Thomas, Thomas Endorse Norwood
(APN) ATLANTA — Former City Councilwoman and State Rep. “Able” Mable Thomas, and former Mayoral candidate Glenn Thomas [no relation] announced their support for Mayoral candidate, Councilwoman Mary Norwood, on October 23, 2009, at a press conference at Norwood’s campaign headquarters.
The endorsements were noteworthy because Mable Thomas is one of the strongest advocates in this city who are willing to protest on behalf of the poor, homeless, and disenfranchised in the city, while Glenn Thomas appears to have been one of the more progressive candidates in the Mayoral race.
“Enough is enough. It’s time to have caring, accountable leadership to get the job done,” Mable Thomas said at the press conference. “I come from English Avenue where police shot a 92 year-old woman. No one has come to the rescue of our community to make sure it’s safe and clean.”
“We’re staking our stake in change of Atlanta. From Bankhead to Buckhead, Mary Norwood takes care of business,” Mable Thomas said.
“I’ve known her for eight years. She’s someone willing to be consistent and to look at the whole of Atlanta,” Mable Thomas said.
“Some people have said caring isn’t enough. Well, I’m here to tell you, unless you have someone who has the heart of the people, you cannot have change in Atlanta,” Mable Thomas said.
“I may be the littlest candidate, but I have the strongest heart and the biggest will. This is the kind of coalition we need. The city is not going to shine until it shines for everyone,” Norwood said at the press conference.
“Glenn, he’s a strong candidate. I was so relieved when he dropped out. Mable has had her strength and her determination and her will in the community representing the people for everyone,” Norwood said.
“As Mayor, you’ll still have my number. You’ll all have my number,” Norwood said.
In response to a question from WSB-TV Channel 2 about whether she could win without a run-off, Norwood said, “I’m cautiously optimistic. If hard work and enthusiasm will get us there, we’ll win. I have some strong opponents. We’re prepared to go to December 1. We hope November 03 it’s done.”
In response to a question from Atlanta Progressive News, Mable Thomas said, “My [former State House] district goes from Bankhead to Buckhead, from the very rich to the very poor. I’ve seen people suffer in this city. There used to be middle class communities in Atlanta. I don’t believe people in the inner city can go through another eight years. We need someone who can work with developers without giving the whole ship away.”
City Council President Lisa Borders and State Sen. Kasim Reed, Norwood’s main opponents, have also received endorsements of progressives in this race. Lisa Borders has the support of Rev. Timothy McDonald of the First Iconium Baptist Church and Civil Rights Movement veteran Joe Beasley. Meanwhile, Reed has announced the support of the outspoken State Sen. Vincent Fort, as well as more recently, Councilman CT Martin.
GLENN THOMAS EXPLAINS ENDORSEMENT
Thomas explained his endorsement of Norwood further in a phone interview.
“I obviously spent a lot of time with all the candidates during the debate. I know of all the candidates’ backgrounds. I also had an extensive time during the campaign to really talk to a lot of people in the city ranging in age and gender and all the demographics of our city,” Glenn Thomas told APN.
“Mary has been able to, in seven years on Council to touch a lot of those people in some way… being responsive and representative. Where it begins as an elected leader, being responsive is key,” Glenn Thomas said.
“It wasn’t to discredit anybody. I like Jesse Spikes quite a lot. Ultimately, I felt Mary was genuine in her caring and appreciation of the community,” Glenn Thomas said.
Thomas also said he did not believe State Sen. Reed would be able to deliver on his promise to hire more police officers, nor did he think Borders’s ideas for new revenue streams for Atlanta were viable.
“I know when somebody’s feeding me hogwash and somebody’s in reality,” Glenn Thomas said. “I know when we’ve tried different revenue streams and those have failed.”
“She [Norwood] says I don’t know a lot about the inner workings but I want to find out. I think she’s genuine in her ability to communicate I don’t know everything, but I’m willing to share everything I learn with the people to make it right,” Glenn Thomas said.
BORDERS ACCUSES GLENN THOMAS OF ATTEMPTING TO SELL ENDORSEMENT TO HER
Earlier this week, several days after the press conference, Borders accused Glenn Thomas of offering to endorse her in return for $25,000 to pay off his campaign debt as well as a job at City Hall. Thomas denies the charges.
“Lisa Borders had approached me. She reached out to me and said she wanted to talk to me. We sat down and talked two times. In general we talked about the future of the city,” Glenn Thomas recalled.
“Conversations where I talked about cash–never took place… There was no discussion of any payments,” Glenn Thomas said. “She distorted a conversation because I endorsed Mary Norwood, she’s dropping in the polls, and she felt I should’ve endorsed her.”
“We’re not going to take this allegation lightly,” Thomas said, adding he had just gotten off the phone with his attorney. “The allegations against me… at this time shows unprofessionalism. We’ll handle those allegations in due time. I’m going to focus now on getting Mary Norwood elected.”
“I know what the truth is. She knows what the truth is. And the truth will eventually come out,” Thomas said.
When asked whether Glenn Thomas and Borders have much in common ideologically, “We don’t. And that’s what we concluded. I met with all the candidates, except for Kasim Reed.”
The Norwood campaign has stood by Glenn Thomas, adding that he never asked them for anything and that no payments to him will show up on the next financial disclosures.
Glenn Thomas said there was no witness during his most recent conversation with Borders.
“There’s no one to say she’s lying or I’m telling the truth. She knows I can’t disprove her. She knows she can’t prove it. Me being a lowly citizen, her being a political figure, she probably thinks she can get away with this.”
MABLE THOMAS GIVES MORE DETAIL ON ENDORSEMENT
APN asked Mable Thomas in a phone interview to explain in more detail why she thought Norwood–as opposed to the other candidates–was the right choice.
“I’m a visionary to move us forward from the current Atlanta to another level. I served with this gentleman [Reed] in the General Assembly. He’s a great legislator, but you get to see another side of a person when you’re working with them,” Mable Thomas said.
“I don’t remember seeing them [Reed or Borders] on the scene,” in the community when issues arose. “You’ve got to be a legislative person and a community person. I think she [Mary Norwood] can see both sides of the process.”
“You can have someone with the skill set but they don’t have the commitment,” Thomas said referring to Reed and Borders.
“You have to be available and accessible; Mary is,” Mable Thomas said. As examples, she noted that after a major tornado devastated some areas of the inner city, the only people she saw on the scene besides herself were Councilman Ivory Young, Councilman Ceasar Mitchell, and Councilwoman Mary Norwood. After the APD shooting of Kathryn Johnston, Thomas said the only people she saw besides herself were Councilman Ivory Young and Councilman Mary Norwood.
“I worked with Mary on the foreclosures in the West End,” she said, to provide people with a way to report it “where they think houses are being flipped.”
“We’ve also had a lot of discussions as it relates to affordable housing in Atlanta.”
APN noted that Mable Thomas and Norwood disagreed on some issues, such as the panhandling ordinance, which Thomas opposed and Norwood supported.
“I can’t make everyone courageous. We wanted people to be able to ask [for money] in a respectful way. It’s an extreme position that had been taken, but the business community was pressuring everyone who has a vote,” Thomas said.
“Some people who are experts, work behind the scene. They may not be as courageous as me,” Mable Thomas said.
“We need to bring balance with the business and neighborhood interests.”
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Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for Atlanta Progressive News and is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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