Atlanta weighs in on Mayor Dickens' first 100 days
Atlanta’s 61st mayor is celebrating 100 days in office today.
The big picture: Mayor Andre Dickens took office as the city was facing the spectre of de-annexation of Buckhead. After aggressively courting state lawmakers, he stopped that movement for the year.
Exclusive: A March poll of Atlanta voters obtained by Axios pegged Dickens' approval rating at 72%. Plus, 82% of respondents rejected Buckhead cityhood.
- The poll was commissioned by an outside group and conducted by Dickens' pollster, 20-20 Insight.
What they’re saying: Former City Council President Felicia Moore, who challenged Dickens in the mayoral election, said he’s “certainly done a great job out of the gate.”
- “He’s showing up and getting out there,” she said, calling his success in tamping down the Buckhead cityhood movement “a feather in the cap.”
City Councilmember Amir Farokhi tells Axios that Dickens has “hit the ground running.”
- “He’s brought the city together in ways that I think we were all hungry for,” he said, pointing out that didn't just apply to Buckhead. He said concerns highlighted by some Buckhead residents are citywide issues that should not to be taken lightly.
Context: Dickens has introduced such “creative solutions” as the midnight basketball pilot program to address problems like young people engaging in criminal activity, Clark Atlanta University political science professor Tammy Greer tells Axios. He’s also operating as a “collaborator,” she said.
- Greer called the mayor a “collaborator.” One example of that is a new Repeat Offender Tracking Unit set up between the Atlanta Police Department, Fulton County District Attorney and others.
- He started a City Hall division to focus on nightlife and re-upped the Pothole Posse to fix Atlanta’s roads.
State of play: Greer said she’s watching how the administration handles the city's tougher issues, including the deteriorating Forest Cove apartment complex, from which the city has promised to relocate residents by the summer, according to WABE News.
- “I’m interested in actually seeing the so-called affordable housing units,” she said of a promised protection and expansion of affordable housing. “I’m looking forward to those types of meat and potato items to see how that gets through City Council.”
City Council President Doug Shipman tells Axios that Dickens has shown he’s engaged and interested in building good relationships with members of the council.
- “It was very clear that residents wanted to see people trying to figure out solutions and not fighting, and I think that's what you've seen over the first 100 days,” he said.
What we’re watching: Shipman says residents expect Dickens to address important issues.
- “There's a fair bit of optimism that they feel like good initial moves have been made, but there's no question that folks are still wanting to see city services being delivered better, public safety improving and overall thinking about how we’ll grow,” he said.
Farokhi said Atlanta is still facing the same complex policy problems that demand “sometimes hard decisions to which there’s no easy pathway.” But, Dickens has done “a really good job of building trust with council members” and “setting the table” for the future, Farokhi added.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to show that Mayor Dickens’ approval rating was 72% in a recent poll, not 68%.
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