APN Issues Atlanta Council Scorecard for End of 2012

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(APN) ATLANTA — With Municipal Elections in the City of Atlanta scheduled to take place next year, Atlanta Progressive News has added six more recent votes to the APN Atlanta City Council Scorecard.

To APN’s knowledge, the Scorecard is the most comprehensive, data-driven, and transparent source of information available about the current incumbents on the City Council of Atlanta.

The Scorecard is available as a public Google spreadsheet here: http://bit.ly/OXGEVm

The Scorecard is based on thirty votes, going back to 2003, although most of the votes on the Scorecard were taken between 2010 and 2012, to date. The Scorecard also includes an item regarding whether each Council Member disclosed how they voted during the secret vote of 2010.

All votes or actions are weighed equally. A Council Member receives credit for a vote if they voted the position that APN believes to be the position which best serves the public interest. A Council Member does not receive credit if their position was not consistent with APN’s favored position. And a vote is not weighted if a Council Member was absent or not on the Council at the time of the vote.

One Council Member, Natalyn Archibong (District 5), has an A, with a score of 92.

Two Council Members, Felicia Moore (District 9) and Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large) have C’s. Moore has a 74.19 and Bond has a 72.73.

The remaining twelve Council Members have F’s, with scores ranging from 30.43 for Keisha Lance Bottoms (District 11), to 58.62 for CT Martin (District 10).

The scores, from highest to lowest, are as follows:

NATALYN ARCHIBONG 92

FELICIA MOORE 74.19

MICHAEL BOND 72.73

CT MARTIN 58.62 (SIGNIFICANT DECREASE SINCE 2009)

KWANZA HALL 54.55 (SIGNIFICANT INCREASE SINCE 2009)

YOLANDA ADREAN 45.83

CARLA SMITH 41.94 (SIGNIFICANT INCREASE SINCE 2009)

JOYCE SHEPERD 40

ALEX WAN 39.13

LAMAR WILLIS 37.93

CLETA WINSLOW 35.71

AARON WATSON 34.78

HOWARD SHOOK 32.26

IVORY YOUNG 31.03 (SIGNIFICANT DECREASE SINCE 2009)

KEISHA BOTTOMS 30.43

APN has tracked these votes and scores since 2009, and has noted that two Council Members–Ivory Young (District 3) and Martin–have dropped significantly in the progressive quality of their votes.

Meanwhile, Carla Smith (District 1) and Kwanza Hall (District 2) have seen significant increases in their scores since 2009.

The six votes that were added to the Scorecard today include three votes concerning a proposal to rezone the area near Adina Drive and Morosgo Drive, near Lindbergh Station; a vote on providing for up to 180 days in jail for aggressive panhandling and panhandling in certain areas; a vote on a resolution in support of same-sex marriage; and a vote on whether to increase Council and Mayoral salaries.

APN’s Editorial position was in opposition to the rezoning proposal, which would have created a Wal-Mart and a large surface parking lot in what is supposed to be a transit-oriented walkable community; and would have destroyed hundreds of units of affordable housing with little plan to mitigate this loss of affordable housing units or to provide for relocation of existing residents.

With respect to the main vote on whether to approve the rezoning proposal, Council Members Ivory Young (District 3), Cleta Winslow (District 4), Martin, Bottoms, Joyce Sheperd (District 12), Aaron Watson (Post 2-at-large), and Lamar Willis (Post 3-at-large) voted in favor of the rezoning proposal.

Council Members Smith, Alex Wan (District 6), Howard Shook (District 7), Yolanda Adrean (District 8), Moore, and Bond voted against the proposal.

There were also two votes on whether to file the rezoning proposal and whether to file related legislation.

APN’s Editorial position on the Mayor’s panhandling ordinance was in opposition because the ordinance provided for a sentence of up to 180 days for even a first offense of aggressive panhandling or panhandling in a forbidden area. The ordinance did not do enough to protect the rights of newspaper vendors.

And while the Mayor’s office, with Atlanta’s corporate news media dutifully echoing, claimed that the panhandling ordinance was less harsh and more balanced than previous legislation, the opposite is true.

However, all fourteen Council Members who were present voted yea, including Martin, who had previously opposed every piece of panhandling legislation since at least 1996. This is the only item on the Scorecard where all present members voted the same way; all other items are split. Archibong was not present for the vote.

APN’s Editorial position was in support of same-sex marriage. Shook and Martin voted against.

Since then, Council President Ceasar Mitchell has apparently rewarded Shook for his vote against same-sex marriage by giving Shook a Committee Chairmanship. Mitchell has replaced Archibong–the most progressive member on Council, a champion of transparency and public input, and a friend of the LGBTQI community–with Shook, as Chair of the City Utilities Cmte.

Finally, APN’s Editorial position was in support of the pay increase. The pay increase was necessary, in APN’s view, because the current pay for Council Members does not reflect the full-time nature of the position; makes it more difficult for low-income and middle-class Atlantans to consider running for public office; and has given some Council Members, like Mitchell and Wan, an excuse to work full-time outside jobs while also serving on Council. Again, Atlanta’s corporate news media got this issue completely wrong.

(END/2012)

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