APN Issues Updated City Council Scorecard for Winter 2013
(APN) ATLANTA — Atlanta Progressive News has updated its Atlanta City Council Scorecard for 2013, adding recent as well as past votes, including:
– Two votes taken last week, in March 2013, on whether to set a limit to restrict public comment time at all Atlanta City Council Committees. Only Keisha Lance Bottoms (District 11), Joyce Sheperd (District 12), Howard Shook (District 7), Alex Wan (District 6), and Lamar Willis (Post 3-at-large) supported the proposal.
Interestingly, it is clear from the Scorecard that the five individuals who supported limiting public comment are clustered near the bottom of the Scorecard, meaning that those who want to restrict public comment time are also generally less progressive across the board.
– A January 2013 vote over whether to allow Helene Mills, a senior activist, to finish her remarks without having to wait until the end of the public comment period. Other citizens had allocated their time to Mills, but under Council rules, adopted by ordinance, Mills would have had to wait until the end of the public comment period to complete her remarks. Mills said she did not want to do that, and a motion was made to suspend the rule.
Only Felicia Moore (District 9) opposed, although Moore has since introduced legislation to grant the Council President discretion to waive the rule.
– The 2011 vote to create the Sunday alcohol referendum. Only Natalyn Archibong (District 5) and CT Martin (District 10) opposed the referendum.
– The 2008 street vending ordinance, and the 2008 contract with General Growth Properties (GGP), both which were later found to be unconstitutional under the Georgia Constitution. Only Archibong had the foresight to oppose the street vending ordinance, although she was joined by Martin, Moore, and Willis in opposing the contract with GGP.
The Scorecard–which APN believes is the most comprehensive, voting record-based Scorecard for this Council that is available to Atlanta voters–now includes a total of 37 items, dating from 2003 to the present.
The items include 35 votes; one score for positions on the Adrean pension proposal; and one score for disclosure or nondisclosure of the secret vote taken in February 2010.
Generally, the Scorecard rewards Councilmembers who–in their voting record, when it matters–support meaningful affordable housing, who oppose gentrification, who support later bar hours, who support public comment without time limitations, who support equal rights for same-sex couples, who support ethics and transparency, who support the right to solicit alms, who support workers rights, and who support animal rights.
The Scorecard is available as a public Google Spreadsheet here: bit.ly/OXGEVm
The current ranking of scores is as follows:
NATALYN ARCHIBONG (DISTRICT 5) – 90
MICHAEL JULIAN BOND (POST 1-AT-LARGE) – 76
FELICIA MOORE (DISTRICT 9) – 72.97
CT MARTIN (DISTRICT 10) – 60
KWANZA HALL – 55.56
YOLANDA ADREAN (DISTRICT 8) – 53.57
CARLA SMITH (DISTRICT 1) – 44.44
CLETA WINSLOW (DISTRICT 4) – 41.18
ALEX WAN (DISTRICT 6) – 40.74
LAMAR WILLIS (POST 3-AT-LARGE) – 39.39
JOYCE SHEPERD (DISTRICT 12) – 39.29
AARON WATSON (POST 2-AT-LARGE) – 37.5
IVORY YOUNG (DISTRICT 3) – 37.14
HOWARD SHOOK (DISTRICT 7) – 32.43
KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (DISTRICT 11) – 30.77
Of note, Councilwoman Adrean, who at one point in October 2011 had moved down to eighth place, has moved back up in the rankings, currently the sixth most progressive Councilmember on the Atlanta City Council.
Some might find that counterintuitive for an elected official from Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. Buckhead’s other Councilmember, Shook, is second from the bottom, in fourteenth place.
Meanwhile, Councilwoman Sheperd has moved down in the rankings, from recently being in sixth place, to now being in eleventh.
Councilman Ivory Young’s once progressive record has plummeted. In October 2011, he was ranked sixth. Today, he is third from the bottom, in thirteenth place.
One pattern that has also emerged from the many data points on the Scorecard is that some Councilmembers have better attendance than others.
Moore and Shook both have had perfect attendance and voting participation at all the dozens of Full Council meetings covered by the Scorecard. And while it is not a random sample of meetings, by focusing on meetings that had split, controversial votes on the agenda, the Scorecard actually tells readers about not only attendance, but willingness to take controversial votes instead of water fountain breaks.
Smith was present for 34 out of 35 votes. Young and Martin were present for 33 out of 35 votes. Winslow was present for 32. Willis was present was 31. Archibong was present was 30. The remaining Councilmembers joined the Council after 2003, so they have fewer votes upon which their score is based.