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 approximately $120.

“Once again, exaggeration reigns in the political race for mayor,” said Mayor Shirley Franklin. “Councilmember Norwood repeatedly ignores public documents to misstate facts. Atlanta deserves a mayor who tells the truth all the time.”

The statement also quotes Watershed Commission Rob Hunter, who earlier this month took on Norwood over her contention that the city had purchased 150,000 ill-fitting lids for water meters.

There was never any proposal to raise the average monthly water bill to $360, Hunter is quoted as saying, so no one could have stood up against it.

The nuts and bolts, as offered by the mayor’s office:

In 2003, the Franklin administration proposed a five-year series of rate increases to fund improvements in the wastewater and drinking water systems. The City Council passed a package of significantly lower rates. Mayor Franklin vetoed that legislation and informed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the City would be forced to default on its federal consent decrees. Bond rating agencies downgraded the City’s water and sewer fund bond rating.

Rate negotiations between the Administration and City Council in December 2003 resulted in a rate package substantially equivalent to the Administration’s original proposal. The Municipal Option Sales Tax (MOST) was authorized by the General Assembly and approved by public referendum in 2004. The sales tax revenue was used to offset rate increases, resulting in the 30 percent lower bills.

The paragraphs above lead to a mention of the fellow that Franklin voted for on Nov. 3:

State Senator Kasim Reed was the sponsor of the MOST sales tax legislation in the General Assembly.

Here’s a snippet from an AJC article from July 2004, just before the sales tax legislation was put before city voters:

Sewage rates rose 45 percent for some at the beginning of this year. They are expected to jump again next year. But Mayor Shirley Franklin wrote in a June 24 letter to the citizens’ advisory board that if the sales tax passes, the rate increase for next year will be reduced from 43 percent to about 13 percent.

On Monday afternoon, Roman Levit, the Norwood campaign manager, conceded that his candidate was citing an example and not a statistic. “She remembers somebody showing her a water bill during the time period for that debate, and that’s what stuck in her mind as an example of a real person being hurt by this six years ago,” he said in one e-mail.

In another, Levit said:

In 2003 Kasim Reed’s strongest supporter proposed a water rate increase that would have tripled a [note the singular article] monthly water bill of $120, and turned it into $360.

Mary Norwood knows perfectly well that Atlantans pay too much for water and sewer services already and she was there fighting the fight to keep water rates as low as possible.

The Watershed Department has a long record of getting numbers wrong for ratepayers all over Atlanta, perhaps if Rob Hunter and his bosses at City Hall spent more time focusing on getting billing right, instead of spending taxpayer money to help their favorite son’s campaign, people all over Atlanta wouldn’t be suing the city after falling through water meter covers that don’t fit and paying bills that are calculated incorrectly.

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101 comments Add your comment


November 30th, 2009
4:39 pm

Norwood has been completely ineffective in her 8 years in the City Counsel.


November 30th, 2009
4:41 pm

There are many things Ms. Franklin could have done a lot better, but to think a dimwit like Mary Norwood can do a better job is crazy. I, personally, don’t feel like hearing more excuses about why Mrs. Norwood couldn’t get her job done in four years.


November 30th, 2009
4:42 pm

Oh Shirley…
Why not just retire in peace and let the people decide what they want?

Silent Majority

November 30th, 2009
4:43 pm

Throughout this campaign, Mary Norwood has made accusations without being able to back them up. Her record shows that she’s been wrong on all the big issues. Kasim Reed for Mayor!

Cole Ben

November 30th, 2009
4:45 pm

Can we really trust a candidate who claims she can’t remember if she voted for George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan? Can we trust a candidate who has been in the City Council for eight years, yet refuses to take any responsibility for the state of the City? Norwood isn’t change…she’s the same old incompetence.

Concerned Citizen

November 30th, 2009
4:47 pm

No fair-minded individual will vote for Mary Norwood tomorrow. Kasim Reed will be our new mayor. Congratulations in advance, Kasim!


November 30th, 2009
4:50 pm

I’m no Franklin fan, but some of the accusations made by Norwood have been very irresponsible. I know it’s election season, but her hyperbole has gone too far and suggests illegal activity. Unless Norwood is prepared to make specific charges, she needs to back off.


November 30th, 2009
4:52 pm

Neither one of them is perfect but the lesser of the two evils is Norwood without a doubt. The political machine that ran through money like a sailor on shore leave needs to be kicked out and held accountable.

Ms. Franklin’s total abdication of responsibility in her second term leaves her in no position to speak for or against any candidate. She should follow the example she has set for most of this term; say nothing and do nothing.

Ms. Peach

November 30th, 2009
4:52 pm

Mary Norwood has disappointed me throughout this campaign.


November 30th, 2009
4:52 pm

From some of these comments you would think that Reed is “THE ONE, #2″, the smartest, brightest, most eloquent, most chosen, most innovative, yeh right!, vote for Reed and get Jackson, Campbell and Franklin #2!, their shadows will cover the walls of the mayor’s office…..


November 30th, 2009
4:54 pm

reed should be embarrassed to be endorsed by a person whose mess he claims he will have to clean up if elected mayor


November 30th, 2009
4:55 pm

Surprise, Surprise…Mary Norwood is lying again to get votes. What’s new?


November 30th, 2009
4:55 pm

the fix is in. atlanta will have another ineffective mayor


November 30th, 2009
4:56 pm

Does anybody really care what Shirley thinks anymore?


November 30th, 2009
5:01 pm

The next time I receive competent service from the City of Atlanta under Mayor Shirley Franklin will be the first time.


November 30th, 2009
5:01 pm

Wow, Mayor Franklin’s aggressiveness shows her fear. She is scared to death about this election. Scared to death. The possibility of (gasp!) the Maynard Machine being dismantled with the election of Norwood will be a blow to the entire Maynard Machine – which includes Franklin, Borders, Young, Campbell, Reed, etc.

With Norwood, they will loose the airport. Without control the airport, Shirley, Kasim, and an entire class of people that has relied on the airport for a source of money, corruption, and backroom deals for 35 years will be crippled.

Does Franklin, and Borders for that matter, not realize that they are only helping Norwood with these types of statements? If Franklin was smart, she would stay out of this. Her comments only underscore her support for continued corruption, and the intense fear she has of a Norwood victory. This is only making things worse for Reed.


November 30th, 2009
5:02 pm

Please. Norwood voted in 2008 to increase the city’s water and sewer rates. Her campaign manager must’ve forgotten this.

Her vote to increase employee pensions was fighting for city residents too then by Leavitt’s logic.


November 30th, 2009
5:03 pm

Norwood is done…..Reed is going to win the mayor election,
Norwood campaign has been shamble from day one. Reed rose from 9% to 46% in the poll Norwood have not rose since the last election.

Reed for mayor


November 30th, 2009
5:04 pm

When you’re a white, low achiever, with no record of accomplished; you are a perfect candidate for mayor of Atlanta. Mary Norwood’s campaign is straight out of the Karl Rove playbook: Facts don’t matter. Make stuff up, repeat it over and over. When you are challenged, say it louder.

In about 24 hours, we won’t have to listen to that whinny-ass “miss Ann” voice anymore.


November 30th, 2009
5:06 pm

Norwood is the politic machine look who working for Norwood camp.
Zee Bradford who was Bill Campbell chief advisor. I wondering why Bill have not endorse anyone because of Zee Bradford working for Norwood.


November 30th, 2009
5:07 pm

Levit needs to be running instead of Norwood. How come he always comments and responds instead of Norwood? Are they scared about what might come out of her mouth?

$11,000 Water Bill

November 30th, 2009
5:12 pm

Got my water bill last month for the 8 unit condominium building that I run… $11,000 (more than 3x what we spend for a whole year!). Called the city.. the told us “you just need to go ahead and pay that, and we’ll look into it later”. BULLSH1T. Eventually we were able to convince the city to come out to recheck the meter. Surprise surprise… the water bill was adjusted down to $270. Not that this is anything new, it’s just new that someone (Mary Norwood) actually wants to do something about it!!!


November 30th, 2009
5:16 pm


MARY NORWOOD will not ignore our need for SERVICES. She will FIX OUR CITY.



November 30th, 2009
5:18 pm

Right now I am sooooo glad I don’t live in ATL. No matter who wins, y’all are screwed. You’ll either have 4 years of the same nonsense, or 4 years of bumbling ineptitude.

Maybe Sam Massell will volunteer to be a write in candidate?


November 30th, 2009
5:24 pm

Why did Norwood run against Shirley Franklin 4 yrs ago..

Norwood talking crapt about Shirley you should have run against her if you knew this city was in bad shape 4 yrs ago.

Reed going to win this election…

10 of my elderly neighbors ask me to take them to the polls tomorrow to vote for Reed I told them to be ready at 8 am in the morning so I can take them.

People are excited to come out and vote for Reed tomorrow


November 30th, 2009
5:25 pm

Dennis Kucinich and Ray Nagans look good compared to these two.
I dread voting tommorrow.


November 30th, 2009
5:27 pm

^John: I’m not the most thrilled with this arrangement, either, to be truthful. If it were Mary and Jesse Spikes the latter would instantly have my vote; sadly, even I was fooled earlier on by his lack of populist appeal.

However, I still hold firmly among my beliefs that, when presented with two choices, one must be decisive and pick one.


November 30th, 2009
5:29 pm



Intown lib

November 30th, 2009
5:29 pm

Shirley Franklin spent the last 8 years undoing or trying to undo damage from Bill Campbell and trying to do the other things that needed to be done since the days of Hartsfield and Allen. Folks equating Shirley to some giant corrupt black political machine are uninformed … at best.


November 30th, 2009
5:32 pm

Kasim, take a look in the mirror and realize that your arrogant attitude is losing you votes all over the city.


November 30th, 2009
5:33 pm

^Yes, she did a good job starting out, especially once it is considered that she entered the mayor’s office after eight years of its continual torment. What happened, though? Between the APD and Watershed I can’t find a properly-managed city agency…


November 30th, 2009
5:37 pm

Mary and Kasim are both awful choices for Mayor. No solid alternatives in this race; wait, that sounds a lot like the past two or three presidential elections!

Atlanta Voter

November 30th, 2009
5:41 pm

Wow, I see Kasim Reed has been busy posting a ton of comments today on the Insider. Kasim, how many different names are you on this one article? Shirley Franklin is an embarassment to the lesbian community and has disgraced Atlanta long enough. It is time for a change and Kasim is not the answer. Kasim is a very corrupt, non-christian that needs to be in prison and not in charge of Atlanta. Shirley Franklin is corrupt, as well.


November 30th, 2009
5:41 pm

Poor, pathetic Shirley Franklin. He PR bubble finally burst and she is left with nothing but the reality that she has not improved Atlanta in any manner that a Federal Court did not order in the first place.


November 30th, 2009
5:42 pm

Jackalope=Ramon Levit which is Norwood campaign manager of course you would lie right along with Norwood for her to our votes. But look Ramon your candidate have been caught lieing do out the campaign.

Ramon please find somebody else to campaign for Norwood was a bad choice for you.

Paul R. Nelson

November 30th, 2009
5:47 pm

Rick, don’t you have some more Mary Norwood signs to steal. I have never seen such a crooked campaign than the one that Reed is running.


November 30th, 2009
5:48 pm

Atlanta Voter how you going to compare Reed with Shirley Franklin he work for the state not the city hall. You need to get fact for Norwood what have she done in 8 yrs while she was in city hall nothing.

Norwood should have run for mayor 4 yrs ago if she knew Shirley was a awful mayor.

Norwood is just like Shirley Franklin a insider.

Paul R. Nelson

November 30th, 2009
5:48 pm

Shirley Franklin = Epic fail as Atlanta mayor. Shirley, take your flower and GTFO. You made Atlanta a worse place to live which I didn’t think was possible.


November 30th, 2009
5:50 pm

It’s REALLY simple…
















He did a poll. He didn’t release the numbers. What’s that tell you?

DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT – GO ASK KASIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


November 30th, 2009
5:50 pm

Norwood does not do much for me but So far hasn’t shown herself to be a tax cheat like Reed. How does someone that pays taxes vote for a tax cheat?


November 30th, 2009
5:51 pm

Paul R. Nelson I am not Ralph Long which who paid someone to steal them signs that why you have not heard about it anymore. Norwood and Ralph paid somebody to steal signs by the way Paul sign does not come out to vote people’s do what does a sign have do for somebody to get elected.

Wow Paul come up with something better then that>>>>>>>>Jackalope or Teela who is working for Norwood


November 30th, 2009
5:51 pm

I could careless about anything Franklin has to say. Is this the same person that did not have the balls to FIRE the INCOMPETANT

Paul R. Nelson

November 30th, 2009
5:51 pm

Rick, did you graduate high school? Your writing skills are horrible. You and Kasim deserve each other.


November 30th, 2009
5:52 pm

Bob ask Norwood to show her tax return then you figure it out.

Where is Norwood tax returns paper every politicians release there’s tax returns

Confused with Norwood Supporters

November 30th, 2009
5:53 pm

I’m not sure why the die hard norwood supporters are in such denial.

Kasim's my dogz

November 30th, 2009
5:54 pm

I’z beez votes fo’ Kasim Reed. He’s been my dogz sense we wuz yung bucks. Don’t votes fo’ that Mary gurl, we needs to keeps the chocalate runnin’ da Atown. Can yo feels me! Hola and Votes fo’ da man, Reed!

A-Town Down

November 30th, 2009
5:57 pm

Once we went black, ain’t never goin’ back…

A. Foster

November 30th, 2009
5:58 pm

No matter who the next mayor is, Rob Hunter Commissioner of Waterdhed should be the first one packing.


November 30th, 2009
5:59 pm

From today’s APN article:


Here is a list of some of Norwood’s recent legislation. A few bills which were obscure or technical were omitted from this list.

Norwood’s most recent resolution was 09R1077, which passed June 01, 2009, resolving that the Bureau of Code Compliance enforce the Atlanta Zoning Ordinance regarding supportive housing. Recently, a bill to define and clarify supportive housing had been introduced, and this bill made sure that the BCC could enforce codes related to what would be a newly-defined type of housing. Norwood was the first of several co-sponsors and the bill passed 14-1.

On May 04, 2009, 08O2427, which authorized the Mayor to establish a Senior Zone Policy, passed 14-0. Norwood sponsored the original legislation, which was substituted by marked-up, or revised legislation which came through the Transportation Committee.

On September 02, 2008, 08R1695, to conduct an independent audit of the Arborist Division, passed 14-0. Norwood was the lead co-sponsor. Norwood led the charge for this audit after former Chief Arborist Tom Coffin was fired for trying to uphold the city’s tree ordinance.

On July 07, 2008, 07O1905, to amend article XXIV regarding vending on private property, passed 14-0. Norwood sponsored this bill, although an amended substitute by the Public Safety and Legal Administration Committee passed through Council.

On June 02, 2008, 08R1132, to request the Mayor study eliminating Fleet Services to reduce costs, passed 14-0. Norwood sponsored this bill; it passed with an amendment by the Finance/Executive Committee.

On May 19, 2008, 08R1014, an independent audit of the city’s water and sewer billing, passed Council. Norwood was the lead co-sponsor. It was vetoed by the Mayor, yet still passed on override 15-0. This became an issue after numerous customers complained of being overbilled without explanation.

On February 04, 2008, 07O2600, to rename part of Hills Avenue to Collier Road, passed 15-0. Norwood sponsored this bill, which was substituted by a marked-up revision which passed through the City Utilities Committee.

On February 04, 2008, 07O0673, to require outside storage items to be stored in the rear of properties, passed. Norwood was the lead co-sponsor on this bill, which was substituted by a marked-up version which came through the Community Development/Human Resources Committee.

On February 04, 2008, 08R0294, to create a technical review committee for the purpose of advising the City in policies for controls for budgeting, passed unanimously. Norwood was lead co-sponsor.

On July 16, 2007, 07O1446, to hire a firm to research existing and proposed tree ordinances, passed 14-0. Norwood was lead co-sponsor.

On March 19, 2007, 07R0608, to ask the State Senate to allow city officials to file financial disclosure reports electronically, was adopted. Norwood sponsored the bill.

On February 05, 2007, 06O2057, providing uniform standards for prohibiting litter in Atlanta, passed 15-0. Norwood sponsored this bill, which was substituted by a marked-up version which came through the City Utilities Committee.

On September 18, 2006, 06R2132, to enter into an agreement with Samaritan House to create a Litter Clean up Program, passed 12-0. Norwood sponsored this bill. This is one of several bills passed by Norwood related to a program she spearheaded to provide employment opportunities to homeless people to clean up Atlanta’s streets. A related bill, 06R1327, passed on July 05, 2006.

On May 01, 2006, 06R1037, affirming the Mayor’s letter to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, encouraging federal agencies to find alternative jail beds for immigrants currently being housed at the Atlanta Detention Center, passed 12-0. Norwood sponsored the bill.

On February 08, 2006, 06O0258, placing interim development controls on issuance of building permits, passed Council. This was a temporary McMansion Moratorium requested by Norwood until more permanent legislation could be worked out. Eventually, the Council did pass a permanent out-of-scale infill prohibition, although the final bill was introduced by Councilwoman Carla Smith.

Norwood used some of her own post’s expense account to pay for the infill zoning research. On September 19, 2005, 05O1736, which transferred $4,500 from Norwood’s Council expense account to pay for Infill zoning illustrations, passed 11-0. Also, on February 21, 2005, 05O0260, which transferred $3,000 from her Council expense account to fund the Infill Housing Analysis Report, passed 13-0.

On July 05, 2005, 05O1206, which made a no parking area on part of Stonewall Street, passed 13-0. Norwood was lead co-sponsor.

On August 15, 2005, 05O1425, prohibiting subdivision of certain lots, passed 13-0. Norwood sponsored the bill. A similar bill, 04O1376, passed 14-0, on September 07, 2004, overriding a Mayoral veto.

On June 20, 2005, 05O1087, allowing food vendors on private property to stay in same place for more than one year, passed 10-0. Norwood sponsored the bill.

On June 20, 2005, 05R1086, to establish a Tree ordinance task force, passed 13-0. Norwood sponsored the bill, which was amended by the Community Development/Human Resources Committee.

On February 21, 2005, 05O0120, to allow the City to deny liquor licenses to bars or clubs where drugs were sold and the owner or staff should’ve known, passed Council. Norwood was lead co-sponsor.

On January 18, 2008, 04O1621, to create a new residential zoning classification, R2B, passed 13-0. Norwood sponsored the bill.

On February 07, 2005, 05R0122, encouraging judges to impose banishment from Atlanta for criminals conducting the same offense twice, passed Council. The Mayor vetoed the bill, but her veto was overridden by Council. Norwood was lead co-sponsor.

On February 07, 2005, 05R0121, encouraging the use of camaras on known crack houses and illegal dumping sites, passed 12-0. Norwood was lead co-sponsor.

On September 07, 2004, 04R1620, entering into an agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation to accept funds for the interstate litter clean-up program, passed Council. Norwood was lead co-sponsor.

On June 07, 2004, 04R1061, authorizing the Mayor to accept the review of the Atlanta Clean Water Plan by the American Society of Civil Engineers, passed 13-1. Norwood was lead co-sponsor.

On October 20, 2003, 03R1704, authorizing the creation of a Trust Fund for the infill project, passed 10-1 on substitute from the Finance/Executive Committee. Norwood sponsored the bill.

On October 06, 2003, 03O1442, increasing fines for housing code violations, passed 13-0. Norwood sponsored the bill, which was substituted by an amended version by the Community Development/Human Resources Committee.

On October 06, 2003, 03O1470, a moratorium on new construction and zoning change permits for the Donald L Hollowell Study Area, passed 13-0. Norwood was lead co-sponsor.

On March 17, 2003, 03R0405, a temporary moratorium on demolitions of homes over 50 years old, passed. Norwood sponsored the bill.

On February 03, 2003, 03R0113, creating an of out-of-scale infill development task force, passed 12-0. Norwood was lead co-sponsor; the bill was amended by the Zoning Committee.

On December 02, 2002, 02O0297, allocating funds from the Federal Aviation Administration for new runways and taxiways, passed 9-0. Norwood was lead co-sponsor. This is one of several bills Norwood co-sponsored related to the airport which passed in this time period.

On November 04, 2002, 02R1885, giving budget priority to essential functions of Atlanta City government, passed 14-0. Norwood was lead co-sponsor; the bill was amended by the Finance/Executive Committee.

On July 01, 2002, 02O1148, to define an unclean, vacant lot as a nuisance, passed 14-0. Norwood was lead co-sponsor.

On May 20, 2002, 02O0835, allocating funds for construction of Nancy Creek Tunnel, passed 12-0. Norwood was lead co-sponsor.

On February 18, 2002, 02R0368, authorizing the Urban Design Commission to enter into a grant up to $20,000 for Atlanta’s Comprehensive Historic Resource Survey passed. Norwood was lead co-sponsor.


November 30th, 2009
6:00 pm

The Customer Service Director of Watershed should be the 2nd one packing.