APN Responds to Attacks by Enterkin, Candidate in District 5
(APN) ATLANTA — Christian Enterkin, a candidate running for the District 5 Atlanta City Council seat currently held by incumbent Natalyn Archibong, has posted an opinion article on the East Atlanta Patch website attacking Atlanta Progressive News over an October 26, 2013 news article concerning Enterkin’s professional interest in cell phone towers and billboards.
In the article, APN reports that Enterkin is the Vice President of Acquisitions for Landmark Dividends, a company that benefits from cell phone towers and billboards. The company acquires lease payments from property owners who have cell towers and billboards on their property, and provides the property owners with lump sum payments.
APN noted that cell towers are an important issue to District 5 residents. Councilwoman Archibong passed legislation earlier this year to restrict the placement of cell towers in District 5 after two proposals were submitted for towers near residences in East Atlanta Village.
Billboards are also important because of state legislation in 2011 that allows trees to be cut down within 500 feet of billboards. This legislation is preventing the implementation of pedestrian-friendly zoning schemes in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood.
Enterkin–who had responded within 19 minutes to a previous APN inquiry regarding stolen yard signs on October 20–has yet to respond to a series of questions emailed to Enterkin on October 21, now six days ago, concerning her position on various issues involving cell towers and billboards.
Enterkin thus has refused to answer whether she would continue working full-time for Landmark if elected to Council; whether she would recuse herself from votes involving cell towers or billboards; what her position is on Archibong’s cell tower legislation; and what her position is on the statewide billboard legislation.
Instead of responding to the questions or the article, and instead of making correction requests, Enterkin has engaged in a tactic of posting an opinion article attacking APN on the East Atlanta Patch website.
In Enterkin’s opinion article, she makes several false assertions. Herein, APN will review the false assertions and respond:
(1) Enterkin: APN’s News Editor–the present writer–is a “paid operative[s] of Natalyn Archibong”
Enterkin uses the phrase paid operative, but does not substantiate her claim. Later, she notes that APN accepts advertising from campaigns and has a campaign ad from Archibong, implicitly asserting that advertising with APN constitutes APN’s News Editor being a paid operative.
To be sure, APN has extensive campaign advertising, both in our e-newsletter and on our website. Since the beginning of the campaign season, APN has had at least fifteen municipal candidate advertisements, and we are extremely proud of this fact because it shows how much the candidates value our readers, and how much the candidates desire to have the opportunity to connect with our readers directly through online graphic advertising.
With only a week to go until the election, other online news services have only a small handful of online candidate ads, while others have none.
Candidate advertising with APN does not create a “paid operative” relationship between APN and the candidate. Note the following two examples: In the APS Board of Education Seat 8 race, we endorsed Cynthia Briscoe-Brown, who did not advertise, and did not endorse Mark Riley, who did. In the Seat 9 race, we endorsed Ed Johnson, who did not advertise, and did not endorse Lori James, who did.
(2) Enterkin: “APN endorsed Natalyn Archibong before qualifying began and before I entered the race.”
Enterkin is wrong. Enterkin entered the race on or around May 30, 2013; qualifying began August 26. APN issued Early Endorsements of Archibong and Felicia Moore (District 9) on September 08, 2013.
APN did take the extraordinary step of endorsing Archibong and Moore earlier than most candidates, although we eventually weighed in on every Council and APS BOE race.
In the endorsement, we explained a special standard we apply to progressive incumbents: “The endorsement standard that APN applies to progressive incumbents in Atlanta–especially given that there are so few of them at any level of government–is that a challenger would have to not only meet, but exceed the incumbent’s record with their own promises. After all, an incumbent has a known record, while a challenger only has promises.”
With Archibong having the highest score on APN’s Atlanta City Councilmember Scorecard, and being the only Councilmember with an A, there was no evidence that any challenger would come close to surpassing her record in order to be considered for an endorsement.
(3) “Matthew Charles Cardinale… has misused his blog to make baseless attacks on my character.”
Atlanta Progressive News is a news service; not a blog.
APN has not made attacks on Enterkins’s character; APN has simply asked legitimate and pertinent policy questions that Enterkin refuses to answer.
(4) “My campaign has not received any contributions from cell tower or billboard special interest groups.”
Enterkin appears to be knowingly telling a falsehood, also known as lying. Enterkin received a one thousand dollar campaign contribution from Landmark Dividend, her employer, which clearly is a group that has a special interest in cell towers and billboards, seeing as how the company’s entire business model revolves around those two commodities.
(5) Enterkin: “I have never received a contribution from Dan Halpern, as stated in [APN]… Halpern Properties is owned by Jack Halpern, who is of no relation to Dan Halpern. Additionally, Halpern Properties is a management firm based out of Doraville – not the City of Atlanta, and is not an airport concessionaire. Thus, [Cardinale’s] reporting on this simple issue was blatantly dishonest and intentionally misleading.”
APN made one factual error about a 250 dollar donation–confusing one influential Atlanta Halpern with another–that was tangential at best to the main story line. Despite not receiving a correction request from Enterkin, APN has already corrected this item on the article page on the APN website. Readers may have to refresh their browser to see the update.
The error was not “intentionally misleading.” Enterkin has no evidence of intent and her comment is slanderous.
(6) Enterkin: “Even more ridiculous is his attempt to try and link my employment with Landmark Dividend to proposed cell tower legislation and cancer in infants, which is exceptionally dishonest and irresponsible.”
The common link between Landmark Divided and Archibong’s cell tower legislation is Ms. Enterkin. Ms. Enterkin makes her living from a company that profits off of the existence of cell phone towers. Therefore, it seems questionable that Enterkin would have supported the legislation, introduced by Archibong and enacted by the Council, which placed limits on the establishment of new towers, ie new business opportunities for Landmark and Enterkin, in District 5.
As for cancer in infants, APN reported that concerns about a possible link between cell phone towers and cancer motivated some District 5 residents in opposing the placement of new towers in a residential neighborhood. Residents have a right to have whatever concerns they want to have in a democracy.
Again, Enterkin chooses to engage in baseless personal character attacks rather than simply state her positions on cell phone tower and billboard-related policy issues affecting Atlantans.