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Rep. Long May Challenge Councilwoman Sheperd in 2013

(APN) ATLANTA -- State Rep. Ralph Long (D-Atlanta), who lost his seat to State Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) after being paired against her in last year’s redistricting process, is considering running for the City Council of Atlanta during the Municipal Elections being held next year in 2013.

As previously reported by Atlanta Progressive News, Long is one of at least two people considering a run against Councilman Lamar Willis (Post 3-at-large).  Shelitha Robertson, who almost beat Willis in 2009, has told APN she plans to challenge Willis again.

But a source familiar with the matter now tells APN that Long spoke with them about possibly running against Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd (District 12).

APN asked Long about his plans to possibly challenge Sheperd in an email on December 11, 2012, but has not received a reply.

In an earlier email on November 05, 2012, however, Long said, “I am considering a lot of things.”

Councilwoman Sheperd has been a moderately progressive Councilwoman, APN’s Atlanta City Councilmember Scorecard shows.

Sheperd was one of the six Councilmembers who held up a controversial pension reform proposal that would have harmed City workers even more than the reform legislation that later passed.  And Sheperd also was one of only a few Councilmembers willing to support a ban on the use of bullhooks to beat and torture elephants in the City of Atlanta.

However, other parts of Sheperd’s voting record, and her leadership as Chairperson of the Community Development/Human Resources Cmte, have left more to be desired.

As soon as Council President Ceasar Mitchell appointed Sheperd Chairperson in 2010, she became the only Chairperson to have a limit on public speaking time at a City Council Meeting.  

This originally included a two minute limit for citizens arriving to the meeting “late,” and a five minute limit for all other citizens.  However, Sheperd eliminated the two minute rule after APN’s Editor performed an original rap and R&B composition during public comment, entitled, “Why Punish People for Arriving Late?”

Since implementing the five minute rule in CD/HR, Sheperd supported a move to establish time limits at all Committees, and was one of the few Councilmembers who would not disclose their secret vote regarding that issue at the February 2010 Council Retreat.  

Sheperd’s insistence on maintaining the secrecy of her vote led in part to a Supreme Court of Georgia ruling in favor of APN’s Editor that certain details regarding non-roll call votes must be recorded in the minutes.  

Sheperd has also numerous times cut off citizens in the middle of their statements during public comment time, calling security on them if they ask to complete their statements.  Sheperd has called security on citizens numerous times.

When the two minute rule was still in place, one citizen gave up and went home without making any remarks after Sheperd told her she only had two minutes to speak.

Sheperd refused to ask Beltline Inc. to explain why they made deceptive written statements to the Cmte regarding the agency’s opposition to meaningful affordable housing requirements for the Beltline.

Also, as previously reported by APN, Sheperd accepted some troubling campaign contributions, including a one thousand dollar contribution from the Atlanta Realtors PAC while opposing the proposed Sustainable Building Ordinance, which the PAC opposed.

In addition, as also previously reported by APN, Sheperd allowed Sharon Gay, an attorney for private developer Jamestown, to co-host a fundraiser for her while CD/HR and Sheperd were considering legislation to sell the former City Hall East building to Jamestown.

In 2009, Sheperd faced three challengers, including Curtis Davis, Jr.; Chauncey Robinson; and Keisha Waites.  Waites, incidentally, went on to win a Special Election as State Representative in 2011 and currently serves in the State House.

Rep. Long was first elected to the State House in 2008, in an election where he ran unopposed.  Rep. Long was reelected in 2010.

In 2009, Rep. Long was the only State Representative to come out in support of Mary Norwood for Mayor of Atlanta.

During his time in the Legislature, Rep. Long has been a staunch supporter of charter schools, something that led APN to endorse Rep. Bell in the 2012 Democratic Primary.  The issue of charter schools, however, is not one that would likely come before the City Council of Atlanta.

Rep. Long was also in a well-publicized dispute with his neighbor, Mattie Brown, in which Long called the police to Brown’s house dozens of times and Long took Brown to Court regarding pit bulls that he said Brown was allowing to run loose in the neighborhood.  When asked when it was like to live next to Rep. Long, Brown told Channel 2 WSB-TV, “Hell!”


District 1 - APN previously reported that Councilwoman Carla Smith (District 1) is not planning to run again because, according to a source, Smith’s husband has gotten a job out-of-state; so far, there has been no further news on that front.

District 3 - According to Dwanda Farmer, Rev. Darrien Fletcher has announced his plans to challenge Councilman Ivory Young (District 3) in 2013.  Fletcher ran against Young in 2009 as well.  APN was not able to find a current working phone number, email address, or Facebook page for Fletcher.

District 4 - LaShawn Hoffman, who ran against Councilwoman Cleta Winslow (District 4) in 2009, told APN several months ago that he had not made any decision yet about running again.  Meanwhile, community activist Kwabena Nkromo had told APN more than a year ago of his plans to challenge Winslow.  Since then, Nkromo has campaigned for seats on the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education and in the State House; and he inexplicably sent graphic photographs of a sexual nature depicting himself and his former girlfriend to Atlanta City Councilmembers.

District 7 - In 2009, at least one Buckhead newspaper reported that Councilman Howard Shook (District 7) may not run again; no word yet on whether he will run for reelection in 2013.

District 9 - APN reported about a year ago that Pastor Stanley Calloway was planning to challenge Councilwoman Felicia Moore (District 9); however, more recently, a source told APN that that was unlikely to happen at this point.

District 12 - State Rep. Long may challenge Sheperd.

Post 1-at-large - There was a rumor going around that Councilman Kwanza Hall (District 2) might challenge Councilman Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large) in 2013; however, Hall said that absolutely was not true in an interview with APN.

Post 3-at-large - Shelitha Robertson is planning to run against Willis; Long is also considering a challenge against Willis as an alternative to a challenge against Sheperd.

Mayor - Al Bartell, a community activist who frequently attends meetings of the City Council of Atlanta and its committees, has been campaigning for some time against Mayor Kasim Reed, and is the only candidate other than Reed expected at this point to appear on the ballot.  In 2009, Bartell had been in the race for Council President, but dropped out of the race.


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