Mary Norwood Responds to APN

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MN returned APN’s phonecall concerning our analysis of the 2009 Atlanta Mayoral election.

In that article, I asserted that in terms of progressive issues, Mary Norwood had strengths and weaknesses, as did Kasim Reed. On the balance, though, I’ll admit Norwood had more strengths than Reed did.

On the issue of affordable housing, where we concerned that Norwood did not put forward a comprehensive proposal to address affordable housing in the City, Norwood said she would put together a multi-point platform as she has done with crime. Actually, it was APN’s suggestion and she said she thought it was a great idea.

I asked whether she agreed with Michael Bond’s position that affordability standards in Atlanta should be based on the average household income citywide, not the average of Greater Atlanta, which is higher. She said she would support that.

I asked what she thought about Councilman Ceasar Mitchell’s proposal to have inclusionary zoning on City projects, with a 10% baseline requirement for affordable housing. She said she would need to study the issue.

On homelessness, several readers criticized her plan to provide homeless people with jobs picking up garbage on Atlanta’s streets. She replied to APN that this was not her only plan to end homelessness, but what she saw as the void that needed to be filled in Atlanta, which was employment for homeless people.

She said this wasn’t intended to be the solution for everyone, but that for people with no employment history and drug problems, this could be guaranteed employment and a pathway to better jobs. She said she grew up in a home where her father taught her everyone should be working, and that any job was better than no job.

Anita Beaty of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless said the Task Force did not support Norwood’s proposal, when she did her recent pilot project. She said they would only support it if it were part of a larger package of jobs and job training.

On Eleanor Rayton, she said she would make a phonecall to her.

On budget cuts, APN noted that she had not defined what cuts she would be willing to accept. She reiterated in response that she and the public have still not gotten a good accounting of what all city employees are doing. She said, the way the budget is organized changes from year to year so that it is difficult to follow where the money is going. She said the City is also paying a lot of old bonds.

She said she would make the budget transparent to citizens in the process of reviewing it when she becomes Mayor.

Mary Norwood also said she thought the article was fair and that she admires that at APN we stick to our principles.

Kasim Reed’s spokesperson did not immediately reply to APN, but said she has been busy.

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