Here’s the statement Reed’s campaign has put out in the last few minutes:
“Not only do I find these comments racially charged and vitriolic, I completely repudiate them because they are fundamentally wrong and do not belong in today’s society. I call on Ms. Borders to do the right thing and denounce such divisive, racist language immediately.
“These tactics divide the very community that has made Atlanta emerge as a leading city in the South and dishonors the legacies of Mayors Maynard Jackson, Andrew Young, Ivan Allen, Sam Massell, and William Hartsfield. This campaign should be waged on the merits of each candidate, not the color of their skin.”
One more point: There is an assertion below that both Norwood and another candidate, Atlanta attorney Jesse Spikes, are Republican. The councilwoman maintains she is neither Democrat nor Republican. Spikes’ communication director says that Spikes is a Democrat, and his voting record reflects that.
Here’s the document at issue:
The debate over the best strategic option for black leadership and the African American community as we approach the Mayoral election in Atlanta has become critical based on the fact that for the last 25 years Atlanta has represented the breakthrough for black political empowerment in the South.
It is debatable to what extent the objective socio-economic and political position of the African American community has improved. At the same time, most would agree that the Jackson breakthrough represented an unprecedented opportunity for black political representation nationwide.
A passionate argument has been made for us to develop a unity of purpose and position, and for that to be defined immediately, given the short amount of time remaining between now and November 2009 election day (two and ˝ months from now).
There are unstated assumptions that need to be examined. Perhaps the most critical factor is the lack of an agenda against which to evaluate candidates. An agenda, beyond just electing a Black Mayor, would allow us to move from the margins of the debate to controlling the expectations associated with gaining our support.
Three basic assertions have been made. They are as follows:
1. There is a chance for the first time in 25 years that African Americans could lose the Mayoral seat in Atlanta, Georgia, especially if there is a run-off;
2. Time is of the essence because in order to defeat a Norwood (white) mayoral candidacy we have to get out now and work in a manner to defeat her without a runoff, and the key is a significant Black turnout in the general election;
3. The reasons support should be given to Lisa Borders is: 1) she is the best black candidate in the race who has a chance to win the election because she can attract downtown white support; and 2) based on polling data drawn from a host of sources between May 2009 and July 2009, the numbers suggest Borders is growing stronger as we move closer to the election, while the most recent polling data suggests that the other black candidates are falling further behind over the same period.
There are also at least three unstated assumptions that should be further explored:
1. With the “Black Mayor first” approach there is an unstated assumption that having a black mayor in Atlanta is equal to having a black social, economic and political agenda or at least someone in office who would be sensitive to that agenda if not a full promoter of that agenda;
2. By coming out for Borders now would eliminate Reed, Spikes and Thomas as viable candidates. Some would argue that if the polling data is correct then those candidates who are only polling at 8%, 2% and 1% respectfully, are already effectively out of the race; and
3. It is unlikely that there will be a unified preference among existing black leadership and in the African American community for one candidate prior to the general election.
The Missing Factors in the Current Approach
There are at least seven real world common knowledge factors that must be taken into consideration as we debate how best to manifest our support in the run-up to the November elections. They are as follows:
1. The impact of current alienation among Black Atlantans from the political establishment;
2. The imperiled state of the Jackson Machine, (in part because of the displacement of close to 100,000 black residents over the past few years) and the effect operation of the NPU system by whites;
3. Shirley Franklin’s perceived poor performance;
4. The changing demographics in the city, the potential role of new city voters and the diminished role of religious and labor leaders in mobilizing the black vote;
5. The importance of the City Council races (which to date seems to have been ignored);
6. The persistent poverty in the city, the educational crisis in the schools; the human security/public safety concerns; the type of economic development policies being pursued; and the city’s awful financial management issues;
7. A Black Agenda that any candidate should be evaluated against.
What’s At Stake?
Determining what’s at stake depends on perspective:
1. The view that the times are too serious to stand on the sidelines is absolutely correct from the perspective of a black mayor at all cost. In fact, if a white candidate were to win the 2009 mayoral race, it would be just as significant in political terms as Maynard Jackson’s victory in 1973.
2. Therefore, the question becomes, if that were the case, how would African American interests be addressed; thus, the need for a comprehensive agenda. At the same time, just having a black mayor doesn’t guarantee that African American issues and concerns would be effectively addressed either (as the current administration’s relationship to the African American community clearly demonstrates). In other words, are we simply providing votes without any expectations of the candidate that would enjoy our support?;
3. While some may think that Franklin represents the last link to the Jackson Machine, it is not widely known that both Borders and Reed are directly connected to Franklin; or that Spikes and Thomas are Republicans, as is Norwood.
Additionally, it should not be overlooked that whoever is Mayor of Atlanta will be in position to play an important role in the upcoming 2010 Georgia Governor’s race;
4. The changing demographics which show a more rapid growth in the city’s white population (faster and a higher percentage than anywhere else in the country) requires that we critically evaluate all candidates;
5. To ignore the alienation that exists among black voters towards the Franklin Administration’s performance is naive at best and dishonest at worse; and finally,
6. We need an overall governance strategy and a definition of who really governs in Atlanta. In other words, in 2009 we have arrived at a place in time where we can no longer afford to just look at race in the Mayor’s race or individual council races.
At the end of the day, “when the morning comes,” a black agenda would better enable us to have our interests respected by and our influence realized in any administration.
Re: The memo that’s about to shake the Atlanta mayor’s race
Interesting, I will do more research.
Preserving the blackness of the city and its public servants is important to me. Having lived several other cities, I feel that Atlanta has a richness of history and culture that should be appreciated. At the same time, a candidate's blackness does not mean that they are there to represent black interests. I do feel that a young black mayor would more in touch with the pulse of the city, but the same was said about S. Franklin.
However, the issues are of equal or greater importance. I am passionately against "bible belt" politics(closing sex toy stores, clubs closing at 2 for example) and will likely vote against any candidate that refuses to allow Atlanta to further blossom into a booming metropolis.
I want to see crime decreased, and I want to see more 24hr everything.
And what's the latest on the Underground casino? We need that. It was slated to be just an electronic gaming facility, but who knows, that could open the door for our own real Harrah's one of these days.
Yeah, I'm riding for the grown folks.lol.
ATLANTA, GA (WABE) - The talk of Atlanta's Mayoral election has made a hard public shift towards race.
An analysis of the campaign commissioned by an African-American group was leaked to the media and widely circulated and discussed Thursday.
Today, two political science professors told WABE they wrote the analysis.
Word of the analysis first came from the Atlanta Progressive News. APN wrote Aaron Turpeau authored the document.
However, Turpeau told WABE he only distributed the analysis in an email to up to 40 people. They and Turpeau are part of an unofficial group which calls itself the Atlanta Black Leadership Forum. The group has been meeting to discuss the Mayor's race as well as issues facing the black community.
Turpeau also said who wrote the document.
TURPEAU: "It was two professors from Clark Atlanta University."
The CAU professors, who did not want their names disclosed, confirmed to WABE they are the authors. They're also concerned people are mischaracterizing the analysis and their original intent.
Many people interpret the analysis as a rally cry for black Atlantans to support City Council President Lisa Borders, who is black, as the best chance to beat City Councilor Mary Norwood, who is white.
The leaked document lists assertions that have been made about the election. They include the probability that a run off could decide the winner and Atlanta could have its first white Mayor in 25 years.
However, the professors also wrote the notion that black mayors have improved quality of life for all African-Americans in Atlanta is debatable.
Re: CAU professors authored race memo about Atlanta mayoral race
They will kick out the President that keeps them in the Black and wants to impose morals, and put in one that puts them back in the red sans morals. And they do a lot of other stuff. I've also seen the student body.
Location: So Good, Take This Heart of Mine, Into Your Hands
If This Memo Came from Georgia Tech...Nobody Would Care!!!
BUT since it came from an HBCU (how dare those uppity negroes prepose to think up such dastardly plans!) its an outrage...I'm tired of white people and their double standards...I really am...they have been doing the same thing to us publicly and behind closed doors for I don't know how many decades since Emancipation.
For those who don't know what the hell is going on in ATL politically, click here for an unbiased background article by the LA Times.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
8:16 p.m. Monday, August 31, 2009
The authors of the Black Leadership Forum’s controversial memo that called for the election of a black mayor in Atlanta have identified themselves.
In a statement issued Monday afternoon, Clark Atlanta University professors William Boone and Keith Jennings, claimed authorship, while blasting the media for misinterpreting the context of what has become known as the “black mayor first” memo.
“News coverage to date of an analysis presented to the Black Leadership Forum has been incendiary and misleading,” they wrote.
Last week, the three-page memo, circulated by longtime city politico Aaron Turpeau, made its way through Atlanta via e-mail. Turpeau always said two CAU professors wrote the memo, but when he refused to name them, it was speculated that he was the author.
“To correct the record, Aaron Turpeau is not the author of the memo, nor is anyone associated with the Black Leadership Forum,” they wrote. “We are the sole authors and we stand by our academic analysis.”
On Monday, Boone repeatedly declined to talk to the AJC. He said he would address the media at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Paschal’s.
The memo said that the best way for City Council President Lisa Borders to defeat the major white candidate -- Councilwoman Mary Norwood -- was to, “get out now and work in a manner to defeat her without a runoff.”
“She is the best candidate in the race who has a chance to win the election because she can attract downtown white support,” the memo said of Borders.
It went on to say that Sen. Kasim Reed, Jesse Spikes and Glenn Thomas, all black men, should drop out of the race in favor of Borders.
Each of the candidates called the memo racist and divisive, and Mayor Shirley Franklin called it bigoted.
Boone and Jennings shot back Monday calling claims of racism “patently false” and a “red herring,” because they were presenting, “views that have been articulated in various parts of the community.”
“We stand by our belief that ‘a black agenda would enable African American interests to be respected by any administration,’ ” they wrote. “The interests of African American voters are just as legitimate as other Atlanta voters, and the notion that we must apologize for highlighting those interests is absurd.”
The two also denied that the memo was an endorsement of Borders.
“Make no mistake, we do not work for any of the candidates,” they wrote. “We have held no formal discussions with any of the campaigns and have made no contributions to any of the campaigns.”
Location: So Good, Take This Heart of Mine, Into Your Hands
Re: Clark Atlanta Professor Authors of Black Mayor Memo ID'd
Authors of ‘black agenda’ memo step forward
6:39 pm August 31, 2009, by Jay
Two professors at Clark Atlanta University have come forward to claim authorship of the controversial “black agenda” memo, reports my colleague Jim Galloway at Political Insider.
In claiming authorship, William Boone and Keith Jennings also try to rebut the harsh criticism generated by the memo, arguing that “the recent suggestion that it is somehow racist to highlight an agenda that promotes the interests of African American voters is patently false. It is a red herring that polarizes debate about electing the most qualified candidate for Atlanta’s next mayor.”
“The interests of African American voters are just as legitimate as other Atlanta voters, and the notion that we must apologize for highlighting those interests is absurd,” the two professors now write.
And you know what? They’re absolutely right. They do not need to apologize for highlighting the legitimate interests of black Atlanta voters. As they point out, “The need for African American voter and taxpayer interests to be addressed by all candidates is just as legitimate as it is for candidates to respond to issues raised by the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Stand-Up, Central Atlanta Progress or any Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU).”
Unfortunately, the original memo written by Boone and Jennings went well beyond advocating an agenda for African American voters and seeking commitments from mayoral candidates to support it, as they now try to describe it. In several places, it postulated that a black mayor, and only a black mayor, could be trusted to represent the interests of black Atlantans.
“Time is of the essence because in order to defeat a Norwood (white) mayoral candidacy we have to get out now and work in a manner to defeat her without a runoff, and the key is a significant Black turnout in the general election,” they wrote.
“The view that the times are too serious to stand on the sidelines is absolutely correct from the perspective of a black mayor at all cost,” they further argued. “In fact, if a white candidate were to win the 2009 mayoral race, it would be just as significant in political terms as Maynard Jackson’s victory in 1973.”
That’s what was controversial. That’s the argument that drew deserved criticism. They, not their critics, introduced “a red herring that polarizes debate about electing the most qualified candidate for Atlanta’s next mayor.” And in their claim to authorship and their defense of the original memo, Boone and Jennings do not address or even acknowledge that fact.
Re: Clark Atlanta Professor Authors of Black Mayor Memo ID'd
Well I for one can respect the fact that they stand by their belief that a "black agenda would enable African American interests." Shid, I lived in Atlanta and someone needed to stand up long time ago to place importance on African-American interests. It was as buck-and-shuffle as you can get when I was there and probably hasn't changed much. So if these two professors and provoke though in that arena, they have my full support. I doubt that any white candidate in Atlanta, Georgia would give half a fuck about the Black people in that city.