APN Endorsements Pt. 2: Keisha Waites for Fulton County

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(APN) ATLANTA — In continuing our endorsement announcements for 2010, APN’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce our endorsement of Keisha Waites for Fulton County District 6.

Previously, we announced our endorsement of David Poythress for Governor, and the reelections of State Sen. Vincent Fort and former State Rep. “Able” Mable Thomas.

Fulton County’s District 6 seat is becoming open with the retirement of Commissioner Nancy Boxill.

Keisha Waites is a long-time community activist with a passion for public service who is willing to stake stands on controversial issues when the well-being of working families is at stake.

In her interview with Atlanta Progressive News, she said she would not have supported the privatization of Grady Hospital, which she compared to the privatization of water or even air.

She stated she would support Fulton County allocating funding to support the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless.

Another candidate interviewed by APN, Joan Garner, has received the endorsements of many organizations making her seem like the establishment candidate.

However, when it came to these important issues, Garner did not take a position and stated she would have to do further research before making a decision.

Well, the Grady privatization was a huge issue for Fulton County, indeed for the Metro Atlanta area, and was an issue that already came before the Commission. Indeed, both Fulton and Dekalb Commissions took at least two votes concerning the approval of Grady’s privatization.

It seems to us that if Garner wanted to research the Grady privatization, she should have done that before she ran for office. Are we to believe she had not put any thought into how she would have voted on the same controversial issue had she been on the Commission?

When it came to the Grady privatization, it passed with the support of both Republicans as well as corporate Democrats like Chairman John Eaves. Those opposing the privatization on the Fulton County Commission were Emma Darnell and Bill Edwards.

The voters have a right to know, with Garner, are they going to get another Darnell or Edwards willing to fight for the least of these? Or are they going to get another Eaves?

Garner’s lack of response to those questions also raises the question of whether she was being intentionally vague so as not to upset the more developer-oriented voters in the northern part of District 6, such as Midtown. Either that or she truly did not understand the issues; we don’t know which is worse.

Currently, Waites works as a contractor for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as an Intergovernmental Affairs Officer, and was temporarily employed with the 2010 US Census. Previously, she worked for the Small Business Administration in the Commercial Loan Division.

Waites served on the Atlanta Planning Advisory Board (APAB) in 2001, the Atlanta Commission on Women, the Atlanta Stonewall Democrats, the Fulton County Democratic Party Executive Board, and the Georgia Equality People of Color Initiative.

Waites has also run for office several times, including almost beating Eaves for Chairman in 2006. It is obvious she is committed to public service and we believe it’s time we give her a chance.

Waites has openly stated that she is emphasizing her outreach to voters in the southern part of the District, rather than writing off working class, Black voters due to their historically low turnout levels. This kind of strategy to empower voters most negatively impacted by developer-oriented public policy and by the current economic crisis, is something we support also.

Waites’s ties to South Fulton will be valuable to helping the Commission address issues such as Fulton County’s reduction of clinics accepting indigent patients for mental health services.

We should note that there are positive traits and qualifications to Ms. Garner, and if she wins we believe it will be an acceptable outcome, and we would hope to work with her on issues of importance to working families in Fulton County. Garner’s previous work with the Fund for Southern Communities and the Southern Partners Fund speaks volumes.

We were intrigued by Garner’s co-authorship of a book, Why Robin Hood Was Right, a book on how philanthropists can go about supporting social justice organizations rather than simply charities.

However, when we asked why Robin Hood was right in her opinion, she seemed to not want to talk about it. Again, we wondered if she was trying to downplay her own social justice background as part of a political calculation. Our thing is, look, if you support the redistribution of wealth like we do, own it, embrace it, express yourself don’t repress yourself.

With Garner we’re left in the same predicament we had with President Obama before he was elected. We had a moderately positioned candidate, though we wanted to believe that we knew–wink, wink–the real Obama was a progressive candidate who would show his true colors once elected. On many issues with Obama, it seems like the real Obama is the same one we saw on the campaign trail. Same with Garner? We don’t know.

But we’re going to go with the candidate who is principled, transparent, and consistent: Keisha Waites for Fulton County District 6.

(END/2010)

About the author:

Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for The Atlanta Progressive News and is reachable at matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com.

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Our syndication policy was updated June 2007. For more information on how to syndicate Atlanta Progressive News content, please visit: http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/extras/syndicate.html

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