Aman, Woolard top the list; Norwood, Fort opt not to participate in review
By Stan Washington / The Atlanta Voice
Ten of 12 Atlanta mayoral candidates received grades from a prominent group of nearly 36 nonprofit organizations and corporations either based in or with strong ties to Atlanta.
Of those who participated in the review conducted by the Committee for a Better Atlanta, five mayoral candidates received an “excellent” rating, two were rated “well-qualified,” four were rated “not qualified” while two—including current frontrunner Mary Norwood — elected not to participate.
Each election cycle, the CBA conducts a comprehensive review of candidates running for local office, including the mayoral candidates, as well as candidates for the Atlanta City Council, including city council president.
The CBA review committee submitted a lengthy questionnaire that gave candidates an opportunity to share their stances on a variety of issues, including crime, affordable housing, transportation, and infrastructure.
The review committee also considered the candidates’ civic and political backgrounds.
Following the questionnaires, which were due in August, the review committee also conducted interviews with each candidate in September.
A one-page report of the CBA’s scores, as well as each candidate’s set of responses to the questionnaire, can be found on its website, www.cbatl.org.
Though the report lists each candidate from highest to lowest scores under each category, the group maintains that it does not officially endorse a candidate.
Candidates Peter Aman, Cathy Woolard, Ceasar Mitchell, John Eaves and Kwanza Hall all received points above 90 points. Aman scored the highest of any candidate with 96 points.
Among “well qualified” candidates, Michael Sterling and Keisha Lance Bottom scored 88 and 82 points, respectively.
Receiving a rating of “not qualified” were candidates Rohit Ammahamanchi, Laban King, Glenn Wrightson and Carl Jackson. Norwood and Georgia State Sen. Vincent Fort both declined to participate.
Norwood released a statement saying that the process is a good venue for unknown candidates to get known, but her record speaks for itself. She also stated that she has participated in the CBA review in the past.
Fort, by telephone, said that he was disappointed at the lack of diversity of the evaluation team he met following a CBA forum, citing that the team was completely comprised of “older white males.”
“I just thought that it was a shocking lack of diversity for Atlanta in 2017,” he said. “I intend to work with the business community but I’m not going to work for the business community.
Fort said he would rather talk to “regular people” instead.
Fort talked to plenty of “regular” constituents last Saturday when he welcomed former presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally at the St. Phillips AME Church in South DeKalb County.
Sanders, who was endorsed by Fort during the Democratic primary last fall, returned the favor and publicly endorsed him for mayor.
Sanders received several standing ovations from the packed diverse audience of about 2,400 as he spoke on health care reform, criminal justice reform and other issues during a 15-minute address.
In addition, Fort received support from several other local politicians and labor officials at the rally. “We’re going to make city hall a progressive place,” he said.
The CBA report also interviewed candidates for the Atlanta City Council.
In the race for Council President, Alex Wan and Felicia Moore both received scores about 90 points. C.T. Martin, the longest serving member on the council received 88 points.
In many of the other races, candidates did not participate or were rated not qualified.
In the District 11 race being vacated by Lance Bottoms who is running for mayor, only one of the eight candidates, Brionte McCorkle received a rating of well-qualified.
The rest received a not qualified rating or did not participate.
In the District 4 race with 11 candidates, incumbent Cleta Winslow received an average rating of 78 points. Political novice Jason Dozier was the only one who received an excellent rating. Kimberly Parmer and Christopher Brown received a rating of well-qualified. The remainder received a rating of not qualified or they did not participate.
In the heated Post 1 At-large race both the incumbent Michael Julian Bond and his opponent Courtney D. English received a well-qualified rating. English has staged a continuous barrage of attacks on Bond’s political record and his integrity on social media.
In District 6, Jennifer N. Ide and Kirk Rich both received “excellent” ratings.
The Atlanta Press Club and public radio station WABE 90.1 FM will be hold a mayoral candidate forum on Oct. 12 at 10 a.m. The radio station will broadcast live from the event and a livestream will be made available for viewing on the Atlanta Press Club’s Facebook page.