News - Mary Norwood

For making a painful process even more so

Some folks oppose the prevailing winds because of their unbending principles, some because of their overblown egos and some because they don't know what they're talking about.

Freshman Councilwoman Mary Norwood would seem to fall in that last category. In recent weeks, she's gone around Atlanta telling anyone who'd listen that Mayor Shirley Franklin's sewer plan is one big, expensive bundle of cronyism and corruption.

Her backroom efforts have contributed almost as much to the council deadlock on the issue as the proposed rate hike in question, even though she says she's only trying to see details of the plan. She's not an engineer, Norwood concedes, but she says she knows more than Franklin about large-scale public works projects.

Now, we've got our own reservations about the mayor's tunnel-vision approach to solving the city's sewer crisis. However, the half-baked alternative Norwood has been flogging would turn a westside quarry into a huge open septic tank, would probably cost even more and would provide lucrative work to the engineer and wannabe city contractor who's been acting as Norwood's sewer consultant.

Another irony here is that, as a Buckhead homeowner activist in the early '90s, Norwood helped derail the city's Utoy tunnel plan that could have spared Atlanta from much of its current sewer predicament.

And what evidence does she have that Franklin's plan is full of graft? None that anyone can make out. In fact, the mayor recently released an open letter inviting Norwood to report to the feds any sewer-contract wrongdoing in which Franklin or her administration is engaged. To paraphrase the final sentence of Herroner's letter: If you have no evidence to support your allegations, then shutdafuckup!

No wonder Norwood hasn't had time to document her insinuations; she's been too busy leading the charge to shut down city nightclubs at 2 a.m., even though the Buckhead Village isn't in her district. Her misguided contention is that folks will quit shooting each other if they have to settle up their bar tab a couple hours earlier.

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