Mayor Kasim Reed will be riding around in a new Denali, courtesy of Atlanta’s taxpayers, while some Atlanta Police officers are driving cars with slipping transmissions and no working laptops.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that the mayor has upgraded his ride because, according to COO Peter Aman, the GMC Yukon Denali is safer than the sedan the mayor was driving. The AJC quotes a security specialist in Dallas, Texas saying that an assassin would have an easier time bumping off the mayor in the Ford Taurus previously allotted to him.

What are Atlanta’s city officials so worried about? In addition to the mayor’s new semi-military SUV, City Council President Ceasar Mitchell ordered security officers to sit in on council meetings beginning this month.

The Texas security consultant also says that other cities have long since switched to big SUVs like the Denali for their top officials.

But are those cities battling the financial crunch that Atlanta is? The mayor has spent at least $120,000 on two Denalis—one for himself and one for the police department to use for visiting dignitaries. Meanwhile, there are APD officers who are risking their lives, not in nabbing dangerous perps, but by simply getting behind the wheels of their ragged-out jalopies. The city does, incidentally, have new cars for the APD, but they have not been deployed because they are awaiting things like video camera installation—and have been awaiting it for months. SR


  1. Like you would expect any different? What we are seeing from good ole’ Muhammad is do as I say not as I do. He talks about doing more with less, and getting by on what we have now, blablabla and then he goes out and spend what would amount to about 3 patrol cars on a ride for himself, and his buddies.
    I was no fan of Shirley and though that she definitely did NOT like the Police but at least when she said do without, she did the same….for the most part. Watching Muhammad talk about how he is doing so well with the budget, and grants then waiting for him to unveil how he is going to stick it to the city workers again makes me sick. Now show how he is going to be riding around in luxury while his employees are working for scraps, and going to have to pay for the city’s foolishness with the pension funds is nauseating. Oh and his buddy Aman….just shut up!!!! You are a bigger joke than Muhammad, and no one with half a brain believes anything you say in defense of your boy.
    Sorry if it seem a little harsh, but reading the article in the ajc and now seeing it here just gets me Angry!!!!!!

  2. Political deaf ear and in-your-face arrogance. In addition to the $120,000 cost of the vehicles, I wonder what the Texas security consultant’s bill is?

  3. Sadly, public officials are bigger targets than most of us. The level of security required will always be debated, but they do deserve significant consideration to their safety and their private lives.

    And although the mayor is ultimately responsible for everything in the city, the mismanagement of APD resources is the fault of APD. It’s not just the chiefs; the rank and file plays a major role in the lack of maintenance, abuse and destruction of public property with little accountability. A number of vehicles have been damaged just because everybody ignored the oil light.

  4. At LEAST he didn’t opt for the Escalade!!!! Thanks for “saving” the taxpayers! Being disliked for making tough decisions is one thing…..but just lying your way into the Mayor’s spot running on a “public-safety-is-my-priority-and-they-need-to-be-taken-care-of-to make-this-City-safer” type platform and then dumping that ASAP….
    Aren’t Officers on the department fired for lying? Shouldn’t the Mayor in charge of the entire City be held even MORE accountable in his word, or is that the image the City wants projected for it?

  5. It seems that the norm for most major cities, states, etc., is that the chief executive officer’s vehicle is not the same as that of the law enforcement officers. Are there any comparable cities which have mayors driving in police cruisers (or their civilian equivalent)? My guess, because I have not done any research on this issue, is that most drive in something roughly equivalent. Another, point you don’t address is the cost of the SUVs relative to other SUVs for similar officials. Is $60,000 unreasonable? I ask because the Kelley Blue Book on a GMC Yukon/Denali is $57,185. Finally, what would be actually saved by following course you are advocating or in other words how many more police could be driving new vehicles? Thank you for your time and consideration.

    1. Ed,
      Good questions. Actually, what mayors drive varies vastly. Some opt to drive their own personal cars so as not to cost the taxpayers more money. I believe Mayor Reed already owned a pretty impressive new SUV before he was elected. True, the city usually gives the mayor a ride, but what a nice statement it would have been if Mayor Reed had said “I want the taxpayers to know that I could have followed traditon and allowed them to pay for my car, but I have opted not to do that. Times are hard and when I say we need to tighten our belts, I know that begins with me. I’ll drive my own.” Doesn’t that sound responsible and selfless? Too bad that’s not what he did.
      Yes, your cost research is accurate. With two Yukon Denalis weighing in at $120,000, it would stand to reason they would be about $60,000 each. The police officers who read this can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe one Denali would equal about one and a half cop cars. My reference to their cars, however, was not offered as a tit-for-tat exchange–but rather a reminder that there are other things that could use that money more, like installation services for the cop cars the city has sitting at transportatioon services. My understanding is the cop shop is very low on installation and repair personnel and that creates a whole ripple effect throughout the department. It’s just not good management to have equipment sitting around unused for long periods of time because it can’t be deployed until something is installed.
      The City, to clear up several questions here, got a great lease deal through the Georgia Municipal Association for police cars and other equipment (thanks largely to Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean). I don’t know if the Denalis were part of that deal, but even if they were, once again we find ourselves faced with Reed’s apparent policy of move-now-think-later: The five-block trolley; the manipulated police chief search that shoehorned in Turner; the disbanding of the Red Dog unit; the decision to fight a lawsuit (the Eagle) that was based on indefensible infractions, etc. etc. etc. His Denali may seem like a drop in the bucket, and it is, but there is something more it says about this administration. To be clear, it’s not a bad idea to have a nice ride for your visiting dignitaries. But a mayor who is aware of how much he is asking of the citizens and the employees is also a mayor who knows that he has to give something up, too, and since he already has a nice ride of his own, why not let people know that he gets it by saying “Nevermind” to his mayoral Denali?

  6. Well after spending 27 years with the Atlanta Fire Department, protecting the citizens and visitors, giving my blood sweat tears, almost getting killed in doing so more than once, and burying three of my friends who were killed in the line of duty, one of them in front of my very eyes–and countless more who died off the job, but probably as a result of substances they came into contact with on the job,
    I am “HAPPY” beyond words that the new mayor is able to be living the life of Riley thanks to his good friends in North Fulton County who are trying to steal my pension that I worked so hard for. I guess he was able to buy this new ride with the money he plans to save while his former city workers are on welfare and food stamps.

    I had a bad feeling about him during the election, but I really felt no one could be as bad as former mayor, and now convicted felon Bill Campbell.

    Me thinks I was wrong, and the police union supported him during the election. Sad.

  7. admin why is there not a Face Book share tab on this page? I would love to post this story on my FB wall. I have plenty of friends there who are current and retired city workers. I think they all need to see this one.

    If you want to just e-mail me your answer and delete this post.


    James Westbrook

  8. Bill, show me where ANY mayor has been that big of a target. I mean really? I understand that Muhammad thinks he’s all that important, but come on really? When was the last time the mayor of Atlanta had any type of real threat leveled against them?
    James, the IBPO supported him, not the PBA there are two different organizations in the city. Scott Kreher, and Mrs. Ramage here backed him during the election. A lot of us saw him for what he was, and did what we could. We all know how tough it is to defeat an incumbent so It looks like well have a few more years of fun and excitement!!!!! Besides hes just what this city needed……Another Bill Campbell!!!!!!

  9. About 95 APD officers have been killed on the job and zero Atlanta mayors – why not buy all APD officers Dinalis?

    It’s like Owell’s Animal Farm – some of us are more equal than others.

  10. Mayor’s throughout the country spend this kind of money of supposed “security measures”. The reality is that mayors are generally not the targets of assassins. The most they have to deal with is a citizen who is upset at a lack of general services and their security detail provides adequate protection for the occasional nut job. The type of car the mayor drives is not relevant to an assasin in the first place. The mayor spends countless hours vulnerable to an assassin while not in a vehicle, at NPU meetings, parties, community meetings, etc. etc.

    The fact is the Mayor wanted a nice ride for himself and got one on our dime. He ran a campaign as though he cared about this city, and now is looking forward to his next political aspiration. Funny though, I would bet my city pension (if I even get one) that Mayor Mary Norwood would still be driving around in her 1998 Buick! Thanks to the 50% of Atlantans who voted for Reed.

  11. Hey.. the Mayor is just making sure all aspects of security are covered after he screws thousands of cityworkers out of their pensions. Can you blame the man.

  12. Can’t stay quiet on this one folks. Many of you who condemn Mayor Reed for his ‘leather luxury ride’ on the backs of taxpayers should be ashamed of yourselves. YOU supported him for office. YOU voted for him. Ms. Rampage YOU gave him free positive press every chance you could while trashing Mary Norwood with untruths. Shame on all of you.

    Yes, if Mary Norwood were Mayor, she would be driving her Buick as a visible symbol of fiscal responsibility and ‘it would be right thing to do’ during times of economic hardship for Atlanta and her citizens. If a new Mayoral vehicle were deemed appropriate, at the very least, the choice of a “green eco hybrid” could take advantage of electrical hookups being placed around the city (at taxpayer expense) and put into use some of that ‘environmental transportation’ knowledge Reed ” acquired from Prince Charles” on Reed’s environmental trip over the pond (at taxpayer expense). Gas guzzl’in Denali’s won’t help Atlanta’s pollution index.

    Bottom line, Reed is in training for his move to Washington, so he must ‘arrive in style’, leather seats and all. Hey, bet those are leather heated seats too. Shame on all of you who voted for what all of the rest us knew to be true. Reed is on an ego feed, more of the same corrupt insider politics feeding at the taxpayer trough and using Atlanta as his resume builder to Washington. After all, his PR person is related to the Wall Street Journal which got him on Meet the Press labeling him overnight as the “up and comer” of the National Democratic Party. Not so fast. The truth will come out. In the meantime, all of you city employees who supported this man for Mayor, I have no sympathy for you. This voter is going to sit back and watch the show as your pensions are reduced, benefits systematically decreased, and most likely, your income will bear the brunt of an overall cut. But he was YOUR man last November. Well, you got ’em and the Denali he rode in on!

    Make a wiser decision next election. Do us all a favor.

    1. Forgot one thing per my above comment, last sentence on making a wiser dedision next election ……… that goes for you too Ms. Ramage!

    2. I don’t regret my endorsement because Reed was the best of a bad litter. I stand by that. And no, I am not ashamed and none of us should be. Do you believe that one’s civic responsibility ends with voting or endorsing? An endorsement is not a contract to sit still and mum while the endorsee affronts the public sensibility–if you believe that, you must work for Creative Loafing. I challenge you to name one, single untruth that I ever said or published about Mary Norwood. Give me just one. You can’t. Because I didn’t. You might not have liked some of the things that I pointed out about Mary, like taking a walk on important votes or constantly talking about how she didn’t have access to information that she would have had to have had access to, but just because you didn’t like it doesn’t make it untrue. Clearly you think the city would have been in better hands with Mary and you are far from alone, but no, I am not ashamed, I do not regret my endorsement and not one person who criticizes Reed on this blog, even if they voted for him, should be ashamed.
      We should all be proud that we understand democracy well enough to understand that it doesn’t end with the vote, something that you apparently do not grasp. This is not a contest for senior superlatives, Sophie, you don’t run around and tear down the posters and use a Sharpie to write graffiti on the bathroom stalls because your candidate didn’t win. Furthermore, given that Mary was right there at City Hall for nearly a decade, I think you need to take a step back and think about what role she played while she was there, review her voting record, review what, if anything, she ever said on the public record while a City Council member, to oppose the things she complained of while running for mayor. I certainly did. And I was astonished at how she sat there with her hands folded in her lap, her lips buttoned, not daring to utter a syllable on things that she decried while on the campaign trail. If Mary had the mettle she claimed to have on the campaign trail, please show me where she demonstrated it in the council chamber.

      1. Ms. Ramage, I do know what goes on inside City Hall. I make it a point as a taxpayer and involved citizen to know what goes on down there. I pay for the nonsense. It isn’t about ‘your’ candidate winning or losing. It is about ethics in government, about stewardship of hard earned tax dollars, and responsiveness to the citizens. It was apparent, given all negative opinons founded or unfounded about Ms. Norwood, the level of embellishment was an all time high. Lots at stake this last election, i.e. contracts and connections and future ambitions.

        I’m not aware of anyone on Council batting 100%, or 90%, or… In fact, Council has been a sorry lot for decades. The less Coumcil knows the easier to manipulate. Council is an impotent legislative body in a mayoral form of government. Not receiving adequate information in a timely manner is not new and unique to Ms. Norwood. Felicia Moore, as Norwood, railed for years about not getting adequate information in order to make an educated decision. Still does. The ‘fear’ about Norwood was not that she exited chambers on procedural soundings/votes, as common practice with Council, but the fact she was not owned, not obligated.

        The media feeds on fear and controversy. Given those two dynamics, the power of print bears responsibility of truth yet routinely results in creativity and embellishment. But there is this thing called ‘freedom of speech’ as cover. Bottom line – the pain of staying where you are versus the pain of change. You chose staying where you are as less painful not out of support but fear ……… while this city is in desperate need of change. Don’t be so hard on Reed, he is your man.

        1. Are you even vaguely cognizant of the immaturity of the “he’s your candidate! so you better shut up and stick by him” argument? You could not find even one instance where I told an untruth about “your woman” after you accused me of doing so?

          1. Ms Ramage, I don’t keep your articles for reference. During the election year I do recall reading a few of your comments and contacting the candidate to verify truth, partial truths, untruth or entertainment. Using that response as sound foundation, thus my comment to you.

        2. Just to clarify, to readers who may not know Mary Norwood, please do not confuse some of her supporters (like Sophie) with Mary. Mary Norwood, I will state for the record, is not immature or unfair or blinded by her own ideology.

          1. “contacted the candidate to verify”?!?!?!?! Really? A politician in the middle of a race for Mayor told you something and you believed them? Again, I believe the police are terminated for lying, how about holding our politicians AT LEAST as accountable? After all they are the ones affecting the citizens the most, in the end. I’m not weighing in on which one was better, I personally think either would have been good for this city, too many people standing around with their head in the sand in City government, hoping the citizens will allow them to keep doing what they are doing without being questioned to the point that they actually have to answer candidly IMO

  13. POW! It’s all the same, this City was damned no matter who won. Everyone was up in arms, ATAC was being vocal, politicians were jumping on the bandwagon, everyone stated that public safety was priority #1 to make this city better again. Since the smoke cleared, where are the ATAC meetings to keep Mayor Reed true to his promises? Where is the uproar over the even more brazen crimes being committed? Where is the outcry over the Chief’s appointment, and the lack of commitment to changing the department for the better of the citizens it is suppose to serve? Red Dog is done, will the “new” unit being built actually be something the city will be able to trust in and make a meaningful attempt at catching criminals? Everyone got together for 2 months and said the city needed better, but since then while all the lies were told to sway the public, where did everyone go?!?!

  14. Basic truth is that Reed has the spirit of a Republican fat-cat in his soul. He can’t help himself – he sees himself as one of the elite, inside the country club. If not, he would have ordered a Chevy Tahoe with all the same features.

    1. Monk, you nailed the attitude but missed the party. Mayor Reed is a classic elitist, left wing liberal who believes that he is born to lead the great unwashed, regardless of party. He’s right in the Ted Kennedy, Jack Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Walter Mondale tradition. Remember the lyrics to “Puttin’ on the Fritz” when Mondale was running for President: “If you go for Democrats who court the poor in tails and spats then it’s the pits – puttin’ on the Fritz”? Same thing for the Kennedys being chic by courting the Black Panthers and the Puerto Rican FALN.

      1. The difference in those you cited and the right-wing elites is at least they advocate for those without a voice or power – as opposed to Reed and the GOP politicians who serve the rich and powerful to amass an ever larger share of the wealth created by others.

        1. Yeah, just like the sainted John Kerry, who advocates for the unwashed until it hits his pocketbook. The elitist, left wing liberals are generally hypocrites. The Republicans are less so.

  15. The whole “for safety issues, etc” “the times we are in” psst: the Mayors of Minneapolis and Seattle bike to work, in cold and rainy climes to boot. Atlanta is no “big city” by any strectch! Metro area yes – Atlanta No! Not even in the top 20 population wise…

    Should the Chairmen of Cobb & Gwinnett be driving in luxury (they have by far more populace in the unincorporated populations served). Reed is so arrogant and entitled… why not a ford escape or something more demure? One word: EGO!

  16. You know CM your right, but some of us saw this long before it started happening. When they were running for office I met both of them, and although I thought Reed was much better versed in politics, I felt Norwood would do what was better for the city. Oh well.
    As for the security BS line…..HA!!!!!! Show me ONE mayor that has ever faced such a threat!! Again the Taurus was good enough for Shirley, why cant it be good enough for Reed? The only hope we have is that he attains his aspirations and gets a national appointment or position within 4 years and leaves. Of course not before he rapes the employees on there pensions.
    I hope Norwood is sitting somewhere saying “I told you so”.

  17. cityworker, I suspect that the Mayor will get to the point of having APD coverage like Coretta King, courtesy of the City. She had three officers at all times: one driver, one bodygurad and one errand runner. Basically, 14 officers were assigned to her person. That was a considerable percentage of the total APD force.

  18. Well he already has an officer sitting out in from of his house 24/7 even when hes not home. That is If he lives in that house. One driving him around all the time, and how many more doing useless things? This guy is a bigger joke that what we thought!!!! Ugh….please just leave.

  19. No matter whether someone voted for Reed or not, or whether that person or any other voted or not, as a citizen of Atlanta, that person and all others are due honorable representation by all elected and appointed individuals in the City of Atlanta.

  20. The only thing that anyone reading this article and/or posting a comment about it, should be concerned with, is when John Lewis retires. Hopefully, for the sake of all of you that have anything to do with the city, either living in it or working for it, is that Lewis’ seat becomes vacant soon. That is the only reason Kasim Reed ran for mayor. To pad his resume to make it easier for him to run for that congressional seat. Reed isn’t going anywhere for the remainder of his 8 year term as Mayor of Atlanta, unless he can get to Washington in some way. If he’s given a position by Obama, that could disappear with a new administration. If he gets Lewis’ seat then he basically has it to infinity, kind of like Lewis does now. So, do the rain dance and hope John Lewis retires sometime soon. Then hold your breath for the next clown that becomes the mayor of the biggest circus in the southeast.

  21. @It Never Ends Dream, on about John Lewis taking any type of early retirement, and I can assure President Obama would NEVER have the two face type of Democrat like reed anywhere near him. reed is nothing but a Democrat in name only (DINO), just to get the vote from the poorer areas. This type of carpetbagger should have gone away years ago with the KKK, opposite sides of the same coin. He needs to understand he was elected by ALL the people on Atlanta, not just the Tea Bag Party elite that he is trying to be a part of.

    You talk about him being here for his “Full Eight Years”, I think not, I expect a recall effort to begin next year right along with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

    This north side group is some of the same ones who want to cut funding for education in order to reduce their taxes. First the city workers who work 24/7 to keep the city safe and running, now our kids. Maybe you don’t have to worry about public schools, maybe your kids are some of the ones that are driven to private schools like most of the north side group. I wonder when they will come for you, or are you already a part of this group?

    Well maybe you don’t think you have to worry about the low class city workers and school teachers, who really cares. If they don’t like the new rules they can always quit after being on the job for 10, 20, 30 or more years, they ARE replaceable. I wonder who you will call the next time your garbage is not picked up, or a water main breaks in your street at 2AM. Yours or your neighbor is having a heart attack, someone sprayed painted your house or car. Someone is breaking into your house, or your house is on fire. I guess you will be sitting waiting on some city worker who has been on the job for less than a year, because all the experience workers are now flipping burgers or bagging groceries for better pay and benefits. I hope the city provides them with a GPS so they can find you, and detailed instructions on how to repair the water main, shoot their gun, put out your fire, or perform CPR. Be careful on what you are asking for, you might just get it.

    1. Mr. Westrrook, the Atlanta Public Schools already spend over $13,000 a year per pupil, much more than any other public school system in the state. For this large amount of money they produce dismal results near the bottom of the barrel. Lack of money is not the cause of their problems, and the same can said for most other City departments. Effective use of the available money is the real problem.

      1. I agree there are problems with any government departments in ANY city, or the state and federal level. Just look at how long it was before the first snow plow the streets last month.

        A lot of the schools problems are, teachers in kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades with a Doctorate degree making well over 100K a year to teach at that level. Well you can blame that on former Governor zig zag miller, another famous DINO. Do you know he was one who pushed to pass the law that says, the principal of any public school HAS to make at least one dollar more than his or her highest teacher in that school? These six figure incomes are getting to be a bigger and bigger portion of the school system’s budget.

        Now that brings about two questions for me; 1. Why am I sending my child to a Doctor to learn how to tie their shoes and to color in the lines, I take my child to the Doctor when they are sick. 2. Where is the incentive for the principal to make sure the other teachers are doing their job of “Teaching” and not sitting class studying for their degree, on even taking their classes online during the school day. I’ll tell you where, no where, again as the principal get more teachers under him or her making the big bucks, THEIR pay is also going up.

        So I guess a lot of that $13,000 per student per year is going into paychecks.

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