APN Endorsements Part Two: Archibong, Welsh, Boone
We are endorsing Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong (District 5); Lauren Welsh, candidate for the open District 2 seat being vacated by Kwanza Hall; and Andrea Boone, candidate for the open District 10 seat being vacated by C.T. Martin.
Previously, in our first round of endorsements, we endorsed Councilman Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large) for reelection; and former State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) for Mayor of Atlanta. We also rated Councilwoman Mary Norwood (Post 2-at-large) as qualified for Mayor.
NATALYN ARCHIBONG – DISTRICT 5
Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong has consistently held, or been tied for, the highest score on the Atlanta Progressive News Atlanta City Council Candidate Scorecard since it was first published in 2009 [with the exception of a short period when Andre Dickens, Post 3-at-large, first came on Council in 2014 and had a score of 100 percent with few data points].
This means she has been a champion of both progressive substantive policies, as well as participatory democracy and transparency, which is also rated throughout the Scorecard.
Archibong has been a trusted friend and partner of the advocacy community throughout the legislative process on many key ordinances related to affordable housing over the last few years, including the Affordable Housing Surplus Property ordinance, which is likely to pass Full Council on Monday, October 30, 2017; the Affordable Housing Impact Statement ordinance; and the ordinance she authored to revive the citizen-led Housing Commission.
Back in 2010 when it was considered sacrilegious to question the Atlanta Beltline, Archibong–along with Councilman Bond–supported greater accountability.
Actually, Archibong was one of the only Councilmembers willing to oppose the Beltline TAD – because she correctly perceived it wasn’t ready. When you unleash public resources to prop up development without adequate proactive mechanisms to mitigate gentrification, you get displacement.
When Atlanta Progressive News was pushing the issue of the now-former closed-door Committee Briefings of the Atlanta City Council, Archibong joined Councilwoman Felicia Moore (District 9) in opening her respective Committee Briefing to the public. Later, Kwanza Hall (District 2) introduced legislation opening all Briefings to the public.
Now, we are still most displeased and bothered to no end with Archibong’s decision as Chair of Community Development/Human Services Committee to restrict public comment time to three minutes at the beginning of the meeting, and an ineffective two minutes at the end.
However, Liliana Bakhtiari, who is challenging Archibong, also said she supported time limits.
When asked about the time limits, Archibong–who previously did not have a limit in committees she chaired–said she felt a couple citizens were obstructing the progress of meetings by making irrelevant, indecorous, or repetitive comments.
However, the Code already allows chairs to rule out of order comments that are irrelevant or indecorous. An amendment could add the word “repetitive.” But a hard and fast time limit puts undue anxiety on citizens who have facts and analyses to contribute to public discourse, and precludes them to making those full contributions.
That issue notwithstanding, we strongly encourage that voters return Archibong to Council.
Bakhtiari, in her responses to APN and in other media interviews, demonstrated a lack of knowledge of local policy issues. Her campaign seems to be based on the fact that she was a young person frustrated with the election of President Donald Trump. That might have been compelling if she had run for another seat – but not against the most principled and consistently progressive member of the Atlanta City Council.
LAUREN WELSH – DISTRICT 2
Welsh’s questionnaire responses were among the best, and, most importantly, she is against public speaking time limits in Committee.
In addition, Welsh said she did not support the City’s campaign to sabotage the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless; and that it should not have been closed until adequate replacement permanent shelter beds were put in place.
Amir Farokhi, the other candidate for this seat, has close ties to Central Atlanta Progress and A.J. Robinson, who led the conspiracy to sabotage the Task Force.
The last two Councilmembers for this seat–Debbie Starnes and Kwanza Hall–have basically been in the pocket of Central Atlanta Progress, and this has led to unconstitutional panhandling bans; replaced by constitutional but still horrible panhandling bans; criminalization of poor and homeless people through so-called “Quality of Life” ordinances; campaigns discouraging people from giving food or money to homeless people; the conspiracy to sabotage the Task Force; policies to undermine street vendors; privatization of downtown streets around Atlanta Underground.
Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results has been called the definition of insanity. We need someone with a different perspective. Welsh also brings her experience from the philanthropic community, where she helped lead the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, so she could use her expertise to shape policies and practices that could help to position the City of Atlanta to be competitive for more grants and philanthropic support.
ANDREA BOONE – DISTRICT 10
In this race and perhaps in general, Boone’s experience at City Hall, serving in the legislative and executive branches of government; and serving the people of Atlanta, is literally unmatched.
After serving as a legislative aide to Councilman C.T. Martin, Boone has served for the last eight years as the Commissioner of the Office of Constituent Services.
Boone and her staff take every phone call from a low-income senior or anyone else who is having an issue navigating city services and departments; they respond to calls for help; they respond to emergencies; they help workers and vendors and small businesses so to access every opportunity and have their grievances heard; they make sure that seniors stay cool, distributing hundreds of fans and air conditioners every year; they make sure that Atlanta’s unsung heroes are honored with proclamations; they make sure that citizen advocates can photocopy documents related to their advocacy.
Boone’s familiarity with the communities of Atlanta, of the services available in the City of Atlanta and how to deliver them seamlessly and access them with ease; and Boone’s heart for people, position her to be a strong asset to the Atlanta City Council.
EDITOR’S NOTE: APN’s News Editor, Matthew Charles Cardinale, abstained from voting on Councilwoman Archibong’s endorsement. As previously disclosed, Archibong’s Council office supported Cardinale’s legislative drafting work and stakeholder engagement related to the Surplus Property Affordable Housing Ordinance, with a payment of 2,200 dollars. This ordinance, when implemented, is expected to produce at least 78 new affordable homes in the City of Atlanta.
(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2017)