Monday, October 26, 2009

Atlanta's mayoral race has made a turn for the worst

I've been sleeping on the Atlanta mayoral race for the last few weeks because 1) it's Atlanta and I'm in Birmingham with so much activity going on that keeps my attention and 2) I've been doing my much need preparation for graduate school.  However, the race on race has turned out in the favor of Mary Norwood, the councilwoman who was the center of the majority of the contraversy because if elected she would the first white mayor of Atlanta in nearly 4 decades as the front-runner in the mayoral race on November 3rd.  Norwood is leading a poll released on Oct. 26 at 46% whereas her closet opponent is only at 26% and that is Kasim Reed.

However, last weekend during a speech before the Hungry Club, some organization like Rotary Club in Atlanta, current mayor Shirley Franklin, spoken of the weakenesses in a negative light. On Sunday, Franklin went into much more detail.    Apparently, in the Sunday edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a comment on the Political Insider blog, Franklin freely used Norwood’s name, questioning her competency and lack of experience under the name "Shirley".  Then Monday a spokesperson for the Atlanta mayor's office issued this:
I didn’t say I had any fear of white political leadership in Atlanta or anywhere. The vast majority of candidates I have voted for and supported with my time and money are white and I expect the same will be true into the future. 
I support candidates with vision, integrity and intelligence and I have voted for candidates with these 3 characteristics throughout my life. Mary Norwood has none of these. Therefore, I do not support her candidacy for mayor.
Should she win I will wish her well and continue my activism in politics and civic affairs. Race nor gender are the issues for me. Competency is. Norwood has not demonstrated vision, competence or integrity in her public life as an elected offical. Rather she has spent her time building a political network to run for mayor. It looks like she’ll be successful.

She’s provided no evidence in her service on the Council as to her competence to govern. She has not led on ethics or public policy. In fact she’s known for slips of the tongue about what she’ll do as mayor.
Norwood has run against me as if she’s been a force for good in public debate on the issues for the last 8 years. A few weeks ago on the floor of Council she proposed holding up contracts because the new mayor might not agree with them as if the nine month procurement process had not been open, fair, competitive and comprehensive.
Ultimately she voted for the contracts but after hours of debate because a new political leader might choose other firms. That is the type of decision making I’ve replaced having found subjective rather than objective and fair processes when I arrived at City Hall in 2002. I am astounded Norwood proposed returning to [politically] driven procurement of city services. If you don’t [believe] me check the City Council archives of recent Council meetings.
So Atlanta Mayor Franklin isn't feeling Norwood at all.  She admitted that she has supported mostly white candidates for political office, but doesn't feel Norwood is fit to be mayor.  She also made it known how presumptive Norwood has been for the last few weeks like she knows she will be Atlanta's next mayor.  Franklin does have a point since it is documented and proven...

However, I do feel there is still an element of 'racism' not so much from one side because I've seen first-hand that there a number of whites as well as blacks in power throwing around covert language.  Atlanta is just bubbling with issues because crime is up for sure in the "city too busy to hate", seen practically all major construction projects come to a halt, and now its racial issues coming to the surface in the mayoral race.

Now, it's come to my attention that Norwood is an Independent with former Republican affiliations.  Hmmm, sounds like she is another Michael Bloomberg (see Rod 2.0's blog on that because I don't do NYC politics).  However, her other two opponents Borders and Reed also had some Republican affiliations as well, but not as prominenent as Norwood, who has apparently been registered as one.  But she has received endorsements of key black leaders like SWATS (Southwest Atlanta) former Georgia state legislator Mable Thomas, so it's going to be very interesting how some feel about this.  (I smell trouble in the air, but that's just me).

Then the ads glore with Borders playing to the kitchen table side of politics whereas Kasim Reed playing to the helping the kids angle.  Meanwhile Norwood visits the crime scenes of high-profile murders including that of former heavyweight champion, Vernon Forrest, in SWATS in her latest ad

On Tuesday morning, leading Atlanta radio station (and my personal favorite station), V-103 (WVEE), and Atlanta NBC affiliate "11 Alive" WXIA-TV will be airing a live mayoral forum hosted by morning man Frank Ski.  All the candidates including Norwood, Atlanta City Council President Lisa Borders, and former Georgia state senator Kasim Reed will all be in attendance.  I will be listening for sure to hear this for myself what's really good. 

I have no dog in this fight, but somebody get a bottle of champaign because Atlanta will likely get a mayor that some black folks may not even want...

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