Your morning jolt: Another day, another discussion of race in ATL’s mayoral contest

While Lisa Borders signs the papers that will officially put her in the race for mayor this morning, Kasim Reed will be speaking to 80 or so African-American pastors at Paschal’s.

This will be followed sometime today, by a news conference called by Clark Atlanta University political scientists William Boone and Keith Jennings, authors of the “black mayor” memo.

Which means we’re in for another day of discussion about race and the Atlanta mayoral contest.

The topic isn’t something that Mary Norwood, the white councilwoman targeted by that memo, thinks enriches her day. The acknowledged frontrunner sought to change the subject this morning by pointing to an audit that showed the city’s water services in disarray.

Here’s the summary:

First, Atlanta mishandled last year’s water rate increase. Then it screwed up sending out bills.

After that, water and sewer officials improperly cut service for some Atlanta residents.

And now, Atlanta’s Watershed Management Department denies doing anything wrong….

“The facts are pretty straightforward,” said Leslie Ward, the city’s auditor. “The real story has been in the aftermath. I don’t think I’ve ever done an audit with indisputable evidence and the staff completely agreed with what happened, only to have the head of the department completely deny it. This is a new experience for me.”

Says Norwood: “Once again, we see the value of the audits that I have demanded for years.” She’s posted the complete 51-page report on her web site.

There’s no question which New York Times article today dominates the attention of Secretary of State Karen Handel — who recently asked the U.S. Justice Department to reconsider a veto of her voter-screening project:

Seven months after taking office, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is reshaping the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division by pushing it back into some of the most important areas of American political life, including voting rights, housing, employment, bank lending practices and redistricting after the 2010 census.

As part of this shift, the Obama administration is planning a major revival of high-impact civil rights enforcement against policies, in areas ranging from housing to hiring, where statistics show that minorities fare disproportionately poorly. President George W. Bush’s appointees had discouraged such tactics, preferring to focus on individual cases in which there is evidence of intentional discrimination.

While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s

  • Gwinnett whiffs on stadium-naming deal.
  • Authors of Atlanta ‘black mayor’ come forward.
  • Jim Maddox to call it quits on Atlanta council.
  • Atlanta
 soft on cheats?
  • Metro Atlanta gets $9 million to help families pay rent.
  • At Cobb forum, Gingrey’s attack on health care bill delights most attendees.
  • East Point delays 2010 budget vote after citizen input.
  • Some opinion:

  • Your Luckovich fix.
  • Conservatives hit the wrong health care reform target.
  • Reform would gut home health care.
  • From elsewhere in Georgia:

  • MDJ: Voters say Rep. Scott owes them answers.
  • SMN: On John Barrow’s town hall void.
  • And beyond:

  • Politico: White House fears liberal war pressure.
  • WP: Virginia governor’s race erupts over McDonnell’s past views.
  • WSJ: Health care anger has deeper roots.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    21 comments Add your comment

    GOP Man

    September 1st, 2009
    9:24 am

    Mary Norwood has no leadership qualities and that’s why she shouldn’t be mayor. It has nothing to do with her race. Borders and Turpeau (and their two CAU pawns) are dead wrong for making the latter suggestion.

    SpaceyG on Twitter

    September 1st, 2009
    9:40 am

    Hey fellow ATL politico-cats… race-schmace. Is that all you tired old farts have to talk about? So little time; such little imagination. (Very little correct grammar and punctuation too in those let’s-go-racial e-blasts, but I won’t get into that right now.)

    This is no finalized list of possible mayoral candidates here. There may still be a new candidate surprise or two left to come in this race.

    Now who will get the scoop on THAT juicy morsel? (Trust me, it won’t be WABE. Just the thought sends me ROFL-ng merrily away here at the pink laptop palace.)

    I’ll never tell, but I will Twitter merrily away as always. Stay tuned! ;)

    Dash Riptide

    September 1st, 2009
    9:54 am

    @GOP Man The memo’s immediate target was Kasim Reed, not Mary Norwood. The light-skinned black elite (other than Andrew Young) seem to be afraid of him. We certainly can’t have people opening their minds to candidates for mayor who happen to be white, but we can’t have them seriously considering the merits of a candidate whose skin tone is darker than a grocery bag, either, can we? What’s this world coming to when Atlanta seriously considers candidates who don’t look just like Aaron Turpeau?


    September 1st, 2009
    10:03 am

    Sorry,but the story that interested me most in the early AJC was about the cop who watched his/her cruiser being driven away by the suspected DUI that had been handcuffed and placed in the back seat.Seems the enterprising young man slipped the cuffs,kicked out the rear window and drove away while the officer was searching the stopped vehicle for …..evidence?Other officers joined in a search for the missing cruiser,only to see the DUI suspect run away.

    The officer now knows the meaning of the old adage that a quail in the hand is going to taste better than a whole bevy still runing around in the tall grass.


    September 1st, 2009
    10:21 am

    LiSA,do us all a favor and gracefully STEP DOWN!!


    September 1st, 2009
    10:25 am

    Thank God this tripe was not written by white profs, or Al and Jessie would have already booked their flights.



    September 1st, 2009
    10:32 am

    Here’s a newsflash for you… very few Atlanta politicians are qualified for their office, and NONE have what it takes to be mayor of a major American city.

    It also shouldn’t shock anyone that it took two myopic, pointy-headed academics to go ahead and say what everyone has known about Atlanta politics for the last 30 years. I’m sure they’re tenured and will face no repercussions for this.


    September 1st, 2009
    10:38 am

    Can someone please explain to me what race has to do with any important issues in the contest for mayor?

    Aren’t the issues public safety, infrastructure, transportation, attracting business to the city and helping do something about the empty homes that result from foreclosure and overbuilding? (Other than public safety, not in that order.)

    Don’t let a few “academics” whose livelihood depends upon stirring the race issue frame this election. Why are the AJC and other media outlets giving this story legs? There are so many important issues to discuss in this election. Most citizens of Atlanta know it is 2009, not 1974. Race just isn’t a factor, let alone the defining factor, in our lives anymore.

    Most of us – black, white, pink, orange, brown, green and spotted – voted for Shirley Franklin because of her promise in solving our issues. Many of us applaude some of what she did and are disappointed by some of what she did, but none of us discuss race in our assesment of her job performance. What makes anyone think its important to us in choosing our next mayor?


    September 1st, 2009
    10:42 am

    Bravasie – I understand your point and frustration, but it should be noted that there has been an outcry over the “study” from every corner of Atlanta. It will be interesting to see if anyone stands with these fools at their press conference or if they will be alone in trying to justify their bigotry.


    September 1st, 2009
    10:42 am

    “Kasim Reed will be speaking to 80 or so African-American pastors at Paschal’s.”

    Folks, tell me, why would a Black Candidate for Mayor of Atlanta, who is supposed to be running as mayor for all Atlantan’s, do something like as quoted above? Could it be that he’s a RACIST? Me thinks that the above says it all.


    September 1st, 2009
    10:43 am

    Clark University must fire these two “professors”. I am identifying corporations that support Clark, and will write them and insist they withhold funds until they’re fired. It is wholeheartedly unacceptable Clark to allow these racists to remain on their payroll.

    No more double standards. That day has passed.


    September 1st, 2009
    10:45 am

    Also, why did Mayor Franklin calls the memo “bigoted”?

    Is it because the word “racist” is reserved for use only against whites?

    As a resident of the city of Atlanta, I am rallying around the effort to get any remnants of the past 35 years out of city hall.


    September 1st, 2009
    11:17 am

    Aaron Turpeau has brought “swine flu” to the Borders campaign, and Lisa is not washing her hands.

    She denounced his acts (people who get caught, get righteous) but never denied knowing about his actions.

    Lisa should resign!!!!!!!!!


    September 1st, 2009
    11:22 am

    GOP Man,
    Since Mary Norwood has no leadership qualities she should go to the White House.She’ll be among equals.


    September 1st, 2009
    12:05 pm

    I totally agree with Clyde, let her head up to the white house, she will definitely be right at home up there if people feel she has no leadership qualities, but I beg to differ.


    September 1st, 2009
    12:22 pm

    Listening to these two professors who now say they wrote the BLF memo was chilling. They see absolutely nothing wrong with suggesting that all of the black candidates conspire together to prevent a white person from being elected mayor because she is white!!

    In their world, Norwood’s race should be the only factor considered in deciding who to vote for in the Mayor’s race.

    In their world, all black people should have the same agenda because of their race. No thought given to diverse perspectives or needs. In the professor’s world only race matters.

    Not only should these two clowns resign from teaching, the BLF needs to apologize and renounce this memo for the piece of racist garbage it is.

    Atlanta’s black candidates for Mayor have all distanced themselves from this discredited race baiting. Jay Bookman temporized like the coward he is. What will the black leadership really do? Is this to be a new eara of Atlanta politics or will we just slip back to the easy race baiting of the past.

    Coastal Cavalier

    September 1st, 2009
    12:27 pm

    I fail to understand why this is coming like some big surprise. For decades, Atlanta has been the most racially obsessed city in the country. Mismanagement and corruption have plagued the city. Nothing has been done about it because it would mean breaking up the shaky alliance between the black and white liberal power structure has been unwilling to do.


    September 1st, 2009
    12:36 pm

    cjkatl – Race just isn’t a factor, let alone the defining factor, in our lives anymore.

    CJ, what world are you living in? and what have you been smoking? This world and particularly this city are more RACIST than ever and not “White on Black” Racism but “Black on White” Racism.


    September 1st, 2009
    1:00 pm

    dgroy -

    I am living in the City of Atlanta. In a neighborhood that is pretty evenly split racially. There is more of an economic split that racial split where I’m sitting.

    [...] Councilwoman Mary Norwood pointed to an audit of the city’s water services as proof that City Hall is in [...]


    September 2nd, 2009
    3:29 pm

    This queers it all for me. The racial attitudes haven’t changed one bit in 40 years. Andrew Young, et al….bah. These preachers have little to do with addressing the violence and decay of their own race. Yet the fallout is within the quality of lives for all others. Including their own race. They are an impotent leadership, or perhaps just opportunists.

    Race is not a deciding issue anymore for many of us. We have been hit over the head constantly with it, and we are now immune to those issues that should be attended to…but why bother?

    Nothing changes here, in spite of the better attempts to ‘love thy neighbor’.

    Black Atlanta: your denial or refusal to curb the criminals, yes, your Children…who break in houses, rob, carjack, murder, etc…have made whites turn their compassion elsewhere. Your continued refusal to address these issues in real ways….have churned up resentment amongst other sectors. What really comes about is a hardening of the heart and arming of citizens who before would not think in these terms. The behavior especially of young black thugs makes for fear but also retribution in various and sundry ways.

    I am shocked to hear that neighborhoods (and Grant Park and Ormewood are some examples) have citizens arming themselves, mothers and fathers, against these crimes and criminals. This is unheard of amongst a more liberal section of the white population.

    How in hell does 12% of the national population become such a social issue?

    Until someone seriously gets ahold of the violence coming from this Black community, there will not be peace. It’s gone on far enough and too long. Atlanta is an embarrassment but so are the major cities where this same social behavior occurs.

    And who in hell can attend to the ’so-called’ important issues when people in many neighborhoods are afraid to leave their houses for the violence that lurks around their streets? It’s a survival mode that many neighborhoods of Atlanta have come to, and we can see where the violence stems.

    Where are the white criminals for a change? I want to see ‘equal time’ for white criminals. Just a change in the landscape.