APN Endorses Norwood, Moore, Dozier
MARY NORWOOD FOR MAYOR OF ATLANTA
Previously, prior to the General Election, APN endorsed former State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) for Mayor of Atlanta, and rated Norwood “qualified.”
At that time, we noted that we would endorse Mary Norwood, should she be in a Run-off with any candidate other than Fort.
Thus, with Norwood now in a Run-off with Keisha Lance Bottoms (District 11), APN formally endorses Norwood.
In this endorsement of Norwood, we re-incorporate all the reasons we previously stated for rating Norwood “favorable.”
FELICIA MOORE FOR CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT
First of all, Atlanta City Councilwoman Felicia Moore (District 9) has been one of the most progressive and independent members of the Atlanta City Council for at least the last twelve years that Atlanta Progressive News has covered in our reporting.
Moore has the second-highest score on the Atlanta Progressive News City Council Scorecard, following Natalyn Archibong (District 5).
This is important because the Council President gets to select the seven Committee Chairs, and we believe that Moore is more likely to select more progressive committee chairs than Alex Wan would select.
Wan pushed the horrible pension reform plan, while Moore helped to block it and then to create a compromise with the unions which passed unanimously. Wan pushed the effort to use questionable zoning strategies to get rid of adult entertainment establishments on Cheshire Bridge Road. These substantive positions matter because his Committee Chairs would more likely have pension-cutting, anti-adult entertainment worldviews.
Neither Moore nor Wan included “being progressive” in their list of factors they would consider when selecting committee chairs, but we believe their policy values would naturally shape their selections.
Second, Moore seems to be willing to dedicate more time and attention to the details of the work of being a Councilmember, and to the issues of Council process and operations that are central to the role of Council President.
Moore has relished her role as Committee on Council chairwoman, where she has made Council process an area of expertise.
In general, Wan has had a less active Council office and Council presence. He has a full-time job at Emory University’s library, and has always worked full-time in addition to serving on Council.
Meanwhile, Wan has operated a bare bones office, and has had so much money left over every year that he has routinely given very sizeable contributions from his Council office budget to Piedmont Park Conservancy and other organizations.
We are more confident that if a member of the public has a grievance with somebody working under the oversight of the Council President, or if there is an issue related to Council process or operations, that Moore would have the time and interest to look into that kind of minutae and correct the problem.
Council President Ceasar Mitchell has surrounded himself by a wall of consultants who have shielded him from the details of the work of his office. Moore would be hands on and the buck would always stop with her.
Moore has continued to do some real estate work on the side while serving as a Councilmember, but it is a more flexible second job than working full-time at a library; and Moore’s real estate work has never seemed to interfere with her ability to be a highly-involved Councilmember.
Third, on the issues of transparency and public input, Moore is the preferable candidate, although we have a mixed analysis of both candidates.
There have been some things that Moore has done that have made her a champion of transparency and public input. For example, when she was chair of Finance/Executive Committee, she oversaw an exercise in participatory budgeting. She has pushed for all Council Office expenditures to be public.
But she has not always been a consistent champion of public comment and transparency, at least at first. On at least three occasions, though, we have found her to be willing to change her views. In general, if we had one critique, we wish she would more consistently side with the public as a first response.
As Chair of Committee on Council, for example, she instituted a public comment time limit, consisting of three minutes at the beginning of the meeting, and two minutes at the end. However, upon reporting by APN that Committee members failed to maintain a quorum at the end of the meeting, Moore merged the two comment sections into one five minute section. This at least shows she is responsive.
When APN’s News Editor–the present writer–sued the City regarding the City Council’s now-former practice of holding closed-door Committee Briefings, Moore was originally quite defensive of the City’s position. But she eventually became the first Committee Chair to voluntarily open her Briefings to the public.
Recently, she took a position in an interview with APN that she did not necessarily think there should be a right for the public to comment at every Committee Work Session. However, she eventually, after hearing the rationale for a consistent opportunity for public comment, supported an ordinance by Councilman Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large) to codify that right.
Wan, when he first came on the Council, had a vendetta against public comment, saying he thought it was inefficient.
In 2010, he voted at a Council Retreat, to draft a multi-Committee public comment limit.
The motion failed, but he refused to disclose how he voted.
APN’s News Editor–the present writer–had to sue the City of Atlanta all the way up to the Supreme Court of Georgia, which ruled, in 2012, that certain vote details had to be listed; and the City then had to go back and disclose how each Councilmember voted.
Wan not only refused to disclose his vote, but he requested that the Law Department defend his position that his vote should be a secret.
On May 11, 2010, Wan wrote the following to Peter Andrews in the City Law Department: “I don’t appreciate this manner of bullying over a matter I believe he will have little or no grounds for any lawsuit.”
“That said, I wanted to make sure that as our counsel, you’re comfortable with my position and that if he does end up filing the lawsuit as threatened that the City is prepared to defend me and any other Councilmembers that choose not to submit to his tactics,” Wan wrote at the time.
You know, Mr. Wan has tried to, over the last year, show that he has changed; that he has gotten more used to the idea of public criticism included in the form of public comment.
But he never really apologized for taking that position, of requiring APN to pursue two years of litigation just so he wouldn’t have to disclose that he voted to limit public comment.
That was beyond the pale. And yes the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled he was wrong, but it would have been nice to hear him say, “I was wrong. I cost the taxpayers thousands in legal expenses because I was offended by the demands of an average citizen.”
Felicia Moore, even though she conducted the secret vote and was also offended, disclosed how she voted without hesitation.
Felicia Moore is an extraordinary public servant – she’s not perfect, but the low standard set by many of her colleagues has allowed her to shine in Council Meetings time and again.
When no one else would support the public housing residents in 2007 and 2008, Moore met with APN to review documents we obtained through records request from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Moore demanded, and won, additional Council oversight and transparency with regard to the demolitions. [Wan wasn’t on Council at the time.]
It’s ironic that U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)–who did nothing but take the side of the Atlanta Housing Authority–would endorse Wan. Because we’ve said several times that the caliber of Felicia Moore’s public oversight makes her well-suited for U.S. Congress.
During the airport concessions ordeal–the one where the federal government has now identified bribery of public officials at the highest levels–Felicia Moore led the questioning of the administration that made it very clear, even back then, that the airport had a subjective, manipulable bidding process with little documentation to support it. Wan supported the Mayor.
Recently, Moore was the only Councilmember to oppose the Wells Fargo banking services contract with the City of Atlanta, due to Wells Fargo’s support of the Dakota Access Pipeline and other issues. This just shows she is in touch with what progressive leaders are doing nationally; that she is willing to translate her values into action. Wan supported Wells Fargo.
JASON DOZIER FOR DISTRICT 4
We have had long-standing issues with Cleta Winslow – her repeated ethical lapses that do not seem to phase her, her contempt for the Ethics Office, her recklessness in driving while drunk, her poor attendance record.
But the worst is really Winslow’s record and continual statements in regards to affordable housing.
Winslow’s District 4 has high concentrations of poverty, and she is looking to bring in some higher income people to the neighborhood, in hopes that retail and other amenities will follow.
But she has generally spoken against affordable housing policies, especially those targeting households at 0 to 30 percent of the Area Median Income – saying her district already has too much affordable housing.
This is such an unsophisticated view for someone who has served so many terms, and who has observed the effects of gentrification so many neighborhoods. Winslow does not seem to understand that proactive steps must be taken through public policy to prevent displacement.
She has supported the demolition of public housing every step of the way.
It is very frustrating, when we know some of the difficulties of higher-income Atlantans in Midtown and Buckhead to relate to the needs and experiences of low-income families, because of their privilege – that the greatest opposition to affordable housing policies seem to come, not from the upper-income Districts of 6, 7, or 8, but from Winslow, Joyce Sheperd (District 12), and Ivory Young (District 3), who represent some of the poorest neighborhoods in Atlanta.
Jason Dozier promised to support a wide range of progressive policies in his APN Candidate Questionnaire, and he has the support of many progressive affordable housing activists following his work with the Turner Field Community Benefit Coalition.
(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2017)