Archive for November, 2009

For the day when every vote counts, Republican or not

You’ll remember that, earlier today, we told you that the blog Georgia Liberal had spotted a Kasim Reed mailer advertising his Democratic party roots.

“Mary Norwood isn’t a Democrat,” that flyer added helpfully.

Another mailer hit Republican households today, presumably aimed at much of Buckhead, identifying Reed as “the fiscally conservative choice for mayor.”

reedeveflyer

The flyer quotes “Republicans for Reed:”

“We do not agree with Kasim on every issue, but we all agree that Kasim is the best choice for Atlantans who want to see a more fiscally conservative and more responsive city government.”

Republican names attached to the mailer include state Rep. Joe Wilkinson of Sandy Springs, House Appropriations Chairman Ben Harbin of Evans; former state senator Mike Egan, and Robert Highsmith – former legal counsel to Gov. Sonny Perdue and Reed’s law partner.

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A final tiff between Shirley Franklin and Mary Norwood

Mayor Shirley Franklin isn’t going quietly.

On Sunday, in a closing statement that finished the last televised debate, Mary Norwood sought to polish her credentials as a City Hall outsider:

“Many of y’all remember that, when I first got on City Council, there was a proposal to take your water bills to $360 a month [including] seniors on fixed incomes. I would not go along with that.

“I was the vote they didn’t expect, that I would stand firm with you and not let you be bankrupted. Yes, the administration went to the state of Georgia, but after I refused to give in. I’ve stood tall with you.”

Franklin has challenged Norwood before. But not on City Hall (albeit) digital stationery. The following was posted on the mayor’s official Web site hours after the debate:

In fact, no such rate increases were ever contemplated by the Franklin administration or the City’s Department of Watershed Management. The current monthly water and sewer bill for an average residential customer is …

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ATL mayoral doings: Of gambling, schools for girls and Democratic yard signs

Radio stations V-103 and WAOK this morning had the last broadcast word in the Atlanta mayoral runoff, airing separate 30-minute conversations with both Kasim Reed and Mary Norwood.

The locale was a packed room at the historic Paschal’s Restaurant. Both candidates were preceded by a word from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was in town for a pair of protests against home foreclosures.

Jackson is neutral in the mayor’s race, and likened Atlanta’s contest to the Democratic primary bout between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. “It’s a good thing, so long as it’s civil,” he said.

Not much news was committed by either Reed or Norwood. (Fair warning: The Insider was the invited questioner during the portion with Reed.)

However, both candidates expounded on topics that had gone untouched. For Reed, it was whether gambling and casinos had any place in Atlanta. Said the former state senator:

I’m not in favor of it right now. Primarily, my opposition to gaming has been because of my …

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Huckabee granted clemency to suspect in killing of four Washington cops

It’s fair to say that a 2012 Republican candidate for president may have just been eliminated. This from the Seattle Times:

Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing this morning of four Lakewood police officers, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.

Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Clemmons, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protests of prosecutors.

“This is the day I’ve been dreading for a long time,” Larry Jegley, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’ Pulaski County said tonight when informed that Clemmons was being sought for questioning in connection with the killings.

Clemmons’ criminal history includes at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington. The record also stands out for the number of times he has been released from custody despite questions about the danger …

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Catching up: Closing arguments in the ATL mayor’s race

Throughout this mayoral campaign, Mary Norwood has run the more aggressive TV campaign – perhaps not in eyeballs or points, but certainly in content.

There’s no embed code available, but this is the link to her closing ad, which started last week. Norwood is on a porch swing, and says:

Some people are trying to divide our city along racial lines. But whether we are white our black, live on the noth side or the south side, we are one city and we need to have one government that actually responds to every neighborhood, delivers services and solves problems.

The ad served as fodder for a major portion of Sunday’s final televised debate on WSB, as rival Kasim Reed pressed her to identify who “some people” were. Norwood declined. A session this morning on V-103/WAOK presented Norwood with a similar question. She gave a near identical response.

Reed’s final TV ad is more of a traditional, feel-good wrap-up. But the ad does have a narrator who promises that Reed will “clean up the …

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Catching up: Casey Cagle on the impact of Democratic health care reform

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle had an op-ed piece in the Washington Times last week, characterizing health care reform as something that could cripple state government.

Read the entire thing here, but this is the gist:

Georgia would be one of just 14 states that would see the Medicaid-eligible population balloon by 45 percent. In fact, if the bill passes, the Heritage Foundation research indicates that as many as 1 in 5 Georgians would have access to a government-run health care entitlement.

Estimates indicate that over the five-year life span of the bafflingly titled Affordable Health Care for America Act, more than $2.4 billion in new expenses would be added to our state’s budget. Even a “watered down” alternative also being proposed could cost as much as $2 billion for Georgians.

This additional financial burden would crush our state budget. In Georgia, we have already witnessed a massive state budget shortfall caused by deteriorating economic conditions and dramatically lower tax …

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Kasim Reed presses on the racial divide; Mary Norwood declares she’s not ‘the mayor’s protege’

It wasn’t the final, final exchange – that happens tomorrow on V-103/WAOK at 8 a.m. Monday morning. (Yours truly will be one of the interrogators.)

However, WSB-TV’s Sunday night debate between the two runoff candidates for mayor of Atlanta was indeed the last televised affair – and resulted in some testy exchanges between Mary Norwood and Kasim Reed.

The set-to last only 30 minutes. Anchor John Pruitt, the sole questioner on this Thanksgiving weekend, immediately asked about “the elephant in the room” – i.e., the racial stuff. Pruitt asked how the city could smooth things over after Tuesday’s vote.

Reed had the first crack. Said he:

We can start on election night by deciding that whomever wins – that if Ms. Norwood is fortunate enough to be elected mayor on Dec. 1, I’ve already committed to go to her side — if she would have me there, immediately — so we can begin healing this city. Equally, if I am fortunate enough to be elected mayor by the people of the city of …

Continue reading Kasim Reed presses on the racial divide; Mary Norwood declares she’s not ‘the mayor’s protege’ »

Dominque Wilkins switches to Kasim Reed

My AJC colleague Ernie Suggs sends word that the Human Highlight Film has apparently added flip-flopping to his repertoire of gyrations.

On Thanksgiving evening, during half-time of the Atlanta Hawks – Orlando Magic game, basketball great Dominique Wilkins announced that he was endorsing Kasim Reed for mayor of Atlanta.

That’s fine.

But Wilkins’ endorsement comes less than a month after he recorded a robo-call for Mary Norwood, supporting her for the general election.

“In basketball, you just can’t show up for the game. You have to work very hard every day in practice,” Wilkins said on behalf of Norwood in the 24 second call. “Mary Norwood is someone who has always worked hard for Atlanta and not just on game day. Now it is time for us to help her.”

Listen here.

On Friday, from his hotel room in Philadelphia, where the Hawks are playing the 76ers, Wilkins said that since he recorded the call for Norwood, his political thoughts have changed.

“Mary Norwood is a …

Continue reading Dominque Wilkins switches to Kasim Reed »

A Thanksgiving greeting from New York

My wife Judy, minus me, is with the Harrison High School marching band, which right now is strolling down Broadway and such in the Macy’s parade. She sends this:

macysharrison

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Stepping back from the divide in the Atlanta race for mayor

No buckle-shoed Pilgrims were in sight, and to ask Native Americans to raise their hands would have been rude, but a small group of candidates and voters gathered this week for a Thanksgiving-style session on racial tensions bubbling up in Atlanta’s contest for mayor.

The verdict: We’re better than that, but let’s not examine ourselves too closely.

The topic of race has hung in the background since simple math and the city’s changing demographics both made it clear that, on Tuesday, Councilwoman Mary Norwood stands an even chance of becoming the first white mayor of Atlanta since “The Partridge Family” and bell-bottom jeans.

Even the candidates have been on edge. In a pair of televised debates over the weekend, Norwood and Kasim Reed, the former state senator, tiptoed to the edge of the abyss, peered over — then stepped back.

On Saturday, Norwood said her black supporters had been harassed and threatened. The next day, she said the election wouldn’t turn on …

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