm animals. Staying with an abuser puts every human and nonhuman in the home at risk.

Children in violent households, who have likely been abused themselves, represent one-fifth of domestic animal cruelty cases. When a child harms animals it can indicate that serious abuse has been inflicted on the child; consequently, animals are abused in nearly all households in which children have been abused. Furthermore, children who witness animal abuse are at greater risk of becoming abusers. Many violent offenders committed childhood acts of animal abuse.

H.R.11 – Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 113th Congress (2013-2014)

By Bridget Birchett- November 23, 2016


113TH CONGRESS 1ST SESSION H. R. 11 To reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.


Bill Summary

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 – Amends the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) to add or expand definitions of several terms used in such Act.

Modifies or expands grant conditions under such Act, including requirements relating to: (1) nondisclosure of personally identifying information or other client information, (2) information sharing between grantees and subgrantees, (3) civil rights and nondiscrimination, (4) audits, and (5) nonprofit organizations.

Requires the Office on Violence Against Women of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to establish a biennial conferral process with state and tribal coalitions, technical assistance providers, and other key stakeholders on the administration of grants and related matters.

Requires the Attorney General to authorize in writing expenditures for DOJ conferences that exceed $20,000.

Title I: Enhancing Judicial and Law Enforcement Tools to Combat Violence Against Women – Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to authorize appropriations for FY2014-FY2018 for grants to: (1) combat violent crime against women (STOP grants); and (2) encourage governmental entities to implement policies, training programs, and best practices for recognizing, investigating, and prosecuting instances of domestic violence and violent sex crimes.

Amends the Violence Against Women Act of 2000 to expand the availability of competent pro bono legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking and to authorize appropriations for such assistance for FY2014-FY2018.

Revises the grant programs for supporting families with a history of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking to authorize the Attorney General to make grants to improve the response of the civil and criminal justice system to such families and to train court personnel in assisting such families.

Extends through FY2018 the authorization of appropriations for: (1) the training of probation and parole officers to manage sex offenders, and (2) the Court-Appointed Special Advocate program.

Amends the federal criminal code with respect to the crime of stalking to prohibit the use of any interactive computer or electronic communication service to stalk victims.

Revises and reauthorizes through FY2018 the grant program for outreach strategies targeted at adult or youth victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking in underserved populations.

Title II: Improving Services for Victims of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking – Amends VAWA to extend through FY2018 grant programs to: (1) assist states, Indian tribes, and U.S. territories to establish, maintain, and expand rape crisis centers and other programs to assist victims of sexual assault; and (2) assist victims of domestic violence and other sexual assault crimes in rural areas.

Amends the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 to extend through FY2018 the authorization of appropriations for grants to end violence against women with disabilities.

Amends VAWA to authorize appropriations through FY2018 for the grant program to end elder abuse, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, exploitation, and neglect, and to provide training for law enforcement agencies to better serve victims of abuse in later life. Directs the Attorney General in awarding grants to end elder abuse to give priority to proposals for serving culturally specific and underserved populations.

Title III: Services, Protection, and Justice for Young Victims of Violence – Amends the Public Health Service Act to: (1) include tribal or territorial sexual assault coalitions in the grant program for rape prevention and education, and (2) extend through FY2018 the authorization of appropriations for grants for rape prevention and education programs conducted by rape crisis centers. Establishes a minimum allocation of grant funding for states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and each U.S. territory.

Amends VAWA to replace certain grant programs for the protection of young victims of violent crimes with a program requiring the Attorney General, in collaboration with the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Secretary of Education, to award grants to enhance the safety of youth and children who are victims of, or exposed to, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking and to prevent future violence.

Amends the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 to revise, expand, and reauthorize through FY2018 the grant program for combating violent crimes on college campuses.

Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to expand requirements for the disclosure of campus security policies and crime statistics by institutions of higher education to require education programs to: (1) promote the awareness of rape and other violent sex crimes, (2) require disclosure of disciplinary proceedings involving rape and other violent sex crimes and the standard of evidence that will govern such proceedings, and (3) establish procedures for the protection of the confidentiality of crime victims.

Title IV: Violence Reduction Practices – Amends the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 to authorize appropriations for FY2014-FY2018 for grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to academic institutions and organizations to conduct research that examines best practices for reducing and preventing violence against women and children.

Amends VAWA to authorize the Attorney General, in consultation with the HHS Secretary and the Secretary of Education, to award grants to prevent domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking by taking a comprehensive approach that focuses on youth, children exposed to violence, and men as leaders and influencers of social norms (SMART Prevention grants).

Title V: Strengthening the Healthcare System’s Response to Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking – Amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize, revise, and consolidate grant programs that address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Permits grant funds to be used for the development, expansion, and implementation of sexual assault forensic medical examination or sexual assault nurse examiner programs.

Revises requirements for training and education grants.

Title VI: Safe Homes for Victims of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking – Amends VAWA with respect to housing protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Revises eligibility requirements for transitional housing assistance grants for child victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking to specify that any victims are eligible and extends the authorization of appropriations for such grants, but at decreased levels, for FY2014-FY2018.

Extends the authorization of appropriations, but also at decreased levels, for FY2014-FY2018 for: (1) collaborative grants to increase the long-term stability of victims, and (2) grants to combat violence against women in public and assisted housing.

Title VII: Economic Security for Victims of Violence – Amends VAWA to extend through FY2018 the authorization of appropriations for the grant program to establish and operate a national resource center on workplace responses to assist victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Title VIII: Protection of Battered Immigrants – Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to: (1) expand the definition of nonimmigrant U-visa (victims of certain crimes) to include victims of stalking; (2) make a child of an alien who was a self-petitioner under VAWA eligible for lawful permanent resident status under such alien’s petition; (3) exclude from the public charge bar to admission an alien who is a VAWA self-petitioner, a U-visa applicant, or a battered spouse or child; (4) extend the conditions under which the hardship waiver of the two-year waiting period for permanent resident status may be granted to a battered alien spouse; and (5) expand the scope of criminal-related information that must be disclosed by a U.S. citizen petitioning for a nonimmigrant K-visa (alien fiancee or fiance);

Amends the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 to require DHS to: (1) conduct a background check of the National Crime Information Center’s Protection Order Database on each K-visa petitioner, and (2) include any appropriate information in the criminal background information provided to the alien fiance/fiancee.

Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to authorize the DHS Secretary (in addition to the Attorney General) to disclose information relating to aliens who are victims of domestic violence to law enforcement officials for law enforcement purposes in a manner that protects the confidentiality of such information. Authorizes the Attorney General and the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State to disclose such information to national security officials to be used solely for a national security purpose. Requires the Attorney General and the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State to provide guidance to officers and employees of their respective departments regarding such disclosures of information.

Title IX: Safety for Indian Women – Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to: (1) include sex trafficking as a target of the grants to Indian tribal governments to combat violent crime against Indian women, and (2) expand the purposes for which the Attorney General may award domestic violence and sexual assault prevention grants to Indian tribal coalitions.

Amends the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 to include the Secretary of the Interior, in addition to the HHS Secretary and the Attorney General, as a participant in consultations with Indian tribes regarding the administration of tribal funds and programs, enhancement of Indian women’s safety, and federal response to violent crimes against Indian women.

Gives Indian tribes criminal jurisdiction over domestic violence, dating violence, and violations of protective orders that occur on their lands. Makes that jurisdiction concurrent with federal and state jurisdiction. Requires Indian tribes prosecuting crimes of violence to: (1) prove that the defendant has requisite ties to the Indian tribe; (2) provide defendants the right to an impartial jury trial; and (3) notify a defendant of his or her rights, including the right to file a writ of habeas corpus in federal court.

Amends the federal criminal code to: (1) increase maximum penalties for assault convictions; and (2) impose criminal penalties on individuals who commit an assault resulting in substantial bodily injury to a spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner and who assault such spouse or partner by strangling or suffocating.

Reauthorizes appropriations for the national tribal sex offender registry and the tribal protection order registry for FY2014-FY2018.

Title X: Safer Act – Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting Act of 2013 or the SAFER Act of 2013 – Amends the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 to authorize the Attorney General to make Debbie Smith grants under such Act to states or local governments to: (1) conduct audits of samples of sexual assault evidence that are awaiting testing, provided such governments submit an audit plan that includes a good-faith estimate of the number of such samples; and (2) ensure that the collection and processing of DNA evidence by law enforcement agencies from crimes is carried out in an appropriate and timely manner and in accordance with specified protocols and practices. Requires not less than 5% but not more than 7% of Debbie Smith grant funds distributed in FY2014-FY2017 to be awarded for such purposes if sufficient applications to justify such amounts are received by the Attorney General, provided such awards do not decrease funds for other distribution requirements.

Requires the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to: (1) develop and publish a description of protocols and practices for the accurate, timely, and effective collection and processing of DNA evidence, which shall address appropriate steps in the investigation of cases that might involve DNA evidence; and (2) make available technical assistance and training to support states and local governments in adopting and implementing such protocols and practices.

Requires the Attorney General to submit to Congress an annual report on: (1) grants awarded to states and local governments, (2) the number of deadline extensions granted by the Attorney General, and (3) the processing status of the samples of sexual assault evidence identified in Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reports.

Requires, for each fiscal year through FY2018, that not less than 75% of Debbie Smith grant amounts be awarded to carry out for inclusion in the Combined DNA Index System DNA analyses of samples collected under applicable legal authority and of samples collected from crime scenes and to increase the capacity of state or local government laboratories to carry out DNA analyses.

Requires the DOJ Inspector General to conduct audits of grant recipients to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.

Sunsets specified provisions of this Act regarding Debbie Smith grants for auditing sexual assault evidence backlogs on December 31, 2018.

Title XI: Other Matters – Amends the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act to allow a prisoner in federal custody to bring a suit against the United States for a mental or emotional injury if such injury resulted from the commission of a sexual act (currently, requires a prior showing of a physical injury). Amends the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 to direct the DHS Secretary to publish a final rule adopting national standards for the detection, prevention, reduction, and punishment of rapes and sexual assaults in detention facilities against aliens detained for a violation of U.S. immigration law. Requires the HHS Secretary to publish a similar final rule for the protection of unaccompanied alien children in custodial facilities.

Amends the Communications Act of 1934, with respect to obscene or harassing telephone calls, to: (1) remove the intent to annoy requirement in the definition of such crime; and (2) include any specific person as an intended victim of such crime (currently, any person at the called number or who receives the communication).

Amends VAWA to extend through FY2018 the grant programs for: (1) improving and implementing processes for entering data on stalking and domestic violence into crime information databases, and (2) appointing victim/witness counselors for the prosecution of sex crimes and domestic violence crimes.

Amends the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 to authorize appropriations for FY2014-FY2018 for child abuse and neglect technical assistance and training programs for judicial personnel and attorneys practicing in juvenile and family courts.


Former Philly Mayor calls for Trump to ‘apologize’ to America

Mayor Michael Nutter addresses then Candidate Donald Trumps hate filled Campaign against the Muslim Community.

November 20, 2016

In a stirring letter written to Donald Trump, former Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter addressed the president-elect, calling on him to apologize for the things said during his campaign that have so many people terrified and nervous for the future.

“I would suggest you immediately make a national address, to recognize the monumental nature of what many consider the success of an improbable candidacy of someone who has never held any public office, said and done things that in the past would have disqualified any other candidate, and who is about to become our President,” Nutter says in the letter published to

–Donald Trump and Woodrow Wilson: How to get your bigot on as president–

“Acknowledge that you have made many painful, hurtful, abusive, controversial statements about various people and groups, and sincerely apologize, mean the words you say and ask the American public for forgiveness, not from a teleprompter, but from your head, heart and soul. Speak to our parents and teachers and help them to explain to our children and students why the inappropriate things that you said and did are not appropriate for our children to ever say or do to each other.”

He then goes on to outline ways that the president-elect can and should apologize:

“A great first step in this regard would be for you to publicly request that the KKK in NC not plan or host the parade in your honor on Dec 3rd or at any other time. Publicly apologize to President Barack Obama, who warmly welcomed you to the White House with incredible dignity and grace, even though you championed the offensive idea that he was not born in the United States or that he should release his school transcripts because you questioned his intellect and legitimate acceptance into prestigious schools, even though you admitted that you had NEVER met him before,” he writes.

Nutter also calls Trump out for his comments on American democracy in regards to the election: “Apologize for questioning the legitimacy of our electoral process, especially since you won. Apologize for even suggesting that if you were successful in this campaign that you would seek to investigate and potentially ‘lock up’ Hillary Clinton, for which your supporters always cheered and you encouraged.”

What’s more, he speaks out about the fear many minorities across the country are feeling right now:

“Apologize publicly for your statements about African Americans and our community, comments about women and girls, the disabled community, Latino/Hispanic community, Muslims and their faith and all of the other constituencies that you have offended over many years and in the current campaign.”

You can read the full, stirring letter here.

Keith Ellison is the Right Choice to Lead the Democratic Party to a New Era After Obama


After Tuesday’s loss to Donald Trump the Democratic Party is transitioning to a New Era after Obama. The right leadership is important and that person is US Congressman Keith Ellison.  Keith is a true Progressive with  unifying skills to build strong coalitions needed to move forward after Obama.

By Bridget Birchett

November 12, 2016

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, slated to take over soon as the Senate‘s Democratic leader, is backing progressive Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison to be the new chair of the Democratic National Committee, according to Schumer’s staff.

Schumer and Ellison “spoke yesterday,” Schumer spokesperson Matt House told ABC News. “Without a Democratic White House, Schumer’s view is the DNC is where grassroots organizing in sync with legislative battles should be organized.”

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced yesterday that he too supports Ellison, who was one of only a handful of congressmen to back Sanders during his presidential primary bid. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in an interview Thursday that she thinks Ellison would be “terrific” for the job.

Progressive grassroots organizations such as ‘People for Bernie’ and ‘MoveOn’ have been quick to lobby for Ellison too and are circulating petitions.

If Ellison wins the post, which could be decided as early as next month, it would signal a significant shift by the party toward embracing a Sanders-style progressive agenda in the wake of a bruising election loss that has left Democrats with a massive identity crisis. In some ways, Clinton’s loss emboldened the party’s left-wing members, who argue that their candidates and message excited voters more than hers and that they are more prepared to take on a Trump presidency.

Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, has not formally announced that he wants the job, but has said he will make an announcement of some kind on Monday. The congressman met with activists Thursday night about the election results and possible next steps.

“We can present a very clear alternative to the American people as to what we could have if we organize and engage,” Ellison said. “We have to use the First Amendment … to oppose Trump and Trumpism at every turn.”

Donna Brazile has been the acting chair of the party’s national committee since the Democratic National Convention in July, after Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned in the wake of emails posted by Wikileaks. Ironically, any thought that Brazile may stay on was wiped away this month, before the election, when the most recent emails posted on Wikileaks appeared to show that she too may have helped the Clinton campaign when she was active with the party committee but before she was acting chair.

Besides Ellison, other possible candidates for DNC chair include former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean who announced on Twitter that he was throwing his hat in the rang to take the job again. Dean held that post from 2005-2006, employing what he called a “50-state” strategy that attempted to put even traditionally red seats into contention, reaping tremendous success with Democrats taking control of the Congress that year.

In addition, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a former presidential contender, said he was “taking a hard look” at the role too.

According to the emails posted on Wikileaks this month, many of Clinton’s top advisers seemed to like former Michigan Governor Jen Granholm for the job of DNC Chair. Other names floated include New Hampshire Party Chair Ray Buckley and South Carolina Party Chair Jamie Harrison.

Even beyond the attention to who will chair the party committee, both Sanders and Warren have made a point of being visible in the press and to the pubic during this week when so many other Democrats have stayed out of the spotlight.

Sanders said during an interview with CNN Thursday that he understands voters are angry about, what he calls, a decline of middle-class jobs. “But we have got to channel that anger against the people who caused the decline of the middle class and so many people living in poverty, not take it out on our neighbors, who may happen to be Muslim or Latino or women. That is demagoguery.”

Sanders’ aides says he will not rule out another run for the White House in 2020, but they acknowledge that he would be 78 then and his health may be a variable. As for now, the Vermont senator is not planning to challenge New York Sen. Chuck Schumer for the position of Senate minority leader that becomes vacant with the retirement of Nevada Sen. Harry Reidat the end of the year. But Sanders’ team confirmed that he is looking for ways to take on a leadership role during this turbulent time for Democrats and progressives.

“I think he can play a big role,” Sanders’ spokesperson Michael Briggs told ABC News. “He really connects somehow with people … they are looking for leadership.”

Warren gave a stern, passionate speech to AFL-CIO union folks Thursday, where she argued that Democrats’ first job in the “new era” is to stand up to Trump’s “bigotry.”



Kasim Reed Strong Mayor City of Atlanta-Transformational Leadership Unmatched


By Steve Fennessy- October 25, 2016

A leader- as national Government struggle, the Atlanta Mayor says, Cities will increasingly be the place where problems get solved.

Mayor Kasim Reed on what’s in store for the final 15 months of his administration

“There is no question that Atlanta is ascending.”

Not long ago, Kasim Reed was in public with Ambassador Andrew Young, who for years has served as a mentor to the 47-year-old mayor. The two men were having a conversation when a bystander—a young black man—interrupted to ask for a photo with the mayor. Reed hesitated, not wanting to break off their discussion. “Go and take that photo,” Young said, explaining to Reed something Young had learned long ago from his own mentor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Anytime a person of color asks for a photo with you, you do it, because the more positive examples for them, the better.

Reed told me this story on Saturday afternoon, after I’d asked him how being mayor of Atlanta for seven years has changed his perception of what it is to be a black person in America today. “I’m definitely not the same,” he said. “I feel a much deeper obligation to be better, to be an exemplar.”

We were sitting backstage of the Hogg Memorial Auditorium on the University of Texas campus in Austin. Reed had just finished an hour-long panel at the Texas Tribune Festival, somewhat reductively titled “The State of Black America.” Reed was joined by Allen West, a former Republican congressman from Florida who grew up in Atlanta, and Ivy Taylor, the first African American mayor of San Antonio. Touré, the author and cultural critic, moderated. I say “moderated,” but there was nothing moderate about how Touré pushed back against West, who was not in friendly territory.

“We have to trust the rule of law,” said West, in response to the civic unrest that’s arisen from police-involved shootings of black men. That’s when it got interesting.

Afterwards, while Ted Cruz took the stage to defend his endorsement of Donald Trump, Reed spoke with me about his priorities for the final 15 months in office, the prospects of Georgia going for Hillary Clinton, and when he plans to endorse a candidate in the mayoral campaign to succeed him.


Allen West, Ivy Taylor, Kasim Reed, and Touré at the Texas Tribune Festival 2016


How involved do you plan to get in the mayoral election?
I plan to stay out of the mayoral election until there’s a run-off. Then I’m going to engage as any citizen would. At that point, I will make how I feel known. That’s my plan. I think there are so many people running that it wouldn’t add value [to get involved before then].

What are your top priorities for your final year in office?
Most people view the high-water mark in Atlanta as being the Centennial Olympic Games when $3.5 billion was spent. But we have a $6 billion program just at Hartsfield-Jackson. We have a $2.5 billion MARTA referendum, which I’m reasonably confident that we’ll pass. Then we have a city that has a $2 billion budget, with two budgets left. We have Renew Atlanta, and we have the transportation referendum program. If you total that up, it’s more than $10 billion. I think that my obligation really is to make sure that my team stays focused. I designed my term to be in the position that it is in now. We are spending 75 to 80 percent of our time on execution. The programs that we’re executing are critical to what Atlanta is going to look like for the next 10 to 20 years.

There is no question that Atlanta is ascending. Polls show 67 percent of Atlantans think we’re on the right track. That’s a flip of what the national trends are in terms of right track, wrong track. My job approval is as high as it was at the beginning of my term.

Then you have the $300 million reservoir project that’s going to be the Bellwood Quarry Reservoir, which will be the center of a park that’s almost twice the size of Piedmont. There are enough activities to fill every single minute of every day, just on execution.

The initiatives that you’re going to be writing about over the next year and a half are going to be driven by my administration, whether you’re talking about Mercedes-Benz stadium, whether you’re talking about Turner Field, whether you’re talking about Underground Atlanta, whether you’re talking about the Civic Center.

I’m also going to be focused on equity and fairness. Atlanta is becoming successful so fast that if we really don’t push the issue of equity and inclusion into the center of our conversation, and make sure that it’s a big part of the upcoming mayoral campaign, then we’re going to lose our ability to avoid affordability issues—issues that have hit New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

How will you do that?
The bully pulpit of the office is highly effective. We’ve got to figure out how to replace about 14,000 affordable units that are coming offline. I plan to use a combination of the Atlanta Housing Authority, the Atlanta Land Bank Authority, the Atlanta BeltLine, and Invest Atlanta, all of which I have significant influence over, to focus on that affordability issue.

What’s your benchmark for success in that segment in terms of equity and fairness?
The criteria is making sure that we use [city-owned property subject to development] in a way that we can have a variety of incomes that can move in. The city and our related entities are the largest real estate owner in the city. As real estate values increase, you’re going to be able to have relationships with developers where you make a demand in exchange for our putting the land in. That’s the opportunity.

I’m convinced that most people in Atlanta agree that that’s the path forward. It won’t be hostile. It will be a deal that looks like [Post Properties CEO] Dave Stockert’s in Centennial Park, where they have 441 units going in at [monthly rental] rates from $3,000 to $4,000 a month, but they have 42 going in at a thousand dollars a month. Just think of the family that’s going to live in that building. The city has $8 million in incentives in that transaction.

That should be happening all over Atlanta, because that’s what we’re all about. It’s about having a shot. I think we’re going to make that the model, and I think it’s going to have to be the model, in order for all of these millennials to continue to have some place to live, and in order for Atlanta to avoid much of the racial strife that you’re seeing in other places.

Turning to the presidential election, how do you explain Donald Trump’s surge nationwide in the last month?
I explain his surge in the last month by [going from] awful to appearing competent. I think that the Republican party has a base that gets any candidate to about 40, 42 percent, just because you’re a Republican. But he was so awful and so offensive that it was shocking. It really looked like you were watching a movie. To the point where people were literally saying, “We think that he is intentionally…”

Throwing it?
Yeah. People were saying that. But that stopped. He put in place a team of competent professionals. He starts to look like a normal candidate. That brings the party back. Donald Trump’s growth has been among Republicans. He now has his party back.

At the same time, we experienced a bit of instability around ours. I thought that’s what killed a massive gap. Secretary Clinton’s margins, we got numbers [Friday]. Her campaign is right around where President Obama was with Mitt Romney at this point. Then we had some challenges around her health. Then real hard hitting stories around emails. That kind of took our euphoria out.

Georgia was thought to be in play at some point. Where do you see it?
I think Georgia is in play, but Georgia cannot be won without a significant surge in resources that exceeds seven figures. Democrats can’t win Georgia without spending more than a million dollars.

Is that going to happen?
I’m not going to be a part of the false narrative of “It’s definitely in play, it’s definitely winnable.” It was the second closest state that President Obama did not win. I think that we are more progressive than North Carolina. I disagree with my friends within the Clinton campaign that believe that North Carolina is more progressive. I actually think North Carolina is becoming more conservative than Georgia.

Is that another false narrative—that North Carolina is more winnable for Democrats than Georgia?
I don’t think that North Carolina, if given equal resources, is a better target for where things are today, than Georgia.

Kasim Reed Texas Tribune Festival
Kasim Reed speaks at the Texas Tribune Festival 2016


What’s your role in all of this?
I see my role as being an advocate for my state. Georgia is going purple. It’s just which cycle? Everybody agrees that this is an important moment for our state. It’s why I’m hopeful we can get the resources that we need. I was at a meeting at the Clinton campaign last Monday. They’ll make the resource decisions for the final push probably on Wednesday or Friday of this week.

I’m sensing you’re frustrated [regarding the lack of resources in Georgia].
No, I’m not frustrated. What you’re sensing is my approach to campaigns. We’re in a campaign that’s a real grind. Races like this are just like being in a real tough boxing match. It’s just unpleasant for 12 rounds, but if you do your part, you should prevail.

Would you be open to a position in a Hillary Clinton administration?
No. I want to return to the private sector. I plan to run for office sometime in the future. I view this moment as the best time for me to secure the future for my family. I think that if I finish up as mayor in a strong fashion, with the record that we’re building in my administration, that I’m going to be able to do well in the private sector.

But not for governor next time?
No, I’m not running for governor next time.

So what changes after you leave the mayor’s office?
I’ll continue to contribute. My view of politics and leadership is that political roles give you a moment to have a bigger impact. All of the things that I’m curious and involved in and love as a mayor, I’m going to continue to feel that way as a private citizen. I just won’t have the outsized impact.

Political jobs just give you the ability to amplify what you’re already passionate about and what you already care about. The difference between me and you is, if you see an area that you think would be terrific greenspace or a park that should be converted, or crime that should be reduced, you might care about it, but I get to call the police chief or the parks commissioner.

Are you going to miss this?
I don’t know anybody who’s been mayor who doesn’t miss it. I’m friends with Mayor Bloomberg, who is one of the richest people in the world, and I think that he would tell you that he misses being mayor of New York everyday. It’s one of the greatest jobs in the world. If you talk to Ambassador Young, he’ll tell you the best job in his political career was being mayor of Atlanta. If you talk to Willie Brown, the former speaker of the California Assembly, he’ll tell you he loved being mayor of San Francisco more. When you wake up every day, you have the city as your canvas. You’re literally moving through this living entity, seeing things that you can actually do something about in a dynamic way.

How will you keep your hands on the levers of power and influence?
I don’t plan on trying to. I plan on entering a different phase of my life where I’m going to focus more on making sure that my family is in a strong position for a long time. I’m not going to try to live that dual life. I’m going to go back to the private sector. I’m going to make sure that my successor has time and space to be the mayor of the city of Atlanta. There is one mayor at a time. I believe that, and I’m going to live my life in that fashion.




Former Strong Mayor Michael Nutter is getting it done for Hillary – He goes Big not Small

October 23, 2016

Michael Nutter has now been on two sides of the Democratic National Convention: Both as a mayor and ex-mayor of the 2016 host city.

The Democratic National Convention announced it’d be coming to town on his watch, and when it finally did, “ex” preceded his mayoral title.

But at 5:20 p.m. on the night that Hillary Clinton would formally accept the Democratic presidential nomination, he took the stage in a moderately filled Wells Fargo Center to tout the candidate he supports.

“Philadelphia is my town, and there’s a tremendous pride knowing that here, in the city of so much history, I’ll cast a ballot for our historic nominee, Hillary Clinton,” he said during his five-minute speech.

He cited the acronym “GSD” – short for “get stuff done” – and said that’s something mayors are expected to do even when their neighbors bring issues to their inbox. After rattling off a litany of issues that he maintained Clinton was better to address, he chided Republican nominee Donald Trump as someone without plans to push the country forward.

The presidency requires for intellectual depth than that needed to construct a 140-character tweet, he said.

“Hillary’s plans have details, because details matter,” he said. “Trump says he has a plan, but when you’re looking down from the top of Trump Tower, you can’t see details because they don’t exist.”

He urged delegates to work to protect “eight incredible years of progress” under President Barack Obama which can’t be permitted to erode under a “con man who thinks the presidency is an entry-level position on ‘The Apprentice.”

After he spoke on stage, Nutter told PhillyVoice that he knew when the decision to pursue the DNC started, he wouldn’t still be serving as Philadelphia’s mayor this week. But on the heels of Pope Francis’ visit last September, he’s proud that Philadelphia is again in the international spotlight.

“It’s been a very special event, and all across the world, people are now seeing how special Philadelphia is,” he said. “In fact, I’m probably having more fun here now that I’m not mayor. It’s been a great time for the delegates and the city itself.”

Pennsylvania Senate Race Flips Script On Gun Debate In GOP’s Favor


By USA Today October 11, 2016

WASHINGTON — In an unlikely tale that flips gun politics upside down, gun control advocates may help the GOP keep control of the U.S. Senate by backing endangered Republican Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania’s pivotal Senate race.

However, those powerful endorsements could be overshadowed by Donald Trump’s lewd comments about women, which have thrust the Republican Party into chaos and threatened to derail what had appeared to be Toomey’s growing momentum as reflected in recent polls.

Toomey has denounced Trump’s vulgar comments as indefensible, but he has stopped short of saying he won’t vote for the Republican presidential nominee. Democratic challenger Katie McGinty, who supports Hillary Clinton, has called on Toomey to “man up” and oppose Trump.

Toomey had been heading into Election Day with some high-profile help. He won the endorsement of gun safety groups headed by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Democratic congresswoman Gabby Giffords of Arizona because of his unsuccessful quest to convince fellow Republicans to expand background checks of gun buyers. Both groups typically support Democrats, who have protested the lack of action by congressional Republicans in the wake of a string of mass shootings.

But Toomey insulated himself on the issue by championing a bill in 2013 with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to expand background checks in the wake of the mass shooting atSandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He bucked the majority of his party to push the legislation, which would have required background checks on anyone buying firearms at gun shows or online. The bill, backed by President Obama, failed to pass the Senate.

Toomey believes the endorsements by the Bloomberg and Giffords’ groups underscore his independence and could help pry Clinton supporters away from McGinty, who would be Pennsylvania’s first female senator if she wins. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly a million people in the state.

“There are a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters who are going to support me,” predicted Toomey, who has denounced Clinton as corrupt. “I think Pennsylvania voters want a senator who is going to stand up to the bad ideas of either party.”

McGinty has pushed back against Toomey — the last surviving Republican elected statewide — for opposing a ban on assault weapons and for continuing to tout his support from the National Rifle Association.

“You see Pat Toomey in Philadelphia saying he’s all about gun control,” McGinty said. “Then outside the city, he’s bragging about his perfect record with the NRA.”

The outcome of the race between Toomey, a conservative former Wall Street banker, and McGinty, a liberal former state environmental protection chief, could be decisive in determining whether Democrats wrest control of the Senate from Republicans. Democrats need a net gain of five seats to win the majority, or four if the nation elects a Democratic vice president to break Senate ties.