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Atlanta Mayors Race


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By ERIC STURGIS

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin is not happy about what one candidate who wants her job is saying about the city’s finances.

The mayor released a statement Monday urging Mary Norwood, a councilwoman, to alert law enforcement if she’s aware of any fraud or criminal activity inside City Hall. Otherwise, Franklin said, “to publicly assert criminal activity in the absence of proof violates basic principles of fairness and decency.”

During a debate Sunday, Norwood on several occasions compared the city’s finances to Enron, whose name has become synonymous with corporate crime.

“The Enron-type of accounting we have had has compromised our citizens’ safety,” Norwood said when asked how she would pay for more police officers.

Norwood tried to defuse the situation in a statement late Monday.

“What’s important here is not a common figure of speech, but the fact that the city’s finances are a mess that is just now starting to be cleaned up after years of mismanagement,” Norwood said.

Norwood has said she voted against raising property taxes the last two years largely because she said it’s tough to decipher the city’s budget numbers.

Franklin is prohibited from running for a third term. The mayor said in a radio interview last week she’s “less inclined” to endorse Norwood, who is leading the polls.

The city’s internal auditor released a report in April 2008 that found overbudgeting and staff miscalculations.

Franklin said Monday that Chief Financial Officer Jim Glass, hired in November, has made significant improvements to the city’s financial practices.

Norwood is probably the first White candidate with a legitimate chance to win the Mayoral election. By playing this trump card without evidence did this hurt her chances?

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Corruption: It has been Atlanta's politics for as long as I can remember. Maybe Andrew Young was the last decent mayor? I didn't really know the guy.

Our state is 2nd only to California in deficit.

I totally agree. I like all of the top major candidates. I hate that Franklins term will end with people hating her for being mayor during a rough economic crisis.

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I hate Georgia politics so much.

I still remember like 2 years ago when we had the huge water shortage and Sonny kept telling us to pray for water and then started trying to villify other states from taking water from us... the entire time sweeping under the rug that him letting developers run wild without ever increasing the water supply was the biggest part of the problem.

It's totally not even republican/democrat, everyone is off here.

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