Opinion: Why Mary Norwood is the clear choice for Atlanta mayor

Atlanta mayoral candidate Mary Norwood speaks during a forum with opponent Keisha Lance Bottoms at the Carter Center, Tuesday. (AJC Photo / Alyssa Pointer)

The sprawling field of candidates to be Atlanta’s next mayor produced a splintered electorate. Forty-seven percent voted for one of the candidates in next week’s run-off; 53 percent didn’t. Forty-nine percent voted for a white candidate, 51 percent for a black candidate.

One divide was more decisive: Twenty-six percent voted for Mayor Kasim Reed’s preferred candidate, but 74 percent did not.

The most salient fact in this election has been Reed’s support of Keisha Lance Bottoms, who won a narrow plurality in the first round but with less than a week to go finds herself in a dead heat against Mary Norwood. His support pushed Bottoms to the top earlier in the race. Might it now be the thing that holds her back?

The federal investigation into bribery and corruption at City Hall — which so far has led to guilty pleas from two contractors and the city’s former chief procurement officer, and shows no sign of being complete — happened on Reed’s watch. He insists he is both innocent and cooperative. But the scandal’s stench is strong, and several candidates ran on the premise that the next mayor should have no loyalties to the current regime when trying to clean house.

Bottoms lacks credibility on that point. Not only is she the choice of the current regime, and not only is that fact largely responsible for her making the run-off. But she also was Reed’s appointee to a full-time, $135,000-a-year job as head of the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority, which was highly questionable given that she was already serving on the City Council.

Bottoms made her clearest claim to independence yet on Tuesday night, at a forum organized by third-place finisher Cathy Woolard. “This will not be a third term of Kasim Reed,” Bottoms declared, adding she is “not a pixie-dust candidate.”

It wasn’t enough to sway Woolard, who on Wednesday morning endorsed Norwood. “I feel like the lack of transparency at City Hall has crushed the spirit of our city,” Woolard explained, “and I feel like we need a clean break with this administration and a new start here with a fresh set of players.”

She echoed the arguments made by fellow ex-candidates Peter Aman and Ceasar Mitchell in endorsing Norwood. That puts three of the top four also-rans in Norwood’s camp (the other, Vincent Fort, said he’s neutral) along with Reed’s predecessor, Shirley Franklin.

That’s a big chunk of those most recently and closely involved in city politics opting for a new day at City Hall.

It’s the most reasonable conclusion to reach here. Distance from an administration that may have more rot yet to be exposed is one thing. Judgment and prudence are another.

An example: Bottoms says it was OK for her to take the Recreation Authority job while serving on the City Council because she received a legal opinion giving her the green light. That opinion came from city attorneys who also work for Reed; an attorney for the Georgia General Assembly demurred. More to the point, Bottoms is a lawyer and a former judge herself. She had all the background and training necessary to recognize, and avoid, such a conflict of interest. She took the job anyway.

Given the particular cloud hanging over City Hall, Atlantans need someone who makes better decisions. Franklin, Woolard, Aman and Mitchell are right: That person is Mary Norwood.

Reader Comments 0

98 comments
Alice Gordon
Alice Gordon

It is time to end corruption is City Hall white or black Mary Norwood is a breath of fresh air.

bendedknee
bendedknee

Once again a GOP president got elected by illegally colluding with US enemies except this one clearly committed treason by undermining congressional sanctions both before and after elected along with colluding to interfere in US election and steal DNC records. For cons here that is a nothing burger  because  they  hate Dems and Obama so much that a traitor who is a right wing fascist and white supremacist pleases them no end.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@bendedknee 

So you have conclusive proof of this or is it on your wish list. If the former please provide us with links to your information source. I suppose that I'll be hearing crickets once again.

Doomy
Doomy

If Norwood is elected maybe we can finally get away from this 3rd world mentality of corruption down at city hall.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@Doomy


3rd world corruption is an over statement. But if Norwood provides assurance that she's a break from the proggie run city hall. Then I am fine with that.

Doomy
Doomy

@McGarnagle @Doomy


Well, at least its probably not as filthy dirty as the Bill Campbell administration. Knew a girl who worked for a developer in ATL and while she couldn't tell me anything specific she told me Campbell was dirtier than a pig in mud. And this was well before he was indicted. She was disgusted with the man. 

Doomy
Doomy

@Pub Heaven


Meh. Doesn't mean anything in regards to any actual collusion by Trump with the Russians. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Doomy @Pub Heaven 

Actually what Flynn's being charged with doesn't even prove any collusion which BTW in and of its self isn't a crime. There would have to be evidence of aiding the Russians in their efforts to tamper in our election process. Flynn's being charged with intentionally misleading the FBI about discussions of sanctions with Russian officials. On the surface a pretty flimsy charge.

bu22
bu22

@SGTGrit @Doomy @Pub Heaven  It really raises 2 questions:  Why would he have lied about something so trivial?  And why would the FBI be interested in that?  Maybe a routine part of the security clearance?  Perhaps its just the easy charge to prove when they really want to get him for lying about his lobbying for the Turkish government.

Pub Heaven
Pub Heaven

Uh, guys, at minimum Flynn can implicate Jared in the documented effort to persuade Russia to moderate its response to US sanctions. And if Flynn testifies that he did so, during the transition period, with Trump’s approval...

And Doomy, not certain when you received your JD, but one reaction Trump’s attorneys are Not having this morning is “Meh”.

Pub Heaven
Pub Heaven

“On the surface a pretty flimsy charge.“

A guy pleads guilty to a flimsy charge in exchange for dropping other charges, contingent on his valuable testimony on behalf of the Government.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Pub Heaven 

Those discussions that you're describing wouldn't necessarily be illegal. Perhaps a break in protocol for a transitioning administration to be having such discussions but where's the illegality?

Doomy
Doomy

@SGTGrit @Doomy @Pub Heaven


Yeah. It's like I said before they'll eventually get someone on making a false statement or get someone on a procedural thing or on something that has nothing to do with Russian collusion. But the idea that they can actually prove an ongoing conspiracy between the Russians and the Trump campaign is the stuff of pure fantasy. 


If a conspiracy or collusion was really the case by now they would have solid proof in the way of meetings, electronic correspondence, etc. There's nothing. Zip, zilch, nada. 


Kinda fun to watch the Dims fantasize about such a nothingburger. 



Doomy
Doomy

@McGarnagle @bu22 @SGTGrit @Doomy @Pub Heaven


That's what investigators do. They get you on something totally unrelated so that they can pressure you on other stuff. So it may be silly and it may be on something totally unrelated but if they can use it as leverage to get him to make up a case against Trump then that's what they'll do. 

Doomy
Doomy

@Pub Heaven


"at minimum Flynn can implicate Jared in the documented effort to persuade Russia to moderate its response to US sanctions"


LOL! And that would prove that the Trump administration was colluding with the Russians to steal the U.S. election how???

Doomy
Doomy

@SGTGrit @Pub Heaven


Yeah. Other than vague accusations of "collusion", whatever that is supposed to mean, I've yet to see a prog offer specifics about exactly what the Trump campaign supposedly did that was illegal. If you ask one in person you get a blank stare. 

Doomy
Doomy

@BTC @Doomy @Pub Heaven


And you guys really have quite the "collusion" fantasy, don't you?? A fantasy that was based on an absurd fake dossier to begin with. 

Doomy
Doomy

@BuckeyeGa @Doomy @Pub Heaven


Sorry but there is zero concrete evidence of such collusion. You may have someone like Manafort or Flynn trying to curry influence with the Russians, Turks, or anyone else for that matter in order to personally benefit financially. But that's quite different from the initial accusation which was that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians to somehow steal the election. That charge was and remains not only absurd but absolutely unprovable to this point. 

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

@Doomy @BuckeyeGa @Pub Heaven  There are multiple accusations regarding Trump admin and Russia..You can hang your hat on one all you want.  That won't stop the investigations from the accusationS.

XS IV
XS IV

Given that it is all starting to 'hit the fan' expect the Reed cabal, including many in the local Democratic party apparatus to pull out all the stops to keep Norwood from being elected. They desperately need to have a continuation of the corruption vs. someone who will actually review the goings on last several years.

You can bet there are many people squirming at the thought of he legal repercussions they may face if a candidate who is willing to assist with investigations and review old contracts get in.

Expect those from the corrupt regime to do anything they can to keep the cash tap open and not face their long overdue day of reckoning.                 

Robert1959
Robert1959

@XS IV What do think about corruption in the Georgia republican party?  Are the Georgia republicans helping laundering money from Russia?  Is Georgia, USA the new Georgia, USSR? 

Doomy
Doomy

@Robert1959 @XS IV


"Are the Georgia republicans helping laundering money from Russia?"


LOL! At least you have a sense of humor. 

Robert1959
Robert1959

@Doomy @Robert1959 @XS IV Donald "birther" Trump, 1st white nationalist/alt-right POTUS "targeted" the Georgia republicans who are racist and bigots (Purdue bros., Handel, Isakson, Price, etc.).  They are using the same playbook as Trump.  Take a ride around town (midtown, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, etc.) and you will see new housing developments with overpriced homes and condo's nobody from Georgia can afford.  Russia and China are laundering money.

Robert1959
Robert1959

Kyle, I agree Mary Norwood has the overall job knowledge, skills and abilities to lead the Atlanta greater metropolitan area including the surrounding suburbs (Cobb, Fulton, Henry, etc.). Who ever is the next Mayor of Atlanta they must put together a coalition of democrats, republicans and independents that will work in collaboration.  The only problem I have with Mary Norwood is she used the same "dog whistle"  George Wallace used after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.  George Wallace said it is time to "get tough on crime" which means "get tough on Blacks".  Today republicans will use any "red meat" they can find to fire up their base of racist and bigots. The question is why did Mary Norwood say that? Was she blowing her "dog whistle" seeking the  racist and bigots votes?

TinaTrent
TinaTrent

@Robert1959 How is this comment not racist and bigoted?  You're smearing as a bigot anyone who so much as notices the existence of crime -- an intentionally thuggish -- yes, thuggish -- verbal strategy.  


I lived and worked in downtown and south Atlanta for 20 years.  I was burgled more than once, subjected to criminal sexual harassment on a bus, in more than one train station, and in a public library; one neighbor was held hostage in her house as it was ransacked by thugs; another was murdered one morning for $5 right outside my bedroom window.  


I also worked with victims of violent crime.  Most of the victims I worked with were themselves minorities.  People like you, using your thuggish verbal strategies to silence crime victims, are the ones practicing real prejudice.    


Spewing out vicious, false smears from behind a fake name is cowardice.  Trying to plant this sort of sleazy messaging into a faux-thoughtful comment is something worse: it is politically cynical cowardice.


People like you are a big reason why we can't protect more people from criminal predators.      

Robert1959
Robert1959

@TinaTrent @Robert1959 I am sorry if I offended you.  Today in the 21st century Police departments all across the USA are using "community outreach" as a very effective crime prevention tool.  Police Officers are encouraged to get out of the patrol car and walk through their neighborhood, knock on doors.  Police Officers want to prevent a problem before it occurs and would rather receive "hugs and kisses" and be a part of the community they serve.  "get tough on crime" is a ineffective crime prevention toll.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Robert1959 @TinaTrent 

With LEO's being gunned down in cold blood for no reason they;re not out in the neighborhoods expecting hugs and kisses.

Doomy
Doomy

@Robert1959


"Today republicans will use any "red meat" they can find to fire up their base of racist and bigots."


Robert's daily racist smears are about as predictable as the sun rising in the east. 

SSDD. 

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit The jury did what they're supposed to do. Decide guilt or not. 

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@SGTGrit


As with freedom of speech. It sucks when it goes against that you think it should be doesn't it.


We are land of laws. And the whatever you think of him, he went though the court system fair and square. You got a problem with that, take it up with your fellow american citizens.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@McGarnagle @SGTGrit 

I do have a problem with that as do most Americans even including a major S.F. newspaper. The problem is sanctuary cities that allow scum like this to keep returning until they cause something like the death of a young woman. It's truly ironic that you use the "land of laws" argument to justify this verdict.

Robert1959
Robert1959

@SGTGrit I guess you want to "get tough on crime" which means "get tough on Blacks & Hispanics". 

Caius
Caius

@SGTGrit Your problem is the DA who charged the guy with a crime that he had no evidence to convict. The guy may truly be a "piece of garbage", but the DA had no evidence to convince a jury he committed the crime for which he was tried.  He was convicted of a possession charge for which there was evidence, per the jury.


Doomy
Doomy

@SGTGrit


I don't think he should have gotten murder. It does look like it was an accident. He certainly didn't intend to purposefully kill her since the bullet was a richochet and there was only one shot. 


What I am surprised about is that he wasn't convicted of involuntary manslaughter or perhaps negligent homicide. 

Doomy
Doomy

@Robert1959 @SGTGrit @McGarnagle


They may be a detestable bunch. But they are Americans using their lawful right to free speech. That's quite different from harboring illegal alien criminals. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Doomy @SGTGrit 

 "What I am surprised about is that he wasn't convicted of involuntary manslaughter or perhaps negligent homicide."

Exactly...prosecution incompetence? Or some other reason?

waitaminute3210
waitaminute3210

@Robert1959 Please explain what a white supremacist rally has to do with sanctuary cities. And yes, I would rather have NO sanctuary cities. 

waitaminute3210
waitaminute3210

@Robert1959 If Blacks and Hispanics are committing the crimes, yes. Same goes for whites, Asians, little green men and the list goes on.

waitaminute3210
waitaminute3210

@Robert1959 Yes, by all means, let's compare atrocities like lynchings a over hundred years ago with harboring illegal aliens from deportation. You live to make everything about race.