Bond, Archibong, Smith Reelected to Atlanta Council
The incumbents returning to Council are Carla Smith (District 1), Ivory Lee Young (District 3), Natalyn Archibong (District 5), Howard Shook (District 7), Joyce Sheperd (District 12), Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large), and Andre Dickens (Post 3-at-large).
An eighth incumbent Cleta Winslow (District 4) is in a Run-off with challenger Jason Dozier.
This article reviews the races where incumbents were reelected. In part two, APN will review Run-off Elections, which are scheduled for Districts 4, 9, 11, and Council President; and the elections where new Councilmembers have been elected to open seats in Districts 2, 6, 8, 10, and Post 2-at-large.
Incumbent Carla Smith (District 1) will return to Atlanta City Council, with 55.62 percent of the vote, after fending off an election challenge from Mo Ivory, a former radio talk show host who received 37.15 percent.
Smith was considered an endangered incumbent after progressive activists had targeted Smith due to her role in allowing the sale of Turner Field without a community benefits agreement, and in supporting the City’s eminent domain actions involving several homes in Peoplestown.
Incumbent Ivory Lee Young (District 3) will return to the Council, with 67.22 percent of the vote. Greg Clay received 32.78 percent.
Incumbent Natalyn Archibong (District 5) will return to the Council, with 51.29 percent of the vote. Her race garnered national attention after Liliana Bakhtiari established herself as a young, progressive challenger who was inspired by Donald Trump’s election as President of the U.S.
“I’m very humbled and appreciative of the supporters in District 5 who have allowed me to continue to serve for four more years,” Archibong told Atlanta Progressive News.
“That old adage that all politics is local applies here. When you bring in people who have a national agenda, the local focus can get lost in translation,” Archibong said, referring to Bakhtiari’s endorsement by groups like Our Revolution and Run for Something.
Archibong has consistently been the most progressive incumbent on the Atlanta City Council, and it was never really clear what grievances these organizations had, if any, with Archibong – unlike the District 1 race, where it was clear why many residents were upset with Carla Smith.
“The candidate running against me had a national alliance – Our Revolution and some other national organizations that she participated in, I think that was the bigger driver,” Archibong said.
“I think it’s important to have constituencies that come organically up from the community to the City Council. It is the stronger and more effective route – it’s more reflective of the needs and desires of the constituents you will be serving,” Archibong said.
“I think she wanted to build on my record and continue the work that I started. I’m doing that work right now myself,” Archibong said.
“Her issues around affordability and transit, she had no concrete options. We have the surplus property legislation, we’re reconstituting the Housing Commission – we’re really producing tangible results… and that wasn’t a space she occupies,” Archibong said.
Archibong was referring to the Surplus Property Affordable Housing ordinance that passed Full Council unanimously on Monday, November 06, 2017.
Incumbent Howard Shook (District 7) defeated Rebecca King with 68.74 percent of the vote.
Incumbent Joyce Sheperd (District 12) defeated several challengers with 56.82 percent of the vote. One of her challengers, Diana Watley, is the granddaughter of community activist and former public housing resident leader Louise Watley.
Incumbent Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large) fended off a vigorous challenge from Courtney English, who was being supported by former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.
“I’m very pleased and very humbled that the citizens of Atlanta would allow me to continue to serve. I’m very pleased they rejected the hyper-negative, divisive, derogatory, inflammatory, scurrilous, low, and base campaign that my opponents waged through their proxy Mr. English,” Bond told APN.
“It’s the easy way for a campaign to run negatively, to not run about their own vision, but to tear someone else down,” Bond said.
“Voters were denied a real debate on what they cared about. It’s unfortunate, people who were of a standing in this town would have to sink to such tactics to have to argue for their candidate,” Bond said.
“We’re going to stay focused on the things that I heard from Atlantans that are important to them, and keep their issues at the forefront. We’ve worked on the things the citizens have sent us to do. We delivered on affordable housing. We delivered on Turner Field,” Bond said, referring to the five million dollar Trust Fund that has been created for the neighborhoods surrounding the former Turner Field.
“I think it was a clear rejection of negative politics and the personalization that went on and the attacks in this campaign. I ran into people every day who thought the former Mayor was running for City Council, literally,” Bond said.
“In reality, I got to debate very little the person who put his name his name on the ballot. His campaign tried to make it into a referendum on the former mayor and myself, and I don’t think the voters appreciated that,” Bond said.
Andre Dickens (Post 3-at-large) was reelected without opposition.
(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2017)