APN Endorses Fort, Finds Norwood Favorable; Endorses Bond
(APN) ATLANTA — The Board of Directors of Atlanta Progressive News has issued a first round of endorsements in the 2017 City of Atlanta races for Mayor of Atlanta, and the Post 1-at-large Council seat.
For Mayor of Atlanta, APN endorses former State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), a progressive champion, as our first choice for Mayor; and APN rates Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood (Post 2-at-large), our second choice for Mayor, as Favorable/Qualified.
For Post 1-at-large, APN is endorsing Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond, the incumbent. Out of the fifteen Council races and the Council President race, this is the only race where we feel strongly compelled to make an endorsement at this time.
VINCENT FORT: ENDORSEMENT FOR MAYOR
Former State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) is a powerful orator and force for progressive social change, who has been on the right side of nearly every issue of Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, and even national politics for as long as we’ve known him.
The Atlanta Progressive News archives, dating back to 2005, are filled with dozens of examples of Sen. Fort speaking on behalf of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, Grady Hospital patients, public housing residents, and many more underserved communities.
Sen. Fort also is distinguished to have a 100 percent voting record on the APN State House and Senate Scorecard, which scores the Fulton and DeKalb County delegations.
Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that if elected, Sen. Fort will be the most progressive of all nine candidates on issues of community benefits, community-led development, affordable housing, and many other issues.
Sen. Fort’s campaign has energized progressive young people to become involved in Atlanta politics, and we are all better off for that.
If elected, Sen. Fort would be most likely to take some of the boldest and most progressive policies from around the U.S, and put them into action; and most likely to include progressive activists in decisionmaking.
While he has been known to be a bit of a grudge-holder and a bridge-burner, he’s no Keisha Lance Bottoms (District 11), who said at a recent Mayoral debate that she will “cut you with a smile.”
You know, and after taking the side of low-income people, homeless people, the downtrodden, the causes of social justice for so long in the polarized political climate of Atlanta, Georgia, if an elected official hasn’t pissed off at least a few people, then that would really be cause for concern.
When considering the balance of all factors, we are pleased to endorse Sen. Fort, because, even if he has not been the most consistently accessible candidate to Atlanta Progressive News over the years, we know that Sen. Fort would create and lead one of the most progressive administrations in the history of the City of Atlanta.
MARY NORWOOD: FAVORABLE/QUALIFIED FOR MAYOR
Atlanta City Councilwoman Norwood is an accessible, independent voice for all of Atlanta, who has been known to stand up to developers on behalf of communities.
Atlanta Progressive News endorsed Mary Norwood in 2009 over then-former State Sen. Kasim Reed (D-Atlanta). In that race, we believed that Norwood was the more progressive candidate, and we were one of the only news publications to endorse Norwood.
Norwood is serious about restoring distressed communities in South Atlanta; she wants to conduct a baseline inventory of our existing affordable housing stock, to guide our public policy strategy; she co-sponsored the proposed ordinance to use surplus city property for affordable housing; she co-sponsored and gave critical input on a proposed ordinance to allow height bonuses to be used for affordable housing.
In 2006, Norwood supported a McMansion moratorium that sought to help homeowners whose modest homes were being dwarfed by giant infill housing known as McMansions.
She has also been a strong voice for ethics and will return fair, transparent, competitive bidding to our airport concessions procurement.
Despite all the fearmongering about independent Norwood allegedly being a Republican in 2009, fueled by the tactics and playbook of then-Reed supporter State Sen. Fort, it turned out that Mr. Reed was the big business, big developer Mayor that APN predicted.
Norwood is not a Republican; she’s independent. But if you look at the last eight years of Mayor Reed, a Democrat, and Fulton County Chairman John Eaves, a Democrat: the City drastically cut pensions; the City sold major real estate assets like City Hall East with little or no public benefits; the County privatized Grady Hospital. If this is what Democrats are doing, then what cause of fear is really left for us to have, as is relates to Republicans?
Norwood has forged relationships across the City, across racial and economic and party lines. She will bring a new day to City Hall that would mark the end of the same big business-big developer alliance that has coopted the last several Mayoral regimes.
If Norwood gets into a Run-off with any candidate other than Sen. Fort, we expect to endorse Norwood.
MICHAEL JULIAN BOND: ENDORSEMENT FOR POST 1-AT-LARGE
Councilman Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large) has been more than one of the most progressive members of the Atlanta City Council; he has been a trusted partner and friend of the progressive community.
When no one else was willing to support the patrons of the Atlanta Eagle after the 2009 raid, Councilman Bond introduced an apology that later passed when the City of Atlanta settled with the named plaintiffs.
Councilman Bond stood with the communities of the now-former Turner Field, and created a Trust Fund that now is set to have more than five million dollars, plus an ongoing revenue stream for at least the next ten years. This fund will support affordable housing, community development, and job training.
Councilman Bond convened a series of meetings with the community that led to the introduction of the Turner Field Trust Fund, and the community was involved in the drafting of several rounds of amendments that led to the bill’s passage in Committee.
Bond is today the *only* Councilmember to have stuck by the public and said that there ought not to be a time limit on public comment in Committees. He understands that democratic participation is central to progressive public policy, and believes that public comment is not the problem, but part of the solution.
His unwavering support for public comment is the reason that we are compelled to endorse Bond in this race, but not in any other Council race at this time.
Because the other fourteen Councilmembers have supported time limits in one way or another, we see no reason to endorse them at this time. Okay? If our two minutes is up, then maybe your’all’s four years is up. We are not playing.
Bond introduced a resolution in response to the Citizens United case, calling for a U.S. Constitutional amendment clarifying the right of U.S Congress to regulate campaign contributions.
Bond introduced an ordinance to take city surplus property and, where feasible, sell parcels for a dollar to nonprofit developers for use as affordable housing intended to serve households earning 0 to 30 percent of the Area Median Income.
We could go on.
Now, Bond did have some ethics challenges that resulted in him paying a fine to the City of Atlanta, including some office expenditures that were found to be improper or questionable.
However, Atlanta Public School Board of Education Member Courtney English, who is challenging Bond and is being supported by former Mayor Shirley Franklin, has no room to criticize Bond on this issue.
As previously reported by APN, English misused his APS credit card to make personal expenditures. Then after being warned, did it again, and lied about it in an email to constituents, saying he had not done it before.
In full disclosure, and as APN has disclosed consistently in coverage related to Councilman Bond, APN’s News Editor has been a paid city supplier for Councilman Bond’s Office on two projects over the last eight years – producing one constituent newsletter and performing legislative drafting services on a recent ordinance. APN’s News Editor thus abstained from the APN Board of Directors endorsement vote, which still passed unanimously.
(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2017)