A postscript: Turpeau says ‘banishment’ followed mayoral memo

Two weeks ago, former Maynard Jackson insider Aaron Turpeau distributed a memo written by Clark Atlanta University academics William Boone and Keith Jennings that prompted an immediate eruption in the contest for mayor of Atlanta.

The memo was drawn up on behalf of a group called the Black Leadership Forum.

Although the academics later denied that this was their intention, the memo suggested that Atlanta’s black community unite behind a single mayoral candidate. Lisa Borders, whom the memo identified as the candidate best able to block Councilwoman Mary Norwood, who is white, rejected the thinking.

Kasim Reed, a former state senator in third place, also denounced the piece. Mayor Shirley Franklin called it bigoted.

This afternoon, an open letter from Turpeau, who has been a City Hall insider for decades, began circulating through Atlanta. We included entire memo below, but have bolded the areas of highest interest.

In his postscript, Turpeau speaks of “banishment” from the Borders campaign. His campaign contribution has been returned, and Turpeau said he no longer supports Borders. In a series of bullet points, the former Jackson chief of staff wrote identified access to City Hall and top-ranking jobs as a concern, but also include economic equality and the “criminalization of poverty.”

Read the entire thing for yourself:

An Open Letter from Aaron Turpeau:
There has been much discussion about black racism in Atlanta politics recently. Strangely enough the charges come from black candidates for mayor. Since I was there and have all the facts, I want you to have an accurate understanding of recent events.
The Atlanta Black Leadership Forum is an ad hoc group of black Atlantans that hold leadership positions in civic organizations, who come together to discuss politics and issues that affect the black community.
For the last eight or nine months, we have been discussing the Atlanta mayor’s race and prior to qualifying, we interviewed the five leading candidates. The questions asked centered around city finances, crime, economic equality, criminalization of poverty, and their vision of the future for Atlanta. All interviews were videotaped and posted to the website for viewing.

We haven’t yet found the Web site where these are posted. If anyone spots them, please add the link in the comment area below. To continue:

After thorough discussion and a review of agendas created throughout Atlanta for the next Mayor, we developed an agenda to help the black community to become healthy, wealthy and wise. Because of the diverse opinions amongst our group, we decided not to vote to favor any particular candidate but to ask members to work in all camps and to pursue four specific items outlined in our agenda:

_ Economic equality;

_ Access to government leadership after the election;

_ Fair hiring practices that include men, women and ethnic diversity for high-level jobs; and;

_ And hiring policies that favor qualified Atlantans for top jobs.

Members were advised of this recommendation through conversation and a memo sent under my signature two weeks prior to the release of “The Struggle for Unity” paper. In that same memo, I disclosed that I would be active in Lisa Borders campaign.

To further clarify, in response to an earlier request we received an academic analysis of the mayor’s race and the chances of unity considering our voting habits. “The Struggle for Unity” paper was an internal memo was for discussion purposes only and was distributed by me to former meeting attendees.

It is a sad day in Atlanta politics when black mayoral candidates publicly cry out black racism without seeking information from the accused individuals or group about the facts, intent, or purpose of a discussion paper. The reaction by the two leading black candidates was very disappointing.

Candidate Kasim Reed, who the memo pointed out was far behind in the polls, [led] the charge by crying out charges of black racism and was quickly followed by candidate Lisa Borders calling the memo racist, instead of an opportunity for racial discussion.

Both outcries are seen by many in the black community as pandering for white votes and support. Neither candidate sought any clarity from any Forum member; all candidates had supporters as attendees at our regular meetings (including Norwood).

It is an even sadder day when loyal supporters are not given the respect or courtesy of conversation, but are abruptly banished. I have had no conversation with Lisa Borders since the day of her press conference in response to the memo.

Though I personally informed her and her campaign manager that I did not write the memo and who in fact did, she still made the decision to say publicly that it was my memo and that it was racist. A day later a check was written to my company refunding my $500 donation to her campaign.

Perhaps it was a response to the false indication by Kasim Reed that my company contribution was the motive for the memo. Whatever the reason, I was totally surprised to receive the check on September 3rd. I respect her decision and will not be supporting her candidacy.

But the real question before us is not my banishment or even the mayor’s race, but rather what is expected of black people? Are we not to have the nerve to gather and discuss politics and issues as they affect our community and take these questions to the candidates? Are we not to discuss if a person of color has the qualifications and experience to best serve the community?

Are we not allowed to ask each other which candidate will be more acceptable to the white community, able to work with diverse communities and able to get votes from outside the black community?

Are we not allowed to request academic papers for discussions? Does Obama election mean we no longer should be advocates for our community? If so I am sorry but I did not get the memo that declared that we now live in a “post racial” era.

Where do we go from here? We will continue to meet and try to find solutions for our community and try to impact political contest that affect us. While some may disagree with us, we need to respect our diversity and agree to disagree, and when appropriate learn from out disagreement. After all, we are all greatly concerned and care about the future of our city.

Aaron Turpeau

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70 comments Add your comment

Steve

September 9th, 2009
4:56 pm

This is a clear indication that Turpeau is working for Norwood. Only an idiot would think continuing this discussion will benefit candidates who are concerned about the black community.

kc

September 9th, 2009
5:06 pm

I agree with you Steve. Borders gets my support now for given this idiot his money back.

General Sherman

September 9th, 2009
5:06 pm

I burned the city once,do I need to do it again? You people have no idea about any thing,all you do is cry racism when things do not go your way.Wake up and smell the trash and crime you have created!!

Martin

September 9th, 2009
5:09 pm

I have been watching this entire thing unfold and I knew from the beginning that he would try to shift the blame when things got bad. Lisa came out from the beginning denouncing the comments, now he realizes he’s made a mistake, so he’s trying not to get stuck with it.

Be a man, take responsibility, don’t try to pass the buck on to someone who’s Atlanta’s best chance at a better future.

Claire

September 9th, 2009
5:16 pm

Thank you, Steve. It’s about time people start asking Norwood some tough questions and, god forbid, actually make her answer one or two of them. The beauty pageant game has gone on long enough, let’s talk policy.

Dwayne

September 9th, 2009
5:17 pm

If Turpeau supported Borders before this all happened, why would he not now, is she still not the best candidate to led the city? He isn’t interested in what’s best for the city, he’s just looking out for himself. Waa waa waa.

AtlPress

September 9th, 2009
5:20 pm

Lol too little too late…is this really supposed to separate Borders from Turpeau? Her hands were all over this. Her campaign will continue to pay for its surrogate.

Buckhead Boy

September 9th, 2009
5:20 pm

It has to be Mary behind this. For being such an innocent figure she sure does have an extremely dangerous bite. This whole stunt divided the city even more. All for Mary’s political gain. Mary you just lost my vote to Lisa.

Jasher

September 9th, 2009
5:22 pm

Turpeau stepped deep in the boo-boo now! He should sit down and shut it up before he crams his foot any further down his gullet. Kudos to Borders for giving the money back to that snake. If I were Norwood (and thank goodness I’m not), I would be concerned. Hell, she’s not the only White candidate anymore, so that ‘Obama’ candidate mess doesn’t hold water. Boo-hiss-boo!

Disappointed

September 9th, 2009
5:24 pm

The Atlanta voters are a lot smater than this, Lisa. Do better!

Jasher

September 9th, 2009
5:25 pm

AtlPress is clearly a Norwood or Reed staffer/supporter (probably Norwood). Only a moron would still think Borders was still connected to this memo and use the word ’surrogate’. Update your campaign lingo, kid.

Jasher

September 9th, 2009
5:27 pm

Disappointed, it’s ’smarter’ not smater! I should smate thee!

norfside

September 9th, 2009
5:29 pm

Turpeau and the professors made some good points and we don’t live in a “post racial” era. Kasim just blasted that memo b/c it wasn’t about him, otherwise he wouldn’t have said nothin about it. Mary won’t discuss anything b/c she’s trying to play both sides of the fence my being Ms. Ambiguous. Lisa at least has and can use her access to all communities to start a dialogue and improve Atlanta.

norfside

September 9th, 2009
5:31 pm

Jasher u a fool for clownin AtlPress. AtlPress, yall hiring at the Norwood campaign. I’m leaning Lisa, but if yall paying, let me know and I’ll be there!

Ted

September 9th, 2009
5:31 pm

Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. Such a strong individual to go through all of this. You are the only one fit to become Atlanta’s next mayor. God bless you! Atlanta is behind you!

Banished

September 9th, 2009
5:33 pm

This is cute! LOL. Banishment(?) Are we kidding? Turpeau has been a Borders’ strategist and surrogate and will continue to be. She knew all about what was going on and has been exposed. Sorry your plan was foiled, but you’re stuck with this one, Lisa.

Jasher

September 9th, 2009
5:35 pm

Banished. Read my advice for AtlPress and take it to heart. Surrogate? HA!

Jasher

September 9th, 2009
5:37 pm

Everytime a Norwood or Reed supporter says ’surrogate’ an angel cries…then vomits.

Reader

September 9th, 2009
5:38 pm

I really believe Turpeau is working for Norwood. This race is getting dirtier by the day. Who isn’t leading int he polls? I’m voting for them, the person that’s not playing big politics.

DecaturWhereIt'sGreater

September 9th, 2009
5:38 pm

@Disappointed This mess clearly hasn’t been good for any of the Black candidates. Kasim looks like the loser that he is and Borders got caught up like Obama and Rev. Wright. The only one that really stood to gain anything was Mary Norwood. If Lisa wanted to make Kasim look out of it, she would have just restated the polls that show him still in single digits

itstimetorideout

September 9th, 2009
5:40 pm

yall forgot about the other guy running for mayor Jesse aks uncle remus. poor guy, he never gets any press coverage.

Well Done

September 9th, 2009
5:40 pm

Norwood had nothing to do with this memo, people. Lisa Borders is two-faced and lost any chance she had of winning this race. She should be ashamed of herself. I like how she got all her supporters out for this blog tho ha

travis

September 9th, 2009
5:43 pm

im sick uf the clitter clatter. the day wil come when blacks will stop the race cry and make their own way.

Martin

September 9th, 2009
5:43 pm

Banished – you should get back to running coffee around at the Norwood offices, we don’t want to hear from biased staffers here.

Martin

September 9th, 2009
5:46 pm

Well Done – Give me one legitimate reason why Borders is behind this. One. Actual. Reason. Not your filthy rhetoric. I’m not saying Norwood orchestrated the entire thing, but please.. Borders!?! You can do better than that..

itstimetorideout

September 9th, 2009
5:47 pm

travis, lets be really racist and support Mary Norwood. that’ll show them

lynn everitt

September 9th, 2009
5:52 pm

The word Racist is one of the worst words someone can call you, it represents a horrible act towards another human being. To diminish its meaning by using it as a “i don;t agree with you” so you must be a racist, takes that important word and destroys its meaning and thats not a good thing. Hey, we are all Americans and we are not all perfect.

newA

September 9th, 2009
5:54 pm

For anyone to think Lisa giving the money back was anything more than mandatory given the situation, you are wrong. Politically, she had to give the money back. As far as this memo, I am confident Lisa helped craft it.

You have to remember that all press is good press, and Lisa benefitted greatly from this chaos (from the free press stand point alone).

Her campaign is full of trash-hearted strategists…

Come the live debate on Sunday, true colors from all candidates will shine through.

Jasher

September 9th, 2009
6:00 pm

NewA, remove your nose from Kasim’s behind, please. You’re stinking up the joint!

Mex

September 9th, 2009
6:02 pm

@ NewA ain’t nobody listenen’ to your Kasim brown nosin’ self all the way down here

hiGh Hop3s

September 9th, 2009
6:03 pm

newA, the debates will be very interesting… who’s your horse? I’ve got Borders or Spikes. They’re the only 2 who can put together full cohesive sentences that make sense. Mary is a puppet I’m convinced, and that Reed fellow is just sad.

David in Atlanta

September 9th, 2009
6:12 pm

As a white voter, that memo made me very unlikely to support Borders in the mayor’s race. My support now goes to either Kasim Reed or Mary Norwood.

jconservative

September 9th, 2009
6:34 pm

The original memo was racist. This memo is racist.
Mr. Trupeau, the best candidate for Atlanta, whether black or white, should get your support. And should have from the beginning.
What happened to “content of their character”?

Mr. Conservative

September 9th, 2009
6:40 pm

As a white republican, I’m supporting Mary Norwood. She’s got my interests in mind if you know what I mean.

boots

September 9th, 2009
6:52 pm

Voting for the candidate with the right skin color, instead of the best qualified candidate, has let to a police chief that doesn’t lead, a 911 system that puts you on hold or goes down, a chief financial officer that doesn’t have a clue what the short fall in revenue is going to be, streets with potholes that destroy the front end of your vehicle and a mayor who is only seen on the red carpet of a hip hop awards gala. Sad!

squirrelly

September 9th, 2009
6:57 pm

This memo and the first memo expose the blacks as the true racists. Blacks are the ones who segregate themselves with black this, black that, black churches, black colleges, black organizations, and on and on and on. Imagine the outrage if caucasians did the same and had the NAAWP, National White Caucus, Miss White America, 100 White Men, the Million White Man March, etc. Atlanta is in ruins today because of the black “leaders” that the racist black majority has elected. White leadership needs to take over running Atlanta again to restore Atlanta to the wonderful city it once was.

Fiddycent's twin white brother

September 9th, 2009
7:01 pm

How come you never about the “white community”, “WET – White Entertainment Television”, NAAWP, Miss White America, etc.? As long as the leaders of the “Black” community insist on differentiating “the black community” we will never be just “a community”.

The election of BO should be a clear indication to “the black community” that a majority of whites have accepted people of color into “the” community. Unfortunately, as long as they have influence and control in the “black community”, they will flash the race card because you know in the end you just can’t trust ol’ whitey!

kc

September 9th, 2009
7:10 pm

This was all Mary Norwood’s campaign doing. I don’t believe a woman like Lisa Borders who has black and white supporters would do something like this. There is a reason why Mary has not authored any legislation or lead any committees in her 8 year tenure as a councilwoman. She’s just not competent.

Concerned

September 9th, 2009
7:14 pm

Its all about POWER/CONTROL, Black, White, Asian & Hispanic Groups all meet and discuss how to move forward and take advantage of the opportunities afforded with a political victory. Do you think this is the only time someone has done this? Wake Up People… Iam just glad It wasn’t a white canidate who got caught this time…. oops I quess that makes me a RACIST…. Who do I need to write a check to?

Jasher

September 9th, 2009
7:25 pm

Concerned: Make that check out to cash, turkey.

newA

September 9th, 2009
7:27 pm

Hello Jesher and Mex-
Aside from your comments (Jesher, your comment had me laughing out loud), who do you support, and why?

I’ve heard Norwood in community forums. She appears to not have a grasp on the City’s condition and listening to her is dizzying.

I’ve heard Borders in a forum as well. She has been the City Council President; yet with hilarity, she takes absolutely no responsibility for the City’s current condition.

I’ve heard Reed in a forum alongside both Norwood and Borders, and he delivers an operator’s perspective on the current condition of the City and ways to improve it.

To those that have not had the opportunity to hear personally the perspective of the candidates and their plans, I encourage you to spend time Sunday evening doing so…

Abe Lincoln

September 9th, 2009
7:31 pm

I’m rethinking that whole emancipation proclamation thing….

You people are nuts

September 9th, 2009
7:32 pm

You really believe that Mary Norwood was behind this? You’re insane. This has Lisa Borders and other “black leaders” all over it, and it stinks. Vote for Mary Norwood and let’s rid the city of Atlanta of garbage like this. For those who don’t like it, move to Clayton County….or Memphis.

Jasher

September 9th, 2009
7:37 pm

NewA, I support whomever will be the best choice for mayor. For now, I don’t know WHO that is. I’ve only seen one debate and gotten countless campaign emails. I’m not leaning in one direction or another, but some of the candidates have really rubbed me the wrong way, and that could skew my vote when I cast it.

Julie Brown

September 9th, 2009
7:40 pm

Why are will still discussing the MEMO?

Julie Brown

September 9th, 2009
7:41 pm

Excuse the previous post. Why are we still discussing the MEMO?

Fiddycent's twin white brother

September 9th, 2009
7:44 pm

Surely we should keep Shirley. She’s white, right?

The Rev. Ike

September 9th, 2009
7:51 pm

Don’t make me get in my chariot of gold and come back down there to straighten you dummies out.

General Sherman

September 9th, 2009
7:59 pm

My match is lit so look out trashy Atlanta.

Mr. Conservative

September 9th, 2009
8:04 pm

I really appreciate that so many folks with so many opinions of ‘Black’ people like to post negative comments and feedback when ‘Black’ people are human beings just like all of us ‘White’ people. I wonder if you cowards would say out loud the comments you post in public? I also find it funny how soon we forget that for only 40 years have ‘Black’ people really had equal rights in this country. In 20 years, us ‘White’ folk are gonna be in for a rude awakening, when we’re no longer the ethnic majority in this country.