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Here is a throwback column I penned back in 2002 for a magazine I was helping to produce, along with the late Delores Bundy, for Atlanta businessman Bruce Dobbs called The THIRD EYE. Sadly, it was never published.
POLITICS 411 Maynard Eaton’s Musing Bill Campbell On V-103 I suppose there is life after politics— former Mayor Bill Campbell has resurfaced on Atlanta’s black focused radio airwaves—but is it a quality, quintessential new life or a quizzical, quixotic one? The Atlanta electorate tells me that while Campbell was arguably a likeable and revered politico and mayor, he is a little out of his realm in radio! Much like former Mayor Maynard Jackson, Bill Campbell was perceived to be so controversial, confrontational, and so strident—by his political foes and the mainstream business community— that he couldn’t get a real job in law—his professed profession— or any prime-time position in Atlanta. Here is a mayor who did good things—a political prince who amassed remarkable achievements as well as an army of enemies during his 8-year-reign. But tragically, he will be remembered for his association with indictments and alleged crooks, like “Ricky” Rowe (his purported bagman and gambling buddy). Is Campbell a rogue and a rascal, or a bad-ass brother? He should be applauded for drawing “a line in the sand” against racists who campaigned to destroy him and erase the city’s affirmative action programs. Although he may have been a nuisance to his chorus of naysayers, Captain Campbell was also a provocative and progressive new-age civil rights player-player and premier powerbroker to his friends and political gang. Campbell’s future and legacy is still in question or stuck in the mystery of his own scrumptious soup. Don’t buy into the bull that he has enjoyed a stellar post-mayoral professional posture. He may need the V-103 microphone as much as Atlanta craves his contentious celebrity. Maynard Jackson Now, here’s a politician who knows how to command the media. He has personally orchestrated a media campaign designed to distance himself from Campbell—and it has worked wonderfully. They were once political partners—Hizzoner virtually gave birth to Campbell’s political career and his stellar or, some say, scandalous scenario as Jackson’s successor. Maynard Jackson is the best orator and media strategist of the past three decades. He remains Atlanta’s premier, quintessential politician—bar none, black or white. Now he’s grooming and strategically passing the baton to one of his superstars in his campaign, Jackson Securities’ Sam Bacote. Bacote is the product of the legendary Atlanta political family. He is now seeking the District 36 State Senate seat that was recently vacated by Atlanta Democrat, Sen. David Scott. Scott is the leading candidate for the newly created US Senate seat, while Bacote battles Atlanta School Board member, Brenda Muhammad. Since Jackson’s exit from the Atlanta Mayor’s office, his influence and “rainmaker resilience,” along with his “icon” impact, could prove to be a pivotal factor in Bacote’s political fortunes. Seemingly, as Maynard Jackson goes, so goes the primetime politics of Atlanta. The Bacote versus Muhammad primary election is August 8, 2002. Vote or don’t demean the results—be a real black man and go to the polls. State Senator Charles Walker While agreeably one the state’s most powerful black politicians, it is doubtful that he will ever realize his goal of being elected Georgia’s first black governor. He’s got clout, money, moxie, and the machine, but seemingly too much crass! - Still, despite the unproved and surreptitious allegations suggesting he misdirected state funds into business deals that he personally profited from, I would not bet against Walker or his muscle. That’s why Gov. Roy Barnes not only has refused to admonish Walker in the media, but also boldly hosted a sumptuous, high-cotton fundraiser for his friend and political confidant at the Club 191recently. Why? Barnes and Walker are political bedfellows— they need and depend on each other’s support. Walker is angling for higher office, while the governor must have another 85 percent or more of Georgia’s black vote to win re-election. As the saying goes, “An even swap ain’t no swindle!” Mayor Shirley Franklin: The first six months in office were marvelous for Madam Mayor. State Rep. Kasim Reed, perhaps potentially Georgia’s first black U.S. Senator or Governor, is who expertly engineered Franklin’s campaign and transition team. We love Mayor Franklin, and God bless Rep. Reed! We also applaud and endorse Mayor Franklin’s selection of former New Orleans Police Chief, Richard Pennington, 55—after a five-month national search—to head Atlanta’s troubled, understaffed, underpaid, and demoralized police force. The speculations—and betting odds—strongly suggest that Chief Pennington may succeed Franklin as Atlanta’s next black mayor. He just lost a bid to become the new Mayor of New Orleans and adamantly denies he has any aspirations of seeking Atlanta’s most powerful and prestigious political post. But don’t buy it. Already he enjoys what former Atlanta Police Chief Beverly Harvard never, ever had—complete autonomy. Now, Atlanta’s Top Cop is really running the Cop Shop!-