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Atlanta Mayoral candidate shares name with "gardening guru"

Newcomer Walter Reeves finished 3rd in 11Alive poll

ATLANTA — A candidate for Atlanta mayor who finished surprisingly high in an 11Alive poll last week is touting some rough and legally questionable measures to fight crime in Atlanta.  

Reeves is new to Atlanta and new to politics. In our 11Alive poll last week, Reeves was a surprise third-place finisher behind Kasim Reed and Felicia Moore – barely ahead of two Atlanta city council members.

Reeves says he aims to combat crime in Atlanta and intends to "ban criminally insane elements from the city," he told 11Alive News. "All you need is barbed wire, construction trailers, lots of straitjackets, and even more Thorazine."

Reeves' pitch hearkens to Milledgeville’s long-abandoned Georgia Lunatic Asylum – replaced decades ago, on the same property, by the current Central State hospital.

"When they get there, the criminally insane elements will be booted out of the bus with a hard kick," Reeves said, straight-faced.

This candidate for mayor happens to share a name with a much folksier, Walter Reeves, well-known among metro Atlanta gardening enthusiasts. Reeves appears in numerous YouTube videos showing gardening tips and is introduced as a "gardening guru."

Reeves, the gardening personality, has been a media presence for decades in Atlanta TV, radio, and newspaper columns.

"I do not have any gardening skills whatsoever," deadpanned the candidate.

Reeves, the candidate, and Reeves, the gardener, have met. By text, Reeves the gardener tells us of Reeves the candidate: “He’s a nice guy, but I don’t think he has the experience needed to be mayor.” 

Asked if he thinks some of his political support is based on mistaken identity, Reeves, the candidate, says, "that could happen, yes."

Reeves, the gardener, says only one person has approached him and asked him if he's running for mayor, a political consultant looking for work this fall.

Reeves, the candidate, says his record is that of a labor activist who has advocated on behalf of chicken plant workers, mostly in the Gainesville area, where he had lived before moving to Atlanta a couple of years ago.