Archive for August, 2009

Clark Atlanta profs claim ownership of ‘black mayor’ memo

Two academics from Clark Atlanta University, political scientists William Boone and Keith Jennings, have claimed authorship of the memo that has roiled the race for mayor.

The two say that accusations that the memo is racist — Mayor Shirley Franklin used the word “bigoted,” and two African-American candidates have condemned it — are “patently false.”

A joint statement from Boone and Jennings was just published by the Newsmaker Journal, the same outfit that distributed the original memo suggesting that African-Americans line up behind Lisa Borders to block the election of a white candidate, Mary Norwood.

Several news outlets, including WABE-FM (90.1FM) and this one, also have obtained copies of the claim to authorship.

Boone is a respected voice in state and local politics, frequently quoted by this newspaper. As a matter of fact, Boone is quoted in an Associated Press article that just moved across the wires, though he is not specifically identified as one of the two …

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The Kasim Reed polling memo

This morning, the Atlanta mayoral campaign of Kasim Reed released the results of a tracking poll that showed the state senator in third place:

Which may have struck some of you as a strange bragging point. The specifics: Mary Norwood, 33%; Lisa Borders, 19% and Reed, 16%.

What Reed is advertising is movement relative to his two rivals — at least, according to the poll memo being distributed to potential donors.

Download it here, but this is the gist:

Although Norwood currently leads the pack, she has not managed to make any statistically meaningful progress since she began her campaign (Norwood support — May: 32 percent; August: 33 percent). With the so-called front-runner stalled in a going nowhere fast campaign and the second place candidate losing ground (Borders support — May: 25 percent; August: 19 percent) and poised to fall even further behind, it is clear that the dynamic of this race has changed. Currently, Kasim Reed is the only candidate with a positive trend.

No …

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The sandwiching of Lisa Borders

Mary Norwood and Jesse Spikes qualified this morning as candidates in the Atlanta race for mayor. Kasim Reed has reserved Wednesday to do the same.

Lisa Borders has chosen tomorrow for her formal entry into the contest.

The ceremony will come on the heels of a frustrating weekend for the Atlanta city council president, who has found herself sandwiched by the circumstances that surround a now-discredited movement to rally African-American voters behind a single black candidate.

Liz Flowers, spokeswoman for the Borders campaign, called this afternoon — not to complain, but to vent about the unfairness of it all.

You can see her point. On Friday, the Borders campaign released the news that the candidate had been endorsed by International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 623 — an important development in an election where crime is a major concern.

But that message was overwhelmed, first by the Black Leadership Forum memo distributed by Aaron Turpeau, then by Mayor Shirley …

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Your morning jolt: The four-month fund-raising desert

In a weekly column he writes for Georgia newspapers, attorney and Republican strategist Randy Evans points to the tough choice many of the 2010 candidates for governor — Republican and Democrat — will face as the new year approaches.

Fund-raising pressures, he says, will force some of them to quit the race — or quit the state office that gives them a prominent platform from which to speak.

Georgia has a law that prohibits any elected statewide officeholder or member of the Georgia General Assembly from asking for or receiving a campaign contribution while the Georgia General Assembly is in session. The General Assembly convenes on January 11, 2010 and will probably extend into April 2010.

As a result, current statewide elected officials and members of the General Assembly can not raise any money during this time.

What does this mean? Well, in the Republican Primary, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, Secretary of State Karen Handel, state
Sen. Eric Johnson, and …

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Franklin: ‘Black mayor first’ memo is ‘bigoted’

Shirley Franklin called Friday afternoon with a stark description of the memo you’ve heard about — the one that frets over the possibility that Atlanta might choose a white mayor to succeed her in November.

“I think it was bigoted,” Franklin said. It was not a slip of the tongue. The mayor used multiple variations of the word.

But what seemed to offend Franklin just as much was what she called the “lopsided history of Atlanta and Atlanta politics” contained in the document.

The mayor said more, but we need to back up a bit.

The lengthy analysis that careened through e-mail accounts last week was distributed by Aaron Turpeau, a long-time City Hall veteran whose political career was capped by service as chief of staff to Maynard Jackson.

In an interview, Turpeau said the analysis was written by two academics associated with Clark Atlanta University on behalf of an “ad hoc” group called the Black Leadership Forum.

The memo was an attempt to form an agenda for …

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Lisa Borders wins Atlanta police union endorsement

The Atlanta mayoral campaign of Lisa Borders has won the endorsement of the local union of police officers.

Writes my AJC colleague Eric Stirgus:

The endorsement was heavily sought by several sought since crime and public safety has been the biggest concern many Atlantans have about the city.

Borders has proposed increasing the size of Atlanta’s police force by about 170 officers in her first term, if she’s elected. She also wants to give officers raises and wants to work with the business community on initiatives that help more police officers buy homes in the city.

The full endorsement letter the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 623 is now up on the Borders web site. It says in part:

You are the only candidate that took time to meet with the Union on a regular basis to discuss a strategic long term plan for our men and women to ensure our department is fully staffed and equipped to fight crime for our city. You are also the only candidate that we would …

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Kasim Reed and gay marriage

Southern Voice, a newspaper geared toward gay and lesbians in Atlanta, is up today with a question-and-answer session with Kasim Reed, the state senator and Atlanta mayoral candidate.

The matter of gay marriage separates Reed from other leading candidates, including City Council President Lisa Borders and Councilwoman Mary Norwood.

Southern Voice saved a question on the topic for last:

SV: At an LGBT forum you said that you support civil unions while the other candidates support full marriage equality. You’ve clarified your views in subsequent conversations. Would you like to re-address that issue?

Reed: I would like to make it crystal clear that I believe in full legal equality as I have shared with you before, that I am adamantly opposed to discrimination in my personal life and am opposed it when it comes to equality.

And I also to say that this: I hope that the 11-year record on almost every — no not almost — every single issue of importance that I have been involved …

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Warner to have end-of-life talks with Isakson

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, the Democrat from Virginia, says he’ll have conversations next month with a specific Republican colleague on the topic of end-of-life proposals for inclusion in health care reform legislation.

This from the New York Times:

… Mr. Warner said he had not decided whether he would seek to add an end-of-life provision if a health care bill comes to the Senate floor this fall without one. He said that he and a Republican sponsor of similar legislation, Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, have agreed to discuss the matter when Congress returns to work in September after its summer recess.

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Your morning jolt: Think about a new interstate through east Atlanta, says Oxendine

While examining the Atlanta mayoral race yesterday, I picked up a call from a friend who was more interested in the Republican contest for governor.

The topics merged when I was told that state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine had figured out a way to neutralize many of the Democratic votes that come out of the city year after year after year.

It’s very simple. You pave over them, by building another interstate through Atlanta’s east side, roughly parallel with the current Downtown Connector.

Manuel’s Tavern, of course, would deserve its own exit.

With a laser pointer, Oxendine explains his thinking in a video on his campaign web site, at about the 4:30-minute mark:

Oxendine’s Transportation Solution from Team Ox TV on Vimeo.

Says the Ox:

”One thing we’ve got to address is the [Downtown] Connector. Everyone agrees the Connector is beyond capacity.

“You cannot widen the Connector. Some people say we should double-stack it. Some people say we should tunnel under …

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Thurmond passes on move to Washington

State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond just served notice that he’s officially declined the offer to move to Washington D.C. and work in the Obama Administration.

He’s withdrawn his name from what apparently was an offer to work in a third-tier position within the U.S. Department of Labor. Said Thurmond:

“I appreciate the opportunity afforded by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Assistant Secretary Jane Oates to serve in the Obama administration. However, after much thought and prayer, I have decided to continue focusing my energy and efforts on helping nearly half-a-million jobless Georgians get back to work.”

The decision, of course, makes it much more likely that Thurmond, a Democrat, will eventually jump into the race for lieutenant governor against Republican incumbent Casey Cagle.

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