Wan Criticized for Cheshire Bridge Rezoning Plan, but No Challenger Yet
(APN) ATLANTA — Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan (District 6) has faced some severe criticism on social media websites and on commenting sections of Atlanta’s GLBTQI publications, but, to date, no one has stepped forward to challenge Mr. Wan in this year’s upcoming 2013 municipal election.
As previously reported by Atlanta Progressive News, candidates have lined up to challenge incumbents for the Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and Post 3-at-large seats, but so far, none of the others.
Wan has faced criticism for introducing legislation to end the grandfathered-in status for adult entertainment establishments on Cheshire Bridge Road.
APN has learned that Councilman Kwanza Hall (District 2), who also represents part of Midtown due to recent redistricting, will not support the legislation when it comes before the Full Council.
The legislation–which, last week was rejected by the Zoning Review Board–was not heard at today’s meeting of the Zoning Cmte, but will likely be heard in two weeks. It is typical for zoning legislation to skip a Cmte cycle before coming before the Zoning Cmte.
“I am sad I helped vote him in office,” Nick Tipton wrote on Facebook.
“First they came after the adult businesses… then who else will be next. This would set bad precedent for government to go after businesses it may not like…. not cool,” Jerry Gonzales wrote on Facebook.
“I am so disappointed in Mr. Wan,” Vandy Beth Glenn wrote on Facebook.
“I really truly expected better of Mr. Wan,” Rev. Paul Turner wrote on Facebook.
“He just voted himself out of office,” Lamar Bowen wrote on Facebook.
“Regardless, a change would do us good and Alex Wan has shot himself in the foot. With the right candidate or two, the next race could be bigger that [sic] Cathy Wollard [sic] and Mary Davis. It will be interesting to see if the mainstream gay media fall all over this ‘Gay Candidate’ as usual after this disaster. And what if there are 2-3 other LGBT runners?” Tom Dempsey wrote on the Atlanta Progressive News Facebook page.
“Project 2: Start lining up a challenger or 2 for Alex Wan‘s seat. The district is changing for the next election cycle so a little less Sherwood Forest and a lot more Hispanic near Lindberg,” Dempsey wrote.
“I see Alex in the gym often and voted for him (as I own a home off Wimbledon close to Cheshire), I am sad to see that this is happening, I enjoy the Heretic along with some of the other clubs along the road. I really thought that Gays/ Lesbian business owners/ politicians would help each other out. I hope that the clubs can stay, I still enjoy em even at almost 46 years of age. I don’t know what to think anymore, it’s just plain out sad, like a family member just stabbed you in the back,” Kevin Michael Donal wrote on Facebook.
“Atlanta’s party crowd pushed Alex’s City Council candidacy which helped get him elected. I wonder how they feel about that now. He’s been an utter disaster,” Andy wrote on Project Q Atlanta.
“He doesn’t even live anywhere near Cheshire Bridge which he’s decided needs cleaning up. I guess he must know more than the landlords such as Selig who are apparently content with their tenants,” Andy wrote.
“Rid our neighborhoods of Alex Wan and keep Cheshire Bridge the way it is,” Grant Knox wrote on Project Q.
“Leave the one area we have alone. Cheshire Bridge has always been here as well as all the businesses. Leave it alone. If you chose to move to this area, you should know what your [sic] moving into. Just because Wan wants his property value to go up living in the Morningside area he decides that we should change it. Vote him OUT!!!” Shane Smith wrote on the Georgia Voice website.
In the 2009 election, Wan raised more money than any other district candidate, including drawing upon personal and family money; and raising money from the Asian community, the business community, and the gay community.
He went into a Run-off with Liz Coyle after a crowded six-way race, upon the retirement of former Councilwoman Anne Fauver. Wan was believed to be Fauver’s hand-picked replacement.
Coyle, who currently works at Georgia Watch, told APN two years ago that she moved to East Atlanta and could not run for the District 6 seat again, even if she were interested.
Steve Brodie, who ran in 2005 and 2009, also told APN a couple years ago he has no interest in running.
Bahareh Azizi, who ran in 2009, is currently living and working in Iran. No word on Tad Christian or Miguel Gallegos, the other 2009 candidates.
If Wan ran for reelection, he could likely continue to draw on similar donors as before.
The “Wan machine” had a second victory in 2010, when many of the same people who worked on Wan’s successful 2009 campaign, also helped Commissioner Joan Garner (District 6) get elected to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.
However, last year, in 2012, the Wan machine went for a three-peat and lost, when Ken Britt, another candidate with the Wan machine’s backing, lost to State Rep. “Able” Mable Thomas (D-Atlanta).
At least some activists are wondering whether Wan is vulnerable, but so far the question is merely a hypothetical one, as no challenger yet entered the race.