Mary Norwood is nothing. That is not (entirely) shade, but the image the city councilmember has crafted while running for mayor of Atlanta for the past 10 years: a political outsider who has been in public office since the turn of the century, a populist from the Buckheadiest enclave of Buckhead, Tuxedo Park.

Norwood insists she has no ideology, neither liberal nor conservative, Republican or Democrat. The only thing she believes in is better neighborhoods.

Some folks might consider non-partisanship refreshing during these fiery times, but Norwood’s born-again independence is her only hope of becoming leader of a city as progressive as Atlanta. Prior to running for mayor in 2009, Norwood served as a delegate to the National Republican Convention, and after losing that race was a Republican representative on the Fulton County board of registrations and elections.

Her campaign treasurer, Jamie Ensley, is the immediate past chair of the national Log Cabin Republicans, and is as enthusiastic about President Trump as he is the possibility of Mayor Norwood. As cities form the backbone of resistance to the madness of the current administration, it is inconceivable we would put control of Atlanta in the hands of a closeted Republican.

Norwood’s eyes are as vacant as her beliefs. She prides herself on being so colorblind she wouldn’t have even realized she could be the first non-black mayor of Atlanta in four decades if someone hadn’t told her she was white.

“[Race] hasn’t come into play at any event I have attended,” Norwood told the AJC. Norwood is notorious for popping up wherever there are potential voters, but being present means nothing if you aren’t paying attention to the unique experiences and concerns of diverse groups, and her exposure to all parts of Atlanta have not prevented her from voting how you expect a Buckhead Republican to vote on city council.

No honest or serious leader is irresponsible enough to ignore the dynamics that bind our society, and when you naively pretend skin color and sexual orientation are non-factors in our culture, you default to a system that has never valued black or LGBT lives. Nowhere is Norwood’s conservatism more conspicuous than her assumption that the system is fundamentally fair.

Following the illegal Atlanta Police Department raid on the Atlanta Eagle in 2009, Norwood encouraged citizens to have faith in law enforcement, and had three questions she wanted answered before rendering judgment, the first being: “Were there crimes being committed at the bar?” No, Mary, there were no crimes, but even if someone had been caught giving a blow job in a darkroom, it wouldn’t have justified police berating patrons as cockroaches and faggots, and violating their civil liberties.

Norwood was equally deferential to APD last month when officers swarmed Black Gay Pride and closed bars two hours before the city’s last call, saying she accepted the police chief’s explanation that the raid was the result of “miscommunication,” rather than the recidivist targeting of Black Gay Pride.

Indeed, the only progressive position Norwood has trumpeted was on an issue that was outside the responsibility, and accountability, of mayor. And LGBT Atlanta fell for her con in 2009, dumping an ally who had fought for hate crime protections in favor of someone who had refused to vote for expanded domestic partner benefits.

We must not be duped again. The next mayor of Atlanta should be anybody but Mary Norwood.

6 Responses

  1. sebastian

    Ryan,I have to respectfully disagree and debunk your entire article.Starting with your Republican false claims.She was a never a GOP delegate to the National convention,beyond that the DNC voterbase reflects that Mary has voted Democrat in every election going back to 1988 when Michael Dukais was the Democratic presidential nominee through 2016 for Hillary Clinton .Your false accusation about Jamie is also baseless because I know him personally and He didn’t vote for Trump,because he doesn’t agree with his agenda.Log Cabin GOP is Gay conservative group that supports Democrats and Republicans .That is why they endorsed Mary Norwood and Caesar Mitchell for mayor.Mary was the first councilwoman to come out in favor of same sex marriage in 2008 years before any other seating elected official did in Georgia.This entire article is writing to portray Mary as a Racist and anti gay,and as a Black male that has known her for nearly a decade I know both to be untrue.I live in the Adamsville community of Atlanta and Mary Norwood has always been the only city Councilwoman to return my phone calls and emails when I have an issue in the community. Even though she lives outside of my community.Thats why I am supporting for Mary for Mayor.Mary is the candidate open and transparent enough to allow people to call her cell phone daily to discuss issues and concerns.I found it irresponsible to write this many false statements and not suggest another alternative candidates.What is the advice to our city to lie and spread rumor about someone as sincere and honorable as Mrs.Norwood.Anyone who is am undecided voter ,I encourage you to call Mary or myself for chance to get know the real person.I can be reached at 6784573561 to discuss atlanta community issues and get truth not falsehoods and rumors . I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way but this article is more satire than informative. Everyone please get the honest and credible information and I am available to give you the sources for that.

  2. Bill Kaelin

    Sebastian…Jamie Ensley is a HUGE Trump supporter. Where are you getting your info from? The Ga Voice even quoted him in 2016:

    Atlanta’s Jamie Ensley, national board chair for the Log Cabin Republicans, tells Georgia Voice that while the organization doesn’t make endorsements in federal or presidential primaries, he personally plans on supporting Trump.

    “I’m personally supporting Trump over the rest of the Republican candidates because he has a backbone that America needs to fight the evil growing around the world,” Ensley said. “He’s also a successful and experienced businessman and not a career politician who will run America like a business. I also believe Trump is the best candidate to insure America remains the strongest country on the face of the earth.”

    Meanwhile reports from the last HRC dinner was that every time there was a negative mention of Trump Jamie Ensley was seen and heard booing at the table with his guest Mary Norwood.

    The facts are the facts and Jamie Ensley is Mary Norwood’s right hand man and in the era of Trump we don’t need ANYONE affiliated with the Trump admin to be the leader of our city.

    Don’t even get me started with the Karen Handle photo….

    • Coleman

      Honestly it’s amazing how anyone, even if it’s an opinion piece, can lie about someone like this. Delegates to the RNC is PUBLIC knowledge, and of course it shows that Mary Norwood was never a delegate to a national party convention, GOP or Dem. and as for Jamie Ensley being Norwood’s right-hand man: get your facts straight. He is the campaign’s treasurer, and he’s a banker…imagine that.

      PS. I don’t think it’s particularly wise to advocate, “if you supported Trump, other candidates you support are out of consideration.” Doesn’t make for very good cooalition building if you think Trump voter’s votes don’t count, eh?

  3. Jan Carmel

    In some ways, I don’t care that Jamie Jamie Ensley (treasurer for the campaign to elect Mary Norwood as Atlanta Mayor) is a Republican or that he support Trump. That is his right and prerogative. But bigotry, racism, prejudice, discrimination, and racist stereotypes are another thing. Our airport made Atlanta the great success it is today and is the crown jewel of the Southeastern United States, but Jamie mocked and disrespected the name of our honorable late Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson (a civil rights icon and Atlanta’s first African-American mayor) by bastardizing his name into “Latoya Jackson Airport” in two of his recent Facebook posts. These posts by Mary Norwood’s campaign treasurer make it clear that he sees our African-American and Latino community in terms of stereotypes such as crime (bail bonds), cheap food (a taco drive through shack), a wig and weave shop, and fried chicken.


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