APN Full Endorsements: Atlanta Council 2013
(APN) ATLANTA — The Atlanta Progressive News Board of Directors has completed its full endorsement list for Atlanta City Council and Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education for 2013.
To date, we have already announced several endorsements, along with full explanations. This list includes all endorsements for City Council, including ones already announced and ones that are being announced herein. We will publish our APS BOE full list under separate cover.
MAYOR OF ATLANTA – DECLINE TO ENDORSE
COUNCIL PRESIDENT – CEASAR MITCHELL (INCUMBENT)
DISTRICT 1 – DUAL ENDORSEMENT: CARLA SMITH (INCUMBENT) AND ROBERT WELSH
It is rare that we endorse more than one candidate in a race. We had a strong interview with Robert Welsh, and if readers are concerned more about the challenger’s platform as it compares to the incumbent’s voting record, then Welsh is the right choice.
Smith is in tenth place on the APN Atlanta City Council Scorecard, out of fifteen, with a score of 39.53. However, Smith is accessible and has committed to APN to pursue significant affordable housing legislation in the next Council Session.
A third candidate, Bill Powell, is largely unknown.
DISTRICT 2 – KWANZA HALL (INCUMBENT)
Hall is in fourth place on the Scorecard with a score of 64.71. He worked with APN to introduce successful legislation strengthening the City Council’s open meetings rules, to require Committee Briefings to be open to the public. He has no challenger.
DISTRICT 3 – REV. DARRION FLETCHER
The incumbent in this race in Ivory Young.
DISTRICT 4 – TORRY LEWIS
In a published interview with APN, Lewis said he opposed limiting public comment. In a separate unpublished interview with APN, Lewis said he would have voted against the Falcons Stadium without a community benefits agreement in place; supports later bar closing times; opposed the Cheshire Bridge rezoning; supports banning the use of bullhooks by circuses on elephants in Atlanta; opposed the Yolanda Adrean (District 8) pension reform plan; opposes the various panhandling laws passed by the Council since 2005; and supports street vendors.
Incumbent Cleta Winslow (District 4) is tied with Alex Wan (District 6) for eighth and ninth place, with a score of 40 on the Scorecard. Winslow also has numerous unpaid tax liens, previous ethics violations, and a recent DUI charge.
DISTRICT 5: NATALYN ARCHIBONG (INCUMBENT)
Having already made an early endorsement of Archibong weeks ago, we have a couple things to add about this race. First, according to multiple witnesses, Christian Enterkin, one of Archibong’s more formidable opponents out of four, exhibited angry and erratic behavior at a recent debate.
Also, readers have asked us to weigh in on Archibong’s recent settlement with the City’s Ethics Office. Out of all the ethics cases we have ever seen where there was a settlement or fine, this is the weakest, most insignificant one.
Several years ago, Archibong paid a vendor for services to her Council office. The vendor did not have a checking account due to poor credit, so Archibong made the check out to her brother’s company, who, in turn, made sure the vendor got paid.
The City’s ethics rules require disclosure of payments that benefit relatives; however, Archibong’s brother did not benefit, so she did not disclose the payment. If Archibong had disclosed the payment, she would have disclosed a benefit that did not occur.
The Ethics Officer found that the “pass through” payment could arguably be construed as a benefit, not that it was one. It is not clear how the Board would have ruled had Archibong not quickly settled. Archibong has cooperated with the Ethics Office and has committed to introduce legislation to clarify the meaning of the word benefit in the code.
The corporate media’s coverage of this issue has been a dreadful failure. We consider Archibong’s reelection to be a top priority for progressive public policy in the City of Atlanta. Without Archibong on the Council, the Adrean pension reform proposal might have passed. Without Archibong on the Council, the multi-Committee public comment limits might have passed.
Archibong can be counted on to be progressive and independent, even when she’s the only one willing to oppose legally and morally questionable proposals that come before the Council. Archibong faces four challengers.
DISTRICT 6 – TRACEY AUSTIN
Tracey Austin provided strong questionnaire responses to APN. Meanwhile, we have a number of reasons why we think incumbent Alex Wan is bad news for the City Council, as outlined in a recent article.
A third candidate, Mike Boyle, did not participate in a requested phone interview. APN had reached out to him after he told Georgia Voice magazine that he supported Bradley Manning [now Chelsea Manning], which we thought was a strong indicator that he might be progressive.
DISTRICT 7 – DECLINE TO ENDORSE
Incumbent Howard Shook has a score of 41.86 on the Scorecard putting him in seventh place. He’s not accessible and he’s mean.
Bobby Montgomery did not return a call from APN, and we don’t know much about late entry Abid Haque. An initial review of Haque’s website shows that he opposes limiting public comment, and has called out Mr. Shook for his repeated attempts to silence members of the public.
DISTRICT 8 – YOLANDA ADREAN (INCUMBENT)
Yolanda Adrean has a comparatively high score, of 52.94, on the APN Scorecard, putting her in sixth place; not bad for a representative from Buckhead. Adrean is thoughtful and independent, and she generally tries to accommodate public comment. We talk a lot about the Adrean pension reform plan because it was atrocious, but it should not obscure the many good votes that Adrean has taken. She faces no challenger.
DISTRICT 9 – FELICIA MOORE (INCUMBENT)
DISTRICT 10 – CT MARTIN (INCUMBENT)
Martin has a score of 58.54, putting him in fifth place on the Scorecard. He faces no challenger.
DISTRICT 11 – RON SHAKIR
The incumbent in this race is Keisha Lance Bottoms.
DISTRICT 12 – DECLINE TO ENDORSE
Incumbent Joyce Sheperd has a score of 35.3 out of 100, putting her in twelfth place on the Scorecard, and she has been an enemy of public comment. She faces no challenger.
POST 1-AT-LARGE – MICHAEL JULIAN BOND (INCUMBENT)
Michael Julian Bond has a score of 66.67 on the Scorecard, putting him in third place. In 2010, Bond worked with APN on legislation offering an apology by the City of Atlanta for the Atlanta Eagle raid of 2009, which later passed. He faces no challenger.
POST 2-AT-LARGE – MARY NORWOOD
The incumbent in this race is Aaron Watson.
POST 3-AT-LARGE – ANDRE DICKENS
Lamar Willis, the incumbent, absolutely, positively has to go. He was recently disbarred by the Supreme Court of Georgia for converting funds for an injured child to his personal use. Before that, he had a unregistered scholarship foundation, through which he also converted funds to his personal use. He has numerous tax liens against him. He has a score of 35.13 on the Scorecard, putting him in thirteenth place. He has viciously verbally attacked members of the public and city employees during Full Council and Council Committee meetings. Mayor Reed should be ashamed for supporting him.
Dickens, in an interview with APN, declined to take positions on several issues and demonstrated a lack of knowledge about others. However, he took several positions that establish him as an improvement over Willis. He would have voted no on the Falcons Stadium without a community benefits agreement in place; would not have supported public comment limits; and would not have supported the Adrean pension reform plan. Dickens is accessible, has committed to support significant affordable housing legislation, and promises ethical leadership. For these reasons, we believe it is critical to support Andre Dickens and send Willis home.