Today in the contest for mayor of Atlanta:
— Councilwoman Mary Norwood pointed to an audit of the city’s water services as proof that City Hall is in disarray;
— Council President Lisa Borders promised to get a little meaner, a little more aggressive, and accused Atlanta’s journalists of failing to subject Norwood’s record to scrutiny.
If [Borders] thinks that the administration has been giving out good, accurate, and up-to-date financial information during the time she has been President of Council, she hasn’t been paying attention and needs to read the paper more.
— Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office just confirmed that Kasim Reed has resigned his state Senate seat, in preparation for his formal jump into the mayor’s race — set for Wednesday. Qualifying to replace Reed in the Legislature begins Sept. 8 and ends at noon Sept. 10. Election is Nov. 3, the same day as the vote for mayor.
— Two mayoral events occurred at Paschal’s this morning. The first, a presser held by Clark Atlanta University political scientists William Boone and Keith Jennings, in defense of that “black mayor” memo, drew most of the attention. Here’s the WSB-TV video:
But also at the restaurant was Reed, the former state senator, who gave a speech that addressed the same topic of race and mayoral politics. The audience was a group of clergy — the vast majority of them African-American.
The campaign provided the complete text, which can be downloaded here. But below are a few worthwhile excerpts:
Each of us in this room is joined with thousands of other Atlantans in having both a sincere and deeply vested interest in the future of our city. We are Atlanta and Atlanta is us. Like ships wedded at anchor, we rise and fall on the same tide. At a deep level, we all feel this indivisibility.
We are equally aware — and compelled by circumstance to discuss — our growing sense that the tie which binds us — our beloved Atlanta — is at a crossroads. Many, who exceed me in both wisdom and years, consider the perils we are facing today to be unlike any Atlanta has previously encountered. Their concern is palpable. Their prescription for the problem: Leadership. The way we will overcome these challenges: Together.
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, people perish.” This is a very powerful verse because it lays out the inherent truth that the mind of man demands a brighter future to conceptualize. It requires an image of an august community to better organize and inspire communal effort. Painting this picture is the role of a true leader.
So much of what Atlanta has become was born of a racially-inclusive vision shared, and expressed, by men like William Hartsfield, Maynard Jackson, Ivan Allen and Ambassador Andrew Young. They saw Atlanta as a city with the courage and character to rise above bigotry and division. To the credit of its citizens, Atlanta has embraced, and largely preserved, the progressive ideals of its forebears. With these principles, our city has flourished — in their absence, it may falter.
One Atlanta is a strong Atlanta. Two Atlantas is not Atlanta at all….
I call upon the citizens of Atlanta to judge my candidacy on the quality of my character, my
qualifications, and the merit of the ideas I am proposing — and nothing more. Yes, I am a black mayoral candidate in a majority black city. However, I am confident enough in the leadership I can provide to ask that my race not be a consideration of any voter.
I forgo any inherent electoral advantage it may yield, and seek only the advantage that comes from the power of my ideas. The tests of our time are too great to for this election to be mired in the politics of discord, division and distraction. I am campaigning with the welfare of all Atlantans in mind. I am running to bring security, prosperity and hopeful optimism to all our communities. Such was the aspiration of Atlanta’s greatest leaders — such was the aspiration of those who believed in their towering vision.
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