What a morning.
After the Twitter mix-ups and recalls, Mayor Kasim Reed took to the radio to clear the air about a misunderstanding that stemmed from a single tweet posted at 6:06 a.m. Wednesday.
RECALL: Mayor did not veto marijuana legislation— Atlanta City Council (@ATLCouncil) October 11, 2017
The tweet in question referenced an ordinance that would have decriminalized marijuana in the City of Atlanta.
However, the original tweet posted very early on Wednesday stated that the mayor had vetoed that legislation.
Good morning #Atlanta. We received an email overnight that the Mayor VETOED our marijuana legislation for less than one ounce. More to come— Atlanta City Council (@ATLCouncil) October 11, 2017
This came as a shock considering Mayor Reed had tweeted his excitement over the ordinance previously.
In the morning interview, V103 host Ryan Cameron got straight to the point,
“Sometimes in this job, the radio gods smile down upon you. We woke up this morning to a tweet from the Atlanta City Council saying that the Mayor had vetoed the legislation about reducing the penalty for marijuana for less than an ounce to $75 and the jail time and the whole city exploded. We saw it on S-B, we saw it on Fox 5, we saw it on 11Alive and the Morning Rush, we saw it on everything. And then, a little later on, there was a recall, which I haven’t seen since BlackPlanet.com!”
To which Cameron responded with,
“What did I say to you? You can’t recall no tweet! And I said, somebody’s about to get fired!”
Mayor Reed responded with,
“They had my number to call me or Anne, or anybody, or Jenna. I’ve been interviewed by seniors at Grady Hospital in the Journalism program that know you at least call the source and ask for a comment. You could have done it in a text. But you know that’s where we are!”
The mayor brought back some levity to the situation stating,
“I’m in a great mood today now that my daughter has recovered. She brought me this offensive meme that somebody had put up and said, ‘Mommy said daddy did something stupid’.”
The laughter was short-lived after Cameron introduced the Atlanta City Council communications director, Dexter Chambers, to provide a statement on what had happened this morning,
“Well Ryan, we have processes and procedures in place that were not followed and I’m really upset about that. The new hire who actually sent the tweet out did not open up the actual legislation that was vetoed. And therefore, she assumed, which you know what happens when you assume. She assumed that it was the marijuana legislation, that was not the case. And let me be very clear, very clear, President Mitchell had nothing to do with this. It was an internal mistake within our communications office. We sent out a correction, we apologized to the supporters of the legislation, we apologized to the administration.”
To which Cameron had a question,
“With a new hire who’s been there less than 90 days to be able to control the twitter account that affects a metropolitan population of 5.8 million dollars, how does someone like this have control to that and why would they not have to run that by somebody?”
“They have to run it by me and that was not done, therefore I am really upset.”
To which Mayor Reed interjected with,
“Ya’ll don’t believe that do you? I think it’s complete nonsense. I think it was a political stunt, but I’m in a great mood today, so.”
Chambers reassured the mayor that it had nothing to do with politics and it was the sole error of the communications department and it “had nothing to do with politics”.
“I’m sure that you want to say that to a million people on the radio. You know that I know better than that. You know that this was intentional, you know that it was a political stunt. But let’s not start the morning on a negative note. We’ve spent enough of the people’s time being concerned about something they had absolutely no reason to be concerned about, because ya’ll were trying to score political points.”
The mayor went on to say,
“So you’ll get to keep your job and you have a great day. And go and tell your folks that you fell on the sword for them. I’m right here.”
Chambers went on to reiterate that it was “a internal, stupid mistake by someone in my department. And whether that person will remain, remains to be seen…”
Reed then interrupted to say,
“There should also be a question as to whether you remain. You just said that you have ultimate responsibility for it and you didn’t check it. So you have people in the City of Atlanta up this morning, you had every major news outlet in the City of Atlanta reporting something that was completely false because you didn’t do your work and somebody under you didn’t do their work.”
“The bottom line is you’re playing politics and you know it and you’re on the radio falling on the sword now because you’re getting involved in politics.”
To which the mayor moved the conversation to what most of Atlanta had been waiting for,
“In just a few moments we’re going to post a photo of me signing the bill last night at about 6:24. We were going to have a signing ceremony so that the people who worked for months, people like Kwanza Hall and Keisha Bottoms and people in the city of Atlanta who worked for months to create a bill to perfect this legislation could have been appreciated. You’ve taken that moment from them. And you’ve turned it into a fiasco, and it’s not cool.”
And with that, the mayor confirmed that the new marijuana ordinance has been signed into law.