Interview with Maynard Jackson
QUESTION 05
JACKIE SHEARER:

OK, so can you give me a specific example of the hysteria that you mentioned?

MAYNARD JACKSON:

Ah, complete distrust of any motive that came out of city hall. Um, if we were pushing for affirmative action, it had to be because I wanted to get a crony a job. The reality is that we bent over backwards to put things the other way, to establish credibility. I went from negotiated contracts, 90 percent, to about 90 percent bid contracts that took it out of our hands, and almost guaranteed for the public scrutiny a more, um, balanced approach to contracts. And another quick example, is that even though I was, ah, for control of handguns, not rifles, but handguns, and have been for a long time, ah, when a secretary was shot in this city by an escaped mental, ah, patient from New Jersey, who went in, in Atlanta and bought a handgun on the spot, bought ammunition on the spot and walked up behind a former governor's secretary at high noon on a Friday in downtown Atlanta, blew her brains out, I was accused of being responsible for that, because they were so concerned about the, the crime situation. Well, the fact is that our crime figures came down, we were number one in homicides in the nation before I became mayor, and of course, that dropped significantly. So that's a quick example of how serious it really became hysteria. The last example, I think, was the straw that broke the camel's back. And all of a sudden, they looked up at themselves, they, they were shocked. They said, "Wait a minute, let's, let's settle down. You know, city hall, city hall is being run better than before, it's better managed, let's take another look at this thing." And that's when things began to settle in to a more reasonable range of discussion.